Author Topic: Testing a Short .58 Leman Elk Rifle  (Read 4781 times)

Offline Herb

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Testing a Short .58 Leman Elk Rifle
« on: February 05, 2018, 06:23:48 AM »
I got the fantods (Jack O'Connor) from too many hours of building another close copy of the Kit Carson Hawken.  It was 50 degrees here and with no snow, I figured I should take a break and try out my .58 Leman, recently rebored by Bobby Hoyt from a .54 GRRW barrel that went through a fire and had been rebuilt by me into an elk rifle.  I made it as a caplock then changed it to a flintlock.  It has a 24 inch 1 1/16" barrel, which was too pitted to lap smooth.  Thus the rebore.  I hunted elk with it one season two years ago.

(I typed the text then uploaded the pictures and don't know how to move them where I want them.  Sorry about that). 

Today I tested five powders in it, using .570 cast balls and .016 linen that crushed to .010.  I made weight calibrated measures for each powder.  Shot  four-shot groups of each  at 50 yards through my Oehler 35P chronograph after a first fouling shot.  I had a damp cleaning patch on the seater jag, thus wiped the bore at each loading, but did not clean between powders until after the fourth one.  The 100 grains of Goex 2F grouped well and the patches were good.  Then I went to Olde Eynsford 2F and 1 1/2F and the patches blew.  So with the next powders, I used .019/.012 Levi, which held together so well it could have been used again, but required hammering the short starter to get the ball in the bore. I need a thinner patch. 

With no cleaning, I went to Alliant Black MZ.  This is probably to be loaded volume equivalent to Goex 2F.  I weighed those charges, and they averaged 88 grains, this being a coarse powder.  But to test weight equivalent charges, I made a measure that held 100 grains of BMZ.  This will not ignite reliably without a black powder booster charge, so I poured the measure full, then tapped out 5 or 10 grains and filled that with Goex 2F and poured it down the bore.  Real black powder must be used in the pan, I use about four grains of Goex 4F.  This results in perfectly reliable firing, I would trust it in any situation.

I had not cleaned the bore before this test and the velocity spread was large, but the group was good.  I then cleaned the bore to go home, but decided to shoot the Swiss 1 1/2F with good patches.  Then I had all the testing I wanted.

I have also used Black MZ in a .45 flintlock Lancaster style rifle I built, and it worked perfectly, with the black powder boost and black in the pan.  Anyone who says Black MZ or the Pyrodex or Triple 7 powders will not work in a flintlock has not tested these powders adequately to state that as fact.













Herb

Offline Greg Pennell

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Re: Testing a Short .58 Leman Elk Rifle
« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2018, 06:32:47 AM »
Now that’s a neat little close-quarters thumper!  Sure looks like it likes Swiss 1 1/2...

Greg
“Let your gun therefore be the constant companion of your walks” Thomas Jefferson

Offline rich pierce

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Re: Testing a Short .58 Leman Elk Rifle
« Reply #2 on: February 05, 2018, 03:03:40 PM »
Nice documentation.  How’s the shoulder, Herb?
St. Louis, Missouri

Offline Hungry Horse

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Re: Testing a Short .58 Leman Elk Rifle
« Reply #3 on: February 05, 2018, 05:38:09 PM »
I wouldn’t use any of the black powder substitutes in any of my guns. I’ve seen too many with barrel damage, even though they were well maintained.

 Hungry Horse

Offline Herb

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Re: Testing a Short .58 Leman Elk Rifle
« Reply #4 on: February 05, 2018, 06:47:29 PM »

Rich, it really thumped me. I used a home-made PAST shoulder pad, but a small sandbag between gun and shoulder works better.  I had to keep my face off the stock to avoid getting bruised there.  When I hunted elk with this as a .54, I think my load was 110 grains of OE 1 1/2, or maybe even Swiss 2F.  I shot 100 grains as a nice round number for comparing powders.

