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Accuracy Woes...

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by MMA1991, Jan 18, 2014.

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  1. MMA1991

    MMA1991 Member

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    :mad:

    Took my refurbed .45 cal KY out yesterday to see how it shoots. http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=731713

    Set up a 100 yard rifle target at 50 yards on butcher block paper and my first shot was 1 inch off the bull and the second was not far off! :what: As we say here in LA "Happy Happy Happy".

    Well, it was all down hill from there...

    Set the target out at 75 yards and 1/2 my shots were not even on the butcher block let alone the the target...some did make it on the target (maybe 1 in 4) but were all over the place and mostly in the outer rings.

    Any thots? Yeah yeah I know...operator error. Maybe but not that inconsistent.

    The rifling is not the best but it's there and the gun had 10 - 15 patched round balls worth of black powder substitue crud in the parrel to boot for many of the shots taken. Perhaps barrel fouling had something to do with it?

    I love the rifle and want to be able to shoot with some level of confidence out to 75 yards and hope to take it hunting.

    This is my first BP rifle experience so yes I am a nube so pls forgive me if the question is shall we say not as sophiticated as most ;)
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2014
  2. tpelle

    tpelle Member

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    What do you think the muzzle velocity of the load that you are shooting is? Is it supersonic at the muzzle? If so, how far ABOVE supersonic do you think it is? Could the ball be supersonic at the muzzle and out to 50 yards, but then drop to subsonic speed before it gets to 75 yards?

    I shoot NRA Highpower Rifle competition. When I was starting out a couple of years ago I was shooting an AR-15 with a 1:9 twist barrel, and it would only shoot 69 grain bullets accurately at 600 yards. It is desirable at that distance to shoot heavier bullets, and most competitors were using either a Hornady or Sierra bullet of around 80 grains (Heavier bullets are less likely to be pushed around by the wind.). I bought some Hornady 75-grain bullets that were supposed to be able to be stabilized in a 1:9 twist barrel.

    Early in the season they seemed to shoot pretty good at 600. But, depending on the weather - temp and humidity - the accuracy went all to Hell. Not only that, when they hit the target, they were leaving a "keyhole" in the paper.

    What was happening was this: The load I was using would launch the bullet at supersonic speed. On the 200 and 300 yard targets the bullets would still be travelling at supersonic speed. But sometimes, depending on the weather, the bullet would slow down to subsonic speed before it made it to the 600 yard target. When it did so, the standing shock wave that was being "pulled" along by the bullet would hit the base of the bullet when it slowed to subsonic, kicking the bullet sideways and affecting the trajectory. I know they were subsonic at that time because the guys in the pits pulling and scoring the targets couldn't hear the "crack" of the supersonic bullet passing over their heads.

    To fix this I did three things: I switched to 80-grain Sierra Matchkings, and I started to load them to a C.O.L. that was longer than would fit in the magazine (which was OK, because for the 600 yard stage you are shooting slowfire and load each cartridge manually by hand directly into the chamber for each shot). By loading them long I had more room in the case for powder, so I could keep them supersonic past 600 yards. I also put a different barrel on my rifle that had a faster 1:7 twist, so it would shoot the heavier bullets. I shot the 69-grain Matchkings at 200 and 300 yards, and used the 80-grain Matchkings at 600 only.

    I suggest that you try one of two things: Either increase your load to see if driving the ball faster keeps it supersonic for a greater distance, or alternately, load it down so it doesn't go supersonic in the first place.
     
  3. J-Bar

    J-Bar Member

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    What brand of powder, how much powder, what kind of patch material, what lube on the patch, what percussion cap, how many shots between bore swabbing, etc....

    All those variables make a difference.

    I get good accuracy with my percussion rifle using pillow ticking patch material, lubed with PAM cooking spray, swabbing the bore after each shot, with KIK or Schuetzen real black powder, and CCI #11 percussion caps, regular or magnum. I found 80 to 85 grains of powder in my .54 Hawken gives the best accuracy.

    Part of the joy is experimenting with these things, but clean barrels help a lot.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2014
  4. INGarand

    INGarand Member

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    What powder charge, what size ball, what type of patch, what type of lube? Those have to be provided to even start to give any answers. Also yes a dirty bore does effect accuracy. Sighting in you should wipe the bore after each shot. A smooth bore properly loaded will give good accuracy at 75 yards. Some of the CVA rifles have rough bores and you might have to do a little work on it. If the rifle loads rough you might try lubing lightly with a valve grinding compound and shooting a few rounds or clean the bore with some steel wool wrapped on the cleaning jag. Really there are too many different things it could be to be able to answer your question here. Find a local black powder club and talk with local shooters. Good luck and shooting, don't give up.
     
  5. Oldnamvet

    Oldnamvet Member

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    Did you drop back to 50 yds and try again? that would have given some answers. Next time start at 75 yds with a clean barrel and see what happens. I would almost bet that the accuracy would be good for the first 2 or 3 shots, then start going all over the place. Give the barrel a cleaning and see what happens. After all, normally when hunting, the first shot is the one that counts. I have had a dirty barrel throw me off even with a smoothbore when shooting PRB.
     
  6. Loyalist Dave

    Loyalist Dave Member

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    Oldnamvet is very right.... which is normal for him btw...

