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Thread: The Muzzleloading Shotgun, by V.M. Starr

  1. #21
    Ironsights; I see only one thing wrong with your little "thumper", it's not mine!!!! Oh well project #603, gotta' have one of those I have a set of barrels that have a bad "ding" about 20" out, make a dandy shortgun pair, nice toy!!!
    Keith; Track of The Wolf or Mt State muzzleloading have the correct wads for almost all "odd" size bores, then you get to play to find the load that the gun likes. YOU will love it, lots of smoke and noise!!!!
    Nick

  2. #22
    Boolit Master eka's Avatar
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    Nick,

    Ahh, thanks for the two companies regarding the wads. I was just wondering about that.

    Thanks,

    Keith
    The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first.

    Thomas Jefferson

  3. #23
    Boolit Master
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    I am much appreciative of the post topic.....been taking Starr's advice for over 30yrs, using only three cardboard wads, and my experience shows him to right on track.....I think most fancy stuff is either a waste of money, or an attempt to make up in the load chain what the gun lacks in proper boring....I prefer cylinder bore personally, as most my game is taken well under 40yds.....the smoothbore is the blackpowder dream gun.....easy to load, easy to clean when done, capable of killing most anything that walks or flies in North America, using either shot or ball....and the post also reminded me of a half-finished project gun I bought and put away last year, a Spanish-made CVA 12ga SxS, it bought along with a half-finished CVA Kentucky rifle for $100 from a non-shooter homeowner who got them with the house.....I have another project gun in pieces on the table, but think that one is getting put away in pieces so that I can finish up this shotgun......

  4. #24
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by ARKANSAS PACKRAT View Post
    Keith , Clean out the rust (tornado brush) proof it and shoot it, lots of fun to roll a rabbit with a "piece of history". I have a 12 and a14 ga., if your barrels are english the 14 on the bottom meens 14ga, measure to be sure. There are lots of odd gages around 11, 13 17, that i have owned. Replace the nipples with new ss, if the threads are a bit loose, oversize nipples are available.
    Belgians marked their barrels with mm size, not sure about other european makers.
    Check it and shoot it!!!! My .02 worth
    Nick
    This is just a generic desenting opinion on proof loading the gun, counterpoint to all the proof-loading advisement.....the plugs NEED to be pulled and plugs/barrels inspected for security of attachment, rust and pits removed by boring, honing, polishing, whatever works.......but metal stress and fatigue is cumulative, and proof loading a gun ONLY proves it held that charge that one time, and it might let go the very next shot, even a shot of normal pressure......nobody advises proof loading used revolvers and rifles for very good reason, because it makes no sense to stress the gun in such a fashion, and there is no reason to do so with a muzzleloader, either.......you might, in fact, be creating a dangerous condition through such stress that didn't exist prior to proofing......if unsure of the gun's safety, AFTER complete disassembly and inspection of plugs and bores, then take her out and tie her to a tire, loaded with normal maximum loads, use string tied to triggers, and fire her enough to put your mind at ease.......but please, no double charges of powder or shot......why do that to an old gun, except to say you did it?

  5. #25
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    Mtngunr, no objections to your observations. However, I know I have double charged guns in the past, and know many others who have. Easy to do with a double, if you are distracted. So, I would just as soon know if it would handle it, before it was in front of my face.
    As far as dismounting the breechs of a double, it is a real pain in the butt, to impossible, on some of the older guns. I do grant, it is certainly a good idea, if you can do it!

  6. #26
    Boolit Master
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    Waksupi, my point is that you STILL will not know it will handle a second double charge.....how many double charges have already been put through the gun over the years? How many before the old girl finally lets go? We have no way of knowing the answers to those questions, so doing it again will only tell you it handled that double charge that one time.....any further inference is only hopeful guesswork, and is not supported by anything more than our own personal prejudices.....the same goes for normal loads, but we have a much higher degree of confidence in the outcome, as we are operating the gun within its design limits, rather than at double charges which might triple or quadruple pressures......if the owner cannot remove the plugs, he ought to send it to someone that can.....a well-cared-for arm might have no corrosion in the attaching threads, and a poorly-cared-for arm might only have a handful of packed rust scale holding the back of the barrel closed.........

  7. #27
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    Well, I guess we could assume ANY firearm, will blow up at it's next firing. But chances are, it won't.
    I've seen more than a few old shotguns, that were breeched, and then the ribs were soldered on. This makes dismounting them a problem.

