Author Topic: Smooth rifle rule of thumb?  (Read 1573 times)

Offline Mauser06

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Smooth rifle rule of thumb?
« on: March 23, 2017, 12:32:30 AM »
I'm going to be trying some round balls in my jug choked 62cal smooth rifle.


Seems there are about a million combos that you guys use in smooth rifles.  I've never fired a ball from a smooth rifle. 


Looking to achieve the best accuracy I can to potentially carry it deer hunting.


Not sure on what size balls to order. 

Also advice on patching, wadding, and powder charges would be appreciated. 


Thanx!

Online smylee grouch

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Re: Smooth rifle rule of thumb?
« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2017, 12:51:56 AM »
Buy some balls of different sizes (.600, .605, .610) and try them out with different patch/lube combos beforeyou buy a mold. Shooting the thing is the best way to find the best load.

Offline D. Taylor Sapergia

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Re: Smooth rifle rule of thumb?
« Reply #2 on: March 23, 2017, 06:28:38 AM »
I assume (never should) your bore is .620"  If you use a .600" ball, you'll have .020" windage around your ball.  If you use a lubed patch, use a .018" or so thick denim patch, and you'll be good to go....dripping wet with saliva.
I have no experience shooting a ball accurately using wads as in shotgun shooting.
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Offline Mauser06

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Re: Smooth rifle rule of thumb?
« Reply #3 on: March 23, 2017, 07:41:34 AM »
Thanx guys!   

About what I figured...Seems to be no rule of thumb with a smooth bore.

My barrel is a Colerain.  I'm not sure what the bore diameter is. I believe they run .615. I will have to measure.


I've dug through old posts and came up with lots of options that different shooters have claimed acceptable accuracy from. From paper cartridges to bare ball with wads, bare ball with just paper above and below, to patched balls etc.  Some like a smaller ball and thicker patch. 


If I could get a couple inches group at 50yds I'd be plenty happy.  Most my deer are shot in the 25-40yd range. 

Have all summer to tinker with it. 



Actually sent my barrel to Caywood to be jugged. And have to Colerain turkey choke removed...That just wasn't for me.  Hopefully I don't regret it on the patterns.  I couldn't handle cleaning the dang thing...After being blasted in the face with cruddy water I had enough lol.  Just couldn't get a good suction.  It'd probably been better to try to clean with tow or just run water through the vent and not back up like I normally do.

Offline Dphariss

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Re: Smooth rifle rule of thumb?
« Reply #4 on: March 23, 2017, 04:06:28 PM »
I'm going to be trying some round balls in my jug choked 62cal smooth rifle.


Seems there are about a million combos that you guys use in smooth rifles.  I've never fired a ball from a smooth rifle. 


Looking to achieve the best accuracy I can to potentially carry it deer hunting.


Not sure on what size balls to order. 

Also advice on patching, wadding, and powder charges would be appreciated. 


Thanx!

My 50 cal smooth rifle shot best with over 100 grains of FF and a heavy patch and a .480 ball as I recall. With this it shot pretty well at 60 yards, about 4-5 times the group size of my 50 cal match rifle with 100 gr of FFF but minute of deer at that distance or less. With lighter loads it was not accurate enough for small game except with small shot. The problem with the SB is its a 80-90% gun at best. They will in my experience, throw 2-4 fliers in 10 shots at various distances from the point of aim at 50-60 yards. Thus they are 50 yard deer guns all protestations to the contrary not withstanding. Its an ethics thing. If you live in the east and kill deer at short range they are acceptable. Where I live they are useless for general use though there are places where I could use one with some confidence but even there I have  killed deer farther than I would consider a SB reliable. If you are going to hunt with solid shot then shoot 10 shot groups. 3 shot groups can be very deceptive.

Dan
« Last Edit: March 23, 2017, 04:09:25 PM by Dphariss »
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Offline Mauser06

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Re: Smooth rifle rule of thumb?
« Reply #5 on: March 23, 2017, 05:25:48 PM »
Thanx Dan!   I will keep that in mind as I am shooting. Once I find something that seems to work well, I will shoot it more and see how it behaves. 


I've killed a number of deer with flintlocks thus far.  My average has got to be pretty close...I can think of many that were around  20yds or even closer lol.  There's only been one that I remember that was beyond 50yds. And, it's somewhat target rich.  If I have to pass on a deer, I can sleep at night. 


If I don't find anything acceptable, I have other rifles.  And will be building a rifled long rifle in the near future.  Figured I'd try the roundballs in the smooth bore and see how they do...

