Author Topic: Working Up a Load - Some Thoughts (PHOTOS on Page 3)  (Read 17019 times)

xring2245

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Working Up a Load - Some Thoughts (PHOTOS on Page 3)
« on: April 15, 2011, 05:49:57 AM »
I have been working up a load for my new Dale Atkinson .45 cal. flintlock.  I decided to go slowly and be very deliberate so when I have the final results, I will know for sure that the load is the best for the gun.

Deliberate - I have been at this a month already and have learned a few things.
     First of all, I am making detailed notes and saving targets.  The targets, or at least the part of the target that has the five shot group, is pasted in my range journal opposite where I have recorded my notes.
     Speer swaged balls (.440) shot well from the start, so I am concentrating on finding out which cast RB will shoot the best with what charge and patch thickness.
     I have been through five size balls so far; I now mike every ball.  I started to do this after shooting some balls that I had purchased at a shoot and they were marked ".440."  Well, maybe one in 10 were actually .440.  Others were all over the place, say from .432 to .447.  Where's the quality control?
     Needless to say, I was getting 10 inch/25cm groups from this $#@*.
     Once I started to mike them and shot five shot groups with balls of the same diameter, then I could tell what actually shot well and what did not.
     Up until Monday, .451 balls shot the best.  This was with 60 gr. 3F, .018" pillow ticking and lubed with LVL  Today, I got good results with .442 balls and the same patch and lube combo.  I then tried .434 balls and, as anticipated, they did not shoot well.  I stopped shooting them after a five-shot 12" group (or is it a "pattern?")
     I am not done yet, but I have come to a few conclusions so far -
           Undersized balls don't shoot well  (yeah, we all know that)
           As long as the balls are close to bore diameter, ball diameter may not be as important as the  consistency in ball diameter is for accurate loads.
          Wiping between shots does not result in tighter groups as long as the barrel is not allowed to become excessively fouled.  For some groups I did wipe between shots and for others, I did not.  Group size was comparable.  Again, I did not allow the barrel to become excessively fouled.
     Please understand that I am not a novice.  I have been shooting muzzleloaders since 1976.  I just have more time available now to do things the right way.  I will post more when I am done testing and it isn't late at night.  I think clearer in the morning, at least when it comes to writing.
     Anyhow, FWIW...

James

 
« Last Edit: April 27, 2011, 05:36:04 AM by xring2245 »

roundball

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Re: Working Up a Load - Some Thoughts
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2011, 06:17:38 AM »
Sounds like you're going at it very thoroughly...I also keep detailed chronologies on my PC of every firearm I own...all load development, range trips, test results, etc...as well as every activity I perform on the rifle or smoothbore.  (if you enter all that into a PC, don't forget to periodically dump it off to a backup CD/DVD.
 
Going to the range in the morning myself to fine tune a 50yd zero on a new .54cal smoothbore Flintlock...

zimmerstutzen

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Re: Working Up a Load - Some Thoughts
« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2011, 02:22:46 PM »
Some types of rifling seem to like different stypes of patching.  I have an H&H barrel that was specially cut with round bottom grooves that are five times wider than the lands.  It definitely likes a cotton flannel patch vs the usual tight weave drill.   

The tight weave drill patches such as the commercially available patches do not shoot well in that barrel, perhaps because it also has a choke at the muzzle.

When I had the barrel made, Hoppy warned me that I would find exactly those results with the various types of patches.

Your group sounds very large, like something might be amiss.  while new barrels often need to be broke in.  Loading and firing wears the microscopic burrs off the bore and burnishes it smooth.  As a result such barrels often do poorly the first 50 or more rounds.  Some makers burnish the barrels at the shop so they should be ready to go when the gun is done.  What kind of crown do you have?  Is there a sight problem?  Loose?  rear sight slot too narrow? The front sight too wide ?   Is there a light contrast problem on the sight?
It may be a breaking in problem which just needs to be worked out.
I know that there is a growing sentiment that accuracy is not affected by failing to swab between shots.  May be their rifling.  I definitely need to swab between shots.  My open sight 1.5 inch groups at 100 yds open up substantially if I don't.

Daryl

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Re: Working Up a Load - Some Thoughts
« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2011, 05:13:32 PM »
On the other hand, my accuracy diminished when I testing wiping between shots.  Neither Taylor nor I wipe at any time during an event, or day's shoot. We find the condition of the bore remains virtually the same while shooting and loading the 80th shot requires the same pressure and energy as loading the 1st.  This happens with both neetsfoot oil, which Taylor used all winter this time around or the water/alcohol based lubes I used or with Track's mink oil that I tested in the .32 one day.  The .32's accuracy remained excellent for the entire day's shooting of perhaps 60 shots and laoding was easy, all day - no wiping, as if our rule of thumb. We'd rather be shooting than wiping.

