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1858 2 band Enfield results

jonkjonk Member Posts: 10,121
So after attending a skirmish last weekend where most participants were shooting 32-40 gr of FFFG at 50 yards, I began to rethink my normal load for my .58 Enfield replica. Normally I shoot a charge of either 65 gr of FFG or 60 gr of FFFG. So I tried their method today. They also admonished me that all bullets should be sized to .575" for my .577" bore so as they would drop down the bore without issue; normally I just rammed the bullets home as they dropped from the mold.

Now I'm not sure what they are doing that I'm not, but anything under 50 grains gave horrible results with some bullets even missing a 3X4 foot poster board at 50 yards. I went back to my 60 gr load and shot a respectable 2" group of 5 from the bench, or 4.5" offhand. Nothing great, but fine for what they were doing, shooting at clay pigeons at 50 yards.

I also found that the sized bullets did a lot worse than the slightly fatter bullets as they dropped from the mold, which still ran down the bore without issue with a regular 50/50 crisco/beeswax lube and a little grease in the base of the bullet.

Different strokes for different folks I guess, but I can't help but wonder if the low powder charges accounted for some fairly poor shooting unbeknownst to the shooters. I don't want to be arrogant about this and so am willing to write it off as a different mold, different gun, but I know what works for me.

Lots of fun, maybe I'll join their group.


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    navc130navc130 Member Posts: 1,211 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I agree with your findings. As I recall, my .58 Zouave would not group well with light loads. I had to use 55 gr.+ to get it to group well. I checked the Lyman Black Powder Handbook and they mentioned target shooters / skirmishers shooting 40 to 50 grain loads but did not go into any detail. The lightest loads they list for the Minie ball is 50 grains and 45 grains for a solid bullet. They also stress that there is a definet accuracy relationship to the type of bullet used, the twist of the rifling and the powder charge.
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    firstharmonicfirstharmonic Member Posts: 1,061 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Have you measured your bore? It sounds like the folks advising you assumed that it was .577. In actual fact, both ArmiSport and EuroArms guns often vary quite a bit from their nominal bore size; don't know what brand you own. It sounds like your minie balls are closer to the proper diameter before you size them.

    Ideally, a minie ball should be .001 to .002 undersize to the bore. If yours loaded easily before sizing (making them smaller) then perhaps you are closer to that ideal with as-cast bullets. What size bullet does your mold throw? And obviously, you have to measure your bore to know just what you have.

    But success speaks for itself. You should do what works best with your Enfield. A 2" group at 50 yards isn't too shabby. Not too shabby at all.
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