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Thread: 10 Gauge Shotgun - Introduction

  1. #1

    Red face 10 Gauge Shotgun - Introduction

    Hi all, been on the forums a while, but always in the Cast shotgun section.

    I recently picked up and 1850 - 1860 Muzzleloading shotgun .... It's engraved Hunter - London, but has Birmingham proof marks.

    I saw it at a local Arms fair in the Uk and it caught my eye as it looked in great condition and I liked the Damascus barrels. Not normally my thing at all, but I have never shot muzzleloading shotgun or rifle before (only a pistol and that's nitro converted).

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I have had it checked out, and it is indeed in great condition. I have soaked up all the stikeys here on the forum and read the relevant books and webpages and feel ready to go.

    It was shot by my gunsmith after being checked and after about a dozen shots, the only observation is that it did hang 1/2 second to 1 second on half the shots. I'm going to clean the **** out of it and the nippels etc and give it another go when its on my ticket.

    Load was .. 89 grains of Pyrodex by volume, Card, Lubed wad, 1 3/8 oz of No 6 Shot and over shot card. We used a No10 Cap, but I may try a No11 as it fitted very tightly and the cap was only half way to 2/3rds on the nipple.

    I need to put it on my UK licence before I can shoot it, so i'll move on from there.

    No questions as such, just wanted to check in.

    Hi from the UK !

  2. #2
    Boolit Master Nobade's Avatar
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    Nice find! You'll certainly enjoy it. My only comment is ditch the pyrodex and get some real gunpowder. I'd bet the ignition will be much better and it's certainly easier on your gun and you not having to deal with the corrosion issues.
    "Quemadmoeum gladis nemeinum occidit, occidentis telum est."

  3. #3
    I may get there in the end, but don't want to have the get the explosives licence I would need in the UK and the storage issues.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nobade View Post
    Nice find! You'll certainly enjoy it. My only comment is ditch the pyrodex and get some real gunpowder. I'd bet the ignition will be much better and it's certainly easier on your gun and you not having to deal with the corrosion issues.

  4. #4
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    1 3/8oz shot and 89 grs Pyrodex is quite an imbalanced load in 10 ga.

    A balanced black powder (and Pyrodex sub) load is more or less equal volumes powder and shot. 1 3/8 to 1 1/2 oz seems to be a sound maximum load for a vintage double but 89 grs is 3 1/4 drams - about right for a waterfowl load in 12 ga with 1 1/8 to 1 1/4 oz shot. In 10 ga, that's going to be pretty anemic.

    It's the right idea to start low and work up, but you have solid proof testing in the UK and that double should be fine for 4 dram loads. Suggest that you work up from about 100 grs Pyrodex 1 1/4 oz shot - a fairly light load - to a max of 110 grs and 1 3/8 oz and see where you are getting best patterns and velocity.

    Finally, while I prefer real black powder, I understand the constraints you work with in the UK. Pyrodex is perfectly good but harder to ignite than real BP. To get a consistent ignition and burn, you really need to make sure it is well compressed. This may explain the hang you reference. As well as a very good clean, you want to use the hottest percussion caps available to you. Enjoy!

  5. #5
    It looks like an extremely good gun, and nicely preserved. For many years in breechloaders, people have been proclaiming the advantages of a magnum 12 over a 10, magnum 20 over a 12 and so on. That has gained in truth with shot-cup wads, steel shot etc. But the larger bore and shorter shot column, with less pellets on the outside, is as much of an advantage in a muzzle-loader as ever it was.

    You will hear people saying "never shoot an old damascus gun", and it is less strong than drawn or bored steel, but nonetheless a good barrel material if it hasn't been abused. Abuse could include excessive removal of metal to rebrown the outside or remove pitting inside, rust which has penetrated into the welds, or raising dents deeper than should have been raised. But I doubt if that is likely with this gun. It should shoot perfectly well with Pyrodex, but be careful with cleaning, as it can cause corrosion, and is less predictable that way than black. It can lull you into a false sense of security, and then catch you out.

    I agree, dirt in the nipple channels could cause the hangfires. More likely than the tight caps I think, since powder might burn in what is effect a powder train, but priming compounds don't do anything slowly. If you need to replace nipples, you can get a better selection on www.trackofthewolf.com than in the UK, and including oversizes, thread enlargement taps etc.

    You would probably enjoy "Shooter's Delight" by Thurlow Craig, my favourite writer on shooting, fishing, animal behaviour and South American revolution, which I first read at the age of eight in the 1950s. He was a pioneer in the renaissance of the muzzle-loader, in the days when it was an even more oddball pursuit than it is today, and there are plenty of copies on www.bookfinder.com (part of my life support system) and eBay.

