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Old October 17, 2009, 06:35 PM   #1
Delmar
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buckshot in a muzzleloader?

Somebody mentioned a while back that he shoots buckshot out of his .50 cal muzzleloader. He said the patterns aren't real pretty but it works and it's a lot of fun! Anybody here tried it? How much BP and how much buckshot would you start with? This guy claims he just uses newsprint for a wad.
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Old October 17, 2009, 06:54 PM   #2
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I shoot size 000 buck (.35 diameter) out of my .36 caliber ml rifle with a .015 patch. Works quite well.

Actually, lots of stuff works in a muzzleloader. We have even shot clay birds using .50 smoothbores loaded with wads and shot.
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Old October 17, 2009, 07:12 PM   #3
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So, you load the powder, load a patch, load the shot, load another patch, insert the percussion cap, and you're ready to fire? Sound about right?
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Old October 17, 2009, 07:31 PM   #4
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That's the theory, although in practice it can get rather complicated if you're trying for a good pattern.

Powder, 1/8" overpowder card, cushion wad of variable thickness to keep the shot pattern from opening up due to shock, then the shot, followed by a thin, stiff overshot card. Amounts of powder and shot, plus wad and card thicknesses, all affect pattern and can be frustrating to get right.

If you're shooting a rifled barrel the pattern will resemble a doughnut at about 10 yards and not be much use after that. Smoothbores, like shotguns, are recommended if you want any kind of decent pattern down range.
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Old October 17, 2009, 07:59 PM   #5
B.L.E.
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Quote:
So, you load the powder, load a patch, load the shot, load another patch, insert the percussion cap, and you're ready to fire? Sound about right?
No, with a .36 caliber rifle, 000 buckshot is almost a perfect size for a patched roundball. You just patch the single 000 buckshot like a normal roundball. I thought the would help people realize that fact.
The fact that 000 buck works as a rounball in a .36 makes this caliber a miser's delight.

If you are going to load a bunch of smaller balls in a muzzleloader, you use wads just like in a shotgun.
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Old October 17, 2009, 09:06 PM   #6
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And I shoot "0" Buckshot in my .32 rifle. One at a time. I'm really a miser.
Back when I was buying it, cost was 8.00 for a 5lb. bag. That's about 720 balls
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Old October 20, 2009, 02:22 PM   #7
rjsixgun
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I've shot 2 .576 roundballs out of my 1855 Springfield and my 1851 Harpers Ferry musket with great results, no patch either just pwder and 2 balls. You gotta ram each ball but each ball grabs rifleing.
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Old October 22, 2009, 09:37 PM   #8
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I wouldent advise shooting shot out of a rifled musket
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Old October 22, 2009, 10:06 PM   #9
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Why not? All it does is score the rifling with led...


Back in the 'olden day's' they were called Blunder Busters... They were shotguns that shot EVERY Projectile you can imagine... Knives and Forks, rocks, gravel, feces, wood, glass! You name it they shot it.
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Old October 23, 2009, 12:49 AM   #10
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+1 on the doughnut theory. I tried shot in my rifled .50 cal. & patterned it on big pieces of cardboard. Safest place for a bunny to be is directly in line with the sights at 20 yards.
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Old October 23, 2009, 03:39 PM   #11
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Quote:
+1 on the doughnut theory. I tried shot in my rifled .50 cal. & patterned it on big pieces of cardboard. Safest place for a bunny to be is directly in line with the sights at 20 yards.
How about a home intruder at ten feet?
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Old December 13, 2009, 06:06 PM   #12
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Quote:
No, with a .36 caliber rifle, 000 buckshot is almost a perfect size for a patched roundball. You just patch the single 000 buckshot like a normal roundball. I thought the would help people realize that fact.
The fact that 000 buck works as a rounball in a .36 makes this caliber a miser's delight.
Will this work OK in a .36 cap and ball revolver? Or would the transition from chamber to barrel mess up the patch?
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Old December 13, 2009, 06:59 PM   #13
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I think 0000 buckshot would work better in a .36 revolver. Its size is .380.
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Old December 13, 2009, 08:29 PM   #14
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I have tried #12 ratshot out of my TC Hawken, at 25 feet I got the "donut," the wad had gripped the rifling, hardly any shot in the center, and an 18 inch circle of shot.


Now, if you are talking about a home intruder at 10 feet, if you had a load of buckshot in your Hawken rifle, I bet it would be as lethal as anything you could shoot.
Only one way to find out, load it up, get a big cardboard target and pattern it.
Even at 20 feet, which you could find yourself shooting at in the home-defense situation, even if you got a "donut" on the home invader he would still be heading to the morgue. If you had a 15 inch donut, most all the pellets would hit the bad guy.

