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Thread: Armi Sport 1853 3 band Enfield.

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    Armi Sport 1853 3 band Enfield.

    I got this piece at a pawn shop cheap. Is in new condition. My research tells me it was made in 2003. It seems to be a very fine quality gun.
    Now regarding loads. I read that skirmishers use in the area of 40 - 50 grains of
    3F for target loads with the 575213 hollow base boolit. I have this mould, probably the old, as opposed to the newer one. [ had it for twenty years or more]
    If I want to use a bit more powder for hunting is it a good idea to make a smaller nose pin for the mould to make a thicker skirt on the base? How much thicker?
    I dont want to alter the original pin, just make a new one.
    The skirt is now about a sixteenth thick, would an eighth of an inch sound about right? How about a shallower or deeper hollow in the base? Thinking of 60 - 80 grains 3F.

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  2. #2
    Boolit Master oldhickory's Avatar
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    I've been shooting originals since the late 60s and have yet to blow or deform a skirt on a Lyman 575213 Old Style Minnie with up to 70gr. of 3F powder. The 575213 New Style has a thinner skirt and the boolit itself is a bit heavier, but I would trust that one with up to 70grs. 3F also...I've never had cause to go higher with the powder charge in a rifle-musket as 500gr. of .58 SOFT lead at around 1000fps. will terminate just about anything that breathes in N. America with good shot placement.

    I don't know about the repros, but often the bore/land dia. of most originals goes between .580-.585. If your mold throws a .575 minnie, you may want to either use a set of plug-gauges or remove the breech-plug and slug it to find the true LAND dia. and match the Minnie as close as possible to it, undersize it by .001, lube with a beeswax and Crisco mix, and find the best shooting load between 55-70grs. 3F. If 80gr. 3F is your goal, I don't think the skirts of the Old Style Minnie will be affected too much, I would worry more about the scraping groves. Either way, I would want to match the Minnie dia. close to the land dia. and not go over 70grs. 3F.
    Last edited by oldhickory; 10-20-2008 at 06:27 PM.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    oldhickory;
    Thanks for the reply, just what I needed.
    My mould casts .581 and I size .578, as the as cast won't load. Too large. The bore is right at .579 . Groove is hard to measure, three groove. I now have enough information to blunder on. I had no goal as far as powder charge and seventy grains seems more than enough.

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    Greetings I use my Navy Arms Zouve to Muzzle deer in Illinois when I am there... I stopped using the Minis types when I discovered my 1-70 twist barrel.. Accuracy out to 50 yards was minute of paper plate. Got a .570 RB mold and walla... 85 grains of 2f and that rifle will flat stomp whitetails. Never recovered a ball and never lost a deer.
    So check your twist rate... A .57 pure lead RB is a deadly smasher !

  5. #5
    Boolit Master oldhickory's Avatar
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    If the rifling is true to the original Enfield, it should be 1:78" which is right for the combat load of 70gr. 2F and a Minnie. Any accuracy problems these repros. incur usually are not the fault of the rifling twist, (if the Zouave Missionary has is a 1:70 something twist, the factory that made it didn't do a very good research job, Zouave's should have a 1:48 twist like most all other 2 band military rifles of the period).

    O.k, let's put you on the road to 2" groups or better at 100yds. off the bench.

    Step 1. Dismount the barrel and Acura-Glass the tang and breech face, and about 2" under the breech end of the barrel, (follow instructions carefully and don't forget to use generous amounts of release agent on the metal). Reassemble the rifle as it was, and let set horizonally for a day or two, and remember to mask the edges of the wood around the top. After a day or two, free the barrel and trim up the Acura-Glass to make a neat job.

    Step 2. These repros don't have the best triggers, if you're familliar with the lock works, disassemble it and polish the bearing surfaces of the sear and tumbler, grease with heavy lube and reassemble.

