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Old May 17, 2008, 11:02 PM   #1
Dithsoer
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Hooked breech vs. accuracy

Why do so many target-stlye rifles have hooked, quick-takedown breeches? The kind where the barrel hooks into the breech-plug/tang section instead of a solid hookup? I realize that this style possesses faster cleaning abilities but just about everyone that I've spoken to who sells these guns says that the hooked breech system isn't as accurate as the solid breech style. Can it be made or rigged to be as accurate as the other style? Why use it if it lacks accuracy? Quick cleaning can't be that important, especially on a gun designed for target shooting. Am I missing something?
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Old May 17, 2008, 11:33 PM   #2
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A hooked breech is just as accurate as a fixed breech.
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Old May 18, 2008, 12:20 AM   #3
4V50 Gary
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This reminds me of bolt gun v. semi-automatic. Bolt guns are generally more accurate because they have fewer moving parts than a semi-automatic. The fewer the number of moving parts, the more consistent the gun's harmonics. The less consistent the harmonics, the greater degree of variation in how the gun performs and this opens up the group.

Applied to fixed breech and hooked breech firearms, the fixed breech gun should be more accurate. How well fitted the hooked breech is and how much "slop" or movement depends on the how well assembled the gun is. For most of us, we probably don't shoot well enough to know the difference.
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Old May 18, 2008, 03:09 AM   #4
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There's so many variables involved with shooting BP guns anyway, that it all boils down to it being more of an art than a science.
How perfectly consistent is any round ball, or powder charge, or cleanliness of the barrel from shot to shot, or ramming pressure?
If we start being too picyune about all of the details, then we begin to forget what shooting BP guns is all about, i.e. - the simple art of shooting, and not so much the science that it involves.
We can always turn BP shooting into an as sophisticated or crude activity as we choose to, but do we really want to go that route?
And then there's the question of which style of gun can predictably win any given accuracy competition. I'm not convinced that a fixed breech is inherantly more accurate - someone will just have to go ahead & prove it to me every time each individual gun is fired.
I highly doubt that science even exists in the black powder shooting universe. After all, everyone should realize that there's magical spirits that guide the flight of every ball and bullet fired which totally defy all known logic!
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Old May 18, 2008, 06:43 AM   #5
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Quote:
After all, everyone should realize that there's magical spirits that guide the flight of every ball and bullet fired which totally defy all known logic!
Very well said.
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Old May 18, 2008, 10:32 AM   #6
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After all, everyone should realize that there's magical spirits that guide the flight of every ball and bullet fired which totally defy all known logic!
I've read that those magical spirits (fairies, pixies or demons) ride the ball and their screaming explains the sound made when the ball flies by.
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Old May 18, 2008, 10:57 AM   #7
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When a Gremlin rides your ball you miss.
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Old May 18, 2008, 02:13 PM   #8
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Gremlins! Thank you Hawg Haggen for the correction.
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Old May 18, 2008, 02:44 PM   #9
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Gremlin,fairies, pixies or demons riding on your balls...explains why so many looked grumpy at the last gun show I suppose... And, back in the day men used to think just having crabs was bad....

It all depends on the gun as to if the hook breech will affect accuracy or not. If you've got a good tight breech connection and positive consistent pressure on the wedge(s) with barrel mounted sights, likely there won't be any issues. If you've go a sloppy breech fit compounded with a sloppy barrel to channel fit, loose wedge(s) and a tang mounted sight, chances are good that it ain't gonna shoot for crap.

There's plenty of science to be put into blackpowder be it ML or BPCR, it all depends on how much or how little time and effort you wish to employ. Sorting balls by weight then checking them on a spin balance rig, using a compression meter to seat them, checking the weight of the powder lot you have against previous lots, velocity testing, patch material compression testing, re-screening powder and removing fines with an air curtain.... there are a great many things you can do if you wish. One thing that holds true to fact, the more effort you put into it and the higher the quality of the gun you use, the more you'll get out of it.

All things aside, there ain't nuttin' wrong with going out and plinking just for fun neither!
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Old May 18, 2008, 03:48 PM   #10
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I have several friends that shoot in high level matches like the trials for Friendship IN, the Olympic trials in CO, etc. (2 of these guys have been to and came home from the Olympics with one gold and several bronze metals a few years ago).

That said I have always paid attention to what they shot, type of ignition, barrels, twists and breech arrangements. A correctly fitted hook breech is as good as a fixed breech and in many cases better. Consider this, a hook breech is finely tuned metal parts matching with each other while a fixed breech is metal mounted against wood. Over a short time the wood metal fit will change while the metal to metal will change after years of service, but not as bad as the other.

A good example is if you get a chance to go to serious State Championships or National level matches look at what is winning year after year. If any of you remember the name Ron Long of "Long's Locks" - he's of an Olympic Gold Winner that shoots both style breeches depending on the match, distance, etc. Ron is a perfectionist at his craft as well as his shooting routine, he is a shooters dream in how he prepares and executes each shot. Its not very often you see a good shooter have perfect days or weekends with every target shot having scored 49-50 (5 X's).

Practice and paying attention to the breech plug fit, barrel keys or pins, ball weight (all within 2 grams of each other), patch thickness and weave of material and so on are all part of the game these professionals go through at each match.
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Old May 18, 2008, 10:39 PM   #11
Dithsoer
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"Consider this, a hook breech is finely tuned metal parts matching with each other while a fixed breech is metal mounted against wood. Over a short time the wood metal fit will change while the metal to metal will change after years of service, but not as bad as the other."



I hadn't thought of that before. It certainly seems like a valid point. The question is, how tight and well-fitted is the breech to the tang? I guess that would ultimately decide how accurately the gun would shoot. Problem is, I'd be buying one of these rifles sight unseen. If I get one that is kind of loose, how difficult would it be to tighten the fitted parts?
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Old May 19, 2008, 02:33 AM   #12
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Unless you're going to be shooting long range matches you won't be able to tell any difference, if you could tell any difference then and I don't think you'd be buying a rifle for matches sight unseen.
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