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Are the slow twists of the Springfield and Enfield rifle musket not suitable for minié balls?

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IMG_3817.jpegIMG_3796.jpeg72343652813__83472063-3268-4FD8-A0C9-A61DA942261E.jpeg72345342989__6DD82B7F-DF2C-45ED-A9F5-0DDF19895D91.jpeg72345339456__1556CE93-79EB-4E39-AC9F-166C0509F570.jpegIMG_3824.jpeg72345339456__1556CE93-79EB-4E39-AC9F-166C0509F570.jpegThere will be some clever person that answers “there are hundreds of thousands of dead soldiers that can answer that”

I’ve got a Parker Hale P53 with the historic 1:78 twist. I have tried minié balls from moulds made by Lyman, Lee and a custom made mould with interchangeable plug inserts for different hollow bases. I’ve tried ffg and fffg black powder from 40 grains up to 80 grains. Every single bullet tumbles into the target, if it hits the target at all.
The rifling bore is in great shape and the progressive-depth rifling is prominent.
I don’t slam the bullet home onto powder, I weigh the bullets within 1 grain, my lubricant is excellent, I use pure soft lead. What the hell does this rifle musket want to eat?
I know this isn’t a target rifle but it should be able to at least do a 5-6 inch group at 100 yards. Attached are photos of the tumbling targets and a couple of recovered bullets. I can’t get a good picture of the rifling but take my word for it that it’s in nice shape. This musket was made in Birmingham in 1974 and it has had very little use.
 
When it's that bad either the minies are too small or are not made of pure lead. Did you measure your bore size? Did you size the minies to the right diameter for your bore? The very first thing you need to do is accurately measure your bore, then you need minies that are no more than .002 under your actual bore size.
 
When it's that bad either the minies are too small or are not made of pure lead. Did you measure your bore size? Did you size the minies to the right diameter for your bore? The very first thing you need to do is accurately measure your bore, then you need minies that are no more than .002 under your actual bore size.

I agree totally - there is no evidence of any rifling on the recovered bullets. The OP has asked this question before, and received substantially the same resplone - Tumbling minié balls. Advice please
 
Widows Son
when I first shot black powder I bought a 58 zouave. It never shot any mini worth a damn, I finally tried patch n ball and it was very accurate put a 2 1/2 to 3” group at 100 yds. At that time nobody thought about sizing a bullet that was designed to expand on firing to fill the bore. (1972 era) And you had a hard time finding some one, with in reason, to cut a special mould for a black powder rifle there just not enough people who used them. Getting a mini just under bore size might be done by beagling the mould.
 
Are certain about the lead? What lube are you using? Just saying it's "excellent" doesn't mean it will work with minies. What powder? What caps? We need some details to help you out.

Widows Son
when I first shot black powder I bought a 58 zouave. It never shot any mini worth a damn, I finally tried patch n ball and it was very accurate put a 2 1/2 to 3” group at 100 yds. At that time nobody thought about sizing a bullet that was designed to expand on firing to fill the bore. (1972 era) And you had a hard time finding some one, with in reason, to cut a special mould for a black powder rifle there just not enough people who used them. Getting a mini just under bore size might be done by beagling the mould.
You evidently haven't heard of the North South Skirmish Association. It's been around since the 1950s and we have long known about sizing bullets, etc and where to get proper molds and supplies. Just because the rondy round ballers can't figure out a minie rifle doesn't mean others didn't.

Back to the OP. I shoot two Parker Hale rifles, a P58 and Musketoon. Both are quite capable if I do my part.

parkerhalegroup1.jpg
 
Widows Son
when I first shot black powder I bought a 58 zouave. It never shot any mini worth a damn, I finally tried patch n ball and it was very accurate put a 2 1/2 to 3” group at 100 yds. At that time nobody thought about sizing a bullet that was designed to expand on firing to fill the bore. (1972 era) And you had a hard time finding some one, with in reason, to cut a special mould for a black powder rifle there just not enough people who used them. Getting a mini just under bore size might be done by beagling the mould.
Measure the bore first. Then go from there. For serious rifle musket shooters casting your own means using a sizing die to get .001-.002 under bore size. Some guys luck out and can shoot the minie as cast. I'm not one of them.
 
