Sight Picture For 1861 Springfield

oufan66

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First time posting but have read lots of great stuff on this forum . Can anyone tell me the different sight picture holds for a Pedersoli 1861 Springfield . If anyone who has one and shot it quite a lot can give me some information it would be great . I plan on starting out with 60 grains 3F black powder . Thanks
 
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ucvrelics

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Welcome From THE Heart Of Dixie. Out of my wheel house as I only do period and I don't shoot them. I can advise on the grouping of an M4 and Maw Deuce. Paging @captaindrew and all our other CW shooters.
 

captaindrew

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Welcome from South Florida and the Reenactors Forum. I've fired thousands of blank rounds out of both Sprinfields and Enfields during reenactments but my live firing experience with black powder is very limited. You will get plenty of advice here before long though and if you search back through the forum you'll find numerous discussions on the topic. Enjoy the forum and good shooting!
 

Booner

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First time posting but have read lots of great stuff on this forum . Can anyone tell me the different sight picture holds for a Pedersoli 1861 Springfield . If anyone who has one and shot it quite a lot can give me some information it would be great . I plan on starting out with 60 grains 3F black powder . Thanks
I'm not sure what you mean by "sight picture holds," but what I do when first shooting a new rifle is set a target up at 25 yards and shoot for groups. I'm more of a target shooter than I am a hunter, so I'm looking for the tightest groups possible. I try different powder charges/bullet combinations to see which ones give me the best accuracy. When I'm satisfied with the size of my groups, I'll move the target out farther and "tweak" my loads again for accuracy. Once I'm satisfied with bullet groupings, then I begin to adjust my sights for precision, meaning I'll adjust the sights so the rounds hit the spot I'm aiming at, or, as I think what you referred to as "sight picture holds. And you do all of this with the gun in a rest; you want to take you, your inability to hold the gun still, (no one can), out of the equation, so you shoot from a rest so it just the gun, bullet and charge. Once you have an accurate load, and can hit the target, then you can work on your holding the weapon still (off hand), while trying to hit your target.

If you're looking for accuracy, I'm guessing 60 grains of powder is too much. You'll probably find your most accurate load somewhere in the area of 15 to 20 grains less. If your interested in hunting, then the 60 grains is a better load. If your hunting, you'll want the higher velocity, but in target shooting, the most accurate loads are normally not at the highest velocity. Also, when your shooting from a rest, you're sitting behind the gun and you absorb a lot more recoil with 60 grains of powder verses 40 grains. (when you're standing, your body recoils with the gun, and you don't feel it so much). With recoil, most people develop a flinch, which is detrimental to accuracy. So by starting off with a lower powder charge, you should be able to shoot a lot more before flinching takes effect. Once it does, stop shooting and come back another day. Don't try and adjust the sights for flinch.

The whole operation of finding your most accurate load, and getting the rifle sighted in, is a system, one that takes many trips to the range to discover what your rifle likes best. I enjoy the process. From my experience, those that don't like the process, who don't want to take the time to discover what their rifle likes and rush through it, normally don't shoot that well.

This just a brief overview about what I do. Whole books have been written about the topic.
 
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poorjack

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First time posting but have read lots of great stuff on this forum . Can anyone tell me the different sight picture holds for a Pedersoli 1861 Springfield . If anyone who has one and shot it quite a lot can give me some information it would be great . I plan on starting out with 60 grains 3F black powder . Thanks
While I don't shoot a Pedersoli, I do have extensive experience shooting muskets in competition with the North South Skirmish Association (!See the STICKY!) and there are a number of commonalities regardless if it's Pedersoli, Armisport, Euroarms or whatever.

Sight pictures on repops vary between makers and individual guns. This happens for a number of reasons from manufacturing to the loose nut behind the stock. Fact of life. They also vary on originals.

