Wild Inaccuracy with Pedersoli P53 Enfield.

Discussion in 'Percussion Rifles' started by Smokestack, Dec 4, 2019.

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  1. Dec 4, 2019 #1

    Smokestack

    Smokestack

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    Hey there.

    Winters set in here and the shooting season is over for me for the most part. I've been meaning to create this thread months ago but never got around to it until now.

    Earlier this year I was able to purchase a Pedersoli P53 Enfield reproduction in .577. Was a long time in saving and preparation but I finally got nearly everything I need. Just need to set up a proper means to melt down lead to cast bullets for myself.

    Before the winter set in here I was able to sneak in a couple trips to the range to test the thing out, and sadly the results were quite disappointing. I purchased a box of 200 or so .578 Minie Balls from Jetbullets. They're around 425gr in weight and have a rather deep skirt cavity that seems to go two thirds of the way into the projectile itself. I resized two batches into .576 and .577, and left another batch in the original .578 that they come as to see what my rifle liked to spit out.

    Sadly, none of them seemed to provide any semblance of accuracy whatsoever. I have a feeling that a Smoothbore Brown Bess would have better luck hitting a target than my rifle could even dream of.

    I understand there is probably a wide range of variables that might influence the accuracy of my gun but the results I had gotten were pretty mind blowing. I should have made a video of it at the time but that never happened, so hopefully a crude drawing should suffice.
    p53incredibleaccuracy.png

    Some of the impacts I've seen were far enough to splash the dirt to the sides of the sights of my rifle. Another thing I have noticed is that the bullet sounds like a Ricochet upon leaving the barrel, a very zippy/whining noise of sorts before it hits somewhere along the range.

    I use Wonderlube 1000 plus, and tried a range of loads from 40 grains at the lowest and 65 grains at the highest. The powder I've been using is Goex FFg. No paper patching or anything like that. If I had more time, I would have tested more things but that will have to be a project for next spring. Hopefully this thread can provide some ideas to try out when I get out then.

    My thoughts so far is that possibly the bullets I am using just aren't up to snuff for the rifle i'm using. I have Pedersoli Moulds specifically for this rifle, and I hope to have some bullets cast by next spring, so hopefully that should remedy the issue. They throw a much longer, heavier bullet and have a rather shallow skirt at the base compared to what I'm using currently. But if you folks have any ideas or input, anything would be much appreciated!

    Thanks!
     
  2. Dec 4, 2019 #2

    Greasecookie

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    I have a Pedersoli 3 band Enfield. I use the Lyman "new style" minies sized to .578 lubed with SPG. Shoots great, based on the ricochet sound, you might need a softer alloy or bigger bullet. I use 60 grains of Swiss 1.5 f.
     
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  3. Dec 4, 2019 #3

    Billy-by-gosh

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    Well, if you are running 40-65 grains of Holy black, the thinner skirt probably would be better. Those thick skirts are made for the heavier powder charges and may not be expanding into the grooves properly. You can bump up the charge, though recoil will be a bit heavier too. Also, might want to look at T.O.W. for something else to experiment with...here is a link to begin with:
    https://www.trackofthewolf.com/List/Item.aspx/129/1/BALL-58-MINIE
     
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  4. Dec 4, 2019 #4

    dave61965

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    I shoot minies out of my Mississippi rifle I cast from an RCBS mold and it’s very accurate, I had a large lot of unknown minies and wad cutter type bullets that I had acquired in a box of muzzleloader stuff I had acquired somewhere and they were all over the place, no accuracy at all, I believe the thick skirts on the unknown bullets and maybe they were a tad too hard to expand into the rifling was the problem, I only cast minies from soft lead and the RCBS bullets have the thinner skirt and I believe that made the difference for my rifle.
     
  5. Dec 4, 2019 #5

    Stantheman86

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    Mic the bore?

    Maybe you have a bore that got out of the factory at the extreme end of spec, like a .583
     
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  6. Dec 4, 2019 #6

    bisleyjohn

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    I use the Lyman mould and unsized ‘pure’ lead bullets with home brewed lube. Of the two base plugs I have, the larger, producing a larger, conical cavity and slightly lighter bullet seems to produce the better results. However, (my shooting year being over) I have plans to use much lighter loads as my Parker Hale 1977 made rifle (or me) has yet to better than 100% shots on a four foot target at 100 yards with only 90% in the eighteen inch aiming mark . The replies I got here:- https://www.muzzleloadingforum.com/threads/getting-the-best-from-my-parker-hale.117086/. lead me towards lighter loads with the current bullet before I switch to a Pritchett type. You ‘ricochet’ sounds may be an indication that your bullet is tumbling, or that part of the skirt is deforming on leaving the muzzle, perhaps even detaching, thus causing your ‘shotgun groups’. Are you able to see any signs of this on the target face?
     
