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Old June 25, 2008, 05:20 AM   #26
Sarge
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Hey Flinter,

Sights are an iron traditional blade and period semi-buckhorn with a three step elevator. Sight picture is surprisingly good for such an arrangement. I have the windage all but perfect out to 200 yards now, and just need to shave just a hair off the 200 yard step to get the elevation .

The rifle shot its best groups (so far) with other 0.010 patches, and just fair with the 0.020's. I'm gonna find some 0.010 cotton material and try a group or two using cut patches, just to see what happens.

I also note that the bore is a froghair tighter at the muzzle (not corrosion) which might explain it being finicky about patch material. This was originally intended to be a deep-woods buck-getter and I'm not above shortening it... no rush on that. We'll see how it acts with Speer ball here in a day or two but .010 patches seem to be what it likes- at least most of the time.
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Old June 26, 2008, 05:39 AM   #27
FL-Flinter
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Sarge,

How do the fired patches look? Any signs of blow-by, cutting, tears or pulled threads?
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Old June 28, 2008, 02:01 AM   #28
Beauhooligan
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200-yard "roundball" gun

FlFlinter wrote: 0.010" difference in patch thickness is a considerable change - when working target loads, a 0.002" thickness change and sometimes just a 10 point difference in thread count of the patch material is enough to screw up the works.

I'll second that opinion. Round ball size for a given rifle is crucial, but no more crucial than the material and thickness of the patch, and the lube being used. All of my ML rifles have genuine preferences of ball to bore fit, and all but two have real preferences in patching. The .40 and .45 flinters seem to prefer very tight weave patch, some thicker or thinner, and almost all prefer linen. The big bore caplocks tend to like thick, dense cotton patching. The two rifles I shoot most are both Hatfields, a .50 caliber squirrel rifle (pull trigger erase squirrel), and a .54 caliber half stock Mountain rifle (it may be the only one he ever shipped, as it is serial number 1, and Ted closed up then sold out shortly there after). The .50 likes 65 grains of 3f with a .495 ball with a slick cotton .015 patch with a thick wax lube. The .54 likes 80 gn of 2f with a .530 ball, a .020 cotton pillow ticking patch and Wonderlube. Bith rifles will shoot as tight as the shooter can hold and eyes can see fixed iron sights that will pass American Mountain Man muster.

I started shooting MLs back in the early 80s and it was strictly a "find your own way" proposal. It was "buy a rifle, get pure lead round balls of a couple of diameters, a couple of grades of BP and caps (if you could find more than one cap maker) round up some patch material, mix up some lube, and go out and spend the entire day shooting and marking targets, switching combinations, and looking into the crystal ball for trends". When the big "come as you are" Rendezvous spread from coast to coast, and ML component suppliers became more numerous and available, things got considerably easier. I would have liked to start out in a time where I could have called Cabela's, and ordered the various components, but that would have taken away half the fun. I'll never forget the look on a sales lady's face when, late to leave for a shoot, I walked into the fabric shop dressed in skins and fur and pulled a micrometer out of my pouch and started measuring the thickness of the various linen and pillow ticking. I'll laugh about that until I reach the great rendezvous in the sky.

Oh, one more thing. If you don't have an adjustable measure to use at the range, buy one before you go out again. I was at a shoot where a bozo poured from horn to bore, found an ember and blew half of his face off. He came back to the shoots eventually, but never shot well as he lost his right eye and had to learn to shoot with his left. I think if he looked back the cost of a measure would have been insignificant. Read the 10 rules of BP shooting from the NMLRA, NRA, or Dixie Gunworks websites, and if you can't comply with all of them the next time you go to shoot, don't go shooting. You can't say you weren't warned. And as has been said before...STUPID SHOULD HURT !!!


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Old June 28, 2008, 06:53 AM   #29
Sarge
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YEs, there is a significant difference between 0.010 and 0.020 patch. One loads harder than the other. Otherwise, seven shots fired with patches of both thicknesses shot into just over nine inches at 200 yards- including a flyer. The groups overlapped.

What's apparent to me from the Ox-Yoke experiment is that the material & lube used is just as important as the thickness. The age of a prelubed patch can also be a factor. The following post from 'Zonie', a moderator at www.muzzleloadingforum.com pretty well summarizes it:

Quote:
One of the things to remember when buying pre lubed patches is that age weakens them.

If the patches were made within the last couple of months they will usually work just fine but if they have been sitting on a shelf for a year (or more) the material will have lost its strength and they will be blown apart or ripped by the rifling when they are shot.

This applies to home made patches too so if a person has some pre-lubed patches that they made a year or so ago they should expect to shoot some ragged groups with them.

Yes, the switch from .010 thick to .020 thick patches might be a major player in the improvement in accuracy but I suspect that the Ox Yoke patches were pretty old.