Your problem is not with the twist. Minies shoot extremely well with slow twists. I have several barrels that Hoyt lined with what he calls the ideal twist for minies, 1 in 60", and while that may or may not be the ideal twist for a minie I've never seen a barrel that will shoot better. A lot of folks measure the overall length of a minie and plug that into one of the formulas to calculate the correct twist which always comes up as too fast. With its center of gravity closer to the nose a minie does not respond to the the twist rate in the same way a solid slug of the same length does. BTW, ignore the shuttlecock effect comments you often see; if it exists it is so small as to be overlooked.

Follow the advise given above. Slug your bore and select a mold that will cast a minie that size or slightly above. Get a sizer of the needed size (.001"to .002" under) and run every minie through it. Lube is critical too and some of the OTC ones fail as minie lubes.
 
Well dave951,
information at that time was difficult to grab. No I never heard of the wonderful nssa which spread all of it’s knowledge through out the known universe then. I stated at that time word of mouth was about how info was given. Back then we had bullitin boards to converse with you had to know who, how, and where to go just to start getting info.
so excuse me.
 
As was said, with keyholing like that, there are a few things to consider. I don't see any rifling on your recovered bullets.

So, one possibility is that the bullets are too small for the bore. I recommend getting a set of class ZZ minus pin gauges and using them to determine your bore size. They are pretty cheap at about $6 a pop so you can get a whole size range in .001" increments and accurately determine your bore size.

Alternatively, if you have a selection of sizing dies just keep sizing down the bullet until it will fit in the bore (assuming the bullet is too large for the bore as-cast.)

A second possibility is that your lead is too hard. Minie balls require dead-soft lead because they function by expanding under the charge, like a balloon, to take up the rifling. If the lead is too hard, it won't deform, and you will get keyholing.

Another possibility is that your charge weight is too low, but I doubt this is it. 45-60 grains of 2F or 3F will suffice.
 
I don't see any rifling on your recovered bullets.

So, one possibility is that the bullets are too small for the bore. ....,

....,

A second possibility is that your lead is too hard. Minie balls require dead-soft lead because they function by expanding under the charge, like a balloon, to take up the rifling. If the lead is too hard, it won't deform, and you will get keyholing.

Agreed!

In fact they might be just a bit too small, AND too hard.

LD
 
Your problem is not with the twist. Minies shoot extremely well with slow twists. I have several barrels that Hoyt lined with what he calls the ideal twist for minies, 1 in 60", and while that may or may not be the ideal twist for a minie I've never seen a barrel that will shoot better. A lot of folks measure the overall length of a minie and plug that into one of the formulas to calculate the correct twist which always comes up as too fast. With its center of gravity closer to the nose a minie does not respond to the the twist rate in the same way a solid slug of the same length does. BTW, ignore the shuttlecock effect comments you often see; if it exists it is so small as to be overlooked.

Follow the advise given above. Slug your bore and select a mold that will cast a minie that size or slightly above. Get a sizer of the needed size (.001"to .002" under) and run every minie through it. Lube is critical too and some of the OTC ones fail as minie lubes
Measure the bore first. Then go from there. For serious rifle musket shooters casting your own means using a sizing die to get .001-.002 under bore size. Some guys luck out and can shoot the minie as cast. I'm not one of them.
Critical to finding bore size in a typical three (odd number)groove barrel is the method used. You can't accurately measure across from land to land. An accurate micrometer and dial caliper with some basic math will get you there. A lot of skirmishers use pin gauges that are within the general size of the bore to get to one with the right go/ no go fit
 
