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Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions

    Questions
  1. How much is my old gun worth?
  2. How does the grading system for Antique Firearms work?
  3. Does Dixie buy old guns?
  4. Is my old gun safe to shoot?
  5. Does Dixie have parts for my old guns?
  6. Should I clean my old gun?
  7. What restrictions apply to shipping muzzleloading firearms?
  8. Does Dixie ship black powder?
  9. What type of black powder should I use?
  10. What precautions can be taken to prevent "chain firing"?
  11. How can I prevent percussion caps from falling off the nipples on my cap and ball revolver?
  12. What size round ball should I use in my muzzleloader?
  13. Can I use smokeless powder loads in Dixie's black powder cartridge guns?
  14. What is the maximum load of black powder for my muzzleloader?
  15. How do I clean my muzzleloader?
  16. What do I need to get started in muzzleloading?
  17. Do you offer any kit guns? How difficult are they to build?
  18. Does Dixie sell used muzzleloaders? Purchase used muzzleloaders?
  19. Does Dixie offer any left-hand guns?
  20. How do I load my muzzleloading shotgun?
  21. How do I load my Henry rifle?
  22. How do I sight-in my muzzleloader?
  23. What kind of accuracy can I expect from my muzzleloader?
  24. How does the barrel rifling affect the performance of the muzzleloader?
  25. What are approximate shipping charges on cannons?
  26. What are recommended cannon loads?
  27. What type of return policy does Dixie have?
  28. Does Dixie have a showroom open to the public?
  29. What safety precautions should be taken when shooting black powder firearms?

    Answers
  1. How much is my old gun worth?

    The value of an antique firearm, like any commodity, is a function of supply and demand. The more scarce the item and greater collector interest, the greater the value. The first step in determining the value is to properly identify the model and any significant variations or features. Once the firearm is properly identified, it is necessary to access the overall condition of the firearm. While this may seem somewhat subjective, definitive guidelines for grading antique firearms are available. An excellent resource for identifying American made antique firearms and determining their values is Flayderman's Guide to Antique American Firearms. This book is available from Dixie (stock #BO0545). Another source for valuing more modern firearms is The Blue Book of Gun Values by S.P. Fjestad (stock #BO1082). Another method of valuing your firearm is to visit local gun shows. Most dealers will be willing to offer advice and you can shop the tables for comparable models and check their prices. We receive a number of calls asking this question and it is virtually impossible to make an accurate appraisal with out physically inspecting the firearm. Dixie offers an appraisal service. If you are interested in having your antique firearms appraised, please contact us.

  2. How does the grading system for Antique Firearms work?

    FACTORY NEW: All original parts, 100% original finish, and in perfect condition in every respect, inside and out.
    EXCELLENT: All original parts, over 80% of the original finish. Sharp lettering, numerals, and design on metal and wood. Unmarred wood. Fine bore.
    FINE: All original parts, over 30% of the original finish. Sharp lettering, numerals, and design on metal and wood. Minor marks in wood. Good bore.
    VERY GOOD: All original parts. None to 30% of the original finish. Original metal surfaces smooth with all edges sharp. Clear lettering, numerals, and disregarded for collector's firearms.
    GOOD: Some minor replacement parts. Metal smoothly rusted or lightly pitted in places. Cleaned or reblued. Principle lettering, numerals, and design on metal partly obliterated. Wood scratched, bruised, cracked, or repaired where broken. In fair working order or can be easily repaired where broken.
    POOR: Major and minor parts replaced. Major replacement parts required and restoration needed. Metal deeply pitted. Principle lettering, numerals, and design obiliterated. Wood badly scratched, bruised, cracked, or broken. Mechanically inoperative. Generally undesirable as a collector firearm.

  3. Does Dixie buy old guns?

    Yes. Dixie is interested in buying individual pieces or entire collections.

  4. Is my old gun safe to shoot?

    We recommend that you have any old firearm thoroughly inspected by a professional gunsmith to determine if it is safe to shoot. Antique firearms offered by Dixie are sold as collector items only. Dixie does not imply nor express any warranty for their use in shooting.

  5. Does Dixie have parts for my old guns?

    The Dixie catalog features thousands of parts for many guns but no company can offer all parts for every gun that was ever made. The index in the back of the catalog offers a listing of the guns that we stock parts for. If you do not know the proper identification of your gun or the part you may send the part or a drawing and we sill try to match something that you can use.

  6. Should I clean my old gun?

    An antique gun's original finish and patina are of paramount importance to the firearm collector. The value of many an antique firearm has been destroyed by over cleaning and/or refinishing. The only cleaning we recommend is to use oil and extra fine or super fine steel wool (#000 or #0000) and lightly rub the metal surfaces. This should remove surface grim while not harming the finish or patina.

