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Thread: Parker Hale Volunteer advice

  1. #1
    Boolit Mold
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    Parker Hale Volunteer advice

    I just got one of the new P-H Volunteers but need help figuring out how to shoot it. I have some black powder shooting experience but only with revolvers. Hope to shoot it for fun/target shooting and hunting. Would love advice on bullets, wads, primers, size and loads for pyrodex (I assume that'll be better than true BP), advice on loading in the field, slings, any other pearls of wisdom, and sources for where to get components. And what's the unattached piece at the end of the forestock that the ramrod goes through? And the threaded end of the ramrod is to allow me to attach a ball jag? Something else? Any help greatly appreciated!

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    Good Morning,

    The first thing you should do is get Lyman mold # 451-114. It is made for the Parker-Hale Volunteer and the bullets cast of pure lead shoot wonderfully in it. It also is deadly on game.

    https://www.midwayusa.com/product/49...rain-volunteer

    Use black powder, never Pyrodex. My P-H Volunteer likes 90 grains of FFFg.

    Use the bullets as cast of pure lead. The unsized bullets are tight enough in the barrel that they will not migrate off the powder charge. It is very important that the bullet be in contact with the powder at the moment of ignition. No air space should be allowed.

    I use SPG lube, and sometimes (especially in cold weather) use T/C Bore Butter on my bullets. The lube is applied by hand. Just use your fingers to fill the grooves.

    My P-H Volunteer uses musket caps. I get them from local stores and buy a bunch when I find any. They can be hard to come by.

    The plastic piece is a muzzle protector.

    I'm unaware of any *NEW* Parker-Hale Volunteer rifle being produced. Are you sure you don't have an Italian copy? The Italian guns have some minor differences from the British guns, such as the thread count on the nipples.

    As I'm sure you know, the rifle was built as a target arm. My Parker-Hale Volunteer is an absolutely wonderful hunting rifle. I'm a fan of British rifles anyway, and this one is an excellent representative of a "small-bore" British rifle. While not originally intended for hunting, it fills that role with aplomb.

    Good luck with it, and let me know if there is anything I can do to help.

    Take care, Tom
    Last edited by Tatume; 08-09-2017 at 07:42 AM.

  3. #3
    Boolit Man
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    Pedersoli is manufacturing a new Whitworth and Volunteer; and although DP is selling the rifles under their name, NA is also selling them as Parker Hale rifles, since NA owns the PH name.(?). The Pedersoli rifles come equipped with good Vernier target sights.
    http://www.navyarms.com/ParkerHaleWhitworth.php
    https://www.davide-pedersoli.com/sch...get-rifle.html

    Best advice I can offer is to use a platinum lined nipple from Buffalo Arms--regular musket nipples burn out quickly when shooting a high pressure rifle--as quickly as 10 or 20 shots perhaps. A platinum lined nipple will last many times longer.
    Last edited by fgd135; 08-14-2017 at 10:58 AM.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    There is no reason not to use Pyrodex, other than arrogant elitism. Some people simply cannot get real black powder. Pyrodex and other substitutes have their disadvantages, but can be used just fine with a side-lock percussion rifle. It is more corrosive than black powder, so clean obsessively.

    Also, since this is your first post, WELCOME!

    Enjoy your new rifle.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    Yes, I have used Pyrodex in a flintlock. Just as you say, it needed a booster charge of priming powder, about 5 grains of FFFG. This was when I had to drive many miles for black powder, and they were out of everything but priming powder, in real black powder.

    I have no doubt the real stuff works better. But I have seen with my own eyes newcomers driven from the sport because they cannot economically find black powder, and are warned so strongly from Pyrodex that they believe it will blow up their guns.

    Few people want to spend the $27 hazmat fee to mail order 1 or 2 pound of black powder. And they don't want to stockpile 7 or 8 pounds of it. Pyrodex will get the new enthusiast started, with decent results. Fine tuning loads, and hunting for the best powder can come later.

  6. #6
    Boolit Buddy Standing Bear's Avatar
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    So you and 2 locals order 15 lbs. the hazmat used to be $25 but at $27 is $9 per 5 lbs.

    Powder Inc the was competitive last i bought.
    Ain't nothin hard of you have the right tools - and know how to use 'em.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by junkbug View Post
    There is no reason not to use Pyrodex, other than arrogant elitism.
    This is rude and uncalled for.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    OK. Perhaps it was. So I will ask you,

    Why would you caution someone to NEVER use Pyrodex in an application it was specifically developed to be used for?

