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Best bet for a first smooth bore

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Artificer

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He is shooting loose volley fire loads in that tape, speed over accuracy.
That and though he is not a bad shot, shooting offhand as he did rarely shows the accuracy of the gun, but rather the inaccuracy of the guy shooting offhand. The shots he threw under and over (and yes, he did own up to them - to give him credit) threw off the results too much to really compare accuracy.

Gus
 

bigted

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The best I can get with my smoothie 20 (62 cal) is around 3 inch at 50ish yards. This is a patched 595 RB wrapped in .015 inch cotton with SPG lube rubbed into the patch over 85 grains 2F OE powder.

I have not mastered my unpatched ball load yet. I get around the same and mostly 5 or 6 inch at 50 yds with a flyer every 5 shot group ... sometimes more then one. Load is .600 inch ball (bore is .615) over 80 or 90 graims 2F OE powder, no overpowder wad and a wad over the ball for keeping it against the powder.

Bare ball loads I can get between 8 and 10 shots before the tough loading forces me to clean the barrel ... however, that patched load I can keep shooting for as long as I want. As long as the patch is lubed enough it seems to clean with every ball loaded ... when the ring at the top of the powder charge is getting annoying ... I load a 30 grain charge, then after seating the patched ball ... I run spit patch down and clean the built up ring away ... fire that low load and back at it again.
 

FlinterNick

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It all depends on what you want to spend, a custom kit from Track of the Wolf or Jim Chambers is a a good start or you can get a factory gun by Pedersoli or an Indian maker.
 

Rat

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I think that all things considered, a smooth bore is a solid fifty yard gun, as far as killing a deer sized animal, or man-sized target. Sometimes, some guns will beat that, and with a good steady hold, and a stationary animal, we might try a shot at 60+ yards, but when hunting, that's not always possible. And yes, sometimes one can produce a good group on paper at around 70 yards, but I personally think that's the absolute limit.

If you have ever watched the flight of a paint-ball, you'll see that it goes pretty straight up to a certain distance, then veers suddenly right, left, up or down. I believe that's what a ball from a smooth bore does. Just my opinion.

My best accuracy has come with heavier powder charges. It's kind of counter-intuitive, as rifles are usually just the opposite, but that has been my experience. I shoot a .690" patched and chewed ball over 140 grains of fg, and a wax wad.

Wow Big, that's a really cool idea/method for cleaning the crud ring, without getting the breech wet. How the heck did you think of that??
 

flntlokr

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I think that all things considered, a smooth bore is a solid fifty yard gun, as far as killing a deer sized animal, or man-sized target. Sometimes, some guns will beat that, and with a good steady hold, and a stationary animal, we might try a shot at 60+ yards, but when hunting, that's not always possible. And yes, sometimes one can produce a good group on paper at around 70 yards, but I personally think that's the absolute limit.

If you have ever watched the flight of a paint-ball, you'll see that it goes pretty straight up to a certain distance, then veers suddenly right, left, up or down. I believe that's what a ball from a smooth bore does. Just my opinion.

My best accuracy has come with heavier powder charges. It's kind of counter-intuitive, as rifles are usually just the opposite, but that has been my experience. I shoot a .690" patched and chewed ball over 140 grains of fg, and a wax wad.

Wow Big, that's a really cool idea/method for cleaning the crud ring, without getting the breech wet. How the heck did you think of that??
You are absolutely correct in your thought; the ball doesn't curve much until it slows down and catches the air. BIg charges extend the distance that the ball will travel before it slows down and catches the air. I have heard of shooters who roll their balls (for their guns) between a couple of double-cut files, to dimple them like golf balls, so they will hold on to their envelope of compressed air longer. rolling the balls around under a heavy plate (I use a slab of marble) to mash down the sprues may also help do away with irregularities that will catch the wind. Just the same as a pitched ball; they go straight for a while, and when they slow down, whatever the pitcher has done takes effect.
 

