New Member living in France

Help Support Muzzle Loading Forum:

GregLaRoche

40 Cal
Joined
Aug 12, 2019
Messages
106
Reaction score
20
Hello everyone. I’m an American currently living in France. I’ve been reloading cartridges since the early eighties, but always wanted to try muzzle loading. A few months ago l bought a 200+ year old French flintlock .69 cal. It’s known as a 1777. Mine was made in 1815, so it didn’t see service in wartime like a lot of others and is in really good condition for its age. I plan to use it for competition target shooting. I’ve done some work on the tumbler and sear as well as polishing everything.

Shooting competitions with this gun are very popular here. I wanted to mention some things that are normal here, but not often heard of in the US. First, everyone uses the same dose of semolina as powder on top of the BP. Also the patch and ball fit in the barrel is not very tight. No special tools needed to start the ball. Just thumb pressure and then the ram rod. The new thing today is that, top competition shooters are starting to experiment with no patches. The way the guns were originally designed to shoot.

I wanted to put this information out for others to know and am interested in comments on what members think and if they have heard about or even tried any of these things.

Thanks for your comments.

Greg
 

No Deer

45 Cal.
Joined
Nov 9, 2004
Messages
978
Reaction score
69
Location
Michigan
Welcome Greg.
I know people that shoot a bare ball in their smoothbores, but had not heard of using semolina. I personally use a patched round ball, so I cannot comment on your load.
By the way, where in France are you? My daughter and her family live in Eastern France, just over the border from Geneva, Switz. Can walk to the top of the hill where she lives and look down on Lake Geneva. Beautiful area.
 

GregLaRoche

40 Cal
Joined
Aug 12, 2019
Messages
106
Reaction score
20
Hi No Deer,
I’m in Ardeche. Not that far from where your daughter lives.
 

Grenadier1758

58 Cal.
Joined
Oct 9, 2004
Messages
4,641
Reaction score
1,335
Location
St. Louis, MO
Semolina for all practical purposes is Cream of Wheat. Very common practice for shooting black powder revolvers and is sometimes done on the west side of the Atlantic as a wad between powder and ball.
 

RAEDWALD

40 Cal.
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Messages
419
Reaction score
130
Location
France
Bon soir Greg.
Welcome to another French resident. Around here (Haute Vienne 87) they frequently use the thick felt wad, bore size ball plus wet lubricant then thin felt wad in muskets. Semolina/couscous/taboule are also used, especially in pistols.
Cdt John
 

SDSmlf

40 Cal.
Joined
Nov 4, 2006
Messages
1,622
Reaction score
740
Location
Western North Carolina
Welcome to the forum. One of the most interesting collections of muzzleloaders I have seen was at the Musée de l’Armée in Paris. If you haven’t already been there, definitely a place to visit.
 

Feltwad

45 Cal.
Joined
May 28, 2017
Messages
908
Reaction score
274
If your gun is clean with no pits in the bore it should be safe too shoot, most likely it will have the Belgian proof marks because France did not have a proof house . You mention a patch ball and semolina for wadding which I have used it for pistols , has for the patch I remember an old gentleman saying all you need is a creased ball patches are for novices
Feltwad
 

Rat

50 Cal.
Joined
Sep 16, 2004
Messages
2,276
Reaction score
448
No secret that some guys get very good accuracy with bare-ball. My best results at the moment are with a patched "chewed" ball, which is not a tight fit in the barrel. No short starting for sure. In my experience, with my musket, I get better accuracy with heavy powder charges.

Years ago I read that firearms in France had to be kept locked and secured at a gun-club. Is that true for muzzle loaders?
 

GregLaRoche

40 Cal
Joined
Aug 12, 2019
Messages
106
Reaction score
20
In France you don’t have to lock up your Firearms at a club. With cartridge type guns you need to be part of a gun club or have a hunting license to buy ammunition. I have both. To transport them, you need to have a trigger lock or disassemble them. It gets more complicated for handguns and semi autos with large magazine capacity.

