Author Topic: Shooting the Ferguson  (Read 11319 times)

bryanbrown

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Shooting the Ferguson
« on: March 15, 2009, 12:51:47 AM »
Ricky Roberts and I took our Ferguson rifles to the range yesterday.

http://i356.photobucket.com/albums/oo1/grizzledroberts/100_0335.jpg


Ricky's  goal was to break his old record of 48 shots. to do this
From Ricky's post on another forum

"I did an 18th century tortue test. I did not fire these rounds super fast. As in an 18th century battle there would be no cleaning what so ever. Firing slow perhaps one round a minute of aimed fire The barrel started heating up after 8 rounds. Shots 9 & 10 were shot through a sea of heat waves. After shooting 10 rounds I set the rifle aside for the barrel to cool.
After cooling I shot 10 more. I brought another muzzle loader to shoot during the cooling periods.
I brought 53 greased ball this time. I actually hollered when I shot # 49! I shot all 53 of my rounds when Bryan offered me some of his greased rounds. I shot 7 of Bryan's rounds and took the total up to 60! A little later Bryan was shooting his Ferguson off the a rest to figure out the sight picture, He loaded and fired two more rounds out of mine to see the difference between the two sight pictures. This brings the total up to 62 rounds fired. After round # 55 the action began to stiffen up some from the fouling. But we were still able to crank the action closed into battery. An outstanding day at the range! We stopped at 62 rounds because we were getting hungry not because we only had 62 rounds!
Ever wonder what a rifle looks like after 62 rounds with no maintenance between the shots?"

http://i356.photobucket.com/albums/oo1/grizzledroberts/100_0344.jpg

http://i356.photobucket.com/albums/oo1/grizzledroberts/100_0346.jpg

I did not start the day with a new flint, I had one flint change"

One of the myths about the Ferguson Rifle is that
because of the black powder the rifle will "lock up" after only a few rounds.

BUSTED!!!!! .

bryanbrown

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Re: Shooting the Ferguson
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2009, 12:54:40 AM »
For the folks who go to Friendship you can look Ricky up at the blockhouse.

From Ricky post on another list.
What I plan to do is have a Ferguson afternoon behind the Blockhouse the first weekend. Sat or Sunday There is plenty of steel for us to shoot at
but no 300 yard stuff. Last year at the silly wet range was such a fuster cluck I will not try that
again. When it gets closer I will post this on the forum. I know Jethro and a few others would like to play with the Fergie. Who knows I may try to get to 70!!! I was going to title this post : Help me break the 48 barrier : I took care of that yesterday...couldn't wait till June!

Candle Snuffer

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Re: Shooting the Ferguson
« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2009, 04:16:15 PM »
What's the load you use in that Ferguson?

bryanbrown

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Re: Shooting the Ferguson
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2009, 11:29:23 PM »
.615 ball dipped in beeswax, 65 gr Schutzen Rifle powder  (that is what the chamber holds)


Offline davec2

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Re: Shooting the Ferguson
« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2009, 06:45:24 AM »
Bryan,

I sent the following note to Grizz (Ricky?) the other day as we were discussing shooting the Ferguson.  I had measured the length of the powder chamber in my barrel from the vertical breech face to the rifling shoulder and I was shocked to find it was just under one inch.  It didn't look like it would hold very much powder and Grizz had been talking about how his chamber was fairly short.

"Grizz,

I just cast a Cerro-Safe plug in the Ferguson chamber to get a better measurement.  Came out really well.  I also did some volume calculations.  When I calculate the volume of the chamber and subtract half of a .615 ball (I have ignored the wax layer for the moment), I get a chamber volume of 0.307 cubic inches.  Using 3F Goex, I have a powder measure that has in internal volume of 0.189 cubic inches and throws 48.1 grains.  When I run the numbers, the chamber in my barrel should hold about 78 grains, minus a little for the wax adjustment.  As you say, I will give it a try as is before I start cutting steel."

Have you measured your chamber depth?  I would be interested to know if it is substantially different from mine, but it sounds like my powder calculation and your actual measurement are fairly close.

dave C
"No man will be a sailor who has contrivance enough to get himself into a jail; for being in a ship is being in a jail, with the chance of being drowned... a man in a jail has more room, better food, and commonly better company."
Dr. Samuel Johnson, 1780

bryanbrown

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Re: Shooting the Ferguson
« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2009, 08:49:46 PM »
Davec2

Yeah Ricky is Grizz,

To measure my chamber I wasn't quite as mathematical.  I dropped  waxed ball in the chamber, poured in powder, closed the chamber, opened the chamber and dumped the ball and powder back into a powder measure with a funnel to catch it.  It measured out between 64 and 67 grains across 10 samples. With 65 grains dumping 6 of the 10 times.  I tested with 3f Goex though I shoot Schutzen 3f powder.

I'll have to see if I have any cerrosafe or suphur out in the shop to take  a plug.  With your calculations only allowing for 50% of the balls volume I think you are a bit high.  It looks to me more like a marble in an icecream cone then a plug at the max diameter.  At a WAG more like 80% of the volume of the ball.  But that is to be generous a calculated guess  and at best a SWAG.


