The .50 Caliber Lyman "Deerstalker" Left Handed Flintlock

By Terry Hart

Lyman Deerstalker
Basic Deerstalker rifle. Illustration courtesy of Lyman Products.

Two months ago several of my hunting friends badgered me into purchasing my first ever Flintlock to use in the unique late December through mid January Pennsylvania Flint Lock only White Tail Season. Since I am Left Handed they concluded the Lyman Deerstalker would be the best choice, and ordered one for me.

This inexpensive gun is beautiful. It has a nicely oiled and grained real Walnut stock and shoulders perfectly. After doing a little research I decide to try the skirted Power Belt Brand 295 grain un-plated pure lead hollow point bullets. I purchase a can of GOEX FFFg and a can of GOEX FFFFg and head for the shooting range.

After loading with 5 grains of the FFFFg, followed by 60 grains of the FFFg, the plastic skirted Power Belt slides easily down the barrel. Then after sprinkling a little FFFFg into the flash pan, I Tee-Off. KABOOM! A big hole appears dead center in the target at 25 yards. WOW, that's sweet.

There was no hesitation between the trigger being squeezed and the thing going off. Also no big distracting flash in front of my eyes as my disbelieving brother claims there will be. This ain't bad at all. Despite my ancient eyes and terrible vision, coupled with out of the box open sights, this darn thing shoots pretty good.

If the barrel is cleaned between shots it fires perfectly every time. And to my amazement it produces consistent 1 inch groups at 50 yards. Hey, this still ain't all that bad!

Then White Tail Rifle season opens in West Virginia, followed a week later by Pennsylvania, and for three weeks the Lyman sets, patiently awaiting it's turn.

Previously all of the very tight groups were ending up slightly to the right of the bull. The Lyman has traditional iron sights mounted in Dove Tail cut-outs. There is no simple screw type windage adjustment. One of the several days during these past three weeks when the wonderful weather was so el-stink-o that I chickened out, and did not hunt, I routed around and found the old slide rule and calculated how many thousandths of an inch one of the sights needed to be nudged sideways. After retrieving a small brass ball peen hammer, a punch, and noting, as best one can, where it needs to end up, I tapped the front one sideways. Miracles of miracles, after a single whack it slid exactly the right amount.

This morning I calculated what the trajectory might be for a 75 grain hunting charge of the FFFg, and despite the bitter conditions, loaded up all the junk and headed for the range. One to one and a half inches high at 50 yards is where it needs to go. None to my surprise I had the usually busy place all to myself. After unloading all the junk, I hang the big black bull's-eye target up at 50 yards and, shivering, load the Lyman. After steadying on the bench and carefully squeezing the nice crisp trigger, KABOOM!

My eyes are so bad that I can't see any hole, even at 50 yards. So I wade through the snow and out to the target. To my absolute amazement there it is dead center exactly 1 inch above the Bull. Now, it doesn't get any sweeter than this. By now I am really freezing and feeling kind of silly for even being out here. So I unsnap the plastic clothes pins holding the target with my already numb fingers, plow back to the bench, pack up all the junk, and return to the warmth of the living room.

Despite terrible vision and open sights, this 400 year old technology canon shoots better than my .17 Mach 2 with a fancy target scope. I think I'm going to like this "sparky smoke-stack" stuff.

Note: A complete review of the Lyman flintlock rifle can be found on the Product Review Page.

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Copyright 2005 by Terry Hart. All rights reserved.