Military rifles minie vs round ball.

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TreeMan

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I’ve had a half dozen different military rifle replicas over the years. Enfields, remingtons, and Springfields. I’ve had a few that shot pretty well with minies with low powder charges. To me low powder charges of 40 gr or less are only good for punching paper. On the other hand I’ve had excellent luck shooting patched roundball out of every single one of the rifles I’ve owned. I’m sure someone will argue that 40gr of BP and a minie will kill just fine. I do not like the trajectory of a 500gr+ minie when it comes to hunting using these small powder charges. I just acquired a Parker hale musketoon that will shoot one hole groups at 25-50 yards with a patched ball with powder charges adequate for hunting. In all honesty has anyone EVER gotten that type of accuracy with ANY type of minie with adequate powder charges for hunting out of a military type rifle? I’d like to find a minie that shot that well from the musketoon but experimenting by either buying different molds or a bunch of store bought minies gets frustratingly expensive. I like the thought of easier loading with a minie but I find it hard to beat round ball accuracy. Most of the minies offered have thin skirts which will blow out with charges of 70-80 grains. Anyone tried any minies with heavier skirts for hunting purposes that still get good accuracy? Recommend minie for this rifle with a heavy skirt for hunting would be appreciated. The Lee improvement minie did not do well at all in it.
 
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TFoley

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Mostly, I have to admit that my Musketoon shoots like a lawn sprinkler - I've NEVER gotten a group less than four inches at 50m, and I'm sure that was a fluke. I've tried literally dozens of permutations of loads and different forms of Minié bullet - all with equal lack of success. For me it's a fun way of introducing noobs and guest shooters to the joys of BP, rather than any kind of a game getter - in any case, that's a firm no-no where I live on account of the lack of velocity and/or muzzle energy.
 

TreeMan

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Mostly, I have to admit that my Musketoon shoots like a lawn sprinkler - I've NEVER gotten a group less than four inches at 50m, and I'm sure that was a fluke. I've tried literally dozens of permutations of loads and different forms of Minié bullet - all with equal lack of success. For me it's a fun way of introducing noobs and guest shooters to the joys of BP, rather than any kind of a game getter - in any case, that's a firm no-no where I live on account of the lack of velocity and/or muzzle energy.
Mine is a tack driver out to 50 yards with a .562 round ball with a .015 dry lubed patch and 70 grains of 2F. I haven’t attempted to shoot it any further as of yet. Weather has been terrible. I like the thoughts of trying a minie but I’ve always had the same results as you in ANY rifle I’ve attempted to use of minies.
 

bang

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I cast my minis. They have thicker skirt. My Zouave shoots them pretty good at 65gns. Need more testing.
 

hanshi

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Some years back I special ordered a US M1841 in the original .54. I'd owned a zouave more than 50 years ago and it shot well with both home cast minies and .562 cast round ball. The Mississippi rifle is better looking, fitted/finished and astonishingly accurate with prb. It does okay with conicals but shines with prb. Round ball is what I've used in this rifle to kill deer. A little heavy at 10-1/2 lbs but spectacular.
 

TreeMan

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Some years back I special ordered a US M1841 in the original .54. I'd owned a zouave more than 50 years ago and it shot well with both home cast minies and .562 cast round ball. The Mississippi rifle is better looking, fitted/finished and astonishingly accurate with prb. It does okay with conicals but shines with prb. Round ball is what I've used in this rifle to kill deer. A little heavy at 10-1/2 lbs but spectacular.
I’ve always had better luck with round balls in military rifles. I’ve read lots of posts and articles over the years concerning minies and maybe 10% of those claimed cloverleaf accuracy with minies. Remove the liars and exaggerators out of that 10% and what do we have left? lol The Zouave I have in the classifieds shoots minies very well with 40 gr or less of 2F. Go higher and the groups get bigger. It’ll shoot excellent with PRB with about any load. My PH musketoon shoots that same minie terribly but shoots a PRB nicely. I’m hunting for a Lyman mold with a thicker skirt to try in the PH. If it doesn’t shoot I’m just going to stick with round balls.
 

dave951

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Sounds like somebody is prejudiced against minies. I get it, some folks can't get them to shoot well for a variety of reasons. Not all repop guns are up to the drill.

