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If I were to buy a pre 1898 rifle /pistol would it be safe to fire? Or would it be a wall hanger?

I know that certain cased ammo is made with different pressures than when they were first produced so I would have to check to make sure it was comparable, but what about the Muzzleloaders? Could you load 200yo musket and fire it?
 

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I know there are people who fire some safely, but it would take a lot to be sure. I agree with Dana that original black powder firearms should be preserved. Remember, black powder itself is corrosive. Cleaning it is a pretty aggressive practice. In re-enactments they will not let you use an original for safety reasons and because they don't want you wearing out an original.

Also remember that these were designed to kill the enemy, and blowing up on you was a calculated risk that they accepted. Modern replicas are made with modern materials on modern machines that don't consider blowing up on you an acceptable risk.

Basically what I'm saying is preserve the originals, shoot reproductions.
 
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