Sunday, April 21, 2019

Beretta Cx4 Storm and Holosun RDS Range Report

Last week I bought a Holosun HS515C red dot sight to replace the Bushnell TRS-25 that I used to have on my Beretta Cx4 Storm 9mm carbine. The Bushnell is a good budget optic  Today I zeroed it.

Out of the box the sight was very close to being on at 50 yards, with elevation right on and the mean POI about 3 - 4" to the right with 115 grain CCI Blazer Brass 9mm.




A neat touch with the sight is that the turret caps are actually adjustment tools. The little ridge on them is sized the same as the screwdriver slots on the actual adjustment knobs. This is a brilliant idea, IMO.

Top of the sight showing the screwdriver built into the caps, and the solar cell:




Accuracy at 50 yards was OK but nothing to crow about. Here's a 10 shot target fired from the bench. As you can see I yanked one low. The Storm's trigger is worse than I'd remembered. I am definitely going to try doing a trigger job on it.





I also shot a bit offhand but the target definitely isn't worth sharing. ;) The gun is so light with a neutral balance that offhand shooting is a challenge.

I put a total of 100 rounds through the gun today and as expected, it ran perfectly. However, when I went to clean the gun after I was finished I noticed that the rail was a bit loose. It'll be Loctited and then I'll recheck the zero.

Monday, April 15, 2019

I've Got Big Balls

Welp, now I know why my home cast round balls were hard to seat in my Rogers & Spencer on Saturday. I measured a few of them with my micrometer today and they mic at .456 - .457. There must be a little tin in the lead that I used. I'll therefore reserve the rest of the batch for my Ruger Old Army, which takes .457 balls.

The rest of the lead will be used in casting bullets for my .44-40 rifles or ~.690 balls for my Brown Bess.

I'll have to order some 99% pure lead from Rotometals.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Got the Rogers & Spencer Out to the Range

Tonight I got the Euroarms Rogers & Spencer percussion revolver out to the range.



The load I used consisted of .454 balls that I cast last weekend, the wads I made last week lubed with neatsfoot oil, 30 grains of Swiss FFFg black powder, and Remington No.10 caps. This has mild recoil and good accuracy in this gun.

Accuracy was good. Here are my first 18 shots fired one handed at 7 yards:



My point of aim was at 6 o'clock on the bull. The dark spots on the cardboard backer are from the felt wads.

And this was my final 6 shots:



The sights on the R&S suck by modern standards. The rear is a V-notch milled into the top strap, while the front is a small brass cone. Seeing the front sight under florescent lighting is a real challenge with middle aged eyes. I'm happy with these groups.

The wads lubed with neatsfoot oil appeared to work at least as well as wads lubed with 50/50 beeswax/mutton tallow. I examined a few wads after firing. The side toward the powder was black and they were dry to the touch, but they remained intact. I could probably rinse them out and relube them after they dried, and reuse them at least once.

One thing I was disappointed in was the balls -- they seemed harder to start than Hornady .454 swaged balls. I cast them from lead I bought off eBay. While the lead was soft enough to scratch with my thumbnail, they may have a bit of tin in them. This wouldn't make a difference with balls to be shot in a smoothbore but it makes loading a caplock revolver more difficult, and places more stress on the loading lever.

Cleanup of the gun was quick. The nickel plating of this revolver allows fouling to wipe right off, and the neatsfoot oil apparently kept the fouling soft in the bore. Shooting Swiss powder helps. In my experience it's not only more energetic than Goex, it's noticeably cleaner burning as well.

Monday, April 08, 2019

Running Ball

(In this post, I used the word "balls" a lot. Huh, huh.)

This past weekend I'd planned to shoot my Rogers & Spencer percussion revolver but couldn't. When getting my shooting gear together, I found that I had only two .454 balls left. I wound up shooting my Pedersoli Brown Bess and Polymer 80 Not-A-Glock, which I'll write up in a separate post.

Something I've preached about on my blogs has been bullet casting for self sufficiency, resistance to government guns bans, and panics induced by fear of them. I recently picked up Lee molds for .454 and .490 balls, and a Lyman cast iron lead pot. This weekend I ordered a Lee .690 ball mold for use in the Brown Bess and my Euroarms Magnum Cape Gun.

I took a long weekend to decompress from bullshit at work, so with today's weather being decent I setup one of my Coleman stoves out in my shop to run some .454 balls.

Here I have the mold warming while the lead pot comes up to temp. The foil trays are for me to dump the sprues and dross when I flux.





