.56 Smoothbore Shot Patterning and Bare Ball

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Renegades and GPR's 016.JPG


I have a couple T/C 56 smoothbore Renegades that have been ignored for years. I shot one of them in 2008 and the other has never been out. I've been enjoying my .62 smoothbore flintlock Renegade recently which got me thinking about these guns. I decided to take the one I've never shot to the range today.

Before heading out I carved a wood dowel that fit the bore so I could make some Post-It shot cups like the ones I've been using in my .62 cal. I didn't play with different charges of shot or powder charges today. I only had about an hour to spare at the range so I went with 7/8oz #6 shot and equivalent charge of FF Goex which turned out to be 65 grains.

I only shot at 14 yards today. In the areas I hunt most shots on snowshoe hares, cottontails and grouse are inside 20 yards.

At the range the paper shot cup failed to open on both my first (left) and second shots. One pellet escaped on the first target and it impacted sideways on the second target with only a few pellets escaping. When I've experienced this with my .62 it was always because I didn't tap the shot cup to "stress" the paper. On both of these shots I had tapped the shot cup.
.56SB-'538 Shot Pattern and Small Game Load 065.JPG


I thought about it a second and realized that with my .62 I've been using a half a cushion instead of a full cushion. I don't know why I started doing that. I decided to try a half a cushion in the .56 to see if that made any difference. Here's a full cushion compared to a little less than half a cushion on the right side of the tin.
.56SB-'538 Shot Pattern and Small Game Load 019.JPG


That's all it took. My guess is that the full cushion absorbs more of the shock, preventing the paper from being stressed enough to open. The first target had 86 pellets in an 8" circle, the second had 73 pellets in the circle.
.56SB-'538 Shot Pattern and Small Game Load 032.JPG


I also tried loose shot in it. This gun performed much better with loose shot than my .62 has. With 72 and 73 pellets in the circle on these targets its pretty much the same performance as the paper shot cup load without the chance of the shot cup not opening. I still used a half a cushion on these targets (I mistakenly wrote 1/2 card on the second target).
.56SB-'538 Shot Pattern and Small Game Load 037.JPG


I decided to try loose shot with a full cushion. It performed much worse, only putting 28 pellets in an 8" circle. Its surprising how much difference such a small change can make.
.56SB-'538 Shot Pattern and Small Game Load 039.JPG


I also wanted to see how the gun would perform with a prb and light powder charge for small game. From my notes I knew I had used a .018" pillow ticking patch with a .550" ball in my other .56 smoothbore back in 2008. I assumed the same combo would work in this gun so I only brought .018" patches with me. I was surprised when that ball and patch combo would not fit the bore. I hit the short starter with the palm of my hand a few times which was only resulting in a crater in the ball.

Since the patches I had with me wouldn't work I decided to see how it would do with a bare ball. I used 35gr of FF Goex and dropped a ball down the bore.
.56SB-'538 Shot Pattern and Small Game Load 025.JPG


I seated a .036" card over the ball to keep it in place.
.56SB-'538 Shot Pattern and Small Game Load 026.JPG


Not the greatest group but with a bare ball it put three shots just below the point of aim on the left target. I pulled a little to the right on the rabbit target but the shot would have put meat in the pot. Next range trip I'll be sure to bring some thinner patches.
.56SB-'538 Shot Pattern and Small Game Load 045.JPG
 
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View attachment 163362

I have a couple T/C 56 smoothbore Renegades that have been ignored for years. I shot one of them in 2008 and the other has never been out. I've been enjoying my .62 smoothbore flintlock Renegade recently which got me thinking about these guns. I decided to take the one I've never shot to the range today.

Before heading out I carved a wood dowel that fit the bore so I could make some Post-It shot cups like the ones I've been using in my .62 cal. I didn't play with different charges of shot or powder charges today. I only had about an hour to spare at the range so I went with 7/8oz #6 shot and equivalent charge of FF Goex which turned out to be 65 grains.

I only shot at 14 yards today. In the areas I hunt most shots on snowshoe hares, cottontails and grouse are inside 20 yards.