Hungry Horse, I do not use these non-black powders in my rifles, but a lot of people do and they need to know how this stuff works.  So I test them and report on them.  I can't remember how many CASES of black powder I have used in the last 25 years in test shooting.  I still have two cans of Triple 7 powder that Chris Hodgdon sent me about 2004 as writer samples when I phoned him with some questions.  It works as good now as it did then, no deterioration as some claim, but my shoulder was not up to more shooting yesterday and I needed different patching.  I would also prefer smaller balls, I think they are .562, but somebody borrowed my mold and never brought it back.
Herb

Offline Daryl

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Re: Testing a Short .58 Leman Elk Rifle
« Reply #5 on: February 05, 2018, 08:12:53 PM »
I have never heard of T-7 deteriorating, but have for the Pyrodex- they are not the same, far from it. Although the MSDS sheet says T-7 has percolates, the same as Pyrodex, apparently it does not, according to Monk.
Hodgdon used the same formula sheets (apparently) to simplify the gov't.  'process'. Monk noted, if he HAD to use a sub, he would use ONLY T-7 as the rest were either underpowered sugar based, or perchlorate based - iirc.
« Last Edit: February 06, 2018, 12:32:47 AM by Daryl »
Daryl

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

Offline Hungry Horse

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Re: Testing a Short .58 Leman Elk Rifle
« Reply #6 on: February 05, 2018, 08:32:22 PM »
Herb;

  I have an old Navy Arms .58 cal. Harpers Ferry that I shoot ocasionally. And, have found that the .562 round balls are easier to load than larger balls, and perform nearly as well. They do just fine on big critters.

  Hungry Horse

Offline Herb

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Re: Testing a Short .58 Leman Elk Rifle
« Reply #7 on: February 05, 2018, 09:45:18 PM »
Thanks, Hungry Horse.  .562 balls work well for me in my .58s.  I will try to find my mold.
Herb

Offline WaterFowl

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Re: Testing a Short .58 Leman Elk Rifle
« Reply #8 on: February 06, 2018, 07:33:17 AM »
Herb..Great report..love the details....

Gotta ask...Was that rifle loud?.....Have a short barrel in .32 cal. and it barks.

Offline Herb

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Re: Testing a Short .58 Leman Elk Rifle
« Reply #9 on: February 06, 2018, 08:34:45 AM »
Yes, it is loud, but I wear hearing protection, muffs.  Found my double cavity .562 Lee mold.  Hope to cast some balls and shoot some more before winter comes- if it ever does. And the Goex 2F and Swiss 1 1/2F groups are the same size, 1.4" spread.  I expect Olde Eynsford 2F and 1 1/2F will group even better with proper patches, and they give more velocity.
« Last Edit: February 06, 2018, 08:36:30 AM by Herb »
Herb

Offline rjpalmer

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Re: Testing a Short .58 Leman Elk Rifle
« Reply #10 on: February 06, 2018, 10:55:57 AM »
Great analysis and presentation of your findings.  You certainly have a lot of patience and probably bruises too.

Offline Herb

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Re: Testing a Short .58 Leman Elk Rifle
« Reply #11 on: February 06, 2018, 04:50:21 PM »
Yesterday my daughter Mary Jo and I went to the Uintah Care Center where I play guitar and we sing about 25 songs once a month.  Been doing this about 20 years.  We did "Make Me A Pallet on Your Floor" ("make it soft, make it low, so my good gal will never know"- (some hanky panky in that song).  This 95 year old gal said "You got a fat lip and cheek.  Did you sass your wife?"
Herb

Offline Pukka Bundook

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Re: Testing a Short .58 Leman Elk Rifle
« Reply #12 on: February 06, 2018, 05:22:18 PM »
Good report Herb.

.562's have always worked for me .

Somehow, your song reminds me of a local Cowboy Poet, Bryn Thiessen.
Had a poem about being in church and a big lady sitting in front.  When she stood up, her dress got stuck in her behind, and after pondering, he pulled it out for her.  She got real indignant,...............But even More so when he "tried to put it back!"

Offline Hungry Horse

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Re: Testing a Short .58 Leman Elk Rifle
« Reply #13 on: February 06, 2018, 08:36:27 PM »
Your post regarding a short barreled Leman reminded me of a set of gun fittings a guy tried to sell me years ago. The barrel was what caught everybodies attention. It was 1 1/2” across the flats, and .56 caliber, but it was only 26” long. Since the underrib appeared to be original to the barrel, I was left to assume this was how the gun was built. It was equiped with a back action lock, and fancy iron furniture. It looked very much like a modern made Tryon rifle, but was signed on the top barrel flat A. Wurfflein Phil. The barrel was also stamped by a San Francisco hardware store.
 So I assume short barreled plains rifles were occasionally built by some gunsmiths. I would suspect the buyer had a specific task in mind when he ordered it.