Offline Dphariss

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Re: Working Up a Load - Some Thoughts
« Reply #4 on: April 15, 2011, 06:09:34 PM »
I love this stuff but just don't have the patience for it anymore.
I did enough detailed hair pulling over loads for BPCR years ago that I have lost interest.

I have found that if done right the dried water soluble oil works pretty good ala Dutch Schoultz. But requires a patch over the powder in the 50 and very consistent wiping every shot.
I have had very good results with beef tallow by just blowing in the bore before loading, normal practice with oiled patches as well. Where its allowed.
I have shot neatsfoot oil, pure, for years but have some now that is too slick for GM barrels anyway and shoots poorly. At least with wet patches as I use when hunting.
Sperm Whale oil works very well too.
But some shooters oil the patches then squeeze them in a vice to remove excess oil. But I use oil/tallow for hunting and they need enough lube to allow reloading.
I guess I cold try squeezing the too slick neatsfoot oil.
I think that the land/groove ratio of the barrel will have an effect on powder charges and lubes as well. Barrels with narrow lands load easier but some of us are starting to think that the narrow lands require a tighter fit or more powder to produce bore drag to give uniform ballistics, "load inertia" is the term SPG uses. This is supposition right now but it sounds good and seems to work in practice.
In my experience with Sperm Whale Oiled patches getting the fouling off the lands helps accuracy. I found this when shooting groups at 200 yards with a 54 caliber. If I dry brushed the bore and shook out the dry fouling (I live in the low humidity west doubt this would work in Iowa or points east) then run a damp, not wet, patch down to clear the lands the rifle would shoot into about 6" at 200 yards if the wind was not blowing ::). I was doing this shooting just at first light when its sometimes calm. This was not as noticable at shorter ranges. But at 200 it was a requirement or the shots scattered (?)
This was before I started taking pictures of everything and I trashed the targets. Another personal flaw I have not completely corrected... At one time I was diagraming them in a notebook.
Now I have a pocket sized digital in my pocket and photo a lot of stuff like this.
The climate one shoots in will make a difference as well.
I shoot paper matches at 60-65 yards Chunk or Turkey match rules. The competition is pretty fierce and since its string measure and we have some guys who can shoot strings 1/2 the length of mine at times I tend to make sure I shoot the load that seems to shoot best.
So I still do some load developement ;D
Dan
He who dares not offend cannot be honest. Thomas Paine

Offline Swampwalker

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Re: Working Up a Load - Some Thoughts
« Reply #5 on: April 15, 2011, 06:13:49 PM »
Xring, what type/thickness of patch, and what type lube are you using?  I think I would stick with the .442 ball (or a little larger) and work on the patche/lube side of the equation.  When I switched to liquid lubes applied generously (spit, LHV, or thin oil) from grease lubes, it was a revelation.

northmn

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Re: Working Up a Load - Some Thoughts
« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2011, 07:03:33 PM »
One of my rules for development is to use 25 yards as a rough sight in to be on the paper and move back to 50 yards or better.  A smoothbore shoots tight at 25 yards.  Many weigh the ball instead of miking them which accomplishes the same thing basically.  Also load development gets the trickiest depending on the desired result.  Loading for a rest match tends to mean more constant testing than for a big game load or off hand load.  I did not spend much time on my 58 flintlock for deer as the combination I was hoping it would shoot worked well and grouped good enough.  I spent and and still spending time on my 25 as it wants to vertical string a bit and my smooth bore as I do not quite trust its first shot out of a cold barrel.   

DP

zimmerstutzen

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Re: Working Up a Load - Some Thoughts
« Reply #7 on: April 15, 2011, 08:07:46 PM »
Daryl, what kind of rifling does your barrel have?  What shape are the grooves?  how wide in comparison to the lands?  How many grooves?  How deep?  Is your bore choked at the muzzle?  These things may well determine the effectiveness of swabbing the bore and/or fouling accumulation. 

Back in the day, Harry Pope used a certain style of rifling, and muzzle loaded his centerfire guns with the belief , in part,  that the sharp square bottoms of the bullets being muzzleloaded along with the shape of his rifling and lube, would sufficiently scrape the fouling on each load so swabbing was no longer needed.   

