Author Topic: Effective range of a smoothbore  (Read 1851 times)

Offline MuskratMike

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1939
Effective range of a smoothbore
« on: January 31, 2023, 12:30:40 AM »
Well I have finally developed a load for my .54 caliber Don Bruton smoothbore that shoots fist size groups at 35-50 yards. Going to the range on Wednesday to pattern it with #8 shot. To all you out there who have shot a smaller bored smoothbore what is the effective distance I can expect to be able to kill grouse sized birds with it? Will post the pattern boards after I get back. I am thinking of patterning at 10 15 & 20 yards this sound about right? Barrel has no choke as I wanted one I could shoot patched round balls primarily with.
Thanks in advance for the help
"Muskrat" Mike
"Muskrat" Mike McGuire
Keep your eyes on the skyline, your flint sharp and powder dry.

Offline Daryl

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 13864
Re: Effective range of a smoothbore
« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2023, 12:32:39 AM »
I think you probably should be quite able, with one ounce, to 30 yards, if you can get it patterning slightly better than cylinder.
It should do this.
Daryl

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

Offline ScottH

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 481
Re: Effective range of a smoothbore
« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2023, 02:17:30 AM »
Sounds like you are on the way Mike, good work, and good luck!

Offline Austin

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 329
  • Austin Paul
Re: Effective range of a smoothbore
« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2023, 03:19:52 AM »
At 30 yds my .54 cal smoothies splatter shot like a cow on spring grazing. Iíve tried every combination including square loads, skychiefs, etcÖ..at the end of the day I think a 54 or 28 gauge in cylinder bore is to small to make consistent kill shotsÖ its more of a lucky pellet thing. Ok, Iíve started this argument, everyone chime in telling me im wrong!😂
Eat Beef

Offline Daniel Coats

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1150
Re: Effective range of a smoothbore
« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2023, 03:36:07 AM »
I've only developed loads like that one time. I swore I would not hunt farther distances than I could achieve pie plate size groups. Turns out it was easier to just to reach out and take the piece of pie. My groups were terrible.
Dan

"Ain't no nipples on a man's rifle"

Offline martin9

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 279
Re: Effective range of a smoothbore
« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2023, 04:22:02 AM »
Mine liked #4 shot the best it seemed. The load written at the top is 60 grs 3F, 3 overshot cards, one lubed felt wad and 70 grs. #4 shot. This target was shot at 23 yards.

Offline martin9

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 279
Re: Effective range of a smoothbore
« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2023, 04:24:57 AM »
Oops....forgot the target


Offline Austin

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 329
  • Austin Paul
Re: Effective range of a smoothbore
« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2023, 04:44:01 AM »
Thanks for posting that target , I canít do any better myself, a turkey would walk right through that shot pattern at 30 yards Ö.not saying he didnít die 1/2 day later. But you aint gonna sniff the gravy
Eat Beef

Offline martin9

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 279
Re: Effective range of a smoothbore
« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2023, 05:55:10 AM »
Good grouse load though

Offline Pukka Bundook

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2980
Re: Effective range of a smoothbore
« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2023, 07:16:50 AM »
For some reason a lot of muzzle loading fowling pieces produce better patterns with a bit larger shot than some of us use with cartridge guns.
I would try No 7 Mike, or 7 1/2.
An old and very ratty original double I had  in 20 bore, would always produce about 40 percent patterns at 40 yards with an ounce of No 7, and 2 or 2 1/4 drams of Curtis & harvy's No 2 cannister powder.
40 percent in a 30 inch circle that is.   340 pellets per ounce, so that means about 136 pellets in a 30" circle.
This is classed as sufficient for grouse and partridge etc, if the pattern be evenly spread,

That old gun did better than any new made guns I have tried, but the old guns were often not a True cylinder, but were bored with some friction and relief.
This often gave superior patterns, but still took experimentation to find what charge and wadding worked best!

