Rifled vs Smooth?

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Looking to buy a flintlock target pistol for recreational target shooting. Either .44 smoothbore or .45 rifled.

What are the pros and cons? Does the smoothbore load easier? I imagine a rifled pistol would need a loading stand to get anything close to a snug fit where the patch fills the grooves.

Thoughts?
 

Kansas Jake

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I don't have a smoothie pistol and haven't had one. I have several single shot pistols and had others in the past. I haven't had to use a stand to load them. I don't load as tight a load as I might in a rifle. I also haven't tried to shoot longer ranges than 50 yards and most as been much closer. I suspect if one is shooting casually at 25 yards or less a smoothie would hold its own agains a rifled pistol in most shooters hands. Frankly I'm not a good enough pistol shot that I would notice much difference.
 

Cruzatte

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While I don't own a pistol, I rather agree with KS Jake. At 25 yards I don't think it's going to make much difference, even out to 35 yards.
 

SDSmlf

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Not a serous pistol target shooter, but have owned and still own both smooth and rifled pistols. Reloading ease may, and I mean just may, go to a smoothbore. Never loaded rifled pistols with that tight of a load, finding it not necessary for accuracy, plus why stress stock. Never found loading a problem or challenge. Accuracy seemed about the same out to thirty to thirty five yards at best, then rifled pistol took the lead. If I were buying a pistol with smooth and rifled barrels as an option, I would take the rifled pistol every day, unless historical accuracy played in to it. Just gives more flexibility down the road. Personally, own both types, but different styles and representing different time periods. Buy what you like. You will probably buy more. Kind of like the old potato chip commercial. ‘Bet you can’t just eat one’.
 
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I have a Lepage flint in both custom DeHass barrel .36 rifled and Custom smooth .45. Both setup for match winning. Smoothbores don`t come close to matching rifled bore in a match but many non match shooters seem to have equal trouble with both. Much more to learn to shoot a traditional style pistol. More so a Flint...c
 

Larry Akers

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I don't have a smoothbore but I do shoot competition at Friendship with rifled pistols. I have friends there who do shoot the smoothbore matches and they tell me that the secret to smoothbore accuracy is a tightly patched ball and velocity, velocity, velocity. In a .44 this means 45-50 grains or so of powder. Given this criteria the smoothbore may be harder to load than a rifled barrel because of increased friction. FYI competitors at Friendship are REQUIRED to use a loading stand. Local clubs make their own rules.
 

Bledfor Days

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I have a Chiappa Napolean LePage .45 percussion (rifled) pistol that is as or more accurate than any unmentionable pistol I own.
It's real purty too. I plan on building a loading stand just because it makes loading easier and frees up your hands so your not fumbling around with powder, patch, etc...20190606_172806.jpg
 

DBrevit

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I don't have a smoothbore but I do shoot competition at Friendship with rifled pistols. I have friends there who do shoot the smoothbore matches and they tell me that the secret to smoothbore accuracy is a tightly patched ball and velocity, velocity, velocity. In a .44 this means 45-50 grains or so of powder. Given this criteria the smoothbore may be harder to load than a rifled barrel because of increased friction. FYI competitors at Friendship are REQUIRED to use a loading stand. Local clubs make their own rules.
What about casting the ball from pure tin, weight would be less and velocity could be had with less powder or load the same and get a high velocity, we are talking 25 yards right. Velocity is key with smooth bore and round ball, high velocity can cause problems in rifled barrels for a few reasons.
 

hanshi

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Tin is expensive compared with lead. A tin/lead alloy might work.

I have only one pistol, a .50 flintlock. I highly doubt a smooth bore would perform as well or better than a rifled bore. With the rifled bore my pistol loads rather easily and is accurate to a fault.
 

DBrevit

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Tin is expensive compared with lead. A tin/lead alloy might work.
Tin is for sure more expensive, but if it's only used for competition ammo and any practice shots recovered and reused, low melt temp 450 deg F, fills mold well, I think it's just over half the weight of lead (without looking it up). Would not recommend it for rifled barrel (too hard) but for smoothbore it would be fast to target reducing effects of outside forces . May try it down the road, soon.
The other side of this (tin) is shooting a large bore size, bigger ball higher probability of touching a better score ring, a .54 in tin would be around 140 grains and faster to target than pure lead ball by a good margin, a .58 would be about 160 ish ?
 
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DOUBLEDEUCE 1

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I shoot a .45 cal Thompson Center Patriot, percussion. It’s rifled and I do the loading in my hand. No cracked stock, no problems.
 

Eterry

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The last tin I priced was over $20.00 a lb. You better be able to recover all/most of your round balls or this expensive hobby is gonna get worse.
A few tin balls won't cut it, you'll have to practice with same ammo as competition.
 

DBrevit

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Even if it's tried for the purpose of an experiment / entertainment or just discussion it's worth $20, if I was competing I would try it (still going to anyway), if an edge can be found in competition and that edge costs $20 per pound it would come down to how competitive a person is.
I use old bullet proof vests behind my target to capture my lead (pure lead) and would do the same for tin, again it's more an interest in trying something and possibly open the door to being competitive with larger caliber pistols.
 

nhmoose

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Muzzleloading competition shots are measured from center of shot. A 32 or a 62 makes no difference what line is cut it has to be the center cutting the line.

Nothing like modern competition.
 

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