Pedersoli Charleville 1777 (Revolutionnaire version) kit - review to be.

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Ironoxide

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So after some thoughts I decided my gun collection definitely has to include a long barrel smoothbore flintlock and I need a break from my double barrel Kodiak project :) If you're not interested in how I ended up choosing that particular maker and model feel free to skip to the end where I get to the point of why I'm starting this thread.

Regarding reasons for this particular make and model. I start pretty far from it by saying I like the look and handling of a typical English fowling gun (20ga).

So I started my search there. However, here in Europe(Poland) we have a peculiar black powder gun-market situation where one usually has a choice of:
- locally buying a Pedersoli made gun(for the average price around $1200 - up to $2k depending on model)
- locally buying an Indian made repro one of local distributors guarantees the quality of (for half the price of a Pedersoli)
- importing a gun or a kit from US (track of the Wolf etc, one has to add $200~$250 for shipping and around $35% on top taxes, plus if it is a complete gun possibly extra $250 for US gun export filling - altogether probably at least 20% more than a Pedersoli)
- final option getting an original somewhere in EU. Unfortunately now that UK is out of EU the best vintage gun market we used to have easy access to is now more difficult... I imported few originals from UK back when they were in EU. It was great. If now UK requires full export procedure this will double the cost of many vintage guns :-(. Please don't take this as an invite to discuss politics here - I'm just describing the situation on the market not making a value judgement etc.

So having those choices I was initially drawn to the Indian repros as they looked fine on pictures (and I could improve them) plus they are guaranteed(proofed in Italy or Germany) by a reputable local distributor. However, I found out they make their stocks from Teak wood which is alleged to be significantly heavier and I heard their barrels are usually thicker and heavier than alternatives. So I decided against them.

I looked at some Pedersolis like their Indian trade gun (almost $1000 for a very plain, but well balanced gun). It also seems an almost exactly copy of their Frontier rifle just with a smooth bore barrel. I already have a Frontier, it is one of my favourite rifles, but it makes little sense to buy another of the same gun in smoothbore for $1k.

Eventually I realised I will have to spend upwards of $1k if I want quality. So I looked towards military muskets which if could be had at the same price seem more bang for my buck than a plain fowler(literally in this case). I very much like the look of muskets like the Charleville too. I originally didn't even consider them as they start at $1500(Pedersoli), but a kit version of the gun showed up at my local distributor's for exactly 1k. So I made the order and I'm waiting for the gun.

I have many Pedersoli made guns (but this is my first kit of theirs) so I'm not really worried about the quality. I read online someone had a flintlock of theirs that chewed through flints, but my Frontier flinter is very good in this regard. Standard English flint lasts if my memory serves me right around 40-50 shots. So if this new lock is as good I'll be very happy.

I also refinished few stocks with boiled linseed oil so I'm confident there.

A bit of info for people who never saw a Pedersoli kit. It is a kit in the same sense IKEA furniture are kits. The wood is drilled and inletted. Metal castings are cleaned up - they just require polishing. The lock is put together in the factory and ready to drop into the gun... It is a gun one could put together in an afternoon and go shoot it.

I'm starting this thread to review the kit, document the process and to get tips from other people on best ways to finish the gun.

It is a musket that normally is finished "in the bright". So the correct way would probably be polishing the metal and sealing it with boiled linseed oil same as wood to protect from corrosion. If anyone has a better period correct idea I would very much like to hear it.

My kit arrives in 4-5 days. I'll post some photos when it arrives.
 

sportster73hp

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I to have been concidering adding a Charleville to the collection. Waiting to see your results
 

Ironoxide

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It is waiting to be picked up by the courier (hopefully today). If that happens it should be with me tomorrow.
 

Ironoxide

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My kit arrived today :)

As promised I'm attaching some high resolution photos below.

So far I'm pretty happy with what I received. However there is no kit-specific instruction manual included which may be a problem to some buyers. I'm communicating with the distributor to find out if there should be one. In addition to the musket the box contains a se of screws, a generic manual for use of muzzleloading arms and a dvd with Pedersoli catalog.

