Wild Inaccuracy with Pedersoli P53 Enfield.

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ResearchPress

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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.
Lowest sight setting is 100 yards. Contemporary musketry instruction was to take a half sight (foresight mid-way between bottom of rearsight V and shoulders), and refine foresight position for marginally longer of shorter distances. I suspect many today use a full sight, and are then surprised when shots go high, when in fact they are aiming high.

David
 

ChrisPer

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Lowest sight setting is 100 yards. Contemporary musketry instruction was to take a half sight (foresight mid-way between bottom of rearsight V and shoulders), and refine foresight position for marginally longer of shorter distances. I suspect many today use a full sight, and are then surprised when shots go high, when in fact they are aiming high..
Brilliant. Thanks! I have been noticing that the fine and full and other ways of using an iron sight are just not understood now. From my various muzzleloaders and early cartridge rifles its a LOT of variation in sight pictures.
 

Stantheman86

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Keep in mind these are Battle Rifles and are designed to hit men at ranges from "0 to 400" meters, aiming at the belt of an enemy soldier. Half Sighting works , it's how the Enfield was designed to be fired.

I also learned on this forum that the rear sight is farther up on the barrel because Great Britain and its colonies often had older men in the ranks, and having 35-40+ year old Privates was not unusual.....the longer sight radius accommodating older eyes.......
.vs American sights , even extending into the cartridge era , seem to be designed for very young men with good vision. (Ever tried using the "peep" on a Krag rifle??)
 

Stantheman86

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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.
Do you feel Air Dry clay would hold up to this? Or break apart on firing?

The Pritchett bullet had a clay plug but it was kiln fired and had metal "sintered" into it.....just wondering if standard clay might work for Minies or Pritchetts?
 

Smokestack

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Thankyou everyone for the input. Theres a few factors that I can identify right now that might be a part of the overall culprit.

The caps that i'm using are the CCI musket caps. They're not the reenactor designated caps, but from what i've read online is that there seems to be no difference between the different marked types of musket caps they provide. The problem I am facing with these at the moment is that there are very few sources where I live to get alternatives. There is one place that seems to stock Schuetzen brand caps, and i'll see about securing a couple hundred of those in the coming month. That and CCI seem to be my only options up here in Canada. With the CCI I haven't experienced any sort of hangfire and each shot seems to go off instantaneous from what i've experienced. Is there something specific about CCI caps that induce innacuracy of the shot?

They also offer SPG lube. Round balls and patches. I'll throw those into the order with the caps to experiment with. Might as well take the opportunity now. I do bee keeping and I usually have a supply of wax throughout the season. Sold a ton of it off to a couple candlemakers not too long ago, so that will have to wait 'til the next extraction later into the warmer season to make my own.

Few questions though:

I've been having a hell of a time sourcing a set of pin gauges without spending a fortune on a large set. Not really interested in buying a $300 box of gauges in which i'll use only once. Does anyone have an idea where I can source a specific range of gauges within my bore size? Or, if there are any easy alternative methods I can use to figure out the precise diameter of my bore.

Secondly, is there a certain method in which I should begin with searching for an accurate load? Or is it really just a test and try method for the most part.

Thanks again everyone.
 

Greasecookie

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CCI caps are fine, I like RWS caps better, but the caps are not the source of wild shooting. You can check the barrel diameter by screwing a ball pulling screw into a minie ball, flaring the skirt, and tapping it into the muzzle. When you pull it out, check the land and groove diameters with a caliper.
 

Zonie

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...

Few questions though:

I've been having a hell of a time sourcing a set of pin gauges without spending a fortune on a large set. Not really interested in buying a $300 box of gauges in which i'll use only once. Does anyone have an idea where I can source a specific range of gauges within my bore size? Or, if there are any easy alternative methods I can use to figure out the precise diameter of my bore.

...

Thanks again everyone.
Check out the phone book or the web looking for small manufacturing companies that are in your area that specialize in making machine parts. The kind of company that makes parts for large companies in the area (if there are any of them).

These small companies almost always have a full set of pin gages, many of them being the ultra precision kind that are used to calibrate and inspect their inspection equipment.

