View Full Version : Brown Bess Musket
June 16, 2001, 03:15 PM
I just ordered out a Brown Bess Musket :D from Cabelas. I've been debating on and off over which flinter I was going to get to satisfy my urge to click - swoosh - boom and finally decided on that one. Does anybody else share my interest in the old charcoal burners?
By the way, that ol girl has a 3/4 inch bore, so it must make a 12 gauge look a little anemic in comparison. Can't wait to see my new old blaster!
June 17, 2001, 12:36 AM
If your Bess is in proper working order, the flint sharp and the pan properly primed, you'll find she can go off just as quick as a percussion gun. Take the time for load development with her and try different patch, ball and powder load combinations. Some of these smoothbores will shoot fist size groups at 50 yards and it's a matter of knowing what a particular gun likes.
At Friendship, IN, heard one muzzleloader talking about using knurled balls in his gun and how it improved the accuracy. Whatever works.
Despite Hanger's criticism against the Bess, it must be realized that most soldiers did not practice marksmanship nor were trained in it until the time of the Napoleonic Wars. Up to that point, speed was everything and aiming was discouraged so as to encourage volume of fire. Even the comb on the later Brown Bess was raised on order of the King so as to discourage aimed fire. Mind you, for a brief period during the French-Indian Wars, the British soldiers (light infantry and Royal Americans) were trained to aim their muskets.
Congratulations on your purchase. I'd like to have one myself, but am saving up for a kit (I want an earlier model with the wood ramrod). You may want to check out Blackmore's book on British Military Firearms and Bailey's two books too.
June 17, 2001, 10:41 AM
Thanks, Gary, for the words of encouragement.
I would just like to add that shooting charcoal has been an on and off thing with me for many years. It satisfies my need to reload - load development for accuracy and consistency. It also is a skill thing - make one shot count, no spray and pray. You also need a bag full of paraphernalia to participate in the sport, as anybody knows, ranging from picks, powder horns, ball screws, correct patch material/size, etc. Also, getting a flintlock to reliably go off requires patience and attention to detail.
In short, there is so much reward from shooting a flinter more people oughta try it!:D
WARNING: It is addictive!:eek:
June 17, 2001, 10:50 AM
I have been looking at one of the Brown Bess muskets in our local Cabela's store and was thinking it might be just the thing for attacking the ducks that seem to be thriving in our area of North Dakota, anybody ever used one of these muskets as a fowler?
June 17, 2001, 11:16 PM
I would think it would be a helluva shotgun although repeat shots would be problematic. :D
June 18, 2001, 02:39 AM
Was speaking with Jack Bligh, who at one time held the Championship for blackpowder shooters in FL. He uses his Brown Bess for trap shooting and claims to have blown a tree branch into oblivion. No one could tell what happened and gave him credit for the bird. The Brown Bess certainly can be used as a fowler and at 39" for the Cabela model, is certainly shorter than the New England fowlers.
June 18, 2001, 04:42 PM
Everyone that I know who shoots these on a regular basis, either shoots wad and powder for re-enactments or buckshot loads. The roundball recoil is killer, even with the BB's immense weight. What a weapon!
June 19, 2001, 07:42 AM
Recoil? Accelerating a .75 cal. roundball to circa 600 fps in a 43 inch barrel produces practically NO recoil! What shooters react to is the "WOOF" in their face.
No Reinacting organization that I know of allows wads. It's "Dump the powder and toss the paper cartridge."
Yr. Obt. Svnt.
June 20, 2001, 01:53 PM
I wonder how the barrel would handle steel shot, I know bismuth would be the better choice but those would be some pretty expensive ducks bagged with it in the end. I don't like the idea of throwing a plastic wad down the barrel since that seems to kill the moment so to speak. Anybody have any experience with this stuff?
