Author Topic: Sidearms accuracy, smooth vs. rifled  (Read 1125 times)

Offline WadePatton

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Sidearms accuracy, smooth vs. rifled
« on: August 15, 2019, 12:34:28 AM »
Because the discussion of ROT for rifled pistols, I was wondering about how much accuracy one gives up at pistol ranges with no rifling atall.  Search finding nothing much to go on, here's a new thread.

Assuming a pair of pistols made identical in all aspects but for rifling, including sights.  Also assuming a proper rate of twist for the rifled bbl and appropriate load development for both of them. 

What's the group size difference a good shooter might expect to see at 50 yards, rested in good conditions of weather and light? Is that range reasonable for a smooth pistol?

Smoothie sub-question: Could a bare-ball loading (powder, ball, wadding) be expected to perform at this range?


Thanks, I get that the smoothbore gives options the rifle does not, but I know there's an accuracy tradeoff. I don't know if I'll ever have a smooth long gun, but am twisting the idea around of a short one.
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Offline Mauser06

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Re: Sidearms accuracy, smooth vs. rifled
« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2019, 02:45:12 AM »
Talking to Bobby Hoyt once....he said if I think I can shoot better with it rifled, send it back to him and he will rifle it....and he didn't seem to expect for me to send it back to be rifled.

Offline Ezra

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Re: Sidearms accuracy, smooth vs. rifled
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2019, 03:11:05 AM »
Iíve never felt the need to shoot my smoothbore .50 flintlock pistol further than about 10-12 yards maximum.  I mean, its purpose (in my view) was to clear a doorway.




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« Last Edit: August 15, 2019, 05:48:54 AM by Ezra »
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Offline MuskratMike

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Re: Sidearms accuracy, smooth vs. rifled
« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2019, 05:11:37 AM »
I agree if you want to do a side by side why shoot at rifle distance? I would set up the test at no more than 35 yards but realistically 25 would be a better test. These pistols either smooth bore or rifles were fore close action defense 10 - 12 yards or closer. If you are going to shoot much beyond that the rifled pistol will win hands down. Barrel length plays a big part just got my new pistol and it has a 13-in Rice swamped barrel with radius cut rifling and a crowned muzzle. and is a tack driver at close range.





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Keep your eyes on the skyline, your flint sharp and powder dry.

Offline redheart

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Re: Sidearms accuracy, smooth vs. rifled
« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2019, 05:16:37 AM »
Wade,
I once built a North Star West 20 gauge Trade pistol smoothbore and shimmed up the tang bolt with washers to get the right elevation to substitute for a rear sight.
Out to 20 yds, I don't think I've ever owned a black powder pistol that would out shoot it. I'll go to my grave regretting that I sold it. :o >:( :'(

Offline Pukka Bundook

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Re: Sidearms accuracy, smooth vs. rifled
« Reply #5 on: August 15, 2019, 08:12:36 AM »
If we look at what the Olympic winners can do with a smooth-bored pistol, it is usually far ahead of what most can do with a rifled arm.

Some groups are just one ragged hole.

Offline WadePatton

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Re: Sidearms accuracy, smooth vs. rifled
« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2019, 04:18:42 PM »
Sure, reset the yardage to "pistol yardages" I'm still thinking of my target days with other guns.

Okay then, I see no need for rifling in my pistols. Plus I'll put in the range time to sort out what makes it tick. They would be for pistol-ranges indeed, and I want the shot option.

These copperheads are hissin' me off.  :P
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Offline alacran

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Re: Sidearms accuracy, smooth vs. rifled
« Reply #7 on: August 15, 2019, 04:39:17 PM »
Wade, when it comes to pistols the first question one needs to ask is "what is the intended purpose".
If you want to shoot NMLRA competition, you will be shooting out to 50 yards with one hand holding the pistol.
If all you want it for is woodswalk or primitive competition, the local clubs set the rules.
 If you just want it for a backup gun for hunting. your state laws will dictate the pistol parameters.
I know there are smoothbore pistol matches in NMLRA competition, and International matches, but I am totally ignorant of the results achieved with such weapons.
"From one thing know 10,,000 things" Miyamoto Musashi

Offline Pukka Bundook

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Re: Sidearms accuracy, smooth vs. rifled
« Reply #8 on: August 15, 2019, 04:41:25 PM »
Wade,
Re Copperheads;
Herschel House told me they won't kill you, but they Will make you feel like you wished you'd died if you get bit!

Best,
R.

