Why a smoothbore?

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BigD63

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This question may get me banned for life from this forum or even tarred and feathered, but here goes. Why do you guys shoot smoothbores? I can think of a few reasons but would love to hear your's. I'm fairly new to BP (3 years) and the only smoothbores I have ever fired were modern shotguns. Please be gentle with me...lol
 

Cruzatte

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This question may get me banned for life from this forum or even tarred and feathered, but here goes. Why do you guys shoot smoothbores? I can think of a few reasons but would love to hear your's. I'm fairly new to BP (3 years) and the only smoothbores I have ever fired were modern shotguns. Please be gentle with me...lol
  • The Challenge How well can I shoot using only my eye and cheek as a rear sight? It varies from day to day.
  • The History I live in a part of the state which was included in French Louisiana. The French Canadians traded with the Kansa, Osage, Pawnee, Wichita, and others. There was even a French military/fur trading post near what is now Leavenworth, KS built in the 1740s.
  • Personal Aesthetics French trade guns just look too cute to be believed. You have to love that pied de vache butt stock and that long. slim barrel.
  • Versatility As a hunting arm, the trade gun can't be beat. You can go buffalo hunting on Saturday, and rabbit or turkey hunting on Sunday, all with the same gun. In 20 ga. there's only one animal on the North American continent that can't be taken with the trade gun; the grizzly bear.
 
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I like hunting with them. One bird taken with a traditional muzzloader is akin to taking ten with a breech loader.
They are so versatile also.
It's hard to explain but until you get one, make it work, learn it's limitations and achieve something beneficial with it you will miss out in my opinion.
 
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Everything Cruzatte said. There is just something that grabs you.
Imagine a guy who shoots supper modern asking why you shoot traditional ml. No answer really makes sense, or a precusion shooting asking why you shoot flint.
A smoothbore is to a rifle what a ml rifle is to a breechloader. When you get to playing with then they’re addictive
 

centershot

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Yes, versatility is the reason for me. I've owned a number of large caliber rifles, .45 and up, but never a smoothbore and I really wanted to have a gun to hunt small game with. A .54 RB makes a mess of small critters.......
 
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This question may get me banned for life from this forum or even tarred and feathered, but here goes. Why do you guys shoot smoothbores? I can think of a few reasons but would love to hear your's. I'm fairly new to BP (3 years) and the only smoothbores I have ever fired were modern shotguns. Please be gentle with me...lol
I live in an area where rifles were virtually non-existent in the time period that I like to study (1700-1780s New England) so that is one motivation. I hunt areas that generally have less than 100 yards of visibility and most of the time less than 60 yards so I don't give up a lot to a rifle. At this point I would trust myself to 55 yards or so on a deer and that would encompass a very wide swath of the shots I generally encounter. Lastly and most of all, small game hunting is my true passion. Something about hunting with bird shot in a flintlock smoothbore is magical.
 
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I'm only into military smoothbore muskets, not Fowlers or sporting arms but the same reasons apply

Shooting huge lead balls with 100gr charges is just fun, and if I do my part they'll shoot accurately to 100 yards

There's just something special about a flintlock musket that no other firearm has , especially with paper cartridges.

Plus on the technical side. You never have to worry about damaging or wearing out rifling, crown wear, any of that voodoo people use to shoot at 500 yards. The work has already been done for me, 100gr of 1F, a .65 ball and the size of the paper was all worked out for us 300 years ago. Just shoot em and have fun
 
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R.G.A Levinge said this in 1847, advocating for the use of a smoothbore on the Canadian plains for a smoothbore “which throws a ball true at sixty yards. It is the best weapon for deer hunting as most shots are within that distance….. patch the ball and in 99 cases out of 100 a patched ball will fly nearly as true at 60 yards as one fired from the best rifle’
While not true as far as shooting the x it’s true shooting the gong on a woods walk or deer in the tall timber
 
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I lived in a state that smoothbores were the only legal guns to hunt with AKA MA.
I hunted for 16 years there. Moved in 1985 to a free state, used a couple of rifles and had no better luck with them than a smoothbore.

Do not underestimate a smoothbore for hunting. Most deer and Moose I have taken a smoothy would have been fine. [All moose however was with a mL rifle] took many at longer range in the west, antelope, mule deer and varmints. Other than then a smoothy would have worked at the ranges in New England.

