Big Bore Hunting Rifles

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excess650

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Big Bore is a relative term, but I'm thinking .58 and larger. My interest was piqued back in the late '90s by a Ross Seyfried article regarding Forsyth rifling in Blackpowder Hunting Magazine. I was interested enough to order a barrel from Bill (?) Moody in Missouri, 30" octagon to round, Forsyth style rifling, .62 caliber and 1-90" twist. I had it fitted to a Pete Allen boxlock action and had wood turned, and then was distratcted by other things. Between job changes, health issues and life in general, THAT project got "back burnered".

Sometime around 2010 I wanted a flintlock to hunt in Virginia's muzzleloader season. I bought a .58 built by a friend and used it while I had another built. This was his "English Sporting Rifle" in curly maple. It had a Getz tapered octagon barrel, 1-56" twist ( I think) with a Chambers English lock. I shot this buck the first season I hunted with it

and then followed up with a longbeard a few days later

I loaded 100gr Goex fffg under a .562" wrapped in .025" cotton duck lubed with mink oil. The buck was double-lunged at about 30 yards, ran into thick laurel where All I could see was his head before he disappeared from sight. I pushed my way though the thick stuff to where I last saw him, and that is where he was found. I doubt he went 25 yards. The turkey was a target of opportunity, fall turkey still being in season during Virginia's first week of early MLer season. I saw about a dozen birds feeding, waited until one of the longbeards was clear of the other birds, and then purposely held high for the offhand shot. It was either dead or miss, and I didn't just want a pile of feathers. I hit high in the back, so didn't ruin breast, leg t thigh.
 

excess650

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The next season I had a .62 ready to go. I had chosen a 28-1/2" Colerain Hessian Jaeger barrel, Chambers Early Germanic lock, and had it stocked in plain, straight grained English Walnut. Again, not HC, but my idea of a hunting rifle. Buttplate is 2" wide x 5" tall, and not much drop, so recoil is moderated in the 7.5# rifle. It has DST, but the double lever trigger is light enough that I shoot it without setting.



I shot it and hunted with it for a few seasons prior to pulling the trigger on a deer. It seemed to like 120gr Goex fffg under a .605" wrapped in .025" cotton duck lubed with mink oil. While trying to sneak back to the house through dry leaves, I spied a couple of does break across the hollow below me. I knew they didn't see me, and probably didn't hear me as I was working INTO the wind. I watched as they started to feed but kept looking where they had come from. It wasn't long and a much larger bodied buck crossed the hollow towards them and stopped behind some brush. I was caught flatfoot in the middle of a logging road, so just watched. The does bolted in my direction, so I just cocked the hammer knowing full well the buck would be on his way. He started after them, and then paused in the open, quartering towards me. It was offhand or nothing, 60-75 yards, so I held center where the neck met the shoulder. At the shot he dropped and barely quivered, so I didn't bother to reload.
 

excess650

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It was a couple of seasons later before I pulled the trigger on game again. I had decided that 100gr fffg was enough, and was straddling a blowdown mid November, enjoying a really nice day. Hunting had been good, but finding had been poor, so I was happy to see a "shooter" making his way towards me. I saw him about 100 yards out skirting a hollow. He was heading towards me, so I just cocked the hammer and tried to not make eye contact. He came closer and closer, angling from slightly above to pass below me at about 25 yards. I though ti odd that he swayed from side to side as he walked, and seemed to have a bell like a moose under his jaw...as he passed by, I raised the rifle and purposely shot through the shoulders to "stop him".


I found the ball under the hide on the off side. The chest girth measured between 46 and 47", and the chart says 300# live! The heart looked like on from a cow, and the head seemed as big as a horse's.

The ball was NOT pure, more like 10bhn, but flattened from .605" to 7/8" x 15/16" and lost no weight!

You can see the patch weave on the backside of the ball.
 

excess650

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Having shot "the hog" in Virginia's early season, I decided to carry the flinter in Pa's regular rifle season. I was in a stand on the spine of a ridge with a steep, deep hollow to my left. Some deer appeared and disappeared in/through the pines, and this buck ran all the way to the bottom and paused as he started up the other side. I knew it was too far to shoot on flat ground, but had that steep, downhill working for me, so held where the neck meets the back. He dropped and rolled at the shot.

