How to Build a Black Powder Gun

The lock and stock of a typical Hawken style muzzleloader kit.

Black powder guns are firearms of yesteryear. These are the guns that tamed the Great American frontier and won the American West. Black powder guns come in a variety of shapes and sizes: pistols, long rifles, and short "trapper" rifles just to name a few. One of the most popular black powder guns still in use today is the muzzleloader. Black powder muzzleloaders are early single shot rifles that are loaded from the front of the barrel (or muzzle) and have an accurate range of up to 300 yards. There are many ways to go about building a black powder muzzleloader depending on your available funds and personal preferences, however the easiest way is to buy a kit. Muzzleloader build kits are available from a wide variety of sources and are relatively simple to assemble. Follow these steps to build your own black powder gun today.

Open the kit and use the included list of accessories to take stock of the parts. Make sure everything that is listed is included, and if something is missing, start the process of getting it replaced as it could be a drawn out process depending on your manufacturer.

Find the butt plate and fit it to the butt of the gun, per the manufacturer's instructions. Use the sand paper and rasp to work down the high spots in the roughed out gun stock and continually fit the butt plate to the gun to see how you are progressing. When the buttplate fits well, use the provided screws to screw it into place.

Fit the lock to the stock next. Slide the lock in place on the right side of the gun and check for a proper fit. The lock should slide all the way against the side of the stock, but not by force. Sand down any areas where the stock is preventing the lock from fitting properly. Also sand the opposite side of the stock so that the mounting hardware will fit properly. Use the two long bolts to mount the lock in place.

Fit the barrel and tang into place according to the instructions provide with the kit. Slide the barrel into the stock and check the fit. The wood should slide along the side of the barrel and the lock should line up well with the nipple.

Mount the trigger by sliding the trigger assembly up into the gun stock and screwing it down tight. Your gun should now be assembled, however you will now want to dissasemble it and stain the gun stock with your choice of type and color of stain. Also, blue the barrel per the instructions and gun blue provided in the kit. Reassemble the gun and see how it shoots.


Do not dry fire the gun too many times as this can damage the nipple and hammer assemblies.