    Step 3. Shooting! (you've already sized the Minnie's to the bore, 001 under) I would start with 50gr. 3F and shoot for group, increase in 5gr. incriments until you have the best group at 50yds. The sights may be off, (this too can be corrected) just shoot for the best load/group. Any of my originals will shoot 1" at 50 and 2" at 100yds with the load they like, (usually around 50-55grs. 3F with the proper sized 575213 O.S. Minnie. Sub 2" groups at 100yds occasionally. For lube, I just use natural bees wax and Crisco, (NEVER use a petrolium based lube with a muzzle-loader!) Melt 1lb. bees wax in a pie pan and add Crisco until you get a hardened lube that you can "just" smear the littlest amount with a little finger warmth and pressure. Dip Minnies base first in the mix, up to the top ring and set asside to cool. Push through sizer and you have ready Minnies to load, I've never felt the need to fill the base cavity with lube as some shooters do.

    The Lyman 575213O.S. isn't a true "Minnie", but rather a Burton bullet, designed by John Burton, master armourer at Harpers Ferry prior to the unpleasentness of 1861-1865.

    4. So, what if it doesn't shoot to point of aim? There are "target" blank sights available for these muskets made of mild steel. Over sized front sights for elevation, (and slight windage adjustments) can be sweatted in place after the original front sight has been ground away, (I don't recomend this on origional guns! They usually shoot closer to P.O.A. than repos anyway). After sweatting the over sized front sight on, it can be filed to proper height and brought to point of impact. Also rear sight "blanks" are available and can be filed, drilled to meet your needs. The Enfield pattern rear sight can be filed flat across the front and a blank piece of mild steel sweatted to it and a new groove filed in to correct windage.

    5. Cleaning. A mixture of 1pt. water, 1pt. alchohol, and 1pt. Murphys oil soap will break down powder fouling very nicely. Fold a patch and place over the nipple, let the hammer rest on it, and pour the cleaning mixture into the bore, (enough to fill the first few inches of the breech) and let stand for a few minutes. Use a breech scraper and scrape the fouling from the breech plug face, ( a proper cleaning rod for the .58 rifle-musket will accomplish this job much easier than using the ramrod and worm). With a clean patch on the jag, guide it all the way down to the 2" or so of liquid cleaner at the breech and pull back up and discard, dump the cleaner from the bore and wipe until clean, oil and store.


    I've used an original Windsor Enfield, 1855 Harpers Ferry rifle, 1861-63 Springfields, and even an 1862 Fayettville rifle with 55gr. 3F powder and a 575213 O.S. for both white tails and groundhogs. The wound channel is very simmiler to that of a 30/06 with 180gr. sporting ammunition...No wonder there are so many graves at the battlefields.
    Last edited by oldhickory; 10-21-2008 at 11:11 AM.

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  7. #7
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    1853 Enfield repop.

    In looking down the bore this gun seems to be 1 in 48 twist. Makes nearly a full turn in forty inches. I was hoping to try round balls if I can get a mould. Would I need a .575 dia? Holding a six oclock sight picture it shoots three into about three inches at eighty yards in a six inch bull. That is with 50 grains of 3F. Made some paper cartridges. Trigger is fine, crisp, though I did polish the main spring, as it had file marks across it. I think someone has worked on it before.
    Good info on glass bedding. I have had good results by letting Accura Glass start to gel before applying it, as you still have several minutes to smear it on before it sets. Also I intend to relieve the barrel channel where it needs it.
    I have been swabing the bore between shots as I feel it would be difficult to load otherwise. Also I have been using a 20 gauge swab with bore butter after loading, a very light application.
    When I cast the first boolits I used the softest lead I had, not pure lead. I now have the pure quill and will cast a bunch. By the way I'm using some 3F Goex that I have had for twenty or thirty years. My musket caps are the same vintage, RWS nr 1081. Price on can is $3.25 for 250.
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  8. #8
    Boolit Master oldhickory's Avatar
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    Sizing the 575213 O.S. Minnie's and properly lubracating them as I said above, you shouldn't have to swab or even brush out the barrel. I've shot up to 50 rds. at a time with absolutly no fouling problems, or deterioration in accuracy, (probably could have gone several hundred rds). The grooves on the Lyman 575213 aren't just there to hold lube, they're also scraping groves, they remove fouling from shot to shot...Trust the bullet to do it's job, it's a good one.

