Sometimes things do work out right, 1861 Springfield.

Discussion in 'Percussion Rifles' started by Rat, Sep 13, 2019.

Help Support Muzzle Loading Forum by donating:

  1. Sep 13, 2019 #1

    Rat

    Rat

    Rat

    50 Cal.

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2004
    Messages:
    2,086
    Likes Received:
    332
    I was able to try the .562" balls, with .020" patch, and it did shrink my group, from 5.5" to 4" on average. For hunting, I'm more than pleased, and the 1861 is mostly my "back up" rifle when hunting, in case of extreme wet weather. Otherwise my Jeager is my go-to rifle. And I do like to get the '61 out once or twice, just because it's such a cool rifle. But very heavy. !!!

    But here's the weird thing, or surprise. Just for fun, I experimented with putting some bondo in the base cavity of some .575" minie's I have. These bullets will free-fall down the bore. So I coated them with hot bee's wax.

    Requiring a firm push to press them into the muzzle, they then slid nicely down the bore like a patched ball. Expecting no good results, and just hoping they shot well enough for a quick follow up shot, I touched one off over 100 grains of fffg. Dead center in my paper plate, same exact POI of the ball load. Wow.

    Shooting some more, turned in 4" groups just like the ball and patch load. Same POI and POA. Wow.

    Here is the mystery. Two out of ten shots didn't even hit the back-stop, 4X2'. If you look at the pic of the target, and the close up, you can see that they are very well stabilized. To have completely missed my target board, those two must have tumbled. But why. Also, I have had bullets tumble on other occasions, different guns, and they still hit the target board.

    I trust them (the minie's) enough to use for a follow up shot. I would not trust the load to not tumble on the first shot, which of course would not be good. The rifle will be loaded with patched ball for the first shot, and then the slugs for quick follow up, being really fast to load. No short starting, wads, or nothing. I found they also loaded easy in a fouled bore, and stayed in the 4" group regardless of the barrel being clean, or fouled.

    And of course, if I can get a string of ten or more to stay in the group, and no fliers, we may just choose that as the load, for that rifle. It's certainly powerful.

    Okay, some food for thought for y'all. I believe that on the two wild shots, the plug failed to expand the bullet, for who knows what reason. I have read up on base plugs in minie's, pritchett bullets, etc, and know that bondo is not ideal, but it sure worked for eight out of ten shots. So.........???? Thanks for listening.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Sep 14, 2019 at 4:05 AM #2

    curator

    curator

    curator

    45 Cal.

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2004
    Messages:
    654
    Likes Received:
    60
    Rat, There was a fellow who developed a special mold to make plugs for hollow base .577 minie' balls to use in the .577 Snider breech loading rifle. The mould was a thick aluminum plate that has a number of tapered holes bore into it. The "mold" was first coated with "Pam" vegetable oil spray, then Bondo applied to the cavities and and scraped flush with both sides, After the Bondo set, the plugs were punched out and then inserted into the hollow base of .577 minie bullets for shooting in the Snider rifles. The results were very good as the Bondo was every good as the original Boxwood plugs originally provided by the British Military.

    I have experimented with a melted wax/cream of wheat filler for hollow base minie' bullets with encouraging success. Getting the base to expand but not blow out after leaving the muzzle is an issue with the whole minie' bullet system. One thing I found was if the Bondo plug did not stay with the bullet it often that shot was usually a flier. Perhaps your system would solve this problem.
     
    Rat likes this.
  3. Sep 14, 2019 at 8:29 AM #3

    Britsmoothy

    Britsmoothy

    Britsmoothy

    70 Cal. MLF Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2007
    Messages:
    5,548
    Likes Received:
    781
    Location:
    England.
    How do you know the missing slugs did not pass through an existing hole?
    Run the test again at 25yds to eliminate your theory ( or prove it).
     