If you want to shoot live accurately, here's the skinny in short-
1) Determine it's bore size and I mean MEASURE it. Most repops run large like 579+
2) Get minies sized to .001 under bore size. Often that means you will have to learn to cast and size minies. It's not hard. Use pure lead for minies, never scrap or wheel weights. Different minies shoot differently, fact of weight v bullet length v rifling twist v powder charge.
3) Yes, the service charge was for 60g 2f but the powder then is not the same as the powder now in terms of manufacturing QC. For a starting point in looking for accuracy, start at about 40g 3f of REAL black powder and work your way up till you find a really good group. Powder brand is important as well. Best out there is Swiss followed by Goex Old Eynsford, the rest aren't worth considering for accuracy. Caps are very important. Best out there are RWS followed closely by Schutzen. CCI is garbage for reenactor blanks.
4) Don't get hung up on hitting the bullseye. Get a group first then adjust the sights to the group.
5) Lube is critical. I use 60/40 beeswax/lard and my 62 Colt Contract and Parker Hale are both sub 2moa guns.
6) Trigger pull, breathing and technique are far more important in shooting black powder well than in modern centerfire. You got to have your stuff wired to be at your best. Any flaw in your form will be greatly magnified when shooting muskets.
7) Do NOT benchrest the gun near the muzzle, it will dramatically affect you point of impact, if not destroy your group.
8) Do NOT get hung up in the "more is better" school by adding more and more gunpowder. You will reach a point of about 50g where accuracy is beginning to fall off. More will only make it worse, that's a fact of life in the Minie design. Thicker skirts might allow you to go a bit higher, but the real issue is, there's only so much power chemically contained per grain in black powder, that's why smokeless was invented.

So welcome to the addiction. I've had more fun shooting these guns than about any other.
 

oufan66

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I guess if you get down to it part of the fun of a new rifle is playing with it and finding that sweet load . I have heard before that sometimes it is a lower charge load that's more accurate and target shooting is what I do anyway . Group size is more important starting out then accuracy . The part on the "sight picture" is I have a few old rifles were according to the history of them the soldier had to learn 5-6 different placements of the front sight in the rear , example front post just showing to front post at the top and then if it had more flip up leafs (not sure if right wording or not) and starts over again . I love shooting and the history of them . Mainly got WW2 to flintlock era firearms in my collection . I have a non firing replica of a matchlock that someday hope to change for the real McCoy . My wife calls my hobby my GUN **** addiction !!!! Thanks to all .
 

DixieRifles

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8) Do NOT get hung up in the "more is better" school by adding more and more gunpowder. You will reach a point of about 50g where accuracy is beginning to fall off.
This may not apply to Minie ball ammo but for the patched round ball in a Long Rifle, I've always heard that low powder is better for getting good groups. However, most shooters want to feel the kick and need more knock-down power just in case they do go hunting and want to step it up some.
 
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oufan66

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Sorry if I had everyone confused on what I was getting at , sometimes it is hard to find the correct way to describe something even when you know what you are meaning . There is a youtube channel called cap&ball by this guy from Hungary it is pretty good . He gives a example of what I was trying to on a video title "original military flintlock rifles in action the 1796 Jagerstuetzen at 3:12 into it .
 

poorjack

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This may not apply to Minie ball ammo but for the patched round ball in a Long Rifle, I've always heard that low powder is better for getting good groups. However, most shooters want to feel the kick and need more knock-down power just in case they do go hunting and want to step it up some.
It only applies to PRB to a point, then the groups open up and you're blowing unburnt powder out the middle. But if you like wasting money and feeling the kick, go ahead.

"Knock Down" power is a myth. A PRB that has a weight of 280gr and a terrible ballistic coefficient will be hard put to do the same work as a 500gr minie at 2/3 the velocity. Besides, run the numbers on your standard minie load from the War and you'll find it's pretty close to a 44mag in terms of power. Then there's momentum, the same reason the 45/70 does such a good job on game. There are a bunch of us in the NSSA who hunt with the very same load we use in competition, about 3/4 service charge, and most deer are DRT.
 
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Booner

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This may not apply to Minie ball ammo but for the patched round ball in a Long Rifle, I've always heard that low powder is better for getting good groups. However, most shooters want to feel the kick and need more knock-down power just in case they do go hunting and want to step it up some.
Last year I built a .36 cal. flintlock Tennessee Mountain rifle, (with a 42 or 48 inch barrel, don't remember). The first time I took it out I shot it over a chronograph. I loaded it with 40 grains of 3f, (admittingly way over charged), under a patched round ball. The gun didn't go KaBoom! It went CRACK!! because it shot the ball well above the speed of sound at 1950 fps, 10 feet from the end of the muzzle. At 25 yards the groups were all over the place. After a few rounds I began dropping the powder charge down eventually to 20 grains and it still had a Crack! when it fired, as my velocity is getting pretty close to the speed of sound, but the groups were getting pretty good. I haven't shot it in a while but I get the feeling my groups will be around their best at around 18 grains or so--just under the speed of sound. IIRC, the old timers would start with a light load and work up until they heard the Crack than back the powder charge down a tad and call it good.

