Questions for Whitworth and Volunteer owners

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Widows Son

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Hello and I hope everyone is well. I‘d like to ask some questions about the ’operational practicalities’ of using a whitworth rifle.
I’ve gathered sufficlient funds to buy a new Pedersoli Whitworth. But before handing over that amount of dosh, I’d like to hear from other owners about what it takes to use and maintain this particular weapon. Some questions I’m asking are:

1. How does one clean the bore? I’ve never seen a hexagonal patch jag.
2. How often do the nipples need replacement and do the platinum lined nipples justify their cost?
3. Can the musket nipple be swapped out for a standard #11 rifle nipple? (I live in Australia and am uncertain about the reliable supply of musket caps)
4. A tang vernier sight is not included, so is it a recommended additional purchase ?
5. I understand that cylindrical bullets are just as good as hexagonal bullets, so what mold would be recommended?
6. Is a hexagonal wad punch necessary or can round ones be substituted?
7. I can buy the Pedersoli Volunteer for $200 less and it comes with a tang sight. Would you still recommend the Whitworth? (performance being fairly equal)
8. Can a Volunteer rifle compare to the Whitworth in terms of accuracy and long range reach?

Thats about all I can think of right now. Australia has an enthusiastic muzzleloading community but it’s small compared to other parts of the world. So the distributor has to order it especially for me from Italy. I don’t think there are more than a few on the whole continent.

Thank you for your consideration.
 

Kno-ie

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I have both. The Whitworth is the Navy Arms, Pedersoli built. The Volunteer is the Pedersoli one and came with the tang sight set-up. If you are intending of shooting 300 meter and further it will work okay. I was never able to get it to adjust down lower to shoot 100 meters. I fabricated a rear tang mount for the rear sight and now shoot from 50-600 meters for the Volunteer rifle.
The Whitworth for a cleaning jag I purchased one 7/16 headed brass 1/4-20 bolt ( 11mil head will also work ) and filed the head to fit with the style patch I use, drilled and taped to fit my range rod. In most cases I use a round 45cal jag for cleaning between shots. For wads I took an old 7/16 six point socket and ground flats on the outside wall to match the inner flats of the socket. A 11mil six point socket will work also.
The nipple for both can be swapped out for a no. 11 nipple. I tried it and didn't like it. I used a stainless steel no.11 nipple on my Whitworth, but found the fire channel starting to open up after 18 round of 80grs. of 3f. Went back to my ampcos until my platinum nipple came in. I still use a ampco nipple on the Volunteer with good success.
For both rifles I use a paper patched 540gr. slick and a 485gr gg Lyman Volunteer bullet, both are cylinder in shape. The Volunteer loves the paper patched bullet out to 475 yds. The Whitworth will digest either with a set powder charge for each bullet.
After 500 meters the Volunteer really starts to open up the groups but I'm still working on the powder/bullet/wad combination for longer range. The Whitworth is proving to be satisfactory at 300meters. Work is still needed to get the best out of both rifles.
I purchased the Volunteer first, six years later picked up the Whitworth. I have a great deal of experience with the Volunteer rifle in finding the combination it currently likes. It was shot once a week for 18mos straight, 10-20 rounds each setting. I'm still learning about both. To tell you which I like better, they both have their place and I enjoy their use equally.
Hope this helps,
Kno-ie
 

Widows Son

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Thank you very much for your answer. It was helpful. I never thought about using an 11mm bolt and socket. That’s very clever and resourceful.
Is your platinum lined nipple holding up?

I appreciate your help. I have a pragmatic side that wrestles with my imagination and I was thinking the Whitworth was more bother than it is worth i.e.- pay a lot now and keep paying plenty in the future.
 

ResearchPress

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Hello and I hope everyone is well. I‘d like to ask some questions about the ’operational practicalities’ of using a whitworth rifle.
I don't shoot my Whitworth often, shot with a Parker-Hale Volunteer for a while. Shoot a lot of 'small-bore' match rifle at long range. So FWIW:

1. How does one clean the bore? I’ve never seen a hexagonal patch jag.
I was lucky enough that friends with the skills and tools made appropriate jags.