    Rat likes this.
  4. Sep 14, 2019 at 8:30 AM #4

    Britsmoothy

    Britsmoothy

    Britsmoothy

    70 Cal. MLF Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2007
    Messages:
    5,548
    Likes Received:
    781
    Location:
    England.
    Oh, and I am happy for you :)
     
    Rat likes this.
  5. Sep 14, 2019 at 9:47 AM #5

    TFoley

    TFoley

    TFoley

    62 Cal.

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2005
    Messages:
    3,352
    Likes Received:
    176

    MiniƩ bullets work best when they are 0.001" - 0.002" smaller than the bore at the muzzle. You should be able to easily 'thumb' the bullet into the muzzle, but it should not just drop down all the way. Shrug.
     
    Rat likes this.
  6. Sep 14, 2019 at 4:49 PM #6

    Rat

    Rat

    Rat

    50 Cal.

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2004
    Messages:
    2,086
    Likes Received:
    332
    The reason I don't believe the bullets (two) passed through the same hole is due to the absolutely perfect holes, which also tells me they were/are well stabilized. However, it is possible. But yes, this will call for much more experimentation.

    As far as how the bullets are initially sized to the bore, I think the dynamics change with light loads, vs. heavy loads. But, I would agree, a minie' sized more correctly would be a step in the right direction, even though a 4" group is more than acceptable, for me, for hunting.

    I have studied up on base plug science. !!! It did occur to me that perhaps the fliers were caused by base plug separation. But causing that much of a miss kind of puzzles me. If I had fliers going ten inches out of the group, that would be one thing, but completely missing the target board I find strange. Yes I will move up to 25 yards to see if the fliers, (which were few) are tumbling.

    Thanks for the help brain-storming. :)
     
  7. Sep 14, 2019 at 6:13 PM #7

    Rat

    Rat

    Rat

    50 Cal.

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2004
    Messages:
    2,086
    Likes Received:
    332
    Forgot to mention that the Bondo I used was the glass fiber kind, was all I have at the moment. Great for body work but a little hard to work with as far as filling the base of a minie'. I suspect voids, although a void "shouldn't" throw a slug that far off target. ? Maybe so. Will pick up some regular stuff today.

    Also found that by pre-heating the slugs before dipping in the wax, one can control the thickness of the layer of wax. Good and warm, but not hot, seems to work best. Cold slugs resulted in the wax not sticking well to the slug. Hot slug, very thin layer.
     
  8. Sep 14, 2019 at 8:34 PM #8
  9. Sep 14, 2019 at 9:01 PM #9

    Rat

    Rat

    Rat

    50 Cal.

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2004
    Messages:
    2,086
    Likes Received:
    332
    Wow, could be quite the deal if they fit one's bullet. You know, I bet a guy could turn the base-plug on the bullet/minie' mold to match those wood plugs, that would be slick. But if I can eliminate the fliers, I'll be happy. Stopped and got some non-glass bondo, so I'm good to go for stage two of the madd 1861 Springfield experimentation.
     
    Britsmoothy likes this.
  10. Sep 15, 2019 at 12:20 AM #10

    dave951

    dave951

    dave951

    40 cal - b

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2019
    Messages:
    161
    Likes Received:
    83
    I shoot a 2 band Springfield in competition. In my experience, heavy powder charges can and do lead to the flyers like you had by blowing out or otherwise damaging the skirt.

    If you're going to continue with this, size the minie to .001 under bore size. That size has to be measured.
     
  11. Sep 15, 2019 at 1:43 AM #11

    Stantheman86

    Stantheman86

    Stantheman86

    32 Cal. MLF Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2018
    Messages:
    705
    Likes Received:
    173
    What were the original plugs made of , for the Pritchett.....wasn't it clay?

    Maybe fill the bases with modeling clay?
     
