Fun and experimentation with Bess.

Discussion in 'Smoothbore' started by Rat, Aug 21, 2019.

Help Support Muzzle Loading Forum by donating:

  1. Aug 21, 2019 #1

    Rat

    Rat

    Rat

    50 Cal.

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2004
    Messages:
    2,084
    Likes Received:
    332
    DSC06990.JPG
    Mixed results with Bess today. I set out to try a patched chewed ball over a wax wad and a wonder wad. Then I found I had no more wonder wads, just wax wads or "biscuits". The first shot fired, which is the patch and wads in the middle, hit the paper plate dead center at 50 yards. That load had been in the gun for some time. It was also a thinner patch then I was using today. You can see a little burn, but no tearing.

    Next, on far left, I loaded her up with a thick shotgun wad which you can see above the patch. Patch was a heavier material. I could find no spent wads, fired several, accuracy was poor, and below the patch was all I could find of one wad. The patch was both torn and burnt, the shotgun wad was obviously a very poor seal, although it was a nice tight fit when loading. One shot didn't even hit the back stop. (3'X4') The two others were about seven inches left and right of the paper plate.

    So then I just shot with a single wax wad (wonder wad dipped in hot bee's wax) under a patched chewed ball, and a thicker patch. Powder charge was 140 grains of 2fg Goex for all loads. (almost out of 1fg) Wonder lube was used for all loads. The wad with the little black specs is the wax wad, the other a Wonder wad. When found they were still stuck together. I could find none of the other wax wads.

    Results with a single wax wad were not super great, minute of paper plate. On the plate, but no actual "group". However, as you can see, far right, patches could be used again. The wax wad certainly seals the bore very well. Good for calling in Cougar, where my range is 35 yards or closer. But otherwise, I'll use the Jeager.

    The thick patch, (.023") and chewed .690" ball is a snug, but very easy to start and load combination. The wax wad has to be pressed a bit into the muzzle, but then slides down with no resistance.

    So, next time, using the wonder-wad/wax-wad combo, I'll experiment with the un-chewed ball and denim patch again, and thicker and thinner patching with the chewed ball. But, considering I have a good .62" caliber rifle, I don't think I'm going to beat myself up trying to obtain that mystical 70 yard accuracy. But I do want to shrink my fifty yard pattern up a bit.

    Bess never missed a beat, no flashes in the pan. She just goes BOOM every time. Wearing a T-shirt, the 140 grain charge was not punishing. Bessie is a good girl. :)
     
    Loyalist Dave likes this.
  2. Aug 22, 2019 #2

    Britsmoothy

    Britsmoothy

    Britsmoothy

    70 Cal. MLF Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2007
    Messages:
    5,548
    Likes Received:
    780
    Location:
    England.
    Your findings are similar to mine.
    I found more joy with near bore size balls wadded and bore sealed with good fitting cards. Card on top. Plenty of lube.
     
    Rat likes this.
  3. Aug 22, 2019 #3

    Loyalist Dave

    Loyalist Dave

    Loyalist Dave

    Cannon MLF Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2011
    Messages:
    8,110
    Likes Received:
    836
    Location:
    People's Republic of Maryland
    Thanks for the shooting report! :thumb:

    Why does your Bess have a tradegun side plate?
    What brand of rear sight are you using, and is it soldered in place?

    LD
     
    Rat likes this.
  4. Aug 22, 2019 #4

    Rat

    Rat

    Rat

    50 Cal.

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2004
    Messages:
    2,084
    Likes Received:
    332
    Rear sight, don't know the brand, just came out of my parts box. I rounded the bottom and yes soldered it on.

    The reason my Bess has the serpent side plate, is because I don't have a persona, but Bess does. You see, this frontier gunsmith had some Brown Besses, maybe captured by the French. Maybe battle field pick-ups from the Revolution. We don't really know. But he made some money fixing them up, and trading to the Natives. Bessie had a very damaged muzzle, so he cut her down to Carbine length, put on the rifle sights, and added the Side Plate that the Indians loved, and traded it to Rolling Boulder for five deer hides, six fox skins, three beaver, and a couple bags of salt.

