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The Definitive Guide to Shooting Muzzle-loading Pistols: ISBN 1-86126-482-8. For availability see ordering information.

Classic Arms and Militaria - Vol. 9 issue 5 2002

This book provides much detailed and hitherto unpublished guidance for the muzzle-loading pistol shooter. Derek Fuller starts with a detailed account of many of the disciplines shot both in the UK and in MLAIC-governed international competitions world-wide, together with the many different targets used in these events. This is followed by the fundamentals of the pistols used, including tuning for best performance.

The limits of modifications allowed within the international competition rules for both reproduction and original pistol classes are given, and this is followed by the loading procedures for revolvers, single shot percussion and flintlock pistols, with an emphasis on accuracy and safety. Mixed with a little history, the recovery of old pistols to bring them back into shootable condition is addressed, together with recommendations on the essential checking of newly purchased arms. The book is extended to provide information on shooting many pistols for sport, including free pistols, matchlock single-shot pistols, pepperboxes and pocket pistols, as well as the rarely shot zimmerpistolen.

Illustrated with excellent, easy to follow diagrammatic drawings such as set riggers, ball sizes, velocities from pistols with different loads, blueing and browning of old pistols and the current UK competition programme are included. Written in an easy style for both guidance and pleasure, this will be seen as the bedside book for many an experienced muzzle-loading pistol shooter, as well as the aspiring tyro.

The Rifleman - Official Journal of the NSRA Summer 2002 No. 750

I approached this book from the point of view of a shooter with an interest in, but no knowledge of, muzzle-loading and found it fascinating. It is full of clear diagrams and easily digestible chunks of advice on how to get the best out of your pistol. I leaned that with muzzle-loading you are on your own: unless you know the intimate details of exactly how to strip down your pistol and, where allowed, how to modify and / or repair it you are totally lost.

However this is the challenge. Getting these recalcitrant firearms to work efficiently is obviously a joy, which comes clearly through the writing of this book. It has lovely touches of humour and gives brilliant insights into the normal life of the shooter. Hence the injunction no to hammer patches on the dining room table and the list in the excellent appendices to remind those who have 'senior moments' of what they should have taken to the range but have forgotten.

The author works, to my mind, logically through the different types of pistol from percussion pistols, through revolvers to flintlocks and 'oddballs' (a term which can presumably be applied to those using them as well). It compares similar models and the allowable changes that can be made, illustrating this with helpful diagrams. Derek Fuller does not always agree with the 'experts' and, like a good coach, leaves shooters to make up their own minds about what set up suits them best.

The simple clarity of the technical details in this book was impressive and will be invaluable to those wishing to effect repairs or modifications to particular types of pistol. The attention to detail and sheer volume and breadth of knowledge is obvious to anyone who reads it. This is a man who has experience to write a book of this type, has been there, fabricated the single use tool and separated the rusty cock from the spigot on the tumbler.

Will I join the ranks of the muzzle-loaders? I could have done with a little more information for the total beginner, like how to get in touch with the Muzzle -loaders Association of Great Britain, how to find a local club and where to have a go. I have certainly been stripped of my romantic view of this branch of the sport. As with all shooting it requires patience, disciple, a sense of humour and an ability to endure extreme cold, plus endless amounts of practice. However, you also need to have a good understanding of DIY and some engineering skills, as well as access to a reasonable workshop and tools. Well no problem there. I am off to the Phoenix Meeting to have a try.

Shooting Times and Country Magazine 18th April 2002

There is little written about the practical aspects of maintaining and shooting muzzle-loading firearms, which makes Derek Fuller's The Definitive Guide to Shooting Muzzle-loading Pistols a welcome addition to the existing body of literature. Mr Fuller provides a wealth of useful detail about the competition structure for muzzle-loading pistol shooting, and offers tips on how to get the best out of a range of pistols, both original antiques and modern replicas. There are also 33 colour plates and 73 excellent line drawings.

In addition to practical advice on loading and shooting, there is an excellent section on restoration and conservation. The main body of the text is supported by six appendices, which includes equivalent calibre and bore sizes, advice on blued and browned finishes, propellants and ballistics. Though this book is aimed at muzzle-loading pistol shooters, there is much in it that is applicable to all muzzle loading firearms. It would not be out of place on the bookshelves of anyone who likes to shoot old guns.

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Last modified: December 05, 2003