School me on the .40 caliber

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Grantman

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I have a TC Hawken with a Green Mountain .40 caliber barrel coming my way. I bought this rifle because?? I've never owned or shot a .40, but have owned TC Hawken flint rifles in both .45 & 50 for many years. If you have experience with the .40, particularly with the Green Mountain barrel, I value your input.
 

don hepler

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This post will be interesting to me, as I just bought a rifle with a 40 GM barrel.

I shot it a week ago, with .015 patch and 40 grs. of Black MZ powder. Shot some nice groups at 50 yards, which is about as far as I can see to shoot open sights.

It has a nice "crack" when it goes off. A different sound than my other rifles.
 
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I've had two GM barrels. Still have one (28" long x 1" across the flats). And a 32" on a Great Plains Rifle (32" long x 15/16" across the flats) that's a different make.

The bore in the GM is .403" diameter. The grooves are about 0.01" deep. Twist is 48".
.395" round ball works well.

Over the years I've tried a variety of other projectile types besides round ball but couldn't get consistent results. Out to about fifty yards it can be made to shoot like a .41 Magnum with a cast bullet to minute of deer but due to the amount of expansion that has to take place to fill the deep rifling and the short length of bullet that 48" twist can keep going straight, I couldn't get it to expand into the rifling consistently and stay straight. And that was with engraving on the rifling.

Having said all that, out to fifty yards it certainly will shoot good enough for minute of deer.
The state I live in now doesn't allow less than .44 bore so I wouldn't try any way. But I have wondered how good it would shoot with double ball loads...
 

Billnpatti

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The first thing you are going to notice is the increased weight of your rifle. When you take a 15/16 inch or 1 inch barrel blank and bore out only enough metal for a .40 cal bore, it leaves a good bit of metal left in the barrel.

Not being a ballistician, I cannot tell you why but it seems that the .40 caliber is an inherently accurate caliber. Many folks who shoot in the matches at Friendship shoot a .40 caliber rifle because of this seemingly inherent accuracy of the caliber. I am also not a good enough of a shot with any rifle to say from personal experience that it is or is not inherently more accurate than other calibers. I have a Jim Chambers flintlock in .40 caliber and I do like it......a lot. :thumbsup:
 
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I have a used unmarked mongrel kit built rifle that was listed as a 40 cal but I believe might be a .38. Whatever it is, once I got the trigger sorted out and gave it a good cleaning it is one of the most accurate BP rifles I own. Its long barrel with a little bore puts a lot of weight out front for a nice steady hold, the minimal amount of powder I need to punch paper makes for a low report and light recoil, all of which encourage good marksmanship.

I have a fast twist GM barrel on a T/C side lock rifle the combo delivers sabots as well as any inline could, I'm pleased with GM barrels,
 

FishDFly

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Billnpatti said:
The first thing you are going to notice is the increased weight of your rifle. When you take a 15/16 inch or 1 inch barrel blank and bore out only enough metal for a .40 cal bore, it leaves a good bit of metal left in the barrel.

Not being a ballistician, I cannot tell you why but it seems that the .40 caliber is an inherently accurate caliber. Many folks who shoot in the matches at Friendship shoot a .40 caliber rifle because of this seemingly inherent accuracy of the caliber. I am also not a good enough of a shot with any rifle to say from personal experience that it is or is not inherently more accurate than other calibers. I have a Jim Chambers flintlock in .40 caliber and I do like it......a lot. :thumbsup:


There is not any inherent accuracy when shooting round balls, no matter the caliber from a rifle.

The .40 became popular at Friendship because one person was shooting a .40, winning and folks started copying him. He was built like a 55 gallon drum and had great upper body strength.
Wind is not an issue at Friendship with the design of the range. Come to Brady, TX with a .40 and shoot in the wind and the wind will educate you.

Some 40's are like holding a piece of rail road track, durn heavy.

But I have wondered how good it would shoot with double ball loads...

If you need two (2) balls, you need a larger rifle.
 

galamb

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Although I own a couple GM barrels, none of them was in 40 cal. I am nowhere good enough of a shot to give a "valid assessment" of one barrel brand over the other.

I'm not saying I can't hit the side of a barn, but I can't put five shots touching each other at 100 yards with a BP rifle, and because of that it doesn't matter if I'm shooing my GM, Colerain, FCI, Rice or Oregon barreled rifles - "for me" they are all "more accurate" than me, so they are all "equal".

