Parker Hale .451 Volunteer.......should I?

Discussion in 'Percussion Rifles' started by nagantino, Apr 1, 2019.

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  1. Apr 1, 2019 #1

    nagantino

    nagantino

    nagantino

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    New guy here. I'm a long time shooter living the Ireland. I shoot all types of IPSC disciplines and cast for several calibres. I'm thinking of buying a BP rifle and have seen a PH Volunteer.451 that looks good. I've watched the YouTube videos and it looks like fun.
    I have a few questions that I hope some might be able to help:

    1.Can I Load a .45 lead ball or do I have to load the .451 lead bullet?

    2.Do Lee make a mold that I can cast a long bullet from?

    3. Is Lyman the only mold suitable?

    4. The rifle seems to be a period piece not a repro. It's described as in full working order. What would you recommend.

    I can't think of any thing else. Look forward to your answers.
     
  2. Apr 1, 2019 #2

    Zonie

    Zonie

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    In my experiance, fast twist, shallow groove barrels don't work very well with patched roundballs and shooting a lead ball without a patch works even worse.
    The bare ball will have almost no real engagement with the rifling grooves and what little of it that does try to engage will be ripped off leading to poor accuracy and a badly "leaded" barrel.

    The elongated bullets on the other hand offer a great deal of area for the rifling to engage. Although the elongated bullets are just slightly smaller than the bore while they are being loaded, the body of the bullet "bumps up" in diameter when the gun fires.
     
  3. Apr 2, 2019 #3

    nagantino

    nagantino

    nagantino

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    That makes sense. I would like to use the elongated bullet because I want to do it right. The Lyman mold is more expensive but I can't see a Lee mold that might do either. The video speak of a .451 bullet but also .450 so is the .451 sized to .450?
    The 45 70 is available locally. Is that the same bullet?
    I've lots to learn.
     
  4. Apr 2, 2019 #4

    Kno-ie

    Kno-ie

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    Gerard Madden, as stated, shallow grooves and fast twist don't work well with a round ball patched or naked. Your going to need a elongated bullet as in the style of the Lyman .450. Lee does not make a off the shelf mold for that dia. for sale, they may cut you one but that would be very costly for a one off mold.
    I've been shooting a repo volunteer weekly for a year and half, ( I'm a RSO at a local range so I get to shoot during the down time. ) testing loads and bullet styles. I went straight to a custom mold maker for the mold for the volunteer so I have no experience with the Lyman mold, although I have heard good reviews on it for those just starting out.
    The 45-70 bullet is going to be to large of dia. ( .457-.459 ) which would require a lot of down sizing and would cause a loss grease grove capacity. It's best to start with a bullet dia. very close to the caliber of the gun.
    Hope this answer some of your questions.
    Kno-ie
     
  5. Apr 2, 2019 #5

    52Bore

    52Bore

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    Your PH will most likely have Alexander Henry rifling (1:20 twist). Very few made with Rigby style, I believe they were 3 bands.
    Lyman 451114 Volunteer bullet will well as do many .451” bullet that’s in the 500-550gr range. Don’t discount Paper Patch.
    Since you’re in Ireland - not sure what’s available?
    Internet sources: Buffalo Arms, also Accurate Molds has many mold designs and you can adjust any dimension to fit your needs.
    I prefer pur lead with deep rifling as Alex Henry to start with, also 70-90gr Black Powder will have no problem upsetting the bullet.
    Good luck.
     
  6. Apr 2, 2019 #6

    Stantheman86

    Stantheman86

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    Get it :)
    I have a Parker-Hale Volunteer, it's probably my favorite rifle out of many that I own.

    Shooting patched round balls in this , just shouldn't be done, it almost seems sacrilegious.....these rifles are made to shoot heavy, long conical bullets into small groups at 2-300+ yards.

    You'll need a sizer, whether you cast or not, because these rifles tend to decide on their own if they like .449, .450 or .451 bullets. Pedersoli sells push thru .450 and .451 Sizers, as does Lyman. I use a cheap Arbor Press to push them through a Lyman sizer. I lube with pure Beeswax, I've been able to shoot 50 .450 bullets without swabbing.

    I put a #11 nipple on mine, a hardened Stainless from Track of the Wolf but I have used Treso nipples with no issues. A standard steel nipple will quickly burn out.
     
  7. Apr 2, 2019 #7

    johnfrommd

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    I owned one of these back in the '80s. The bullet I used was a RCBS .457 500 gn mold and sized in two steps. Lubed it with a home made concoction of mineral oil, bees wax and mutton tallow. I tried #11 caps but went back to German musket caps for consistency.
     
  8. Apr 2, 2019 #8

    fleener

    fleener

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    I think you need to buy it. Get hooked on long range BP shooting, put together a 4 man team, come to the USA for the 150 year anniversary of the famous Creedmoor Centennial shoot at Oak Ridge TN. There is a facebook site for the Creedmoor 150.

    It would be GREAT to have an Irish team at the match.