Offline bob in the woods

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4447
Re: Effective range of a smoothbore
« Reply #10 on: January 31, 2023, 07:34:59 AM »
Mine liked #4 shot and was deadly to 25 yards. It was a fabulous partridge gun, but a friend talked me out of it  :(   

Offline walt53

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 98
Re: Effective range of a smoothbore
« Reply #11 on: January 31, 2023, 08:43:03 AM »
So far mine does pretty good with a news paper shot cup and 60 grn equivalent of no. 7 1/2 and 6 or 5 in a duplex load .3 wraps of your weekly paper have proved best so far for my gun.more testing to come this spring. Good luck as I have found it to be a working progress.walt

Offline Arcturus

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 451
Re: Effective range of a smoothbore
« Reply #12 on: January 31, 2023, 07:56:31 PM »
Don't be afraid to shoot much bigger payloads of shot than you would ever see in a typical modern shotshell in a given gauge.  The old "more lead, less powder" adage for tighter groups applies, but also just more lead in the air.  I realize you get a longer shot string, but I use way more than an ounce in just about any load I use in my 20 gauges and do fine on everything from squirrel and pheasant to turkey out to 30+ yards.  "Square" loads have never patterned well for me in any smoothbore.

Jerry

Offline MuskratMike

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1939
Re: Effective range of a smoothbore
« Reply #13 on: February 02, 2023, 07:47:38 PM »
Yesterday was a bright blue sky sunny day with temperature's in the low 40's and no wind so I went to the range to pattern the new smoothbore with #8 shot (all I had on hand). I shot at 15, 20 & 25 yards. The 15 yard pattern was fine but showed it shot slightly high. The 20 yard pattern was great and I held a little low centering the pattern right over the bull. The 25 yard pattern (which for some reason I didn't hold low) shot high and I pulled the shot right (my fault). Good enough for the one or two outings for grouse and quail.
I used a 75 grain load of Goex 3F a leather overshot wad equal volume of shot as powder and finished with another of the October Country leather over shot/over powder wads.
Comment?





"Muskrat" Mike McGuire
Keep your eyes on the skyline, your flint sharp and powder dry.

Offline Daryl

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 13864
Re: Effective range of a smoothbore
« Reply #14 on: February 02, 2023, 10:16:56 PM »
Interesting. Petty thin in the middle on that last shot. Appears you've found the max range for that load?
Daryl

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

Offline walt53

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 98
Re: Effective range of a smoothbore
« Reply #15 on: February 02, 2023, 10:29:11 PM »
Thatís about what I found with my 28 also ,after 20 yards I backed up one yard at a time and after 23 it seems that was it for a nice pattern.I think that with a cylinder bore 25 yards is it for a good pattern maybe further in bigger bores.just my 2 cents worth .walt

Offline Daryl

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 13864
Re: Effective range of a smoothbore
« Reply #16 on: February 02, 2023, 11:54:22 PM »
Some guns do better than others. It's all experimentation. Some loads in a cylinder bored gun are not good enough at 15 or 20yards.
Post-it note sleeves work for some, not for others.
These worked in the 1800's.




Since they aren't available today, some shooters have found the use of paper wraps do work. Some have used bank coil wrappers, stopped in each end with a wad.
Some have found these to shoot too tightly close in, so have cut slits in the paper to allow the shot to spread more quickly.
I will note here, that several "Colours" of shot ctgs. were used, depending on the expected range- from cylinder bored guns.
The Green (papered) one, out to 50 or 60 yards, acted as a slug, noted for deer or wolves, yet were for shooting ducks past 90yards, where the shot finally spread.
Other colours, red and yellow were for closer range shooting on ducks.
There is a good note in "Firearms of the American West" of a contest held in St. Louis area between an English Sportsman, here for hunting. He had a small (little pistol according to the fellow he shot against) SxS 14 bore shotgun cylinder choked gun in a patterning contest between himself and a local chap who had a 12 bore with 48" tubes, also non-choked. This fellow was a market hunter for the area.
The target was a 4" x 7" card of paper placed at 75yards. The local chap shot first, and was pleased with the 4 hits he had on that card of paper.
The Englishman "pulled his shot fired off the powder and reloaded his gun with the green ctg. He fired at the mark and put 28 holes through it. 4" x 7" - amazing.

Daryl

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

Offline rfd

  • Starting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 47
  • Here today, gone tomorrow.
    • TMA
Re: Effective range of a smoothbore
« Reply #17 on: February 03, 2023, 12:03:06 AM »
Perhaps try using corn meal instead of over powder wadding - powder charge down, then drop in the same corn meal volume amount as the powder, drop in the shot, put on an over-shot card.  As mentioned in this video at about 4:30 in ...