If you can find one of these places, I'm sure they would be more than happy to do any checks you might want for a small fee.
Just don't bring in a fully assembled gun into their company. In these modern times, many companies frown on such activities.

 

Woodnbow

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Thankyou everyone for the input. Theres a few factors that I can identify right now that might be a part of the overall culprit.

The caps that i'm using are the CCI musket caps. They're not the reenactor designated caps, but from what i've read online is that there seems to be no difference between the different marked types of musket caps they provide. The problem I am facing with these at the moment is that there are very few sources where I live to get alternatives. There is one place that seems to stock Schuetzen brand caps, and i'll see about securing a couple hundred of those in the coming month. That and CCI seem to be my only options up here in Canada. With the CCI I haven't experienced any sort of hangfire and each shot seems to go off instantaneous from what i've experienced. Is there something specific about CCI caps that induce innacuracy of the shot?

They also offer SPG lube. Round balls and patches. I'll throw those into the order with the caps to experiment with. Might as well take the opportunity now. I do bee keeping and I usually have a supply of wax throughout the season. Sold a ton of it off to a couple candlemakers not too long ago, so that will have to wait 'til the next extraction later into the warmer season to make my own.

Few questions though:

I've been having a hell of a time sourcing a set of pin gauges without spending a fortune on a large set. Not really interested in buying a $300 box of gauges in which i'll use only once. Does anyone have an idea where I can source a specific range of gauges within my bore size? Or, if there are any easy alternative methods I can use to figure out the precise diameter of my bore.

Secondly, is there a certain method in which I should begin with searching for an accurate load? Or is it really just a test and try method for the most part.

Thanks again everyone.
You might find a range of less expensive gauges on Amazon or other places online
 

Britsmoothy

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The caps are fine, thats a red herring at this stage.

Just plug the base of the slug for now and see if there is an improvement....audibly too.

As for measuring the bore just squash a slug some tap it in the muzzle. Screw a self tapper in or wood screw, pull it out and measure.

Why the need to make it all complicated?

Get the balls too for sure.
 

dave951

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The caps that i'm using are the CCI musket caps. They're not the reenactor designated caps, but from what i've read online is that there seems to be no difference between the different marked types of musket caps they provide.
IF they have 6 "wings" they are the good stuff but no longer in production. The reenactor caps are weak compared to RWS or Schutzen and it is easy to document the adverse effect they have on accuracy.

They also offer SPG lube. Round balls and patches. I'll throw those into the order with the caps to experiment with. Might as well take the opportunity now. I do bee keeping and I usually have a supply of wax throughout the season. Sold a ton of it off to a couple candlemakers not too long ago, so that will have to wait 'til the next extraction later into the warmer season to make my own.
Beeswax/Lard, Crisco, Olive Oil, best overall minie lube out there. SPG has never worked for me. This is not just some internet keyboarding, but actual testing.

I've been having a hell of a time sourcing a set of pin gauges without spending a fortune on a large set.
You can buy individual pins on Amazon for like $5USD. You'll only need 576, 578, 580. If 580 is NoGo, and 578 is, then your bore is 579. If 578 is NoGo, but 576 is then it's 577. Easy peasy. If you have a custom machine shop/fabricator, they should have a set and would do the measuring for you.

Secondly, is there a certain method in which I should begin with searching for an accurate load? Or is it really just a test and try method for the most part.
Yup, pretty much as with any gun that you're looking for best accuracy with. Start with 2 or 3f real black powder, charge level at about 40g and start working upwards in 2g increments. Shoot, observe, record, repeat. Preferable use at least "red can/label" Goex or Schutzen, but best accuracy will probably be with Old Eynsford or Swiss.

Do NOT start out playing with plugging the base of the minie. Do NOT put lube in the base of the minie. If you have to do that, your powder charge is not balanced to your lube. If that's correct, you can shoot 40+ shots in a row with no wiping or loss of accuracy. You need to work through one variable at the time. My guess is, with good minies sized correctly, good lube, balanced charge, good caps, you'll see very good accuracy.
 

Smokepole55

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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.
I have the Enfield short rifle 2 band and it’s one of my most accurate weapons. I do have to hold a fine bead but it hits point of aim every time. I shoot both layman minis with the thick skirts and Dixie gunworks enfield minie thin skirts. My load is 65 grn goex.
 
