Please educate me on side hammer Percussion rifles

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As an after thought, one of the gentlemen that shoots with us on weekends, has a custom built 40 cal smooth bore (colerain barrel) rifle. I have never seen anyone out shoot him ( cut playing cards at 20 steps is common ).
He always uses spit patches (pillow tick) and refuses to use anything but round balls he makes. So I'm wondering how much the rifling really plays in accuracy, since his gun is a 1:0 twist.
For goodness sake , rifling makes all the difference in accuracy otherwise why bother ?. Your friend would be hard pressed to get that sort of accuracy if the card was face on at 100 yards or even 50 yards if there was any wind,
 
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The advantage of a Mule Ear or Side Slapper is the primer flash goes directly onto the chamber / powder for faster ( slightly ) and more consistent ignition . And the cap flash is away from your line of sight . And I believe the lock is simpler and easier to make than a sidelock
 

Red Owl

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One thing about muzzle loaders is that each one tends to be a rule unto itself. You have to do a certain amount of tweaking and experimenting. So we must speak in general terms.
1. On a 54 caliber the 1/66 twist is THEORETICALLY the best however the original Hawken rifles were known for excellent accuracy and had a 1 in 48 twist.
2.Lots of folks argue the 40 caliber is the most accurate- also uses less powder. This may be nothing more than a smaller hole in the barrel means more metal and therefore less barrel whip, etc.
3. While not very popular today, years ago there were enormous "chunk guns" shot over a chunk of wood that had very long barrels and weighed a lot- ultimate accuracy.
4. Patch thickness can play a role, try various thicknesses. The lube for the patch- try various lubes. Some shooters also put a wad over the powder and then run a patched round ball, claiming better accuracy but most skip this.
5. I have weighed powder charges. I think it might give you a "mental Edge" but the NMLRA interviewed the winners on various events and they all used volume type powder measures with a cut off feature.
6. You'll have to try various powder charges as well.
7. In most instances an aftermarket "hot fire" or "hot flash" nipple will provide better ignition and help with accuracy. Caps and nipples come in various sizes, make sure they match one another.
8. There is the Dutch Scholtz (sic?) method- there's a link some where on this forum- probably follow that method.
 
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Thanks a great deal for all the replies and for the time it took to do so.
I will buy the recommended literature as I much prefer reading and using manuals when ever I can.
 
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@10ML2/KN/TC4550, do spend some time with the traditional muzzle loading rifle shooters in your club. Handle as many of their rifles as they will allow. the hands-on experience can prove to more valuable on your path to having a satisfactory experience with traditional muzzle loading. The traditional experience is different when compared to modern muzzleloading.
 
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I am blessed that I have been afflicted with a fairly severe case of G.A.S. (Gun Acquisition Syndrome) for decades. Long before I tired of playing with unmentionables I purchased many BP guns and stuck them back. Now I have seen the light and only want to shoot muzzleloaders and have many to choose from already in the rack. I have several with slow twists and they all shoot better than I do (off-hand anyway). I would say pick out something that is actually available that suits your fancy (and budget) and play with it. There is a lot of art and science to this BP stuff, enjoy the journey. I usually shoot a .010 under ball with a .010 pre-lubed patch and do fine. Sometimes I kick it up to a .005 under ball and accuracy improves (a little) but so does loading effort.
 

morehops52

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I have wanted a T/C Hawken FOREVER but just never got around to buying one. I currently own Two Knight Elites, one Encore and one 10ML-II and combined between the four have fired well over 3,000 rounds and are very knowledge about in line ML's.

Unfortunately I know VERY little about percussion side hammer ML rifles.
I have decided to join my rifle clubs ML chapter and while they welcome all types of ML's to come out and shoot they only allow side hammer percussion or flint locks to compete with only iron sights and only allow round balls as projectiles. The primary purpose of this ML will be for shooting in my clubs ML competitions and not hunting. While I might hunt with it, I already have four in lines for that.

Before I ask any questions please bare in mind I am repeating what others have said, not what I believe or know to be the truth. So if any of my statements are incorrect please by all means correct me.

My VERY limited research seamed to indicate the 54 caliber ML has slight accuracy edge over the 50 and needs less powder to find an accurate load when shooting patched round balls so I decided to try to find a 54 caliber Hawken.

Based on the above, I then just researched and found out the consensuses on barrel twist rate to achieve your accuracy with round balls in competitive shoots is a 1:66 or 1:60. and NOT a 1:48 ROT.

So I would like to know if this is indeed truthful and should I try to find a 54 caliber ML with a barrel twist rate of 1:66.
This is of utmost importance because if indeed a 1:66 ROT is decidedly better for accuracy than a 1:48 then most T/C Hawkens are out and I will most likely have to buy a Lyman as they offer ML's in a 1:66 ROT.

I am most interested in achieving maximum accuracy with patched round balls in competitions not hunting.

Secondly what type of patch or wadding system best lends itself to achieving consistent accuracy when shooting round balls?

I realize I have a lot to learn about percussion side hammers and know developing a maximum accuracy load for one is just like any other firearm there are no short cuts and I will have to spend time at the range shooting and developing an accurate load.
I have wanted a T/C Hawken FOREVER but just never got around to buying one. I currently own Two Knight Elites, one Encore and one 10ML-II and combined between the four have fired well over 3,000 rounds and are very knowledge about in line ML's.

Unfortunately I know VERY little about percussion side hammer ML rifles.
I have decided to join my rifle clubs ML chapter and while they welcome all types of ML's to come out and shoot they only allow side hammer percussion or flint locks to compete with only iron sights and only allow round balls as projectiles. The primary purpose of this ML will be for shooting in my clubs ML competitions and not hunting. While I might hunt with it, I already have four in lines for that.

Before I ask any questions please bare in mind I am repeating what others have said, not what I believe or know to be the truth. So if any of my statements are incorrect please by all means correct me.

My VERY limited research seamed to indicate the 54 caliber ML has slight accuracy edge over the 50 and needs less powder to find an accurate load when shooting patched round balls so I decided to try to find a 54 caliber Hawken.

Based on the above, I then just researched and found out the consensuses on barrel twist rate to achieve your accuracy with round balls in competitive shoots is a 1:66 or 1:60. and NOT a 1:48 ROT.

So I would like to know if this is indeed truthful and should I try to find a 54 caliber ML with a barrel twist rate of 1:66.
This is of utmost importance because if indeed a 1:66 ROT is decidedly better for accuracy than a 1:48 then most T/C Hawkens are out and I will most likely have to buy a Lyman as they offer ML's in a 1:66 ROT.

I am most interested in achieving maximum accuracy with patched round balls in competitions not hunting.

Secondly what type of patch or wadding system best lends itself to achieving consistent accuracy when shooting round balls?

I realize I have a lot to learn about percussion side hammers and know developing a maximum accuracy load for one is just like any other firearm there are no short cuts and I will have to spend time at the range shooting and developing an accurate load.
You aren't going to get " maximum accuracy" unless everything works together. The first time I shouldered a rifle that fit me perfectly was a true revelation. The stock is your connection to to the business part. If it doesn't fit right your not gonna be happy and probably not as accurate as the guy who does. Once you find a good fit for your type of shooting I'd get a custom barrel made in your caliber and ROT. The barrel maker will assist you in the right ROT for you. Stock T/C's and Lymans are great guns for the money and mine shoot very well. My custom barreled flinter will out shoot both of them though.
Once you have that you can work on sights and a load. I wish you luck and many wins!
 
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