Revolver accuracy

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okawbow

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I recently got a Pietta New Army .44 with my Cabelas points. I've shot muzzle loading rifles for over 40 years, but never shot a Capp & ball revovlver, until this past Sunday.

My load was 30 grains 2f Graf black powder, with 15 gr corn meal filler. The ball was .451 home cast lead. I used a little bore butter over the balls, and #11 caps.

I entered the pistol match at my muzzleloader club monthly shoot. We used 50 yard pistol targets. 10 shots at 25 yards, 10 shots at 50 yards. Aiming at the center of the target, the first 3 shots went just outside the bottom of the bull in a 3" group. I raised the aiming point up a few inches, and the next 7 shots were in the black.

I moved to the 50 yard target, and the first 3 were in the black. After that I could barely keep the shots on the paper. I ended up in second place, but I wonder what happened to the accuracy? The barrel was getting hot, and was heavily fouled when I finished.

How many shooters clean the barrel during a shooting session?
 

coloradoclyde

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Lead fouling on the forcing cone or lead and powder fouling in the barrel would be my first guess.
 

hawkeye2

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That is a very respectable 25 yard group specially for the first time out. Could I recommend some changes? I have found about 20 grains of 3f to be the most accurate load in all my revolvers. I never had much luck going below that and found no improvement much above 23 grains. 3f will produce a little less fouling. I use Cream of Wheat as a filler and the amount varies with the chamber sizes of the gun but I keep the ball just below the face of the cylinder and have been using a beeswax/Crisco mix which I made as stiff as I could and still push it in place with a knife so it won't blow away. Slug your bore, most seem to run about .454" and you may be getting a little blowby with a .451 ball which will increase the fouling. Measure your chambers too to see if they are as big as or larger than bore diameter. Here is a quick and easy way to check your bore and chambers, I used it a couple of nights ago to check a new .36 Colt that I hadn't shot yet but it will work for a .44 with a larger ball. I took the recommended ball (.375") laid it on the table and smacked it with a hammer to enlarge it slightly then drove it in the muzzle with a nylon hammer. I tapped it in a little further with a dowel then pushed it through with a cleaning rod. After checking the ball carefully to see that it had filled the bore to the bottom of the groves I dropped it in each chamber. It went in under its own weight most of the way and fitted snug enough that I had to shake it out. This told me that the chambers were larger than the bore. I then checked the forcing cone which could use a little cleaning up but the ball entered it as it should so I'm not going to do anything with it right now but I will cut a better one later after I have shot the gun and checked for other possible issues.
 

hawkeye2

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I have never found lead in the forcing cone of a C&B revolver with the exception of one time when I put a conversion cylinder in one to try it and shot some smokeless loads with a bullet that was .002" under bore size and lubed with smokeless lube. I have always used a lube over the ball, none under and no wad. If I am serious with the revolver I have the cylinder reamed to .456" and load a .457" ball. I recut the forcing cone to a shallower angle and a better finish and have never had any problems shooting this through the factory bore.

Fouling however can be an issue and it seems to affect revolvers with slower twists and shallower rifling the most. Piettas have reasonably deep and fast rifling which helps. The wrong lube can contribute to the problem too.
 

okawbow

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The .451 ball cuts a nice ring every time, when loaded into the cylinders. It doesn't seem there would be any advantage to using a larger ball unless I reamed the cylinders larger, as you described. I'll slug the barrel and see what I have.

I'll try brushing and wiping the barrel each time I load.
 

Grumpa

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The possible advantage to using a larger ball is that it will give you a longer flat area in contact with the bore. This may give you a better seal and, possibly, a more accurate projectile.

It's worth experimenting with.
 

Chowmif16

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I'm thinking out loud here as I type, so bear with me.
My first question would be did you know you were doing well and start to get worried about winning, thereby pulling shots? The reason I ask is that after only 13 good shots, I would not expect fouling to be the issue.
You also said that it was generating a good ring of lead when you loaded, thereby, blow-by should not be an issue.
As a 40 year ML guy, you understand the value of good lube. I no longer put lube over the top of the chamber, as I'm not convinced it does much good. I make my own over powder fibre felt wads with home-made lube on them. I think this is valuable because the lube is guaranteed to go down the barrel, and not get thrown all over the gun instead by previous chambers going off. I also am convinced that chainfires are produced by loose fitting caps, not sparks passing past the ball in an adjacent chamber.
To sum up, I would be surprised if that amount of lost accuracy was due to fouling in that few number of shots, but it is not beyond belief. I think you could do more to help lube the barrel than bore butter, which tends to run at warm temperatures (to say the least).
 

okawbow

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I do plan on coming up with a better lube. I happened to have an old tube of bore butter, so that is what I used.
I don't think I was worried about my grouping, as I didn't even look at the last 7 shots. I assumed I was still hitting where I was aiming. I was really surprised at the spread of those shots.
 

ZUG

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Maybe "tired eyes" :hmm: . Ive had this happen to me as I got older :idunno: .
 

Zonie

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The problem might be as you suspect, fouling or heat but I think it might be something else.

Of course, I know nothing about you and your abilities but I do know about mine.

I've shot a lot of pistol competition and I know the last rounds at the end of the match can be a real problem. Especially at ranges of 50 yards.

Even in good condition, small muscles grow tired.
A slight quiver in the arm or wrist, a small drop in concentration, overthinking about sight alignment and a host of other small things can easily creep in to cause a group to open up.

The only solution is to practice, practice, practice.

Be happy with your new pistol and the excellent results of its first contest.
With practice, it will only get better. :)
 

okawbow

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No doubt it could be my eyes or unsteady arms. I shot using my reading glasses and the target was blurry at 50 yards. I use 2.00 strength glasses, but bought some 1.25 today. I think they will be a better compromise for pistol shooting.

I had also shot the flintlock rifle comp. (which I won :grin: ) before shooting the pistol.
 

smoothshooter

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Try getting a wad punch, and some bulk felt sheets 1/8" thick from Duro Felt in Little Rock, AR.
Punch out your own wads and very briefly dip each one in your melted lube of choice with a pair of tweezers. Dip each one for less than one second.
Diameter or shape are not critical, but be consistent whatever you do. Make them chamber diameter or smaller.

I have used .36 caliber wads in my .44 when I ran out of wads for the larger caliber, with no loss of accuracy.

You will know when you have the right amount of lubricant in your wads when you see a lube Star start to form at the muzzle after the first cylinder is fired off.
 

crockett

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Maybe shot a few off of sandbags to determine if it is your shooting or the gun. If the sandbags shrink the group then maybe you are pulling the shots some how- a lot of the triggers are thin and smooth- easy enough to do.
 

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