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FC

Flintlock Shooting Better

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Remember me saying my Peter Berry flintlock had 12 inch groups, and it was driving me nuts? I bought .50 caliber minieballs from Track of the Wolf. They slid down pretty easily with a bit of coaxing. 5 inch group, so far. I'll take that. These are true Minieballs, not flat on the back. Now I have a spin to the bullet.

 

On the 1842 Springfield reproduction I'm not sure. Stupid Armi Italian thing has no breech plug! I broke the bolt for the rear sight trying to take out a breech plug it doesn't have. Amazing! How much trouble would they have had to go through to put in a breech plug? I thought it had one, but looking really closely I don't see a line at the breech. Now I get to tap a hole, that is, after ordering an M4-.70 tap set. The few minieballs, .69 caliber I shot were IMMENSE! They shot low. So I guess I have to up the powder load. I've read that you get leading if you overdo it, but they are about a foot low at 75 yards, compared to the balls. You can barely see any rifling, but it's there, vaguely. We'll see if they work. I took out the nipple, and will try trickling in powder, then blast out the ball and patches. I had to quadruple up patches because the bore is so big. That's how I got the rascal stuck. I unscrewed the cleaning rod, and, of course, the jag is still down there.

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Now I know why I never got into black powder.

 

I have neighbors that are into Black powder but I have never got the bug. That said its interesting that Black Powder is affected by bullet sellection just like everything else.

 

FC do you have an air compressor try blowing the patches out with air first. Maybe the ball will just roll out

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From what I understand in talking with a guy I used to work with that was a Civil War reenacter, the Mini Ball was revolutionary when it came out. Muskets were smooth bore because you could load a smooth bore bullet very fast, when compared to a rifled barrel that you had to push the ball down the rifling, forcing grooves in the ball. That took a lot of time. The smooth bore could be loaded in something like 30 seconds? Anyway, the advantage was in faster shooting. The disadvantage was in no rifling, BIG groups, reduced effective range. The Mini Ball was more of what we would today consider bullet shaped, but the base was hollow with skirts. Diameter was the ID size of the lands so they could be pushed down as fast as a smooth bore, but when fired, the skirt of the bullet expanded out to engage the grooves, imparting spin and giving better accuracy/range.

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Yup, that's what a minieball does. The BP guns are things of beauty though. I'll try the air thing. The CO2 blaster I have has a small needle, so that probably wouldn't work for this. One thing about flintlocks- a lot of things happen to get that bullet out of the rifle. The flint has to be sharp, it has to be snug in the jaws, then there's the odd spring-sort of sound of the flint hitting the frizzen, the fire in the pan, then the bullet going. Too easy to flinch, but you never really know if you are flinching because of the lag between pulling the trigger and the main powder igniting. It's click, flash, boom!

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I like BP. I have a couple of revolvers and a cap and ball CW reproduction a parent gave me as a gift : )

In fact the only problem with FL is that you have to drive a LONG way to an outdoor range.

Believe it or not Cali had more ranges. An ole guy i met said that it was the fault of the Yankees!

Seems 10 or 15 years ago they could go to the backyard and shoot so no one bothered to build ranges. Now He told me the yankees have all retired down here and the land is TOO expensive to waste on a range...

karl

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I built a 54 cal. Hawken about 20 years ago. I get the best results with patched round ball and a mag load of pyrodex F. It's lots of fun. The 1 Doe I shot with it didn't take a single step after impact. Ralph

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Mine is just finicky. You read about how accurate the American flintlocks were, but I no longer believe it.

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On 2/17/2017 at 3:07 PM, FC said:

Mine is just finicky. You read about how accurate the American flintlocks were, but I no longer believe it.

LOL!!!  There is a story from the beeline march  of two frontier brothers entertaining the locals during an overnight stop somewhere up north by one holding a piece of board between his knees and the other shooting it from 50 yds.  I have a .45cal. Chambersburg-style rifle built by a late local guy that's more accurate than I can shoot it.   Every gun is different, but my experience is accuracy decreases as bore increases.  Rifles (and muskets) intended for 18th & 19th cent. military use had other priorities to accuracy.  Supposedly most shot low... due to a tendency by soldiers to shoot high.  :blink:

 

Funny thing about my rifle.  The builder was a civilian employee of a PA. military installation in the 70's.  To assure hardness of his frizzens he faced them with some "really hard metal" he'd pick up scraps of at work.  Never tried a geiger counter on that frizzen, but knowing what I do now, I highly suspect that "really hard metal" just may have been depleted uranium! :D

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I mentioned this here years ago. Gone now but there used to be a flintlock built from a kit on display at a jeweler. The barrel and some blue parts were done in black nickel, the brass or brass colored parts were gold plated and the stock looked like it was smoothly covered with window glass. The stock work I was told was a trading of services with a custom furniture guy. 

It was simply a show piece. The employee told me the owner got the kit as a gift but didn't really like guns. She said something about his Korean War experience caused his dislike. The flintlock was beautiful and done as a bragging piece to show off his skills according to his sales clerk. 

I almost got into black powder replicas after seeing it by building a Philly Deringer from a kit but lost nterest. I have hunted with modern inline muzzle loaders in Arizona's HAM (handgun, archery muzzle loader only) seasons. After missing a couple Javalinas with revolvers. I used the ML rifle so I could get a shot out to at least a hundred yards. BP shooting is fun till you get home and start cleaning with soap and hot water. Long guns I pull out of the stock and jump in the shower with it. 

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The latest American Rifleman has a review on a modern muzzleloader.  Their 100 yard 5 round average group test had it shooting 1.5".  In the 1MOA range is pretty darn good for any rifle.  I think that was with Pyrodex or the pellet things or both.

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I don't care for the Pyrodex pellets. Had a delayed squib cost me a shot at a Javalina. Afterward I crushed a pellet, dumped it in first and dropped two pellets on top. I've used the Hodgden pellets, name escapes me in revolvers and rifles. Worked just fine with no delay. 

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I just pour boiling water down the muzzle to clean black powder. Yeah, cleanup is a real pain in the butt.

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On 2/4/2018 at 6:30 AM, FC said:

I just pour boiling water down the muzzle to clean black powder. Yeah, cleanup is a real pain in the butt.

I usually remove the wood and jump in the shower with it. Hair shampoo works great if you forget to drag in the dish soap. If you're a hard core reenactor type and use mutton tallow. You need to get in the shower as much as your muzzle loader. 

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