    Britsmoothy likes this.
  12. Sep 15, 2019 at 6:24 PM #12

    Rat

    Rat

    Rat

    50 Cal.

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2004
    Messages:
    2,086
    Likes Received:
    332
    Well, as I use the rifle for hunting, my powder charge is one variable I can't (or don't want to) change. I was under the impression that the plug served to prevent blow out of the skirt, aside from expanding the slug. ?? If the skirt does blow out, even with a plug, will that cause the really wild flyers? Remember, my flyers completely missed the 4X2' target board. They were not just out of the 4" group.

    Another thing that adds to my confusion, regarding wild flyers, is that if you look at the close up of the bullet holes, you can see no sign of tipping or lack of stabilization. Those are some perfect bullet holes. !!

    In my limited experience, when a bullet goes that far astray, it usually means it has tumbled. And, in the past, when I have had rounds tumble, they are usually still on the back stop, or target board/frame. From my reading about the Prichett bullets, I have gleaned that with light charges, they will shoot well without the plug, but not heavy charges, and with heavy charges they will shoot well with the plug, but the skirt will blow out without the plug. ??

    At the moment, I'm trying to avoid buying another mold, I have so so many molds, and a sizer, as this slug is showing some promise. I think eight out of ten shots into four inches does indicate hope, IF I can eliminate the flyers, or get them down to something like one in twenty, or something like that. However, I agree that the most sure way to success is as you say, find a mold to cast a similar minie' of a larger diameter, and size accordingly. But I have one or two ideas to try before I do that.

    And, I'm amazed that a .575' minie', in a .580" bore, can even shoot into 4" with the addition of a thin layer of bee's wax, and a bondo plug. ??!!? :)

    Do you use a "plugged" minie'? (I'm assuming not?)
     
  13. Sep 15, 2019 at 6:40 PM #13

    Rat

    Rat

    Rat

    50 Cal.

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2004
    Messages:
    2,086
    Likes Received:
    332
    The Pritchetts uses clay, wood, and metal cups and plugs at different times. Different types of modeling clay are used now, although I'm finding that many get good results with bondo, so I'm just going to stick with that. Many of the modern shooters of the Pritchett target shooters aren't even using plugs, because with the light charges, 50-55 grains of powder, don't require them. With a light charge, the plug actually retards expansion of the bullet. At least that's my understanding, after hours of web searches and endless reading of blogs and forums. (the forums, unlike our fine one here, being the least informative on the subject!)

    I'll give up this quest before I go too far, but there is still hope...and I have her shooting good with the .562" round ball and thick patch, so she's ready for this season, it would just be very cool to get her to shoot well (or consistently) with a minie', over nice stout hunting charges. :) She is a slug gun after all.
     
  14. Sep 15, 2019 at 7:54 PM #14

    Stantheman86

    Stantheman86

    Stantheman86

    32 Cal. MLF Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2018
    Messages:
    705
    Likes Received:
    173
    Have you tried solid base bullets like Maxi Balls or REAL bullets?

    For hunting, a PRB is probably the way to go, I'd be worried about a Minie creeping up the bore on a full day of walking around.
     
  15. Sep 15, 2019 at 8:18 PM #15

    dave951

    dave951

    dave951

    40 cal - b

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2019
    Messages:
    161
    Likes Received:
    83
    No, we don't shoot plugged minies.

    And yes, a blown skirt can be wildly off target and the others look fine. The real issue is reliability.
     
    Rat likes this.
  16. Sep 16, 2019 at 12:12 AM #16

    Rat

    Rat

    Rat

    50 Cal.

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2004
    Messages:
    2,086
    Likes Received:
    332
    I agree. Consistency. That's what I'm looking for. :)
     
  17. Sep 16, 2019 at 2:27 AM #17

    Rat

    Rat

    Rat

    50 Cal.

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2004
    Messages:
    2,086
    Likes Received:
    332
    Stan I have been shooting REAL's for years, they work well, but are slow to load. What I'm looking for in this experiment is fast follow up shots when hunting.
     

Share This Page

arrow_white