Author Topic: Shooting Matches  (Read 834 times)

Online alacran

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Shooting Matches
« on: January 15, 2022, 04:07:09 PM »
Dan Phariss and I were having a discussion on target shooting on another thread. It really did not fit there. I find the subject interesting and Dan made some really good points regarding target shooting in America as being mostly shot from a rest.
In the 19th century with advent of the percussion cap, long range target shooting became at once practical and obsessive. So much so that shooting was a largely attended spectator sport. As advances in rifles and the projectiles that were being developed great accuracy at long distances was obtainable.
However Offhand shooting contests predated that, and I contend that they were as popular before the percussion cap era and continued so.
The great Ned Roberts wrote that " between 1888 to the late 1920s Harry Pope and Dr. W. G. Hudson, were the most skill full, most expert offhand riflemen in the United States. " During that period offhand competition was shot at 200 meters in Europe and 200 yards in the US.
Harry M. Pope was one of the premier long-range muzzleloading barrel and rifle makers of the 19th century.
I have seen reproductions of paintings of men shooting at marks off-hand with flintlocks. I have been trying to remember exactly what publications I saw them in.
As I mentioned in the other thread offhand shooting competitions go back hundreds of years originating in the German lands. They were the natural progression from archery contests that were shot with crossbows and bows.
I welcome more discussion on this topic as I find interesting and illuminating.
A man's rights rest in three boxes: the ballot box, the jury box, and the cartridge box.  Frederick Douglass

Offline Dphariss

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Re: Shooting Matches
« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2022, 07:17:20 PM »
People in the past are consistently inconsiderate to people doing research today. With rare exception all we get is snippets about the guns/rifles and their use. The Military is fairly well documented  but civilians not so much. Granville Stewart writes of a rifle match in one of his books but in skimming through “Prospecting For Gold” I could not find it and cannot remember enough details. It’s in the 1860s while he was at Bannack and Virginia City MT. But there are other writings by him and it might there.
So far as the Germans. Along with their offhand guns there were quite a few long heavy rifles as well that I am sure were shot from a rest.
Most people do not understand how popular shooting sports were in the 19th c. In post US Civil War there was a lot of money to be made a shooters would travel long distances to attend. One shooter won enough gold at a Schuetzen match in Wisconsin that he had to pay a boy to help him carry it to the train station. Don’t recall his name but he was one of the big names in the sport at the time.
Crisis is the rallying cry of the tyrant”. James Madison

Offline Ron Wehmeyer

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Re: Shooting Matches
« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2022, 08:41:58 PM »
A very interesting topic . A few months ago I was lucky enough to find this percussion target rifle in great shooting shape . The man that I purchased it from called it a Long range gun. It is 59 Cal with a ROT of 1 in 26" . Breech measures 1.6" and muzzle 1.4"  with a slight slight swamp . The sights are two leaf rear and blade front with a tang mounted rear . The rifle shoots very accurate with PRB but I am convinced that it is a bullet gun . Need to get a mold made for it , still trying to come up with a design  for the mold . Often wonder what shooting matches it was used in and how far they would shoot . Am almost certain its a bench gun No provision for palm rest . The barrel has a metal stop plate just back of the muzzle that looks like it has had a rest attached there at one time .  Gun weighs a bit over 17 pounds .                  Correction made .59 Cal.

« Last Edit: January 16, 2022, 11:47:43 PM by Ron Wehmeyer »

Offline Ron Wehmeyer

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Re: Shooting Matches
« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2022, 09:11:05 PM »
View of muzzle end .


Offline Daryl

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Re: Shooting Matches
« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2022, 09:18:08 PM »
Ron, what a treasure!
 
questions that need answers:

How deep is the rifling?
What is the bore and groove measurement?
That will help you on bullet diameter. A grooved and lubricated bullet will obturate considerably, but the close it can be to the groove diameter
to start with, generally the more accurate it will be.

A 26" ROT in a .56, will support quite a long bullet, actually, in the 600gr. range, maybe more.
We know that a .50 cal. with 24" ROT will shoot very accurately to 1000 meters with a 600gr. bullet.
In .56 cal. it should shoot any 'conical' well, I would suggest from 400gr. up. The longer the bullet,
to some extent, the better the long range accuracy should be.
At the turn of the 19th to 20th century, Harry Pope, both a 'rest" and standing shooter, noted that a Man's offhand rifle should be 16 pounds, and a woman should be shooting
a 12 pound rifle. IIRC He was talking "Schutzen-style rifles".
This bullet gun is not one of those and like you said, likely a bench rifle. If meant for offhand shooting, it would have had a hooked plate to assist with holding the rear of the gun to the shoulder.

The rod's short length is interesting and confusing.
Daryl

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

Offline Ron Wehmeyer

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Re: Shooting Matches
« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2022, 11:46:31 PM »
Daryl I made a Typo , its a 59 Cal.     Barrel is 35" long  with a  Bore of .590 with seven grooves ten thou. deep . It shoots a .580 ball with denim or pillow ticking greased patch very well . I use powder charge's from 80 -120 Gr. ffg. About 100 Gr. does well . The plate under the barrel  is held by one screw . If it is removed a full length ram rod can be used .   With the plate in place it must use the short rod , just as a filler I assume .