At the range the paper shot cup failed to open on both my first (left) and second shots. One pellet escaped on the first target and it impacted sideways on the second target with only a few pellets escaping. When I've experienced this with my .62 it was always because I didn't tap the shot cup to "stress" the paper. On both of these shots I had tapped the shot cup.
View attachment 163364

I thought about it a second and realized that with my .62 I've been using a half a cushion instead of a full cushion. I don't know why I started doing that. I decided to try a half a cushion in the .56 to see if that made any difference. Here's a full cushion compared to a little less than half a cushion on the right side of the tin.
View attachment 163370

That's all it took. My guess is that the full cushion absorbs more of the shock, preventing the paper from being stressed enough to open. The first target had 86 pellets in an 8" circle, the second had 73 pellets in the circle.
View attachment 163363

I also tried loose shot in it. This gun performed much better with loose shot than my .62 has. With 72 and 73 pellets in the circle on these targets its pretty much the same performance as the paper shot cup load without the chance of the shot cup not opening. I still used a half a cushion on these targets (I mistakenly wrote 1/2 card on the second target).
View attachment 163365

I decided to try loose shot with a full cushion. It performed much worse, only putting 28 pellets in an 8" circle. Its surprising how much difference such a small change can make.
View attachment 163366

I also wanted to see how the gun would perform with a prb and light powder charge for small game. From my notes I knew I had used a .018" pillow ticking patch with a .550" ball in my other .56 smoothbore back in 2008. I assumed the same combo would work in this gun so I only brought .018" patches with me. I was surprised when that ball and patch combo would not fit the bore. I hit the short starter with the palm of my hand a few times which was only resulting in a crater in the ball.

Since the patches I had with me wouldn't work I decided to see how it would do with a bare ball. I used 35gr of FF Goex and dropped a ball down the bore.
View attachment 163367

I seated a .036" card over the ball to keep it in place.
View attachment 163368

Not the greatest group but with a bare ball it put three shots just below the point of aim on the left target. I pulled a little to the right on the rabbit target but the shot would have put meat in the pot. Next range trip I'll be sure to bring some thinner patches.
View attachment 163369
Great write up
 
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Good post! Lots of information to ponder and maybe take to heart.


Thank you!

I should mention that the shot cup that didn't open on the first target impacted pretty low because of me. I've gotten used to the heavier pull of the Hunter trigger on my .62 Renegade. It had been a long time since I used double triggers with the set trigger. As I was coming up with the sights just below the dot on the target I lightly placed my finger on the trigger. The gun fired with that light touch, surprising me. The Hunter trigger isn't bad, but it takes quite a bit more pressure.

When I first started using the Hunter trigger I'd been using double triggers for years. As I raise the gun I put my finger in the trigger guard behind the triggers. I move my finger forward, finding the set trigger and pull it, then move it to the front trigger. Several times I nearly pulled the Hunter trigger since this method was ingrained in my shooting. It took a while to get used to a single trigger and out of the habit of using a set trigger.

I forget who wrote in their journals about two mountaineers leaning their guns on a tree and getting charged by a grizzly. One man's gun had double triggers, the other had a single trigger. They both grabbed the wrong gun. The man that grabbed the single trigger gun fired before he was on target, thinking he was setting the trigger. The other man kept pulling on the forward trigger which wouldn't drop without the set trigger being pulled.

Some people have passed this off as being a tall tale. I think it could very well be true. I know from personal experience in stressful situations you perform the same way you train. In that type of situation you don't always stop to analyze things. The example I noted above shows that even in calm, range practice conditions you usually perform the same way you train.
 
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The .56 Renegade can be a fun platform for experimenting. I have been playing with home made (Durafelt, bees wax and Crisco) wads under a bare .562 ball. Interestingly the balls fit right down the bore and shoot great.
I think T/C bored the barrels for their .56 smooth bore with different reamers. I can barely get a .550 ball with a .005 patch started in my smoothie without a stout smack on the short starter.
 
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View attachment 163362

I have a couple T/C 56 smoothbore Renegades that have been ignored for years. I shot one of them in 2008 and the other has never been out. I've been enjoying my .62 smoothbore flintlock Renegade recently which got me thinking about these guns. I decided to take the one I've never shot to the range today.