While that was for cartridge guns, there may be a muzzleloading rifling style that in combination with lube, eliminates the concern for fouling build up between shots.   

Some folks think a 6 inch 5 shot bench group at 100 yds is "accurate" and anything else is bad,  Some think a MOA 5 shot bench group is "accurate" and anything else is bad.  So keep in mind that folk's definition of accuracy is also vastly different.  I could probably keep a 6 inch group at 100 without swabbing.  But I don't think that is the best my rifle and I are capabl;e of.

Leatherbelly

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Re: Working Up a Load - Some Thoughts
« Reply #8 on: April 15, 2011, 08:12:21 PM »
  I think you need to work up two loads.One for competition,one for hunting.My comp load is for targets and shooting accurately all day long without wiping.Hunting load,different lube,bigger charge,...well, still working on it. This is where the first shot counts,not the second or third. I think I'll wipe between shots trying to develop an oil patch combo.Why? Because when I go hunting,the bore will be absolutely clean from the last time I shot her. This thread may bring up a few questions ,say follow up shots etc..Isn't experimenting and load developing fun?

Leatherbelly

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Re: Working Up a Load - Some Thoughts
« Reply #9 on: April 15, 2011, 08:19:56 PM »
  Zimmer,
   Any advantage having a choked Rifle barrel? For me, there are only a hand full of barrel makers that I would buy from and I have never seen or heard of a choked rifle barrel. Maybe I lead a too sheltered life,don't know.

Online T*O*F

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Re: Working Up a Load - Some Thoughts
« Reply #10 on: April 15, 2011, 08:33:31 PM »
Quote
Any advantage having a choked Rifle barrel?
Works good for bullet guns that obturate.  Don't know if there's any advantage in a roundball gun.

Quote
I have found that if done right the dried water soluble oil works pretty good ala Dutch Schoultz.
Probably 10 or 12 years ago, Dutch gifted me with his lead casting pot and ladle which he used to cast the balls for his experiments.  Don't know if that makes it worth anything or not.  Ol' Dutch is quite a character, as are many of the old timers.
Dave Kanger

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-S.M. Tomlinson

zimmerstutzen

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Re: Working Up a Load - Some Thoughts
« Reply #11 on: April 15, 2011, 08:49:51 PM »
I have several rifles with choked bores, a muzzle loader barrel made by H&H back in the late 1970's and a few Martini Henry rifles.  (You want to see some strange rifling, look in a Martini Henry)   The choke in the H&H is only a couple thousandths.  I only have open sights on it, but can shoot ragged one holes all day at 75 yds off a bench.  I have shot MOA groups at 100 but normally it opens up to 1.5 to 2 inches depending on the light/wind/etc.  I'm not sure of the technical reasoning for the choke, or why it is supposed to work, but I have competed against some folks with false muzzle guns and did better. IIRC A guy named Mike Bell was Hoppy's partner, and Mike won top prizes all over the place with H&H barrels, back in the early 1980's.  (hoppy used to travel with a Parrot on his shoulder.)   I have never heard anything but good about H&H barrels.    Hoppy sort of reverse adapted Pope's rifling style for cartridge guns to muzzleloaders and it seemed to do quite well.

westerner

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Re: Working Up a Load - Some Thoughts
« Reply #12 on: April 16, 2011, 12:07:41 AM »
I also have several rifles with choke bores.  I find them extremely accurate with ball and patch.  For bullets and paper patching I find the tapered bore the best.   

                             Joe.

Online smylee grouch

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Re: Working Up a Load - Some Thoughts
« Reply #13 on: April 16, 2011, 01:26:37 AM »
I have had two Bill Large barrels and both were choked, a couple of other makes that were supposed to be tappered and one that I tappered myself by lapping from the breech end, all were very good grouping rifles.      Smylee

xring2245

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Re: Working Up a Load - Some Thoughts
« Reply #14 on: April 16, 2011, 01:45:09 AM »
Xring, what type/thickness of patch, and what type lube are you using?  I think I would stick with the .442 ball (or a little larger) and work on the patche/lube side of the equation.  When I switched to liquid lubes applied generously (spit, LHV, or thin oil) from grease lubes, it was a revelation.

.018" pillow ticking lubed with Lehigh Valley.  Once I settle on an acurate ball size, then I move on to trying different patch thicknesses and lubes.  I work on one variable at a time so I know what's going on.

James

xring2245

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Re: Working Up a Load - Some Thoughts
« Reply #15 on: April 16, 2011, 01:48:56 AM »
 I think you need to work up two loads.One for competition,one for hunting.

