Tickled with my new (old) GPR - anything I should check for before shooting?

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I’m also open to front blade suggestions… I think a nickel or brass, with a thinner post would be nice…
I first filed a small notch in the center of my sight, facing me, using a triangular file. Tried various colors of paint in the notch and it worked well in daylight. Found I lost my sight picture while hunting near dusk no matter what kind of paint. I just epoxied a 1.5mm fiber optic to the top of that large blade and it is working very well for me. The 1.5mm is about 1/2 the width of the blade. I will be posting about this soon so keep an eye out or you can PM me.
 

edw.marshall

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Howdy all,

Been learning a lot here lately and mostly watching from the sidelines. I have been trying to track down a .54 Hawken, and after several months, finally landed a nice GPR:)

According to the date code, she’s a 1984. As far as I can tell she is in really nice shape and looks like she was mostly a safe queen… maybe never shot idk. I have taken it down and completely cleaned, oiled, function checked everything I can… fired a couple caps as well. Everything to me seems to be in working order… triggers work like they should, nipple and clean out screws both came out easily and I cleaned and added antisieze. Barrel is nice and shiney… first patch had a ever so slight orange twinge… I don’t see any pitting or surface rust… ran some fine steel wool up and down the barrel anyway, applied some pb blaster, and then cleaned it really well with hot water, then ballistol, and then applied some G96. Took trigger group and lock out… no rust anywhere… oiled them all up… measured and she’s a 1 in 48” twist. Barrel seems to be consistent pressure on patch whole way… used a .30 cal brush and cleaned patented breach.

So my question since this is my first used/older gun… is there anything I’m missing or anything I should check before taking her for a spin? I’ll be shooting PRBs with real BP. Just want to make sure I do the right thing before shooting… and yes, I added some finger nail polish to front blade… it’s a pretty big blade and slightly tough to see.

Here’s some pics… she is awful pretty IMO :)

NCKBYd2h.jpg

RKqdRNgh.jpg

7vz1f2nh.jpg

B3S7L2Yh.jpg

AH4V2fch.jpg

BFEzu7kh.jpg

hts5dVhh.jpg

DbpF7T0h.jpg

405aQPRh.jpg

m5wOJyvh.jpg

a8WTdaQh.jpg
 

edw.marshall

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Howdy all,

Been learning a lot here lately and mostly watching from the sidelines. I have been trying to track down a .54 Hawken, and after several months, finally landed a nice GPR:)

According to the date code, she’s a 1984. As far as I can tell she is in really nice shape and looks like she was mostly a safe queen… maybe never shot idk. I have taken it down and completely cleaned, oiled, function checked everything I can… fired a couple caps as well. Everything to me seems to be in working order… triggers work like they should, nipple and clean out screws both came out easily and I cleaned and added antisieze. Barrel is nice and shiney… first patch had a ever so slight orange twinge… I don’t see any pitting or surface rust… ran some fine steel wool up and down the barrel anyway, applied some pb blaster, and then cleaned it really well with hot water, then ballistol, and then applied some G96. Took trigger group and lock out… no rust anywhere… oiled them all up… measured and she’s a 1 in 48” twist. Barrel seems to be consistent pressure on patch whole way… used a .30 cal brush and cleaned patented breach.

So my question since this is my first used/older gun… is there anything I’m missing or anything I should check before taking her for a spin? I’ll be shooting PRBs with real BP. Just want to make sure I do the right thing before shooting… and yes, I added some finger nail polish to front blade… it’s a pretty big blade and slightly tough to see.

Congrats on your “new” GPR! She looks great. I’ve had mine since 1987 & would never part with it. One suggestion, the stock looks thirsty so I’d give a few hand rubbed applications of BLO or any stock finish of your chosing.


Here’s some pics… she is awful pretty IMO :)

