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Front sight

Marsh--I have astigmatism and can't shoot a round apereture in front. Even with my glasses which are corrected for this, I can watch as the aperture goes from round to oval, and sometimes the thing seems to grow hair inside of it. I cannot call my breaks using an aperture, and if I think I broke one low or right or whatever using an aperture, I am invariably off call.

My solution is to shoot a pinhead post for the offhand on the chicken, and a flat post for the laydown animals. I use a Lyman 17A front sight, and use the standard posts that come with that sight. Using a post, I can call my breaks with no problem. Shoot straight, rdnck.
 

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Re: BPCR Accuracy

Rdnck

Thanks for the info, should be fun. Couple technical questions; I'm assuming ten shot groups? How many fouler/sighters do you shoot before? What's your cleaning procedure between strings?

Looks like you pretty much demand, of yourself and rifle, 1 to 1 1/2 MOA accross the course 80% of the time. That is in fact pretty darn good. Will be a good challenge and I shall give it a whirl with my TD. I already meet the Chicken requirement and have shot several prone supported groups at 600 yards of 8 to 10 inches, not sure the verical dispersion was in there though. Yup and i have done a lot worse too! Some days are diamonds and some are stones as like you say there always those "conditions".

You are correct that every competative shooting sport requires the attendant of a very high level of accuracy. However, I'm more inclined to agree with Steve Garbe in his assessment that "we are just holding our own". Steve was refering to BPCR shooting and the attendant rifles and loads based on his research of match records and writings of the time period BPCR emulates. He has an extensive library of the time period and has rather extesive knowledge.

I have done considerable research into the marksmanship ability or the Army using TDs during this same time period. Marksmanship was heavily stressed in the Army starting from 1877 through the rest of the TD period (would that it were today!) and I have made it a interest of mine over the last 35 years. He, and I agree with him based on facts not opinions, believe the rifles and techniques, including the loading of BP cartridges, have not evolved to any higher level than the were 120 years or so ago. Once again to quote Steve, "we are just holding our own". On the other hand I will certianly agree with you that BPCR silhouette has been very instrumental in bringing back or at least maintaining the high level of performance from BPCRs over the years. And it is fun to shoot but seems to frustrate many like golf (I don't do golf so let's not get into that, please!!!).

I will also concur that hitting a small target at long range helps one to understand where the "bar of performance with a black powder cartridge rests". It does so with any shooting sport. However, many BPCR shooters don't see where the Ram is any more dificult to hit at 547 yards than is the 10 or X ring at 600 yards. The 10 ring being 12" and the X ring being 6" in diameter. Some who compare the two will say the Ram is easier as a hit in the head or tail that drops the Ram is counted the same as a hit dead center. With the decimal target the same Ram head or tail hit would only get a 8 or even a 7 at 600 yards on the decimal target. But that is a whole 'nother dissertation.

While we dissagree on a couple aspects this has been a most enjoyable discussion. But then isn't that what a forum is, a discussion. Would be rather boring if everyone agreed on everything. Thanks for your time.

Larry Gibson


rdnck said:
LMG--There are lots of guys shooting BPCR and enjoying themselves that don't have rifle/load combinations that are accurate enough to play the game a with a reasonable expectation of being able to win, on occasion.

No one will shoot MOA or 1 1/2 MOA all the time. Range and atmospheric conditions will prevent this from happening, and how well your spotter is able to deal with these conditions will determine who wins or loses a match more often than not.

Having said that, here are the guidelines I have set for my loads and rifles. I expect to be able to produce these on my home range in my back yard with good conditions 80% of the time, shooting prone off cross sticks, AT THE SILHOUETTES I SHOOT IN A MATCH. If I can do it in practice at home, then I will be competitive at a match.

Chicken, 219 yards, or 200 meters---3 inches or less

Pig, 327 yards, or 300 meters---3 to 3 1/2 inches extreme spread with 2 1/2 inches or less vertical dispersion

Turkey, 424 yards, or 385 meters--4 to 6 inches extreme spread with 3 1/2 inches or less vertical dispersion.

Ram, 547 yards, or 500 meters--5 to 8 inches extreme spread with 2 to 4 inches of vertical dispersion.

