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Got a hankering for a .58 Zouave

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by Snowdog, Aug 31, 2003.

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  1. Snowdog

    Snowdog Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    I'm seriously thinking about buying that $299 Zouave rifle offered by Cabela's, but would like some info on it if possible.

    Here are some of the questions I have, and any answers would be greatly appreciated.

    1) What weight grain are .58cal round ball?

    2) Is there a significant difference in trajectory between .54cal roundball and .58cal roundball?

    3) Any idea what the ideal loading is for this rifle, and what the velocities and energies of this load is?

    4) Any other info on the Zouave rifle (accuracy, durability, etc).

    Just to maintain my eccentric tendencies, I'm thinking about using this BP rifle for hunting boar.
    Thanks in advance.
  2. Whitworth

    Whitworth Member

    Jul 28, 2003
    Redlands, Calif
    ............I had a Zouave years ago and it was a cheapie even then. I never did much with it besides play making smoke :)! While I had it I never tried RB's. I gave it to a friend of mine, for his teenaged son. I don't know for sure, but I think these are supposed to have a 66" twist. At least that's better than the 78" twist of the 3 band Enfields and Springfield's!

    I have since bought a Parker-Hale 2 band Enfield (5 groove, 48" twist proggresive depth grooves). It is one REALLY sweet shooter :). I think you'd be better served in your Zouave by using Minie bullets. They have more mass than a RB, and lack only the velocity a RB can obtain due to their lighter weight. Yet as I mentioned I have no experience with RB's in the rifled musket, so I may be lying <VBG>, but not intentionally.

    In all honesty, to be sure you can only shoot it with both and find out for yourself. My old Zouave's new owner has shot both and from what I've seen there is no real difference in accuracy, but he hasn't been abale to experiment much beyond the very basics anyway. If you get it shooting well, they (rifled muskets) can be very accurate.

    This photo is of the Lyman 575611 I modified by dropping the core pin. It went from 530 grs to 624 grs.


    The following photo is some work done with the above modified Minie' at 50 yards. The velocities are similar, but the charges to obtain them (BP vs Pyrodex) isn't.


    The Lyman 575611 is a Minie' designed for heavier charges as it has thick skirts and a smaller base cavity.

  3. Snowdog

    Snowdog Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    Thanks for the info, Whitworth.

    The reason I'm so interested in roundball is from my former experience with my .50cal Hawkins I gave to a friend years ago.
    Even with that brass buttplate, the rifle was a joy to shoot with a patched ball over 60 grains of Pyrodex FFG. I'm hoping a .58cal roundball over 70grs of Pyrodex will give a similar mild recoil for extended range time.
  4. 4v50 Gary

    4v50 Gary Moderator Staff Member

    Dec 19, 2002
    From the Gun Digest Black Powder Loading Manual the Navy Arms Zouave has the following characteristics:

    cal: 58
    bbl length: 32.5"
    twist: 1:48
    Depth of Groove: .003"-.005"
    Projectile: .557" 530 gr Lyman Minie (mould #577611)
    Powder: GOI
    Patch: None
    Lube: Young Country No. 103
    Ignition: Navy Arms Musket cap
    Powder temperature: 64 f

    The following load data is from the manual:

    50 ffg = 50.2 grains, mv=850, me=850, vel@100 = 782, energy @ 100 = 720
    60 ffg = 60.2 grains, mv=971, me=1110, vel@100 = 879, energy @ 100 = 910
    70 ffg = 70.1 grains, mv= 1035, me=1261, vel@100 = 932, energy @ 100 = 1023
    80 ffg = 80.1 grains, mv= 1095, me=1411, vel@100 = 953, energey @ 100 = 1069.

    As you can see, the 70 grains seemed to be optimal for the gun. GD recommends it as a target and big game load.

    Per Joe Bilby, there is no evidence to support that the Remington Zouaves were ever issued to any Zouave unit. Many received smoothbores or Springfield rifled muskets.

    The 1:48" twist is a compromise twist. You can use RB, but you'll probably get better results with minies.
  5. RON in PA

    RON in PA Member

    Dec 25, 2002
    S.E. PA, USA
    A contrary view based on personal experience. When I got into BP shooting in 1970 I bought a Zoli Zouave. Back then it had the best reputation as far as a minie ball rifle. Shot it with cast minies lubed with a crisco-bees wax combo over 60 grains of 2 Fg and got 4" groups at 100 yards. I was satisfied until I fell in with a bunch of round ball shooters and couldn't compete accuracy wise at fifty yards. Tried a .575 patched round ball over 80 grains of 2 Fg and found my accuracy much better. My recommendation is to shoot round ball in the Zouave for target and deer hunting. Minie balls are good for a fast reload in the field and for shooting Rebs or Yanks(depending on which side you're on).
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