NCKBYd2h.jpg

RKqdRNgh.jpg

7vz1f2nh.jpg

B3S7L2Yh.jpg

AH4V2fch.jpg

BFEzu7kh.jpg

hts5dVhh.jpg

DbpF7T0h.jpg

405aQPRh.jpg

m5wOJyvh.jpg

a8WTdaQh.jpg
 
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I picked up the exact rifle last Fall. Mid 1985 vintage according to Lyman and also a measured 1/48" twist. One doe already fell to a 54 PRB in January' BP season with it.
Though I have scoured the bore with Scotchbrite, lapping compound and elbow grease, it still shows shredded patches, sometimes, using 80 grains of FFFg. These GPR's are known for their sharp lands. Next outing I'll try FFg to see if there is any difference.
A former owner swapped out the factory sights for the Lyman Mzldr after markets, which I don't like. But, I am learning that the rear sight needs to sit tall or the front blade requires filed down to a nubbin. Once the sight trials are completed I look forward to more hunts with the long gun.
Most Lyman/Investarms barrels of the past needed about 100 shots of PRB put through them before the bore smoothed out and gave the best accuracy. You can speed the process up with the use of polishing compounds such as JB's bore paste. You can also accomplish this polishing process by "fire lapping" where you coat a special lead conical with lapping compound, a mildly abrasive paste, and fire it out of your barrel.
Having said all that, the torn patches may be due to sharp edges on the crown of the barrel, which can be sometimes be done away with by taking a small square of Emory paper to the muzzle and applying thumb pressure, polishing the crown. A gunsmith can also put a crown on the muzzle, recess it for easy loading, etc.
If you are using pre-cut patches the keep in mind that they can deteriorate over time and shred easily giving the impression that the bore or crown needs attention. If all that doesn't help and before you spend a lot of money, get a bore sight/endoscope and see if there are any pits or rough spots left over from the rifling process that polishing won't get rid of.

I've had great success with Lyman/Investarms barrels in the past even though now only one of my rifles has their barrel on it. It remains one of the most accurate rifles in my collection and I've taken rabbits with it, even though it's a 54 caliber it removes the head very cleanly.
 
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I think that is right. The GPHunters were all 1:48,:across all years. I don’t know if they made any fast twist sabot guns 1:22 or 1:28, almost seems like they did. I’ve been very confused for months at a time so I could have seen it in a vision..
The Great Plains Rifle, GPR, had a 1-60 twist while the Great Plains Hunter, GPH, had a fast twist 1-32 rate of twist. The Lyman Trade Rifle had a shorter barrel, came in 50 or 54 caliber and had a 1-48. The GPH barrels were interchangeable with the GPR barrels.

 

Rileybassman

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Well I took it out for the first time today and am quite happy with the results :). Was a blast to shoot! Was shooting from a rest at 50 yards. First shot was maybe 1-2 inches low but pretty much dead center and I was pretty shocked but super happy! Had one shot fly maybe 4-5” high, but it’s possible it was me - this 4 shot group was pretty good for first time out. 2nd and 3rd shots were same hole. Shots 1-3 were 80 grains… 4th was 100 grains. Elevation seemed to be about the same but I want to test the 100 grains more. Lack of recoil was surprising… 100 grains in my lightweight deer stalker is not fun… the GPR was totally pleasant and super fun whole time!

Was a bit of a learning experience… I cleaned after third or fourth shot… and I should have cleaned it sooner, because my patched jag got stuck :-/ I tried to get it out but ended up having to trickle 10 or so grains in the nipple and shot it out. My mistake… I’ll be cleaning every 1-2 shots now. I’m wondering if the lands are a bit sharp as it got stuck at the very bottom… I could spin the rod, but no matter what I tried, I couldn’t get it out and had to twist off the jag. I may try some jb bore paste. But other then that, it worked perfect… no hang fires, ignition was 100% and it was loads of fun to shoot!

Only found 2 patches… how are they looking?

Couple pics - don’t mind unmentionable holes… my dad was out shooting with me.
First shot at 50 yards.
o7vGDCwh.jpg

4 shot group
sIZdn4dh.jpg

kbYff1Qh.jpg

9bOp0yFh.jpg

CtBpGhnh.jpg
 

Rileybassman

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I first filed a small notch in the center of my sight, facing me, using a triangular file. Tried various colors of paint in the notch and it worked well in daylight. Found I lost my sight picture while hunting near dusk no matter what kind of paint. I just epoxied a 1.5mm fiber optic to the top of that large blade and it is working very well for me. The 1.5mm is about 1/2 the width of the blade. I will be posting about this soon so keep an eye out or you can PM me.
Awesome I’ll be watching! Sounds like a great idea!
 
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Well I took it out for the first time today and am quite happy with the results :). Was a blast to shoot! Was shooting from a rest at 50 yards. First shot was maybe 1-2 inches low but pretty much dead center and I was pretty shocked but super happy! Had one shot fly maybe 4-5” high, but it’s possible it was me - this 4 shot group was pretty good for first time out. 2nd and 3rd shots were same hole. Shots 1-3 were 80 grains… 4th was 100 grains. Elevation seemed to be about the same but I want to test the 100 grains more. Lack of recoil was surprising… 100 grains in my lightweight deer stalker is not fun… the GPR was totally pleasant and super fun whole time!