Hungry Horse

Offline Herb

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Re: Testing a Short .58 Leman Elk Rifle
« Reply #14 on: February 07, 2018, 07:13:18 AM »
My rifle was built by Carl Walker, head gunsmith at the Green River Rifle works, outside the shop.  Don't know why the short barrel, but the owner's trailer burned and the rifle was badly burned.  A friend bought the salvage and had it for about 10 years until he gave it to me.  I copied the lines of the original rifle.  I had built a Leman in the Green River shop in 1978, so I knew the lines.  Carl does not remember building the rifle, but it has his mark on the barrel, he knows he built it, but not why the short barrel.  Might have been salvaged from a damaged barrel in the shop.
Herb

Offline Hungry Horse

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Re: Testing a Short .58 Leman Elk Rifle
« Reply #15 on: February 07, 2018, 05:53:08 PM »
The journals of the Lewis and Clark expedition records their blacksmith cutting off a substantial amount of damaged barrel on one of their rifles. They shot the rifle to see how it affected the accuracy and found it changed things very little. This gun was given to one of their native guides.

  Hungry Horse

Offline prairieofthedog

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Re: Testing a Short .58 Leman Elk Rifle
« Reply #16 on: February 07, 2018, 06:58:02 PM »
Herb,love seeing your gun reports,glad you are still entertaining people with your guitar.Very generous of you.Is the Leman going to be your new Elk Rifle?That rifle would work good climbing the brushy hillsides of N.E. Iowa.And even tho we have some of the biggest Whitetails in the country,I think that .58 will work LOL!I use a .58 for them,not that I need to,I just like putting a big hole in them.I think my barrel is 28" and it does have quite the belch to it.But The recoil doesn't bother me ,I don't load super heavy and use round balls.

Offline Herb

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Re: Testing a Short .58 Leman Elk Rifle
« Reply #17 on: February 08, 2018, 08:49:26 AM »
Hello.  No, I think I am done elk hunting.  Missed last season because I was back in your neighborhood, and Prairie, and LeClaire and on the river.  With no snow, the elk stay high and hunting them is too unrewarding.  But- if a friend wants me to hunt with him, yes.   I need a rifle I can shoot off-hand.  It really is used to help climb and descend hills, drop the butt to the ground and push or balance.    I just put another 21 shots through it from the bench today.  Will post photos in a day or so.
Herb

Offline rich pierce

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Re: Testing a Short .58 Leman Elk Rifle
« Reply #18 on: February 08, 2018, 04:55:00 PM »
Herb, you’re a great example, teacher and mentor in your Hawken builds and working up loads.  Keep it coming!
St. Louis, Missouri

Offline Daryl

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Re: Testing a Short .58 Leman Elk Rifle
« Reply #19 on: February 08, 2018, 10:52:46 PM »
Hello.  No, I think I am done elk hunting.  Missed last season because I was back in your neighborhood, and Prairie, and LeClaire and on the river.  With no snow, the elk stay high and hunting them is too unrewarding.  But- if a friend wants me to hunt with him, yes.   I need a rifle I can shoot off-hand. It really is used to help climb and descend hills, drop the butt to the ground and push or balance.    I just put another 21 shots through it from the bench today. Will post photos in a day or so.

LoL - I had to do just that, the year before my knee replacement, Herb - using my .69 as a crutch on the rifle trails at the Hefley Creek Shoot, as I had a cane in the other hand.
Daryl

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

Offline Herb

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Re: Testing a Short .58 Leman Elk Rifle
« Reply #20 on: February 09, 2018, 01:49:06 AM »
I cast about a hundred .562 balls and shot two new powders.  I ran out of light or would have shot a couple more.  Used the .019 Levi which crushes to .012, but some patches blew. I had weight-calibrated measures for Swiss 2F, Olde Ensford 2F and 1 1/2F and Goex 2F, which I used for the Triple 7.

Swiss 2F and Olde E. 2F .  The chevron target is easier to hold center.  No shots called out or flinched on, and I had enough klatches that I could see my hold was always good.  I need better flints.

The Levi patches held for Olde E. 1 1/2F.  This is my favorite powder.