Offline Daryl

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Re: Sidearms accuracy, smooth vs. rifled
« Reply #9 on: August 15, 2019, 08:05:44 PM »
Buck and ball loads can be amazingly effective, but for finishing off game, a large bore pistol would be my choice.
Something like this one, rather plain, but effective:

"Liege" 12 bore




Daryl

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Offline MuskratMike

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Re: Sidearms accuracy, smooth vs. rifled
« Reply #10 on: August 15, 2019, 10:08:27 PM »
Daryl: seriously cool double barrel pistol.
"Muskrat" Mike McGuire
Keep your eyes on the skyline, your flint sharp and powder dry.

Offline hanshi

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Re: Sidearms accuracy, smooth vs. rifled
« Reply #11 on: August 15, 2019, 11:29:40 PM »
At 25 yards I used to be able to keep 5 shot groups in 2" with this .50.  Barrel is 9".  Nowadays I have trouble seeing anything at 25 yards.

!Jozai Senjo! "always present on the battlefield"
Young guys should hang out with old guys; old guys know stuff.

Offline WadePatton

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Re: Sidearms accuracy, smooth vs. rifled
« Reply #12 on: August 16, 2019, 12:01:23 AM »
Wade,
Re Copperheads;
Herschel House told me they won't kill you, but they Will make you feel like you wished you'd died if you get bit!

Best,
R.

My old pup has been bitten thrice in the last year and a half-I've suffered through his pain each time.   I'm cleaning things UP around here and any excuse for another sidearm seems legit.  If a blasted viper gets blasted for crowding my space, then that's just what happens. 

As to competition--I'm not worried about any rules, I can't find anyone to shoot competition locally and I'm not driving 4,9,12 hours to get to a shoot, every single shoot (at this point anyway).   

My first sidelocked sidearm will be a toting gun, not a target piece.

But I'll be quite pleased to out-score rifled bbl friends and competitors when the opportunity arises, any chance I get.

 ;D 
if I'm lucky.

Thanks for the feedback fellas.  I got a lot of other guns to finish first. But you well know the parts collecting process can span some years-if you're careful how you get them (spend wise).

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Offline WadePatton

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Re: Sidearms accuracy, smooth vs. rifled
« Reply #13 on: August 16, 2019, 12:32:15 AM »
At 25 yards I used to be able to keep 5 shot groups in 2" with this .50.  Barrel is 9" ...

Make your spotting target big like beach ball.  Move your score target to where the balls fall.  Easy, but much plinkability!

Is your 9" bbl a smoothie?  Thanks.
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Offline WadePatton

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Re: Sidearms accuracy, smooth vs. rifled
« Reply #14 on: August 16, 2019, 12:45:03 AM »
Also thanks fellas for sharing all your fine pistols with us.

I'm not set on a style just yet, but I know I tend towards a short bbl.  In my early pistol years I went for super long bbls, but then learned how unhandy they tend to be, and that I could shoot quite well enough with a lot less bbl.  So I'm thinking 6-8" will fill my bill-minimum 20 bore.

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Offline bob in the woods

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Re: Sidearms accuracy, smooth vs. rifled
« Reply #15 on: August 16, 2019, 02:38:24 AM »
Here is something to consider before dismissing the effectiveness of rifling over a smoothbore in a pistol  used at short range .  Someone came up with the idea of scratch rifling in dueling pistols because it offers an advantage. I've tried it and it works .

Offline WadePatton

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Re: Sidearms accuracy, smooth vs. rifled
« Reply #16 on: August 16, 2019, 04:47:44 PM »
Here is something to consider before dismissing the effectiveness of rifling over a smoothbore in a pistol  used at short range .  Someone came up with the idea of scratch rifling in dueling pistols because it offers an advantage. I've tried it and it works .

It is my hope that the pit vipers and other vermin are not supplied with pistols!

I get that.  But also that -any- sort of mental advantage might help those who entered into the contest of a duel. 

Also, the blunderbuss threads got me thinking on a hand cannon (because a blunderbuss in the belt wouldn't work on my sized frame).  The current plan is to build the pistol smooth and see exactly how accurate I can make it.  Then, if I need more accuracy and am willing to give up shot, then I can make a rifled one. If it proves no more accurate, I'll sell it and make something else.  Easy enough huh? (ambitious I am)  ;D
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Offline Daryl

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Re: Sidearms accuracy, smooth vs. rifled
« Reply #17 on: August 16, 2019, 06:50:58 PM »
I read that the .54cal. US Martial pistols & English Dueling pistols were popular when 'running'  buffalo(from horseback).  A brace (2) of pistols, held in shoulder holsters (the horses shoulders) at the front of the saddle, were "good for 2 buffaloes".
After the civil war, .44 calibre revolvers were found to be even better.  A model 1860 or 1847Walker was "good for 6 buffaloes".
This information from Firearms of the American West.
Daryl

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Offline Sharpsman

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Re: Sidearms accuracy, smooth vs. rifled
« Reply #18 on: August 16, 2019, 09:39:05 PM »
Personally I got no need of a short or long gun to have a smoothbore!!
"There ain't no freedom...without gunpowder!"