Was a bit of a learning experience… I cleaned after third or fourth shot… and I should have cleaned it sooner, because my patched jag got stuck :-/ I tried to get it out but ended up having to trickle 10 or so grains in the nipple and shot it out. My mistake… I’ll be cleaning every 1-2 shots now. I’m wondering if the lands are a bit sharp as it got stuck at the very bottom… I could spin the rod, but no matter what I tried, I couldn’t get it out and had to twist off the jag. I may try some jb bore paste. But other then that, it worked perfect… no hang fires, ignition was 100% and it was loads of fun to shoot!

Only found 2 patches… how are they looking?

Couple pics - don’t mind unmentionable holes… my dad was out shooting with me.
First shot at 50 yards.
o7vGDCwh.jpg

4 shot group
sIZdn4dh.jpg

kbYff1Qh.jpg

9bOp0yFh.jpg

CtBpGhnh.jpg
Great action/flame shot!

If I may suggest something that works for me. Swabbing between shots whether at the range, during a match or while hunting has always been beneficial and I'd like to first say that I'm not saying that you've got to do this as well. Also, this isn't commentary regarding which powder brand/lube or incantations allows one to shoot all day without wiping, Swabbing or cleaning; it just works for me so maybe it will work for you.
Start with going to your local fabric store, Wal-Mart or similar type place and buy a half yard or so of 100 % cotton flannel. No colors, just plain white cotton flannel. No need to wash it before using either. Cut it into squares that just cover your jag that doesn't bunch up and goes down easy with a little resistance and stays on the jag when you bring it up. That is what swabbing is, just down and up then discard the patch. Get some rubbing alcohol and put your swabs in a container with a lid, pouring just enough rubbing alcohol on the patches to dampen them. If the patches are dripping or you can squeeze a drop out it's too much, you just need them damp. Before starting your shooting session, swab the bore to remove any anti rust oil and then snap a cap or two to make sure there are no obstructions. Load and shoot, then swab, down and up. You may want to turn the patch over and swab with the clean side, you be the judge. The cotton flannel picks up a ton of fouling! The alcohol naturally attracts water from the air so your swab is never completely dry. Dry patches will get your jag stuck fast in the bore! This combination of water and alcohol helps remove any left over fouling plus the alcohol having a much lower boiling point evaporates quickly and doesn't leave any liquid behind that could render the fresh powder charge inert.
I've seen a lot of first time ML shooters use way too much cleaning fluid on their swab patches and come away very frustrated with the whole process.

Anyway, give it a try and maybe you'll like the results. Your fired patches look good by the way.
 
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Those patches look pretty good but coul be better. I see some cutting where they ride between the ball and bore. Some additional polishing will help. Could also consider different patch material. A good one that many shooters have good results with is Joanne's fabrics #40 drill.

The idea that patch material burns up because of the heat of the powder alone is erroneous. It starts with the patch being damaged duringoading or firing. Then the hot gasses ate blowing by and burning the material. I have shot good patch material that was spit lubed and picked it up immediately after the shot unburned and stll wet and cold.
 

Henry Miles

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Once you get the barrel broken in and smooth enough to not damage patches, you may want to try avoiding swabbing between shots. If you use the right powder/charge and good patch material being the right thickness along with a liberally lubed patch, swabbing becomes a thing of the past and you avoid the inevitable wet black sludge that forms with swabbing. It took me a long time to realize this and hopefully you can avoid the mess swabbing makes. Swabbing between shots is a modern invention and wasn't practiced historically. Cleanup is a lot easier without swabbing between shots. YMMV
 

Rileybassman

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Ok so I'm thinking I may try some bore paste .. I have some 220 grit wheeler scope ring lapping compound... Is this too aggressive? Better to use jb bore paste?

I also have some 8 and 4 micron emulsion paste (bark river) that i use knife stropping... Any of these things ok alternatives?
 
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snoutsugar

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Swabbing is historic.
The World Record SHOOTERS of the late 1800s swabbed every shot. Harry Pope swabbed his rifle between shots when he shot his World Record in late 1800s. No swabbing, no World Record. But what did he know? Just the best barrel maker ever, builder of his World Record shooting rifle.
Breech plug goo is caused by many things. I had a problem with it years ago by using too much bullet lube on conicals. Once the amount was correct, bye bye problem.
Others use too much wiping solution. Whatever you use, it doesnt take much. Dry- moist is better then wet. It's an individual thing as we all do it a tad different.
Some use fine grain powder even in large caliber rifles. Finer the powder, the more the goo. Fine powder has no place in a rifle, that's HISTORIC also, but what did those folks know, the builders and historic SHOOTERS who figured out muzzleloading physics?
I shoot more powder then all the blk powder shooters I know COMBINED. I swab every shot with no problems. I shoot them all, round balls, conicals, pickett bullet, ball-ets etc. All barrel lengths and calibers up to 4bore, shoulder fired.
Another goo maker is folks using liberally applied lubes like mutton tallow and or petroleum products. The rifle still shoots, as they say, deadly accurate at 30 yards, and wonder why eventually things may not work out so nice. The rifle fired so it must be good. Uh, ok I reckon, if you say so.
Back door SHOOTERS, 6 shots, and that's a scientific approach? Need a little more shooting before a conclusion can be reached.
Most important, be safe, watch out for high pressure situations involving your guns load, and have FUN.
Be HISTORIC, it doesn't hurt, lolol
 