I did shoot a 40 for a few years. It was a 7/8" Colerain and it was my "deer rifle" (in Ontario there is no minimum BP caliber for deer). It was deadly out to 50 yards. I never pushed it beyond that and never intended to either. If I wanted to shoot further I have a 45 and a 50, both of which are better suited to distance.

And yes, a 40 is more than enough for Bambi at 50 yards or less if you don't take "iffy" shots.

I retired the 40 as my deer rifle. I replaced it with a 38, which again, is enough at sub-50 yards.

If you can't use the 40 for deer where you are, it may be suitable for Turkey or Coons/Fox etc - a little large maybe for squirrel but certainly "doable".
 

Grantman

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I used to have a GM drop in fast twist for the TC Hawken flintlock. Rifle was very accurate, even with round balls with moderate charges. I don't think that any of those drop in GM are available now. Last time I looked they were "out of stock" everywhere. I know about the weight. Owner says 9.6 pounds and its got to be really front heavy. With my old eyes, the rifle will get a tang sight and kill bushytails and punch holes in paper.
 
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Cowboy got a drop in .40 and had a heck of a time getting it to shoot a group. But being a manly man he did not give up and his is shooting great last I heard.....

Cowboy?

I have a .36 that I am near giving up on. Few more trips with some dutch schultz dry patchs and if still not a shooter its getting .40'd by Mr Hoyt! Last time out ( few years) at 40 yds I was shoot 8" groups. beat it with my 12" buntline peita!!
 

don hepler

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The light recoil, will make a 40, grow on you, in a hurry. Wind can be a factor, but it won't drop much between 25 and 50 yards.

It's not legal for deer, in Va. but would make a good fall turkey gun and small varmint gun. Mine's a little heavy for woods walking, but great for blinds and open fields.

As a weight comparison, my 50 cal swamped barrel is 1 lb. 1 oz. lighter than the straight barrel 40.
 

Stringbean

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I've killed squirrels, woodchucks, porcupines, and a deer with my .40. Its a 13/16ths douglas 42" model. 35 grains on the small stuff and 70 grains on the bigger stuff. .018 or .020 patch with spit or moosemilk for the lube. It's my favorite rifle.
String
 
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The smaller calibers are increasingly picky.. In my experience they seem to want to keep as much of the black powder residue as possible and therefore require a lot mor effort to keep the barrel clear.. Your adjustments find the best loading procedures is a bit more difficult. I found them more difficult to bring in line than .45's and above..
I have had many subscribers do very well with .32, .36 and .40 caliber rifles but it takes a lot more care.

Dutch
 

ZUG

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A very good female shooter was shooting her .40 at various woods walk shoots and she was having a hard time knocking down some of the long range targets and asked me what she should do -- I told her to get a .45. She has since had a .45 cal rifle built for her and she no longer has trouble with any of the targets - her scores have increased on paper targets also. :v
 

don hepler

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That's the very reason why I'm shooting Black MZ powder in my small cap lock rifles. There is very little fowling. Shoot all day, without swabbing, and then cleans up with a damp patch. Where I used to shoot 7 or 8 times, and then get aggravated, now I shoot, all I want.
 

Billnpatti

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There is merit in what you say. Like I said, I am no ballistician and I was just parroting what I had heard at Friendship. If you know anything factual at all with regard to the .40 cal. rifle, you are way ahead of me. I have one and enjoy shooting it and I'll admit that I am no better with it than I am with any of my other rifles. So, the story about inherent accuracy...hell, I don't know. :idunno:
 
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When Ed Rayl sent me a .40 barrel he sent a target with it. No way I get to blame his barrel!
:surrender:
:rotf:
 

Trent Grove

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I like my .40 It likes 60 grains .401RB and .18 patch with moose milk lube. Shoots flat from 25 to 75 yrds. I shot it in the large bore silhouette at Friendship in 2012 just to see what I could do with it, cleaned the crows and groundhogs and nocked over one turkey. Hit a bear at 200 yrds but didn't knock it over. First time at Friendship and won a medal. It is the first ML I ever had and will be the last one I ever get rid of. You just have to know what it can do and then then do your part.

Trent
 
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