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Charleville sight picture

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nkbj

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On my 1816 musket I'm trying out a temporary rear sight glued to a spare rear barrel band.
If it works out I'll replace the plastic with a simple primitive style metal leaf, using the shape of the plastic after settling on a load and elevation.
 

Grenadier1758

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Well, @CherokeeLawman, you read my earlier post on sighting a smoothbore. While I was talking about a British Long Land Pattern Musket and a light colonial fowling gun, I guess those instructions apply to a Charleville. Don't tell the French Milice. But do tell us about your Charleville.

To keep it all short, you have a bayonet lug or other lug near the muzzle. Your eye is the rear sight to be raised or lowered by the position of your cheek on the stock.

The touch hole on muskets are generally at least 5/64" to 3/32" as getting the flame from the pan to powder charge was a higher priority than the slight increase in chamber pressure with a smaller touch hole.

One of the first things to understand about smoothbores is that there is no rule of thumb, unless it is that when you hold your thumb very firmly against the stock, the ball will move in the direction the thumb is pushing.

Now to get serious, you are getting the balls to impact in more or less a group and it is low. This seems reasonable since you are sighting along the barrel. I have found in my Long Land Pattern Bess and my light fowler, you have to see some of the barrel between the breech and the front lug or sight. Yes the rear sight is your eye and you raise or lower the impact at the target by raising or lowering your eye. It is normal to see some of the barrel when you are pointing a smoothbore. The other choice is to bend the barrel, but that seems to be too extreme for what you are describing.

Soon you will learn that it is the cheek on the stock for short ranges or the lower tooth line for longer ranges. I use the slot in the tang bolt as an indicator for the rear of the breech. It is easier to line up the eye to the lug by looking over that slot in the bolt. I always line up that slot with the barrel.

Those big military muskets will often have a fairly large touch hole. You should probably drill yours out to 1/16". If you need to, then you can go up to 5/64". I have a set of number drills to get the diameters between 0.062 and 0.078". A number 50 drill measures 0.070"

I think you are doing pretty good with your purchase so far.
 

simonbeans

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Once you find the proper position of your cheek on the stock, you must be VERY consist to always hold the musket the same. And squeeze the trigger, the shot should come as a surprise. If you know when it goes off, aka jerking the trigger, you will flinch and most likely miss.
 

FlinterNick

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Being accurate with a Charleville or Brown Bess has more to do with a well patched round ball (chewed balls cut your groups in half). Rear sights on a bess or Charleville don’t offer much benefit.
 

Bob McBride

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Just as shooting a modern shotgun where you set your cheek weld to give you the same neutral view of the barrel rib each time while seeing the entire front bead, you are looking for a consistent view of the top of the barrel. If you really look when you shoulder the gun you’ll notice it takes very little change in cheek position to give you a very different picture of the top of the barrel. Practice shouldering the gun and it won’t take long. Focus on your cheek bone, the comb, the front sight, and the view of the top line of the barrel.
 

tenngun

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I don’t know enough about charley or his little brother the american Springfield to say how you could mount a rear sight.
However I shot a TFC for a couple of years trying to get that whole cheek weld thing down. No go.
Put on a rear sight bingo. My best groups were not any better, but getting best groups is easy. Shoulder gun line up boom. No and I forward or back, am I tight enough, tang screw in line with sight, right, left? Agh....
Deer has walked off while I was trying to get right.
Same thing on NWG. Ought to be easy, stock like a 2x4. Where’s that tang screw? Op where the front sight, hows my cheek? Umph. Rear sight, troubles over.
My first bess was before I knew how well a smoothie can do , and mostly shot shot in it, and was happy to put a ball in a paper plate at fifty yards.
 

Many Klatch

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You can scribe a groove on the tang at the rear of the barrel and use that for a sight reference for horizontal hold. Or you can remove the tang bolt and replace it with bigger headed bolt and use the slot as a sight reference.

You will need to find a sight picture that works for you. Usually that means "showing some barrel". With the gun at your shoulder, you should be able to reference the tang bolt or scribed line for your horizontal hold. Then you put the front sight on the target. Then you look to see if you can see the right amount of barrel that is between your eye and the front sight. A piece of tape can be used to help figure this out. Shooting match rules require that smoothbores cannot have a rear sight above the plane of the barrel, so that means that the rear sight must be below the plane of the barrel. After the first couple of hundred shots it becomes second nature. Have fun.
 

nkbj

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tenngun,
Yeah, same here. Shooting more accurately with a shot gun comes with practice but there are also good reasons why somebody invented rear sights.

If the sight on the rear band works for me there may be a second barrel in the future for the 1816, rifled for heavy charges behind .65" ball. It can be my "Model 1818 sniper musket".😍
 

FlinterNick

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tenngun,
Yeah, same here. Shooting more accurately with a shot gun comes with practice but there are also good reasons why somebody invented rear sights.

If the sight on the rear band works for me there may be a second barrel in the future for the 1816, rifled for heavy charges behind .65" ball. It can be my "Model 1818 sniper musket".😍
What you want is an 1817 common rifle, very much like an 1816 musket at .54 served as the rifled arm of the US military almost through the Mexican War.

Rear sighting a Charleville or 1816, is just not really worth the trouble.

Burnishing and polishing the bore and using a tightly patched well lubed round ball, will get you where you need to be most of the time considering all other elements of the shooter.
 

toot

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Being accurate with a Charleville or Brown Bess has more to do with a well patched round ball (chewed balls cut your groups in half). Rear sights on a bess or Charleville don’t offer much benefit.
chewed balls, OUCH!!! a better man than me??
 

FlinterNick

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chewed balls, OUCH!!! a better man than me??
You don’t actually chew on the musket balls, I put mine in a rock tumbler for about 20 min, the result is the balls have small divets or dents on them, this cuts back on windage, works great with a paper patch or paper cartridge.
 
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nkbj

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What you want is an 1817 common rifle, very much like an 1816 musket at .54 served as the rifled arm of the US military almost through the Mexican War.

Rear sighting a Charleville or 1816, is just not really worth the trouble.

Burnishing and polishing the bore and using a tightly patched well lubed round ball, will get you where you need to be most of the time considering all other elements of the shooter.
I think a rear sight on the M1816 will allow me to be much more accurate with the smooth bore barrel. With a rifled barrel, oh boy... wouldn't know until I tried it. Then again, I may sell the M1816. We'll see.
 

Loyalist Dave

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I can not wait to back out to the range and get this down.
Unless you want to experience shooting the smooth bore without the rear sight..., and you will need to work up a load for that as well..., you might want to:

Go to the hardware store and buy a 3/4", brass corner brace.
CORNER BRACE SIGHT 2.JPG


You remove the tang bolt from the musket, and put the bolt through the bottom hole, reinstall the bolt which will now hold the "sight" in place, and use the top hole in the bracket as a "ghost ring" for sighting, AND as it's brass, if the smoothbore shoots too high, then you can cut the soft metal of the brass corner bracket, and fashion a rear sight.

CORNER BRACE SIGHT.jpg


LD
 

Hawk78

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Just as shooting a modern shotgun where you set your cheek weld to give you the same neutral view of the barrel rib each time while seeing the entire front bead, you are looking for a consistent view of the top of the barrel. If you really look when you shoulder the gun you’ll notice it takes very little change in cheek position to give you a very different picture of the top of the barrel. Practice shouldering the gun and it won’t take long. Focus on your cheek bone, the comb, the front sight, and the view of the top line of the barrel.
I've got two beads on my new side by side that annoy me. I'm thinking about removing the little one. What would you do sir?
 

BJm

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I shot this target last weekend with my original Charleville at 50yds. I was lucky enough to buy this Charleville with a shiny .71cal 5 groove rifled barrel & fitted with a 1,000yd rear sight from a small pawn shop in Tennessee. The original bayonet came with it but it was unfortunately it had been converted to percussion in France in 1822. Cerification was validated by antique gun dealer in Gettesburg as to its originality, I now have a correct flint lock to convert it back but i am quite happy to shoot it in it's originality. I consider it the best $500 i ever spent & have told my wife that if i pass first that she is to send the Charleville back to the USA where it belongs.
 

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Grenadier1758

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@BJm, the conversion in 1822 is an important part of the history of that Charleville. This is a case, in my opinion, that restoration to flintlock would not be appropriate to the historical modifications and would lessen the value of that gun. Make arrangements so that gun can be welcomed back to an appropriate home in the USA.

Kudos to you for keeping the history of your Charleville alive!
 

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