  7. What restrictions apply to shipping muzzleloading firearms?

    Muzzleloaders, by virtue of the fact that they do not fire fixed ammunition, are considered antique firearms under The Gun Control Act of 1968 and are not restricted in trade by any federal law or regulation. This applies to both antique and new made muzzleloaders. There may be state or local ordinances which restrict our ability to ship direct to the customer. Residents of HI, NJ, MA and MI are urged to check their state and local laws for any restrictions on ordering black powder firearms. Dixie's black powder cartridge guns can only be shipped to a federally licensed dealer. In order to ship to the dealer, we must have a signed copy of the dealer's Federal Firearms License on file. If you are interested in ordering an FFL gun you should make arrangements with a local dealer to take delivery. This is a common practice and the dealer will usually charge only a nominal fee to complete the transfer.

  8. Does Dixie ship black powder?

    No. Dixie only sells black powder over-the-counter in our store.

  9. What type of black powder should I use?

    Black powder is available in the following granulation:

    CARTRIDGE -- used for loading black powder cartridges,
    FFFFG -- finest granulation, used for priming flintlocks,
    FFFG -- used in black powder pistols, cap and ball revolvers and muzzleloading rifles of 45 caliber and smaller,
    FFG -- used in muzzleloading rifles larger than 45 caliber,
    FG -- used in large bore shotguns (8 gauge or larger) and cannons.

  10. What precautions can be taken to prevent "chain firing"?

    Chain firing occurs when the fire from the revolver chamber being fired ingnites the charges in surrounding chambers. This can be an unnerving and potentially dangerous occurrence. The use of over-sized balls in loading the revolver lessens the chance of chain firing to a certain degree. However, to completely seal the chambers we recommend the use of a wad or sealing with a thin layer of lube after the ball is loaded. Wonder Wads, which are pre-lubed work well, as does Hogdon's Spit Ball. These products, which are available from Dixie, not only act to seal the chambers, but also help to reduce fouling.

  11. How can I prevent percussion caps from falling off the nipples on my cap and ball revolver?

    It is not uncommon for percussion caps to fit loosely on the nipple. This can be remedied by trying a smaller size percussion cap such as a #10 (smaller than #11) or pinching the caps to achieve a tight fit.

  12. What size round ball should I use in my muzzleloader?

    The following chart should be helpful as a guide for determining the proper size round ball for your muzzleloader:

    Rifles & Pistols Caliber Ball Patch
    .32 .310 .015
    .36 .350 .015
    .40 .395 .015
    .44 .433 .015
    .45 .440 .015
    .50 .490 .015
    .54 .530 .015
    .58 .570 .015
    Revolvers Caliber Ball
    Colt .31 .321
    Colt .36 .375
    Colt .44 .451 or .454
    Rem .36 .375 or .376
    Rem .44 .451 or .454

  13. Can I use smokeless powder loads in Dixie's black powder cartridge guns?

    Modern factory loads using smokeless powder are loaded to the same pressure as the original black powder cartridges and are safe to shoot in Dixie's reproduction black powder cartridge guns. We do not recommend the use of handloaded ammunition using smokeless powder.

  14. What is the maximum load of black powder for my muzzleloader?

    The short answer is to adhere to the manufacturer's recommendation for maximum load for your particular muzzleloader. However, this information is not always readily available. From a practical standpoint this becomes a moot question. Increasing the powder charge to near maximum levels will lead to diminishing returns on the efficiency of the load, as you will experience significant increases in pressure with only marginal gains in velocity with an adverse effect on accuracy. As a general rule, a good target load can be established by starting with a grain weight charge equal to rifle's caliber ( eg 50 grains of FFG for a 50 caliber rifle). To find an efficient hunting charge, increase the charge in 5 grain increments to the point where accuracy is acceptable for your hunting situation. Generally, this should be limited to 30 percent greater than the most efficient target load.

  15. How do I clean my muzzleloader?

    Due to the extremely corrosive nature of black powder, diligent cleaning is a necessary part of the muzzleloading experience. Your objective in cleaning should be to remove all black powder residue from the barrel and other metal surfaces and to protect the firearm from corrosion. If you are shooting your muzzleloader on a regular basis, we recommend the following cleaning regiment after each shooting session: scrub the bore with a brass brush and solvent soaked patches (until patches come out clean) and wipe down all metal surfaces. Then using clean patches wipe the bore and all metal parts dry. Apply oil (lightly) to the bore and metal parts, wood can also be wiped down with oil (lightly). If the muzzleloader is not going to be fired for an extended period of time, we recommend a more thorough cleaning. This can be accomplished by first removing the barrel and placing the breech end in a bucket of hot soapy water. Then using a wet patch over the cleaning jag, pump the cleaning rod up and down, drawing the water into the barrel and flushing it out. Rinse the barrel with hot water to aid in the drying process. Using a solvent, remove any residue from the lock and stock. Wipe down the entire gun with a good oil or moisture displacing lubricant. Reassemble the firearm and store safely. It should be noted that these cleaning instructions apply for the use of black powder and Pyrodex.