2. How often do the nipples need replacement and do the platinum lined nipples justify their cost?
I use platinum lined nipples in these .45 long range rifles.

3. Can the musket nipple be swapped out for a standard #11 rifle nipple? (I live in Australia and am uncertain about the reliable supply of musket caps)
No experience of this.

4. A tang vernier sight is not included, so is it a recommended additional purchase ?
If you want to shoot long range target rifle (competitively) you will need tang vernier sight. Also consider foresight. Originals rifles of teh period for the most part had elevation adjustment on the rear sight and windage adjustment on the foresight. Rear sights such as or similar to the Soule sight with windage adjustment may not adjust low enough for short range work. (The Soule post dates the Whitworth by 20 years).

5. I understand that cylindrical bullets are just as good as hexagonal bullets, so what mold would be recommended?
Yes paper patched cylindrical bullets can be used for good results. Some designs have a base cavity.

6. Is a hexagonal wad punch necessary or can round ones be substituted?
I'd seek out a hex wad punch. This will also act as a scraper when loading and help sweeping the bore.

7. I can buy the Pedersoli Volunteer for $200 less and it comes with a tang sight. Would you still recommend the Whitworth? (performance being fairly equal)
Depends on your interest. If you just want a m/l rifle for target shooting I'd go for the Volunteer for easy of procuring accessories.

8. Can a Volunteer rifle compare to the Whitworth in terms of accuracy and long range reach?

Pedersoli Volunteer has a slightly slower twist than the Whitworth. With work / load development likely equaly to say 600 yards. With faster twist Whitworth may do better beyond that. Whitworth set a stanadard in the early 1860s but was outclassed by later designs.

Have a look at the Pedersoli Gibbs, comes with sights and will see you out to 1200 yards out of the box.

David
 

Kno-ie

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Widows son,
Sorry for the delay in answering you question on the platinum nipple. I have currently 63 rounds of 540gr paper patched with 80gr charges of 3f and 20 rounds of 485gr grease groove bullets with a charge of 85gr of 3f and have found that the nipple is showing very very little wear if any at this point. The only issue to date I've had is the cone on mine is a little fat and I have to make sure I press the cap on firmly. This is with both RWS and Shutchzen musket caps. This is for the Whitworth.
The Volunteer rifle I still use the ampco nipples. I don't have the detail tracking on rounds fired with this rifle, but I'm sure its well over 160rds. The current one is showing wear/erosion but its not setting the hammer back or blowing the groups open.
For the cost of the Platinum nipple I was able to purchase three ampco nipples. I'm still in the experimental stage of wear and worth. I've been told and read that the platinum nipple will last many 100s of rounds before wearing out.
Good luck,
Kno-ie
 

Widows Son

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Thank you, gentlemen, for your sound advice. I deduce from your assistance that veneer sights and upgraded nipples are necessary investments. Fair enough.
‘I’m leaning towards the whitworth because it’s so unique. However the volunteer may be a more practical choice. My club only has a 500m range anyway.
Again, much appreciation! :ThankYou:
 

ResearchPress

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I set an MLAGB National Record at 600 yards with a Parker-Hale Volunteer, which remained in place for several years beating Whitworth, Gibbs-Metford, Rigby match rifles, etc. They’re fine rifles and on a par with Whitworth.

The Whitworth does have it’s own unique appeal though. If you’re generally going to be shooting at ranges out to 500 yards the vernier sights could be a later upgrade. We shoot .577 Enfield rifles with open sights out to 600 yards, occasionally 800 yards. Just work through the ranges with the supplied sights to begin with; you’ll learn a lot about reading conditions, having to aim off to suit changing wind direction and strength.

With either rifle, get a platinum lined nipple. Without it, and as the flash hole erodes, even momentary and fractional lifting of the hammer will lead to gas escape and affect accuracy.