    I've got mine, but what friends term The Great Scott is a single breech-loader of the 1870s or 80s, and with the need to control recoil with weight of metal, I'd submit it for nitro proof without a qualm.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  6. #6
    Moderator Emeritus / Trusted loob groove dealer


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    Breech fouling is generally the cause of hang fires.
    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!


  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    Seems if your #10 cap stands off the nipple, that might cause a momentary delay. If the #11 cap fits, I'd use it.

  8. #8
    Boolit Grand Master Texas by God's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 725 View Post
    Seems if your #10 cap stands off the nipple, that might cause a momentary delay. If the #11 cap fits, I'd use it.
    This. Or push down firmly on the cap with the hammer to bottom it out before firing.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G930A using Tapatalk

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by BigMrTong View Post
    I may get there in the end, but don't want to have the get the explosives licence I would need in the UK and the storage issues.
    Yes, the difference arose because smokeless powder was invented, and left uncontrolled, around the time Mr. Gladstone solved the Irish question.

  10. #10
    Interesting, I got my Equal load info from this site .. http://traditionalmuzzleloader.com/i...smoothbore-gun

    In the Chart 89 grains of powder is equal to 1 3/8oz of shot. I'll get a dipper out and have a look.

    I didn't go over 100 grains as that was the max charge listed for a brand new Pedersoli 10g, so with this being an old Damascus gun we played it safe.

    Quote Originally Posted by RPRNY View Post
    1 3/8oz shot and 89 grs Pyrodex is quite an imbalanced load in 10 ga.

    A balanced black powder (and Pyrodex sub) load is more or less equal volumes powder and shot. 1 3/8 to 1 1/2 oz seems to be a sound maximum load for a vintage double but 89 grs is 3 1/4 drams - about right for a waterfowl load in 12 ga with 1 1/8 to 1 1/4 oz shot. In 10 ga, that's going to be pretty anemic.

    It's the right idea to start low and work up, but you have solid proof testing in the UK and that double should be fine for 4 dram loads. Suggest that you work up from about 100 grs Pyrodex 1 1/4 oz shot - a fairly light load - to a max of 110 grs and 1 3/8 oz and see where you are getting best patterns and velocity.

    Finally, while I prefer real black powder, I understand the constraints you work with in the UK. Pyrodex is perfectly good but harder to ignite than real BP. To get a consistent ignition and burn, you really need to make sure it is well compressed. This may explain the hang you reference. As well as a very good clean, you want to use the hottest percussion caps available to you. Enjoy!

  11. #11
    It does yes, i'll give her a clean and and try. for the price of Caps it cant hurt.

    Quote Originally Posted by 725 View Post
    Seems if your #10 cap stands off the nipple, that might cause a momentary delay. If the #11 cap fits, I'd use it.

  12. #12
    Thanks .. the reason I grabbed this was the condition, no pitting at all .. it must have been lightly used and stored very well. The bores look like they were make last year. I look up that book and site. The nipples are like new at the moment, but i'll need spares !

    Quote Originally Posted by Ballistics in Scotland View Post
    It looks like an extremely good gun, and nicely preserved. For many years in breechloaders, people have been proclaiming the advantages of a magnum 12 over a 10, magnum 20 over a 12 and so on. That has gained in truth with shot-cup wads, steel shot etc. But the larger bore and shorter shot column, with less pellets on the outside, is as much of an advantage in a muzzle-loader as ever it was.

    You will hear people saying "never shoot an old damascus gun", and it is less strong than drawn or bored steel, but nonetheless a good barrel material if it hasn't been abused. Abuse could include excessive removal of metal to rebrown the outside or remove pitting inside, rust which has penetrated into the welds, or raising dents deeper than should have been raised. But I doubt if that is likely with this gun. It should shoot perfectly well with Pyrodex, but be careful with cleaning, as it can cause corrosion, and is less predictable that way than black. It can lull you into a false sense of security, and then catch you out.

    I agree, dirt in the nipple channels could cause the hangfires. More likely than the tight caps I think, since powder might burn in what is effect a powder train, but priming compounds don't do anything slowly. If you need to replace nipples, you can get a better selection on www.trackofthewolf.com than in the UK, and including oversizes, thread enlargement taps etc.

    You would probably enjoy "Shooter's Delight" by Thurlow Craig, my favourite writer on shooting, fishing, animal behaviour and South American revolution, which I first read at the age of eight in the 1950s. He was a pioneer in the renaissance of the muzzle-loader, in the days when it was an even more oddball pursuit than it is today, and there are plenty of copies on www.bookfinder.com (part of my life support system) and eBay.

    I've got mine, but what friends term The Great Scott is a single breech-loader of the 1870s or 80s, and with the need to control recoil with weight of metal, I'd submit it for nitro proof without a qualm.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	The Great Scott.jpg 
Views:	12 
Size:	95.9 KB 
ID:	223182

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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