     I have three hunting guns - .50 and .54 rifles and a 62 smoothbore.  I'm thinking that this .45 will be for shoots, woodswalks, or a rondy gun.  Not really decided yet...
    Oh yeah, I also have .32 and .36 for tree rats.

James

Daryl

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Re: Working Up a Load - Some Thoughts
« Reply #16 on: April 16, 2011, 04:20:23 AM »
My .58 hawken, that wouldn't hsoot less than 140gr. 2F in the 1980's had a choked bore - Large barrel, maybe .003" choked..

 I choked the bore of my 1970's 38" twist .50 cal. Bauska barrel which shot 1" for 5 at 100 yards off the bench using 350gr. Lyman heavy skirt Hollow Base bullets - pre engraved in a 'separate' false muzzle - antique mould. This choke was .004" and lapped in using successively cast adjustable lapps - using Ned's book for reference.

My current barrels are un-choked - except the .69 rifle GRRW feels like it's a bit relieved from about 1 1/2" back from the muzzle to the breech.  It's lands and grooves are about equal. It shoots 1" to 1 1/2" at 100 meters (109yds.) Last time papered that irfle, it put 6 consecutive shots into 1 1/4" wide X 3 1/2" high group at 200 yards, sitting at a bench, holding the forend in my left hand, back of the hand resting on the bag- as I always shoot kicking rifles. Instead of the normal charge, I' reduced the charge to reduce elvation from 200 meters to a 200yard zero with the fixed sights. I had fired perhaps 15 shots prior to shooting that group - it matters not how many were fired previously.  I use a .030" (caliper tines squeezed hard) denim material, lubed with windshield washer fluid + some neetsfoot oil.  It shoots same elevation with mink oil, but slightly larger groups.

The .40 is a Goodioen barrel, with narrow lands, wide grooves, no choke. - no wiping.  My .45 GM barrel has normal GM rifling, slightly wider grooves than lands. The .32 has very narrow grooves, wide lands - neither have chokes nor needing wiping to maintain accuracy.

The .58's are both commerical. The Italian Musketoon (Confederate model) is only good for 3" at 100 meters, but only has a 24" bl. with military sights. I thought I could put up with it's accuracy failings.  It has the normal tapered depth rifling that all US military rifles of the period were supposed to have, but the replicas don't. It shoots well without cleaning, all day.  I loading is simple with it's tapered depth rifling. The bore is not tapered, btw.  The Double rifle, I've never targeted yet at 100 meters. At 50 yards, it puts both barrels into 1 1/2". Either barrel shoots into an inch or a bit less. Typical Pedersoli .008" rifling with equal width grooves and lands. No wiping - no accuracy change - in any of them.

The .40 and .45 are the only barrels I've tried wiping between shots. I hated the task and it did not improve accuracy, but the reverse. It gave me uncontrolled fliers, yet I was cleaning exactly the same, each time - I know the drill. I tried 1 wet, 1 dry; then 1 wet, 2 dry, then 1 wet, 3 dry - then 2 wet, etc. etc.  My accuracy went to pot with all loads tested.  I prefer to shoot, not to wipe - especially when it isn't needed with the loads I shoot.  That alone might have been the reason for the poor accuracy - who knows.

You are right, zimmer - everyone has a different idea of what accuracy is. I've said exactly that on here, time after time and relate the story about the boy who thought hitting his 25 yard paper 3 times out of 5 shots was good accuracy - using sand filled .30/30 cases (filed off rims) for his projectiles. He was really excited- told me in a loud, excited voice - "People just throw these things out" I shoot them and boy are they ever accurate"  Kinda like beauty is in the eye of the beholder: or - beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes right to the bone - something like that.

Offline okieboy

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Re: Working Up a Load - Some Thoughts
« Reply #17 on: April 18, 2011, 02:03:50 AM »
 Walter line's shooting tests led him to say the the most accurate barrels were choked .001-.002". I believe that the "easing" of the barrel helps obtain more consistant loading, especially in the final seating of the ball on top of the powder.
 If I remember right, Bill Large's adds used to say, "Don't shorten the barrel, the last 6" are where the secret is at."
Okieboy

xring2245

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Re: Working Up a Load - Some Thoughts
« Reply #18 on: April 19, 2011, 04:31:03 AM »
It's amazing what 10 grains will do...

I was shooting my .40 cal. today, needing to check my zero after yesterday's shoot at Langhorne and wanting to see what .395" RBs would do out of the gun.  I had been shooting .389" RBs with good accuracy with 40 gr. 3F Goex.  I used the same charge, the same patching and lube, and was astonished to see seven inch groups with cast RBs and five inch groups with Hornaday swaged RBs.  This wasn't what I had expected.