    Look, SOME barrels simply don't do well after the second shot, and must be thoroughly wiped, and SOME need to be wiped after every shot. I have a .40 that has to be nice and clean per shot. Yours might be one of those too.

    As the man wrote..., it's the first shot that counts. When hunting it's best to take about 20 minutes (seriously 20 minutes) after shooting the deer, and THEN go looking for it. You'll have something to do in that case..., a good swabbing with a damp cloth, followed by dry cloth, and a reload and then go get the deer.

    Be sure you aren't using a petroleum based lube, as these resist water, while BP and BP substitutes respond the best to water based cleaners (or just plain water/saliva).

    LD
     
  7. Crawdad1

    Crawdad1 Member

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    My friend you have a lot of work ahead of you. To put it simply your rifle doesn't like the load you're feeding her. Keep working, she'll tell you when your done and you'll be amazed how deadly accurate they are.
     
  8. MMA1991

    MMA1991 Member

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    Accuracy woes...[more specific data included]

    Thanks all for the replies. Here is some additional info:

    Patch: Ox Yoke prelubed with Wonder Lube 0.015 thickness
    Load: 70 grains of Pyrodex RS FFG
    Ball: Hornaby .45 cal .440 100% lead round ball
    Cap: Winchester Magnum BP No. 11

    I did NOT swab the barrel at all and put 25+ rounds thru her (like I said I am a nube...).

    When I swab the barrel after each shot, what should I use...straight water? Do I then run a dry patch after the swabbing?

    How about using FFFG vice FFG in the rifle (its a .45 cal)...will this potentially be more to the guns liking because of the smaller caliber?

    I really really like the rifle and BP shooting...I guess based on your posts all is not lost. :)
     
  9. Crawdad1

    Crawdad1 Member

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    The only thing we know for sure right know is, your rifle does not like that load. I use 3Fg GOEX in my 45 and 50 caliber rifles. I have never used Pyrodex so I can't say for sure about that powder.
     
  10. IROCZ

    IROCZ Member

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    Its called Holy Black for a reason.
     
  11. FiveStrings

    FiveStrings Member

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    Hey '91:
    What you are in for is all part of the fun. You're going to have to spend some time at the range doing some experimenting. I just went through this myself recently. Each of the components you listed above are critical, but you'll need to add some variety to what you have on hand, especially ball and patch. If RS is all you have available to you, then keep using it. But if you can get some real black powder you'll like it better.

    Ball: get some .445's from Track of the Wolf. THe bore in your gun may need a larger bullet than the .440's.

    Patch: get some .018 thickness patches. Using a thicker patch might help.

    Charge: just for grins, next time out try shooting with lighter loads, like 50 grains to start with, then bump it up incrementally back to the 70 grains you've been loading. See how results change along the way.

    Switch up the ball-patch combinations with the lighter loads, and you'll start seeing some dramatically different results.

    ALso bring a bunch of cleaning patches and some water and keep the bore swabbed out after every couple of shots while you're experimenting.

    I'd stay at 50 yards for a while, until you get things worked out. And take good notes, too.
     
  12. MMA1991

    MMA1991 Member

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    Thank you

    Five Strings et al:

    Thank you all for the insight.

    I really do enjoy shooting this rifle especially after resurrecting it from the consignment rack.

    I think I will try the larger balls and patches next...the barrel has some pitting but the rifling is still strong and visible.

    Seems like the 'front stuffers" are not as popular as they used to be...

    R/

    PED
     
  13. Plastikosmd

    Plastikosmd Member

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    I vary ball size, powder loads, patch thickness, patch type, lube ( lube/ spit/ Teflon etc) prep w swab or not, swab then dry or not. Etc it is all part of the fun. It will shoot u just gotta keep at it
     
  14. Loyalist Dave

    Loyalist Dave Member

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    And did you inspect your patches at the end of the day? :D

    If you fired 25 rounds and didn't get to a point at about the fifth shot, where you either had to jamb the ball down so hard, you decided to swab the barrel to continue, OR you got a ball stuck and had to pull it.... I think you cut the patches with the rifling and were forcing the ball through the patch, OR you were simply forcing the ball so much the patch ruptured... which would account for loss of accuracy in a BIG WAY.

    I'd suggest you get actual black powder in 3Fg if you can as it's a .45.

    Shoot it, swab the barrel with a damp patch (saliva works fine), then reload, and fire the next shot. After three shots, try to find the patches which will probably be about 15' in front of where you held your muzzle. If they have holes or are torn to shreds... you have a patch problem, and you need to fix that first before you continue.

    Let us know how you do and what you observe.

    LD
     
  15. Crawdad1

    Crawdad1 Member

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    Good point Dave, inspecting that burnt patch can tell you a lot of what's going on inside that barrel.
     
  16. MMA1991

    MMA1991 Member

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    Great info...the ball did get a little harder to load but was not overly difficult. I think what you describe may be the root of most of my problems.

    Thx a bunch. Will keep you posted.

    MMA1991
     
  17. Crawdad1

    Crawdad1 Member

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    "Hey '91:
    What you are in for is all part of the fun. You're going to have to spend some time at the range doing some experimenting."

    Fivestrings has said it alll!!! This is what black powder is all about. :)
     
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