    Rolling Boulder loved Bess. When traveling with the family, he always had some pack horses, so could carry Bess in the saddle, and his rifle on the pack. He preferred Bess for her more rapid fire in a pinch. And of course, he could load her with swan shot and shoot ducks and such. Then Rolling Boulder added the brass tacks/nails which you can see some in the picture. Bess is an Indian gun. The stock is more ornately decorated, I'll post a pic. That's Bessie's story, and she's sticking to it.

    Brit, the reason I've not tried bare-ball is only because I'd like to stick to the faster loading of patched ball, (I just tear open a paper powder cartridge, dump it in, and then ram the patched ball down through a loading block) for hunting situations. I will probably do some cougar calling with Bess this season, and kind of like to have a fast reload. Having said that, perhaps my first load could be bare ball, and then reload with a complete paper cartridge, containing both powder and ball. Hadn't thought of that! A follow up shot at ten yards doesn't require much accuracy. So yeah, maybe I'll check out some bare ball.
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2019
    Britsmoothy likes this.
  5. Aug 22, 2019 #5

    Rat

    Rat

    Rat

    50 Cal.

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2004
    Messages:
    2,084
    Likes Received:
    332
    DSC06991.JPG
    Here are pics of Rolling Boulder's decorative work. Now I know the first critique will be that the tacks/nails are not perfectly lined up, or sloppy work. Consider that Rolling Boulder did this all while sitting in the teepee, or outside by the fire. I think the gun would look pretty funny if the tack work was all perfectly done. That wouldn't support Bessie's persona! The other complaint might be that they are brass nails, and not the bigger furniture type tacks. So incorrect! That is because Rolling Boulder and the gunsmith, and their families, were close friends, and the gunsmith made the brass nails for him from brass stock/heavy wire. So there.
    DSC06992.JPG DSC06993.JPG DSC06994.JPG DSC06995.JPG DSC06991.JPG
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 22, 2019
    bud in pa likes this.
  6. Aug 22, 2019 #6

    Britsmoothy

    Britsmoothy

    Britsmoothy

    70 Cal. MLF Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2007
    Messages:
    5,548
    Likes Received:
    780
    Location:
    England.
    I think it looks just fine and it has some nice lumber too.
     
    Rat likes this.
  7. Aug 22, 2019 #7

    Rat

    Rat

    Rat

    50 Cal.

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2004
    Messages:
    2,084
    Likes Received:
    332
    Thanks. The wood does have some unique features on it. Some very light wood on the toe, that matches some light wood on the tippy-top end of the forearm is kind of neat.
     
    Britsmoothy likes this.
  8. Aug 22, 2019 #8

    Blogman

    Blogman

    Blogman

    Pilgrim MLF Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2017
    Messages:
    208
    Likes Received:
    61
    Location:
    Central Missouri
    Sweet. I need to find the wife's old trade Indian smoothbore. I don't even know what it is.
     
    Rat likes this.
  9. Aug 23, 2019 #9

    just4fun63

    just4fun63

    just4fun63

    32 Cal. MLF Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2012
    Messages:
    71
    Likes Received:
    26
    Location:
    Cedar Hills Utah
    That gun looks super nice!
     
    Rat likes this.
  10. Aug 23, 2019 #10

    Rat

    Rat

    Rat

    50 Cal.

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2004
    Messages:
    2,084
    Likes Received:
    332
    Oh, and the Old German gunsmith used to take a lot of old muskets in trade for work done, or rifles built. Then he'd fix them up and sell them to people who couldn't afford a rifle. Did a lot of buy-sell-trade, no telling how the occasional Brown Bess was accounted for. :) Made Rolling Boulder a nice Jeager too, which cost many hides, skins and pelts and native finery....but that....is another story.
     

Share This Page

arrow_white