Kind of like getting hit with 6 shots from an an 1851 Colt Navy at once, Call the Coroner!
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Old December 13, 2009, 08:51 PM   #15
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blunder buss

Quote:
Blunder Busters... They were shotguns that shot EVERY Projectile you can imagine... Knives and Forks, rocks, gravel, feces, wood, glass! You name it they shot it.
I have a 14 ga. (.69cal) blunderbuss. It's a pretty faithful copy of the American blunderbuss pictured on page 22 of James Forman's "The Blunderbuss:1500-1900.
Forman dismisses as a myth that the blunderbuss was used to fire anything other than "normal" shot loads, despite what we see in the movies. Most BBusses were 12/14 gauge (military versions had a "full musket bore" as did the civilian derivations) and there isn't much that will fit efficiently down a 3/4" wide barrel - of course the muzzle is wider than that but that just made it easier to load in the heat of battle.
Just a note - the fork, etc. thing is a common misconception.
Unless, of course, the reference was to some other firearm entirely and not a blunderbuss.
A blunderbuss loaded with "10-12 pea sized shot" and three drams of BP would be a formidable HD weapon or for use against highwaymen; another load mentioned by Forman is 120 grains of BP and "twenty pellets of buckshot" .
The BB is highly manueuverable - a 14 inch barrel and a short stock - but you only get that one shot (and it's flintlock - though mine has always worked). Oh..with that short barrel, the muzzle blast is right there in front of your nose.

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Last edited by darkgael; December 14, 2009 at 08:46 AM.
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Old December 15, 2009, 12:12 PM   #16
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The idea of buckshot in a muzzleloader was with fowlers or trade guns that were smooth barreled 20 ga. or 16 ga. bores. The guns were often loaded with buck and ball loads, which was a wad with some buckshot on top, held in by a patched ball. If one didnt get you the other should. Running shot in a rifled barrel is just asking for a mess to clean the lead out of the rifling and leaving a big hole in your pattern. If you want to run buckshot, put a smoothe barrel on it.
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Old December 25, 2009, 12:10 PM   #17
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Buckshot in a Musket works very well.

Buckshot in a Musket works very well. With only three lands and grooves in a very shallow cut, and very sparse turn, it doesnt hurt anything.

I have an old .58 cal Zouave that I have been shooting for 25 years or more. Several sizes of buckshot have been shot out of it and it patterns reasonably well for hunting or whatever else.

Single Fg or FFg propels it just fine. I do like the Fg in a musket, personally. I shoot it anywhere from 50, 70 to 90 grains depending on what I am doing. It can be a pretty stount charge for buckshot, though I suspect hotter charges are probably wasted on buckshot. Use some wadded up paper or rag or a couple 2 or 3 of patches tamped down over the powder. Drop your shot in. You can buffer it with cornmeal or cream of wheat if you like, but you dont have to. You need some over-shot wadding to keep your shot in the barrell so it wont go rolling out. Many things work for that. Paper wadding MIGHT set the woods on fire, so watch what you do. 1 ounce of shot is all that you need. Put your top-hat cap on the nipple, point her South and pull the trigger. BOOM.....and you have a serious charge of buckshot flying down range.

Number 3 buck throws an excellent pattern out of the Zouave. 00 doesnt pattern really - it sort of does what it wants to do in the general direction of the target. 3's work out pretty good. I suspect that 00 likes a bigger bore than the .58 cal.

I had some 4's I tried a few times - I didnt have lots of 4 buck shot on hand, so I didnt shoot alot of the 4s - and it behaved like the 3's pretty much. I took rabbits with the 3's and they cleaned up nice. I am sure that it would take a deer at 50 yards with no problem, if you are of a mind to buck-shot hunt for deer. I would rather use a round ball and a patch on a deer. Some people like buckshot hunting, though.

The rabbits I shot cleaned up easy because almost no shot stayed in the rabbit, and what did was easy to find and remove from the hide and meat, unlike using tiny birdshot.

I had one sack of lead shot in BB size that was given to me and so I shot quite a bit of it out of the old Zouave over the years. It worked really well and threw some pretty decent patterns. I took squirrel with it using a 50 grain charge, and it worked out just fine.

None of the rifling was disturbed in the musket. It stiull shoots balls and minies just fine. I would not do the buckshot trick in my Thompsonb-Hawken, simply because the rifling is too agressive. But in the Musket, the rifling is very shallow and very slow. You can shoot buckshot out of it because of that. They even had some loads called buck-and-ball in the old days that were paper cartridges used in these guns back in the 1800s. They contained one ball and a few pieces of buckshot in one charge. It was actually a military loading.

Last edited by Gator_Weiss; December 25, 2009 at 12:16 PM.
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