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Thread: new Armi 3-band enfield-max load?

  1. #1
    Boolit Man
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    new Armi 3-band enfield-max load?

    Finally after months and months of waiting I received my Armi-sport 3-band Enfield a few weeks ago. I ordered this one to replace a Zouave that was stolen years ago, and wow have these things gone up in price! The fit and finish is great. My only complaint other than the Armi markings on the barrel is that they got a little to generous with the wood around the butt plate on one side. Otherwise it looks to purdy to shoot.
    I also finally got the chance to live fire it with some traditional, 500 grain, Lee minies. The manual that came with the musket was minimal to say the least and there was not much in the way of load data. I started with 55 grains of Goex FFG and worked up to 70. With 55-65 grains the groups looked more like a shotgun pattern (I was shooting off-hand at about 80 yards). With 70 grains everything tightened up and I was able to shoot some very respectable groups in the 3" range. Even shot one 3-shot group that was only 1.5" center to center.
    I was having a difficult time finding load data for these rifles especially concerning max loads. Seems as though most shoot 60-65 grains so I didn't really feel comfortable using more than 70. Anyone have any real data concerning max loads in these muskets?

  2. #2
    Boolit Master GabbyM's Avatar
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    My old Lyman 45th has a couple loads for the 58 caliber Zouave.
    505 grin Minnie 60gr FFG of Dupont BP for Vel. 1005 fps
    .562" round ball .013" linen patch 65gr FFG vel. 1215 fps.

    Best accuracy would probably be with a tight patched round ball.

    Looks like the 70 grain load is working nice. 10 grain difference , I'd guess, is within variations of brands and lots of powder. Then of course if your lead is harder than pure it will take a tad more powder to expand the skirt and bump the full length of the bullets lands out to grove diameter. I think you were wise to stop at 70 grains. I'd be shocked if you could get better accuracy than you've reported with more powder under a Minnie. 3" at 80 yards would have exceeded my expectations. They say you can blow the skirts off the hollow based bullets by overcharging them. I've never seen it happen but then Never seen anyone test that out.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    In most of the repro and original .58 rifled muskets I've messed with, loads in the area of 60 gr. FFFg gave best accuracy. Having a selection of Miniť ball moulds to pick and choose from until I found the one that worked best helped a lot too. Also, don't overlook use of a sizing die to alter the as-cast diameters of those projectiles to optimally fit your bore. (I made my own by simply drilling/reaming/polishing holes in pieces of scrap steel, and pushing the lubed balls through with a pointed dowel.) Lead hardness may or may not be a factor, depending on the individual gun. I got the most consistent good results with pure lead. It pays to experiment with different lubes too.

    In short, there isn't much difference between making a Miniť-firing gun perform with cast bullets than there is with a modern cartridge gun in terms of identifying the variables and eliminating that which doesn't work.

  4. #4
    Boolit Man
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    Thanks for the quick replies. I don't think I will surpass 70 grains of FFG. I am using pure lead for my minies, but GabbyM got me thinking and it probably is taking more powder to properly expand the skirt enough to engage the rifling well. Even after a few shots, the Lee minie literally falls down the barrel. Pretty loose fit. Perhaps I will order one of the Lee target minie molds with a slightly larger diameter soon. I remember my Zouave shooting VERY tight groups at 100 yards with a solid buffalo bullet. Very tight fit and hard to ram down the barrel, but at 100 yards it would shoot on par with any of my iron-sighted center-fire rifles with that bullet.
    With the 70 grain charge my new 3-bander also hits to point of aim which was another pleasant surprise as my Zouave and a couple other muskets I have experience with would hit nearly a foot high at that range. Also my Armi-Sport Enfield has a 1:48 twist. Not sure if that would have much impact or not either as I know the originals and other makers use a much slower twist.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master 59sharps's Avatar
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    iF YOU DO NOT PLAN ON SHOOTING MORE THAN 100 YRDS i WOULD SUGGEST YOU DROP YOUR LOAD DOWN TO 42 - 48 OFF 3FFFG. GOEX OR DIAMOND BACK. SWISS BETWEEN 38 - 48. REMEMBER YOUR MINNIE NEEDS TO BE 001- 002 UNDER BORE DIA. PURE LEAD OR AS CLOSE TO IT YOU CAN GET. IVE USED THE P-H STILE MINNE AND THE N-SSA RCBS SKIRMISHING MINNE W/ THESE LOADS. THE PH- DID LIKE CLOSER TO THE 48 GRN. LUBE 50/50 BEESWAX OLIVE OIL IS WHAT I USE FOR THE LAST 10YRS BEFORE THAT PLAN CRISCO OLD FORMULA.
    IF USING 2FFG ADD 10% TO THE CHARGE THAT WORKED BEST FOR ME IN 3FFFG GAVE ME THE SAME RESULTS.
    14th VA. CAV.
    N_SSA

  6. #6
    Boolit Man
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    Other than recreational shooting, I plan on using my Enfield to take advantage of the extra muzzle loading hunting seasons and muzzle loader only areas we have in state. So I was hoping to utilize the most potent load I could while retaining safety and accuracy. Never really thought about using FFFG in a 58 caliber, but I can try some. I think Goex is about all I can find in my area and I have to drive nearly 35 miles to get it, but they have a good supply of both FFG & FFFG. Pyrodex is pretty abundant everywhere, but I do not remember it doing as well as real BP in my Zouave. Wish I had not lost or discarded all mt notes on my Zouave. Almost like starting all over again.

  7. #7
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    JeffinNZ's Avatar
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    Maximum is what your skirt will allow. Don't end up with your skirt round your neck. Marilyn Monroe all over again. LOL.
    Cheers from New Zealand

    Thermal underwear style guru.
    "Exclusive international distributor of Jeff Brown Hunt Club clothing."
    Supplier to the rich(?) and infamous.

    Jeff.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master 59sharps's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slogg76 View Post
    Other than recreational shooting, I plan on using my Enfield to take advantage of the extra muzzle loading hunting seasons and muzzle loader only areas we have in state. So I was hoping to utilize the most potent load I could while retaining safety and accuracy. Never really thought about using FFFG in a 58 caliber, but I can try some. I think Goex is about all I can find in my area and I have to drive nearly 35 miles to get it, but they have a good supply of both FFG & FFFG. Pyrodex is pretty abundant everywhere, but I do not remember it doing as well as real BP in my Zouave. Wish I had not lost or discarded all mt notes on my Zouave. Almost like starting all over again.
    food for thought. Go to the N-SSA board find out what weekend they have a shoot in Winchester VA. mostly every other weekend. you do not need to be a member to visit make a weekend trip out of it. I know the N-SSa vets shoot is the weekend of July 15th. Which for me is the most fun shoot. Our guy spend most of the time in the creek when not shooting.
    at the end of the exit road is Black creek gun shop, you can get what ever black powder and supplies you need there. Also some of the sutlers are open for other items you may need.

    for hunting I get a good group not great but good enough w/ 69gn of 3ffg. which If I remember correctly is min load in my state.
    14th VA. CAV.
    N_SSA

  9. #9
    Boolit Man
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    I would love to catch a N-SSA shoot, but I don't think I'll have weekends off for at least a few months. I put some more rounds through the Armi Enfield and it definitely appears to favor heavier charges with the Lee "traditional" minie.

    I also had a question about the breech end of this Armi Enfield, maybe a silly one. How do you remove the breech for cleaning? I had the understanding that Enfields had screw-in breech plugs, but the breech on my Armi looks solid. And is it even a good idea to remove the breech?

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check