Sunday, May 01, 2011

Recent Black Powder Shooting

Yesterday I did something I haven't done since the 1980s, shot in a black powder rifle match.  My club held our "Spring Fellowship" match.  We only got a half dozen shooters but it was a really fun day and I came in third.  Here's my last target of the day, with one shot fired at each bull.

By the time we got to this target we'd been at it for a few hours and I was pretty tired. I was having problems with my flint not sparking and managed to yank the shot on the bottom middle bull out of the black.  Can't complain about the bottom left bull, though.  ;-)

We shot at several targets offhand from about 30 yards.  Small targets.  IIRC, 4 of us shot flintlock rifles while there were a couple caplocks.  I shot my customized left hand Dixie Tennessee Mountain Rifle.  It's a .50 caliber flintlock which has been remade into a Pennsylvania-styled rifle.  My load was 65 grains of Goex FFg black powder, a Hornady .490" round ball, and pillow ticking patches.  This is a mild recoiling, accurate load.

Lately when shooting patched round balls, I like to cut my patches ahead of time.  I found a couple of years ago that a John F. Kennedy half dollar is the same size as a patch for a .50 caliber round ball, so I use one as a template and cut and lube a bunch beforehand.  Compared with cutting them on the muzzle it saves a lot of time at the range. The patches were lubed with Track of the Wolf's Mink Oil Tallow patch grease.  It has a very mild smell and works really well as a patch lube and to keep fouling soft.  Yesterday I mostly wiped the bore after every other shot, but a couple times went three shots between wiping.  I use Windex for cleaning the black powder fouling.  It's cheap and works as well as anything else I've tried.

Most of my range time in the past couple of months has been shooting black powder guns.  My father turned 70 back in March and along with my brother, we bought him a Euroarms Rogers & Spencer percussion revolver from Dixie Gun Works.  While I was ordering the revolver for him I added a second one to the cart for me.  This is mine:

This is the Euroarms "London Gray" finish, which as I understand it is some sort of nickel plating.  It's not stainless.

It's become one of my favorite pistols.  The R&S handles powder fouling and cap fragments as good or better than a Ruger Old Army, which is the penultimate development of the cap and ball revolver.  Unlike Remingtons, it doesn't bind from powder fouling, and unlike Colts, it's not susceptible to cap jams.  Plus, even with the poor 19th Century service sights, it's accurate.  I shot this target at 50 yards about a month ago, using a two-hand offhand hold:

Although I pulled a few shots to the right edge of the paper, most of the 25 shots were within the -1 zone of the IDPA target, with about half on the paper plate.  Load was a .457 Hornady ball, a Wonder Wad, 24 grains of Goex FFFg black powder, and a Remington No.10 percussion cap.

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