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  7. Dec 4, 2019 #7

    Trot

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    Two things, first measure your bore and get the exact size. Your bullets need to be no more than .002 under bore size. I went to jetbullets and don't see any minie balls. You didn't perhaps get the .578 bullets for the breechloading snider? These may not be made to expand as they need to in your muzzleloader. Measure the bore, then get some proper minie balls. Track of the wolf or Dixie gun works have them.
     
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  8. Dec 4, 2019 #8

    dave951

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    First off, a Pedersoli should shoot pretty well. You're probably not doing something right.

    Second, you HAVE to know that ACTUAL bore size, not what's stamped as it does vary.

    Third- after you know the bore size, get your bullets for testing here-
    http://www.lodgewood.com/Bullets_c_7.html

    Fourth- forget Wonderlube. Use beeswax/lard,crisco,olive oil in about 60/40 mix.

    Fifth- try Old Eynsford 3f (Goex product) at about 40-45gr. DO NOT use the "reenactor" powder, it's for blanks and QC isn't important for that purpose so accuracy will take a very distant last place.

    Sixth- good caps, RWS or Schutzen only. CCI reenactor caps are garbage for any kind of accuracy.

    Some further comments, I've seen minie bullets from some commercial sources not be pure lead and were a disaster for accuracy. The vendor is relying on whoever cast them to be honest. The lead has to be pure. The link I gave uses nothing but pure lead and he's an NSSA competition shooter as well. He knows what you're going to need and he makes quality bullets.

    For what it's worth, there are many in the North South Skirmish Association who know how to make a musket more accurate than you can hold. If you're in the eastern US, see if you can get to a Skirmish and get to know some of us.

    One last comment on testing method, if you are bench resting the rifle, have the portion of the rest holding up the rifle at about the location your forward hand would be. This is due to how a musket acts during firing. If you rest it near the muzzle, accuracy can suffer and it WILL change your Point of Impact on target. Also, be consistent. Change one variable at the time.
     
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  9. Dec 5, 2019 #9

    Britsmoothy

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    What happens when you load with ball?

    If your hearing strange noises from the slug it's failed some way. By how deep you describe the hollow base the skirt is blowing maybe, even as suggested fragmenting!
    If your stuck for bullets right now fill the bases with a glue and shoot a couple. If they hold promises of better results we will have an idea where the issue or an issue exists.
     
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  10. Dec 5, 2019 #10

    Grenadier1758

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    As Britsmoothy suggested, filling the base of your minie with body putty may help with the blown skirt possibility. Use an over powder wad to protect the base of the minie ball.

    You could also try a 0.570" or 0.575" ball and 0.015" patching, lubricated with your choice of lubricant from spit to olive oil (any cooking oil will do) or a semi soft grease.
     
  11. Dec 5, 2019 #11

    gemmer

    gemmer

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    Good advice from dave951. Minies whistle heading down range. Guy tell me all the time that they can hear them when I shoot. Personally, I'd stay away from the putty filled base. You're getting poor accuracy over a broad range of charges so I don't see blown skirts as an issue. If I had to guess, I'd say your minies are not pure lead. Do you find hard fouling just ahead of the breech? If so, it may be a sign that you're getting powder/gas blow by because the skirt is not expanding.
     
  12. Dec 5, 2019 #12

    Britsmoothy

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    I don't understand your comments.

    The very fact he has inaccuracy across a broad range of charges is indicative of a blown skirt.
    By filling the base with something solid the skirt is stiffened so on leaving the muzzle is not distorted. This has to be eliminated from the enquiry first and is the simplest test first.
    If this does not improve things then we should look else where.
     
  13. Dec 5, 2019 #13

    dave951

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    Uhmm... NOT NECESSARILY. Possible causes- bullet alloy (usual culprit), bullet to bore size (quite often), lube type (more often then you'd think), powder type, cap type, nipple flash hole size and finally operator error.

