New Member living in France

Discussion in 'Smoothbore' started by GregLaRoche, Aug 13, 2019.

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  1. Aug 13, 2019 #1

    GregLaRoche

    GregLaRoche

    GregLaRoche

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    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
     
  2. Aug 13, 2019 #2

    Britsmoothy

    Britsmoothy

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    Hi, welcome.
    Sure, I don't use patches and often a firewall.

    B.
     
  3. Aug 13, 2019 #3

    No Deer

    No Deer

    No Deer

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    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.
     
  4. Aug 13, 2019 #4

    GregLaRoche

    GregLaRoche

    GregLaRoche

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    Hi No Deer,
    I’m in Ardeche. Not that far from where your daughter lives.
     
  5. Aug 13, 2019 #5

    Grenadier1758

    Grenadier1758

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    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.
     
  6. Aug 13, 2019 #6

    RAEDWALD

    RAEDWALD

    RAEDWALD

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    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
     
  7. Aug 13, 2019 #7

    GregLaRoche

    GregLaRoche

    GregLaRoche

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    Hi John,
    What do you mean by wet lubricants?
    Greg
     
  8. Aug 13, 2019 #8

    Britsmoothy

    Britsmoothy

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    Olive oil for me :)
     
  9. Aug 13, 2019 #9

    SDSmlf

    SDSmlf

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    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.
     
  10. Aug 13, 2019 #10

    Feltwad

    Feltwad

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    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
     
  11. Aug 13, 2019 #11

    Rat

    Rat

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    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?
     
  12. Aug 14, 2019 #12

    GregLaRoche

    GregLaRoche

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    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.
     
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  13. Aug 14, 2019 #13

    tenngun

    tenngun

    tenngun

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    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.
     
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  14. Aug 14, 2019 #14

    Loyalist Dave

    Loyalist Dave

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    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
     
  15. Aug 14, 2019 #15

    RAEDWALD

    RAEDWALD

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    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.
     
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  16. Aug 14, 2019 #16

    GregLaRoche

    GregLaRoche

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    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.
     
  17. Aug 14, 2019 #17

    RAEDWALD

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    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.
     
  18. Aug 14, 2019 #18

    Britsmoothy

    Britsmoothy

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    This is true of petroleum lubricants. Animal or vegetable is perfect.
     
  19. Aug 14, 2019 #19

    hanshi

    hanshi

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    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.
     
  20. Aug 16, 2019 #20

    Rat

    Rat

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    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.
     

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