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Two Necessities Needed To Make Your Replica Rifle-Musket Shoot Good:

Discussion in 'Civil War Weapons and Ammunition' started by Southron Sr., Sep 24, 2011.

  1. Southron Sr.

    Southron Sr. Private

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    Having built and "Accurized" a fair number of replica Rifle-Muskets for N-SSA competition over the years, I have come to the conclusion that most (but not all) replica rifle muskets that come "new, out of the box" are capable of much better accuracy IF THREE BASIC "upgrades" are performed on them.

    [1] Glass Bed the Breech and barrel under the nose-cap.

    Proper "bedding" (how the barrel fits in the stock) has an awful lot to do with how accurate a Rifle-Musket will shoot. For whatever reasons, MOST replica Rifle Muskets come from the factory with a LOUSY BEDDING JOB.

    The manufacturers do this [make stocks with oversize barrel channels] because it makes assembling the replica guns fast and easy at the factory.

    A lousy bedding job means that the barrel will literally "Flop Around" in the barrel channel every time the gun is fired. This is not conductive to accuracy. A good Glass Bedding job will cure this problem pernamently.

    Exhaustive experiments conducted at the Harpers Ferry Armory in the early 1850's proved beyond a doubt that also a TIGHT TANG SCREW was conductive to accuracy. So, this is another reason to Glass Bed your Rifle Musket as a good Glass Bedding Job will support a Tight Tang Screw.

    2. A "Trigger Job." Ideally you want a trigger pull of somewhere between 3 & 4 Pounds. Most replicas come "out of the box" with trigger pulls of around 8 to 15 pounds. These "heavy" trigger pulls are not conductive to best accuracy. Don't go below 3 pounds because a "Hair Trigger" is a safety issue.

    Unless you know what you are doing, get a professional gunsmith to do your "Trigger Job." The reason you want a professional to do the work is that some parts inside of your lock might not be properly casehardened from the factory, A professional gunsmith knows how to harden you lock parts, etc.

    3. Taller Front Sight mounted in a Dovetail. Keep in mind that 99 times out of a 100, the front sight found on replica Rifle Muskets is too low. This will cause the gun to shoot "High" at 50 and 100 yards. Also, usually the "Windage" is off.

    A gunsmith can knock off the original front sight and then cut a "Dovetail" in your barrel and install your new, TALL front sight.

    Then "Sighting In" your Rifle Musket off the bench is easy. The front sight is filed down until the bullets are hitting level with the Bulls-eye. Then the front sight is drifted back and forth in the dovetail until the Windage is perfect and all your bullets are landing in the Bulls Eye!

    (Note: Keep in mind that when drifiting your Front Sight, the front sight must be moved in the OPPOSITE DIRECTION in which you want the point of impact of your bullets to move!)

    If you shoot in N-SSA competition keep in mind that N-SSA rules require: [A] The base of your new, replacement Front Sight must closely resemble the base of the original Front Sight on your barrel and When your Rifle Musket is "Sighted In" N-SSA require that you run a tad of solder up under the base of the front sight.

    Replica Rifle Muskets can exhibit amazing accuracy and all the way out to 800 Yards if they are properly modified!
     

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  3. Tin cup

    Tin cup 2nd Lieutenant

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    Being a welder, I have had good luck modifying the rear sight blades on my Enfield, and Springfield by welding up the rear notch of the rear sight, and filing a new one to get the windage/elevation corrected.

    Assumptions that a regular .575" Minnie ball will work is not always correct, gotta get the bullet one-two thousandth's within the bore size. A .575" Minnie would not work in my .581" bored ArmiSport 61. (.580" works fine for me)

    Good advice on the bedding, my 42 Springfield stock split/broke off behind the breech-plug, level with the bottom of the tang. Had to glue the piece back on, and bed the tang/breech area to shore up that area to prevent splitting again. I'll post a picture soon of that area to show what we are talking about.

    Kevin Dally
     
  4. ole

    ole Brev. Brig. Gen'l Retired Moderator

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    Don't know much about N/SSA rifles, but the first thing an accurized modern rifle will have is barrel-bedding. One doesn't want room for the barrel to "flop around" while the bullet is twisting down the tube. (One reason for the bull barrel.)
     
  5. Tin cup

    Tin cup 2nd Lieutenant

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    Here is a picture of the breech end of my repro 42...you can see the brown colored glass bedding in the back of the breech area,into the tang area. It was pretty sloppy in the factory fitting of the barrel, you can see the impression of the back of the barrel/tang in the bedding compound. I just needed enough bedding to shore up the back of the barrel, so recoil wouldn't split the stock back there.

    Kevin Dally
     

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  6. Copperhead-mi

    Copperhead-mi Sergeant Major

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    My experience has been that most accurized modern rifles have free floated barrels with only the receiver, the barrel lug, and the action screws of the rifle being bedded. Some rifles have been known to group better with bedded barrels especially those that have barrel bands in the middle and front of the stock or forearm. I've glass bedded the actions and free floated beaucoup non-barrel banded bolt action hunting rifles over the last thirty years and every single one had a marked improvement in tighter groups with the exception of the Ruger 77 ultralights; they shot better with a bedded pressure pad at the front of the stock.
     
  7. Southron Sr.

    Southron Sr. Private

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    I agree-the BEST way to go with bolt action hunting rifles is to "Free Float" the barrel. Unfortunately rifle muskets are "Entirely Different Critters."
     
  8. Copperhead-mi

    Copperhead-mi Sergeant Major

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    Yes, I agree rifle muskets are a different creature than the modern hunting rifle. Generally, musket barrels are secured not only by a tang screw in their long stocks but also by barrel bands, hence my comment about rifles with bands generally grouping better when the barrels were bedded.
     
  9. Ellsworth avenger

    Ellsworth avenger Sergeant Major

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    I'm thinking of buying one of of the "Mort Kunstler Civil War Sesquicentennial Tribute Henry
    Rifles" seen advertised in the Civil War Times. I would appreciate comments as to how they stand up as a replica firearm. Last spring's trip was overly busy and i thought i might use next year's allowance on something nice instead.
     
  10. ole

    ole Brev. Brig. Gen'l Retired Moderator

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    If you're going to use it, Ellsworth, and it is up to use, go for it. Otherwise it is a collector's wet dream and a play-pretty.
     
  11. Ellsworth avenger

    Ellsworth avenger Sergeant Major

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    That's the idea,I wouldn't buy it without shooting it,but in the end it's a keepsake of the 150th.
     

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