The Flintlock Muzzle-Loader Versus the Modern Breach-Loader for long term wilderness living.
1) The breach-loader is easy to load, & repeaters are fast to reload.
2) Some rifles are accurate over a long distance.
3) The shotgun is fairly versatile but a short distance gun only.
4) The .22 rimfire rifle ammunition is light in comparison to larger calibers so you can carry a reasonable amount of ammo.
The disadvantages of the breach-loader.
The larger calibers use heavy ammunition, that is the weight of the brass shells combined with the lead is heavy. The 12 gauge shotgun ammunition is very heavy, so in both these cases you may be limited as to how much ammo you can carry with you. You could reload your own shells using the smaller & lighter hand loader, but you will still have to carry spare primers & possibly lead as well.
The .22 rimfire has its limitations when it comes to what game you can kill with it. Small to medium game should not be a problem with well placed shots, but the .22 rimfire does not have the power to consistently shoot larger game, i.e. larger game is more likely to get away wounded.
Advantages of a Flintlock Muzzle-loader.
1) Ammo is less expensive than a modern equivalent calibre firearm.
2) The smoothbore is very versatile, being able to digest round ball, bird shot, & buckshot, or any combination of two of these (can also use minies/conical slugs).
3) The fusil is lighter to carry than a modern equivalent sized gun.
4) You can vary the load if needs be.
5) The smoothbore will digest other projectiles besides lead.
6) Lead can be retrieved from downed game & remoulded with a simple mould & lead ladle. This means that you can carry less lead, & more of the lighter gunpowder.
7) You can make your own gunpowder.
8) You can use the lock to make fire without using gunpowder.
9) You can use gunpowder for gunpowder tinder fire lighting if needs be.
10) IF the lock should malfunction (these are very robust & it is not likely) you can easily repair it if you are carrying a few spare springs & a few simple tools.
11) If you do not have any spare parts & the lock malfunctions, you can easily convert it to a tinderlock or matchlock & continue using it.
12) You do not need a reloader, brass shells, caps, or primers. The latter have been known to break down in damp conditions or if they are stored for too long.
13) Wadding for ball or shot is available from natural plant materials or homemade leather or rawhide.
14)Less chance of being affected by future ammunition control legislation.
15) Gunpowder is easily obtainable providing you have a muzzle-loader registered in your name regardless of calibre (NSW).
16) A .32 calibre flintlock rifle is more powerful than a .22 rimfire, less expensive to feed, more accurate over a greater distance, able to take small & medium sized game, & other than not being able to use shot (unless it is smoothbore), it has all the attributes of the other flintlocks. For larger game you can load with conical slugs, which of course you can make yourself in the field.
17) Damage from a .62 calibre or .70 calibre pistol or long arm is in the extreme. Wounded prey is unlikely to escape.
18) By using buck & ball you are unlikely to miss your target. This load is capable of taking out more than one target.
19) There is less kick-back to a muzzle-loading gun.
20) Antique Flintlock muzzle-loading guns do not require a license, registration, or a permit to purchase in NSW Australia.
The disadvantages of a flintlock muzzle-loader.
The muzzle-loading rifle is slower to load than a single shot breach-loader. Smoothbores are a little faster to load if you are using cartridges, but they are still slower to load than a modern breach-loader.
It takes skill & knowledge to get the best performance from a flintlock, but once learnt you should have no problems.
Gun flints need knapping from time to time to keep them sharp.
You can get misfires on occasions if you fail to keep the gun flint sharp, or if the gun flint should become loose in the jaws of the cock.
If anyone can add to this article I welcome your input.