Black Powder & Bullseye ??

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Black Powder & Bullseye ??

Post by mikemyers on 5/30/2018, 1:10 pm

First topic message reminder :

The club I belong to has a group that shoots black powder guns once a month, on the same range we use for Bullseye shooting.
    http://www.hrpclub.info
I got to wondering if there is any Bullseye competition using these guns.  I'm guessing not, but am curious.

Years ago, I wanted to try it, but everything seemed way too complicated.  Then I got a black powder gun from a friend, but have never used it.  I keep thinking I'll go to one of those get-togethers, and see what it's like.  Getting together with people who know about something is the best way to learn.

Anybody else here do that?
Sounds like a low-key way to have an enjoyable day doing something very different......

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Re: Black Powder & Bullseye ??

Post by Tim:H11 on 8/31/2018, 12:20 pm

mikemyers wrote:
Tim:H11 wrote:Mikemyers the picture you posted of the loading press is a good one. But not much in the way of providing a repeatable seat dearth. Unless it has a set screw somewhere I missed....
From Jerred:    


The brass ring on the handle has a set screw on the other side to set your depth. You cannot see the screw in pic on the brass ring. That will provide a repeatable seat depth.  The picture was taken on the opposite side and does not show set screw.




Here's another photo I found, but it's taken from the same side - they will take a new photo, and I'll do the same:





Perfect! Buy the press and fret no more! I’d be tempted to buy one myself but I hung up my smoke machines.
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Re: Black Powder & Bullseye ??

Post by mikemyers on 8/31/2018, 4:32 pm

With your ability, I wouldn't think you would ever stop permanently.   :-)

You know, I feel totally comfortable with everything other than the powder.  Bob brings powder to the range, so I'm covered while both of us are there.  I ordered the smallest powder flask I could find, so if I do keep black powder in my condo, it won't be a lot:


Still, I would be much more comfortable keeping Pyrodex here, even if it wasn't as good.
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Re: Black Powder & Bullseye ??

Post by Tim:H11 on 8/31/2018, 6:08 pm

mikemyers wrote:With your ability, I wouldn't think you would ever stop permanently.   :-)

I’m done for the foreseeable future. If you want to get good at something you need to focus on just it. Right now that’s Bullseye. Plus I’m going to be starting a new job in the near future that will take a lot of my time.
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Re: Black Powder & Bullseye ??

Post by mikemyers on 8/31/2018, 6:21 pm

Maybe sometime you can post what it's like moving from Black Powder to Bullseye.  I suspect the reloading is going to be a challenge, but I have a feeling that if you're so good with old technology guns, you'll do at least as well, if not better, with a Bullseye gun.

I'm still trying to find a YouTube video to link to for this discussion.  My problem is that I end up watching almost everything I find, and then watch what comes after, and after.....

Sure seems to me that Black Powder is a whole different life.  Everybody seems so enthusiastic at shooting what looks to me like museum pieces.  Instead of taking a lot of shots in a minimum amount of time, it's taking very few shots in a very long time.  Then too, the clothes (outfits) this people wear.....   From the outside looking in, it looks like the very definition of "fun".     ........I'm no less interested in Bullseye than I was a few weeks back, but the desire to shoot Black Powder has been in my mind for about 35 years now.
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Re: Black Powder & Bullseye ??

Post by Jack H on 9/1/2018, 3:55 am

I found my balls and other BP stuff
The box of .457 balls have a lot of white oxidation.  Is that OK for the gun?  Should I junk them?  Cleanable?
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Re: Black Powder & Bullseye ??

Post by Tim:H11 on 9/1/2018, 6:52 am

Jack H wrote:I found my balls and other BP stuff
The box of .457 balls have a lot of white oxidation.  Is that OK for the gun?  Should I junk them?  Cleanable?

They’re fine. Shoot em. ..... I’m mean... they’re junk and you should mail them to me! All of them! lol

Seriously though they’re fine. It happens. Not harmful to the gun at all.
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Re: Black Powder & Bullseye ??

Post by mikemyers on 9/1/2018, 8:09 am

For as long as I was involved in handguns, I naturally used two hands to shoot.  I mean, if my other hand isn't helping hold the gun up and steady, what's it supposed to do?  Then about two or three years back I decided that I would trade "Target Shooting" for "Bull...  er, Precision Shooting.  That went along with going to a fantastic shooting club half an hour away from me.  Then I found this forum!  That had a huge effect on my shooting life.  I added "Bullseye Guns" to my collection, and set the other guns away.  With a ton of help here, I got better.  Anyway, the point of this post is that a year ago, I decided to learn how to shoot with one hand.  That decision was modified, as splattering bullet holes all over a backing board is not as much fun as getting them "into the black".  So I made a deal with myself, I'll shoot all my guns "normally" (both hands having fun), but shoot my High Standard mostly with one hand.  This was followed by a lot of exercise, even overseas, holding out my arm with my hand holding a pseudo-gun (made from a mobile phone case) and books, and whatever else I could find - to build up some strength.  My 74 year old muscles thought they had retired from stuff like this, but they've been awakening.

