It's not a group...it's so bad it's not even a shotgun pattern....I need help.

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fireman1

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Are your minie balls molded from pure lead? Only pure lead is soft enough to ensure proper expansion of the skirt when the rifle is fired.
I shoot 45 grains of 3F GOEX in my Euroarms 2 band Enfield using the same bullet shown in your photo. I'm not sure if Pyrodex generates enough pressure fast enough to expand the skirt.
It sounds like the minies are the right size based on your statement that light pressure will seat them. What lube are you using? I use a mixture of 50% beeswax and 50% lamb tallow.
IMHO the skirts of your minie balls are not expanding, either because you're shooting Pyrodex or they're not pure lead, or a combination of both.
They are supposed to be pure lead. The guy that gave them to me used them in his Enfield for N-SSA shooting.
 

fireman1

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I don't know the history of your rifle, and I don't want to talk down to you, but could there be cosmoline in the barrel? It takes quite an effort to remove it completely, and it would really screw up your shooting if any is in there. In addition I have a simple suggestion: use a larger load of faster burning powder and see if that makes the skirt of your minis expand properly. Also if those rounds your friend sent to you are cast from wheel weight lead, the skirts won't expand properly
Good luck, but I think something really simple is going on here.
It should be clean but I will give it a good scrub today with some Gun Scrubber/.62 cal brush and see.
 

fireman1

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You can get an idea of bore size with calipers, the get a few pin gauges from Amazon to figure out bore diameter, the size the Minie’s .001” or .002” below bore size.
I have some good friends that own an engineering/manufacturing business and are shooters. I think I will take the musket over to them to check bore size. I'm pretty sure they will geek right out when I walk in the door. They love this kinda stuff.
 

fireman1

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So the suggestions of the fit, are they pure lead so they will obturate, and the bore being fully cleaned are good. The powder amount should work. So IF they are properly sized, there may be another factor...,

I was taught that with conical bullets there is a need for length when used as muzzleloading bullets for certain twist rates, and... your barrel is likely a 1:48 or slower.... so weight also helps as the inertia upon firing helps the base obturate onto the rifling...

Here is a comparison of your two bullets to a bullet from LEE that is known to be a good shooter in ACW rifled muskets. It's a traditional design, and quite frankly, it's heavier and longer than your two, and that might be another factor. I adjusted the photo of the LEE brand bullet to be very close to the base diameter of your bullets for this comparison... the green bracket is the area on the LEE bullet that is against the walls of the rifle barrel....

View attachment 99322

LD
LD,

I was actually wondering if the AOL was too short. I have at least 3 molds for a .58 cal Minie ball. I will do some eyeballing but I suspect that this is an issue.

Thanks!
 

fireman1

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I always wonder what the context of these "my gun shoots horrible" threads is. Before knowing how horrible the group is, one would have to know what the poster/shooter is typically capable of. I admit that over the years, at times I've shot terrible groups with this rifle or that and presumed that something was wrong with the gun or the load, but I finally came to the conclusion that at least some of the time it was ME that was failing. I've since tightened things up a lot with my own skills/technique (and have seen friends and family shoot terrible groups with a rifle and load that I KNOW shoot very well). Not calling out the OP or suggesting anything, but what one person can do with rifle X, Y or Z may not be what you or I could do with it. All that said, some good advice here and I'm sure you'll tighten things up a good bit.
I'm no Daniel Boone but I'm not horrible. At this same range with a couple of my unmentionables, off the bags I can shoot ragged holes. This could be some of me learning the trigger/follow through but not all me. At least I hope so!! 😄
 

fireman1

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I have 6 or 7 of these left so I think I will try upping the powder charge just to see if that makes a difference.
 

Lakeman

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According to Euroarms, your rifle should have a 1:66" rate of twist. I have an 1863 Springfield also by Euroarms and with the same ROT. Looking at the photo of your projectiles the one on the left looks just like what I shoot. (Photo attached) Mine are cast from an old Rapine brand mould. They slide down a clean bore easily. I took the Springfield to the range this week and using those Minies and 60 gr of FFg I was getting one-hole groups at 50 yards. This wasn't always the case. My first couple of range sessions were like yours. All I could really say was that all rounds did go downrange and no circling buzzards were endangered. When I examined my Minies I noticed that a fair percentage of them had a hole inside at the tip. A lightbulb went on. The lead, my mould, or both weren't hot enough and the lead was beginning to solidify before the cavity was filled resulting in air bubbles inside the bullet. A lead temperature that was fine for casting .440 balls wasn't cutting it for the Minies. I melted down my remaining bullets and recast at a higher temp. No holes and my next range session was much more pleasing.

Weigh your bullets. Set aside any that aren't a few grains of each other for recasting.
Confirm the bullets are fairly soft lead. Hard lead alloy will prevent the skirt from expanding to grip the rifling.
Try increasing your powder charge. You may not be getting enough pressure to flare the skirt.
Try a few shots with real black powder.
Best wishes, John
 

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Flintlock Whiskey

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Are your minie balls molded from pure lead? Only pure lead is soft enough to ensure proper expansion of the skirt when the rifle is fired.
I shoot 45 grains of 3F GOEX in my Euroarms 2 band Enfield using the same bullet shown in your photo. I'm not sure if Pyrodex generates enough pressure fast enough to expand the skirt.
It sounds like the minies are the right size based on your statement that light pressure will seat them. What lube are you using? I use a mixture of 50% beeswax and 50% lamb tallow.
IMHO the skirts of your minie balls are not expanding, either because you're shooting Pyrodex or they're not pure lead, or a combination of both.
If it aint pure lead you will have "flyers" all over the map.
 

dave951

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Ok I shoot N-SSA and there's lots to unpack here.

