Author Topic: .40 St. Louis Hawken Tests  (Read 11752 times)

Offline Herb

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.40 St. Louis Hawken Tests
« on: August 29, 2015, 12:40:44 AM »
I shot my .40 St. Louis Hawken I built, to test JoAnn patching and loads.  This rifle has a 30" Rice barrel.  I built it for Ron, who died, and I bought it back from his widow, Alice.  Info on the targets tells the story.  No wiping or cleaning at all for first 20 shots.  Velocities are what I got in other tests.

I started at 30 grains, first JoAnn drill then the JoAnn 100% linen.  It liked 40 grains better- I think.

Did not like the 50 grains as well.  I put a wet patch on the seating jag, thus wiping the bore down to the ball as I seated each one.  No other wiping or cleaning.

In a previous test, 60 grains of Goex 3F was more accurate that Goex 2F.  The 80 grains naturally grouped higher on the target.

This is a composite of all the shots fired.

I continue to experiment with targets that are easier to see.  Starting to get macular degeneration, and need bigger targets to hold precisely.  No shots called out on these targets.  Wild shots are probably due to too small patches, thus holed.  Could not find them as I shot, so don't know which ones holed.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2020, 07:22:57 AM by Herb »
Herb

Offline D. Taylor Sapergia

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Re: .40 St. Louis Hawken Tests
« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2015, 01:34:54 AM »
Great to see your meticulous testing Herb.  I'd like to see the same test done using .018" cotton (denim, drill or twill - stuff that is double or triple woven).  The barrel shows promise, and I predict that the groups will shrink considerably with the heavier stronger cloth, and flyers will diminish too.
D. Taylor Sapergia
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Art is not an object.  It is the excitement inspired by the object.

Offline Hammer

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Re: .40 St. Louis Hawken Tests
« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2015, 09:13:44 AM »
Herb, for easier sighting you might like to try a black card with a triangular cut-out in the top half, point downwards.   On a white background.  For 50 yards shooting I have used A4 craft card.  With the top side of the triangle the full width of the top edge and coming down to the centre.    That point of the white really stands out.
Good luck.
Peter

Offline Herb

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Re: .40 St. Louis Hawken Tests
« Reply #3 on: August 29, 2015, 05:07:20 PM »
Thanks, Hammer, I'll try that.  You notice I have changed my white in my target to be like your upside down triangle.  I used to have it wider at the bottom.  It is that white that I hold on, but it will be easier to see if larger.  It really does center that front sight.  And Taylor, I have used thicker patching but it is hard to load, even with a radiused crown like you and Daryl use.  Will get some JoAnn Bull Denim and try that and report back.  I think my patching was too thin.  I like linen, but thicker.   I was testing what is commonly available, I get my good linen from Home Fabrics, if I remember.  I have some that crushes to .012.
Herb

jamesthomas

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Re: .40 St. Louis Hawken Tests
« Reply #4 on: August 29, 2015, 06:56:37 PM »
 Herb, at what yardage did you shot these? I use a .395 round ball myself with a .015 pillow ticking (Red stripe) patch myself. At 35 yards I can get about an inch group, using Hoppe's No.9 patch lube and 35 grains of 3fff Olde Enysford.

Offline Herb

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Re: .40 St. Louis Hawken Tests
« Reply #5 on: August 30, 2015, 04:46:35 AM »
These are all 50 yards.  I have had no luck with Olde Eynsford 3F, so far.  I really like OE 2f and OE 1 1/2F
Herb

Offline Don Steele

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Re: .40 St. Louis Hawken Tests
« Reply #6 on: August 30, 2015, 02:21:10 PM »
Herb, at what yardage did you shot these? I use a .395 round ball myself with a .015 pillow ticking (Red stripe) patch myself. At 35 yards I can get about an inch group, using Hoppe's No.9 patch lube and 35 grains of 3fff Olde Enysford.
James e,
Just jumping in here with my own current experience working up a load for a new Rice .40 cal bbl.
I tried lower powder charges...35,40, etc. but found I had to get over 50, before my groups started tightening up to what I thought I should be getting. FWIW: In my Rice 40, shooting .395 RB cast from a Lee mold I've settled on 55 gns. Goex 3f with a .018 ( compressed measurement) teflon coated patch. From a rest, I get 50 yd, 5 shot groups I can cover with a quarter. 
I tried Old Eynesford too, and while it certainly didn't hurt anything...I didn't see any advantage that would cause me to switch from Goex with which I'm already well supplied, and have great load combinations worked up with for my other rifles.
Look at the world with a smilin' eye and laugh at the devil as his train rolls by...(Alison Krauss)

Offline smylee grouch

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Re: .40 St. Louis Hawken Tests
« Reply #7 on: August 30, 2015, 02:52:26 PM »
I have five different 40 cal rifles from three different makers and my experience with them is as Don Steele's. They shoot better with 50+ gr. of powder.