That brings me to this Ruger Old Army.  Holding it with two hands felt awful.  It didn't feel balanced, the grips weren't large enough for me to really hold it well, and it just felt "wrong".  On a whim, I tried holding it one handed.  Amazing - it felt great, if I could try to ignore the side effects of "pain" after a short time, and the nice quivering effect visible at the end of the barrel, as it wavered all over, until I just had to put the gun down.  

Being way too stubborn for my own good, I decided I would start dry firing it several times a day, hold it up one handed for 15 seconds, then me resting for 30 seconds, over and over and over, for ten "cycles".  This had two results - the pain went away, and it is now possible for me to hold it steady, with the sights lined up, for probably a full 30 seconds.  

Additionally, since this gun can be dry fired, I started doing that too - three dry-fires during my 15 seconds of holding.  At first, every time I fired, the gun quivered, a lot.  This too diminished, to where I can now do this reasonably well - and I'm still improving.  I also found a way to cock the hammer with one hand for the next shot.  Not as difficult as I first thought.

So, on to a few questions - most YouTube videos I find about shooting this gun have people holding it with two hands, and usually not doing very well.  Then there are lots of videos of people shooting it one handed - and they typically seem to do better.  Is it my imagination, or was this gun somehow designed to work better with only one hand?

Finally, mostly for Tim:H11, the grips that came on the gun look beautiful, but they're really slippery.  I know Herrett's Stocks makes grips that will fit well.  Hogue also makes grips, but they supposedly won't fit in the plastic form-fitted box I ordered, to keep the gun in.  Any advice on changing the grips to something more "aggressive"?
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Re: Black Powder & Bullseye ??

Post by mikemyers on 9/1/2018, 11:29 am

One follow-up question.

This forum is Bullseye, which means great accuracy.  For any gun, the loading makes a huge difference.  I'm reading up above where the cornmeal "filler" is used between the powder and the round ball, and we were discussing how much.  However, in this ten-year-old discussion from The Firing Line Forums, about the Ruger Old Army and accuracy, nobody used "filler" at all...

https://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=256254

What is the reason for using filler?  Is it just to get the ball to be located more towards the end of the chamber?  For anyone starting out with this gun, why not leave it out completely, and eventually consider it as a means to get even more accuracy (assuming it does that)?


Added later, having found what might be the reason, from http://4thla.weebly.com/why-use-filler.html:
When you seat a bullet in a black powder revolver, you seat it until it bottoms out against the charge.  You should not leave an air gap between the powder and the ball.  You will find this admonition in the owner's manual of most reproductions.  The reason is for safety - an air gap might cause the bullet to act like a bore obstruction and possibly damage the cylinder during firing.  Another reason is it keeps the powder backed firmly at the rear of the cylinder where it is most likely to be set off by the percussion cap flash.

If you are shooting a reduced charge for accuracy, this means that you will end up seating your bullet quite deeply in the chamber.  What this means is that when you fire the chamber, the bullet will have worked up quite a bit of velocity before striking and engaging the rifling.  This can make it strip on the rifling rather than take up the rifling and spin the bullet.  

With modern cartridge firearms, many competition shooters will adjust the COAL - cartridge overall length - so that the ogive of the bullet is just touching the rifling when the cartridge is chambered.  This is done so that the bullet will immediately engage the rifling as soon as it starts to move.

So, ideally, in our revolvers we want our bullets seated flush with the cylinder face.  But with a reduced charge, we would have an air gap if we do that.  Hence the need for a filler.


Is this why we use filler, and therefore the reason we want the round ball towards the end of the chamber?   It makes sense.
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Re: Black Powder & Bullseye ??

Post by Tim:H11 on 9/2/2018, 2:32 pm

Yes. You answered it your self. Gotta love the Internet.
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Re: Black Powder & Bullseye ??

Post by mikemyers on 9/2/2018, 2:52 pm

Good timing - I just got back from Publix a few minutes ago with a package of "Plain Enriched Yellow Corn Meal".  I guess two pounds should last me for the next 100 years or so, unless I can think of something else to use it for...   maybe I'll try corn bread.  After reading the directions, they want it stored in a dry, cool place.  I guess this means my fridge, as leaving flour out in the open means bugs eventually show up.