First off, I've tried that very bullet and it doesn't shoot well in any of my guns. Some have good results with it.

Second, ditch the pyro. In a system designed around fouling control, you're asking for problems with it

Third, what caps? It matters. And does this gun have a "reenactor" nipple. Those guys are notorious for drilling out a nipple which is ok for blanks but bad for live fire.

Fourth, is the barrel bedded properly in the stock. Too much torque on the tang screw can screw up accuracy.

Fifth, I don't trust ANY commercial source for minies other that Lodgewood. The fellow casting for them is N-SSA and knows his business. I don't trust any company that is based around round ball for this. Minies cast completely differently.

Lots more to this.
 

Meggadeath

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I have that very .58 mold! The "short minies" it throws are good in .58 pistols (Harper's Ferry, Dragoon, etc) and not much else! If you are going to shoot minies, then either the correct diameter traditional bullet or the Parker Hale style bullet will work reasonably well!
 

fireman1

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According to Euroarms, your rifle should have a 1:66" rate of twist. I have an 1863 Springfield also by Euroarms and with the same ROT. Looking at the photo of your projectiles the one on the left looks just like what I shoot. (Photo attached) Mine are cast from an old Rapine brand mould. They slide down a clean bore easily. I took the Springfield to the range this week and using those Minies and 60 gr of FFg I was getting one-hole groups at 50 yards. This wasn't always the case. My first couple of range sessions were like yours. All I could really say was that all rounds did go downrange and no circling buzzards were endangered. When I examined my Minies I noticed that a fair percentage of them had a hole inside at the tip. A lightbulb went on. The lead, my mould, or both weren't hot enough and the lead was beginning to solidify before the cavity was filled resulting in air bubbles inside the bullet. A lead temperature that was fine for casting .440 balls wasn't cutting it for the Minies. I melted down my remaining bullets and recast at a higher temp. No holes and my next range session was much more pleasing.

Weigh your bullets. Set aside any that aren't a few grains of each other for recasting.
Confirm the bullets are fairly soft lead. Hard lead alloy will prevent the skirt from expanding to grip the rifling.
Try increasing your powder charge. You may not be getting enough pressure to flare the skirt.
Try a few shots with real black powder.
Best wishes, John
Thanks John,

I will inspect them and up the charge 5 grains.
 

fireman1

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Ok I shoot N-SSA and there's lots to unpack here.

First off, I've tried that very bullet and it doesn't shoot well in any of my guns. Some have good results with it.

Second, ditch the pyro. In a system designed around fouling control, you're asking for problems with it

Third, what caps? It matters. And does this gun have a "reenactor" nipple. Those guys are notorious for drilling out a nipple which is ok for blanks but bad for live fire.

Fourth, is the barrel bedded properly in the stock. Too much torque on the tang screw can screw up accuracy.

Fifth, I don't trust ANY commercial source for minies other that Lodgewood. The fellow casting for them is N-SSA and knows his business. I don't trust any company that is based around round ball for this. Minies cast completely differently.

Lots more to this.
Dave,

1. Thanks. I wondered about the design.
2. I hate to dump pyro until the BP supply stabilizes but I might need to do that.
3. RWS caps. Nipple does not appear drilled out.
4. Not bedded but I will check and see if that is over torqued.
5. I got these from a fellow board member that does shoot N-SSA. He cast them.

Thanks for any insight you have on this.
 

fireman1

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I have that very .58 mold! The "short minies" it throws are good in .58 pistols (Harper's Ferry, Dragoon, etc) and not much else! If you are going to shoot minies, then either the correct diameter traditional bullet or the Parker Hale style bullet will work reasonably well!
Thanks for that info. I plan to try the longer ones as soon as I get some lube together.
 

fireman1

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UPDATE: Spoke with my engineering buddies and it went about like I thought. Started out with them saying yes and morphed into a discussion about 3 and 4 point calipers? 😄 If I'm pretty sure that I'm getting at least $150 in billable hours of consulting work from them.
 

dave951

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UPDATE: Spoke with my engineering buddies and it went about like I thought. Started out with them saying yes and morphed into a discussion about 3 and 4 point calipers? 😄 If I'm pretty sure that I'm getting at least $150 in billable hours of consulting work from them.
Pin gauges are far less expensive.

Cap situation seems ok.

Try less powder. Seems counterintuitive but sometimes a light bullet will respond better to a light charge.

Ditch pyrodex. Fouling is hard and abrasive and makes shooting minies problematic.
 

fireman1

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Pin gauges are far less expensive.

Cap situation seems ok.

Try less powder. Seems counterintuitive but sometimes a light bullet will respond better to a light charge.

Ditch pyrodex. Fouling is hard and abrasive and makes shooting minies problematic.
Dave,

I will get some pin gauges. My friends are greasy fingernail type of engineers. They love to turn wrenches, mill stuff and generally build things....well that and shoot. They are now into helping me solve this problem.

I will try less powder.

I might have to break into the BP. I do hate to do it due to the supply situation.
 

fireman1

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Pin gauges are far less expensive.

Cap situation seems ok.

Try less powder. Seems counterintuitive but sometimes a light bullet will respond better to a light charge.

Ditch pyrodex. Fouling is hard and abrasive and makes shooting minies problematic.
Is there a better cap?
 

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