Offline Longknife

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Re: Smooth rifle rule of thumb?
« Reply #6 on: March 23, 2017, 05:48:20 PM »
Mauser, I shoot .600 balls in my .620 bore. You want at ball at least .020 undersize and .030 would not be too much, you can take up the size with a thicker well lubed patch. I would sight it in with the same lube you plan to hunt with so as to not change the poi..... 
« Last Edit: March 23, 2017, 05:55:29 PM by Longknife »
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Offline Hungry Horse

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Re: Smooth rifle rule of thumb?
« Reply #7 on: March 23, 2017, 07:16:47 PM »
Or, forget lube, and patches all together, use a dimpled .595 or .600 ball, jack up the powder charge to about. Hundred grains or more, and hold it all in place with a lightly greased blanket wad. I think this is going to work better with a jug choked smoothbore, than any patch wrapped ball. The increased powder is quite important in this method because the charge holds the ball in a cone of hot gas. This theoretically keeps the ball from caroming off of the barrel in route to the muzzle.

  Hungry Horse

Offline Mauser06

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Re: Smooth rifle rule of thumb?
« Reply #8 on: March 23, 2017, 08:02:08 PM »
Thanx guys! 


Hungry horse, by dimpled ball do you mean one ran in a vibratory cleaner or the like? 

Anything between the powder and ball?  Over shot card or wool was??   I have a variety of wads. Cushion fiber wads, hard nitro wads, and 1/16" wool wads. (I use them as a cushion wad in my turkey loads and stack them).

I'm not opposed to shooting bare ball.  Read lots about it and again, lots of different options used.

Offline hanshi

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Re: Smooth rifle rule of thumb?
« Reply #9 on: March 23, 2017, 08:14:05 PM »
The only smoothbore I have is a nice early American smoothbore, not a smoothrifle.  It has a rear sight and shoots quite well with ball or shot.  I've also found for every 10 shot group there will normally be one or two fliers.  But otherwise those groups can be under 3" at 50 yards, discounting fliers (8 to 9 shot groups in other words).  I can get pretty small groups with a .600" prb - the bore is .610", rather tight - but patching it is almost a test of strength unless a thin, .010" or .012" patch is used.  A .590" ball patched with a "rifle thick patch" does quite well.  I much prefer WW ball and the .600" Lee mold throws a .606" ball when WW is used.  This larger ball seated on top of a felt wad or cushion wad stays on a pie plate, and often a saucer, size target at 50 yards.  I like this "bare ball" load and the .590" prb combo. 

I haven't tested these loads very much with either 2F powder or heavier charges approaching 100 grains; but what testing I have done appears encouraging.  Each gun is an individual and my load won't necessarily work in someone else's gun, and vice versa.  Good idea for smoothie owners to start fresh and test by varying only one component at a time.
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Offline Hungry Horse

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Re: Smooth rifle rule of thumb?
« Reply #10 on: March 23, 2017, 09:10:39 PM »
I'd leave all the cards, and cushion wads, at home.
 I dimple the balls in a friends old paint shaker, about twenty at a time, with no medium. You just want to dent them, not smooth them. You can make a shaker out of a reciprocating saw, or sawsall, as well. It doesn't take hours of shaking to ding them up good. The purer the lead the easier they dimple. Some guys dip them in melted beeswax, or SPG cartridge bullet lube. But, I haven't seen much difference using a bare ball. I use wool blanket wads made from old army surplus blankets. I dip them lightly in melted bear grease, and a little beeswax, just enough to get a little on one side, not saturated.

  Hungry Horse

Offline Mike Brooks

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Re: Smooth rifle rule of thumb?
« Reply #11 on: March 23, 2017, 11:09:07 PM »
You Western folks sure pour the powder to those things..... :o
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Offline Daryl

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Re: Smooth rifle rule of thumb?
« Reply #12 on: March 24, 2017, 06:10:03 AM »
Not me, I use squib loads most of the time. ::)
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Offline Hungry Horse

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Re: Smooth rifle rule of thumb?
« Reply #13 on: March 24, 2017, 04:48:55 PM »
One of the important steps in the dimpled bare ball formula, is to use enough powder to create a cone of gas around the ball. Without this cone of gas to center the ball, and keep it from caroming on it way to the muzzle, the system fails. This cone of gas also keeps the ball from spinning as it exits the barrel which make the smoothbore preform better. The ball does start to wonder after it loses some of its velocity.
 I can't be sure because I don't have a smooth bore with a jug choke, but I suspect a patched ball could have its patch blown off, or partially blown off, when it enters the choke section on the way to the muzzle. I have a 12 gauge Fowler with a traditional choke that shoots the dimpled bare balls very well. But of course that is a totally different scenario.

  Hungry Horse

Offline Daryl

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Re: Smooth rifle rule of thumb?
« Reply #14 on: March 24, 2017, 07:57:36 PM »
One thing with smoothbores, seems to be the faster the ball is travelling, the further out it gets before it turns into a curve-ball, or knuckle ball.

I have observed them in flight when I was watching with binoculars.  Hartchet-Jack always used 65gr. 2F in his 20 bore, barely over the speed or at the sound and oft times, the ball could be observed taking a curve or hook just before reaching the target. Fun to watch, as it would curve, hook, drop or rise and miss the target by up to 3', on a 90 yard shot.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2017, 07:41:17 PM by Daryl »
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Offline Tink

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Re: Smooth rifle rule of thumb?
« Reply #15 on: March 24, 2017, 08:01:01 PM »
My smooth rifle has a .540 bore. Likes a .520 rb with a .012 spit patch for match or bear and beeswax for hunting all with 55 gr of 3f. Will shoot a 1" 5 shot group at 25 yd, 3 to 3.5 at 50 and 75. Lots of deer have met the game pole because of her!! All I hunt and shoot with anymore.