The best way to figure out what was really happening is to retrieve some of the shot patches.
If the center area looks ripped or burned you have found the problem.
From looking at the few I've found from last week's session, the center was gone and there was just a donut left. I'll shoot a few more this weekend as time and weather permit, and report back. But I think I'll be standardizing on 0.010 patch material bought bulk, and just lubing what I need for a day's shooting. I never fiddled with ready-made patches much and I can get along w/o them just fine.

Beau,

Sorry your buddy blew his chops off. Regardless of what NRANMLRANAMBLA or anyone else says, you don't need a factory-made measure. An old 45-70 case works just fine. I lit my first DuPont black in 1970. I'm still here. Congrats on your Hatfields. Now you just need a couple of McCoy's to go with them.
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Last edited by Sarge; June 28, 2008 at 08:25 AM.
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Old June 28, 2008, 06:54 AM   #30
FL-Flinter
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Quote:
I'll never forget the look on a sales lady's face when, late to leave for a shoot, I walked into the fabric shop dressed in skins and fur and pulled a micrometer out of my pouch and started measuring the thickness of the various linen and pillow ticking.
I wish I could have seen that!!!
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Old June 28, 2008, 09:07 PM   #31
Beauhooligan
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200-yard "roundball" gun

Sarge wrote: Beau,

Sorry your buddy blew his chops off. Regardless of what NRANMLRANAMBLA or anyone else says, you don't need a factory-made measure. An old 45-70 case works just fine. I lit my first DuPont black in 1970. I'm still here. Congrats on your Hatfields. Now you just need a couple of McCoy's to go with them.

Howdy Sarge,

You are right, a cartridge case makes a great measure. But when working up the load an adjustable volumetric measure is pretty darn handy. Once you know the right load, cut a cartridge case down to hold the same amount. Then the shooter can solder a brass ring on the base and tie it to his powder horn or shooting bag. The BIG POINT is to never throw a charge directly from flask or horn. The measure is the intermediary that makes sure that when the charge is tossed down bore, nothing dramatic happens. If there is a ember to light the charge, only a small amount of powder goes off. I have had charge go off twice when tossed from a measure down bore during "cut the stake" speed shoots, and 80 grains is enough to surprise the heck out of me (it's also why I lean the muzzle slightly away from me when tossing the charge). If it had flashed up into a 3/4 pound horn it would have been a disaster. I ain't pretty, but I have come to like my face and eyes the way the are. That's why at AMM shoots, where they wanted me to wear "period" watch crystal sized spectacles, I argued for my right to wear big polyurethane lenses in safety frames with side shields, and won out. Nobody will ever tell me I can't take proper safety precautions. When it comes to protecting me, I'm the number one safety officer.

Beauhooligan - NRA Life, NMLRA Life, SASS Life, Deputy Cas City
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Old June 28, 2008, 10:25 PM   #32
Sarge
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I still use a flask with a measure; I just dump however much I'm loading into the 45 Gov't case or whatever, and then pour it into the gun. Today I experimented a tad, using a 30 grain spout. I wanted a light load for small critters and it worked real well with the sight on the bottom notch. I centered the bottoms of two old brake cleaner cans ,turned sideways, at about 30 steps shooting offhand. The set triggers are a definite plus for this kind of shooting.

There was an old 100 oz detergent jug sitting in front of my 200 yard frame, and it showed up pretty well against the grass so I dumped two 30 grain charges and ran the ball down and jacked the sight up for the distance. Using a rest I was able to perch the target on the top-center edge of the front sight. When it settled in I touched the front trigger, and when the smoke cleared I could tell I had moved it. I walked down half expecting to have 'torpedoed' under it but I found a nice clean .54 hole through it, right below the cap. I'm calling the windage 'good' now and will slip a drop of red loctite under the dovetail.

This rusty old smokepole is just a hoot to shoot, but it's caused a bit of jealousy among my other rifles...I'm pretty sure my 99 Savage was giving it dirty looks today, when I brought it back into the house
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Old July 1, 2008, 09:49 AM   #33
Sarge
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Just a note to this thread for interested parties, and then I'm done.

This old rifle is pretty well what I was looking for in a traditional gun. After running its first hundred ball downrange I can say that even using #11 caps and Triple Seven, she is reliable as the sunrise. I added a Knight 'Red Hot' nipple a couple of weeks ago and ignition is now instant. I don't think I'll be bothering with a musket nipple for this gun.

Real decent 200 yard accuracy has surfaced occasionally, and while I admit that some of he flyers belong Yours Truly - Santa Fe is just flat finicky about patches. I could fiddle endlessly with ball size and patch material in search of perfection, but that's not why I bought her.

The old gun also has class, at least in my opinion. I don't have much money in it and there's plenty of accuracy for 100 yard hunting. If she has a few quirks then she's a good match for me. We'll get along fine, and she'll have a home here for as long as I can shoulder a ten-pound rifle.

Thank you for your interest in this thread.
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