Offline hanshi

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Re: Sidearms accuracy, smooth vs. rifled
« Reply #19 on: August 16, 2019, 10:20:50 PM »
At 25 yards I used to be able to keep 5 shot groups in 2" with this .50.  Barrel is 9" ...

Make your spotting target big like beach ball.  Move your score target to where the balls fall.  Easy, but much plinkability!

Is your 9" bbl a smoothie?  Thanks.


It is rifled which (I think) gives it the accuracy.  Ideally a .45, smooth or rifled, with a 5"-6" barrel would be better.  I only have to be able to hit a deer's brain from a foot away, is all.  The pistol is a bit bulky for me.
!Jozai Senjo! "always present on the battlefield"
Young guys should hang out with old guys; old guys know stuff.

Offline MuskratMike

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Re: Sidearms accuracy, smooth vs. rifled
« Reply #20 on: August 16, 2019, 10:27:07 PM »
Sharpsman: I am with you 100% on this one.
FACT: other than quicker reloading there is nothing a smooth bore can do that a rifled barrel can't do better! Disagree with this? Ask the "red coats" about this just after The Battle of New Orleans in 1812.
The "Muskrat" has spoken!
« Last Edit: August 16, 2019, 10:31:45 PM by MuskratMike »
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Offline Dphariss

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Re: Sidearms accuracy, smooth vs. rifled
« Reply #21 on: August 17, 2019, 07:02:09 AM »
First off. Is the shooter a good shot with a pistol?
Me? I have no use for a SB pistol or SB long gun for that matter.
Also a longer barrel (sight radius) will make it easier to hit things. Short barrels are OK but harder to shoot well.
This is a 50 yard group with a rifled 50 cal GM barrel shot using my left eye ::). I think the 22 twist is too fast and would rather have 48" for pistols or rifles in 50 cal and even 54.
Also note that a 66 or 70" twist 54 barrel 9" long will shoot into 2" at 25 yards but may take a good charge of powder to shoot well and will still shoot bird shot pretty well at short ranges, 10-15 yards, if enough shot is put in. I have killed rattle snakes with my rifle's ramrod I sure as heck am not going to shoot one when I am hunting.
Grouse I can shoot with a round ball, or used to, I think Montana changed the law. I guess the bird hunters did not consider shooting grouse with a pistol sporting. But I don't shoot things for "sport".
So far as self-defense and clearing doorways? I have better things for this.


Dan
No, sir, I don't give 'em $#*!, I just tell the truth and they think it's $#*!. Harry S Truman

Offline WadePatton

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Re: Sidearms accuracy, smooth vs. rifled
« Reply #22 on: August 17, 2019, 03:53:52 PM »
Thanks Dan. 

Yes the shooter is good with a short gun.  That's the competition he got the most trophies in back when he had folks to compete with within an hour of home. Hardly ever hits the tomato vine when picking off hornworms with the rimfire.  :o ;D
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Offline Dphariss

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Re: Sidearms accuracy, smooth vs. rifled
« Reply #23 on: August 17, 2019, 04:59:41 PM »
Thanks Dan. 

Yes the shooter is good with a short gun.  That's the competition he got the most trophies in back when he had folks to compete with within an hour of home. Hardly ever hits the tomato vine when picking off hornworms with the rimfire.  :o ;D

Then why bother with a smoothbore?

Sadly the lack of shooters is afflicting all the more traditional disciplines as well as some newer ones like BPCR Silhouette. I shoot MLs and when I can Service Rifle, but the closest matches are 125+- miles. It used to attract a lot of people in places like Butte, it's so low some matches are cancelled in MT.  This is not good for shooting sports in general. Though we have a lot of shooters, at least with brass suppository stuff, people don't like to compete it seems. So more history dies....
Shooting flintlock rifle and pistol Sunday, but we seldom get more than 6-8 shooters....  Low population (Montana is 4th largest state with about 1 million population) we only have one young ML shooter. Membership dues will no longer pay for the insurance.  :'(
I should be greasing patches right now (or hauling garbage ;D) so I better sign off....
Excuse the brass suppository mentions but the decline is endemic, its not just ML shoots.
I wish I knew a way to turn this around.

Dan

No, sir, I don't give 'em $#*!, I just tell the truth and they think it's $#*!. Harry S Truman

Offline Daryl

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Re: Sidearms accuracy, smooth vs. rifled
« Reply #24 on: August 17, 2019, 06:14:15 PM »
Gotta start them young. We have a very healthy young shooter bunch show up at Hefley every year, but they are from all around B.C.
and Washington. Locally, we have no juniors I am aware of now, except for one family & they shoot rarely. I think they are still working
on the centre fielder for their family baseball team. ;)
Daryl

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