Author Topic: smoothbore accuracy  (Read 8092 times)

Offline dogcreek

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smoothbore accuracy
« on: February 05, 2009, 06:45:07 AM »
What kind of accuracy can one expect with a Northwest Trade Gun type smoothbore gun at fifty yards with patched round ball? I'm considering building one for deer hunting. Thanks for your input.

Offline Dphariss

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Re: smoothbore accuracy
« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2009, 08:09:03 AM »
3-6". This with front and rear sights. 5 shot groups.
No rear sight larger groups.
I would build a rifle.
But thats just me.

Dan
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northmn

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Re: smoothbore accuracy
« Reply #2 on: February 05, 2009, 01:46:07 PM »
Dan is really not all that fond of smoothbores.  I am interested in hearing some other comments.  As to sights, a pile of NW guns had adds on what today we would call aftermarket.  Some use the tang screw.  I do not feel Dan is wrong about the accuracy expectations however.  There are those that shoot them a lot and may do better but a smoothie is best left for close range work on deer.  Much over 50 yards is a long shot for one.  If you are going to go without a rear sight a little practice don't hurt either.

DP

Daryl

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Re: smoothbore accuracy
« Reply #3 on: February 05, 2009, 02:43:08 PM »
Taylor has a 50", .50 smoothbore barrel coming for a smooth rifle - should be intersting, I'm going to like developing loads for it - but that's a long time off.  It would be nice if it was ready for Hefley Creek Rendezvous.

Dan has been doing a lot of work with his .50 smoothbore and has some nice targets.

I was watching through binocs as one of the guys shot at the 92 your fox gong we have on the trail. He was using a 44" 20 bore.  He uses a very light charge of 65gr. At about 80 yards, it appeared as if the ball spun off to the right in a curve that looked like a trumpet's nose.  Really quite intersting.  I believe they all do that at some range and the more powder used, the farther out that curve-ball happens.

My 12 bore ctg. double shot well to 100 yards with ball loads, but few would be apt to shoot loads like that from a single muzzleloader. With 51/2 (150gr.)  to 7 drams(191gr.), the 100 yard accuracy was in the 8" range - odd time smaller, odd time larger. With that much powder, it was effective as a broadside moose load, but not accurate enough for deer. Those loads kicked a bit.  The weathercock principle comes to mine.

Offline Dphariss

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Re: smoothbore accuracy
« Reply #4 on: February 05, 2009, 07:04:59 PM »
Dan is really not all that fond of smoothbores.  I am interested in hearing some other comments.  As to sights, a pile of NW guns had adds on what today we would call aftermarket.  Some use the tang screw.  I do not feel Dan is wrong about the accuracy expectations however.  There are those that shoot them a lot and may do better but a smoothie is best left for close range work on deer.  Much over 50 yards is a long shot for one.  If you are going to go without a rear sight a little practice don't hurt either.

DP

Many trade guns have rear sights, many are simply a piece of metal upset on the barrel with a chisel and then notched. I have heard of front sights made in a similar manner. I have seen these rear sights on otherwise unaltered trade guns and I have seen them on one that had both the buttstock and barrel much shortened and no front sight. From looking a surviving examples in the MT Historical Soc. Museum, Helena one would thick that most had them.

There is a phenomenon a long time ML shooter, a noted rifleman friend, refers to as the "law of compensating errors" this will allow an inaccurate gun or rifle to shoot a really impressive group now and then. But its an anomaly. But many don't even know this since they quit testing at that point, satisfied with the "accuracy".
Bottom line...
Its a matter of ethics.
Hunting is not shooting gongs or clay targets.

Dan
He who dares not offend cannot be honest. Thomas Paine

tg

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Re: smoothbore accuracy
« Reply #5 on: February 06, 2009, 03:25:17 AM »
Most of the skilled smoothebore hunters will take deer regularly at 50 yds with or without the rear sight, with some practice and finding a good conbo that is a reasonable expectation I know some who can do better and other who limit themselves to 30 yds, with a .62 or .58 it makes a nice sguirrel and small game gun before and after deer season,the world of the smoothbore is one that requires one to let go of rifle the hunting mindset and get in a mode closer to archery, some have no use for them in the areas or type of game they hunt so they Pooh Pooh them when ever they are mentioned, after a hundred of so negative posts and putting a lot of balls in a 3-6" group at 40-50 yds you tend to let the remarks go in one ear and out the other.I would not concern your self of the ethics of the smoothbore as a deer hunting gun, as I am sure you will get to know the gun and realize its' and your limitations and choose the shot accordingly.
The paper plate is the first 5 shots out of a .58 French fusil (80 gr 3f .018 patch .562 ball) I put together a few years ago 45 yds leanimng against my canopy it shoots better now as I have worked up some different loads the spread is 4 3/4" the gun will shootsimilar or better groups if I do my part, I can get a bit better groups out to55-60 yds with my Chamber Early Virginia smoothrifle witha rear sight, I don't know many who hunt in close shot oppertunity areas  who have tried the smothguin and found it not to theri likeing