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/361707117741162/

    Fleener
     
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  9. Apr 2, 2019 #9

    TFoley

    TFoley

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    Since you obviously live in Northern Ireland I'm easy offering you advice about shooting your new rifle. BTW, I'm the president of the Vintage Classic Rifle Association of Ireland (www.vcrai.com), hence my interest in your post. The rifle, made by Parker-Hale from the late sixties into the late 80s, is NOT a 'period piece', but a 'continuation model', seeing as how all the original gauges and jigs were used in its production. Almost every component is fully interchangeable with an original P53 made by RSA Enfield or any of the many contractors.

    As noted above, it is designed for the long-range shooting of bullets, not ball, and works best with long bullets of around 450 - 535 gr. as has already been pointed out to you. The usual mould is made by Lyman, and this is the mould supplied with the rifle when it was new, IF it is a real Parker-Hale, and not a later Euroarms version. Note that some of these had genuine Parker-Hale barrels, identifiable by the Birmingham proof marks. I'd support the comment about the load, too, - the usual load for ranges out to 600 - 800 yards is around 90gr of Swiss #2, but experimentation is necessary to get the best out of it. See David Minshall's priceless article on his Research press website - 'shooting the Enfield rifle'. As a many-times National and international BP shooting champion, you can take his words as gospel.

    Fleener and I have had a recent conversation about the 2024 re-enactment of the Creedmoor shoot. As you must be aware, this sort of shooting does not take place in the Republic, due to the ancient but still valid Explosives Act of the late 1880's. Add to that that possession of any component for making a cartridge - primer/percussion cap, nitro propellant and especially black powder, bullet/ball or pellet without due authorisation - is considered to be a contravention of the Prevention of Terrorism Act, and you can see why. Only around forty or so shooters in the RoI are licensed under 'special conditions' to reload centrefire ammunition, and TMK there are NO BP shooters in the RoI.
     
  10. Apr 2, 2019 #10

    TFoley

    TFoley

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    BTW, you never said if it was a two or three-band model. One is long and unwieldy, and the other is not, especially for prone shooting. the sole benefit seems to be the longer sight radius of the three-band version.
     
  11. Apr 2, 2019 #11

    nagantino

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    IMG_1347.jpg Well here it is. £380 not sure what that is in $ but about $400.00. It's a 3 band which might indicate more to some readers, but to me indicates some age. I like that aspect and I have also accepted that I need to buy the Lyman mold. It does not have the ladder-type sight, although my own club only has a 50 metre range, I have access to longer ranges.
     
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  12. Apr 2, 2019 #12

    TFoley

    TFoley

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    A lovely rifle indeed. BTW, the number of bands has nothing to do with the age of the rifle - I have both two and three-band rifles. You also stole it at the price you paid - a P-H rifle like this goes for at least £500 on the mainland. The sight looks to be the same as any other sight of its kind. Have you tried raising it?
     
  13. Apr 2, 2019 #13

    Badgerfarm

    Badgerfarm

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    Are you sure that is a Volunteer? My Whitworth is a 3 band and my Volunteer is a two band. Does it have a hexagonal bore or a traditional Henry or Rigby bore? That is a great deal for an English made Parker Hale no matter what it is. If given the chance I would jump on it after a good bore inspection. I enjoy all of English made Parker Hales even though they are just collectibles now because of my physical condition. Before I became disabled I found that my Whitworth and Volunteer are capable of excellent accuracy and the Musketoon is accurate for what it is. I think you would be proud to own such a piece. Please keep us posted as to what the outcome is and if you do buy it please post more pictures. We love photos.
     
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  14. Apr 2, 2019 #14

    BlackHillsBob

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    push the bullet in pure lead though a reducing die of about 8 thousands under the the top of the land size. then dry double wrap with 9 pound paper. then use a 60 thousands wad between powder and the the base of the bullet. you will shoot record groups to 1200 yards with that gun . it isnt rocket science, it is just retread from the old days.
     
  15. Apr 2, 2019 #15

    TFoley

    TFoley

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    I had a two and three-band Volunteer - that's what it had on the label on the packaging when I collected them from the factory in Golden Hillock Road, Birmingham back in 1985.
     
  16. Apr 2, 2019 #16

    Kansas Jake

    Kansas Jake

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    Asking this group if you should buy another rifle is like asking if you should taste the whiskey or Guiness?
     
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  17. Apr 2, 2019 #17

    Stantheman86

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    The kick is not light with the big boy powder charge of 80 gr of 3f plus that big heavy bullet.

    My first time out with it I was expecting some relaxing bench rest rifle shooting......but that thing knocked me around a little.
     
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  18. Apr 3, 2019 #18

    Badgerfarm

    Badgerfarm

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    I had no idea that they even offered a 3 band Volunteer. Had known several years ago I would have tried to find one but now it would be a waste for me.
     
  19. Apr 3, 2019 #19

    Badgerfarm

    Badgerfarm

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    That is one beautiful rifle Gerard.
     
  20. Apr 4, 2019 #20

    nagantino

    nagantino

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    Would someone comment on the best/correct percussion cap to use with this rifle. I've found a black powder supplier, not so easy, but which percussion cap? I thought they were all the same. I've changed my user name btw
     

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