    My guess is since the bullets are commercial, they're probably wheel weight. That coupled with sizing can ruin accuracy. Lube can ruin accuracy. I've run plenty tests and some lubes are best thrown in the trash. Others can and will affect accuracy. Bullet weight relative to rifling twist rate affects accuracy. Commercial bullets from most sources aren't too keen on QC. Buy some, then measure and weigh them if you think I'm kidding.

    Also need to know how heavy the trigger pull is and where on the forearm he's resting the gun. Yes Virginia, that matters too.

    So a blanket statement on blown skirts simply isn't helpful. I've heard plenty of minies whistling going downrange and those same loads are known to be under 2moa. In no case have I ever seen anyone in the medals with minies who cast from wheel weight, slapped the ramrod down like a pile driver, or packed the base.
     
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  14. Dec 5, 2019 #14

    Britsmoothy

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    Well my guess is we will have to wait and see.
     
  15. Dec 5, 2019 #15

    gemmer

    gemmer

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    My bad, I meant to say IS NOT indicative.....It was a typo.
     
  16. Dec 6, 2019 #16

    Stantheman86

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    This is why I just shoot Smoothbores, I can still hit stuff most of the time out to 100......all the smoke and boom but I don't have to expect too much out of myself :)

    That said I have plenty of super accurate rifles but like was said, a lube that works in the summer will cause shotgun pattern groups in the winter, a little more tin in the alloy will open groups up.....if a fly lands on the shooting bench , or Jupiter is in a descending Phase , you're gonna lose 3" on your group.
     
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  17. Dec 7, 2019 #17

    ChrisPer

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    I shoot a PH Enfield 1858 two-band, and it shoots damn well because someone did the work for me beforehand, and I bought the mold with the gun.
    Enfield 577s typically are fussy and like heavier bullets. The lighter .577 Lee mold, for instance, doesn't shoot in most of them. In Australia, one maker does a great mold delivers at about 500gn but I am sure there are good ones from your own makers.
    It is perfectly normal for new Enfields to shoot high at 50 or 100 m. I haven't got the dope on why, but it is in fact within spec. Same for percussion revolvers of the era - they were intentionally sighted for longer shots.
    When you get them sorted they are VERY accurate, and it appears from those I know that have Pedersoli 1858s that they are good. I have a Pedersoli Charles Moore and a Mortimer and love them both.
     
  18. Dec 7, 2019 #18

    ZUG

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    First off you HAVE to find out what the bore diameter is - without this info you are just guessing as to what minie will perform well. I have three repo CW rifled muskets - 1853 3 band, 1861 Springfield and a 1863 Zouave. The all measure 0.003" of one another -0.579" - 0.582". I purchased some hand cast store bought minie' when I got my first rifled musket which was the Zouave (0.580") and it shot good with 60 gr of 2F Goex but when I got the other rifled muskets they did not shoot so well with this combo. I cast my own minies now and I made three sizers to be one thousand under for all the three bore sizes which also straightens up the skirts. The all shoot much better now.
     
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  19. Dec 8, 2019 #19

    Enfieldguy

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    In all this cross chatter I'm surprised the Pritchett cartridge was mentioned only once. The P53 wasn't designed for the Minie bullet but rather the Pritchett bullet, of which there are two diameters, .568" and .550". Both are smooth-sided and paper-patched with a base plug for positive expansion. The originals and the Parker Hale guns have progressive depth rifling which is deeper at the breech end and gets progressively shallower at the muzzle. The only lube is a coat of pure beeswax over the paper wrapper. With a correctly made cartridge of the proper material the system is very accurate. The beeswax controls the fouling and with the .550" cartridge the rifle can be fired over 100 rounds with no loading tightness from fouling build-up. My current P53 is a 25 year old Armisport with .003" non-progressive rifling. It shoots ok with the Burton-type Minie but fouls badly after just 5 rounds and the groups really open up. With the .550" Pritchett cartridge I can keep them all on a dinner plate at 100 yards and fire 70 rounds at a sitting with the 70th round loading just as easy as the first.
     
  20. Dec 8, 2019 #20

    Stantheman86

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    I love the Pritchett cartridge , they're just a PITA to make and expensive to buy pre-made , so not many people use them.

    OP might want to take a whole different tack and just try round balls in that thing.....maybe make some "Mississippi " style cartridges. It may have just been destined to be a round ball rifle. They tend to be more forgiving and often shoot very well in slow twist military bores. I know my Parker Hale comes alive with .570 balls and .10 patches lubed with Minuteman patch lube......nice easy loading combo, shoot all day with no wiping.
     

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