« Last Edit: February 06, 2009, 03:39:15 AM by tg »

Offline dogcreek

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Re: smoothbore accuracy
« Reply #6 on: February 06, 2009, 07:07:07 AM »
Thanks for the information. It's nice to get various viewpoints from experienced smoothbore shooters.

northmn

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Re: smoothbore accuracy
« Reply #7 on: February 06, 2009, 02:57:27 PM »
Most of the skilled smoothebore hunters will take deer regularly at 50 yds with or without the rear sight, with some practice and finding a good conbo that is a reasonable expectation I know some who can do better and other who limit themselves to 30 yds, with a .62 or .58 it makes a nice sguirrel and small game gun before and after deer season,the world of the smoothbore is one that requires one to let go of rifle the hunting mindset and get in a mode closer to archery,  I don't know many who hunt in close shot oppertunity areas  who have tried the smothguin and found it not to theri likeing



I think the attraction of the smoothbore lies in the weight and handling of the gun as they are usually much lighter than a rifle.  I use mine a lot on small game.  If I were to build a gun just for deer hunting I would build a rifle.  The primary advantage of a smoothbore is in its use with shot and ball.  The NW gun is properly built in a 24 gauge which is 58 caliber.  Personally I would opt for another design and use a little heavier bore.  For one thing there has been some feed back that they shoot a little more accurately at the longer ranges. Were I to get parts for another it would be a 16 gauge which is blatantly personal.  I have over time had a short 18 gauge (The barrel was a Dixie Gun Works $11.00 special and the gauge was slightly over 20) a 20 gauge, a Bess and a 12 ga fowler.  I now have a 12 bore English styled gun and have a 20 ga on hand (I kind of wish it were a 16 but not so bad as not to use it.  I still have the ball mold and 16 ball molds are spendy).  They were a lot of fun and sold easy.  I still miss the 12 bore.  If you spend time on fit and design a bigger bore is not all that bad to shoot.  NW guns were never noted to be comfortable to shoot.  The natives often complained that the stocks were to straight.

DP

Offline Dphariss

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Re: smoothbore accuracy
« Reply #8 on: February 06, 2009, 06:43:01 PM »
A smoothbore that would use the Lyman .662 ball with a heavy patch would be a very good choice. Though I suspect the 20 will do well for deer sized animals as will a 24 bore with a .535 ball.
The 16 is the best compromise of recoil and power. The problem with smoothbores is  that they sometimes like heavy charges of powder. My 50 smooth barrel shoots 2/3s the powder of the 16 bore to shoot best at 50-60 yards. A 16 that likes 140-150 grains in a light fowler will not be pleasant to practice with.
In guns under 9-10 pounds it can make a lot of recoil in the 1600 fps velocity range.
My 16 bore rifle, stocked as a circa 1800 English HS (think fowler buttstock) took some getting used to. But I never notice it now especially on game.
Nor should it be shouldered as pictured below. One must shoot it like a shotgun and stand more facing the target. This is not the best for offhand accuracy but its best for heavy recoil. If this rifle slips off and hit the biceps the shooter will know it for quite some time.
This said this the the best ML hunting rifle I have ever owned and I have and have had some pretty good rifles. It is far handier than a long barreled fowler even at 10 pounds.



This rifle has a 80" twist, I suppose I should pattern it with shot at 20-25 yards just for fun. I have some wads.

Dan
He who dares not offend cannot be honest. Thomas Paine

Offline James Rogers

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Re: smoothbore accuracy
« Reply #9 on: February 06, 2009, 06:53:47 PM »
Nor should it be shouldered as pictured below. One must shoot it like a shotgun and stand more facing the target. This is not the best for offhand accuracy but its best for heavy recoil. If this rifle slips off and hit the biceps the shooter will know it for quite some time.

