When I was a kid
I killed my very first black powder deer with an old Springfeild Hawken 50 caliber muzzleloader back in the 70's. It was not a high dollar gun back then but it shot as good as any side lock gun that I've ever owned. The fact that I had young eyes could be a contributing factor as to why it shot so well. The last I can remember that gun was on grandpa's gun rack when I moved away and got hitched. Everyone in the family knew that was my gun but it wandered off in spite of that and I never saw it again.
Well as luck would have it I was gawking around on gunbroker a week ago and found one just like it. The add says as new and has never been fired. I did the buy now thing for $100. Seems kinda funny how I can look at or handle a couple thousand dollar rifle and shrug it off yet this $100 1 in 66 twister has got me all giddy. I take a week off from everything in october to do the Iowa early muzzleloader season.....have for years. Guess what gun gits to kill a deer this year!
I haven't killed a deer with a patched round ball in a good while. I got a coon skin hat and some moccasins around here somewhere! Life is good!!
Congratulations on the score! I'm betting you have more fun on the hunt than any others in quite a while. Or at least that's my experience with old stuff and nostalgia. In my mind "hunting heritage" includes large parts of nostalgia, and I'm making sure my granddaughter has lots of it in her blood.
Next thing you know, the old reloading press is going to get lonely! I needed to turn out some loads the other day, and it took me longer to dig through the layers on the bench to reach my reloading outfit than it did to load the ammo.
BrownBear, I took the Springfield Hawken out today for its first go around. The bore had a little surface rust from sitting around all these years so I put a little fine lapping compound on a rag and gave it a once over. Then I shot fifty rounds through it with fifty grains of Pyrodex just shooting at dirt clods and what not. I don't much care what anyone says, these old rough cut rifling guns need to be shot in. After 50 rounds I cleaned it real good with soap and water and the started over shooting for groups. I shot 10/ 5 shot groups using 70 grains of Triple Seven and cleaned after every fifth shot. The last few groups were around 3"s at 50 yards. My groups were all a half a foot low so I'll take a file along next time and whittle a little off that front sight. 3"s is probably about as good as I can do with iron sights anyway but then a thick Iowa timber in October doesn't offer shots any further than that anyway. Once I get that front sight right then I'm good to go!
Originally Posted by BrownBear
There have been many times that I have shot 100 rounds through a smoke pole in a day but that was years ago. I'm here to tell you this old fart is tired but it's a good tired! My toes on my left foot are a bit sore as well. I always set the butt of my gun on my foot when seating the ball and the patches I was using were 20 year old Ox Yoke Wonder Patches. They were in a prescription pill bottle and they were a tad dry and plenty thick. I'm glad I took a big beefy ramrod along as I'm pretty sure the scrawny one that came with the gun wouldn't have made it the whole day.
Good news all around! I'm betting that as you continue to shoot it, those groups might shrink. Just my experience with breaking in rifles. It might be worth buying a new pack of patches. In my experience, old pre-lubed patches that have dried start to interfere with accuracy. Fresh patches might (or might not!) shave some off your groups.
And 100 in a day! Man, you're tougher than I ever have been. I push that many shots when I take 3 or 4 muzzleloaders to the range at once, but cranking that many out of one gun is pure dedication, even if it's fun at the same time. Interesting that you were using 70 grains of 777 (I'm assuming it was the 3f version). My principal hunting pard shoots 80 grains from his 50 cal TCs and Lymans, but sezz he actually gets better accuracy from 70.