Tag Archives: muzzleloading

Possible Bag

by Woodsbum

The art and skill associated with muzzleloading, particularly traditional designs, has become something of a scarcity in today’s world. The more I gravitate back to those older tools and traditions the more I see that there is less and less support available. Whether this is by design for by consumer preference that drives different industries doesn’t really matter. The symptom is the same either way. I end up having to build or modify my own gear 90% of the time.

Let’s take for instance my pursuit of an old school style possible bag. For those of you who are not sure what a possible bag is, let me elaborate. A possible(s) bag is used to store your odds and ends needed when shooting black powder firearms. These bags are designed to hang across your body with a strap and, in all reality, resemble a colonial purse. You could call it a murse for gun crap I suppose. The real problem I ran into while trying to find one that was “manly” enough and had a long enough strap was that most are built in Asia and designed for the average worker over there. If you are over 5’5″ tall, you no longer have a bag. You have a necklace.

At first I was going to build my own. I figure that it couldn’t be too hard to do. The old school shooters built theirs with less equipment and probable lack of Corona to drink while sewing. That means that I should be good, right?

Lucky for me I found a company that builds the items they sell on site and at a reasonable price. Most “custom” orders or “special order” bags I looked at were in the $180 – $250 range. October Country Muzzleloading hooked me up. A guy names John answered the phone over there, answered all my questions, and they added an extra 12″ of strap to my bag at no extra charge.

You catch that? No extra charge for the extra length strap.

The bag was ordered on Thursday morning. By Friday, the bag was already built and shipped. The special order bag was built the same day as being ordered and was in the mail the next day.

Here is the bag:

Possible bag with really long strap

Possible bag with really long strap

As you can see, I kind of over guessed the length I need. When I told them 72″ long I thought that the very end of the strap would be 72″. They measured from the top most whole. This really isn’t a big deal because I know how to poke holes in leather and can cut the end if I need to. I probably won’t cut it and will just put stropping compound on the back of it so I can sharpen knives in the field. Either way, they definitely delivered.

I am not sure you can see from the pictures, but there are two compartments. The back compartment has a small pouch as well.

Back pocket

Back pocket

Here is the front compartment.

Front Compartment

Front Compartment

I was actually hoping that this would have been bigger. When I read the description I was envisioning one big bag with purse type dividers in it. Instead it is two pouches that are kind of hinged at the top. Ultimately, I may like this design so I am not looking through my colonial murse when I need to reload my rifle. It is 5000x better than using cargo pockets, however. Loading this bad boy up will be a lot of fun tonight.

If I had to grade October Country’s product I would give it a solid A-. The bag is a little smaller than I thought, but the fit/finish push it back up to the grade I gave out. The company’s customer service, quality for price, and speed of build/shipping get a very enthusiastic A++. Over time I know I will love this bag for either the quality and/or the function. I realize this will happen, but at this time I am just a VERY small bit disappointed that it wasn’t just a touch bigger.

From what I can see on their website and after talking with John, I would have to say that October Country is a great source for your muzzleloading needs. When I take into account the way they treated me when I called, the order process, and everything else I have a sneaking suspicion that they probably know better than I do as to what size bag I should carry……  They are colonial murse experts, if you will.

In conclusion, I would not hesitate to call them for help again and plan to the minute I need additional assistance. At this point I am not only an enthusiastic supporter, but a happy customer. I strongly recommend them.

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Muzzleloading Bug Has Hit

by Woodsbum

Lately, I have discovered that I spend WAY too much money on guns and ammunition just so I can go and shoot on the weekends. To make it even worse, I find that most of the time I supply all the equipment to include guns and ammunition in addition to being the only one to clean up afterwards. The entire thing become a huge chore and hit to my bank account. To cut overall investment without cutting the fun I decided that I needed to start taking the muzzleloader. This created a whole new set of problems because cleaning my Knight is anything but fun.

In yet another attempt to spend money to save money I went on a search. It became clear that the only solution that I could live with was to go and find a traditional muzzleloader rifle that was easy to clean, would be fun, and other people would find fun enough to ignore the lack of modern rifles I was taking out. The first thing I realized was that muzzleloaders are not the cheap rifles I was used to seeing when I was younger. Lyman and TC Hawken models ran between $450 and $700 on average. Now, I began to kick myself for not grabbing a $100 kit that I remember back in high school.

Whenever price becomes an issue I find that doing some serious online research will help to find me a cheaper solution. In this case I was not let down. I discovered that there were only a few companies that manufactured production muzzleloader rifles and they were resold under other names. This is no different than the American Arms .44 mag pistol I purchased some years ago. The .44 mag is actually manufactured by Uberti. Muzzleloaders are really no different. Lyman and Cabela’s rifles are actually made by Investarm out of Italy. TC makes their own. The third big manufacturer is Traditions. CVA does make some as well. Some other brands seem to be a bit murky as to who really makes them, so I took some literary license and just ignored those.

After I was armed with this information, I stepped up my search and went looking for used rifles that I might find at a bargain. Lo and behold I came across reference to an unused, never shot Hawken style rifle earmarked as a KBI/Kassnar brand. It had been advertised for almost a month without anyone even asking about it. I did some research on KBI/Kassnar and discovered that this company imported firearms until they closed up shop in 1989. They did business with gun manufacturers in England, Spain and Italy. Considering that Investarm is out of Italy, it didn’t take a rocket surgeon to figure out who probably made this rifle. Not only that, but the wood grain was incredible and it had brass accents to include a patch box in the stock.

Sure enough, when I met up with the guy, the rifle was actually an Investarm model 120b, had never been shot, and was in 100% perfect condition (except the brass is a bit tarnished from sitting in a box). There were other “goodies” as well that were also still in their unopened and brand new state. Interestingly enough, the guy I met with was selling the items for a 75 year old man who bought everything in 1987 for a trip that got cancelled.

Now if you are in the market for a muzzleloader or have ever thought about getting into “smoke sticks” it isn’t nearly as expensive as you would think, if you are patient and look around. The majority of shooters and gun buyers completely ignore muzzleloaders and have no idea about them. This will allow you the opportunity to pick up an almost new or completely new rifle at 10-20 year ago prices. Another selling point is that the design of most muzzleloaders is not that different from the originals of yesteryear. Even better is that you don’t necessarily have to stay with the same manufacturer when looking for replacement parts. I have seen TC barrels on Traditions stocks with old, unknown manufacturer trigger assemblies. That is a great selling point as well.

If you are more into the modern muzzleloading products like the inline models, a lot of this information goes RIGHT out the window. My Knight Wolverine 209 for instance is deadly accurate and I can hit pie plates with open sights out to 200 yards. The problem is that most of the parts I might need for replacements would have to be purchased directly from Knight. It is also a royal pain in the gluteal section to clean. The barrel doesn’t just come off with the removal of a single pin. It requires disassembly of the rifle, pulling the breech plug and nipple, scrubbing and a good portion of your evening. For those of you who were wondering why I would want a traditional muzzleloader when I already had an incredible inline model, there you go. Cleaning it sucks out loud…….

Some of my best memories as a kid or with my kids have involved the outdoors and shooting. Being able to increase my options, cut the cost of shooting, and decrease the time spent cleaning really makes buying a new toy worth it. Now I need to get into casting my own bullets.

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