Before heading out I carved a wood dowel that fit the bore so I could make some Post-It shot cups like the ones I've been using in my .62 cal. I didn't play with different charges of shot or powder charges today. I only had about an hour to spare at the range so I went with 7/8oz #6 shot and equivalent charge of FF Goex which turned out to be 65 grains.

I only shot at 14 yards today. In the areas I hunt most shots on snowshoe hares, cottontails and grouse are inside 20 yards.

At the range the paper shot cup failed to open on both my first (left) and second shots. One pellet escaped on the first target and it impacted sideways on the second target with only a few pellets escaping. When I've experienced this with my .62 it was always because I didn't tap the shot cup to "stress" the paper. On both of these shots I had tapped the shot cup.
View attachment 163364

I thought about it a second and realized that with my .62 I've been using a half a cushion instead of a full cushion. I don't know why I started doing that. I decided to try a half a cushion in the .56 to see if that made any difference. Here's a full cushion compared to a little less than half a cushion on the right side of the tin.
View attachment 163370

That's all it took. My guess is that the full cushion absorbs more of the shock, preventing the paper from being stressed enough to open. The first target had 86 pellets in an 8" circle, the second had 73 pellets in the circle.
View attachment 163363

I also tried loose shot in it. This gun performed much better with loose shot than my .62 has. With 72 and 73 pellets in the circle on these targets its pretty much the same performance as the paper shot cup load without the chance of the shot cup not opening. I still used a half a cushion on these targets (I mistakenly wrote 1/2 card on the second target).
View attachment 163365

I decided to try loose shot with a full cushion. It performed much worse, only putting 28 pellets in an 8" circle. Its surprising how much difference such a small change can make.
View attachment 163366

I also wanted to see how the gun would perform with a prb and light powder charge for small game. From my notes I knew I had used a .018" pillow ticking patch with a .550" ball in my other .56 smoothbore back in 2008. I assumed the same combo would work in this gun so I only brought .018" patches with me. I was surprised when that ball and patch combo would not fit the bore. I hit the short starter with the palm of my hand a few times which was only resulting in a crater in the ball.

Since the patches I had with me wouldn't work I decided to see how it would do with a bare ball. I used 35gr of FF Goex and dropped a ball down the bore.
View attachment 163367

I seated a .036" card over the ball to keep it in place.
View attachment 163368

Not the greatest group but with a bare ball it put three shots just below the point of aim on the left target. I pulled a little to the right on the rabbit target but the shot would have put meat in the pot. Next range trip I'll be sure to bring some thinner patches.
View attachment 163369
Thanks for the great info. I'm planning on doing some patterning with my .56 and .45 smoothies over the weekend so your info might save me some trouble. Also just got some sheep wool so I'm gonna try that for wadding too.
 

Urban Coyote

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Fantastic, thank you!

I have almost bit on one of these guns a couple of times, viewing this post I might still yet. I've been curious since my first notice of them. Without considering other states might allow only smoothbores for hunting big game and thoughts it looked a poor shotgun had me ignoring it. The information provide here really shows it all around potential.

Thanks again for your effort in providing this information.
 
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Fantastic, thank you!

I have almost bit on one of these guns a couple of times, viewing this post I might still yet. I've been curious since my first notice of them. Without considering other states might allow only smoothbores for hunting big game and thoughts it looked a poor shotgun had me ignoring it. The information provide here really shows it all around potential.

Thanks again for your effort in providing this information.
These are fantastic guns. If you get a chance to grab one I would recommend it. Very versatile.
 
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Thanks for the great info. I'm planning on doing some patterning with my .56 and .45 smoothies over the weekend so your info might save me some trouble. Also just got some sheep wool so I'm gonna try that for wadding too.


I'd be interested in hearing how the sheep wool works.


Fantastic, thank you!

I have almost bit on one of these guns a couple of times, viewing this post I might still yet. I've been curious since my first notice of them. Without considering other states might allow only smoothbores for hunting big game and thoughts it looked a poor shotgun had me ignoring it. The information provide here really shows it all around potential.

Thanks again for your effort in providing this information.



They're fun guns. I've ignored mine for too long. I tried 90-100 grains of FF Graf and Sons powder with a .550 ball and .018" patch in my other .56 cal years ago. I only shot it out to 50 yards but it was getting decent "minute of deer" accuracy.
 

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