It took awhile for the pot to come up to temperature. I'm finding that keeping a good constant casting temp is an acquired skill that I've yet to master. My balls were coming out either wrinkled or frosted. Wrinkly balls mean that the cast was too cold while frosty balls are a sign that it's too hot. I put the wrinkliest balls back into the pot but I'm keeping some that aren't too bad. These will be fired at a maximum of 25 yards at targets the size of a paper plate or larger, so minor imperfections won't be an issue.

I haven't counted yet, but I should have at least 50 shooters here. I called it quits when I ran out of gas in the stove.




Aside from the Rogers & Spencer, these will also work in my 1858 Remingtons. One could load them into .45 Colt cartridges, as well.

It is possible to keep even percussion guns going without buying factory supplies. Aside from casting your own bullets, it's possible to make black powder and even percussion caps at home. The latter especially is potentially extremely dangerous, so proceed with caution. My plan to deal with future shortages is to stock up ahead of time.

Edit: I wound up with 97 shootable balls from my first batch. After the stove cooled and I was able to refuel it, I ran another batch and came out with another 126 usable balls. That's a decent run and will last me awhile.

Friday, April 05, 2019

Made Up Some .44 Revolver Wads

I was out of .44 wads for my percussion revolvers so I made up a tobacco tin full of them. This should do for a few plinking sessions.

The wads themselves are punched out of 1/8” thick hard 100% wool felt from Durofelt. I use a 7/16” hole punch held in the chuck of my mill/drill and use a piece of scrap wood underneath.

Instead of my previous homemade lube of a mix of beeswax and mutton tallow, I lubed this batch with neatsfoot oil. It worked great when I tried it as a patch lube so I don’t see why it wouldn’t work to keep the fouling soft in revolvers. If I intended to leave the gun loaded for awhile I’d want more of a grease than oil, to prevent ruining the powder charge, but this will be fine for the range.





To lube them, I put some neatsfoot oil in an empty Scho-Ka-Kola chocolate tin then soaked a batch at a time. I squeezed out the excess and then put them on a paper towel to soak up some more oil, so they aren’t sopping wet.

Assuming they work as well as the beeswax/mutton tallow lubed wads for target shooting, this is probably how I’ll make up them up in the future. It’s easier than making the lube mix and I don’t have to dig out the hot plate I use to melt the other lube.


Saturday, March 30, 2019

Relaxation

I spent some time relaxing out in my shop today.




I couldn't find the bag with my pipe paraphernalia, so a .308 empty served as a tamper.

Brown Bess Flash Guard Removal

Today I removed the flash guard that came on my Pedersoli Brown Bess Carbine's lock. Flash guards are used on flintlocks by reenactors to protect the man to their right when firing in formation. As I am not a reenactor, it's unneeded. Further, it makes the lock harder to clean and directs a lot of fouling down alongside the side of the gun.




Because the frizzen is spring loaded no matter which position it's in, I needed to compress the frizzen spring to facilitate removal. In the picture you can see how I used my RMC mainspring vise for this. I bought it from Track of the Wolf and it's come in handy working on several flintlocks that I own.

You may also notice that I now have the flint wrapped in a piece of 1/16" sheet lead, rather than leather. The flint kept loosening when I shot the gun last weekend. This allows me to really clamp down on it and I'm hoping this will fix that problem. Using lead instead of leather for this was common on military flintlocks of the 18th and 19th Centuries. I bought the lead sheet from Rotometals, via Amazon Prime. I figure the foot square sheet of lead will last me the rest of my life, and I can always melt it down for bullets.

Note: I really should have removed the flint from the hammer before doing any work on the lock. Had it tripped, it could have caused a really nasty wound. Do as I say, not as I do.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Pedersoli Brown Bess Carbine Range Report

So I shot the Bess carbine today.

My first shot was a patched 0.735 ball. That’s a VERY tight fit so if I shoot any more of them, I’ll try them bare. Some smoothbore shooters do well with an over-power card or wad, bare ball, and an over ball card to hold it in place. I also have some 0.710 balls which should be easier to load with a patch, but I didn’t bring them today.

I put around 15 rounds of the paper cartridges with .690 balls through the gun. The last loaded nearly as easy as the first. I noticed that after about 10 shots there was a crud ring forming in the breech so it required extra pressure to fully seat the ball. I really liked loading from paper cartridges. I’m going to make up some for my fusil de chasse.

Compared with my longrifle, it has a much slower lock time, so follow through is even more important for good shooting.

I had a number of misfires due to lack of spark. I think what was happening was that the top jaw screw would loosen, because when I tightened it back up the gun would alway off. Obviously I need to fix that.

Recoil was noticeable but not bad.

Video: