Cossack Rifle by Steve Krolick

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I got it to the range today and put 11 rounds through it at 50 yards from the bench.

5 x .575 Minies on paper.
5 x .562 patched round balls on paper.
1 x .575 Minie at a gong, fired offhand.

I used 50 grains of 2Fg Goex for all shots. Each group had 3 shots clustered in a couple inches with a couple fliers, probably due to me yanking the shot. Mean POI was about 4" or 5" high and right. Once I settle on a load I'll do some filing on the rear sight to sight it in.

The patched round balls started a bit easier than the Minies, which are pretty snug.

The Minies were lubed with Crisco in the grooved and the base cavity. The patches were lubed with Bumblin' Bear Grease from October Country.

For my priming charge I used 3Fg Schuetzen. The lock were perfectly with no misfires or hang fires.

I also have some .570 and .575 round balls and thinner patch materials to try.

The recoil with these loads wasn't bad.
 
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Last week I saw this rifle on Lodgewood Manufacturing's website and decided to grab it because it's so unique. It was brought to my attention by forum member Cyten in another thread. I ordered it last Tuesday and it arrived Wednesday, after shipping out last Friday.

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It's a replica of 19th Century Cossack rifles. Stylistically, Cossack rifles were heavily influenced by rifles from the Ottoman Empire and the Caucasus (e.g., Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan). Cossack rifles tended to be plainer while those from the other regions were usually very ornately decorated.

This rifle was built by Steve Krolick. According to Lodgewood, it may be the first replica of a gun made in the US from that region. I've certainly never seen another.

Specs of the rifle:

The barrel was rifled by Bobby Hoyt with 3 grooves, .577 groove diameter, 1:78" twist. The barrel is 37.5" from muzzle to where it joins the breech. It is held in place with four brass bands. The diameter is 0.8" at the muzzle.

According to Lodgewood, many originals were rebored to shoot Minie balls for the Crimean War and this rifle was built to reflect that.

The lock is an L&R flintlock, marked "TULA 1802". It's secured with two screws. There is no sideplate.

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The stock is walnut with artificial striping. The buttplate is made from ebony with a rosewood spacer and secure with two screws. It's fitted with two sling loops.

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For sights there is a brass half moon front sight soldered or brazed to the barrel with an open rear sight located between the breech and tang.

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The ramrod is slightly tapered wood, fitted at the muzzle end with a unique brass tip hollowed out for the bullet and which is usable as a cleaning jag. The other end is plain. I might fit that end with a plain brass tip threaded for accessories.

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As expected the rifle is muzzle heavy but it balances nicely in the hand at the lower barrel band.

The overall length is 54" and the weight is 8.4 lbs. Lodgewood recommended a load with a .575" Minie ball and 40 grains of FFg black powder. By comparison, the US service load for .58 rifle muskets during the Civil War was 60 grains of Fg or FFg under a Minie ball. I intend to try it with both Minies and patched round balls.

I hope to be able to shoot it this weekend.
This is a very nice rifle. I have often wondered about the firearms of East Central and Central Europe from the 17th to the 19th century. There seems to be a lack of readily available information on these guns, especially any shootable reproductions.
 
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Napoleon said cossacks were the best light infantry in the world. Wonder what he thought of their cavalry.
Napoleon thought very highly of the Polish calvary that were in his army and he used them successfully to negate the effectiveness of the Cossacks. I say this in pure historical observation since descendants of both are in my lineage.
 
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