Traditional Muzzleloading Rendezvous
A User’s Guide to Attending Rendezvous
These are my thoughts on rendezvous, a lot of people have a whole lot more experience, so if you see something you don’t like, ask around, someone else may do it better. In the meantime, if you follow this guide, at least you’ll have gotten a decent start.
Find out the rules for authenticity required by the rendezvous’ organizers, first. DON’T BE SHY! All but a very few rendezvous allow first timers great latitude in the way of equipment and clothing. I personally am a follower of the ‘Squint School’ of authenticity. If I squint hard enough and it looks ok, then it’s fine. This saves me a lot of trouble but it’s a little lackadaisical for some rendezvous, where they may have ‘juries’ ruling on permissible clothing and gear.
On arrival at the rendezvous, get there early. Good sleeping spots go quickly. I don’t like to be too near the portable toilets, it’s just me. Set up your camp. You need some sort of tent, I like Whelen lean-
Cooking gear clean-
The most important Rule -
Most people get into traditional muzzleloading because they have a firearm that they want to shoot, or know someone who does. The first thing to realize is, not everyone who puts the label of ‘traditional’ on a gun is really being traditional. Guns by firms like ‘CVA’, ‘Traditions’ or ‘Thompson Center’ are fine for beginners, but when you are ready to move up, talk to a knowledgeable buckskinner or visit on-
“You get what you pay for” is alive and well in the world of muzzleloading, as in the rest of the world. Gun locks are complicated and good ones cost more than poor ones. Good guns cost more than poor ones, and are a LOT more fun.
Try to match the design of the gun to the era you are interested in. As an example, I have a Pedersoli ‘Mortimer’ model that I find to be quite reliable, and reasonably authentic for early 1800. It is NOT authentic for the Revolutionary War era, however, because of the design of the lock. At my local shooting range, I don’t care, but if I want to be reasonably authentic, I want to leave it out of my Revolutionary War camp. It’s a personal pride thing, no one would kick me out of a rendezvous because I was carrying the ‘wrong’ gun, unless it was an inline plastic-
Smoothbores versus Rifles
I like ‘em both. Rifles have spiral grooves down the barrel and are more accurate than smoothbores. I could easily be wrong, but I believe that there were no true ‘shotguns’ before the invention of choking in the 1800s. Before then, they were called muskets, or fusils, fowlers or trade guns and could shoot a round ball, with or without a patch, or shot of various sizes. A beginner probably should get a rifle, but smoothbores are a lot of fun to shoot, too.
Tag along with an experienced person before you lay out money for camp gear. This stuff is highly personal, and what I like you might find quite wrong for yourself. A beginner at a rendezvous can bring along whatever they have, altho you may find yourself camping over near the ‘tin mules’ if you bring out a modern nylon tent to sleep in.
The same as camp gear, start out with what you’ve got and let it evolve over time. You will need a hat, some sort of rain gear, and something to cover your body. Pretend that you are going camping, and don’t forget the bug repellant.