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Can someone explain to me the difference betwen shooting groups

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OffWithTheirHeads Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-03-10 10:54 PM
Original message
Can someone explain to me the difference betwen shooting groups
and trying to hit the 10 spot?

I am within a few days of finishing building a circa 1770 flintlock. Hey, it's only taken three years. More on that later, like when it's actually finished, but one of the books that has guided me through this process is advising me to start with 30 grains of FFG at 25 yards and, while shooting groups, increase the charge by 5 grains until I feel comfortable. I don't get it. Isn't the object to have the projectile go where you want?
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Duke Newcombe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-03-10 11:07 PM
Response to Original message
1. Shooting groups (of rounds) at a target...
gives you a more accurate feel for the accuracy and the trajectories that certain loads will produce, as you will see this in the "groups" (grouping" of the shots. It compensates for variables such as atmospheric conditions, temperature of the barrel, poor trigger discipline or technique of the shooter, etc.

Shoot a few (3?) of the 30 grain, then the 35s, and so on.

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Euromutt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-03-10 11:16 PM
Response to Original message
2. Shooting groups is an interim step to accuracy
When you manage to achieve tight, consistent groups, you can determine what deviation, if any, your sights have, so you can adjust them correctly. If you start off by going for the 10-spot, you're going to be constantly adjusting your sights in an effort to get them right, and you're going to end up expending way more time and ammunition.
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OffWithTheirHeads Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-03-10 11:38 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. O.K. so, assuming that my groups are consistent,
I can start adjusting my sights? I assume that if my groups are consistent, my rifle has a proclivity to shoot to a certain spot, all things being equal, and I then need to adjust the sights to compensate?
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Euromutt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-03-10 11:48 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. Right on the mark!
Forgive the pun. Yes, you have understood correctly what I was attempting to convey.
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MichaelHarris Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-03-10 11:35 PM
Response to Original message
3. congratulations
on the build! I've built 3 of them and love shooting them. I got lucky with my first one, it was very accurate right after the finish dried.
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Francis Marion Donating Member (188 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-04-10 12:23 AM
Response to Reply #3
6. What type of flintlock?
Rifle or smoothbore?
How are the sights designed? Are they adjustable at all? Or just a bead at the muzzle?

I haven't owned a black powder smoothbore, but from reading history of the Revoluitonary period, if it's a smoothbore, you'll do well to cluster your shots into a torso sized target at extreme ranges, (one British source says 80 paces) shooting offhand.

18th century rifled arms were capable of impressive feats of marksmanship, approaching what people can do with modern rifles at moderate ranges. British officers were well advised to 'have their affairs in order' back home before serving in the American campaign. The red hue officer's coats was distinguishable on the battlefield from the coats of common soldiers. American soldiers, whether using rifles or smoothbores, made a point of killing officers. British commander Simon Fraser was shot by one of Morgan's riflemen as he rallied troops at what should have been a safe distance from smoothbore equipped opponents. Anecdotes from the war tell of rifle fire from 200 to 400 yards. So that's something like five times the effective range of a smoothbore musket. On the downside, rifles' rate of fire was much lower than that of a Brown Bess, and thus a rifleman could be set upon with British bayonets as he spent precious time reloading. Worse, rifles were designed for hunting (on the American side, at least) and weren't designed to accept a bayonet.

Don't know why your source suggests the five grain increment as you start out. Perhaps it's a two fold purpose to acquaint you with how the point of impact changes with different amounts of powder and to approach a maximum loading by steps for safety purposes. The 30 grain load sounds mild and a good place to start. It would be interesting to try to duplicate with our propellants (pyrodex isn't identical to black powder) the same loads that soldiers of the Revolution would have carried.

Maybe you could share some of your experiences shooting your flintlock as you go, I for one would be interested to read them.
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MichaelHarris Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-04-10 12:57 AM
Response to Reply #6
7. mine are rifled
Edited on Mon Jan-04-10 01:00 AM by MichaelHarris
smoothbore is not as bad as some make it out to be. If it was that unaccurate many early Americans would have starved to death. mine have a blade on the muzzle that you can tap with a small brass hammer. There is a fantastic book that will answer any question you may ever have, I think it's called the Black Powder Shooters Bible or something like that. I'll look it up. I have it and it's a must have.