Offline Daryl

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Re: Shooting Matches
« Reply #6 on: January 17, 2022, 03:55:50 AM »
Are you sure about the rate of twist being 1 turn in 24"? That's a bullet twist for sure in that calibre. I am surprised it shoots well with that much powder, being such a fast twist.
Daryl

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

Offline Ron Wehmeyer

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Re: Shooting Matches
« Reply #7 on: January 17, 2022, 01:50:05 PM »
The ROT on this one is a gain twist , starts out at about 1 in 32" and speed's up to about 1 in 26" or 27 " at muzzle , best I can measure .  For 50 yd. - 75 yd. shooting PRB  60gr. fffg Goex  under PRB works great . I only have about 3 lb. of that left and doubt I will get more . Have been using ffg Swiss and 1.5 Old E along with Schuetzen and Graf & Son  in ffg  and fffg . All loads must have an over powder wad . Without the protection of the over powder wad it will destroy patch's , and the bore /rifling is in great condition  . A side note , I have a .56 Cal.  Light Jaeger built about the same area and time as this one . It has a 26" barrel and a straight ROT of 1 in 26 "  one turn in the length of the barrel. That rifle does well with 45 -65 Gr. of fffg Goex  . I use an over powder wad in that one also .  Still experimenting  with the heavy gun . When I do try bullets the starting charge will be much lower .

Offline Dphariss

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Re: Shooting Matches
« Reply #8 on: January 17, 2022, 06:38:34 PM »
Europeans were notorious for over twisting RB guns.  I suspect the gain twist is what it does not blow patches. If the bore were much larger I think it would strip anyway as the ball weight increased.
Crisis is the rallying cry of the tyrant”. James Madison

Offline Dphariss

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Re: Shooting Matches
« Reply #9 on: January 17, 2022, 06:51:07 PM »
Very nice old rifle. Some more thoughts. The short rod. Its possible that this is intended to make sure the rifle was rested at the right place. And in some matches the rifle had to be equipped with a rod. Some have a rod but its far short of the barrel length. Only drilled into the lower forend far enough to keep it in place and satisfy the rules. Bench rifle makers like Brockway, if we can believe what he told Ned Roberts (think he fed Ned some BS on some things) would use something like powdered sugar on the top flat with the barrel with the  breech end in a vice. By tapping the barrel the powdered sugar would show the “dead” spot where the “foot” should be attached. That could be what the removable plate is for. A “stop” indicating the best place to rest the barrel.
Crisis is the rallying cry of the tyrant”. James Madison

Offline Ron Wehmeyer

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Re: Shooting Matches
« Reply #10 on: January 17, 2022, 07:41:20 PM »
Dan the wiping rod being there only for meeting the  (Must have a rod rule ) is what I thought also . Not useful but technically  its there . Interesting use of powdered sugar . The Old Timers may have had ways that were questionable but hard to argue with their success  and when they speak I listen . I think on this rifle the previous owner has found the sweet spot for me . In front of the Rod Stop is where I rest the barrel and it shoots pretty good .
« Last Edit: January 17, 2022, 10:19:21 PM by Ron Wehmeyer »

Online alacran

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Re: Shooting Matches
« Reply #11 on: January 18, 2022, 04:52:03 PM »


This is one of the paintings I was thinking about. It was painted by George Caleb Bingham in 1850.
It clearly shows men shooting at marks from the standing position.
The name of the painting is " Shooting for the Beef". 
I thank RAT for reminding me of the name of the painting in another thread, in Antique Gun collecting.
I believe that regional preferences as far as the type of shooting were the factor determining Standing or from a rest.
Back then as today, long range shooting with a ML was a very expensive proposition. I believe local matches were held with hunting rifles.
A man's rights rest in three boxes: the ballot box, the jury box, and the cartridge box.  Frederick Douglass

Offline Dphariss

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Re: Shooting Matches
« Reply #12 on: January 18, 2022, 05:44:09 PM »
Nice painting. Seems like I have seen this before. And it could easily be a regional thing or rules set up by the "match director". But then by 1850 things were changing maybe even before if we read the quote by Rev. Doddridge. But I keep thinking of the beef matches in Kentucky and Tenn near as I can tell right to present day were shot over a "chunk".  In some places, like the tall grass prairies of the West, like at a Rendezvous, shooting prone might not have been possible. I can tell you this. If the guy wants to win he needs to revise his stance.



Trying to stay out of sight of these guys is tough. I have read they have 8 power vision and it sure seems like it. They can see a person/vehicle a mile away+ and leave. I never killed anything this day but it was a good sneak anyway. Due to the grass being so tall I over shot the buck since he was 1/2 covered by grass.  Shoulda held down in the grass. But hind sight is always 20-20.

There is a really funny description of a smoothbore only  turkey match in the Warner/Lowe papers in which Nicador Kendall scratch rifled a barrel with coarse emery. He and the guy who went to the match with him won all the turkeys the guy would put up.  He was at one time partnered with Robbins and Lawrence. But drifted on by the time they started making Sharps patent rifles. The W/L papers describe him as the smartest man he/they ever knew.  No mention if it was a rest or standing match. But shooting at a turkey's head at 60 yards standing is not going to be an easy target.
Crisis is the rallying cry of the tyrant”. James Madison