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...for the blackpowder enthusiast

John's Muzzle Loader Shooting

Reviewed by Joe Cindric

John's Muzzle Loader Shooting

Running Time: 38 Minutes

If you are a grizzled old black powder enthusiast looking for the secrets to the perfect load, or your just looking for great entertainment, then John's Muzzle Loader Shooting is not for you. But if you are fairly new to the game, or wish to painlessly initiate a spouse, child or friend into the black powder shooting, John's muzzleloader video may be ideal for you.

Forget the video cover and opening scene. This is not a hunting video, but rather a gentle walk through the basics of muzzle loading. Many of us who have been shooting for quite a while have forgotten how perplexing the sport can be. The video does a good job of introducing the viewer to the many aspects of muzzle loading; a fascinating trip for the novice. John personally narrates the trip through our sport. The first quarter of an hour walks the viewer through a tour of what many of us will recognize as a typical muzzle loading shoot. Shooters dressed in modern and primitive clothing are used to show almost every form of muzzle loading match; traditional rifle, cross sticks, bench, pistol and shotgun. John even includes a short trip away from the firing line to the tomahawk range and primitive camp.

Before jumping into the fun stuff, John does an excellent job of covering powder, ball and patching basics. This is great information for the beginner, and perhaps useful for a couple of us old timers who have never used anything put real black powder. His coverage of projectiles, balls and bullets is one of the best I have seen. The he even covers bullet casting and gives enough information so that when your old buddy comes over to help, he may actually be a help rather than a hindrance.

The video does a fair job covering loading and shooting, with just enough detail to get the beginner safely through his first day . Yes some fine details are left out, but considering that most folks can only digest just so much at one time, we did not feel that this was a problem. The basic shooting lesson starts with a muzzle loading rifle. John's leads you through all the steps from running the first patch down the barrel to, loading, firing and cleaning. In between he offers some helpful shooting hints most beginners, and some others, need to hear. I was impressed with the section on clearing a bad load or dry ball. When I began, the standard method was to use a ball puller. John, through the magic of video, shows you some tricks that I did not learn until much later. To top it all off, after seeing the CO2 extractor in action, I may just get one to clear my hunting rifles.

A nice feature of this video is the section covering loading and shooting shotguns and pistol. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then this section of the video is worth a couple of chapters in the "How to" book. The average black powder shooter never really considers using a black powder shot gun or pistol for sport or hunting. What a shame. These two firearms offer an excellent challenge and a bundle of fun for anyone who tries them.

I only have a few gripes. I think John did not cover cleaning with enough depth. No, I really don't enjoy cleaning my pieces, and probably would enjoy watching a video about it as much as watching paint dry. But this is not a video for anyone who has bought enough cleaning patches to make a sail. I think the video leaves the beginner with the impression that all he needs to do is run a couple of patches down the bore and his gun is clean. I also would have liked to see more time spent on developing an accurate load. The video does mention sighting in using a bench and varying your powder charge to find the best group. But more depth would avoid a lot of unnecessary questions and embarrassment.

Thinking back, I still would recommend "John's Muzzle Loader Shooting" to any neophyte or experienced shooter. John did an excellent job of covering the basics in a clear concise manner. This is probably the right video for school libraries or any group that wants to introduce the public to muzzle loading and all the associated fun. For us old timers, if you stay alert, you can even find a neat formula for calculating the weight in grains of your round balls or get another recipe for a black powder solvent.

Thanks to the Log Cabin Shop for the loan of "John's Muzzle Loader Shooting" for our review.