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Thread: Need some antique ML rifle knowlwdge.

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy
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    Need some antique ML rifle knowlwdge.

    So i've sucessfully implamented a "Classic Firearms" committee at my gun club. This was quite a task getting BOD approval to allow shooting at our 600 yd range. I'm looking for the ML experts to help me structure some rules in reguards to defining safe and reasonable distances for ML's. Im currently allowing "pre WWII" firearms to be shot at distances 200 yds to 600 yds. A question was raised "will i allow ML's". I replied "for the short term my answer is no, once i gain comfortable knowledge i may allow ml . Where my 600 yd range has lots of grass and bushes ahead of the firing line , im concerned of a fire hazard. Lastly if the expert antique ML shooters could educate me on specific antique ML and at what safe distances they can be shot at would be a great help.
    Last edited by Road_Clam; 07-12-2019 at 05:05 PM.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master pietro's Avatar
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    .

    IMO, provided normal safety procedures are followed, new or antique muzzleloaders can be safely shot at any distance they can reach, and/or can accurately impact the intended target (IOW, not miss by a wide margin, downrange).

    IME, as a practical matter, due to both trajectory and power limitations, a muzzleloader is rarely effective beyond 200yds, even though longer distance can certainly be reached.

    The only fire hazard issue from burning powder and or burning ejecta would possibly occur if flammable materials were within 30' (subjectively ) of the firing point.

    It's not as if fire arrows are being launched.

    .
    Last edited by pietro; 07-12-2019 at 11:55 AM.
    Experience is a wonderful thing - It lets you recognize a mistake, when you make it again.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master Idz's Avatar
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    The Forest Service did a study in 2009 "Ignition Potential of Muzzle-loading Firearms". The conclusion was fires start from un-lubricated patches and not the powder itself. As long as a tight weave lubed patch is used danger is minimal. Ban the characters who think toilet paper is a fine patch.

  4. #4
    Some ML's like the Whitworth are known to be quite accurate out to the limits of your range. Not sure how popular that might be in your area though.

    Some ranges I've been to who are concerned about fire hazard will ask shooters for a sample lubed patch and test it with a torch to see if the combination smolders. Some grease lubes are a problem.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master Nobade's Avatar
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    The term muzzleloader is a relative thing. It could be a sidelock firing balls with fixed iron sights or a Remington UML firing swaged jacketed bullets over blackhorn 209 with a Vortex Razor HD on top. 600 yards for one is pointless and it's a chip shot for the other.
    In my experience of trying to do what you are, the traditional guys know their limits, and probably don't want to use your range. The ones you'll likely run into are the ones with a new inline who don't know how to use it and have no idea of it's capability and limitations. They can potentially be a hazard.
    "Quemadmoeum gladis nemeinum occidit, occidentis telum est."

  6. #6
    Boolit Master




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    Muzzle loaders are shot at friendship all the time from 25 to 500 yards canon too. Never heard of a fir being stared.

  7. #7
    Boolit Grand Master

    Wayne Smith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wgr View Post
    Muzzle loaders are shot at friendship all the time from 25 to 500 yards canon too. Never heard of a fir being stared.
    I've not been there but I doubt there is not 'a lot of grass and bushes in front of the firing range'. That fact does change things until it is dealt with.
    Wayne the Shrink

    There is no 'right' that requires me to work for you or you to work for me!

  8. #8
    Boolit Grand Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    Only instance I am aware of a grass fire being started is when full-scale muzzleloading cannon are shot.

    Normal range precaution is to have a Fedco 5-gallon backpack pump available to extinguish small fires as they occur.

    https://www.grainger.com/product/22F...PC:+Google+PLA

    More likely to be used for carelessly discarded smoking materials than smoldering patches.
    The ENEMY is listening.
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  9. #9
    Boolit Master bedbugbilly's Avatar
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    Someone has already mentioned the Whitworth - and I have participated in rifled-musket long range matches that were out to 1,000 meters. I am assuming that you will be allowing both round ball and rifled musket/smooth bores as well? If you already allot 200-600 yards for other rifles, why limit the muzzleloaders to less than that? Most won't probably want to shoot more than 200 yards but if the potential is there to go 600 yards, why not? Not any difference between a round ball or a minie ball over a cast boo lit shot out of a cartridge rifle. Fire hazards - keep your area in front of the firing lind cut. About the only danger I see is from smoldering patches on dry tinder areas close to the firing line. Anyone who has shot RB at long distances knows well how the crosswind can affect the ball flight and common sense tells you that you aren't going to have much luck at 600 yards with a small ball. Conicals - a lot of folks shoot them at long ranges.