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Rileybassman

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There is nothing wrong with 1:48 in a .54 caliber. Wipe that stock with lemon oil and beeswax at least twice a year.
I use howard's butcher block on most of my wood items... knife handles, cutting boards etc... it's mineral oil and beeswax - I am pretty impressed with the condition of the stock for being almost 40!
 

Rileybassman

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Ok I used a scotch brite pad and ran maybe 5 patches worth through... I took it shooting and it is easier to load for sure - still pretty tight after 6-8 shots, but it is better. I was pretty conservative with the first scour session, so when I cleaned it, I ran another 3 scotch brite pads through it and we will see next shoot. Barrel looks really smooth and mirror like now :) Patches look decent I think for first 10? I noticed the longer I shot, the worse they got... and at the end (maybe 15 or so shots, with a couple brush strokes and spit soaked swab towards the end) they were pretty well destroyed... is that the nature of the dirtier you get, the worse the patches get?

Upped to 100 grains of schutzen - 50 yards. Was shooting low and right. Drifted rear site a little left and that seems good now.

I filed front sight down a bit and looking forward to next session - but she seems like she will be a shooter :)

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If you are not wiping the bore between shots, the fouling will build up and the patches will get dirtier.

Since you have a Lyman Great Plains Rifle, it will have a chambered breech. While I like to wipe the bore between shots to control the fouling, that is not always the best with a chambered breech as the wiping can push fouling into the chambered breech and failure to fire will result. For many, it works well to use a good fouling softening lubrication for the patched ball. That way the fouling is pushed down the bore as the ball is loaded and the fouling is caught between the powder and the ball and is shot out. A fairly wet patch but not dripping is good for the range sessions where lots of shots are being fired. For hunting a greasier patch that won't dry out is best to use. Think Mink Oil from Track of the Wolf.

Your patches are looking good with only a little bit of abrasion coming from the lands. Smaller ball and thicker patch or a few more passes with the scotch brite pad should do the trick.
 

Rileybassman

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If you are not wiping the bore between shots, the fouling will build up and the patches will get dirtier.

Since you have a Lyman Great Plains Rifle, it will have a chambered breech. While I like to wipe the bore between shots to control the fouling, that is not always the best with a chambered breech as the wiping can push fouling into the chambered breech and failure to fire will result. For many, it works well to use a good fouling softening lubrication for the patched ball. That way the fouling is pushed down the bore as the ball is loaded and the fouling is caught between the powder and the ball and is shot out. A fairly wet patch but not dripping is good for the range sessions where lots of shots are being fired. For hunting a greasier patch that won't dry out is best to use. Think Mink Oil from Track of the Wolf.

Your patches are looking good with only a little bit of abrasion coming from the lands. Smaller ball and thicker patch or a few more passes with the scotch brite pad should do the trick.
Thank you for the feedback - appreciated! Question on lube - I have a pile of wonderlubed patches (those are the patches in pic) I like them and they seem like a good fit... (.015" with a .530 ball) is it ok/possible to mix lubes? For example, take one of the pre-lubed patches, and add a bit of mink oil etc as needed?

Also to add, I had thought about your statement for fouling being pushed... I used a dry brush maybe 2 times, and then tipped the barrel upside down - there was a fair bit of bp residue that came out each time... followed by a spit patch in the bore. I have seen conflicting info about brushing, but after my "stuck jag" issue, I'm slightly hesitant to try swabbing or wiping with a jab in the middle of a session. The spit patch I just stuck on the brush tip as it wasn't as tight as even a smaller caliber jag. Sorry if these are silly questions... I'm new to bp and learning as I go :)

Thank you!
 
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@Rileybassman, there are a couple of ways to get around the fouling build up in the barrel. One way is the use of properly sized bore brush to wipe some of the fouling out. It seems as if you have a decent brush, and you are getting some of the fouling out of the grooves.

The other is to turn your jag down a bit so the dampened cleaning patch being used between shots can slide over the fouling and bunch up on the jag to pull the fouling out. I use rubbing alcohol for my between shot wiping to just dampen the flannel patch.

Judging from the fact that these "silly" questions can generate up to 20 pages of responses, these questions are not silly at all. Do continue to learn. And most importantly, continue to take your GPR to the range.
 
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