Bob's Black Powder Notebook
May 20, 2015 1:49 PM   Subscribe

"For almost thirty-five years black powder shooting and the many fascinating activities allied to it have been an important part of my life. Hunting is my primary black powder shooting interest, and most of my activities revolve around that, but historical reenacting, trekking and the study of life in this country in mid-eighteenth century get a fair share of my attention. This page is simply my musings about these interests, my experiences and thoughts about many aspects of the hobby. Because life is more than black powder, a few other topics are included. Hopefully, something here will strike a sympathetic chord with the reader, and add to their enjoyment."
posted by valkane (20 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
As a kid I went to this event every year, and the smell of black powder still reminds me of my childhood.
posted by showbiz_liz at 2:15 PM on May 20, 2015

i like a man who can appreciate the taste of squirrel. Good stuff. (Read the one about the meal fit for a king).
posted by Seamus at 2:37 PM on May 20, 2015

I may have used this guys site when I was teaching myself how to start a fire with flint and steel. Maybe.
posted by Seamus at 2:43 PM on May 20, 2015

And his article "Practical Hunting Trajectories" is something I should have read when he wrote it in 1997. Bullet drop and sighting in of rifles was always counter-intuitive to me until I put in a lot of time thinking about the physics.
posted by Seamus at 2:50 PM on May 20, 2015

The father of one of my ex-girlfriends was a blackpowder shooter. I have a lot more respect for these guys than the tactidorks.
posted by entropicamericana at 2:55 PM on May 20, 2015

Unlike stand hunting with a modern center-fire, hunting with a muzzle-loader is about the hunt and not the kill. It's less likely to fill the freezer than even a regular stalk hunt, but more likely to bring you closer to the world.
posted by Seamus at 2:56 PM on May 20, 2015 [2 favorites]

I do like gracious tools of a previous era... like black powder and "~" in webpage names.
posted by oneswellfoop at 3:05 PM on May 20, 2015 [9 favorites]

Okay, Valkane, thanks for wasting my day.
The more I read, the more convinced I become that I have read this guy before. I keep looking for his parched corn recipe that I swear I got from his site well over a decade ago. To no avail.

The instructional on tomahawk throwing is pretty good. I have a different (self-taught) style but his advice on not over-thinking, not over-throwing and adjusting distance are dead-on. Even this sentence, "With a little knowledge and a few hours of practice, even fairly small children get quite good at it." has been proven right in my experience.
I also like that closes with a short paragraph on attempting to stick a tomahawk with the handle pointing up. After a week teaching ourselves to throw in the woods, we eventually turned to perfecting that throw too.

(I am a total geek about this stuff. I know it isn't the standard MeFi-style of geekery, but I love it. Years ago, when my students were having a hard time understanding what went into loading and shooting a muzzle-loading firearm on the battlefield, I went out and filmed myself following all of the steps of a musket drill. Smoke, fire, guns, your dorky teacher - it's what all eighth graders wish class would be like. They requested that video so many times over the year.)
posted by Seamus at 3:05 PM on May 20, 2015 [6 favorites]

i like a man who can appreciate the taste of squirrel. Good stuff.

Groundhog. That's good eatin'.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:14 PM on May 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

I've only shot a black powder rifle once but it was, dare I say it, a blast. It's something I want to do again.
posted by Dip Flash at 3:40 PM on May 20, 2015

Groundhog. That's good eatin'.
You haven't lived 'til you've had groundchuck!
posted by Floydd at 3:42 PM on May 20, 2015

so this is like a chemex pour over, but guns
posted by blue t-shirt at 3:47 PM on May 20, 2015 [4 favorites]

My Dad had a repro Colt Navy revolver and my brother had a Hawken rifle, I shot both a few times. It was fun, they made huge booms with tons of smoke. My Dad made his own bullets too. Just imagine loading those things when there's a bear coming at you.
posted by marxchivist at 4:10 PM on May 20, 2015

Now I have the soundtrack to Last of the Mohicans stuck in my head.
posted by mogget at 4:12 PM on May 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

I keep looking for his parched corn recipe that I swear I got from his site well over a decade ago.

That's when I found this site, over a decade ago. His writing and photography were so honest and understated that I fell in love with him. Bob hasn't updated since 2003, which makes me nervous, 'cuz I really don't want to know. I'd rather he live forever in my imagination.

Bob Spencer is one of my heroes; he's flown planes, sailed boats, and showed up at a Kentucky dove hunt dressed in 18th century gear, all of which takes confidence and a yearning for adventure. I'm sure his flintlock smoothbore bagged plenty of birds, at least as many as any trucker hat-wearing local with an 870.

But as to parched corn, the only recipe I remember is from one of the Little House books, so you might want to check Laura Ingalls Wilder.

Glad you enjoyed it. It's some of the best of the web.
posted by valkane at 4:40 PM on May 20, 2015

Misread this as Bob Black's Powder Notebook and wondered what anarchist critical writing had to do with buckskin.
posted by ardgedee at 4:43 PM on May 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

I can't stop reading this.

Sort of like modern Izack Walton compleat angler dudes who make their own... everything.
posted by clvrmnky at 6:17 PM on May 20, 2015

This is oddly wonderful, thanks!
posted by MonkeyToes at 5:57 AM on May 21, 2015 [1 favorite]

Here's a Mongolian marmot recipe that can be used for groundhog.
Traditional cookerey!
posted by Seamus at 8:20 AM on May 21, 2015

Because of you valkane, I was forced (FORCED, I tells ya) to look at a .45 cal in amazing condition by an "unknown manufacturer" at a pawnshop. I thought it might be some kind Investarms or Italian or Spanish generic kit from the '70s (they were amazingly popular and available at Sears and Penny's and autoparts stores and department stores and . . . and . . . and . . .) that had been masterfully finished. I went home and spent way too long researching and figured out that it was a Thompson Center with a replacement Green Mountain barrel at a ridiculously low price. I didn't tell them what they had and they offered me an even lower price when I went back to look at it for the third time. So I bit. Now I need to get working on hunting slings and possibles bags and . . . and . . . and . . .
Thanks for reminding me that I had some hobbies to attend to.
posted by Seamus at 8:50 AM on May 26, 2015 [1 favorite]

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