  16. What do I need to get started in muzzleloading?

    There are certain items which are necessary for shooting and maintaining your muzzleloading firearm. The basic requirements are black powder ( or replica black powder), percussion caps or flints, adjustable powder measure, projectiles, patch material, short starter, lubricant, ramrod, cleaning jag, solvent and gun oil. In addition to these basic required items, there are certain accessories that can enhance the muzzleloading experience. These items include powder horn or flask, patch knife, nipple pick, holster or leather gun case, nipple wrench, loading block, speed loaders, possibles bag, bullet bag, patch worm, cleaning rod and bullet casting equipment. Dixie offers a full line of these basic items and accessories as well as pre-packaged starter kits with all you will need to get started.

  17. Do you offer any kit guns? How difficult are they to build?

    Kit guns offer the muzzleloader the opportunity to participate in the building, customizing and eventually shooting of their own firearm. Dixie currently offers over 60 kit guns including cap and ball revolvers, pistols, Kentucky , Jaeger and Hawken style rifles, military longarms, trade guns and shotguns. We offer kits at the beginner, intermediate and advanced level. Kits in the beginner and intermediate levels are 95% inletted, require minor fitting of metal parts and sanding and finishing of the stock. Intermediate level kits also require polishing and bluing or browning of metal parts. Advanced level kits will also require some stock inletting. Dixie has all of the tools and materials you would need to complete any kit or to build a muzzleloader from scratch.

  18. Does Dixie sell used muzzleloaders? Purchase used muzzleloaders?

    Dixie has a very limited selection of previously owned muzzleloaders for sale (usually less than 10). These are offered for sale in our showroom and occasionally at re-enactments. As a general rule, Dixie is not interested in purchasing used muzzleloaders.

  19. Does Dixie offer any left-hand guns?

    Dixie currently offers our Tennessee Mountain Rifle in 50 caliber, flint or percussion, finished or kit form in left-hand versions. In addition, we offer a left-hand version of the Hawken rifle. This gun is a 50 caliber flintlock and is available in kit form as well as completed. We also have from time to time a limited selection of left-hand custom built rifles.

  20. How do I load my muzzleloading shotgun?

    The proper sequence for loading a muzzleloading shotgun is as follows:

    1. black powder
    2. over-powder (heavy card) wad
    3. fiber cushion wad
    4. optional shot (thin card) wad
    5. shot
    6. over-shot wad

    Recommended loads are as follows: 20 gauge -- 65 grains of FFG black powder and 1 ounce of shot, 12 gauge -- 75 grains of FFG black powder and 1 1/8 ounces of shot, and 10 gauge -- 85 grains of FFG black powder and 1 1/4 ounces of shot. Dixie stocks all of the wads needed in assorted gauges. Muzzleloading shotguns can be loaded with patched round balls as well as shot. We recommend using a .600 round ball for the 20 gauge, a .715 round ball for the 12 gauge and a .760 round ball for the 10 gauge.

  21. How do I load my Henry rifle?

    On the Henry rifle, cartridges are fed into the action by the spring loaded magazine tube located under the barrel. In order to load the magazine tube, hold the gun upright with the barrel facing away from you and push the brass magazine tube follower up as far as possible. This should allow you to rotate the top portion of the magazine tube and barrel clockwise about 45 degrees. Cartridges can then be loaded into the magazine tube and the tube then rotated back into place. The most often encountered problem is in not pushing the brass follower far enough up to disengage the tube.

  22. How do I sight-in my muzzleloader?

    Sighting-in should always be done with a bench rest. Be prepared to vary powder charges and patch and ball combinations to obtain best accuracy. If your gun shoots low, file the front sight down. This will raise the muzzle. If you are shooting high, use a higher front sight or file the notch in the rear sight deeper. If the gun shoots to the right, move the front sight to the right or the rear sight to the left. Conversely, if the gun shoots to the left, move the front sight to the left or the rear sight to the right. File or move the sights a little at a time, shooting often to check for progress. Pistols or revolvers require lesser adjustments because the sights are so close together.