June 20, 2001, 10:31 PM
I HUNTED TURKEY SEASON THIS YEAR WITH MY BROWN BESS.ITS A PEDERSOLI.i THINK YOU CAN GET
A MUCH BETTER DEAL THAN CABELAS IF YOU SHOP AROUND.JERRYS SPORT CENTER HAD THEM FOR
IT TAKES A 11 GAUGE OVER THE SHOT WAD AND A 11 GAUGE OVER THE POWDER WAD.YOU WILL
ALSO NEED A FIBER WAS IN THE SAME CALIBER.( IF FOUND IT VERY CRITICAL TO "LUBE" THE FIBER
WAS)IT IMPROVED PATTERNS BY 100%.HERE IS THE ORDER FOR LOADING.
2.OVER THE POWDER WAD
4.SHOT(MEASURED WITH THE SAME POWDER MEASURE)YOU MIGHT ALSO TRY OUT BUFFERED LOADS.
5.OVER THE SHOT WAD.
I FOUND THAT "MINE" SHOT BEST AT 90 GRAINS OF BLACK POWDER WITH THE EQUAL AMOUNT OF
SHOT.YOU MAY HAVE TO "TWEAK" YOUR LOADS APPROPRIATELY.
I JUST GOT THROUGH READING A ARTICLE ABOUT STEEL SHOT.THE LOADS PATTERN WELL BUT YOU
NEED TO BACK THE CHARGES OFF BY ABOUT 15%, I AM TOLD!!!!!!!
I REALLY HAVEN'T WORKED UP A BALL AND PATCH LOAD FOR IT YET BUT I GOT RESPECTABLE
GROUPS AT 50 YARDS WITH IT.THEY RAN ABOUT 5-6 INCHES WHICH IS NOT BAD FROM A SMOOTH
BORE WITH ONLY A FRONT SIGHT.MANY OF MY 12 SHOTGUNS FOR DEER WONT DO THAT GOOD.I
SUSPECT THAT IF I DID BOTHER TO WORK UP A LOAD AND PATCH FOR THE OLE BESS THAT I COULD
GET THE GROUPS DOWN TO 4 INCHES AT 50 YARDS.
I THINK I WILL STICK WITH MY VIRGINIA RIFLE FOR DEER SEASON AND KEEP THE "BESS" FOR TURKEY
June 20, 2001, 10:34 PM
ooppps sorry for the large caps!!!
June 21, 2001, 09:54 AM
Sorry, Gunmart, how is $700 better than $675? Check the Cabelas website. Everybody else on the net offers em for $750 (I checked). :cool:
Thanks for the load data. 11 gauge (bigger than 12 gauge!) Cool.
A 3/4" punkin ball is an awe-inspiring sight!
June 21, 2001, 07:35 PM
Hey guys. I came home from work today and there was a parcel for me. :D I cut open the tape and extracted a long tom brown bess wrapped in plastic. I stripped it off and checked it out. Pretty nice workmanship. It has a white bbl, lock, and ramrod with brass buttplate, trigger guard, forend cap, and ramrod thimbles. There is also a brass plate set into the wrist of the stock suitable for engraving, if you wish. The stock is straight grain dark walnut with detailed carving around the lock and comb of the stock. There are sling swivels at the trigger guard and forend. The cock is about 3" high. The whole gun is about 5 1/2 ft long. It is very impressive, especially when you look at the 3/4" bore. I got a package of balls and some extra flints with it. The balls make a big impression as I've never seen one that big. It's about the size of a boulder marble we all played with as kids. :eek:
The brand is Pedersoli of Gardone, Italy. The weapon arrived with a decent instruction manual and a kickass video showing the Pedersoli facility, line of weapons, and giving the basic operation of their various guns. I am quite impressed to say the least.
I will take it to the range and christen it but my main objective for this gun is to use it for atmosphere in my den. It is a real looker! I would highly recommend anybody who wants a dynamite looking muzzle loader to seriously check out these Pedersoli guns.
The Cabelas company sent the gun two days after I ordered it and simultaneously sent me an email to inform me. That was two days ago. Today I have the gun and I paid minimum shipping, not express. Check em out. :D
June 27, 2001, 09:36 AM
Cabelas get there Brown Bess and other most of their Military Muskets from Pedersoli. Pedersoli is based in Italia and make really high quality guns. I've never heard a complaint about them, and have been very pleased with my Cabelas/Pedersoli rifle.
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