For muzzle loaders you only have to be over eighteen to buy the guns or ammo. No special regs for transporting. Just not loaded.
 

tenngun

Cannon
Joined
Jan 27, 2008
Messages
12,009
Reaction score
2,262
Location
Republic mo
Patches are more of a rifle thing, and tight is just a job to load so some use a starter and that’s only hinted at before the 1840s.
Wadded the guns shoot great, and there is no need to patch real tight as a rifle load.
Paper cartridges can shoot well, not as well as a patch or tightly wadded but well enough.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Rat

Loyalist Dave

Cannon
MLF Supporter
Joined
Nov 22, 2011
Messages
8,995
Reaction score
1,666
Location
People's Republic of Maryland
Also the patch and ball fit in the barrel is not very tight. No special tools needed to start the ball. Just thumb pressure and then the ram rod. The new thing today is that, top competition shooters are starting to experiment with no patches.
So get ahead of the game. Get a farrier's rasp, and you rasp musket balls that are very close to the bore diameter. You roll them under the rasp against something like a pine board to raise small bits of the ball. These raised portions should make the ball a teeny tiny bit oversized, and when you load them, you compress some of the raised bits against the wall of the barrel. This gives you a consistent load with little friction, better than a patch, or so it's been found for many small bore shooters.

LD
 

RAEDWALD

40 Cal.
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Messages
419
Reaction score
130
Location
France
Hi John,
What do you mean by wet lubricants?
Greg
An aqueous cream Greg. A water based 'personal' lubricant squeezed out over the ball when it is just pushed inside the barrel on top of the two felt wads then the thin top wad put on top and the whole package pushed down. The British Militaria Forum folk favour 'Udderly Smooth' udder cream instead. I tried it with them in Canada and England and it seems to work just as well. Cleans the fouling on the way in and leaves the bore damp on the way out so the new fouling is soft. Being miserley, I mean careful, I have used the cheapest water based hand cream in the supermarket too and that worked quite adequately.

The system was used by the best French musket shooters and passed on to Bill Curtis in England where many know it as the Bill Curtis method and he was a multiple champion with the musket some years ago. Lets you shoot a series of shots without needing to clean at all. Handy for 13 round musket competitions.

Actually I normally used service size paper cartridges which are better than one might think but won't win any medals. A full 8 grams (in my HEIC) charge to get the ball to the target before it has time to exhibit it's instability and keep it up out of the transonic zone at 50 metres. I miss my musket and should get another.

Good luck with your Fusil Mle1777 aka AN IX Greg.
 

GregLaRoche

40 Cal
Joined
Aug 12, 2019
Messages
106
Reaction score
20
Here the current patch lube is just saliva. I’m told lube just makes fouling worse. Most here only use Swiss powder, because they say it is a lot cleaner. I’m still on my first few pound of the equivalent of FF Goex. I plan to buy some Swiss soon. Even though it’s made just next door, it’s still expensive. I’m not saying it’s best. I’m just repeating what I have been told.
 

RAEDWALD

40 Cal.
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Messages
419
Reaction score
130
Location
France
At 8 grams a bang Greg I must confess that, whilst I use Swiss in rifles, I used Vectan Mousquet for my musket. Bought when there is a special offer. Half the price of Swiss then but mucky stuff by comparison. At the end of the day Vectan's role is to make black powder for the Armee de Terre artillery shells not to sell sporting black powder whilst Aubonne is a specialst black powder maker for sporting use and makes the only true sporting powder on the market.
 

Britsmoothy

70 Cal.
MLF Supporter
Joined
Feb 28, 2007
Messages
6,386
Reaction score
1,963
Location
England.
Here the current patch lube is just saliva. I’m told lube just makes fouling worse. Most here only use Swiss powder, because they say it is a lot cleaner. I’m still on my first few pound of the equivalent of FF Goex. I plan to buy some Swiss soon. Even though it’s made just next door, it’s still expensive. I’m not saying it’s best. I’m just repeating what I have been told.
This is true of petroleum lubricants. Animal or vegetable is perfect.
 

hanshi

Cannon
Joined
May 7, 2009
Messages
9,615
Reaction score
721
Welcome to the forum, Greg. I'm not necessarily after the "old" way of doing things so I patch the balls I fire in my smoothbore for the great accuracy; plus I kill deer with that load. Unpatched ball seated on a cushion loads fast and is pretty accurate to at least 50 yards. Paper cartridges, oversize ball (for a tighter fit) and "bare ball" are all popular.
 

Rat

50 Cal.
Joined
Sep 16, 2004
Messages
2,276
Reaction score
448
I believe Swiss is a superior powder, but have gone to Goex in my Bess just to save a couple bucks. Go through a pound of Swiss pretty fast with Bess, at 140 grains per shot. I use swiss in my Jeager and pistols, and my .58's. In my experience, Swiss does provide more repeat shots before any cleaning or wiping is required.

On rasping balls, what works best (for me) is to use two rasps. Put one in a vise for a base, then roll the ball around between the two rasps. Really fast and half the effort and time. Rasping the balls does increase the diameter quite a bit. Shooting .690" balls in my musket, I use a denim patch with an un-rasped ball, and a .023" patch, or .018", with a rasped ball.
 
2

Latest posts

Top