Barrel Harmonics or Technique?

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Travis186

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I recently missed two deer with my Kibler Colonial 58. I was going for a high shoulder shot on both and I suspected I missed both of them high. After getting obliterated in a turkey shoot match with the rifle I finally figured out something was up, so off to the range I went, and to my surprise, these are the results at 50 yards.

The bottom cluster of 4 shots is off of a rear supporting sand bag, and a front rest (the fancy caldwell type). I scratched my head and said to myself "self, you aren't THAT bad at shooting... take the gun off the bags". So then I proceeded to take my own advice, and I ditched the bags and front rest, and held the rifle in my hands, and placed these 2 shots 10" high with no change in windage. I sent 6 more after this picture in the SAME EXACT PLACE, with actually, a surprisingly better group, but still 10" high from where I had the rifle sighted in off of a rest.

Irritated by these results, I went home and grabbed ALL of my rifled flintlocks, and they all do the same thing. They shoot perfect point of aim off the bags, but as soon as I take them off the bags, and shoot them unsupported, the point of impact moves up significantly. So what do you guys think? Technique? Barrel harmonics? Gravity? Luck? Juju? Magic? I've already got a whole piss pot of brand new front sights on the way from Track O' DaWoof so I can start over. I'm going to re-sight the Kibler from field positions and re-confirm zero... can't miss again.

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Travis186

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Since you are shooting good groups both ways, I would bet your spot weld or cheek position moves from when you shoot off the bags to when you shoot off your hands.

Gus
I like this explanation and another experienced shooter I consider a mentor mentioned something similar. I've just never had this issue with unmentionables, but I guess it's an easy fix... sight the flinters in with the gun in my hands, not rested front and rear.
 
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I have also had peculiar results with my flintlocks, including my Kibler .54 :
1. Resting the rifle across the sandbag allowed the rifle to jerk with recoil and i wasn't even hitting paper at 50 yards. Took me a while to figure that one out...
2. Holding the fore stock and resting the barrel on the sandbag I was getting in large groups (6") but hitting inside the 50 yard target. Improvement
3. Under Dave951's coaching, I held the fore stock and rested my hand holding the rifle fore stock on the sandbag. 2" groups and better at 50 yards!!
Dave suggested it is harmonics . I cant argue with him on that. Hope he will chime in on this thread.
 

Travis186

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I have also had peculiar results with my flintlocks, including my Kibler .54 :
1. Resting the rifle across the sandbag allowed the rifle to jerk with recoil and i wasn't even hitting paper at 50 yards. Took me a while to figure that one out...
2. Holding the fore stock and resting the barrel on the sandbag I was getting in large groups (6") but hitting inside the 50 yard target. Improvement
3. Under Dave951's coaching, I held the fore stock and rested my hand holding the rifle fore stock on the sandbag. 2" groups and better at 50 yards!!
Dave suggested it is harmonics . I cant argue with him on that. Hope he will chime in on this thread.
I sincerely want to believe it's harmonics and not my technique... but all my other flinters do it too. No windage, no group size change really (maybe better?), they just shoot significantly higher. I mean it could make sense... long whippy barrels, skinny stocks. In BPCR we rest our barrels on null points on cross sticks, but they're also of a MUCH heavier profile, and a 40 or 45 caliber bore.
 
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I like this explanation and another experienced shooter I consider a mentor mentioned something similar. I've just never had this issue with unmentionables, but I guess it's an easy fix... sight the flinters in with the gun in my hands, not rested front and rear.
Travis,

The big thing here is you are still shooting good groups when you shoot it in your hands, so it HAS to be your eyeball is in a different position and that comes from a different "spot weld" or cheek position.

BTW, I would also recommend you shoot from Offhand, Sitting and Prone Positions. Don't be surprised if changing to those positions might change the Point of Impact a little.

Gus
 

Travis186

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Travis,

The big thing here is you are still shooting good groups when you shoot it in your hands, so it HAS to be your eyeball is in a different position and that comes from a different "spot weld" or cheek position.

BTW, I would also recommend you shoot from Offhand, Sitting and Prone Positions. Don't be surprised if changing to those positions might change the Point of Impact a little.

Gus
Once I get new front sights and get it dialed back in I will do just that. I just hope the change is not so dramatic when shooting off hand, sitting, prone as the rifle will still be in my hands much the same way, not like it is off of bags. I really want to punch a tag with this thing.....
 
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I have also had peculiar results with my flintlocks, including my Kibler .54 :
1. Resting the rifle across the sandbag allowed the rifle to jerk with recoil and i wasn't even hitting paper at 50 yards. Took me a while to figure that one out...
2. Holding the fore stock and resting the barrel on the sandbag I was getting in large groups (6") but hitting inside the 50 yard target. Improvement
3. Under Dave951's coaching, I held the fore stock and rested my hand holding the rifle fore stock on the sandbag. 2" groups and better at 50 yards!!
Dave suggested it is harmonics . I cant argue with him on that. Hope he will chime in on this thread.
While I'm sure that's true in your case, Travis was getting good groups in BOTH positions, so it has to be a different cheek position.

Gus
 

smo

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I don’t find it an issue… but I know Guys that do..

I think how you mount the gun is what causes it.

I try too sit up, when shooting from a bench for this reason..
 
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Once I get new front sights and get it dialed back in I will do just that. I just hope the change is not so dramatic when shooting off hand, sitting, prone as the rifle will still be in my hands much the same way, not like it is off of bags. I really want to punch a tag with this thing.....
I learned this from many years of Marine Corps Annual Qualifications, as well as being a NM Armorer and spending so much time on rifle ranges, especially on the 200 yard line where we shot Offhand slow fire, Kneeling slow fire and Sitting rapid fire at that range. I could COUNT on having to put an extra click of elevation when firing Offhand, but then took it off for kneeling and then had to add a click or two of windage for Sitting Rapid fire. However, that is 200 yards and one click or two is very little adjustment.