I guess won't know until I try, but if I follow your suggestions exactly, filling the chambers to the top, then placing a ball on top, how difficult is it going to be to ram the ball into the mix?  I'm sure I can do it with the loader I bought, but will it be possible to do with just the gun?  I have concerns about damaging my shoulder as my brother did.
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Re: Black Powder & Bullseye ??

Post by Tim:H11 on 9/2/2018, 3:44 pm

You can do it on the gun. The way I do it is I take the heal of the pistol grip, the most furthest corner edge from the muzzle, and stand the gun up on that “point” on the bench or table. The muzzle will be pointed up but not straight up. It’ll be tilted slight forward in respect. This way your downward pressure doesn’t cause the gun to slip and rotate backwards.
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Re: Black Powder & Bullseye ??

Post by chopper on 9/2/2018, 8:55 pm

Mike, I was visiting an old gunsmith friend last weekend who collects some single actions and I found a gun I really like the grips on. These aren't blackpowder but the one that fit my hand, balanced and came into perfect alignment for me was called a Bisley. I don't know if they were made back in the cap and ball days though.
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Re: Black Powder & Bullseye ??

Post by mikemyers on 9/2/2018, 9:00 pm

Is this the gun you were looking at?

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Re: Black Powder & Bullseye ??

Post by mikemyers on 9/2/2018, 9:05 pm

That reminds me of another question I wanted to ask.

If someone in these forums is interested in trying black powder, they would probably be more interested in a high-tech competition gun rather than a copy of an antique.  I assume they would want to at least get the same kind of accuracy that they're used to from Bullseye.

So, if I wanted to buy a single-shot black powder gun, precision made, for competition, what guns are available?  I imagine the price will be just as high as any hand-made bullseye gun.

There really isn't that much of a difference.  Bullseye shooters load their own ammo, then bring it to the gun.  With black powder, they would load directly into the gun.  Weights, and tolerances, etc., would be just as important.  Having seen examples of what Tim accomplished, I know it's possible.  

I tried looking for guns like this, but it was a dead end street.  No luck.  I'm sure they're out there, but I don't know how to find them yet.
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Re: Black Powder & Bullseye ??

Post by mikemyers on 9/2/2018, 9:08 pm

chopper wrote:.......the one that fit my hand, balanced and came into perfect alignment for me.....
That's also something I need to look into.  The grips on the Ruger are nice, and shiny, and comfortable, but with all that weight out in front, I never can get a grip I'm comfortable with (using one hand).  I know Herrett makes grips, as does Hogue.  The video I just posted points out how to make a grip better for target shooting.  I wish I knew more, about how to apply that, and find a better set of stocks, if possible.
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Re: Black Powder & Bullseye ??

Post by chopper on 9/2/2018, 9:54 pm

Mike, it was made by Ruger and the grips were like those on the Colt. Those grips are very comfortable with one hand. I bought some used Herrets Shooting Star grips last week and I like them over the S&W K frame target grips, they're a little longer. I couldn't agree with you more, sometimes it's a crap shoot on buying stocks. You still have to modify them a little for that perfect feel and function.

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Re: Black Powder & Bullseye ??

Post by mikemyers on 9/2/2018, 10:06 pm

If you get a chance, please call him and ask what they were, and maybe also ask if they would fit an Old Army.  Many Ruger grips are able to work on several of their guns.

I think I would prefer checkering on the side, so my hand has a better grip.
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Re: Black Powder & Bullseye ??

Post by chopper on 9/2/2018, 10:15 pm

Will do Mike

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Re: Black Powder & Bullseye ??

Post by mikemyers on 9/2/2018, 10:21 pm

I just checked - I'm getting reasonably good at shooting this gun with one hand (hopefully this benefits my 22 bullseye shooting too), but with two hands the hold is rock solid and the sights don't waver.  When I dry fire, the gun doesn't move at all.  I wonder how many hands Tim is allowed to use in competition.  

If you have time, check out this summary of black powder shooting.  Every time I read it I find something new:

http://www.curtrich.com/frontiersmen.html
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Re: Black Powder & Bullseye ??

Post by Tim:H11 on 9/3/2018, 12:26 am

Both International and American Muzzle Loading Pistol shooting is all one handed and standing just like NRA conventional pistol (Bullseye). Distances are 25 and 50 yards for American and 25 meters for international. 

The single shot “target” pistols are custom builds and the price and availability bounces all over the place. Some people have made their own and some buy them. The time and place to buy isnat the nationals at Friendship Indiana. There you’ll find a few for sale. Online... crap shoot.
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Re: Black Powder & Bullseye ??