Offline davec2

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Re: Shooting the Ferguson
« Reply #6 on: March 24, 2009, 09:00:15 AM »
Bryan,

Thanks for the info.  I think you are right about the volume taken up by the ball.  Does your rifle shoot low with only the amount of powder you can get in the chamber the way it is? 
"No man will be a sailor who has contrivance enough to get himself into a jail; for being in a ship is being in a jail, with the chance of being drowned... a man in a jail has more room, better food, and commonly better company."
Dr. Samuel Johnson, 1780

Daryl

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Re: Shooting the Ferguson
« Reply #7 on: March 24, 2009, 04:48:55 PM »
If you pour cerosafe into the Ferguson's chamber, how do you get the cerosafe plug out?

Offline davec2

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Re: Shooting the Ferguson
« Reply #8 on: March 24, 2009, 06:34:26 PM »
Daryl,

To cast the Ferguson chamber you first need to remove the tang plug (i.e. the part that looks like a conventional breech plug).  Now there is an open straight shot through the barrel.  After casting the cerrosafe plug in the chamber, I tapped it straight out through the breech area with a brass rod from the muzzle end.
"No man will be a sailor who has contrivance enough to get himself into a jail; for being in a ship is being in a jail, with the chance of being drowned... a man in a jail has more room, better food, and commonly better company."
Dr. Samuel Johnson, 1780

Daryl

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Re: Shooting the Ferguson
« Reply #9 on: March 24, 2009, 06:51:21 PM »
I wondered how easy it was to get "the back end out".  for some odd reason, I never took a good look at how the Ferguson Taylor made was put together.

bryanbrown

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Re: Shooting the Ferguson
« Reply #10 on: March 25, 2009, 03:26:21 AM »
Ricky's has a rear sight @3/10 of an inch taller then mine.  His hits dead on at 200, you need to aim about a 8 inches  low at 100.  My shorter rear sight REALLY makes it hit low about 4ft low with the same hold as Ricky's Ferguson.  I am making up a taller rear sight to try and fix this situation.


docwhite

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Re: Shooting the Ferguson
« Reply #11 on: March 29, 2009, 07:05:18 AM »
MAY I ASK WHO BUILT THE FERGGIES YOU GUYS ARE SHOOTING. ALSO, WHERE ARE YOU  AND HOW IS THE HUMIDITY. AND DOES THE HUMIDITY MAKE ANY DIFFERENCE? I HAVE A TURNBREECH RIFLE AND IT CLOGS UP PROMPTLY IN OUR DRY UTAH AIR. THANKS doc

Daryl

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Re: Shooting the Ferguson
« Reply #12 on: March 29, 2009, 05:27:25 PM »
Doc- we packed the screw threads on the Ferguson Taylor built, with bullet lube - this helped a lot. The day I was at the range shooting with him, we only had to remove and clean the threads about every 40 or more rounds. The humidity was down around 35% that day - quite dry - everything covered with fouling, sparkling white - the usual here in central BC.  It can be 75% in the morning, heavy air, but by 1 or 2PM, down to 35%.  Our yearly average is 50% - no fouling problems with any muzzleloading guns.

bryanbrown

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Re: Shooting the Ferguson
« Reply #13 on: March 30, 2009, 12:54:53 AM »
I built my Ferguson from TRS parts, Ricky's is a Narragansett I forget what the number is. We us a Fergi-lube mixture, here in the Carolinas we find a 70% Beeswax and 30% crisco mix works year round. We used to use tallow or salt free lard, but frankly crisco was easier to get and cheaper.  If you are in colder or dryer climates you may need to move closer to a 50/50 mix.  We shoot .615 ball dipped in beeswax (dip once and set aside to dry for a smooth skin, don't let them touch or they grow nibs that get in the way.  We also cover the breech plug in the Fergi-Lube as part of both the storage and shooting regimen.  We used to melt the lube and dip the breech in, but I find cleaning with boiling water the breech is hot enough to melt onto the threads well enough to prevent fouling build up as part of the cleaning process.

With this mix our current record is 62 rounds before we had any trouble with the action getting stiff.  We didnt stop due to stiffness, we ran out of ball. Which so far has been what has been the limiting factor for each of the records  ;D  We are looking at casting up 100 and seeing how far we can get shooting.

We are using 3f Schutzen powder, we find it gets better performance and less fouling them the GOEX brand powder. 

Humidity this time of year is between 15% and 30% most of the days we have been shooting.  A couple days were 100% and in the 40s when we had some winter rain storms.  I didn't notice any major difference in performance across the weather spectrum so far with this Fergi-Lube mix, the thinner mixes melt out when firing during warmer weather above 80 degrees.

Is that the sort of info you were looking for?

Bryan K. Brown
www.gunsmithy.com
www.jaegerkorps.org
bryankbrown@sprintmail.com
bryanbrown@jaegerkorps.org

Alle künst ist umsunst wenn ein Engle auf dem Zundlocke brünst.