David
 

Kno-ie

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If you could swing it I'd consider getting both. If your like many of us, we get 5-10yrs down the road and wish we had the other one. I know they are getting salty in price ( I just checked the vendor I bought mine on both, WOW have they jumped in price ). Get what feeds the primary need for now and set your sights for future purchase of the other.
Kno-ie
 

Widows Son

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Thanks Kno-ie.
In Australia the Pedersoli importer/distributor wants $AU 3685.00 for a new whitworth. Thats over $US 2970 at the current exchange rate. Then one must buy a vernier sight and sight mount adapter, a better front sight, a bullet mold etc....
A new Pedersoli Volunteer is $AU 3355 (about $US 2600) but it comes with a vernier sight.

Whilst I support anyone’s ability to make an honest living, and there are financial overheads to recover, still I think those are really expensive prices to pay. Yes, they are excellent quality and will last generations if cared for, but it’s still a heap of dosh to come up with. As I said, there aren’t but a handful of either model in the whole country and they come up for sale about as frequently as one finds rocking-horse poop.

Thats why I’m pestering people with these questions. I know I want one but it’s a major purpose.
Many thanks
 

Widows Son

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I just thought of another question....

when using cylindrical bullets in a whitworth, is a hexagonal wad still necessary? I would think so, but I’m often wrong.
 

Whitworth

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Good question Hiram ;) , my limited experience is with only hex bullets. I should think a round .45 wad would be a loose fit, not making much of a gas seal. I'm sure some of the more experienced Whitworth shooters will chime in. I'm waiting on a hollow base cylindrical mold coming from England and I myself am wondering if a hollow base bullet needs a wad.
 

Kno-ie

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The hexagonal is not necessary. You can use pure lead cylinder bullets, but it does need to be pure lead. Cutting a hex wad or a over sized felt wad will help in sealing as the bullet bumps up into the hex bore. Your target will have a 6 sided hole it and the bullet you recover will have 6 sides to when you recover it.
One of the issues with the hex mold for casting is the you may ( may ) have to invest in a bullet sizer for that casting to bore fit. That can be a fun trip and expense not really needed.
I have found in my three .451 small bores it's best to use a wad, no manner if round or hex bore. The round bores will lead like mad if I don't use wad and the hex bore I can't get consistent accuracy with out one. Some have amazing luck without wad, I don't
I don't feel your pestering anybody with questions, the forums is a tool to gather knowledge so ask and enjoy.
Kno-ie
 

Heelerau

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Gentlemen, I have just replaced my first generation Parker Hale Volunteer Rigby Rifled Two band with a 3 Band Parker Hale Henry Rifled Volunteer, virtually un shot by the looks. My original rifle was destroyed by a bushfire that completely wiped me out.
As this replacement rifle has Henry rifling should I go direct to a paper patched bullet? I am thinking along those lines. Has anyone shot one of these rifles with success, if so what sort of load an bullet combination? I used a card wad under the bullet and a wonder wad over powder with 87 grains of FFg with the 470 grain Whitworth bullet and it shot consistently. I will use the same wad combination and lube mix, just not sure about a naked bullet, oh I will be using a 1 in 30 lead tin alloy. I get a chap to make me platinum lined cones for my .451, but there is a chap in Victor Harbor who makes a nice cone out of some exotic alloy which approximates the life of a platinum lined one
 

Widows Son

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Good question Hiram ;) , my limited experience is with only hex bullets. I should think a round .45 wad would be a loose fit, not making much of a gas seal. I'm sure some of the more experienced Whitworth shooters will chime in. I'm waiting on a hollow base cylindrical mold coming from England and I myself am wondering if a hollow base bullet needs a wad.
Mate, (brother), by hollow base bullet are you talking about something like a minie ball? I’m think a wad would be detrimental as it would interfere with the skirts filling the rifling
 

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Heelerau

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My late father had an original packet of hollow based .451 paper cartridges which were used in a Whitworth rifled target rifle made by Eli Whitney. These were smooth sided hollow based and no wads in the cartridges
 

Whitworth

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My late father had an original packet of hollow based .451 paper cartridges which were used in a Whitworth rifled target rifle made by Eli Whitney. These were smooth sided hollow based and no wads in the cartridges
Thank you Heelerau for that information. When my new mold arrives I'll cast a few and post them. I only shoot to 100 yds on my range so long range accuracy is a mute point for me. I just like shooting the Whitworth bore because of it's uniqueness.
 

Widows Son

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