  23. What kind of accuracy can I expect from my muzzleloader?

    Accuracy in muzzleloading is determined by the individual and combined characteristics of the firearm, the load and the shooter. Obtaining accuracy can be as much an art as a science. Muzzleloaders are capable of producing surprising accurracy, and, the average shooter with a production muzzleloader should be able to obtain the following results:

      Single shot pistol -- 2 to 3 inch groups at 25 yards
      Revolver -- 2 to 3 inch groups at 25 yards
      Smooth bore rifle -- 4 to 5 inch groups at 50 yards, 6 inch groups at 100 yards
      Rifled musket -- 3 to 4 inch groups at 50 yards, 6 inch groups at 100 yards
      Rifle -- 2 to 3 inch groups at 50 yards, 6 inch groups at 100 yards

    When sighting in a new muzzleloader, shooting should be done with a bench rest to obtain best accuracy and to build confidence in the guns ability before shooting offhand. Finding the most accurate load for your muzzleloader will require a fair amount of shooting, but the results will justify the effort.

  24. How does the barrel rifling affect the performance of the muzzleloader?

    The method of rifling the barrel will have a profound impact on the accuracy of the muzzleloader. The rate of twist of the rifling will determine the proper type of projectile. For slow twist barrels (1 turn in 56 to 72 inches) use a patched round ball. For fast twist barrels (1 turn in 16 to 28 inches) use a conical bullet. Medium twist barrels are designed to shoot both patched round balls and conical bullets. Round balls may be used in a muzzleloader with a fast twist with good results. The key is to reduce the powder charge so the ball does not travel through the barrel so fast that it strips the rifling and does not take the twist or rotation. A discussion of other factors in barrel rifling such as different methods (cut, broach, button, etc.), number, width and depth of grooves, while important, is beyond the scope of this discussion.

  25. What are approximate shipping charges on cannons?

    Dixie ships cannons by truck with shipping charges collect. While rates will vary, you can approximate your shipping charges based on the following chart:

    Shipping Weight + Shipping Miles = Shipping Cost
    200 lbs. + 400 Miles = $95.00
    200 lbs. + 800 Miles = $110.00
    200 lbs. + 1,200 Miles = $120.00
    400 lbs. + 400 Miles = $95.00
    400 lbs. + 800 Miles = $130.00
    400 lbs. + 1,200 Miles = $160.00
    800 lbs. + 400 Miles = $140.00
    800 lbs. + 800 Miles = $200.00
    800 lbs. + 1,200 Miles = $240.00

    These rates include a residential delivery surcharge. This charge can be waived by picking the shipment up at the truck terminal. Certain cannons (with carriages) will require an additional crating fee.

  26. What are recommended cannon loads?

    Dixie recommends the following blank loads for cannons:

      1/2" bore -- 60 grains FG black powder
      3/4" bore -- 80 grains FG black powder
      1" bore -- 120 grains FG black powder
      1 1/2" bore -- 1 1/2 ounces FG black powder
      2" bore -- 2 ounces FG black powder
      2 1/4" bore -- 2 ounces FG black powder
      2 1/2" bore -- 2 ounces FG black powder
      3" bore -- 4 ounces FG black powder

    Dixie does not recommend the firing of projectiles in our black powder cannons

    Dixie requires a customer ordering one of our cannons to sign a form of necessary safety rules and powder loads. To print out a copy of this form click here.

  27. What type of return policy does Dixie have?

    As long as the customer has not used or altered the merchandise it can be returned for exchange or refund. Use the Return Form on the back of your invoice to insure proper handling of the return.

    Antique firearms may be returned within five days (in the condition they were received) for a full refund. On items returned after the five day inspection period Dixie reserves the right to refuse to accept the item or to charge a restocking fee.

  28. Does Dixie have a showroom open to the public?

    Dixie has over 5,000 square feet of showroom space open to the public. The showroom offers the customer the opportunity to inspect all of the items offered in our catalog. In addition, there are over 1,000 antique firearms for sale, as well as an impressive collection of firearms representing over 50 years of gun collecting. Adjacent to our showroom is the Dixie Old Car Museum featuring thirty-six restored antique automobiles, farm engines, related antique automobile accessories and an 1850 log gunshop complete with vintage tools and equipment. The showroom and Old Car Museum are open to the public from 8:00 am -- 5:00 pm (CST) Monday thru Friday, and from 8:00 am -- 12:00 noon on Saturday. We are closed New Year's Day, Memorial Day, July Fourth, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas.

  29. What safety precautions should be taken when shooting black powder firearms?

    Dixie recommends observing the following Muzzleloading Cautions and Commandments:

    1. Use only blackpowder or replica black powder in muzzleloaders.
    2. Treat every gun as if it were loaded.
    3. Be sure of your target before firing.
    4. Be sure your gun is in firing condition before you pull the trigger.
    5. Treat a misfire or failure to fire with extreme caution.
    6. Make sure your gun is unloaded before you store it and store the gun, powder and caps separately.
    7. Protect your eyes and ears while shooting.
    8. Never smoke while loading, shooting or handling black powder or replica black powder.
    9. Never drink alcoholic beverages before or while shooting.
    10. Use common sense at all times.


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