Larry, lots of guys that shoot casually think that they have accurate rifles, and have a lot of fun, and that really is the bottom line--are you having fun with your rifle. Strange as it may seem, I don't really LIKE silhouette as much as I enjoy other forms of shooting, gong shoots such as Quigley, for instance. BUT, if it was not for the silhouette game and the attendant requirement for a very high level of accuracy to be truly competitive in that venue, these rifles and loads would not have evolved to the level they have. If it were not for silhouette, none of us would be shooting as well as we are, and if you or anyone else is not shooting silhouette, you don't really understand where the bar of performance with a black powder cartridge rifle rests. Hope this helps, rdnck.
 

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BPCR accuracy

LMG--I treat my practice just as I would a match, except that I don't put a timer on the shot string. I lay down and shoot enough sighters--usually 4 to 6--to get on, and then fire ten for effect. This approximates a silhouette relay.

I may not clean before I shoot my next bank of targets. That depends on the relative humidity, and how hot the barrel has become. I use a hydrometer, remember?

I don't know that the ram at 547 yards is any more or less difficult than the bull at 600. Although the ram is closer, it is an irregular shaped target, and it is harder to get a consistent sight picture on it than it is a round bull. I am not prepared to say which is the harder to hit, but I do know you have more vertical to play with on the round target. Another thing--and this is one of the things that makes BPCR tougher in my mind--is that the time frame allowed for a BPCR relay is considerably LESS than that allowed for mid and long range. In BPCR silhouette, you often have to shoot through a change in conditions with attendant sight changes, whereas in the paper game, you have the luxury of waiting out an unfavorable condition, in most cases.

I do not agree with Mr. Garbe's assertion that we would just hold our own with the old timers as far as accuracy is concerned, but he may be right in one sense. I think that there were men in the old days that were, as a whole, better marksmen than most of us today. The rifle and black powder was an integral part of the culture then, and more men shot and knew about shooting than is presently the case.

I think that on the whole, what with CNC machining and the like, that our rifles are very good, at least the better ones. I am convinced beyond any doubt, that our ammunition today, at least that of the top shooters, is more accurate than the ammo of yesterday. I think our best shots, with their best rifles would win most heads up competitions if a time warp situation were possible. I would put Garbe, Butch Ulsher, Steve Brooks, Dave Gullo, Kelley Roos, Chuck Brockway and Al Sledge up against shooters from any era and expect them to be a winning team. There are a lot of other guys you never heard of that will make these men dig deep, as well.

Look on page 269 of Seller's book, "Sharps Firearms". There is a picture of noted Denver gunsmith and target shooter J.P. Lower standing beside a target he shot in 1882. It is 50 shots, offhand. Mr. Lower and Carlos Gove were both noted for shooting for wagers as high as $1000. That's a lot of money, even now. I am surprised at how BIG the group is and that they considered it noteworthy enough to take a picture of it. I know of at least a half dozen guys that shoot better than that offhand on the chicken in the club matches in this area.

Anyway, it is a fascinating game, and it sure beats golf or fishing! Shoot straight, rdnck.
 

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Re: BPCR accuracy

rdnck

I'm still laughing!!! "Hydometer", yup I asked for that one! Gotta love it.
Another question, do you "wait out conditions" when testing or make sight corrections as in a match?

I'm with you on which is more difficult, the Ram at 547 or the Bull at 600. I do better on the bull with an aperture front sight than with either using a post front sight but that's to be expected. Have read of silhouette shooters using apertures, are they successful? The irregular shape of the Ram doesn't bother me as the shape mostly blurs when I focus on the front sight. the width of the ram is such it just fits on top of the post. I'll make sight adjustments befor I try any hold off. Seen other techniques used but it works for me. Haven't shot many steel silhouettes, mostly paper ones but the holes don't lie.

That 'dream team" time warp shoot would certainly be something to see! Don't think I'd bet the farm either way on who would win though. Have seen the picture you mention of the Lower photo and wondered about the group size also but there wasn't any explanation of the conditions of which it was shot. Like you I thought it was somewhat large for a "braggin" photo considering what I've seen shot these days. But then I made the mistake once of running a 50 shot 200 yard off hand HP string without a break. The usual match string is 2 sighters and 20 for record in 22 minutes though I usually finish the 22 shots in 15 to 17 minutes, sometimes quicker, depending on target service. After running 50 shots straight my group was a little over twice what it normally is. It is very difficult to "hold hard" for that many shots. I could go look it up but does the Sharp book tell what the course of fire was for that target? I know my BP groups increase in size at 200 yards for a 20 shot group out of a TD without wiping or cleaning. They did the same with "witchcraft" loads out of a Sharps and Browning BPCR. The 200 yard off hand shutzen (SIC?) boys have a hard time bettering the scores shot last century (oops - century before last) and they work really hard at it. Would be fun to see a shoot off like that the one you mention.

