Author Topic: Early 19 century Turkey hunting  (Read 1063 times)

Offline Nhgrants

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Early 19 century Turkey hunting
« on: April 30, 2019, 01:09:27 AM »
After spending a while experimenting and trying to get a cylinder bore to pattern,
I m really thinking that buck shot or a round ball was used on turkeys in the trade gun days.
Just my opinion but it would have given the hunter more of an advantage.

Offline Hungry Horse

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Re: Early 19 century Turkey hunting
« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2019, 02:44:34 AM »
I would suspect that many turkeys were hunted with smaller gauge smoothbores than is common today. Many of the modern “turkey guns” would be considered heavy water fowlers in years gone by. 12gauges and up throw a big charge of shot, but are so large in the bore that without modern monkeying around in the form of choking the bore in some way, its too wide to hold a tight pattern. I think even though the smaller bores have a longer shot string, it doesn’t make much difference on a standing bird, and the pattern is ultimately much tighter. And you can shoot smaller shot.

  Hungry Horse
 

Offline Pukka Bundook

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Re: Early 19 century Turkey hunting
« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2019, 07:10:00 AM »
Hungry Horse,

Bore diameter has no real effect on shot patterns, all else being equal.  The larger bores with light loads produce some of the very best.

For a look into this,  GT Garwood's books on shotgun shooting are the most thorough.  (Mostly from articles written for " The Shooting Times"  (GB) ).

You may or not also recall Keith Neal, shooting flying rooks and such with normal bore fowling pieces, at 75 yards or so.  We can not compare our results now with the old long barreled fowling pieces with their friction and relief bores.  some of the old barrel borers had it figured out very well really.
(See Hawker , "Instructions" )

Offline Mike Brooks

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Re: Early 19 century Turkey hunting
« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2019, 03:51:16 PM »
Getting a cylinder bored barrel can be difficult to get to pattern well. It has taken me several full days to get some to do so. But, there is always a combination that WILL work if you work at it hard enough. I take the lazy way out and have my fowling guns jugged.
 I have had a couple cylinder bored guns that shot exceptionally well, usually smaller bores for some reason....28 bore through 18 bore have always been magic for me.
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Offline Pukka Bundook

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Re: Early 19 century Turkey hunting
« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2019, 04:07:47 PM »
Mike,

Very tru.
Cylinder bores Do take work, and the old gunners always stressed taking the time and trying them extensively for pattern and penetration.
The rewards are worth it though.   My best patterns seemed between about 18 bore and 14, the rough equivalent of a modern 12 , but for those into shooting clays, a 10 bore with a light load Can produce some  some of the Very best patterns ever seen.

All the best,
R.

Offline Mike Brooks

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Re: Early 19 century Turkey hunting
« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2019, 04:14:08 PM »
Mike,

Very tru.
Cylinder bores Do take work, and the old gunners always stressed taking the time and trying them extensively for pattern and penetration.
The rewards are worth it though.   My best patterns seemed between about 18 bore and 14, the rough equivalent of a modern 12 , but for those into shooting clays, a 10 bore with a light load Can produce some  some of the Very best patterns ever seen.

All the best,
R.
For flint guns, I found that a chambered breech was magic for good patterns too. Seemed to work well for all bore sizes, always threw good solid patterns. Oddly, I never had an antique percussion gun that shot a pattern well enough o satisfy me, at least not as well as my flint guns. I'm guessing the problem might have been ram rod wear at the muzzle. Probably if They were trimmed back 5/8" or so it may have fixed the pattern.
NEW WEBSITE! www.mikebrooksflintlocks.com
Say, any of you boys smithies? Or, if not smithies per se, were you otherwise trained in the metallurgic arts before straitened circumstances forced you into a life of aimless wanderin'?

Offline Pukka Bundook

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Re: Early 19 century Turkey hunting
« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2019, 04:25:36 PM »
Mike,
I think your findings re. flint and percussion has more to it than just  muzzle wear.
One thing that Might contribute to this, is if a percussion gun is converted from flint, the shooting (apparently according to Hawker ) very often suffered as a result.
So, some of the old percussions you tried, if bored for flint, might have been spoiled in conversion.

What you say I too have found.  Have a double 18 bore flint, and it would shoot a killing pattern at 50 yards or more, regular as clockwork.  (Once shot a right and left at British Jays, at over 70 yards with it)
The boring is important, and we nowadays are at a disadvantage in only having cylinder bored (or jugged) barrels whereas the old ones varied along their length most of the time. (Some tighter at breech, others slacker at breech and V often relieved at muzzle to some degree.)