Offline Mauser06

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Re: Smooth rifle rule of thumb?
« Reply #16 on: March 24, 2017, 09:29:40 PM »
Thanx all! 



I dug into several posts...Posts of jug choke shooters claim better accuracy after the jug choke.  But none really mention how they shoot the roundballs.  May e those guys will find this post...Or I will make a post for jug choke roundball loads.  Or..Just experiment..Which will be what happens anyways.




Odd that faster is better...Often that's the opposite...But does make sense.  Less time for it to stray...And the stray will be less at a faster speed. 


If the gun never shoots a roundball accurately enough for me, that's no big deal.  I have other guns and the gun was bought as a turkey gun anyways.  Prior to having it jugged, I couldn't shoot roundballs from it at all.  Atleast now there is a chance.  Could help eliminate carrying g so many guns  to camp in the late season too.  I always take a couple Flintlock rifles to deer hunt and a shotgun for small game...Now I can bring a flintlock and the smooth flinter.  Sometimes the deer hunting is lousy or I tag out and end up small game hunting...

Offline Maven

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Re: Smooth rifle rule of thumb?
« Reply #17 on: March 24, 2017, 09:57:59 PM »
As you mention cleaning with tow, you may want to try tow over powder and over shot (i.e., round ball) wads as Mike Beliveau described in his YouTube video* and article in Muzzleloader mag. last summer.  (He used 100 - 110gr. charges of FFg with the tow wads.)  It worked for him and it may work for you as well.

*He used the screen name duelist1954
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Offline hanshi

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Re: Smooth rifle rule of thumb?
« Reply #18 on: March 24, 2017, 10:15:10 PM »
Either 60 grains of 3F or 70 grains of 2F is the normal shooting load in my 20ga.  At least 3/4 of the loads I've tested are surefire deer killers up to about 60 yards, some a bit farther.  Some were better than others but most were satisfactory to very good.  The heaviest charge was 90 grains of 2F which gave 1300fps.
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Offline utseabee

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Re: Smooth rifle rule of thumb?
« Reply #19 on: March 26, 2017, 01:23:06 AM »
I stumbled on the load for my .58 smooth rifle completely by mistake. I was using .560 and .562 balls when I started out. On one trip to the range I grabbed the wrong container of balls and ended up taking .570 balls. I gave them a try with .010 patches and 90 grains of 2f. The load ended up being the most accurate combination I have tried in that gun, so that's what I stuck with. It does about 2 1/2- 3 inches at 50 yards. I only shoot 50 yards or less (my self imposed limit for a smooth bore)  with it and have never attempted any shots farther than that. Just try different combinations, your gun will tell you what it likes.

Offline Carney Pace

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Re: Smooth rifle rule of thumb?
« Reply #20 on: April 21, 2017, 06:03:20 PM »
I got mine to shoot by using a i/8" wad over powder and patched round ball.  .50 cal ( is a true .500) using .014 Linnen patch,  oiled patch, .475 ball, and 65 grs. 3f. 

Friend just built a Northwest gun  20 ga.  Playing with it at 150 yd. range it was shooting into about 24", overpowder wad it will shoot into about 12", this is from rest.

You maybe fooling yourself in limiting a smooth rifle to 50 yds. 

Carney

Offline Mauser06

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Re: Smooth rifle rule of thumb?
« Reply #21 on: April 21, 2017, 06:29:40 PM »
I haven't gotten to truly shoot off a bench yet.


I've tried thin patching but with a .600 swaged ball, no way. 


Shooting bare ball, I'm holding an inch or 2 group at 40yds shooting standing leaning on a bag. Not a great position.   Hitting a 6" steel at 40yds every shot.  Smidge low and 2-3" left right now.


I think with some bench time I will find something pretty accurate.  Even right now, I'd deer hunt with it. 


Only have 120 or so swaged balls left and can't buy them anywhere so may just go to a smaller ball and try patches or goto cast 600s...Hate to develop a load and then not have a supply of balls or be able to restock the supply. 

Offline Daryl

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Re: Smooth rifle rule of thumb?
« Reply #22 on: April 24, 2017, 08:20:05 PM »
You think with some bench time you will beat 1" to 2" at 40 yards with a smoothbore?  I'd say you are already THERE.
Daryl

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Offline Mauser06

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Re: Smooth rifle rule of thumb?
« Reply #23 on: April 24, 2017, 09:33:19 PM »
Bench time will tell.   I am happy with that.  But, can't find better if you don't look...And I'm the type that likes to look! 


Right now it's a easy load to load and seems to work well.




3 on each steel all in the low left edge.