Larry Gibson



rdnck said:
LMG--I treat my practice just as I would a match, except that I don't put a timer on the shot string. I lay down and shoot enough sighters--usually 4 to 6--to get on, and then fire ten for effect. This approximates a silhouette relay.

I may not clean before I shoot my next bank of targets. That depends on the relative humidity, and how hot the barrel has become. I use a hydrometer, remember?

I don't know that the ram at 547 yards is any more or less difficult than the bull at 600. Although the ram is closer, it is an irregular shaped target, and it is harder to get a consistent sight picture on it than it is a round bull. I am not prepared to say which is the harder to hit, but I do know you have more vertical to play with on the round target. Another thing--and this is one of the things that makes BPCR tougher in my mind--is that the time frame allowed for a BPCR relay is considerably LESS than that allowed for mid and long range. In BPCR silhouette, you often have to shoot through a change in conditions with attendant sight changes, whereas in the paper game, you have the luxury of waiting out an unfavorable condition, in most cases.

I do not agree with Mr. Garbe's assertion that we would just hold our own with the old timers as far as accuracy is concerned, but he may be right in one sense. I think that there were men in the old days that were, as a whole, better marksmen than most of us today. The rifle and black powder was an integral part of the culture then, and more men shot and knew about shooting than is presently the case.

I think that on the whole, what with CNC machining and the like, that our rifles are very good, at least the better ones. I am convinced beyond any doubt, that our ammunition today, at least that of the top shooters, is more accurate than the ammo of yesterday. I think our best shots, with their best rifles would win most heads up competitions if a time warp situation were possible. I would put Garbe, Butch Ulsher, Steve Brooks, Dave Gullo, Kelley Roos, Chuck Brockway and Al Sledge up against shooters from any era and expect them to be a winning team. There are a lot of other guys you never heard of that will make these men dig deep, as well.

Look on page 269 of Seller's book, "Sharps Firearms". There is a picture of noted Denver gunsmith and target shooter J.P. Lower standing beside a target he shot in 1882. It is 50 shots, offhand. Mr. Lower and Carlos Gove were both noted for shooting for wagers as high as $1000. That's a lot of money, even now. I am surprised at how BIG the group is and that they considered it noteworthy enough to take a picture of it. I know of at least a half dozen guys that shoot better than that offhand on the chicken in the club matches in this area.

Anyway, it is a fascinating game, and it sure beats golf or fishing! Shoot straight, rdnck.
 

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Springfield Rifle

LMG--When PRACTICING, I will correct for the condition change. My wife is my spotter, and it is a good training venue for both of us as we are trying to duplicate match conditions. However, when TESTING a bullet or powder, we will usually wait a reasonable amount of time for the condition to come back. If it doesn't, I correct and shoot.

I think that the overwhelming majority of silhouette shooters use an aperture in front. A few that are gifted with exceptional eyesight will use a small pinhead post and hold off rather than make a sight correction. I personally cannot see well enough to do this.

I don't know what the course of fire for Mr. Lower was other than the information provided in the caption on the photograph. Shoot straight, rdnck.
 

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Springfield Rifle

Rdnck

Hmmmm...interesting. Guess I'll try the aperture on the Ram to, be a more even test that way. I never did care for the pinhead post, too many years focusing on a square front blade I guess. My eyes ain't that good anymore anyhows.

Would be nice to know what course Lower shot, oh well maybe somebody knows.

Larry Gibson


rdnck said:
LMG--When PRACTICING, I will correct for the condition change. My wife is my spotter, and it is a good training venue for both of us as we are trying to duplicate match conditions. However, when TESTING a bullet or powder, we will usually wait a reasonable amount of time for the condition to come back. If it doesn't, I correct and shoot.

I think that the overwhelming majority of silhouette shooters use an aperture in front. A few that are gifted with exceptional eyesight will use a small pinhead post and hold off rather than make a sight correction. I personally cannot see well enough to do this.

I don't know what the course of fire for Mr. Lower was other than the information provided in the caption on the photograph. Shoot straight, rdnck.
 

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Encouragement for Trapdoor Shooters

Just a bit of encouragement for TD shooters and a chance to brag a bit... my first BPCR match with a trapdoor was several years ago at Alma, MI and this can be confirmed by anyone who was there....

