.69 vs .75 out of a military musket - any difference in accuracy?

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Aldarith

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I understand the myriad of factors at play here (charge, wind, distance, etc) but lets say for a moment we have a Charleville (.69) and a Long Land Bess (.75).

What sort of shooting performance would one 'expect' out of each in terms of accuracy?
Would the smaller ball perform better or worse, assuming the charge and methodologies have been perfected for each rifle because the shooter has sorted all that out.
 

Many Klatch

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My Bess shooting a .715 ball and a .010 patch over 90 grains of 2F has hit a large gong at 100 yards 3 out of 5 shots. I have never seen anyone shooting a Charleville at that distance. If I was to load .69 caliber ball in my Bess I would expect the accuracy to be a Paper plate at 40 yards.
 

Loyalist Dave

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Would the smaller ball perform better or worse, assuming the charge and methodologies have been perfected for each rifle because the shooter has sorted all that out.
With this caveat, nope, no accuracy difference between each smoothbore musket.
I offer the fact that some of the British muskets of the time were carbines of .69 and .65 caliber, though some with shorter barrels than the LLP Bess, ..., so..., the Brits knew of smaller calibers being just as good, but likely the HUGE numbers of .75 caliber muskets made switching to something smaller, a logistic nightmare.

There are maintenance advantages (imho) for the French musket, and there are logistics advantages for it as well as it uses less lead and powder to do the same work as the Bess.

I submit that the French military ball of 437 grains of lead compared to the British military ball of 473 grains of lead, the fellow on the receiving end didn't know the difference.

LD
 

nkbj

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Which reminds me, I need to fine tune the V notch sight on my 1816's spare rear barrel band.
:D
 

Aldarith

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With this caveat, nope, no accuracy difference between each smoothbore musket.

Oh no I did the thing, I meant musket but transposed 'rifle' owing to the length. I do know the difference, I promise ;)

These are all good observations. As I am looking at procuring a .69 I was curious if I was missing out or stepping up on accuracy or neither, it seems neither.
 

Artificer

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I understand the myriad of factors at play here (charge, wind, distance, etc) but lets say for a moment we have a Charleville (.69) and a Long Land Bess (.75).

What sort of shooting performance would one 'expect' out of each in terms of accuracy?
Would the smaller ball perform better or worse, assuming the charge and methodologies have been perfected for each rifle because the shooter has sorted all that out.
For what it's worth, I was shocked even the British International Team did not fire original Brown Bess Muskets in International Muzzle Loading Competition, when I first went to the World Championships in Wedgnok, UK in 1996. The British Team Members, who competed in the "Original Flintlock Musket Match," (Sorry, forgot the correct name of the match) all had U.S. "M1816" Type original Muskets.

When I politely asked why they didn't shoot the Brown Bess, they informed me almost in a whisper, that these guns were more accurate. So then I asked why they didn't buy less expensive French originals on the European Antique Gun Market? With a grin, I was informed they much preferred buying a gun originally made in one of "their colonies" rather than from ..... well,.....the French.

I chuckled and replied, "Gee, you guys still haven't completely forgiven "The Old Enemy," have you?" He winked and smiled and something nice about my knowledge of history.

Bottom line that while the 18th and 19th century linear tactics used on the battlefield had no clear winner as to accuracy, because both sides closed enough it didn't matter, BUT if one is shooting for accuracy - then the French Musket is more accurate by a small margin.

Gus
 
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plmeek

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Bottom line that while the 18th and 19th century linear tactics used on the battlefield had no clear winner as to accuracy, because both sides closed enough it didn't matter, if one is shooting for accuracy - then the French Musket is more accurate by a small margin.
Is that because of the size of the ball or something inherent in how the muskets were made, like the barrels and/or locks?
 

Aldarith

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BUT if one is shooting for accuracy - then the French Musket is more accurate by a small margin.
Is that because of the size of the ball or something inherent in how the muskets were made, like the barrels and/or locks?
Well well well - this is exactly my question. Is that anecdotal or based on any data?
I am very interested.
 

