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Old April 7, 2019, 06:36 PM   #1
HillBilly Willy
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[Video] Shot the old wallhanger

I guess this technically means it is no longer a wallhanger?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MRKcYhqnouE

Light load. OK, very light load for a 9 gauge, only about 70 grains of 3F black powder. I didn't have any shot, so I rummaged through the workshop and came up with some small crappy square nuts from the 70's that no sane person would use today on any project.

Loaded it up with the powder and about a half dozen of the nuts, and shot it at a cardboard box from about 10 yards. Took out part of a small sapling in the process. It was quite a spread, about 2 feet. lol
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Old April 7, 2019, 07:39 PM   #2
HillBilly Willy
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Oh yeah. Burn ban is in effect here until May.

After reviewing the video, sure glad I didn't set the woods afire. That was quite a muzzle flash!
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Old April 8, 2019, 02:20 AM   #3
arcticap
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Good for you.
It looked like you had a blast!
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Old April 8, 2019, 08:31 AM   #4
HillBilly Willy
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I did! I really didn't know what to expect, never having shot anything black powder or muzzleloading. I was expecting more of a kick.

I suppose this is where I can talk about my highly untechnical load info. I already mentioned the 70 grains of 3f, which fired successfully both times with no discernable delay.

Since I don't have any actual black powder supplies, I made do with what I had around the house. I scavenged a cotton ball from a pill bottle, and cut that in half, enough for my two test fires. I rammed that down the barrel after the powder. Then I took the nuts I mentioned earlier and wrapped them in a small square of tinfoil, and rammed that down the barrel. The tinfoil had been suggested to me, being that it is non flammable, and wouldn't set my neighbors woods behind his sap house on fire.

The first attempt was mostly a miss of the cardboard box. I think I pulled it a bit when firing. Only two nuts struck the box, and they only went through the front of the box. No video of that, as my technologically challenged neighbor was running the video on my cellphone.

For the second attempt which you see in the video, I loaded it the same way, except I wrapped the nuts with the foil more securely, and rammed it a little tighter. The result was my load penetrated all the way through front and back of the box.

Given how short the barrel is, and how old and possibly brittle it could be, I don't feel comfortable putting any more than 100 grains of powder down the barrel, or using large wads and a ball. I think I'd just stick with shot, considering the limited usefulness of this relic, that it was sold as a wallhanger, and that I still can't get the barrel out of the stock for closer examination.

Does this sound about right, or am I being overly cautious?
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Old April 8, 2019, 02:40 PM   #5
arcticap
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I don't think that you're being overly cautious.
You know the gun better than we do and you're the one shooting it and taking the risk, if any.

I wouldn't want to shoot an .80 caliber lead ball out of it either.

Balled up newspaper can also be used for wadding both over and under the shot if it's tightly compressed on top of the powder, tight enough to seal off the hot gases when fired. [Any paper can be used really, such as copy paper.]

It's a good idea to use light weight projectiles or small shot load since that will help keep the pressure down.

I would hate to see the bore get damaged by shooting steel, although some folks do shoot steel BB's or small caliber slingshot ammo. But that's usually in a modern gun made with a modern steel barrel.

An .80 lead ball would weigh about 800 grains [or 1.8 ounces] compared to an ounce of lead which weighs about 437.5 grains.

Right now .22 ammo is pretty cheap at only 3-5 cents per round or so. I've shot .22lr bullets that were pulled from misfires and loaded them into smooth bores.
Round nose .22lr bullets usually weigh 40 grains each, and the hollow points about 36 grains each.
If you can get a hold of some .22lr ammo, the bullets can be easily popped out or wiggled off using pliers. But don't crush the priming compound in the rim of the case
Then you can shoot some lead instead of steel nuts.
Just make sure that the bullets stay on top of the powder and that the powder is completely sealed off by tamping down just enough newspaper to seal the entire bore. and to keep the bullets in place on top of the powder wadding.
The .22lr bullets could probably easily be cut in half to double the number of pieces.
And keep track of how many total bullets that you load and consider to be a safe weight.
Starting loads are traditionally one grain of powder to match the caliber number of the bore size.
But 100 grains doesn't seem to be excessive for such a large bore.
Have fun and be safe.

Last edited by arcticap; April 8, 2019 at 02:58 PM.
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Old April 8, 2019, 07:32 PM   #6
HillBilly Willy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arcticap View Post
I would hate to see the bore get damaged by shooting steel, although some folks do shoot steel BB's or small caliber slingshot ammo. But that's usually in a modern gun made with a modern steel barrel.
Bore? What bore? It's pretty pitted. It has had a rough life. A dozen old nuts wasn't going to do any noticeable damage. But you do make an excellent point. If and when I shoot it more, I would use something more appropriate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by arcticap View Post
An .80 lead ball would weigh about 800 grains [or 1.8 ounces] compared to an ounce of lead which weighs about 437.5 grains.

Right now .22 ammo is pretty cheap at only 3-5 cents per round or so. I've shot .22lr bullets that were pulled from misfires and loaded them into smooth bores.
Round nose .22lr bullets usually weigh 40 grains each, and the hollow points about 36 grains each.
If you can get a hold of some .22lr ammo, the bullets can be easily popped out or wiggled off using pliers.
I do have lots of .22 ammo. Thanks for the suggestion!

Quote:
Originally Posted by arcticap View Post
Starting loads are traditionally one grain of powder to match the caliber number of the bore size.
But 100 grains doesn't seem to be excessive for such a large bore.
Have fun and be safe.
The more I read up on the Brown Bess (based on the lock in this piece), the more I realize it is just a collection of parts put together to make a gun. Since the Brown Bess had a .75 caliber barrel, and this barrel is larger than that, with no visible markings, I have no idea of the quality of the steel. Heck, I'm not even convinced that the whole lock is from a Brown Bess as there are some differences in it, and some or all of the parts could be some kind of an early American copy, like a Provincial or Committee of Safety musket. Finally, like you said, I'd never put a .80 ball in it now, so yeah, the lower the pressure, the better.
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