Muzzleldrs I need some help!

jwberns

Cadet
Joined
Mar 9, 2020
Howdy y'all,
I'm new to a forum and don't understand how to use it or get info. I'm 72 yrs. old and live in Houston , Tx. and I'm retired. Also, I'm a black powder shooter and want to cast my own minies. I want to check my bore sizes with a pin gauge but don't know how to do it. I also don't know where to get pin gauges for my .577/.575 cal. rifles. This is unchartered territory for me and need some guidance. I have so many questions to ask and don't know where to get answers so would y'all please be patient with me as I am a 100% disabled Vietnam vet in bad health and.........kinda slow! Many thanks!
 

captaindrew

Major
Forum Host
Silver Patron
Joined
Mar 13, 2017
Location
West Palm Beach Florida
Welcome to the forum and thank you for your service from South Florida and the Reenactors Forum. Most of my experience is with just the powder and not the ball so I'm no expert at your quetion. As @ucvrelics mentioned Johan can sure help with this, also @poorjack and @Tin cup can help with this, I'm sure one of them will be along shortly.
 

johan_steele

Regimental Armorer
Retired Moderator
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Location
South of the North 40
I think pin gauges can be found on Amazon but I don’t know.

Are you shooting originals or Italian reproduction arms? There is an enormous difference. All of my .58/.577 shoot .5745 rather well but with one exception all are originals. You can get close with a good set of digital calipers but the best way if you don’t have access to pin gauges is to call around to your local machine shops. Many will have a set and will do the work for you for a small fee.

lodgewood.com is my goto for buying anything black powder related.

Good luck.
 

poorjack

Corporal
Joined
Jul 17, 2015
Location
NC
Howdy y'all,
I'm new to a forum and don't understand how to use it or get info. I'm 72 yrs. old and live in Houston , Tx. and I'm retired. Also, I'm a black powder shooter and want to cast my own minies. I want to check my bore sizes with a pin gauge but don't know how to do it. I also don't know where to get pin gauges for my .577/.575 cal. rifles. This is unchartered territory for me and need some guidance. I have so many questions to ask and don't know where to get answers so would y'all please be patient with me as I am a 100% disabled Vietnam vet in bad health and.........kinda slow! Many thanks!

Welcome to the forum and a new addiction.

Pin gauges are available on Amazon. You don't need the entire set. Before ordering, if you have a dial or digital caliper, check your bore size to get a ball park number. Example- if your bore measured .577 on the caliper, get pins in .574, .576, .578, .580. They're like $5ea and should be a Prime item. Then to check your bore, put a half inch fishing sinker or something similar that is about .500 into the bore (more on why later). Use your .576 pin first. If it is loose, then try .578. If .578 is too tight, then your bore is .577. If .578 is too loose, try .580, then you know your bore is .579. Don't try for anything more than a slip fit. If one sticks, no worries, just turn the gun muzzle down and the weight you put in the bore before starting will "clunk" it out for you. This size range of pins covers about any of the 58s out there except some that are waaaaay oversize and they do exist.

You didn't mention who made the gun so I'll throw out a generality, most repros measure large. I don't care what it says on the barrel or any literature Luigi sent with it. Measure and verify. That doesn't mean you can't make it shoot very, very well, it means you have to know what you are working with.

Once you get a good measurement, then time to look for a mold to start with. Lots of folks like Lee cause they're cheap and sometimes work. I have exactly one Lee mold in my pile that gets regular use and I have one more as a back up. You would know, it's a 58cal type that shoots exceptionally well in my Parker Hales and it's now discontinued.

Don't bother with any substitute powders. They all have issues in minie guns. I suggest 1) Swiss 2) Old Eynsford (a Goex product) 3) Schutzen or regular Goex.

I have two main lubes I use and each works best with a only one bullet design I shoot in competition. The Parker Hales like beeswax/lard (settled on after a couple hundred rounds of experiments) and the 62 Colts like beeswax/olive oil. As 5 different skirmishers, get 12 different answers.

I would also like to point you to a large community of people who shoot these guns in competition and can make them shoot like you wouldn't believe- the North South Skirmish Association. We have a forum where you can get real answers on what makes them shoot and not a reeactorism hearsay. There is also a N-SSA member down you way that is extremely well versed in muskets. His screen name is RaiderANV.

As said before, thanks for your service and many in the N-SSA are also prior service.
 

DixieRifles

Captain
Regtl. Staff Shiloh 2020
Joined
Mar 22, 2009
Location
Collierville, TN
Howdy y'all,
I'm new to a forum and don't understand how to use it or get info. I'm 72 yrs. old and live in Houston , Tx. and I'm retired. Also, I'm a black powder shooter and want to cast my own minies.

At first, I wasn't sure what you wanted info about---reenacting or buying a rifle.
I won't add to the above advice about selecting a bullet size. But I can give you some tips about molding your own.
I taught myself how to mold lead balls. I tried using the replica brass bullet molds that really had no handle at all. After many trails and errors, I have the procedure down pretty good, even though I don't have to do this but once a year or more.

You can go the old route and use a Pot and Dipper.
Pot and Dipper.JPG


But I recommend an electric furnace which drop hot lead out the bottom when you lift the lever. You will still need the Pot to transfer melted lead or to store it for next time.
Furnace.JPG


The only other thing you need is some candle Wax. Drop a pinch into the melted led and it will start to smoke and burn off the dross. Use an old spoon and skim off the black crude and you will think you have melted Silver.

TIP: Just so you don't have to learn this the hard way.
When dropping the candle wax into the melted lead, make sure you don't have wet hands. If one drop of water falls and hits that melted lead, it will Pop! out and leave a permanent tear-drop scar.

PS: I'm retired and also a VietNam- era Vet.
 

jwberns

Cadet
Joined
Mar 9, 2020
I think pin gauges can be found on Amazon but I don’t know.

Are you shooting originals or Italian reproduction arms? There is an enormous difference. All of my .58/.577 shoot .5745 rather well but with one exception all are originals. You can get close with a good set of digital calipers but the best way if you don’t have access to pin gauges is to call around to your local machine shops. Many will have a set and will do the work for you for a small fee.

lodgewood.com is my goto for buying anything black powder related.

Good luck.
 
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