Traditional Muzzle-Loaded Bullet Rifles

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Toby
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Traditional Muzzle-Loaded Bullet Rifles

Postby Toby » Tue May 05, 2009 12:45 pm

Does anyone on this forum shoot and hunt with a traditional long-range muzzle-loaded bullet rifle?

These days, I shoot and hunt 75% of the time with very modern in-line ignition rifles. However, I still enjoy the looks and feel of a quality traditionally styled rifle. A few of the rifles I continue to punch holes in paper with are for patched round balls, but when I get the urge to hunt big game with a traditional muzzleloader, I favor the .45 and .50 caliber rifles that can shoot a long and heavy bore-sized lead bullet. These are the rifles that made the round ball obsolete during the period dating from the late 1830s and on into the Civil War. Rifles produced by known American rifle makers such as Edwin Wesson, William Billinghurst, Morgan James, and Norman Brockway became famous for their long-range accuracy - shooting 300 to 500+ grain conical bullets that could shoot inside of 2 to 3 inches at 40 rods (220 yards)...and still have plenty of energy for cleanly taking big game.

The attached photo shows two of my favorite 1840s-1850s percussion rifles - one is a fast-twist .50 half-stock rifle produced by Pedersoli (left), and the other is one of the unique hexagonal bore .451 caliber Whitworth reproductions offered by Dixie Gun Works (center). The other rifle is a modern copy of a New Model 1859 percussion Sharps rifle by Chiappa Firearms. All are topped with one of the 1850s styled Leatherwood/Hi-Lux 6x "Wm. Malcolm" scopes. And on a good day (for me) every one of these rigs will shoot inside of 1 1/2 inches at a hundred yards.

Toby Bridges
NORTH AMERICAN MUZZLELOADER
HUNTING ASSOCIATION

I was just wondering if anyone else here shot a similar rifle...or had any interest in these guns.
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FrontierGander
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Re: Traditional Muzzle-Loaded Bullet Rifles

Postby FrontierGander » Tue May 05, 2009 1:21 pm

Yep, I love the sidelocks with a conical twist. My favorite bullet is the Powerbelt. 295gr +
This is my CVA Mountain Stalker .50 1:32 twist @ 100 yards with Williams fiberoptic sights. #1 shot was on a 100% clean and oiled barrel. I had just finished scrubbing the bore the previous day with hoppes.
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My most favorite was a CVA Mountain Rifle .45 i had some years back. This one shot under 1" groups @ 100 yards with the 225gr Powerbelt Aerotip & 80gr Triple 7 3f.
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Toby
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Re: Traditional Muzzle-Loaded Bullet Rifles

Postby Toby » Tue May 05, 2009 2:42 pm

Somehow FrontierGander...

I knew you were a bullet shooter.

The rifle shown in the following photos is one I built myself back in 1983. I salvaged the lock, triggers and furniture off of a .45 T/C Hawken that the previous owner had shot all fall...and failed to clean. The bore was ruined...but I had a good friend who had rebuilt an old Pratt & Whitney rifling machine, and had it set up so he could cut different rates of twists (with a few changes to the rifling guide). He bored the barrel out and polished it to .501"...and rifled it with a turn-in-24 inches twist.

I hunted mostly with the 385-grain Buffalo Bullet out of the rifle for a couple of seasons...then this fella down in Arkansas sent me a few of the very first ML sabots to play with...and this was the first rifle I ever shot them out of (in 1985). In fact, this was the rifle that pursuaded Tony Knight to up his rate of rifling twist to a faster pitch. His original MK-85s had a 1-in-48 inches twist.

Anyway, I shot that barrel out...putting 6,000+ rounds through it. I then, in 1997, went to one of the .50 caliber 28" Green Mountain "Long Range Hunter" barrels (a T/C style drop in barrel) with a 1-in-28 twist, which shoots great with shorter conicals - like the 320-grain Lee REAL bullet.

Three years ago, I replaced that barrel with a slightly longer 1-in-24" Green Mountain .50 cal. cut-rifled (Sharpshooter) barrel. Actually, I have two for it...one with a long 6x Malcolm scope on it, another with a 3x short Malcolm (in photo). Both shoot great with the 440-grain Parker Productions "Traditional Hunter" conical. With these two barrels, I've now taken 7 or 8 deer - one good whitetail buck at about 160 yards. (Photo also follows)

The load is 100-grains of FFFg GOEX Express black powder. At the muzzle, the 440-grain bullet leaves at 1,466 f.p.s., with 2,094 f.p.e. The rifle and load maintains 800 foot-pounds of knockdown power out to about 195-196 yards. The buck I shot at 160 yards was grounded on
the spot by 950 f.p.e.

Toby
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FrontierGander
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Re: Traditional Muzzle-Loaded Bullet Rifles

Postby FrontierGander » Tue May 05, 2009 4:19 pm

Yep, i only have 2 round ball kills under the belt. The rest are with Powerbelts and a couple others like hornady great plains and tc maxiballs. I wasnt to impressed with their performance so ive always stuck with powerbelts and round balls. Even use the recovered powerbelt lead to cast my round balls.

This was my first round ball kill, i took his at 40 yards with 110gr 3f goex, .490 round ball through the head. He rolled right over onto his back when the smoke cleared :))
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I wasnt able to pose in the elk picture due to the timing and the rush to get it hanging. I got it late evening.
Heres the story,
http://www.biggamehunt.net/stories/Colo ... 50912.html
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I actually just sold my .54 and .58 a few days ago (@@) Will be replacing them with a camo thumbhole/Stainless CVA Accura. I am hearing sickening things about how accurate they are with Powerbelts so i got to give one a try! :))

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Re: Traditional Muzzle-Loaded Bullet Rifles

Postby bigbuck92 » Tue May 12, 2009 10:56 pm

Those are some nice looking smokepoles guys! Thanks for sharing.
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muleytex
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Re: Traditional Muzzle-Loaded Bullet Rifles

Postby muleytex » Wed Jun 16, 2010 9:10 am

I hope this post isn't dead. I have a homemade sidelock that (.45cal) that I have been getting some really nice groups with. It has a 1 and 18 twist with a 34inch barrel. It's kinda long when packing on a horse but, it burns up all of the powder. I'm shooting some custom bullets out of utah. (I'll think of the name in a minute if anyone is interested). My gun handles the 475 grains the best with 100grains of FFg. The long bullet is very stable in flight. Please keep posting on this subject, as there are a few people that would like to talk about the more traditional muzzleloaders and extreme accuracy
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Re: Traditional Muzzle-Loaded Bullet Rifles

Postby zachvu » Fri Apr 22, 2011 9:53 am

Yes...very cute? I guess that could describe it? haha Spammers.....

jimikinz
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Re: Traditional Muzzle-Loaded Bullet Rifles

Postby jimikinz » Mon May 23, 2011 11:54 am

I'm in the same boat...

I have a couple flint and percussion lock rifles and smoothbores. I love hunting with them. I don't know what it is, but its really nice to hunt with them. I think I enjoy the "living history" component of it.

I'm headed on my first elk hunt in October ( I could not get days off to apply for the M.L. season) and am going to leave my scoped rifle at home and head up with a flintlock....I hope I can get close enough... [-o<

Do any of you guys feel like you can hunt ethically out past 100 yards with a round ball? I really want to spend some time this summer and become effective out to 150 or so...but I think its going to take a lot of tinkering and practice!


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