  8. #28
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    I don't care to assume anything when lighting off a fixed breach black powder cannon only inches from my face, especially when I have no way of knowing the soundness of the breach attachment on an old gun of unknown ownership and care....something along the lines of the soldered in breach would be cause for me to reject live fire, period.....assumptions can be dangerous, and judgements of safety made on only statistical samples of one or two are nothing but assumption, with not enough info for a sound judgement.....proof loading with double charges might equally prove the old mild steel or iron breach and barrel threads held for that overload, meanwhile the thread setback and distortion has primed the gun for failure at some much earlier point using only normal pressure loads....but I'll stop beating a dead horse on this issue, as those inclined to agree with this reasoning already agree, while those who wish to believe they've proved something with a proof load will not let reason dissuade their wishes.......however, let me try to sway you with this one final thought.......reloading is a science that operates within known constraints of variables, and is well enough understood to be a safe and fun thing to do for the cautious reloader.....all science is based on repetition, with higher degrees of confidence in outcomes based on higher numbers of identical outcomes from previous experiments.......most every rock I've ever dropped has fallen, and so have everybody else's, so we have a high degree of confidence that the next rock will fall when dropped........actually, it might not, but we certainly believe it will and assume it will and act as if it will, and so far, it hasn't let us down...........contrast this to someone who manages to hop one-footed across a tightrope over Niagra Falls and then pronounces it safe......

  9. #29
    Boolit Master northmn's Avatar
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    A couple of points from my experiences and studies. The 14 gauge is said to have been fairly popular in England and is not really all that uncommon. Many of the English guns were stocked to shoot high for driven birds and can be an SOB to get down on for normal hunting. I have never had problems with a double charge out of a well made contemporary double, but some of the old warriors may have weakened over time. However, I have seen a lot of them still being shot. A proof testing proved that at that shot it did not blow, nothing else. As to loads, remember that the early BP cartridge guns shot loads a little lighter than we use today. 12 gauges were generally loaded with 1 to 1 1/8 oz of shot with the 10 using about 1 1/4. Some of this may be due to the fact that the early shot was soft and a longer shot columns were probably not efficient. This may also explain why Mr. Starr found the card wads to work ok and not to mess with the soft filler wads. Todays shot is harder. One of the things about a muzzle loader is that you can load what works. There is no need to get to fancy in patterning. Shoot at a piece of cardboard or paper at a reasonable range say about 30 yards and see if the pattern is even and reasonable in diameter. No real need to count to see if its IC or Mod as that doesnt really bring in the game in the field. A good test is to see if a 4 inch clay bird can get through the pattern. A lot of discussion has been aimed at wads. One of the little things I remember was that in muzzleloaders I never got all that worried. I won a shoot-off in a shotgun match one time using napkins for wads as I ran out of wads for the shoot-off. Kind of irritated the other guy watching all that stuff come out the end and still seeing the birds break. A couple of guys I knew went sharptail hunting in ND and used toilet paper for wads. They were a little sheepish about setting a stubble field on fire. They did get sharptails. Normally we used the fiber wads with lubrication, commonly I just put them in a cup of water while shooting trap, as it made the guns load easier after a few shots.

    Northmn
    Last edited by northmn; 01-25-2008 at 10:38 AM. Reason: added something

  10. #30
    Waksupi, thank you for posting the shot gun article sure enjoyed the read you posted on Ml shotguns, I agree with you my model 12 is turned out to be a dust catcher lol I aint as lucky as you with the old original WM Moore to shoot i shoot a navy arms 12 that had to spend a bit on getting the barrels choked and locks ploshed and tuned haha but it shoots as good as any browning now ha. and I shoot smooth bore a lot with shot , your sure right about a meat gun and i agree most of the old timers especially out here in the flat lands used shot to hunt with by the way ill be using home made shot purty soon here . the most fun there is a muzzle loader trap shoot lol that is what got me started and there is several around country in the nmlra clubs and the protection matches are a hoot for sure.
    I am working on putting a 20 ga. barrel on a h&a Underhammer aught to be a cotton tail gun deluxe.

  11. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by eka View Post
    That is very cool Ironsights!

    Nick,

    I was thinking the fourteen may mean an odd guage, but I had never heard of a 14 guage. I will measure to make sure. The smith has already cleaned the threads up and replaced the nipples with stainless ones. I'm going to just go for it and proof this baby with the tire like Rick suggested. If that goes well, I'll put her back in shape mechanically and let the fun begin. I feel much better about this undertaking since I have talked with you guys. I was a little discouraged by the locals take on the project, but I also knew they were not very experienced with these guns either. With safety being the main objective, I'll continue forward.
    Thanks,
    Keith

    I've got an old Belgian 14g That I refurbed and had to fit with new L&R back action locks and new nipples. The original locks were absolute ****, but the barrel was tight as a drum. This bore was supposed to be desireable to some of the rebels in the Civil War because 14 gauge is .69 caliber and the .69 cal musket balls would work in them. This sounds resonable to me. They had to scrounge for guns in many cases. The prelubed wads and over powder and over shot cards are avalable in bulk if you look around. They are lots of fun!