Given all the variables about shooting; bullet weight, powder charge, etc., etc. every gun, in general terms, modern or muzzle loader, has at least one accuracy node where it shoots the most accurate, and that is usually under it's max velocity. If you're a hunter, a 3 inch group at 100 yards at max velocity is good, you want to hit the animal as hard as possible for an ethical kill. But if you're a target shooter, you don't want or need the high velocity round because it's not at an accuracy node. That's one reason why so many target shooters reload their own ammo. They're searching for that accuracy node, and at least up until a very few years ago, you couldn't get the accuracy you were looking for with factory ammo. There is factory ammo being made now for certain calibers that shoots amazing, If you hand load you might not be able to improve on the factory accuracy, but you still hand load it to save on the cost.
 
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DixieRifles

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Last year I built a .36 cal. flintlock Tennessee Mountain rifle, (with a 42 or 48 inch barrel, don't remember). The first time I took it out I shot it over a chronograph. I loaded it with 40 grains of 3f, (admittingly way over charged), under a patched round ball. The gun didn't go KaBoom! It went CRACK!! because it shot the ball well above the speed of sound at 1950 fps, 10 feet from the end of the muzzle. At 25 yards the groups were all over the place. After a few rounds I began dropping the powder charge down eventually to 20 grains and it still had a Crack! when it fired, as my velocity is getting pretty close to the speed of sound, but the groups were getting pretty good.
Yes. I have a .36 caliber Pennsylvania Rifle with 44-inch long barrel. See below. It does "crack" more than a big .58 caliber. I think a lot of it has to do with the caliber. Of course, it is harder to get a .58 inch diameter ball or bullet to exceed the speed of sound using Black Powder. The smaller the bore, the higher velocities you can get.
{Edited} As I recall, I used a 35 grain spout the last time I shot it. Now, I'm keeping a journal with notes on each trip to the range and my loads as well as equipment and items that I need to purchase.

I don't shoot the large caliber that @poorjack is talking about. And I don't mean to it literally when I use the terms "kick" and "knock-down power". I watched those Myth Busters where they demonstrated that bullets don't knock down a 200-lb deer or man.

Speaking of blowing out excess powder, I heard that the old guys would test fire their rifles in winter in the snow so they could see how much excess powder was being wasted.

Rifle---junk.JPG
 
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Booner

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....... I watched those Myth Busters where they demonstrated that bullets don't knock down a 200-lb deer or man............

Speaking of blowing out excess powder, I heard that the old guys would test fire their rifles in winter in the snow so they could see how much excess powder was being wasted.

View attachment 320253

Knocking down a 200 pound man or deer? It happens in the movies all the time!

And I have been known to shoot over snow, and an white bed sheet to look for unburnt powder. I also have looked for round ball patches to to see if they were scorched to get an idea of how well my lube was working. It's all part of the game when playing around with muzzle loader.

The speed of sound varies with environmental factors, primarily temperature and air density.

For example, at sea level, at 68 degrees F. the speed of sound is approximently 1125fps. As you lower the temperature, say, to 59 f, the speed of sound is now 1116 fps. At 41 degrees f, the speed of sound is just under 1100 fps, so you should be able to get that .58 cal musket to shoot faster than the speed of sound is you shot it in cold temperatures.
 

Booner

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While I don't shoot a Pedersoli, I do have extensive experience shooting muskets in competition with the North South Skirmish Association.......... I've had more fun shooting these guns than about any other.
I really wish the N/SSA would expand to the west of the Mississippi River. I was a member in the mid to late 80's and enjoyed it immensely. I'd join again if they had a team close. I still have all my stuff, although I bet my pants have shrunk.
 

poorjack

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{Edited} As I recall, I used a 35 grain spout the last time I shot it. Now, I'm keeping a journal with notes on each trip to the range and my loads as well as equipment and items that I need to purchase.
I've been keeping one since I've started in the NSSA. If I didn't, it would be hard to remember some of the combinations I've tried and the actual results. A typical entry goes like this- Date-Weather Conditions-Gun-Load Details-Group Illustration-Group Size-Point of Impact-Comments.

Sure it's lots of writing but when thinking about improving accuracy, sometimes it helps to refer to what's already been done and to look at another variable that might lead to a more accurate load.
 


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