I upped the charge to 50 gr. to see what a difference 10 gr. would make.  Usually when I am working on load development, I increase by five grain increments, but it was threatening to rain.  I went to 50 gr. and the Hornadays shot a one inch five-shot group and the cast balls stayed within two inches.  Now we're talking a little accuracy.  All shooting was done at 50 yards.

I am going to play around with the .395s some more to see if I can get even smaller groups.  I'll let you know.

James

Daryl

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Re: Working Up a Load - Some Thoughts
« Reply #19 on: April 19, 2011, 08:40:23 PM »
 My .40 will not shoot a group at 50 yards with less than 55gr. - and that is inferior to 65gr. using GOEX3F or 75gr. GOEX2F. With heaviest loads listed, it will hold 1/2" for 5 shots.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2011, 08:43:06 PM by Daryl »

xring2245

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Re: Working Up a Load - Some Thoughts
« Reply #20 on: April 19, 2011, 08:52:58 PM »
My .40 will not shoot a group at 50 yards with less than 55gr. - and that is inferior to 65gr. using GOEX3F or 75gr. GOEX2F. With heaviest loads listed, it will hold 1/2" for 5 shots.

It is my intent to work on powder charges with the .395" ball on Thursday when I am out at the range again.  Using 50 gr. as a starting point, I will increase by five grain increments until I see a change one way or the other.  I would anticipate that groups will tighten up to a certain point and then begin to open up.

Daryl, do both 65 gr. 3F and 70 2F work equally well for you?

Thanks,
James

Daryl

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Re: Working Up a Load - Some Thoughts
« Reply #21 on: April 19, 2011, 09:08:59 PM »
Yes- 65gr. 3F and 75gr. 2f give almost identical velocities along with the same poi and group size.

In my GM .45 barrel, 75gr. 3F and 85gr. of 2F do exactly the same- same poi and same velocity, same accuracy.

None of these loads causes any build up of fouling in the bore. There is no wiping while shooting,no matter how many shots are fired - 10, 50 or 100.
« Last Edit: April 23, 2011, 07:16:07 PM by Daryl »

xring2245

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Re: Working Up a Load - Some Thoughts
« Reply #22 on: April 19, 2011, 09:20:20 PM »
Yes- 65gr. 3F and 74gr. 2f give almost identical velocities along with the same poi and group size.

In my GM .45 barrel, 75gr. 3F and 85gr. of 2F do exactly the same- same poi and same velocity, same accuracy.


Thanks, Daryl.  I will work with both 2F and 3F and will work up to your loads.  The barrel on the .40 is a GM.  What size RBs are you using and what are you using for patch material/thickness and lube?

James

Offline Frizzen

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Re: Working Up a Load - Some Thoughts
« Reply #23 on: April 19, 2011, 10:31:47 PM »
You guys must like to hear your balls rattle going down the barrel. In my GM 40 I use .410
.408's are too loose.
The Pistol Shooter

Daryl

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Re: Working Up a Load - Some Thoughts
« Reply #24 on: April 19, 2011, 11:42:18 PM »
I've never been accused of using balls that are too small or patches too thin - HA!  That's a good one.  As far as accuracy goes between swaged and cast, cast have always been more accurate for me, in the sizes I've tested, side by side.

I do have a Lyman DC .400" mould that casts .400" X .400" (but only in one hole - the other casts .395" X .400")and I use a .0225" denim patch with it. I stopped using it due to the oblong other hole. Anyone want to buy it?  I started with .019"with the, .400" but decided I preferred the thicker patch. Not much rattling going on, evenwith the smaller, bore sized ball.  The bore is .398" BTW- as I noted prior.

Where the good hole, ie: .4" X .4 shoots into 1/2" at 50 yards, the other ball at .395" X .400", shoots into some 2", same load. With the first, the offhand group was about 1 1/2".  With the oblong balls, my offhand group was closer to 4".  Exact statements cannot be made from such a short test, but the trends bear out the suppositions. In other words, logic dictates in this case.  The larger the capability from a rest, the larger the offhand group X some multiple. I still have the target form that test- and have published it here when it was stated that rest "rifle capability doesn't matter, I'm only shooting offhand".

I am currently using those .398" X .397" balls with a .0215" or .0225" patch. The balls will not quite roll down the barrel by themselves as the bore is .398". The patch takes up the windage quite well, I guess, as the accuracy is fair to middling.