  12. #32
    Boolit Bub
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    what about slugs

    I would like to try shooting slugs out of my 16gaML.The 12ga lee keyed slug seems to be the right diameter without a shot cup.What wads should I use and how much pyrodex?It's a 7/8 oz slug

  13. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by wap41 View Post
    I would like to try shooting slugs out of my 16gaML.The 12ga lee keyed slug seems to be the right diameter without a shot cup.What wads should I use and how much pyrodex?It's a 7/8 oz slug
    I would suggest you read the first post in this topic, and stick with the recommendations there for a ML shotgun. This topic covers traditional shooting, so you may want to start another thread relating to modern loading practices.
    Last edited by waksupi; 08-06-2009 at 07:15 PM.
    The solid soft lead bullet is undoubtably the best and most satisfactory expanding bullet that has ever been designed. It invariably mushrooms perfectly, and never breaks up. With the metal base that is essential for velocities of 2000 f.s. and upwards to protect the naked base, these metal-based soft lead bullets are splendid.
    John Taylor - "African Rifles and Cartridges"

    Forget everything you know about loading jacketed bullets. This is a whole new ball game!


  14. #34
    Boolit Master Nobade's Avatar
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    This Mr. Starr really knows what he is talking about! I have one of the Pietta 12ga. SXS guns Navy Arms used to sell, and had been struggling with it for some time. Today I shot it using cardboard wads like the article describes and all of a sudden it throws beautiful patterns, loads easy, and is a joy to use. Only having to carry one kind of wad is a huge bonus as well as much improved performance. Just remember to have a bottle of water to drink so you can make enough spit to keep it running.

    I made a wad cutter out of 1147 steel, heat treated and stoned the edge. Running it in the drill press with a piece of scrap 2X4 under it I can cut wads quickly with no effort. And card board is free, so one less thing to buy!

  15. #35
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    I always send new scatter gun shooters to this thread, but they usually choose to ignore the sound advise, and have to re-invent the wheel. Guess it's just too easy for them.
    The solid soft lead bullet is undoubtably the best and most satisfactory expanding bullet that has ever been designed. It invariably mushrooms perfectly, and never breaks up. With the metal base that is essential for velocities of 2000 f.s. and upwards to protect the naked base, these metal-based soft lead bullets are splendid.
    John Taylor - "African Rifles and Cartridges"

    Forget everything you know about loading jacketed bullets. This is a whole new ball game!


  16. #36
    Boolit Master Nobade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by waksupi View Post
    I always send new scatter gun shooters to this thread, but they usually choose to ignore the sound advise, and have to re-invent the wheel. Guess it's just too easy for them.
    Haha - everybody KNOWS you have to have an elaborate wad stack, shot cups, etc. Cardboard wads just can't work, right? Well they sure do, and I'm not going back. Another huge advantage is if you have a gun with an odd size barrel. You can't buy wads but you can make them. With this method it doesn't matter what size your gun's bore is. I sure appreciate your posting this.

  17. #37
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    Wow! Thanks for posting that book, waksupi! Great read, and great intro to ML-ing for me. I have pistols, not a shotgun, but it seems to me that much of what Mr. Starr had to say will cross over just fine!

    Question: what KIND of cardboard are they talking about? The three-layered corrugated cardboard used in boxes, or the one-layer stuff used in small boxes typically used to package items for sale?

  18. #38
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    When I need more card wads, I go to Walmart. Go to the art and picture frame section, and look for the heavy poster board. Works perfectly. It's about 1/16+" in thickness. You get LOTS of wads from one sheet.
    The solid soft lead bullet is undoubtably the best and most satisfactory expanding bullet that has ever been designed. It invariably mushrooms perfectly, and never breaks up. With the metal base that is essential for velocities of 2000 f.s. and upwards to protect the naked base, these metal-based soft lead bullets are splendid.
    John Taylor - "African Rifles and Cartridges"

    Forget everything you know about loading jacketed bullets. This is a whole new ball game!


  19. #39
    Boolit Master

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    I wish I had known all this back when I had my Pedersoli 12 ga.!

    I didn't run into V.M. Starr's info until after it was gone. It was one of several sacrifices I made to fund college and it has never been replaced. I do keep thinking about though.

    This is a terrific thread with lots of good info.

    I just might print it off myself as I have been thinking about a muzzleloading shotgun again... and a trade musket... and...

    One day!

    Longbow

  20. #40
    Boolit Master jnovotny's Avatar
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    Very good read! Thought I knew everything I needed to know about ML scatterguns, guess you can teach an old dog new tricks.

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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