The brave men and women who trail-blazed the great plains and wilderness of America in the 1800s had a lot of obstacles to overcome. Among those obstacles were grizzly and black bears that were not exactly fond of being disturbed. In those rugged days, stopping a charging bear meant hitting a very clean shot with an old black powder rifle. For the adventurous outdoors folk wishing to take a hunting trip to a very different level, hunting bears with antique guns with black powder is an idea.
Of course, bear hunting with old black powder guns is a very risky business. So here is some advice for buying the rifle:
Let the Seller Know Your Intentions
Do not just perform basic research into popular antique guns once used to hunt bears. Walking into a gun shop and selecting an antique off the rack without the advice and consent of an expert is not wise. Instead, specifically tell the shop owner you are interesting in an antique capable for hunting bear. This way, the dealer can guide you towards reliable choices of black powder guns most sufficient for handling the task.
Ask the Seller Bear Hunting-Specific Questions
You should also discuss other important bits of information with the dealer. How often the old gun can be fired during practice sessions before suffering wear and tear is vital to know. You do not want the gun to malfunction at a critical time. Inquire about how much black powder can be packed into the rifle safely. Hunting bears require "hot" (high pressure) loads behind a bullet. Loads that are too low may not be enough to drop the creature. You do not, however, want to unsafely pack too much black powder in a 100+ year old gun. The metal in the gun may not be able to handle the pressure and the gun could explode.
Request a Test Firing
Prior to buying the antique gun, ask the dealer to perform a test firing under the suggested bear loads. During the testing, the seller should notate any safety risks associated with firing such an old gun. The dealer could also point out whether or not the specific model is going to be viable for an actual bear hunt. If not, you should consider a different model. Surely, this request is going to come with a charge and you will have to pay for the necessary cleaning of the gun afterwards. Consider this a necessary investment in your safety.
When you go in to buy an antique black powder gun, be sure to ask for these things and get more information from the seller. Gun professionals, like those at Lock's Philadelphia Gun Exchange, have expert knowledge that can help you in your search.