The results: 3 ckns, 10 pigs, 9 turkeys and 8 rams... 30/40. Shot with an M1884 and the Buffington rear and a milspec post front that was widened by epoxying some thin shim stock to each side. The result was a flat top post like on my old M1A match rifle with the NM front. It admittedly was one of those all to infrequent days where everything went well. Good conditions... so good that the sight was not moved during each string. Just some "shading" applied as my spotter supplied good info. It's been downhill since then and I hereby contend the problem is primarily due to eyesight deterioration brought on by age (53)

Next match was a 28/40. So off came the Buffington and on went a Shaver rear and Lyman 17a front. Eventually the Shaver rear was replaced with a "Ukraine" Soule. I'm shooting in the low to mid twenties most of the time now. But I must admit that shooting more often would certainly help.... only four matches last year.

Trapdoors will shoot very well if you have one that hasn't been horribly abused and is fed the right load. It is, however, difinitely easier to shoot well with a target type rifle. No doubt about it.

Have fun TD shooters.

Hoppy

P.S. Same old Hoppy here but with new 'puter and new e-mail address... hence the slightly modified handle.... wasn't sure how to modifiy my old original user info and was too lazy to try. This seemed easier as my brain is sorely taxed coming from the old webtv system to Windows XP in a gee-whiz Pentium 4 Bazillion Gig Monster.
 

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Re: Encouragement for Trapdoor Shooters

Hot Foot II

So ok Hoppy, what's the load? Sounds like you're having a pretty good time at it.

Larry Gibson










]Just a bit of encouragement for TD shooters and a chance to brag a bit... my first BPCR match with a trapdoor was several years ago at Alma, MI and this can be confirmed by anyone who was there....

The results: 3 ckns, 10 pigs, 9 turkeys and 8 rams... 30/40. Shot with an M1884 and the Buffington rear and a milspec post front that was widened by epoxying some thin shim stock to each side. The result was a flat top post like on my old M1A match rifle with the NM front. It admittedly was one of those all to infrequent days where everything went well. Good conditions... so good that the sight was not moved during each string. Just some "shading" applied as my spotter supplied good info. It's been downhill since then and I hereby contend the problem is primarily due to eyesight deterioration brought on by age (53)

Next match was a 28/40. So off came the Buffington and on went a Shaver rear and Lyman 17a front. Eventually the Shaver rear was replaced with a "Ukraine" Soule. I'm shooting in the low to mid twenties most of the time now. But I must admit that shooting more often would certainly help.... only four matches last year.

Trapdoors will shoot very well if you have one that hasn't been horribly abused and is fed the right load. It is, however, difinitely easier to shoot well with a target type rifle. No doubt about it.

Have fun TD shooters.

Hoppy

P.S. Same old Hoppy here but with new 'puter and new e-mail address... hence the slightly modified handle.... wasn't sure how to modifiy my old original user info and was too lazy to try. This seemed easier as my brain is sorely taxed coming from the old webtv system to Windows XP in a gee-whiz Pentium 4 Bazillion Gig Monster.[/quote]
 

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The current loads....

Hi Larry and others,

There are two fav loads at this time:

Both in Rem brass and the bullet seated to just engrave the rifling as the block is closed... engraves perhaps .005"

61.0 grs of Swiss 2f
RCBS 500 BPS, 20:1
WLR
Own Lube (SPG will work)
.043 tablet backing disc over powder
about .066 comp

70.0 GOEX Cart
Lym 457125, 20:1
Fed 215M
SPG
.015 hard paper disc over powder
Don't have the compression in my notes as
this is an older load....but I think it's about 3/16"
It worked and I didn't bother to measure it.

Oh yeah.... cases left slightly belled for both loads.... no crimp.

These worked well for me.... the first one is my current choice.
A bit less recoil than the Lyman bullet load.

Good Luck!

Hoppy
 

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Reply for rdnck, and more TD stuff.

No sir,

Alas, there are so many things I'd like to do but time and work and other duties preclude such things.

Hopefully I will get to shoot more matches this year... last year was a tough one that always had some crisis jumping in to put shooting on a back burner.

I will dig out the chrono data for the loads I posted in my last post and display such... might help those who want to know what to expect. Nothing really unusual velocity wise. Don't know if I'll get to that tonight but I will for sure.

