My Loving Wife...

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My birthday present, a Jed Smith commemorative Santa Fe Hawken and bullet mold. Until I got it today, never knew they had a 15" LOP - heavenly, as my monkey arms and tall frame have always had to deal with ill-fitting rifles. My other Hawken, a scratch-built full stock, is a .50 - I like having a larger bore for elk hunting. This is going to be fun! Very blessed to have the wife I do.
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Great wife and rifle indeed. So what caliber is your new one?
It is marked .54, but as measured is a .53. So, .520 roundball with a thick patch, which is fine by me. I can cheat a bit on the patch thickness and not have to pound the ball in.

And yes, my wife is great. 37 years, and it gets better every day.
 
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can you have your wife call my wife? will pay going consulting fee's!
fine fine rifle and a finer wife!
I'm sure she would, and her fee would be quite cheap - just keep each other happy. But this present pretty much tops what I have seen in the past 37 birthdays, I think she has gone to enjoying watching me smile like an 8-year-old on Christmas morning.
 
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To the range tomorrow - going to start at 25 yards and see what load groups best. Not going longer, as I found my right eye vision has deteriorated sufficiently that I can't clearly make out the target for precision shooting. It will be two weeks until I get my new glasses, so this will be my first time out and aimed just for fun. Will shoot to see what load gives me the tightest group, and will cross my fingers that the sights are spot on. Concerned a bit, because it appears the rear sight is soldered to the barrel (EEEK!), but like I said will say a prayer and cross my fingers.

The 15" LOP was a wonderful surprise. I didn't realize the rifles had that huge LOP - which is perfect for me, since I measure out closer to 16". It holds really well for me, and the lower weight (shorter barrel, bigger hole) than in my scratch-built full stock is nice for this old man. It will never supplant my first rifle, a full stock plains rifle, but this is going to be a lot of fun.

We spent a lot of years as sutlers, many of those I might have gone shooting once or twice - my rifle was a decoration, hardly ever dirtied it. I will never again be the shot I was in the '90s, but I am having fun regaining some consistency. If this half-stock shoots center, I might well be putting in for ML tags for elk next year. I truly had forgotten how much I love to shoot muzzle loaders, and how "right" it feels for me. Funny how much peace that brings to this old soul.

David
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Range report - the rifle is a shooter. Starting at 70grains 2F, but pretty much stopped there. My sight in my right eye is bad enough that I just can't be as consistent as I want, so the task of working up a load will have to wait a coupla weeks until I get my glasses in.

David
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