The lock looks like it is completely finished and ready to go as well as the barrel. Remaining metal parts are in various stages of finishing. Some like the ramrod are finished, others like the backplate need polishing, barrel bands look like castings that were desprued and roughly sanded. They need sanding with smaller grit and polishing.

The stock I got looks nice, but it definitely is not just requiring oil. It has pretty rough carving marks in few places. All metal parts are inletted, but the stock needs sanding down to finish-fit all metal parts and to smooth it. I'm guessing that is the only way to ship a kit that contains unsealed wood. It may have been my misunderstanding that the wood "only requires oil". Still I've re-finished stocks before including gluing and sanding a broken one so I should be up to the job. I also have good books about stock finishing to refer to so I should be OK.

Here is a picture of the box after removing outer packaging. It looks like any other Pedersoli box. The manufacturer seal was broken no doubt by the distributor as they advertise that they check every item they sell.

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After removing the bubble wrap the contents of the box look like this. I was expecting separate parts, but it is a musket that is put together and arrives in the same box as any finished product. This is a high resolution image. Please zoom in for details.
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Here are some other photos I took
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Ironoxide

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Rest of images
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So it will probably take me a bit longer to finish the kit than I initially expected due to wood work. I'll post progress info when it happens.

I can’t wait to shoot it.

I haven't tried to spark the lock yet, but the frizzen looks used at least once so I trust it has been tested and is fine. I'll test it in coming days.
 

Ironoxide

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I tested the lock. It sparks well :)

However, I noticed the cnc machine that did the inletting for the barrel tang left a lot of clearance in the very back. 20 thou or so as can be seen on picture below.
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I'll definitely have to fix that. My initial thoughts are to fill it with a mix of sanding dust mixed with shellac. This is what I used before to fill small holes in wood. If anyone has a better idea to deal with it please let me know.
 

Ironoxide

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One more thing. I thought that maybe the tang inletting was made with this clearance on purpose. So the kit builder can remove material from where the back of the breech rests against wood pushing the barrel backwards a little. Unfortunately that is not the case. The touch hole position will not allow any further movement of the barrel rear wise. It is already slightly to the rear of the pan.
 

Ironoxide

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Just thinking about that gap. I have a tig welding setup and I'm feeling quite comfortable using it. Maybe a better way to fix it rather than fill the gap with wood dust and shellac is to make the tang slightly longer and hand file it to fit the wood. I'm pretty sure the shellac/wood dust filler could be made almost invisible, but it might crumble away during barrel removal. So many choices...
 

Trot

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That little gap is not a bad thing. While maybe a little more than optimum, it is best not to have the tang tight to the stock in the back. The rear of the barrel should be tight to the stock, and that is what takes the recoil on firing. Too tight of a fit on the rear of the tang sometimes leads to cracked stocks.
 

Ironoxide

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That little gap is not a bad thing. While maybe a little more than optimum, it is best not to have the tang tight to the stock in the back. The rear of the barrel should be tight to the stock, and that is what takes the recoil on firing. Too tight of a fit on the rear of the tang sometimes leads to cracked stocks.
OK, I think I like that option best. Simply leave as is. Perhaps it is not going to be that visible.
 

Ironoxide

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I received a reply I asked my local Pedersoli distributor to my question about if there should be a manual in my kit. The reply is that there is no special manual for finishing the musket. They said the whole poing of the kit is to finish it to your own liking (functionality wise everything is fitted in the factory).

Fair enough in my opinion.
 

sportster73hp

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Looks like a shooter in the box.
I never noticed the cheek rest cut out in other guns, guess i need to look closer in the future. Is it a divot or a bump up?
 

bjarard

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try acraglas mixed with dust from the sanding. stain it and it will look like part of the wood..and not come out. Make sure to use the release agent on the tang. The dust will hold the stain so make sure to liberally include it and don't just use the epoxy.
 

bjarard

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Nice looking gun. This is the gun of the "French Revolution"...not American. Thanks for the pics...I've been wanting to show people what a Pedersoli "kit" looks like.
 

Ironoxide

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Nice looking gun. This is the gun of the "French Revolution"...not American. Thanks for the pics...I've been wanting to show people what a Pedersoli "kit" looks like.
Thanks. Yes, it is the model 1777 Pedersoli calls Revolutionnaire. If I were going to reenact storming of the Bastille this is the gun to have :). I've been told the next model (Corrige An IX) has slightly different frizzen angle, the front barrel band is retained by a spring rather then a screw and the stock is a little lighter. The whole weight difference between this one and An IX made by Pedersoli is 200g only. So not much.

