Shooting a musket for accuracy


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RON in PA
July 22, 2006, 03:27 AM
Just picked up one of the Indian made Long Land muskets imported by Middlesex. Now I know it's no rifle, but would like some feedback from those of you who have been tinkering with these smoothbores as far as practical accuracy. For instance, using a patch ball will they group into a pieplate sized target at fifty yards?

Thanks

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4v50 Gary
July 22, 2006, 04:01 AM
In 1988 author Lawrence Babits ("A Devil of a Whipping") used .63 caliber balls in his .75 caliber replica Brown Bess musket to hit a man sized target 75 yards distance five out of six tries. Some interpreters at Colonial Williamsburg used patched round balls and placed all their benchrested shots into a life size target at 100 yards.

Manyirons
July 22, 2006, 09:42 AM
Load em right, an they'll shoot. Ya gots more experimentin ta do than a rifle findin tha sweet load, i uses a fairly hard ball wheel weight metal, THIN patch, witha ball thats tight to tha bore, AN important, a good thick card wad over tha powder. Also done a thick card wad an a CUSHION wad like a shottie, with lube soaked in tha cushion wad an squeezed out, with that combo, she'll put em all ona half sheet a paper at 100, anytime anywhere AN ya never haveta clean between shots, its clean shootin. Mines a 12 gage fowler, and good fer deer ta ducks.

Course, ifin i use black, its SWISS, an Swiss/Pyro Swiss/777 loads.

Fowlers an muskets real handy guns, ya gets ta shoot almost anythin includin dried peas an fat meat fer those garden thieves! :) Fat meat gets hot, sticks an BURNS!

Oldnamvet
July 22, 2006, 02:36 PM
In my youth I got dusted with rock salt once but never heard of using chunks of far as a projectile. Do you load it light? I imagine you need an over powder card :confused: or not so the fire gets all over the fat as it leaves the barrel. Kind of like a great ancestor of napalm.:evil:

Oldnamvet
July 22, 2006, 02:38 PM
In my youth I got dusted with rock salt once but never heard of using chunks of fat as a projectile. Do you load it light? I imagine you need an over powder card :confused: or not so the fire gets all over the fat as it leaves the barrel. Kind of like a great ancestor of napalm.:evil

Ooops, hit the wrong key too many times -- double post

FrogClan
July 22, 2006, 03:01 PM
For instance, using a patch ball will they group into a pieplate sized target at fifty yards?


Yep, with practice. Working up the right charge is the biggest part.

Check your PMs.

Manyirons
July 22, 2006, 03:05 PM
Nah! Jus some toilet paper cause ya WANTS it ta light up. Hot&sizzlin thats tha ticket!

Oldnamvet
July 22, 2006, 04:03 PM
manyirons,
The more I think about it the more I think that would smart. Just getting hit by a chunk of soft fatty meat traveling around 900 FPS would have to really hurt.:eek: Something like those low velocity bean bag guns but with fire added and higher velocity.
I don't think I'll raid your watermelon patch.

Manyirons
July 22, 2006, 04:07 PM
Not jus tha melons its tha veggies! An all ya gotta do is ask, pull up a chair and munch up!

frosty
July 22, 2006, 04:26 PM
I have seen many, many smoothbores shoot as good as rifled barrels at fifty to seventy five yards or so...Many early germanic guns are smooth or have staight rifling( probably to ease in loading). :evil:

vanfunk
July 24, 2006, 06:56 PM
I have a French 1777 musket I got from Pete Plunkett at Middlesex Village Trading Co., and I've been impressed with its quality for the price. I can keep that on a 16x16 piece of paper at 75 yards and I think that's marvelous. BTW, Pete has tuned that lock for me several times for free since I've had the musket - he is a really stand-up guy who takes care of his customers. In fact, I'm thinking hard about getting one of his doglock fowlers - 51" barrel and 8.8 lbs - WooHoo! I also have a Pedersoli Brown Bess. It seems to be of overall higher quality than the guns made in India, but then again they are several hundred bucks more. I do find the Bess harder to shoot well, though. Man, does that thing pack a whallop! I use .715 dia. balls of 450 grains or so, steppin' out in front of 100 grains of FFg - I call that my wood splittin' load as it'll cleave a 12" thick pine log right in two at 25 yards. Have fun with your new Bess! :)

vanfunk

hillbilly
July 24, 2006, 07:33 PM
I've thought about getting one of the Middlesex muskets.

When you get around to it, please post a range report and some pics of shot targets.

hillbilly

Loyalist Dave
July 24, 2006, 08:44 PM
Depends on what you mean by "accurate".

The British military used a 2' x 6' white plank as a target for their riflemen out to 300 yards in 1804. A hit anywhere on that board was considered good, for they were trying to down men, not game or to hit a bullseye.

If you want to hit a 6" target at 50 yards..., that's something else indeed.

It's basically a tight patch, usually of pillow ticking, and a decent charge. Weigh the ball you're using, then match that weight in lead #8 shot. Now adjust your powder measure to throw that amount of lead shot, and it will be set to also throw the right amount of 2Fg powder. (FYI-You can use the same setting for powder and lead shot if you want to go for squirrels or rabbits.)

Next, check the touch-hole. If the powder in the pan naturally covers the touch-hole when you prime the pan, the touch hole is too low. The touch hole should be just above the powder when a level measure of powder is in the pan. The flash from the pan is supposed to blow into the hole, not follow the powder down the hole. It may seem fast, but it does make a huge difference. If it is too low, get a gunsmith to correct it.

Then test fire for accuracy, and check the patches. If they are burned through, then the ball and patch combo isn't tight enough. If the patches are blown then gas will unevenly escape around the ball as it exits the muzzle, and will deflect the ball off target.

Good luck!

LD

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