The big takeaway here is PLEASE write down if the Point of Impact changes in the different positions and how much!! Writing it down causes/forces your subconscious mind to remember it AND you pull the written documentation out each day you hunt to remind yourself.

Gus
 

Travis186

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I learned this from many years of Marine Corps Annual Qualifications, as well as being a NM Armorer and spending so much time on rifle ranges, especially on the 200 yard line where we shot Offhand slow fire, Kneeling slow fire and Sitting rapid fire at that range. I could COUNT on having to put an extra click of elevation when firing Offhand, but then took it off for kneeling and then had to add a click or two of windage for Sitting Rapid fire. However, that is 200 yards and one click or two is very little adjustment.

The big takeaway here is PLEASE write down if the Point of Impact changes in the different positions and how much!! Writing it down causes/forces your subconscious mind to remember it AND you pull the written documentation out each day you hunt to remind yourself.

Gus
I still wonder why I don't see this issue with unmentionables? Is it faster velocities and lock up times compensating for it?

I will write this down and report back. My hope is that none of this is drastic enough to result in me not wanting to drag this rifle into the woods anymore. My thought is it won't be. I can handle a 2-3" difference from 50-100 yards and everything inbetween. I can't handle a 7-10" difference. I hunt in thick thick woods and I don't get enough time to make a shot that precise where I gotta pick a perfect belly line shot.
 
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I had the exact same issue when I
first started shooting the flintlock.
The bench rest point of impact is your zero. Mastering rifle hold, sight acquisition, trigger break, and follow through will bring your off-hand shooting to the benchrest zero. Some aspects to keep in mind that are key to counteracting the increased lag time with the flintlock.
-Pull the stock firmly, straight back into you shoulder, avoiding downward cheek pressure on the comb. Light cheek contact to align the eye with the sights.
-Total concentration in the front sight only—-burn a whole in it. It will help with follow through.
-While burning that hole……
Squeeeeeze the trigger.
Keep practicing until the bench and off-hand groups match up.
Keep in mind that your barrel moves about 3/4” between ignition and the ball leaving the barrel. You want to replicate what happens on the bench. It can be achieved with practice. IMO…
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Greasecookie

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Umm. All rifles hit to a different point of impact from off the bench vs. offhand. Springer air guns are the worst offender, including for some reasons that are not applicable to muzzleloaders, of course. The barrel time in a 40+ inch barrel is significant and the direction the barrel is going to be pointing will be different because the recoil impulse will move the barrel differently depending on its degrees of freedom. Sight in from the most likely position you will shoot from in the field is probably good advice.
 
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I still wonder why I don't see this issue with unmentionables? Is it faster velocities and lock up times compensating for it?

I will write this down and report back. My hope is that none of this is drastic enough to result in me not wanting to drag this rifle into the woods anymore. My thought is it won't be. I can handle a 2-3" difference from 50-100 yards and everything inbetween. I can't handle a 7-10" difference. I hunt in thick thick woods and I don't get enough time to make a shot that precise where I gotta pick a perfect belly line shot.
Thanks to Art for showing the target. I don't think you will have a 2-3" difference at 50 yards in different shooting positions, but you may and even probably will have more of a drop than that at 100.

Remember though, on a deer you have a killing circle of 8-10 inches.

Gus
 
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I still wonder why I don't see this issue with unmentionables? Is it faster velocities and lock up times compensating for it?
With a flinter you DO have to use more follow through than on unmentionable rifles, BUT if you use the same follow through as your flinter when you shoot your unmentionables, your unmentionable group sizes will shrink.

I have a Gosh Awful Spot Weld when I shoot M1's, M14's/M1A's and M16's/AR's BECAUSE I have a lot of astigmatism in my eyes. On the first two, I put the heel of the receiver into the corner of my mouth. On the M16's/AR's, I put the left side of the charging handle in the corner of my mouth. Every time I shoot them I give myself a fat lip, BUT I DON'T care, because I shoot them so much better that way, due to my eyeball astigmatism. In 1988 I was the 8th Marine in history since 1920 to tie the All Time High Score of 249 out of 250 at Quantico and as of a couple months ago, no one has done it since.

NOW with my flinters, I work my cheek around to get a spot on each where I see the sights best AND can make sure I get the exact same cheek position every time I shoot them.

Gus
 

Travis186

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Thanks to Art for showing the target. I don't think you will have a 2-3" difference at 50 yards in different shooting positions, but you may and even probably will have more of a drop than that at 100.

Remember though, on a deer you have a killing circle of 8-10 inches.

Gus
I wasn't talking drop, just difference in POI from positions. The rifle off the bench is 3" high at 50 and about as much low at 100, it was perfect "equilibrium".
 
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Shoot off the bench exactly the same as you shoot off hand. No rear bag, pull the gun firmly into your shoulder, tight but not crushing grip on the comb. Support hand under the barrel in the exact same place on the stock whether off hand or on the bench. Equal height equal light on the sights. Take a breath, start letting it out. Squeeze the trigger so that just as you cease exhaling the gun goes off. Remembering it’s a flint and a long barrel so keep composed and down behind the sights till we’ll after the shot. Is the sight picture the same as it was when you pulled the trigger? If it is then you will achieve consistency. Everything has to be the same every time or the bullet is impacting somewhere different. It’s definitely you since you do it with all your flint guns. My bet is you are supporting the gun differently on the bench then off hand.
 
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