« Last Edit: February 03, 2023, 12:06:49 AM by rfd »

Offline Daryl

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 13864
Re: Effective range of a smoothbore
« Reply #18 on: February 03, 2023, 12:05:05 AM »
In Greener's book "The Gun and it's Development" he goes to great lengths to talk about the patterning contests of the 1800's, prior to the development of the "modern" choke,
most guns were bored straight cylinder. Some were tighter in the middle than each end. There were a LOT of different configurations. Patterning was all done at 40yards, regardless
of the "gauge", however the larger bores with greater shot capacity, usually won. There was, as normal, all sorts of "trickery" and "Cheating" going on by the gun makers, such as hollowed
wads which held "extra" shot & cupped wads which helped hold the shot together longer before it spread. Take note - these "cheats" of the 1800's might help you with patterning your guns.
The "Swedish cupped" was was where I got the idea of using the cupped base of a plastic trap wad for centering an undersized ball in a 12 bore for more accurate ball shooting. I was able to
get 10" groups form a SxS at 100yards alternating lefts and rights with this method. Of course, my load was a big one 7 drams. It kicked a bit.
One could try: powder, 1/8" card, plastic steel shot wad (non-slit or slit), sot inside and thin card over. That thick plastic wad will hold the shot together until it is well past the muzzle blast which
is what usually causes doughnut patterns.
Daryl

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

Offline smylee grouch

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7098
Re: Effective range of a smoothbore
« Reply #19 on: February 03, 2023, 12:50:17 AM »
Col. Hawker's book to young sportsmen as Daryl, I think refers to has many different combos. Some were for Punt guns and some for shoulder guns. He, Hawker liked Manton guns the best as Joe would bore them the way Hawker wanted them done. One of his tricks was to pour lard/tallow mix into the cartridges to help keep the shot together better.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2023, 12:53:36 AM by smylee grouch »

Offline Daryl

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 13864
Re: Effective range of a smoothbore
« Reply #20 on: February 03, 2023, 02:14:22 AM »
W.W.Greener's book was the one I was referring to SmyleeG.. I have the 9th edition, which started with the 1st edition by W.Greener,
 in 1858. Each successive book repeated the earlier book's writings as well.
Daryl

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

Offline smylee grouch

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7098
Re: Effective range of a smoothbore
« Reply #21 on: February 03, 2023, 03:44:31 AM »
Ahh yes I see that Greener now as I too have that book. A lot of info in those two books even though they have two centuries old info.  ;)

Offline Daryl

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 13864
Re: Effective range of a smoothbore
« Reply #22 on: February 03, 2023, 04:30:39 AM »
Yes - Greener's book is where the picture of the Ely Ctg. and writup came from.
The story about 'Old Thomas and the Englishman's shooting contest, from Firearms of the American West. That is an excellent book,
if just for the reprints of letters from Fort Commanders and detailed gun orders 'back East to Deringer in Philadelphia, etc.
Daryl

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

Offline Pukka Bundook

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2980
Re: Effective range of a smoothbore
« Reply #23 on: February 04, 2023, 06:44:13 PM »
Am pleased you are looking at Greener's books Daryl and all!
Re Joe Manton, I believe he had William Fullard bore and regulate his barrels .  He was the best barrel borer in London until Charles Lancaster came along, then there were two of them!
William Fullard could lengthen a barrel and it would not show at all when finished. he was a real craftsman.

To win the shooting matches of throwing All the shot into a hat,  the simple expedient was to greatly reduce  the powder charge. 
Tallow in the shot used to be used for scaring poachers at night, as it shrieks quite a bit when it travels through the air.
Bit unreliable though!

Daryl again,
I mentioned the old "Friction and relief" boring method above.  Some were bored tighter for the first small distance, and some (for detonator) were relieved at the breech.

Offline Daryl

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 13864
Re: Effective range of a smoothbore
« Reply #24 on: February 04, 2023, 08:28:24 PM »
In 1860, Forsyth thought to shoot "strong" with shot, the bore needed to be tight in the middle and relieved at each end. Not everything he wrote was "up to date".
Well, it was up to date for 1860, I guess.
I first got Greener's book, reading it for the first time of several trips through it, in about 1977or 8.
Daryl

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