I think this is it: http://www.amazon.com/Complete-Black-Powder-Handbook-3r...

and this one: http://www.amazon.com/Gun-Digest-Blackpowder-Loading-Ma...

http://www.amazon.com/Lyman-Black-Powder-Handbook-2nd/d...
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OffWithTheirHeads Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-04-10 01:46 AM
Response to Reply #6
9. It's a 44" rifled 50 cal swamped barrel
I can't wait to shoot it! It has barleycorn adjustable sight and yes, As soon as this project is finished, I intend to talk about it here as I am quite proud of it.

Sounds like you know a lot more about the subject than I do. Your input will be welcome.I'm sure that the 5 grain increment is for safety. Works for me as I have no idea what I'm doing.

I will appreciate your input because,as I said, quite frankly, I have no idea what I'm doing.

But damn it was fun building this rifle!

At this point, I am browning the barrel and varnishing the stock. The rifle should be finished by the end of the week . As soon as it is finished, I will post pictures because it is pretty cool!
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eqfan592 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-04-10 01:22 AM
Response to Original message
8. Seriously, who did the drive by unrecing?
That's amazingly lame. Rec'ed to offset.

Anyway, good luck with the flintlock! :D
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OffWithTheirHeads Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-04-10 01:56 AM
Response to Reply #8
10. Seriously? Someone un-recd this?
I figured that about five people would even give a shit about this post and someone un-recd it? Why was it recd in the first place? It was just a dumb gun question?

Oh, and I guarantee you will hear about the flintlock! It's coming out very cool!
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rd_kent Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-04-10 11:02 AM
Response to Reply #8
13. The anti-secind amendment crowd just cannot stand any topic about guns.
even if it is not policy related.
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Enthusiast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-04-10 05:12 AM
Response to Original message
11. Smaller loads of
Edited on Mon Jan-04-10 05:15 AM by Enthusiast
black powder are generally more accurate than larger loads. In target competition side lock and flintlock participants often shoot as little as 25 grain of black powder. These guns are small 32 caliber.

When using black powder or Pyrodex wipe your bore after every shot or accuracy will rapidly deteriorate. I usually wet a cleaning patch with saliva, push it down the bore once, turn it over and push it down again before reloading.

Rifling is important with regard to projectile type. One full twist in 66 to one full twist in 78 inches is considered best to stabilize patched round balls. You can determine your barrel's twist by slowly pushing the ramrod down the bore and counting the twist of the ramrod.

Flintlocks cannot use Pyrodex. Pyrodex is simply does not provide reliable ignition in the flash pan.

I have shot all sorts of muzzle loaders. I have NEVER seen a gun shoot Pyrodex as accurately as it does actual black powder. Often my groups are one half the size with black powder as opposed to Pyrodex.
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oneshooter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-04-10 09:02 AM
Response to Original message
12.  I have burning black for over 30 years
Edited on Mon Jan-04-10 09:05 AM by oneshooter
mainly rockers but a few of them modern cappers.

Start at 50gr of 2fg black, shoot 4-5 shots at 50yds. don't worry about where it hits, just look at the size of the grouping.
Add 5gr more powder and shoot another 4-5 shots on a clean target.

Continue shooting 4-5 shot groups adding 5gr of powder with each set. Your groups will be spread out horizontally and as you add powder they will shrink. As you continue to add powder they will start to spread vertically. At this point back down to the tightest grouping.
I would recommend a .490 round ball (assuming the proper twist for PRB) with a .15 patch lubed with Bore Butter. After you have found the rifles "sweet spot" you can change ball and patch combos to tighten the grouping.
It's a lot of range time, but that is half the fun!
This site is full of info on the rockers. http://www.muzzleloadingforum.com/fusionbb/index.php
Lots of good people there that are more than willing to help.

A great source of parts and shooting supplies: http://www.trackofthewolf.com/index.aspx?AspxAutoDetect...

Oneshooter
Livin in Texas
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Wickerman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-04-10 11:19 AM
Response to Original message
14. locking
this is not a discussion of public policy or of self defense. Please feel free, as per Skinner's pinned post top of forum, repost in the Outdoor Life Group.

thanks for your understanding

Wickerman
DU Mod
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