Here is Triple 7 2F, which Hodgdon sent me as a writer's sample in 2004.  I only use it for testing, and this bottle has been open a long time.  It is used bulk equivalent with black powder, I assume Goex 2F.   I filled the 100 grain Goex 2F measure full of T7 and tapped out about 10 grains, which I replaced with Goex 2F for 100 grains of propellant.  Dumped that down the bore and primed with Goex 2F, I'd run out of Goex 4F prime.  The powder fired just like the others.  All patches were donut-holed.  This is a hot powder and needs an over powder wad, such as the 3/4 inch heavy wool one shown here.

These loads have heavy recoil from the bench.  I use a sawdust-filled shot bag between the butt and my shoulder, and that works well.  Once I had the butt plate more out on my bicep, and that cured me of that hold!  I have a bruise from that one shot, but not from holding the butt in the pocket of my shoulder.  I started these tests because someone on another forum wanted to know how Alliant Black MZ behaved, and to refute the usual experts that say the "replica" powders will not work in a flintlock.  I chose 100 grains just for ease of comparison mathematically, for those who do that kind of thing.  No reason to think that should be an especially accurate load with any powder, but they all shot well when the patches held.  Measuring the groups, Goex 2F was 1.8 inches, Olde E 1 1/2F was 1.7 and Swiss 1 1/2F was 1.6 inches for four shots each at 50 yards.  The velocities were 1308, 1522 and 1413 fps.
Herb

Offline ddoyle

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Re: Testing a Short .58 Leman Elk Rifle
« Reply #21 on: February 09, 2018, 03:32:58 AM »
Quote
Yesterday my daughter Mary Jo and I went to the Uintah Care Center where I play guitar and we sing about 25 songs once a month.  Been doing this about 20 years.

Thank you for raising Mary Jo. I sure hope she is blessed with lots of children. You have done more then one man's work for this world.  shame on us all too selfish to follow suit.

Offline Matthew1969

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Re: Testing a Short .58 Leman Elk Rifle
« Reply #22 on: February 09, 2018, 07:17:15 AM »
Great shooting and excellent post! Thank you very much!
Matthew

Offline Herb

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Re: Testing a Short .58 Leman Elk Rifle
« Reply #23 on: February 11, 2018, 08:36:25 PM »
I went out to shoot another series, but the wind blew my targets down so I had to quit.  Here is 100 grains of Goex 3F and 100 grains of Olde Eynsford 3F.  This is the only good group I have ever shot with OE 3F.  Don't know why the Goex grouped so big.

Herb

Offline Herb

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Re: Testing a Short .58 Leman Elk Rifle
« Reply #24 on: February 17, 2018, 03:35:23 AM »
Shot some more today.  I tried Goex 2F again, thinking it was low in velocity at 1308 fps on February 4.  Started with .010 linen, and .562 cast balls, two patches blew, low velocity.  This was the same linen that with the .570 balls gave 1308 fps and a good group on Feb 4th.  Switched to .012 linen, and got 1317 fps.  Don't know why all four shots weren't in one hole, but my cast balls are not round.  Had to sort them by weight, and in miking them I found them out of round.

Then I went to Alliant Black MZ, 90 grains from my 100 grain Goex 2F measure, topped off with about 10 grains of Goex 2F.  Used a thick wool 3/4" over powder wad then the .012 linen and .562 cast.  I found 5 good patches.  Shot five shots, first no velocity reading, four averaged 1424 fps with 44 spread.  On Feb 4, the same powder but with .570 cast and .012 Levi patches gave 1622 fps with a spread of 139 fps.  Apparently the velocity difference is due to the larger ball and a different patch.

Then I went to Triple 7 2F, about 90 grains in the 100 grain Goex 2F measure, topped off with about 10 grains of Goex 2F.  Goex 4F in the pan.  .562 cast, same .012 linen and wool over powder wad.  All shots fired normally.  Found 3 holed and one blown patch.  The same load on February 7 with an .012 Levi patch and no OPW gave 1648 fps, only 11 fps faster, with a spread of 81.

I have now shot 14 targets with 61 charges of 100 grains of powder with Goex 3F, 2F, Olde Eynsford 3F, 2F and 1 1/2F, Swiss 2F and 1 1/2F, Alliant Black MZ and Triple 7 2F.  I wanted a direct comparison of these powders using 100 grains weight of each.  I had to change from .570 to .562 balls for ease of loading, and changed patching three times.  Any of those powders would do for elk hunting, given a thick enough patch.  Bobby Hoyt did a great job on the rebore.
Herb