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Headed to the range today with my .54 Kibler Colonial

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GAHUNTER60

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Gonna work on trying to tighten up my longer range groups. She does great at 50 yards (2" - 2-1/2" groups), however at 75 yards, she opens up to barely minute-of-deer (6 inches, sometimes more). Who woulda' thunk that the extra 25 yards could make that much difference?

The 50-yard groups are about the same with just about any powder, load volume or patch thickness. However, at 75 yards, the hotter loads seem to be a little tighter. That's why I'm going to work on nothing but loads at longer ranges today using Swiss Powder it's (hotter than the Goex I've been using), and trying different patch thicknesses.

I'm also gonna work with several different strengths of eye glasses. I believe part of the problem lies in my tired old eyes not being to focus as finely as they used to when I could shoot consistent 3" groups at 100 yards with the factory sights on my TC Hawken.

I'll post results and pictures and then get y'alls opinions on what I'm doing wrong. :dunno:
 
Yes, it is you ... or your eye sight, as ballistically there's no way that 'cone of fire' from the 50Y group opens up that much @ 75.

I struggled with my eyes too as I aged, but here's some tips. DO NOT use progressive lenses, they are THE worst for accurate shooting! You need to see the front sight sharp! Besides some dedicated single vision lenses for shooting (even simple 'readers' work for some people) try this below too, as I can now see the front sight as sharp as I did when I was a kid!

https://www.muzzleloadingforum.com/...our-glasses-so-you-can-see-the-sights.160334/
 
Yes, it is you ... or your eye sight, as ballistically there's no way that 'cone of fire' from the 50Y group opens up that much @ 75.

I struggled with my eyes too as I aged, but here's some tips. DO NOT use progressive lenses, they are THE worst for accurate shooting! You need to see the front sight sharp! Besides some dedicated single vision lenses for shooting (even simple 'readers' work for some people) try this below too, as I can now see the front sight as sharp as I did when I was a kid!

https://www.muzzleloadingforum.com/...our-glasses-so-you-can-see-the-sights.160334/
That is correct.

Once a bullet is on its path, it can't shift wildly inward or wildly outward. The path will remain constant.

2.5 inches at 50 yards would be 5 inches at 100 yards.

75 yards should be in the 3.75 inch range.

It's your eyes.
 
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Well, I've got a new I-phone and I'm having trouble posting photos to the www. Mox Nix, suffice it to say that at 75 yards, groups are still only "minute of deer" (about five inches).

Yes, I do believe that the problem lies in my old eyes not being able to hold a fine sight picture at that range. I tried different power reading glasses today, but my everyday bifocals gave me the best view.

Oh well, where I hunt 90-percent of all shots are within 50 yards, with none being over 75. I'm going to try Grenadier's diopter next range session, but I'm pretty confident in being able to harvest a deer cleanly with where I'm at.
 
2.5" at 50 yds is not good from the bench. You can hunt with it, but I wouldn't settle for it. I had the same problem until I discovered 1.5 reading glasses. Consistency in loading, swabbing and drying after each shot, and those reading glasses will improve your groups when test firing or sighting in.
 
One issue that could be at play is the ball going transonic. Funky stuff happens there. If the bullet is barely supersonic at the muzzle, you're looking at it going transonic at about 50 yards. This tends to be more of an issue with smoothbores, conical bullets and loads that are barely supersonic at the muzzle. I see it the most pronounced with lead-free .22lr where you might have a dime-sized group at 50 yards and barely on paper at 75 yards. That transonic slap really messes stuff up. This is one of the big reasons why modern airguns stay in the subsonic range, even though the gun itself is capable of more speed. I don't have any scientific research to prove this but I suspect that this is also one of the primary reasons why rifles are so much better than smoothbores at distance. At close ranges and subsonic speeds, they're pretty comparable. But past that 50-75 yard range, the rifle really starts to show its worth. Yet plenty of people shoot smoothies accurately at distance but almost always with subsonic loads.

If you want to test that theory, try shooting subsonic groups at 50 & 75 yards. Ideally, you want the rifle steadied on a sled of some kind to take as much of you out of the shot as possible. A scope would be ideal but not really possible with most of our traditional guns. If you still have that tight group at 50 but wide-open at 75, then we can rule out the transonic theory. If the group oddly tightens up when started from subsonic velocities, then it's probably the transonic slap that's getting ya.

Another good test to see how much of you is in the shot is to create scaled targets. This will take a little bit of thought and effort to re-create a larger target at 75 yards to simulate a 50-yard shot and a smaller target to be used at 50 yards to simulate a 75-yard shot. In both cases, you're really just testing your eyesight and shooting fundamentals by tricking your brain into making things seem harder or easier than they are. If a scaled-down target is showing wide groups at 50 yards and/or if a scaled up target at 75 yards is showing better groups, then it's probably something related to you and not your equipment.
 
One issue that could be at play is the ball going transonic. Funky stuff happens there. If the bullet is barely supersonic at the muzzle, you're looking at it going transonic at about 50 yards. This tends to be more of an issue with smoothbores, conical bullets and loads that are barely supersonic at the muzzle. I see it the most pronounced with lead-free .22lr where you might have a dime-sized group at 50 yards and barely on paper at 75 yards. That transonic slap really messes stuff up. This is one of the big reasons why modern airguns stay in the subsonic range, even though the gun itself is capable of more speed. I don't have any scientific research to prove this but I suspect that this is also one of the primary reasons why rifles are so much better than smoothbores at distance. At close ranges and subsonic speeds, they're pretty comparable. But past that 50-75 yard range, the rifle really starts to show its worth. Yet plenty of people shoot smoothies accurately at distance but almost always with subsonic loads.