Offline Herb

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Re: .40 St. Louis Hawken Tests
« Reply #8 on: August 30, 2015, 05:08:28 PM »
Hammer, so much for memory.  My targets are really wider at the bottom, not like your triangle.  Hope to do some shooting today, will try one of your target styles. 
Herb

jamesthomas

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Re: .40 St. Louis Hawken Tests
« Reply #9 on: August 30, 2015, 05:47:18 PM »
I have five different 40 cal rifles from three different makers and my experience with them is as Don Steele's. They shoot better with 50+ gr. of powder.

 I was looking for a squirrel load for my .40 and haven't tried any higher charges yet.

Offline JBJ

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Re: .40 St. Louis Hawken Tests
« Reply #10 on: August 31, 2015, 12:00:31 AM »
My experience with .40s (two of them) is like Smylee's and Steele's - don't skimp on the powder. Fifty-five+ grains of FFFG has been the norm for both rifles with a tight ball and patch combo. In my opinion, you are trying to use a a "lot" of rifle to hunt squirrels with. I am sure that your eyes are better than these old peepers of mine so that only head shots  are being considered. But 40's will shoot! You have a perfect excuse to find /build that .32!

Offline bgf

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Re: .40 St. Louis Hawken Tests
« Reply #11 on: September 01, 2015, 09:12:57 PM »
My chunk gun is a 40 cal. Green Mountain 1 1/8".  It likes at least 60 gr. on average goex 3f, but some batches need more.  Patches are either heavy canvas, 10 oz bull denim or occasionally .020 teflon.

Targets make a big difference.  Whatever works for you to keep the sight picture consistent is fine, but play with colors and size depending on light, generally brighter light can use smaller target, wheras dimmer light at target needs to be bigger.  Shaders over front and rear sights are essential.  Finally, anything more than a slight breeze, esp. Strong intermittent gusts, can move a 40 significantly.

Oh yes, wiping can help particularly in hot dry conditions.

The 60 and 80 gr. Targets look promising.  I would try that range with thicker patching and fine tuned sighting setup in as little wind as possible.

Offline Marcruger

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Re: .40 St. Louis Hawken Tests
« Reply #12 on: September 02, 2015, 03:16:30 AM »

I hope this proves helpful to you.  I made this target on an 8.5x11 sheet of paper, and photocopy it. 
The triangle provides an easy aiming point both vertically and horizontally for aging eyes.  I use Walmart reading glasses picked to see the front sight clearly (I have a whole bag, different strengths).  With the target "fuzzy", I can still see the aiming point of the triangle well enough to shoot the cloverleaf you see here.  40 yards.  I am still working on loads and sight regulation. 
Give it a try.  All you need is a piece of paper and a Sharpie. 
Best wishes, and God Bless,   Marc

Offline Herb

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Re: .40 St. Louis Hawken Tests
« Reply #13 on: September 12, 2015, 09:24:36 PM »
I have gone to heavy patching as Daryl recommended and polished the crown even more.  This has eliminated the blown patches.  I still have shots out of the group but now know they are due to my use of a muzzle rest.  I need to modify it so it holds the muzzle so it cannot shift when I shoot.  (The composite target groups were shot with a forend rest).  I made weight-corrected measures from cartridge cases for 60, 65, 70, 75 and 80 grains of Goex 2F.  Using an older (steel, Minden, LA) can of Goex, I found that 80 grains volume weighed 5 grains more than my plastic bottle Goex 2F.  Made a corrected 80 grain measure.