Post by mikemyers on 9/4/2018, 9:11 pm

I met up at the range with Bob this morning.  He also brought along his own gun.  Between talking, and watching, and learning, and studying, and talking some more, I spent two hours at the range, and fired off only six rounds.  Everything I need to do sounds so logical now, but I do everything very slowly.  I've mostly built up the right habits.  This has everything to do with loading and nothing to do with shooting....

Shooting - to me, the gun feels more or less like my S&W Model 29 44 Magnum, but the barrel length on the S&W is 10 5/8", much longer.  The S&W has a much more substantial grip.  The Ruger grip feels small in my hands, and makes it more difficult to hold the gun than the S&W.  On the other hand, after a week of lots of dry fire sessions, the Ruger no longer feels "heavy", and while I can pretty much hold it steady with one hand, I'm more in control using two.

Shooting it is wild.  it has a nice trigger, and while the sights seem different than S&W, it was reasonably easy to line them up on the target.  I never touched the sight adjustments all day.  I figured I would shoot up to 10 rounds, and then see what I needed to do to adjust the group.  When the gun fires, it sounds like a canon just went off - it is a completely different sound, much deeper.  I think it's also louder, but it's drawn out a bit longer.  The cloud of smoke that comes up in front of me was also very.... well, different!

I put up only one target in the middle of the backing board.  I had no idea how well it was going to shoot, and how well I could control it.  I set the target up at 15 yards (need to write that on my target!!), figuring even if the shots went wild, they'd still be on the paper.  I needn't have worried.  For a first experience, I'm pleased with what I got.  Before next week I'll adjust the sights.



I'm not sure what to expect from the gun in the future.  If the Black Powder guys all shoot at 15 yards, I guess I will too, but otherwise I'll be shooting at 25, like with my other guns.  

I've been told that the Ruger's accuracy depends very much on the loading.  Because Bob always loads with 20 grains of black powder, that's what I'm using.  Tim then fills the chamber with corn meal, then sits a ball on top.  Bob wanted me to put in 20 grains of corn meal, which was maybe around 1/4" below the end of the chamber.  When I put the ball in place, it was reasonably easy to ram it down (doing this on the gun, not the loading station).  

The biggest annoyance during the whole procedure was a lack of light.  I couldn't really see what I was doing, and it was even more difficult to put the cap in place.  I think I need to buy a battery operated lamp, to put on the table so I can see what I'm doing better.  

The "fun factor" was intense!  It was a blast to shoot!!!  (Pun intended!). It was like taking a reloading press, building one round of ammo at a time, moving it right to my regular gun, and then taking ONE shot!  Then repeat.  When you do one round at a time, you really appreciate every moment of it...



ADDED LATER
While sitting around talking about things afterwards, Bob said that I need to watch out for the smoke.  I was puzzled, and asked why.
His answer - it's very addictive!!!!
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Re: Black Powder & Bullseye ??

Post by mikemyers on 9/6/2018, 3:56 pm

The tool I ordered for loading the cylinder on the workbench, rather than on the gun, arrived today.  The cylinder is removed from the gun, and placed on the tool, then rotated until the cylinder being loaded is aligned with the ram.  I shot this photo from the back side, to show the depth control set screw.  This allows repeated loadings at the same depth.

According to the instructions, it can be used with all many Cap and Ball Revolvers.  I can copy the instructions here if anyone wishes me to do so.  It's available from Powder Inc, 479-705-0005.  Selling price is $75 plus shipping.  

The wood loader I already bought I gave up on - I don't think it's built very well, and it feels like it could fall over on the side very easily. 


If I did my part right, the grouping in the photo above should be much smaller.  From what I read, at 25 yards, it should get down to at least two inches, maybe better, but for that to happen, the loading needs to be precise and repeatable, just as one has to be so careful when reloading for regular guns.  

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Re: Black Powder & Bullseye ??

Post by mikemyers on 9/9/2018, 10:12 pm

Someone in the Ruger Forum told me about this web page for Black Powder shooting:

http://www.geojohn.org/BlackPowder/RevolverMobile.html

It is multiple pages, very, very long, highly detailed, and has some unusual suggestions that the author has tried himself, and suggests that they are better than the traditional way of doing things.

I've been reading for about two hours now - I find all the technical information very interesting, and after reading the explanations, it also seems very logical.   Adding a small amount of grease behind the ball no makes a lot more sense to me than plastering the end of the cylinder with grease, and he is making me feel rather foolish for washing the whole gun with soap and water...
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Re: Black Powder & Bullseye ??

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