I DID reload and made my way down to where he fell, but had to finish him. The ball had hit were I aimed, just missed the spine, and rolled out onto the floor when I pulled the hde off his brisket. The ball was round enough to load and shoot again. It was apparent how much velocity the ball had shed in 125+ yards, but still made a serious impression on the buck.
 

excess650

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I KNOW how effective .62s are on WT deer. In the mean time, I had Petaconica fit a .62 Rice Jaeger barrel in their early Virginia stock. The stock has enough beef to hold the 1-1/8" breech, not much drop, and a broad butt. It wasn't listed on their site as an option, but seemed doable in conversation on the phone. I haven't finished it, but I'm expecting it to be a treat.

The barrel is 31", swamped, and 1-66" or 1-72" twist, flat bottom rifling. The lands are much narrower than those in my Colerain, so I'm expecting it to be easier to load.

Another project in waiting is to be a Purdy style, halfstock, swamped with under rib. The barrel was cut by Getz and was SUPPOSED to be wider grooves than lands and 30". It was eventually delivered with equal width lands and grooves and 28", so I'll NOT recommend anyone order from John. I have the spectacular claro walnut stock, but am waffling between percussion with a drip bar lock/patnet breech, or just making another flintlock.

The 1-90" twist .62 Moody barrel remains attached to the Pete Allen boxlock percussion action, but this thread has me rethinking that. I'm on the fence about halfstock vs fullstock, and definitely thinking flintlock. I have walnut to cut a halfstock, and 3" quartersawn cherry to make a fullstock....the narrow and and wide grooves definitely should be easy to load.

Post up your projects, ideas, and images!
 

hanshi

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Those are magnificent deer! I like both the rifles but that jaeger knocks the breath out of me! I always favor full stocks and flint locks. Leave me that jaeger in your will, please.
 

R.J.Bruce

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Really like the Jaeger rifle. I had for a couple of years, never hunted with it, a .62 caliber flintlock longrifle. It had a 42" long Getz swamped octagon barrel that came ordered with a factory coned muzzle. It had a large Siler flintlock, and a single trigger. It was iron-mounted, kind of Lancaster-ish. I have no idea how much it weighed, as I didn't concern myself with such things when I was younger. The balance for offhand shooting was very good.

I do know that it was incredibly accurate with a 75 grain charge of fffg black powder, a thick denim spit patch, & a 0.615" diameter ball. It would keep 5 shots under a silver dollar at 100 yards if the shooter was doing their job.

I never measured thicknesses in those days. I just purchased swatches of material until I found the thickness that worked. When I got a new rifle I went to the fabric store, and bought small swatches of 5-6 different materials in heavy cotton. I already had some idea of what worked from my previous experiences with former rifles.
 

R.J.Bruce

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Those are all nice deer. I envy you to be able to have done that with such a nice flintlock.
 

excess650

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Here is a video shot in ultra slo-mo with a .730 ball in ballistic gelatin at 1250fps, but launched from a modern platform.
 

excess650

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Moose with a muzzleloader is one of the hunts that I dreamed about. A contemporary maker from W Va has a picture of his eastern Canada moose taken with a .58 flintlock and roundball, so a .62 should be enough.

I talked with Bobby Hoyt yesterday, and he will cut .60 and/or .62 as well as .69, and offers gain twist rifling besides. Now that my .62 Moody barrel is off the boxlock action and breeched with a flint plug, I'll have to decide what stock configuration it will go into. "High and straight", meaning not much drop to the heel, and a wide buttplate makes big bores more shooter friendly.
 

BS

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""High and straight", meaning not much drop to the heel, and a wide buttplate makes big bores more shooter friendly."
Across between an English Sporter, a Jaeger and a Virginia.....and a shorter Christian Springs!
 

R.J.Bruce

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Mike Brooks built himself a fantasy, English "GAME CREEPERS" rifle several years ago. It has since passed through three sets of hands, and if I recall correctly, Bob McBride now has it.

It has a 29" long, .58 caliber, swamped octagon barrel set in a piece of Iowa black walnut. Chambers Early Ketland flintlock with a single trigger. No buttplate, rounded heel. Drop at comb = 1.625", & drop at heel = 2.625". Butt = 4.750" tall × 2.000" wide. Wrist is 1.500" wide × a little more than 1.375" tall. Length of pull = 13.375"(?). Weight was right at 7 pounds.

All four owners, as well as Mr. Brooks said that it handled like a dream, was accurate, and pleasant to shoot.
 

BS

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RJBruce, Do you have a picture or a link to this gun?
 

excess650

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no buttplate, amputated trigger guard, no lockbolts aka shimmel with a British accent 👎
 

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