Patches were red cotton duck from Wal Mart (several vears ago), which miked .020 with a spindle micrometer and ratchet. (Got it from Herters about 1970 for $5.00, made in West Germany).  When I twisted the barrel to compress the cloth, I got .010.  A dial caliper read .020 and then with the blades squeezed between my fingers, .018.  I always use a compressed spindle reading, for that is what happens when the ball is seated.  Just went to Wal Mart to find more of that red duck so I could post what it is.  Found only some "ruby" (I think) made in China cotton that miked .012 ratchet and .007 compressed.  I tried other fabrics they had, all about the same.  Did not get to Jo-Anns yet.

Shot 5-shot progressive charge groups (on 9-10, top row is 9-8) with a damp cleaning patch on the seater jag.  No other cleaning, except at the end.  60, 65, 70 and 75 grains have the same point of impact, but 80 grains impacts higher.  Shot some .023/.013 yellow awning (Wal Mart couple of years old) on the last target, but it is too hard to load.  All balls for all charges were seated with a short starter and mallet.  Could have used my hand, but a mallet is easier.

Though these groups look large, the best three shots of each target shown, 27 shots, averaged 1.08" extreme spread.  The composite target from 8-23-15 had the best 3 of each 7 groups averaging 1.05".  Thus 48 shots with all these different powder charges and patches in about one inch at 50 yards.  (You can hit CONTROL and the + sign to enlarge the photos).




(Shot #2 of the 80 grain charge loaded so hard that I shot it on the fouler target).

I ran out of red duck so had to use other patches the last three targets.  This target is the best I have for my eyesight now.  I tried Marcruger's target, but that required construction instead of a template and spray paint, and was not as good for me.  I am getting about all of this rifle I want, got others to build.  Have to figure what to do with it.  May give it to a nephew is Iowa, a hunter.  May sell it, now that I have figured out how to shoot it.  Got an elk hunt in October  where I will use my .54 Bridger Hawken.

« Last Edit: May 04, 2020, 07:29:05 AM by Herb »
Herb

Offline Marcruger

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Re: .40 St. Louis Hawken Tests
« Reply #14 on: September 12, 2015, 10:54:36 PM »
Hi Herb,

The way I bench shoot things that shoot projectiles slowly (Blackpowder Cartridge Rifles, Muzzleloaders, etc.) has to do with cushioning/controlling the jump of the firearm while the ball or bullet is in the bore. 

For the front end I use a typical high-powered-rifle front rest.  I lay the back of my hand on top of the rest, and grasp the foreend right where I'd grasp it offhand.  I hold the foreend tight to prevent it from jumping out of my hand.  My friend who is a top flight shooter rests his foreend at the same spot, but on the rest itself.  He then wraps a few fingers over the top of the barrel to prevent jump.  I'd never rest it near the muzzle, as you get all sorts of jump and whip. 

On the rear I have a large soft beanbag.  It's maybe a 11" cube.  I end up with my forearm and the underside of the buttstock on the beanbag.  I again grasp the wrist tightly. 

This is totally different from how I shoot a high-powered-rifle from the bench, but it seems to get results.  In high-powered you never steer the gun with your body, you let the rear bag do the steering.  For blackpowder I do all of the steering with my hands and shoulder, and hold it a lot tighter. 

I think it may be worth a try? 

Good luck with your shooting.  Not sure how you use that target, but if it works for you, then you go for it!   :-) 

No shooting here today.  Rain.  We need it, but I prefer it to not visit on Saturday morning! 

Best wishes and God Bless,   Marc

Offline Herb

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Re: .40 St. Louis Hawken Tests
« Reply #15 on: September 13, 2015, 06:16:17 AM »
Thanks for the comments, Marcruger.  I have fired many tens of thousands of roundballs through muzzleloaders .40 through .58, flint and caplock, from benches and obviously have not yet learned how to shoot them all through the same hole.  I hold heavily charged and hard kicking big calibers as you mention, but not the light calibers.  I saw no difference in point of impact from the muzzle rest compared to the forend rest.  But my scoped .22 shot 4" high at 50 yards with that muzzle rest, compared to zero with the stock rest.
Herb