Fact is all my modern shooting now is with smoothbore.
 
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I have been shooting BP on an off for 30 years always a rifled BP. Now for the past two years, i have only been shooting strictly BP.I then saw BP manic on you tube also a member here when he first shot a smoothbore and it left me in awe. Looked like so much fun I just knew I had to have a smoothbore. I have yet to take any game ,but I can tell you I am hooked.
 
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It’s fun and challenging to really milk the most accuracy from a smoothbore using round ball in a flintlock.

By all accounts it can’t be done any better than “the barn door when standing inside a barn” from popular theory but in truth it’s not so. Even using period techniques such as tow wadding and bare balls, surprisingly good accuracy can be achieved, much more so than some think, with the above combo to 50 yards or better. More than enough to put a deer in the pot or send an attacker to his grave.
 

No Deer

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It is a lot like asking why you shoot a muzzle loader instead of modern, there is no easy answer, it is just better.
I like the versatility too. With my 20gage trade gun, I have taken bear, deer, turkey, quail, squirrel, duck, rabbit, chukar, and woodchuck.
In shooting matches, I don't feel outgunned by any rifle, out to about 50 yards. Love it when I beat a rifle shooter LOL. One day one of our club members had a group of 4H kids, and some of their fathers, on our woods walk. One of the fathers had his unmentionable rifle with a scope on it, and he could not hit one of our woods walk targets that was at about 50 yards. I was out there with them with my trade gun, and calmly stepped up and hit that target. The guy with the scoped super gun just grunted and moved along to the next one. Was very satisfying. LOL
 
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Why wouldja get banned? My smoothbore has a 12" barrel and while I could hunt with it I suppose, it is mostly a toy. If I had the time I would make myself a flintlock smoothbore in 16 gauge.
 

Brokennock

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@Cruzatte pretty well nailed it.
Though for me personally, the challenge wouldn't really be a reason. I do appreciate the challenge, but I wouldn't say it is part of why I use one.
@Magungo1066 is also spot on.
A rifle would have been rare to unheard of here in Connecticut during the time period I am inerested in. Which brings me to Connecticut and the versatility of a smoothbore, specifically in 20 gauge or larger.
I hunt squirrels, turkeys, deer, rabbits as a target of opportunity, and also pheasant. I would hunt grouse and used to,,, but there are so few left I would leave them alone if I found any.
Our game laws are such that if I stuck with a rifle, I would need 2 rifles, and all the stuff that goes with 2 rifles of 2 different calibers, and still would need a smoothbore. Deer can be hunted with a muzzleloading rifle .45 caliber or larger,,, or a 20 gauge or larger shotgun. Small game (squirrels, rabbits, and coyotes) can only be hunted with a muzzleloading rifle .36 caliber or smaller,,,, or a shotgun loaded with shot. Pheasant are a game for loose shot, gauge doesn't matter,,,, but turkeys can not be taken with a muzzleloading rifle and shotgun gauge (muzzleloading or cartridge) is mandated at 20 gauge or larger.
See where this leads?
So for me, where I am, with my personal historical interests and motivations, my budget that won't allow for 3 muzzlers and all that goes with them, and my game regulations, a smoothbore is more than just ideal,,, it is really my only choice.
It helps that I do love it.

Yes, I understand that the strict historical part is a very small to even non-existent factor for many people. For me it is important.
 
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At first, a long time ago, if I shot a smoothbore flintlock it was because I was too hung over to flinch and couldn't see a rear sight anyways. Now as I have matured, and presbyopia (farsightedness) has taken away my ability to have a rear sight in focus, I have found that shooting a smoothbored fowling gun is a lot of fun and I appreciate the art of shooting a well-balanced flint lock. I have more choices as to what I may want to shoot. Smooth bored fowling guns are lighter in weight than rifles and I have the choice of shooting shot or shooting a round ball
 
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Why wouldja get banned? My smoothbore has a 12" barrel and while I could hunt with it I suppose, it is mostly a toy. If I had the time I would make myself a flintlock smoothbore in 16 gauge.
Go for that 16 gauge flintlock smoothbore. Of all the many, many guns that I own my 16 gauge trade gun is by far my favorite.
 
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