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Is that because of the size of the ball or something inherent in how the muskets were made, like the barrels and/or locks?
The smaller caliber was important.

The other thing has to do with smoother barrel harmonics in the French design. Part of this has to do with the ball size to barrel thickness ratio of both muskets. The other part is both the bands holding the barrel on the French Musket and the pins holding the barrel of the Bess set up negative nodes of vibration. But negative nodes from the pins of the Bess had greater negative influence on the barrel harmonics.

Gus
 

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Of course a GOOD shot with a Bess will beat a "So-So" to poor shot with a Charleville any day of the week.

I mention this because it really takes a good to excellent shooter to realize the difference in accuracy between the muskets.

Gus
 

Aldarith

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So the grand question - Is there a way to improve the barrel harmonics of the Bess without changing the outward appearance?
 

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So the grand question - Is there a way to improve the barrel harmonics of the Bess without changing the outward appearance?
Yes, but it requires at a minimum far better barrel inletting than is done on most factory made repro muskets or glass bedding the barrel.

That way the barrel retaining pins are not taking up near as much effort to retain the barrels.

Gus
 

Aldarith

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Interesting - Glass bedding the barrel ought not be too hard given there's no receiver or moving component other than the trigger.
Would the improvements be great enough to merit the effort or would it be somewhat of an experiment?
 

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Interesting - Glass bedding the barrel ought not be too hard given there's no receiver or moving component other than the trigger.
Would the improvements be great enough to merit the effort or would it be somewhat of an experiment?
Glass bedding is very commonly used in North South Skirmish Association Approved Firearms (including Flint Muskets) where glass bedding is approved in those matches. So it passed the experimental stage decades ago.

However, many other competitions do not allow glass bedding.

One does have to be careful about "claying up" around the breech tang when glass bedding, especially when there is a "C" shaped notch to clear the rear side lock screw. That and some other things one has to be careful of or play with, but nothing really hard to do in the process.

Gus
 

Aldarith

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Sounds very interesting - has anyone written a guide specifically for glass bedding a musket?
 

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Sounds very interesting - has anyone written a guide specifically for glass bedding a musket?
Not for a Flintlock Musket. There is some general guidance in some of the NSSA forums for Rifle Muskets that gives some general info that can be used, but not detailed instructions.

Most of us who have done it sort of learned as we did it, with some suggestions from those who had.

Gus
 

Aldarith

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If you could point me to any of those threads which had helped you along the way, I'd be interested in reading them to avoid any mistaked that have been made by those that went before ;)
 

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So the grand question - Is there a way to improve the barrel harmonics of the Bess without changing the outward appearance?
Your first question is actually how accurate are you trying to be? Are you planning on world level competition?
Whether you are or not, you will need to learn to load the Bess for accuracy first, before adding the "bells and whistles". Then look at polishing some of the surfaces of the lock or a full lock "tune up". She's not a rifle by any means.
If you cannot get a very accurate load, then all that extra time and expense of glass bedding and tuning will give you a Bess that could shoot better, but doesn't yet.

And really if you are that interested, you need to get an after-market stock that corrects the stock angle to your shoulder. Otherwise, (imho) anything after that is moot....

Interesting - Glass bedding the barrel ought not be too hard given there's no receiver or moving component other than the trigger.
Would the improvements be great enough to merit the effort or would it be somewhat of an experiment?
Glass bedding will do a lot of things that it does not do in a modern rifle. In your musket it will reinforce the stock, and if the pins are properly relieved, it reduces the stock shrink and expansion so removes the stress on the barrel tenons. It will add weight to the musket, which some people like when shooting "unsupported".

On the other hand, while glass bedding the barrel you might just glue the barrel into the stock by accident. 😳 Don't ask me how I know about that....

LD
 

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