Anyone want the "how to" for yet another lube recipe? It's called JR1 and is a modified Matthews with a little Springfield/Gov't spec Trapdoor ammo twist.

Smells good and seems to work just as well as SPG for typical midwest USA shooting conditions.

Good night all.... gotta go.... things to do before I sleep.

Hoppy
 

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Re: Reply for rdnck, and more TD stuff.

Hoppy

I'm going to have to try that swiss powder seems everyone is having good accuracy with it.

Might as well throw in that lube formula too.

Larry Gibson
 

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Springfield Rifle

Subject: TD Load data, Lube Recipe

Hi All,

As promised here are some chrono numbers (ref: prev posted load details)….sorry this took so long…. been unavailable.

Swiss 2f/RCBS 500BPS
10 shots
Avg Vel 1173
ES 10.09
SD 3.46

GOEX Cart/Lym 457125
Avg Vel 1150
ES 11.34
SD 4.0

Two fouling shots were fired then deleted from chrono and the strings of ten fired….blow tube was used. Expect vel increase of about 20-25 fps from clean bore. And just to clarify things, the purpose of these loads is to produce the most accurate straight BP target load. I’m not trying to duplicate the Gov’t issue round. Spence Wolf already did that in his book which I have. Highly recommended by the way! If I could get my desired results without a blow tube I would be thrilled as I consider the blow tube a necessary nuisance for precision target work. I don’t like it but it works.

The Sw2F (Not 1 ½…. I want to be clear on this) in my experience is a fairly “hot” powder. Definitely more so than the GOEX Cart lot I have. I have not tried Sw 1 ½ in the trapdoor. I did try Sw2F with the 457125 and vel was approaching 1300 fps with unacceptable ES. Unnecessary recoil too. Vertical stringing at the longer distances. Good accuracy out to 200m though and would probably be a real nice hunting load.

And Now…. The Lube:

Some who read this may never have played “kitchen chemist” with lubes and I think some cautions are appropriate. Hot liquid waxes will burn us humans and if spilled on the heat source will burn very vigorously so use some common sense… think through what you are about to do to eliminate harsh surprises. Mix the ingredience in a Pyrex type measuring cup that is large enough to contain the mix when it “saponifies” as the Murphy’s Oil Soap is added. This is a chemical reaction with lots of bubbling, foaming and additional heat produced. Melt the waxes in a proper glass container(s) placed in a pan of near boiling water. Don’t melt the waxes in a pan directly on the heat source. You may start a fire! Pour the Murphy’s in slowly and this is best done for safety’s sake somewhere NOT over or next to the heat source…. there might be a boil-over.

OK….
In a sufficiently large Pyrex type measuring cup….put the following three substances.

4oz (liquid volume/melted) reasonably clean Beeswax
2oz “ “ “ Bayberry Wax
2oz “ “ Neat’s-foot Oil (Not Neat’s-foot Compound)

Stir….then:

SLOWLY add 2oz (volume) of Murphy’s Oil Soap…. The reaction will start.

When it stops and the mix is still liquid add 8cc of dry powdered graphite. I used two dips of a Lee 4cc Powder Dipper for this. Stir as the lube solidifies to keep the graphite powder evenly distributed.

I think it best to let the lube “cure” for a day or so to make sure the reaction is really over. The stuff seems to stay warm quite a bit longer than expected which to me means the reaction is not completely over. The finished lube is about the consistency of modeling clay and can be rolled into a sausage sized log that is easily stuffed into a lube/sizer… no hole needed like in the sticks of commercially bought lube. I don’t think JR1 will work as a pan lube. I’ve never pan lubed but the word is that “saponified” lubes don’t remelt properly. “JR1” is my initials and the “1” to designate my first homemade “keeper” lube that seems to work as well as SPG… at least it does in the conditions I normally shoot in.

I should add that I use a compatible “bore dressing” made of equal parts beeswax, Bayberry Wax, and Neatsfoot Oil (NO Murphy’s Oil Soap)… it’s like “Bore Butter” in consistency. Add a bit of graphite powder while still liquid…. whatever looks good.

I also clean the bore with water to which a small amount of Murphy’s Oil Soap has been added. A few damp patches, a few dry patches and then a patch of the “bore dressing” run back and forth. Just before shooting I’ll run a dry patch through the bore to remove the excess making sure there is no slippery stuff in the chamber area. When storing the rifle I’ll run some Break Free thru the bore.

Have Fun,

Hoppy
 
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