Not a clover leaf, but maybe a ragged hole with minies?-

My 1862 Colt contract-
coltgroup.jpg


And my Parker Hale 2 band musket-

parkerhalegroup2.jpg



And my Parker Hale musketoon at 100yds

musketoongroup1.jpg
 

TreeMan

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Sounds like somebody is prejudiced against minies. I get it, some folks can't get them to shoot well for a variety of reasons. Not all repop guns are up to the drill.

Not a clover leaf, but maybe a ragged hole with minies?-

My 1862 Colt contract-
View attachment 64388

And my Parker Hale 2 band musket-

View attachment 64390


And my Parker Hale musketoon at 100yds

View attachment 64391
That’s some mighty fine shooting! If ya don’t mind giving out your secrets, what minie and powder are your shooting in the musketoon?
 

Rokon

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Here's a 58 caliber RB load that the engraver, Lynton McKenzie, gave me years ago. 90 grs. 2F + 1/4" felt wad + tightly patched 570-575 ball.
Lynton was a perfectionist when it came to ML guns.
 

dave951

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That’s some mighty fine shooting! If ya don’t mind giving out your secrets, what minie and powder are your shooting in the musketoon?
Load data is in the picture. Minie is the RCBS Hogdon sized to .576. Powder is 3f Old Eynsford, a Goex competition grade powder.
 

Grenadier1758

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@dave951, What is the bore diameter of your PH? It is important to know the difference between the bore diameter of the rifle and the diameter of your Minié (which is 0.576") and also what is the groove diameter?
 

dave951

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Bore is 576. Minies are sized to that number. Groves are .005 larger.

There is a lot of misinformation on the net regarding how to make a minie shoot. That's what we shoot in N-SSA competition. Folks outside our group will insist a minie can't shoot and often they just refuse to listen. As good as my groups are, there are better in our organization and we all follow a basic set of criteria in making minies shoot.
 

hanshi

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I’ve always had better luck with round balls in military rifles. I’ve read lots of posts and articles over the years concerning minies and maybe 10% of those claimed cloverleaf accuracy with minies. Remove the liars and exaggerators out of that 10% and what do we have left? lol The Zouave I have in the classifieds shoots minies very well with 40 gr or less of 2F. Go higher and the groups get bigger. It’ll shoot excellent with PRB with about any load. My PH musketoon shoots that same minie terribly but shoots a PRB nicely. I’m hunting for a Lyman mold with a thicker skirt to try in the PH. If it doesn’t shoot I’m just going to stick with round balls.


Maybe not an issue in this case but the original .54 US M1841 was actually the last US military rifle designed to fire patched round ball. About half of them, 1841s, were re-barreled with .58 barrels for use with minies during the WBS. But it wouldn't surprise me at all to learn the original barrels and the excellent repro barrels are quite different.
 

TreeMan

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Maybe not an issue in this case but the original .54 US M1841 was actually the last US military rifle designed to fire patched round ball. About half of them, 1841s, were re-barreled with .58 barrels for use with minies during the WBS. But it wouldn't surprise me at all to learn the original barrels and the excellent repro barrels are quite different.
The younger brother to my 1803 Rifle shoppe Harpers ferry. Both great rifles! My 1803 is my favorite deer rifle.
 

PastorB

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I shoot Minies and hunt with my original 1861 Colt Contract Musket, manufactured 1862. It shoots great with a 510 gr. Minie, sized to .580, that I purchase sized and lubed from a fellow called Pat Kaboskey, AKA Civil War Bullet Man. I use just enough powder to get around 1000fps over the chrono. 75gr. Pyrodex RS, 60 gr. Pyrodex P, 60 gr. Goex FFFG or 60 grains H777, which gives 1120fps. Groups of 1.5"-2" @ 100 yards are fairly normal, often with two bullets holes touching and a third one a short distance away. PRB's shoot single hole groups at 50 yards, but POI is at least 20" higher than POA. Minie groups are 10" high at 100 yards, and about zero at 150. Not jacking with my original sights, i just aim low at close range, but PRB's require just too much "elevation windage" for hunting.
 

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