Willy

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Re: Shooting the Ferguson
« Reply #14 on: April 03, 2009, 12:02:12 AM »
Hello,
  There is also a Ferguson copy being made in Chambersburg by a fellow named Ernie Cowan.I have seen his guns,they are very well made.Has anyone shot one of these?
  I have a Narragansett gun,but haven't shot it.Several owners have reported significant gas leakage,jamming problems(perhaps poor lube choice?),and faulty ignition.Maybe these need a "tune-up"?
   If I wanted a gun specifically for shooting which gun is superior? I am thinking a Rifle Shop kit ?
   Thank you for comments!
                          Willy

bryanbrown

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Re: Shooting the Ferguson
« Reply #15 on: April 03, 2009, 11:52:53 PM »
Willy

Narragansett used TRS parts, so if you build a TRS parts set you are essentially building the same piece.  Though I do like guns I built better then ones I buy.  You are looking at a little under $2k in parts

Fergusons will leak a little, don't wear a big brimmed hat.  My light infantry cocked hat and my cocked hat work fine, as does my fatigue hat.  My big honking straw riceplanters hat.  A bit to much brim.   any brim basically 1 hand wide (like your saluting) is fine. Some ball caps are longer then that some are not.

Ricky

Me


Ernie does nice work and while I have handled his Fergusons, I have not had a chance to fire one.  I can say with Fergie-Lube and lubes ball Ricky and I get more then 2x as many shots without fouling issues. In sharing research with Ernie over the years it is my understanding he starts fouling up at about 30-35 shots, Ricky and my current record is 62 shots.   Ernie is a bronze breech dry approach and there were bronze breech Ferguson pattern rifles.  However no Ferguson Ordinance Rifles which is specifically what I was interested in. Ernie's are replicas of some private purchase Ferguson pattern rifles aka sporting guns.

Pictures of Ricky's Ferguson over 1500 total shots fired rather more then any original!!
1. Ferguson Rifle breach closed.


2. The screw breach is attached to the trigger guard. One full turn of the trigger guard opens the breach.


3. A close up of the screw breach showing Patricks Ferguson's 1776 patented anti fouling grooves.


After 62 rounds fired




The wrong lube, or wrongly applied lube can be a challenge to thick or too much creates issues with the anti-fouling cuts and the "touch hole" (in quotes because it is largely a half open cone in the rotation breach)

hopefully that helps some

Willy

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Re: Shooting the Ferguson
« Reply #16 on: April 05, 2009, 08:04:20 PM »
Dear Bryan,
   Thank you for this valuable information! I didn't realize that Narragansetts were assembled TRS kits.Perhaps I will experiment with my gun now after your technical analysis.I have a .610 ball mould at the moment.Ernie had a lot to say about the quality of the powder used,the cleaner burning ones may offer an advantage.I just bought some Schuetzen FF,as I had been leary of trying Goex.Also have some lube made from deer tallow and beeswax that has been working quite well with muzzleloaders.
             Thanks Again,
                        Willy

bryanbrown

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Re: Shooting the Ferguson
« Reply #17 on: April 05, 2009, 08:37:23 PM »
Willy

Not sure if it was a typo, we are using 3f versus 2f.   But we also see better results from Schutzen, Goex works but is is lower pressure and a bit dirtier in the Ferguson.

We are using the .615 molds, please share your results of .610 ball I would be most curious as to your results.  If you decide to get .615 we got ours from Jeff Tanner in the UK.

Our thought is the more we spread our results out to folks, the more can test them and either benefit from our results or share new better information with everyone.  The Ferguson is just too cool a bit of technology to let fall into obscurity due to misinformation or lack of information.

Ricky and I are trying to make some videos on the Ferguson and its care and feeding.  We'll let folks know if we generate anything useful.

Willy

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Re: Shooting the Ferguson
« Reply #18 on: April 05, 2009, 11:37:29 PM »
 Bryan,
   Yes,its FFG.Unfortunately black powder is no longer sold in this state.I had to go to RI to buy the Schuetzen,they only had FFg left.I have FFFg Goex,but everyone claims its the dirtiest one out there,don't actually know for certain.A pity,there is almost no BP shooting left around here. :'(
 
                   Willy

bryanbrown

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Re: Shooting the Ferguson
« Reply #19 on: April 06, 2009, 03:53:53 AM »
Have you considered mail order? 

http://www.trackofthewolf.com/(S(0nio0m45isntso55cmrl5055))/categories/tablelist.aspx?catid=2&subid=30&styleid=94

http://www.mainepowderhouse.com/

If you have a club splitting up the order makes the minimums more palatable.


bryanbrown

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Re: Shooting the Ferguson Demo at Loch Norman Games
« Reply #20 on: April 09, 2009, 04:22:54 AM »
Anyone in the Carolina's area who may be attending the Loch Norman Highland games.  RIcky and I will be doing A Ferguson Demo there Saturday at 4pm.  We will also be available to answer questions or just shoot the breeze

http://www.ruralhillscottishfestivals.net/