Widows Son
when I first shot black powder I bought a 58 zouave. It never shot any mini worth a damn, I finally tried patch n ball and it was very accurate put a 2 1/2 to 3” group at 100 yds. At that time nobody thought about sizing a bullet that was designed to expand on firing to fill the bore. (1972 era) And you had a hard time finding some one, with in reason, to cut a special mould for a black powder rifle there just not enough people who used them. Getting a mini just under bore size might be done by beagling the mould.
If it was a quality Zouave, hopefully a Zolli, there could be a number of or combination of reasons for it not shooting well or a combination of all. First, wrong size minie. Read other posts in this thread about that. Second, lead that's not pure. Third, inferior , undersize impure store bought minies. Fourth, lousy lube, such as bore butter. I read you comment about the N-SSA. Suck it up and go on their website's bulletin board if you're interested in learning something. Nobody who takes shooting rifle muskets seriously would ever consider beagling a mould.
 
Thanks gentlemen for your help. I made some time this afternoon and slugged the first inch or so down into the muzzle. The rifling is shallow (as it should be because it’s got progressive depth rifling). The widest diameter measurement is .584 and the smallest is .580. So the .575 and .577 bullets were too small.

My lubricant is 80/20 tallow and beeswax that i make myself. I learned about it from the Research Press website. I‘m very new to minié balls and rifle muskets, but the few shooting sessions I’ve done with this Enfield using that lubricant allowed me to not need to clean between shots and final clean up at home was easy. (Of course now I know the bullets were undersized so that probably had a bit to do with easy loading)

I bought the lead directly from a foundry and was displayed as pure lead on the shelf.

This rifle musket has 3 groove rifling

So, I need to find a bullet mould that casts a US minié/Burton ball I can size to around .582 or I can go British and paper patch a Pritchett/Boxer bullet up to thickness and use an expanding plug.

Have I assimilated everyone’s advice?
 

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gemmer you missed the point. One can go to the nssa site now I stated you could not do it then there was no site and beagle ing the mould would see how a larger mini would fit. Then resizing that would test both cast and resized fit to bore, all just to give more information for those who take shooting rifled muskets seriously.
This would back up the conclusion of mould size to order, just another way. Suck it up
 
As was said, with keyholing like that, there are a few things to consider. I don't see any rifling on your recovered bullets.

So, one possibility is that the bullets are too small for the bore. I recommend getting a set of class ZZ minus pin gauges and using them to determine your bore size. They are pretty cheap at about $6 a pop so you can get a whole size range in .001" increments and accurately determine your bore size.

Alternatively, if you have a selection of sizing dies just keep sizing down the bullet until it will fit in the bore (assuming the bullet is too large for the bore as-cast.)

A second possibility is that your lead is too hard. Minie balls require dead-soft lead because they function by expanding under the charge, like a balloon, to take up the rifling. If the lead is too hard, it won't deform, and you will get keyholing.

Another possibility is that your charge weight is too low, but I doubt this is it. 45-60 grains of 2F or 3F will suffice.

As noted in post #3.
 
Well dave951,
information at that time was difficult to grab. No I never heard of the wonderful nssa which spread all of it’s knowledge through out the known universe then. I stated at that time word of mouth was about how info was given. Back then we had bullitin boards to converse with you had to know who, how, and where to go just to start getting info.
so excuse me.
Not quite so, back then the internet was just a gleam in Al Gore's teenage eye but this information has always been available. These days, the "Search" function is your friend. We've discussed this topic ad nauseam and there's always somebody who is either too lazy or a closet Luddite that refuses to research first. Said person will then do what some yahoo on Utoob says, get the same poor results and then pontificate and propagate the same erroneous information.

All that needs to be done to solve most non governmental problems is search, ask, listen.
 
gemmer you missed the point. One can go to the nssa site now I stated you could not do it then there was no site and beagle ing the mould would see how a larger mini would fit. Then resizing that would test both cast and resized fit to bore, all just to give more information for those who take shooting rifled muskets seriously.
This would back up the conclusion of mould size to order, just another way. Suck it up
"Suck it up"
Such class 🤪
 

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