If you want to test that theory, try shooting subsonic groups at 50 & 75 yards. Ideally, you want the rifle steadied on a sled of some kind to take as much of you out of the shot as possible. A scope would be ideal but not really possible with most of our traditional guns. If you still have that tight group at 50 but wide-open at 75, then we can rule out the transonic theory. If the group oddly tightens up when started from subsonic velocities, then it's probably the transonic slap that's getting ya.

Another good test to see how much of you is in the shot is to create scaled targets. This will take a little bit of thought and effort to re-create a larger target at 75 yards to simulate a 50-yard shot and a smaller target to be used at 50 yards to simulate a 75-yard shot. In both cases, you're really just testing your eyesight and shooting fundamentals by tricking your brain into making things seem harder or easier than they are. If a scaled-down target is showing wide groups at 50 yards and/or if a scaled up target at 75 yards is showing better groups, then it's probably something related to you and not your equipment.
Not sure what transgenic means. Surely you don't mean the ball speeds up at distance. Just never heard that term before.
 
I have a Kibler colonial and old eyes... I REALLY struggle with that seemingly tiny and shiny brass sight!
Have some thicker dark steel sights coming from TotW to help (I'm hoping) with that.

So if JK reads this, offering some alternative sights would be appreciated.

Cheers!
Hussar
 
Not sure what transgenic means. Surely you don't mean the ball speeds up at distance. Just never heard that term before.
Transonic, not transgenic. Transonic = dropping back below the speed of sound. That supersonic crack that you hear at speeds above 1100 fps is what smacks the ball from behind as it drops back below that. It matters.
 
Transonic, not transgenic. Transonic = dropping back below the speed of sound. That supersonic crack that you hear at speeds above 1100 fps is what smacks the ball from behind as it drops back below that. It matters.
Auto correct put transgenic, I didn't catch it.Sorry. But still I don't get it. I love ballistics and this is something new to me. To be clear, is this a phenomenon with any projectile leaving the barrel faster than the speed of sound and then degrading to less and causes groups to open? Might you refer to actual fps? Is the drop in velocity variable in respect to POI? I mean do you think the drop must be significant to affect accuracy, or might any velocity below the initial speed of sound make that happen? I have often developed loads for 45 and .50 round balls (usually about half my deer load,) and have not seen that occur. But I think those reduced loads were not used as far as 75 yards. A very interesting issue.
 
I have a Kibler colonial and old eyes... I REALLY struggle with that seemingly tiny and shiny brass sight!
Have some thicker dark steel sights coming from TotW to help (I'm hoping) with that.

So if JK reads this, offering some alternative sights would be appreciated.

Cheers!
Hussar
Yeah, we'll be making some optional sights in time. We're waiting to receive a new CNC machine that will be really good at spitting parts like these out, so it won't be very hard to make some sight options.

My tendency is to make things as they were in the period and work with them the best I can, but understand wanting something a little easier to use.
 
Auto correct put transgenic, I didn't catch it.Sorry. But still I don't get it. I love ballistics and this is something new to me. To be clear, is this a phenomenon with any projectile leaving the barrel faster than the speed of sound and then degrading to less and causes groups to open? Might you refer to actual fps? Is the drop in velocity variable in respect to POI? I mean do you think the drop must be significant to affect accuracy, or might any velocity below the initial speed of sound make that happen? I have often developed loads for 45 and .50 round balls (usually about half my deer load,) and have not seen that occur. But I think those reduced loads were not used as far as 75 yards. A very interesting issue.
Yes. That is my understanding of it. I'm no expert on the topic though. I'll leave that to real snipers & shooting experts. Here's a ballistic chart from a quick google search, which took me back to an old post on this forum. I'll just trust that it's good.

1695927379853.png


According to the chart, the ball, getting spit out at about 1600 fps will go transonic at about 84 yards (1087 fps is the speed of sound at sea level, though this is at about 2k' elevation). I don't yet own a .54 so I don't know how stout a load that is. But it's about where I shoot my .50s for best accuracy.

To be fair, how much this matters for a .54 round ball is something I'm assuming. I've seen the effects with airguns and .22s and first learned about it there. I don't shoot long range centerfire stuff so how this plays out there is something I can't speak to. But I keep hearing how smoothbore accuracy drops off at about 50-75 yards, which is about where a lot of loads go subsonic. And I've read some historical stuff that talked about how much rifling improved accuracy, not so much at close ranges but at extended ranges, allowing for longer shots by colonial militias with rifles. For my part, I owned a smoothbore .50 that shot great groups from light loads out to 100 yards. But when I upped the powder charge, things got wonky out there. Could have been me but I was seeing a pattern. I've also seen other people ring steel with smoothbores at extended ranges but, interestingly, always with subsonic loads. So, yea, there's some deductive reasoning there that I can't say is backed by any proof so much as reasonable conjecture from limited experience.

If somebody has some contrary evidence or just more information about this, I'm open to learning more. I'm one of those oddballs who LOVES getting proved wrong. Like I tell my boys, only when we learn that we were wrong do we really get to start learning something new. Even then, we're probably not going to be right -- just less wrong than before ;)
 
Yep, your eyeballs have plain wore out. I had my eye Dr. check my eyes at front sight distance with a rifle, and a handgun. I have shooting glasses with the script for each in the upper half and readers at the bottom. It makes one hell of a difference! Without my glasses, I see two fuzzy front sights so I split the difference and it seems to work out to about 50 yards. 100 yards, man, it's rough without my glasses.

HH
 

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