Offline Herb

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Re: .40 St. Louis Hawken Tests
« Reply #16 on: October 05, 2015, 02:35:40 AM »
I finally figured that my large groups were a result of bench holding technique.  So I made a muzzle rest.  It has 1/4" lag bolts that can level the rest but stick into the bench top to hold it in place.  I use a rear leather sandbag.  Smylee grouch told me he uses 65 grains of Swiss 3F in a .40 chunk gun, but I do not have 3F so used Swiss 2F.  A weight-calibrated measure, .390 round balls, .018 Jo-Anns linen, which crushes to .012 and required pounding the short starter with a rock to seat the ball.  After shot #3, with about a 10 mph head wind, I switched to .015 linen that crushes to .009.  Made all the difference in loading.  I had a cleaning patch damp with my Murphy Oil Soap-alcohol lube on the seating jag of the ramrod, thus wiping the bore down to the ball at each loading.  I don't know why shot #5 was wild, but things went well until shot 10 and 11.  I then cleaned the bore and found it very gritty down at the ball seat and below.  I think this actually caused the patches to tear, thus the wild shots.  After scrubbing that out, shot 12 was a bore fouler, then 13 went where it should.  There are five shots in that hole that can be covered with a quarter.

I have had hard fouling with Swiss 1 1/2F in a .58 flintlock, 110 and 120 grains, and the same thing is happening here.  If I wanted to shoot this load, I'd have to clean the bore between shots, or at least after 5 or 6  shots, and there are better things to do.  The tape on the barrel marks where I rest the barrel in the leather-covered notch.
[
A close-up of the target, with the thicker linen patch at top and the thinner below.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2020, 07:31:55 AM by Herb »
Herb

Offline T. Nienaber

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Re: .40 St. Louis Hawken Tests
« Reply #17 on: October 05, 2015, 02:43:02 AM »
I have five different 40 cal rifles from three different makers and my experience with them is as Don Steele's. They shoot better with 50+ gr. of powder.

 I was looking for a squirrel load for my .40 and haven't tried any higher charges yet.

I shot 60 gr's for years and had dropped to 50 gr's after advice from a friend and the groups improved greatly!

~Tony

Offline Daryl

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Re: .40 St. Louis Hawken Tests
« Reply #18 on: October 06, 2015, 12:56:53 AM »
In order to shoot loads giving over 1,800fps, on up to 2,300fps in a .40, the load must be very tight or there will be blow-by, fliers and ruined patches.  The pressures are up around the 15,000LUP/CUP/or PSI range.
Check Lyman's BP Handbook to see representative pressures with the higher loads. You will also note that pressures with a given powder grade, are the same if other calibres if the same velocity is made.
My .40 gave me 2,240fps with 65.0gr. 3F GOEX and the combination I was shooting - with a water based lube.
The velocity of 2,260fps was obtained with 75gr. 2F GOEX with the same ball and patch combination. That was the ticking I measured at .0225" compressed in my calipers as tightly as possible between finger and thumb. In my micrometer, using the rachet, they run: .019"
If I close the barrel, anvil to anvil, using the ratchet, it stops at .0000"- steel on steel.  If I turn the barrel further, I can actually turn it .007 TIGHTER than that .0000" measurement. That is bending/flexing the yoke in my opinion.
Daryl

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Offline Herb

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Re: .40 St. Louis Hawken Tests
« Reply #19 on: October 06, 2015, 08:51:16 AM »
I wore out an Oehler 35P chronograph, shooting tens of thousands of centerfire and muzzleloader rounds through it.  They rebuilt it for me last summer.  With 65.5 grains of weight-calibrated measures of Goex 3F and a patch of Jo-Ann drill that miked  .015 on the ratchet, and all patches were good, I got 1946 fps for five shots.  Would have to search my chrono book for 65 grain loads in other .40's I built.  With 75 grains of weight-calibrated measures of Goex 2F and .020 white duck that measures .020 on the ratchet, I got 1986 fps for five shots, all patches good.  This is what I got.  Springing the yoke of a micrometer by bearing down on steel against steel is not the same as crushing cloth.

I have actually got higher velocities with thinner patches in a .40 in several tests.
Herb

Offline Daryl

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Re: .40 St. Louis Hawken Tests
« Reply #20 on: October 06, 2015, 06:52:26 PM »
I'm not sure what wearing out a chronograph and them rebuilding it has to do with anything. I actually have a fair handle on chronograping myself as I've been doing it ever since Oehler came out with "Light Screens" in the early 70's. I got my first chornograph in 1973 and have had 2 more since that time - still have both, but unlike your Oehler they did not wear out, in only tens of thousands of readings.