    I can't say what twist the Italians are using for repros, the original Enfield rifle-musket, (3 barrel bands) had a 1:78 twist with shallow, progressive 3 grove rifling, while the rifles and musketoons employed a 1:48 twist with deeper 5 grove rifling. A patched round ball, (570 dia.) shouldn't shoot well in a 1:48 twist barrel, I'm not saying it won't, just that it shouldn't, (I've never tried it myself as the guns were designed to shoot Minnies, which they do very well).

    On another note, if you want to use cartridges for convieniance, you can buy plastic "Cap Lugs" from Dixie Gun Works or elsewhere. They're plastic tubes designed to protect bolt threads and come in just the right size to make .58/577 cartridges with. A bag of 50 probably sells for less than $10.00, and yes, they're reusable many times over! Just load the measured powder charge into them and use the bullet for the stopper, (like loading a metalic cartridge) "bite" the bullet off the plastic, dump the powder charge, set the bullet and ram down, cap, and fire...Repeat.

  9. #9
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    ...............I believe the original Remington Zouaves had a 66" twist. The U.S. Military never had a 58 cal rifled musket with a 48" twist. The British P53's had the 78" twist and had progressive depth grooves. The British military also had a few 2 band 58 cal rifles. Not all had 48" twists. The P58 Naval Pattern 2 band Enfield did. It also had 5 progressive depth grooves instead of 3. In addition it had a heavier walled barrel in order to carry the Naval cutlass bayonet.

    To my knowledge the only other 2 Band Enfield with a 48" twist was the M1862 and issued to sergents of line regiments. I have a Parker-Hale P58 Naval Pattern repro that is superbly accurate. For best accuracy the slug MUST fit the bore well. In loading the slug should be able to be seated atop the charge in one smooth push of the ramrod.

    You should experiment with lubes, and a good place to start if you're into trying to make your own, is what they used back in the day. Since guns act like guns regardless HOW they're loaded, what works well for one may not be worth a tinker's dam in another. My P58 does NOT like lube in the lube grooves. I put it in the base cavity only.

    Some lubes are passable, some better, and some are outstanding. In my Enfield, Crisco is good for a few shots. If you continue with it you'll end up having to drive the Minie' home with a mallet. A friend had an early '70's Lyman import of a P53 Enfield. It was an exceeding fine, and VERY accurate rifle. A very endearing thing about it was that it did great work with the Lee 505gr Minie' and Crisco for lube. My friend and I sat on either side of the bench at the range shooting by turn, handing the rifle back and forth.

    We were shooting at the 200 meter gong and hitting it darn near every shot. We got that musket barrel HOT! We only quit when we ran out of caps.





    The 2 targets on the left were shot with the modified Lyman 575611 at 624grs. While the group shot with Pyrodex (a guy gave me 3 lbs of it as I've never bought any ) wasn't too bad, what is interesting is how much it took to equal the velocity of the 70.0gr charge of Swiss 2Fg.

    The target on the right was a quick dirty lube test. As it was only 5 rounds each it isn't really scientificly conclusive. However with previous knowledge of how it works in my rifle, I could have predicted it. The group on the left (right target) has one out. You can just see the bottom of it at the top of the photo. Both groups started with a clean barrel.

    Two good slugs you should try are both Lee's. One is the REAL, and the other is their target minie. Both are excellent shooters. The target Minie in my rifle is a tack driver with 40.0grs of Either Elephant or Swiss 3Fg.

    ................Buckshot
    Last edited by Buckshot; 10-23-2008 at 04:07 AM.
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  10. #10
    Boolit Master oldhickory's Avatar
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    That's some good shoot'n Buckshot! That modified Lee trashcan mold's very interesting also, I may have to try that one myself. I think you're right about the twist rate on the Zouave's, I've seen originals with 5 and 7 grove rifling, a friend said he saw one with a 3 grove barrel.

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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