Offline Daryl

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Re: Early 19 century Turkey hunting
« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2019, 07:10:01 PM »
Too, some held that tighter in the middle, tapered larger at the breech and muzzle was the best 'pattern' of boring.
All I can suggest is to experiment and find what your gun prefers!
Daryl

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

Offline Hungry Horse

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Re: Early 19 century Turkey hunting
« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2019, 08:17:58 PM »
All I can swear to about tight shot patterns in small gauge shotguns I learned from first hand experience. Now I’m talking about still shooting, not wing shooting. I built my son a miniature .410 trade gun when he was about five. He shot it primarily with round balls, until he saw a couple of us shooting trap with our trade guns. When he tried his gun we were stunned by its tight pattern out to 30+ yards. He took it to an annual event that offered all kinds of shooting for all kinds of guns. One kids event was a quail head sprayed on a 3x5” file card shot off a bench at 30 yards, most shot in the head wins. They finally outlawed that little trade gun. It shot a tighter pattern than modern shotguns, and it only has an 18” barrel.

  Hungry Horse

Offline Pukka Bundook

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Re: Early 19 century Turkey hunting
« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2019, 09:46:45 PM »
Hungry Horse,
If you could figure what you did right with that little gun, the info would be worth an awful lot of money!
It sounds something worked awful 'right' in that case.
True enough, smoothbores are a law unto themselves, and some are perverse.

I'm still puzzling over how that little gun did what it did, but something really worked!!

Best of everything,
Richard.

Offline Hungry Horse

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Re: Early 19 century Turkey hunting
« Reply #10 on: May 01, 2019, 03:37:47 AM »
Richard;

 The only odditys in the barrel is that it was a cartridge bolt action .410 barrel, that was full choked in the last few inches of the barrel. Since I cut about a foot off the muzzle the choke there is long gone. Now the breech of course was chambered, but I only cut off enough to eliminate the external threads, and square up the breech. I then threaded it internally for a 1/2” plug, so its larger than bore size for the first couple of inches at the breech. Might that make the difference?

 Hungry Horse

Offline Daryl

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Re: Early 19 century Turkey hunting
« Reply #11 on: May 01, 2019, 04:02:57 AM »
Don't know about the breech having an effect on patterning - doens't make sense. Sometimes stuff like that happens. I broke 10 straight from 16 yards with my little .44 smoothbore, but I had used a brake cylinder home and put in a bit of a jug choke. Got something right and only used 1/2oz 7 1/2's & I think 45gr. 3F, hard card on the powder, a plastic shot cup wad and overshot card. Patterned much better than my daughter's .410 single shots.
I also head shot bunnies with it to about 45/50 yards with patched round balls.  Traded it for an original Sharps barrel and mould - shouldn't have. Richard used it for years instead of his rifle for his own trail walk. Now that he's gone, his boy has it, still shooting it and claims as good accuracy as "a" rifle, to 84yards, their furthest target. Ya just never know.
Daryl

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

Offline Darkhorse

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Re: Early 19 century Turkey hunting
« Reply #12 on: May 01, 2019, 05:41:47 AM »
I think more small bore rifles were used for turkeys than many realize. I have taken several with a patched round ball and find the meat damage far less than expected. Not to mention the greater range with a rifle. I find the .40 to be just about perfect.
American horses of Arabian descent.

Offline Nhgrants

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Re: Early 19 century Turkey hunting
« Reply #13 on: May 01, 2019, 03:17:12 PM »
That was kind of the point I was trying make.  In Vermont we can only use a shot gun a no shot larger than
#2.  A bow can also be used.

Maybe they got A lot closer to the turkey.

Offline Pukka Bundook

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Re: Early 19 century Turkey hunting
« Reply #14 on: May 01, 2019, 05:19:06 PM »
NH,
Maybe they did get closer, maybe turkeys were less wild, like the deer back then.
also, they maybe (if they had one) used a big old gun or musket with swan-shot and took family shots.

Offline Lobo

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Re: Early 19 century Turkey hunting
« Reply #15 on: May 01, 2019, 07:56:51 PM »
I think Swan shot was used back in the day. Made from a mould of by pouring lead through some king of screen.





« Last Edit: May 01, 2019, 08:03:52 PM by Lobo »

Offline Lobo

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Re: Early 19 century Turkey hunting
« Reply #16 on: May 01, 2019, 08:10:25 PM »



Offline Elnathan

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Re: Early 19 century Turkey hunting
« Reply #17 on: May 04, 2019, 02:15:13 AM »
Quote
Maybe they got A lot closer to the turkey.

I think they generally used a call to locate the birds and then stalked them, rather than trying to get the birds to come to them. Or just shot them off of their roosts...
A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying...cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects. -Robert A. Heinlein

Offline Mike from OK

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Re: Early 19 century Turkey hunting
« Reply #18 on: May 04, 2019, 11:45:56 PM »
Or just shot them off of their roosts...

Very likely. I have read several accounts about how game was taken in years past. "Sporting chance" was not a consideration... The account that stuck with me the most was a primitive form of spotlighting deer.

Folk were pretty creative before supermarkets were an option.

Mike

Offline Hungry Horse

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Re: Early 19 century Turkey hunting
« Reply #19 on: May 07, 2019, 01:31:09 AM »
Everybody seems to try to crowd traditional old time turkey hunting into some kind of gentleman’s sport. There were no turkeys in the countries where sports hunting was a gentleman’s game. I would suspect it was pretty much catch as catch can. I think any was they could put a turkey in the larder worked for them.

  Hungry horse