  9. #9
    Boolit Buddy
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    No one said it was dangerous to use Pyrodex. The thread is about advice. If the advice is that the Volunteer rifle works better/accurate with black powder, than so be it. These small bore rifles shooting long heavy bullets at higher pressures are a bit different than a hawken Or Kentucky...

  10. #10
    Boolit Mold
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    Hi Tom et al,

    Sorry to leave everyone hanging. New to this kind of back and forth and I work too much. Didn't see quick responses when I first posted and then got buried in work only to see the new posts and then never found time to respond. I really appreciate the help and guidance. Will get me that mold. Suggestions for the rest of the molding process? I used to mold bullets with my dad's old Lyman setup when I was a teenager a hundred years ago. Something like Lyman's big dipper casting setup work or is there a better alternative? Recommendations for where to get BP (pyrodex?), caps, lube? I live in Indiana and haven't found much locally but presume I could find stuff in Indianapolis or order the nonexplosive stuff online? Recommendations for how easiest/best to measure powder in the field? No need for a wad? Saw some you tube video talking about using a cardboard wad but wondered if that was necessary. Do you have a sling on your PH (yes, you're right, mine's a DP version)? How best to clean the thing? Again, I'm really sorry to go deep cover on everyone but do appreciate the advice you all may have. Too cold today (-8 this morning) but looking forward to shooting it once things warm up some. I'll keep a closer eye on the posts. Mark

  11. #11
    Boolit Master




    Boz330's Avatar
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    If you are close to Indy you can run down to Waldron IN (just off of I-74) to Deer Creek products and buy real BP. It can also be shipped but is not cost efficient unless you get several pounds of it. Personally I never found Pyrodex to be near as accurate as the real thing but that is just me.


    Bob
    GUNFIRE! The sound of Freedom!

  12. #12
    Boolit Man
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rookie55 View Post
    Hi Tom et al,

    ...1) Something like Lyman's big dipper casting setup work or is there a better alternative?
    2) Recommendations for where to get BP (pyrodex?), caps, lube? I live in Indiana and haven't found much locally...
    3)Recommendations for how easiest/best to measure powder in the field?
    4)No need for a wad? Saw some you tube video talking about using a cardboard wad but wondered if that was necessary.
    5)Do you have a sling on your PH (yes, you're right, mine's a DP version)?
    6)How best to clean the thing? Mark
    1) IMO, ladle casting works best with these very heavy bullets. That Lyman mold warms up rapidly, so after casting 10-12 bullets you should be in the range of consistent wt and good fill-out. Use pure lead, not a harder alloy, and size the bullet to .450".
    2) Mail order BP and caps from Graf's or Powder Valley, or other suppliers. Yes, there are shipping and hazmat fees, but by ordering 8-12 pounds or so at a time you can still end up paying much less per pound. Maybe another shooter in your area could split the costs. 1Fg or 1 1/2Fg works better in this rifle than finer-grained powders.
    3) I pre-measure powder for my Volunteer at home, using a powder scale, placing charges individually into small vials clearly labeled as to amount. Small vials can be ordered from many places, ebay, medical supply houses, etc. I carry them in plastic cartridge boxes.
    4) Many shooters use wads over the powder and under the bullet. I use wads punched from milk cartons but then again other wads like lubed felt, thin cork, and plain cardboard are popular. And some shooters don't use wads at all. I'd experiment a bit to find what works best.
    I load powder thru a drop tube, seat the wad on the powder, then seat the lubed bullet. I don't want the wad to stick to the bullet so I make sure to wipe the bullet base clear of lube before loading. On subsequent shots, I load the powder charge w/the drop tube, seat the wad, wipe the bore with a lightly dampened patch, a dry patch, and finally seat the bullet. Don't wipe before loading powder, as that only pushes debris from the previous shot into the patent breech and can cause misfires.
    5) Yes, if you're shooting prone or sitting.
    6) This is a precision rifle, so whether you clean it using hot water or just some kind of solvent, try not to take the barrel out of the stock, as that will affect the bedding. I think there must be dozens of threads on this forum regarding different methods and concoctions to clean barrels...the patent breech is smaller in diameter than the bore so it's good to use a slightly smaller diameter nylon bore brush or mop to clear it while you are cleaning the rest of the barrel.
    Last edited by fgd135; 12-31-2017 at 06:10 PM.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master