Rat

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I have been rasping/"chewing" the balls in my Bess, but still have not shot enough to make a determination. !! They are certainly not less accurate. Need to do that, maybe today, as the sun is shining for a change. They do "seem" to be more accurate, but again, I need to shoot several groups.
 

just4fun63

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Well, I must say thanks for all the information! I ordered a Early Fowler kit from TVM yesterday! Can’t wait to get to working on it.
42 inch Octagon to round .62 caliber barrel, plain maple stock, Queen Ann lock. I plan on adding a small thumb piece and some carving around the tang.

looking for recommendations for accoutrements:
Round ball size to start?
Shot size 71/2 ?
.62 jag.
What else??
 

Grenadier1758

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Round ball. You may find that balls of either 0.595, 0.600 or 0.610 may work. The smaller ones with a thin cotton or linen patch. Paper cartridges can also work. O in skin, coffee filters, newsprint, the paper used used to wrap up glassware at a store. The larger one will sit on an over powder wad or nest of tow topped by an over shot card. Many variants of these exist and most will work. Black powder only. 3fg if you want to use one size for chamber and pan. You will also want a brass working rod to make range time more pleasant.

7 1/2 shot is good. Do some searching and reading about the "Skychief Load" for insight on building shot columns. Lubrication for wads can vary all over the offerings of oils and oiled soaps. You are just going to go through the trial error process to determine what works for you and at your location.
 

smoothshooter

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The best I can get with my smoothie 20 (62 cal) is around 3 inch at 50ish yards. This is a patched 595 RB wrapped in .015 inch cotton with SPG lube rubbed into the patch over 85 grains 2F OE powder.

I have not mastered my unpatched ball load yet. I get around the same and mostly 5 or 6 inch at 50 yds with a flyer every 5 shot group ... sometimes more then one. Load is .600 inch ball (bore is .615) over 80 or 90 graims 2F OE powder, no overpowder wad and a wad over the ball for keeping it against the powder.

Bare ball loads I can get between 8 and 10 shots before the tough loading forces me to clean the barrel ... however, that patched load I can keep shooting for as long as I want. As long as the patch is lubed enough it seems to clean with every ball loaded ... when the ring at the top of the powder charge is getting annoying ... I load a 30 grain charge, then after seating the patched ball ... I run spit patch down and clean the built up ring away ... fire that low load and back at it again.
3” at 50 yards, plus an occasional flier is very good, and is about as good as it gets.
Count your blessings.
 
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I’m going to get my first smoothbore for a kit this winter,
What’s your opinion on the most enjoyable to shoot
English Fowler
Fusil de Chase
Or maybe the Pedersoli Indian Trade Musket?

I live out west and mostly do Rocky Mountain fur trade events but I’m developing a F&I / Rev war era persona for some planned trips back east next year.
Thanks for your ideas.
I have two beautiful smoothbores. One is an American Fowler (Early Virginia stock with octagon to round smoothbore). The other is a Fusil de Chase...I love my Fusil de Chase.
 

Smokey Plainsman

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Well, I must say thanks for all the information! I ordered a Early Fowler kit from TVM yesterday! Can’t wait to get to working on it.
42 inch Octagon to round .62 caliber barrel, plain maple stock, Queen Ann lock. I plan on adding a small thumb piece and some carving around the tang.

looking for recommendations for accoutrements:
Round ball size to start?
Shot size 71/2 ?
.62 jag.
What else??
How about a tow worm and tow? Cleaning the traditional way works very, very well and is fun.
 

FlinterNick

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How easy?
On a scale of easy from 1 easiest to 10 hardest, I’d place it at a 5. Its not a beginners kit but its not an experts kit.

It really depends on what you want on the gun, relief carvings etc is where the complications come into play, or modifications for barrel keys instead of pins.
 

FlinterNick

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Which one is easy? He does a few
The English Officers Fusil is about the same skill as a Brown Bess Kit, and by easy my meaning is just keeping the gun very basic.

You would need a drill press, or certain jigs, hand tools, like chisels and rasps, measuring tools and a good set of barrel channel scrapers.
 

Heyyou48307

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I have a Caywood Wilson TG, good back to the F&I period and very comfortable to shoot, can be ordered with a drop in rifle barrel combination
 

smoothshooter

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The English Officers Fusil is about the same skill as a Brown Bess Kit, and by easy my meaning is just keeping the gun very basic.

You would need a drill press, or certain jigs, hand tools, like chisels and rasps, measuring tools and a good set of barrel channel scrapers.
Where would one get an Officer’s Fusil these days without having to go the India route?
 

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