Actually the stance is OK as far as angle is concerned. The boxer's or more square stance is more a Churchill form. The stance pictured is more of a Charles Lancaster and I use that as well.
The main thing that needs to be adjusted with the subject in the photo is the nose needs to be over the toes. ;D 

tg

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Re: smoothbore accuracy
« Reply #10 on: February 06, 2009, 11:17:43 PM »
I have come to prefer the smaler bores .58/.62 I had a .72 and it did not do nearly as well but that ay have been a fluke, I used to have a .54 that was as good as the .58,if a lot of wingshooting is to be done a larer bore would be an advantage there, I like the more conservative appitites of the .58/,62 when it comes to lead and powder also.

Daryl

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Re: smoothbore accuracy
« Reply #11 on: February 07, 2009, 01:07:49 AM »
A 16 or larger can sure drain the pot a lot faster, and a pound doesn't go very far, either. - 50 shots with a 140 gr. load.  Many's the day I had to fill my horn to finish off a day's shooting with the .69. My horn holds 4/5's pound.

As Dan said - there is no better hunting rifle design than an Egnlish one.  The later 1850's period fit even better.  The come to the shoulder, on targeg - automatically, like a fine double shotgun - sights already aligned on the spot.  One merely looks at the target, shoulders the rifle and it's ON!  The Jaeger comes on second, I think, with Taylor's Virginia possibly coming in 3rd- IF it had a 32" barrel, that is.

northmn

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Re: smoothbore accuracy
« Reply #12 on: February 07, 2009, 01:45:59 AM »
One of the reasons I decided to stay with the 20 in a fowler is that I likely will not do a lot of wing shooting with it.  Ruffed grouse are a real challenge on the wing with a modern shotgun least to say a flintlock.  Its been done but sometimes its nice to meander through the woods with a fowler and literally pot shoot what is available be it squirrel or grouse.  If I were hunting near water, I do have a few bismuth 6's that would work as well.  I feel no lack of sportsmanship shooting sitting with a flintlock.  In some ways it can be its own challenge.  I have a 12 bore for possible wing shooting pheasants, but mainly because the wife complains that she doesn't care for pheasant.  I also think, at smoothbore ranges, the 20 should be adequate should I decide to try for a deer with one.

DP

tg

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Re: smoothbore accuracy
« Reply #13 on: February 07, 2009, 03:56:35 AM »
The .62 will not dissapoint you for deer hunting, and in re-enacting I would think it a must to knock a fat Grouse off a stump from time to time, I used a .58 Fusil this fall with shot and took 13 squirrls over the course of a few outings, having the gun fit well is a big factor with smoothbores in my opinion I worked the comb down and shot a few times as I was finishing the gun up so that I "automaticaly" brought the gun up to a good sight picture. I believe that is the reason the first shots out of the finished gun were as good as they were, had I just scraped the stock down and finished it I likley would have to had to raise my head up or scrunch down to get the sight picture I like, there is usually enough wood on the precarves that you can play around a little with them.

Offline Dphariss

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Re: smoothbore accuracy
« Reply #14 on: February 07, 2009, 06:15:39 AM »
Nor should it be shouldered as pictured below. One must shoot it like a shotgun and stand more facing the target. This is not the best for offhand accuracy but its best for heavy recoil. If this rifle slips off and hit the biceps the shooter will know it for quite some time.

Actually the stance is OK as far as angle is concerned. The boxer's or more square stance is more a Churchill form. The stance pictured is more of a Charles Lancaster and I use that as well.
The main thing that needs to be adjusted with the subject in the photo is the nose needs to be over the toes. ;D 

With the first barrel which was rough at the breech this rifle made 1750 with 140 gr ffg. If it was held a little to much like a crescent but gun and it came of the shoulder the bruise lasted for weeks.
So I try to get a little more square with it.
This barrel is smoother and shoots MUCH better but also lost 100-150 fps. Recoil also seems less.
I suppose if you took a pic of me shooting this thing at game I would look just like this.
Aside from the powder consumption they is no real downside to this rifle.
With the increase is bear "problems" during bow season (bad idea to imitate cow and calf elk in G bear country)  it also gives a little fudge factor when elk hunting should the hunter come across something with claws instead of hooves.

Dan
He who dares not offend cannot be honest. Thomas Paine

Daryl

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Re: smoothbore accuracy
« Reply #15 on: February 07, 2009, 09:07:13 AM »
Couple friends of mine no longer hunt elk with bows. The caller bugled in 5 adult grizzlies one day - they thought they were gonners - lucky for them the walked out. I suspect a cleanup was needed.  They were sitting on their tree stands at ground height with a big one looking down into one guys eyes form 10 feet away trying to figure out what that cammo'd lump was.  Something spooked them and off they went running in line, right beside the caller.  He said, I could have touched them with my bow tip.