A muzzle-loaded rifle "(Muzzle-loading Rifle)" is defined as; a shoulder fired firearm of which there are spiral grooves cut into the bore called rifling, of which is loaded with black powder and bullet from the muzzle end of the firearms barrel or muzzle-loaded.
It was at the time of the flintlock ignition system that rifling inside the barrel of shoulder fired muzzleloaders was now seen thus ending the era of muskets and musketeers. Rifled guns (rifles) were used to expel one projectile at a time accurately at a greater distance do to the spin imparted to the projectile, soon after the elongated bullet arrived, which greatly extended the accurate distance of a muzzle-loading rifle.Classification:
Muzzle-loading rifles can be classed as traditional and or modern inline.
1. The traditional muzzle-loading rifle will be of a Longrifle or Hawken design that uses a Sidelock with either a flint type ignition system or a percussion cap ignition system and will be loaded from the muzzle end of the barrel with the use of black powder for a reliable propellant charge.
2. The modern inline muzzle-loading rifle will be of a Inline design that uses modern 209 primers for ignition and will be loaded from the muzzle end of the barrel with the use of a black powder substitute for a reliable propellant charge such as triple seven, pyrodex or blackhorn 209.Ignition Systems:
It was the Flintlock that first seen rifling in muzzleloaders and since that time there has been other ignition systems developed for muzzle-loading rifles.
1. Flint Ignition; Where flint strikes a piece of steel making sparks to ignite a powder charge in the frizzen pan which then ignites a powder charge in the barrel.
2. Percussion Cap Ignition; Where a percussion cap is placed over a nipple and a hammer must strike the rim of the cap to ignite a powder charge in the barrel.
3. Modern Primer Ignition; Where a modern design center-fire primer (usually 209 shotshell primer) must be struck in the center by a hammer or firing pin to ignite a powder charge in the barrel.
The rate of twist in a muzzle-loading rifle's barrel determines the optimum projectile length and speed of the projectile by applying the proper spin on the projectile to prevent it from yawing and pitching. Expressed in terms of the number of revolutions per inch of barrel length, this ratio is commonly expressed by designations such as 1:28, 1/28 or 1 in 28 twist, the 1 represents 1 twist, the 28 represents inches of barrel length.
A good rule of thumb is that the heavier and longer a projectile is, the faster the twist rate needs to be and therefore a lighter shorter projectile needs a slower twist rate to give proper spin for correct flight.
Usually rifle barrels with a;
1 turn in 66" rifling will do best with round ball,
1 turn in 48" round ball, ball-ets, short conical bullet and saboted pistol bullet,
1 turn in 28" conical bullet and saboted bullet.
The United States of America was settled and occupied traveling from east to west and south to north, as this expansion took place the animals settlers and trailblazers encountered grew in size from common white-tailed deer of the east to very large bears of the west and north, as these animals were encountered bore sizes in muzzle-loading rifles grew from the very economical .45 caliber kentucky rifle which worked well for deer and the occasional black bear to .54 caliber which worked well for buffalo and large bears.
(.36 caliber diameter.) Thirty six caliber and smaller bore diameter muzzle-loading rifles are a good choice for small game like Rabbits and Squirrels and varminting.
(.45 caliber diameter) Forty five caliber bore diameter muzzle-loading rifles are a good choice for Antelope, Black Bear, Black-Tailed Deer, Hogs, Javelina, Mule Deer & White-Tailed Deer.
(.50 caliber diameter) Fifty caliber bore diameter muzzle-loading rifles are a good choice for medium to large game such as Elk Caribou & Sheep.
(.54 caliber diameter) Fifty four caliber and larger bore diameter muzzle-loading rifles are a good choice for big game like Moose and large Bears.
Muzzle-loading rifle caliber selections were based on economics as well, such as, how many roundball shots do you get with 1 pound of lead;
.36 caliber - 107,
.45 caliber - 52,
.50 caliber - 39 and
.54 caliber - 30.
Effective Deer Hunting Range:
All muzzle-loading rifles, at least 45 caliber, ammunition restricted to patched lead round-ball only, ignition system restrictions for this class none, sight restrictions for this class none, effective range 100 yards.
All muzzle-loading rifles, at least 45 caliber, ammunition restricted to minimum diameter bullet no less than .400", ignition system restrictions for this class - no modern centerfire primer usage allowed, in-line percussion cap accepted, sight restrictions for this class none, effective range 150 yards.
All muzzle-loading rifles, at least 45 caliber, ammunition restricted to minimum diameter bullet no less than .357", ignition system restrictions for this class none, sight restrictions for this class none, effective range 200 + yards.