I also had a. 682 round ball (made by Pedersoli) show up. I wasn't sure if this ball wasn't going to be too big, but the local Pedersoli distributor claims it is "The" mold to have for this musket if one wants to see what it is capable of in the accuracy department. So I got it.

Naturally I couldn't wait until the musket is finished before shooting it at least once. I knew there is slight risk I'll stain the wood black with powder residue, but there is a 1 mm(40 thou) excess of wood almost everywhere outside I will be sanding down anyway. I managed to get few shots yesterday and more today. I don't plan on shooting it any more until it is finished.

It is a musket so I thought the best way to test it is to shoot off hand. I set the target 25m away for a start. I also made a small pin from a piece of twig to put in the touch hole as I was going to use 3f and I wanted to keep the touch hole clear of powder.

I wiped the bore with a clean piece of fabric and I dropped 70 grains of 3f down the bore. Initially I wanted to try patched round ball, but there is no way to seat those 682 round balls with just thumb pressure with my thinnest patching fabric (compresses to 5 thou, 9 thou uncompressed). So I dropped a bare ball right onto powder. The .682 round ball slowly slid down to powder under its own weight making a whooshing noise.

I took the first shot. It's a 9. Good

I loaded the second time. This time the ball stopped two inches from the muzzle. It slid down with just the weight of the ramrod on it.

I took the second shot and it went into the same hole enlarging it slightly! Wow. I thought. Evidently my target is way too close.

I moved the target to 40m, but sighting suddenly got a lot more difficult. Next two shots were two inches down and same distance left. That's all I had time for yesterday.

Today I went to the range with an idea of testing few round ball loads and few shot loads. I took cork wads and cards I made for my 16 gauge shotgun. They proved to be slightly undersized.

I also took a short starter with me and fabric even thinner than before (around 5 thou uncompressed) so I could try patched round ball. I tried all 3, bare ball, prb, and paper wrapped ball. I noticed no real difference. All 3 loads were more accurate than my off hand shooting at 50m. Example target with 4 shots unpatched below.
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Then I tried large shot 5.3mm(or. 203 inch). I used larger powder charge of 80 grains of 3f and 1.25 ounce of shot. At 25 meters the pattern was slightly over the size of my paper target (around 25 inches).

I then tried 12 pellets of 0 buckshot on top of few cork wads. The pattern looked to be blown to the right. I might have pulled the shot right.

As I didn't want to stain the stock I finished on that. During shooting I haven't had a single misfire. Also other than having to tighten the flint screw I didn't have to do anything else with the lock
L.

During cleaning I took few pictures of the lock I thought people would like to see. Here they are.
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Here is the musket after the shooting session (after cleaning at the range). As you can see I managed to keep it reasonably clean.
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Regarding finish-wise. I converted one of my metal vices to woodwork by replacing steel jaws with thick leather covered wood. I also made myself few sanding blocks. I'll hopefully be starting sanding it later today.
 

FlinterNick

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try acraglas mixed with dust from the sanding. stain it and it will look like part of the wood..and not come out. Make sure to use the release agent on the tang. The dust will hold the stain so make sure to liberally include it and don't just use the epoxy.
i use starbond for gaps. But only if its a very small gap. Any larger i use a veneer shim and refit. Im a beginner so ive had a few to correct
 

Stantheman86

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Nice :)

I kinda have to do this with my Pedersoli 1777, I bought one used in unfired condition that someone hung above a fireplace , and the wood shrank.

So I have a replacement stock I have to fit.
 

Ironoxide

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I started sanding yesterday and an important question popped up. When sanding to finish starting with largest grit sandpaper do I get the wood down to size with the largest grit, or do I have to leave some extra wood for the other smaller grits?

So far I've been leaving a little extra wood, but in one book I read there is no need because smaller grits of sandpaper "will only remove few thou".

Can someone who finish-sanded a stock comment on this please?

There is approximately from 20 to 80 thou extra wood thickness.
 
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