If I close the anvils on my fabric of choice using the ratchet, then bear down on the barrel, I get the about same 'extra' compression - .007" to .008"  than I get doing the same turning of the barrel when the steel anvil is on the steel anvil. Interesting. When the steel is on steel, I can actually feel the yoke moving. Mitutoyou micrometer reading to the ten-thou and finer between the lines, of course.  Not the best quality, but not junk.

I have noted prior to this, that most "thinner patch" loads give less velocity, not more. I have ALWAYS recorded higher speeds with tight combinations and greased or oiled patches. I do not understand how a thinner patch could possibly give higher speeds, as due to the blow-by that will reduce pressure and therefore decrease speeds, not increase it.

I did made a mistake in the above post however as my speeds with the 65gr. 3F and 75gr. 2F were with Lehigh Valley lube, not water based. My .45 gave almost identical speeds as noted for the .40, when using 75gr. 3f and 85gr. 2F, both GOEX, with .445" balls and 10 ounce denim that I measure at .0225" with my calipers. This also was with Lehigh Valley Lube. Barrel lengths were 42" for both chronograph tests.  THIS makes a difference as well, however, the pressure is the same in both guns, if the loads and patching is the same.
Daryl

"a gun without hammers is like a spaniel without ears" King George V

Offline Herb

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Re: .40 St. Louis Hawken Tests
« Reply #21 on: October 07, 2015, 12:57:08 AM »
 See Black Powder Shooting, Herb, January 06,2012.  Photos there.
Testing .40 Patches & Velocities
http://americanlongrifles.org/forum/index.php?topic=19866.msg187884

In this test of a .40 Vincent I built, I used .400 balls from Eddie May and .020 OxYoke patches with 40 grains of Goex 3F.  Having only three balls left, I used .010 OxYoke patches and they went 222 fps faster and cut the group size by one-fourth.  I always wondered if that result would repeat.

Today I tested those patches again, shooting from rest at 50 yards.  My ".400 Rush Creek" cast balls are really only about .395 and weigh 95.5 grains, very uniform.  The .020 OxYoke patching measured .019 and the .010 OxYoke patching really was .010.  I used spit for lube and did not wipe between shots nor between targets.  40 grains of Goex 3F. (On an IBM computer you can enlarge the photo by holding down the Control and hitting the Plus sign.  Minus makes smaller.  Control zero (0), back to normal.

The caplock Thomas Oldham Bedford I built has a 7/8" x 42" Green Mountain barrel.  I used CCI 11 caps.   The flint Jacob Wigle (Westmoreland Co., PA) rifle I built with a 15/16" x 44" Green Mountain (IIRC) barrel.  I could not start an .020 patched ball into the bore, so went with ".015 OxYoke" precut round patches, which really mike .011 to .012.  And then .010 on Target 4.  Notice that Target 3 shows a 1.9" group with the same velocity and wide spread as Target 1.  Then on Target 4, I used .010 OxYoke and the group went to six inches. There was radio interference preventing further chronographing, so I got only one velocity, 1599 fps.  So I shot four more ".015" OxYoke, same as on Target 3, and the accuracy returned.  I did not find any torn patches.  Just some of the variables out there!
 
« Last Edit: May 05, 2020, 12:57:54 AM by Herb »
Herb

Offline Herb

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Re: .40 St. Louis Hawken Tests
« Reply #22 on: October 07, 2015, 06:17:09 PM »
The way to find this post is to go to Search, type in 40 Vincent and Herb and hit search.  No other entries needed.
Herb

Offline Gene Carrell

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Re: .40 St. Louis Hawken Tests
« Reply #23 on: October 16, 2015, 01:46:19 PM »
I too tested a 40cal Hawken "squirrel" rifle built recently using a Don Stith parts set, DeHass barrel. Using 0.395 cast rb, 0.018 pillow tick, Mr. Flintlock lube and 45gr 3Fg Elephant powder, CCI 11m caps. Groups were all less than 1" at 35yds (our local pistol range) off a bench. It may do better, but I am happy for a first outing. Incidently, the rifle was not wiped between shots and load 30 was as smooth as the first. I like Mr. Flintlocks lube.
Gene