    Newtire's Avatar
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    I got together with a few of the guys and ordered a few pounds of "holy black" from Graf's. They had several kinds and granulations, so ordered some "house brand" (Wano) as well as some Swiss. By the time we split up the hazmat fee, it wasn't very expensive. This coming spring, I plan on doing some comparison shooting using black as well as the cursed Black MZ. I learned the hard way how corrosive Pyrodex was back when it first came out and before the original plant blew up-killing the inventor. The advertising claimed it was great stuff to use if you couldn't get around to cleaning your gun right away. What I found was that it was more corrosive and I made it a habit to check the gun a week later to get the rest of it out (otherwise I found rust again!). It also seemed to be more hygroscopic than black and at that point, a switch to musket caps solved the ignition problems I was having. I then discovered MZ Black (due to Sportsman's Warehouse having a price drop to $9.99). It gave the same velocities as 2f black and while it is coarse ugly looking stuff and clumped up something fierce, a few shakes of the bottle takes care of that. So, I say, the only way to know for sure what works or not is to try it out yourself. That's one of the things about this board that made it great when I first signed on in the days it was part of Aimoo. While there were a few people who were too opinionated to get them to allow anything else other than their opinion, the majority of the people were very helpful. Having used Pyrodex, several brands of black, 777 and Black MZ, I could see a reason for using any of them if that's all I had or could get my hands on. So, I'm curious about how well this Black MZ works in flintlock guns and I'm going to try it out. Will post results when my new bionic knee allows me to get out to the range and make it down & back to the 100 yard mark. Only a few more months to go they say, we'll see about that by finding out myself. I do appreciate the advice of those who have more experience than I . It's why I like this board.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    Rookie55, welcome to the sport of aromatic smoke! . . . Never to be confused with exotic fragrances.

    As regards BP purchases, if you are a member of the NMLRA, you could drive a few miles past Deer Creek in Waldron down to Friendship in June or September and buy BP at the Spring or Fall shoot. A good array of powder types and makers is generally on hand. And while you're there, compete. I haven't made any of the top scorers the least bit nervous in a few years, but I sure enjoy my time on the round ball offhand line and the "at home" atmosphere of like-minded company.

    BTW, I also shoot a .40 cal fast twist underhammer using paper patched boolits of 320gr. I can claim no experience with the Whitworth or Volunteer, but Tatume's loading/shooting commentary agrees very closely with my experience, but for a couple of details which may present some food for thought. As he mentions, wiping the bore after charging and seating the wad, hence, not fouling the breech is the better approach, but I have had my best results after charging w/wad and damp-patching to clean, then anointing the bore with Ballistol on a patch, smearing the patched boolit with a bit of Bore Butter and seating the boolit last with an unpatched rod - which also assures solid contact with powder and wad. Unpatched, to keep from sucking the boolit up off the powder.

    The other consideration is nipples - they do erode quickly. Barrel time at pressure and all that. My answer to this was to go with an Accra-Shot nipple which takes a small pistol or rifle primer and eliminate the inevitable blow-back through the nipple. I don't know how dedicated to historical realism you may be, or even if there's a version which will work on the Volunteer, but it was a relief to have removed this issue. I heard the Accra-Shot is no longer in production, but I do see them available on occasion. Others could probably weigh in here with info/experiences they have with switching to sealed ignition.

    Since your experience is with revolvers, a caution may be in order. The boolit must be of a diameter which provides resistance to being pushed down the bore. Of all the other "routine" errors you could make, rule number one is NEVER touch it off without verifying the boolit is seated. Nothing will more surely bulge or burst a barrel. Just replacement alone is an expensive proposition.
    Last edited by yeahbub; 01-05-2018 at 05:03 PM.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    A small tip you might use is to wipe the bore after loading rather than wipe prior to loading.I have adopted this method to avoid sweeping damp residue down to the Breach area.The small amount of residue present at the bullet nose is of no consequence since the bullet Lube will take care of it.This method is suitable for any Muzzleloader and has proved its worth in my case with a Whitworth match Rifle.Not saying it is gospel but it works for me.

  16. #16
    Boolit Buddy heelerau's Avatar
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    Rookie55, congratulations on your Volunteer. As suggested do get a platinum lined nipple from Buffalo Arms, also wipe between shots, I do it after putting the powder and both greased felt and card wad on top, a damp windex patch then a dry one. Weigh your bullets into groups that are within 1/2 grain, same with powder charges. These will depend on what bullet, I use 90 grains of FFg Goex Black powder. Getting your first shot away can be tricky, you may need to unscrew the nipple and prime with a little FFFg, seems rifles with a patent breech, even the Gibbs long range rifles can be a little difficult for the first shot. Get a .22 or 223 brush and mop to clean the patent breech. There is a good Video or two on u tube regarding shooting these rifles.

    Cheers and good luck

    Heelerau
    Keep yor hoss well shod an' yo powda dry !

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    Make your own like many here do. We have the best tread on the net at the top of this form. It is so much cheaper to make than over the counter
    powder also.

    Fly

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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