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Enfieldguy

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Do you feel Air Dry clay would hold up to this? Or break apart on firing?

The Pritchett bullet had a clay plug but it was kiln fired and had metal "sintered" into it.....just wondering if standard clay might work for Minies or Pritchetts?
I get my .550 Pritchett bullets from Brett Gibbons at papercartridges.com. They are pure, soft lead and are formed by swaging like the originals. The base plugs are Magic Sculpt 2-part epoxy and they work great. No need to mold them. Swab the wall of the recess with a cotton swab dipped in sunflower oil and pinch off a small ball and press it into the hollow. Don't fill the entire cavity. use just enough fill the end and allow it to set up. The oil keeps it from adhering to the lead as it sets up. By not filling the cavity you allow it room to move forward and expand the skirt upon ignition. The Pritchett bullet must be made into a cartridge for it to work as intended and constructed of the correct material. A linen paper must be used for the outer wrapper as the beeswax will bleed through a wood-pulp paper and cause the paper to stick to the ball as it heads down-range instead of it peeling away as it leaves the muzzle. There are also 3 slits cut into the wrapper to help it separate. Wrapper dimensions and rolling instructions are on the papercartridges.com web site. The .550 Pritchett cartridge was the highest development of the muzzleloading military cartridge. I have a CVA .50 Express Rifle project and I'm going to try to reverse-engineer a .50-caliber Pritchett cartridge for it.
 

bisleyjohn

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I concurr with not filing the base. I tried Milliput, ( *^%^* expensive) to simulate a clay plug. Accuracy decreased, I suspect that some of my plugs were falling out (I had a couple of 'doubles' at 50m) and some were staying in. 70/30 Trex (Crisco to you 'Colonials') ;) works for me with no need to swab after twenty shots.
 

Britsmoothy

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My recommending plugging the base was not a recommendation.
I picked up on an indication that the cavity on his chosen bullet is deep and that the skirt may be thin causing his woes, especially with him noticing strange noises too.
My advice to plug the cavity was to see if it improved things from the dire performance and thus diagnose if the bullet can or can not be ruled out..
It is not a recommendation but a process of elimination.
 

TFoley

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I plan on shooting 'Pritchett' next year. I sent a drawing to Accurate Moulds and within a day or two they producedthis :- http://www.accuratemolds.com/bullet_detail.php?bullet=57-999P-D.png . I can make my own base plug or use a Lyman one. The Mould is in my letter to Santa.

I was recommended to try out NOE moulds for my particular requirement [I currently use a Lyman mould that makes a 2thou undersized bullet that loads easily]. However, the $150 would easily have turned into £150 by the time I got it in my hands - probably more, given the swingeing importation tax here in UK. I'm afraid that that is a price I'm not happy to pay.
 

bisleyjohn

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Agreed, sorry, didn’t make myself clear. Plugged base failed for me. May well work for others as it appeared to for the British Army. My next step, having slugged the bore, make a sizing die (already started) to suit, and try lighter loads. Sadly, March next year for me.
 

dave951

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My recommending plugging the base was not a recommendation.
I picked up on an indication that the cavity on his chosen bullet is deep and that the skirt may be thin causing his woes, especially with him noticing strange noises too.
My advice to plug the cavity was to see if it improved things from the dire performance and thus diagnose if the bullet can or can not be ruled out..
It is not a recommendation but a process of elimination.
If you come out to a NSSA musket match with several hundred guys shooting muskets at once for both speed AND accuracy, you'll hear a minie whistle from time to time. The really cool stuff is when morning conditions are a bit misty and you can see the traces of the minies flying through the air.

The idea of plugging the base is an old one and it has very mixed results. First time you do it, it might look like the best thing since sliced bread. Next time out, you'll struggle to hit the backstop. I chalk that up to QC issues as it's very hard to keep every plug the same in mass and size and in connecting it to a bullet. Couple that with the fact that minies back then were swaged instead of cast and there's another variable in the mix. Much easier to maintain consistency via swaging but that method hasn't been done in a very long time. Not to say somebody, somewhere hasn't dusted off the old equipment and got it running, but I don't know of them.
 
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