    I don[t see how your range rules should be any different for muzzleloaders than they are for cartridge rifles other than common sense rules such as no open powder containers. If you have shooting stations that are close together, you might wan tot put vent gas shields up for stations specifically for flintlock shooters - they are commonly used on the firing line at Friendship. As mentioned . . . long range shooting at Friendship is a common thing.

    Your Range Officers need to be reminded that no open powder containers and no capping or priming of a flintlock until you are on the firing line - and you may want to equip a few with CO2 ejection devices for dry balled rifles. I'm sure the NMLRA will have safety rules available that can be utilized as well.

  10. #10
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by bedbugbilly View Post
    I don[t see how your range rules should be any different for muzzleloaders than they are for cartridge rifles other than common sense rules such as no open powder containers.
    bedbugbilly, thanks for adding your feedback. I researched NMLA and found their rule book, excellent info . The reason I need a new set of rules is based upon the fact our prior standard 600 yd range rules called for 1) "supersonic" ammo only. 2) max caliber .338, and 3) Black Powder excluded. Hence this is why I took the initive to form our "Classic Firearms" committee. If I needed a rule exception for a shoot, it was possible but I had to go through a formal written facilities request and it needed to be voted upon by our BOD. This was a PIA. Now with my new "classic firearms" rules (subsonic ammo allowed, .58 caliber max, and BP allowed) it's a simple process, no rule exceptions, no BOD approval required. BTW i'm a current certified NRA RSO, and 600 yard range RSO certified within my club, so your ML specific range safety tips are well appreciated.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    I guess I would ask why the range is limited to supersonic and .338 or less, or any other limits on firearms? Is the range in demand such that you don't want someone shooting his .45-70 at 600yd (which it is capable of doing with smokeless or black powder).

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    Well "back in the day" and even now Chunk Gun matches shot patched round balls to 40 rods or 220 yards. So I imagine that is pretty safe? For "Slug Guns" such as Whitworth or other ones that shoot 500 to 600 grain paper patch bullets or grease groove bullets, 1000 yards is easily obtainable. You mentioned grass in the line of fire.....if it was California you would have to remove it due to possible fire hazard. There might be a chance of a fire if someone shot a heavy load such as 110 grains and had a short barrel then some burning powder could come out?

    If it were me running the muzzle loaders, I would have a "qualification" card that lists the rifle(s), caliber, BL load, method of ignition (cap or flint) and range cleared to shoot at. That would insure the shooters are safe and the range is safe with no one just throwing lead around and also clear them for other ranges.
    John

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Idz View Post
    The Forest Service did a study in 2009 "Ignition Potential of Muzzle-loading Firearms". The conclusion was fires start from un-lubricated patches and not the powder itself. As long as a tight weave lubed patch is used danger is minimal. Ban the characters who think toilet paper is a fine patch.
    Dry cloth patches will light a fire quicksmart - lube cookies can do it too

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    I have shot in matches since 1984. almost every weekend average of 60 shots a match. have never seen a fire started. the only time we had a fire problem was when a friend and I shot up a case of .303 tracers.

  15. #15
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by charlie b View Post
    I guess I would ask why the range is limited to supersonic and .338 or less, or any other limits on firearms? Is the range in demand such that you don't want someone shooting his .45-70 at 600yd (which it is capable of doing with smokeless or black powder).
    We have some very opinionated (stubborn) individuals on the BOD whom did not want anything larger than .338 . Several members own .50 BMG rifles and the club did not want the risk of neighboring residents complaining to the town about noise. My club sits on 420 acres , and abuted by residents whom are just waiting for some situation to start complaining. As for supersonic only, this was so that traditional centerfire rifle bullet flight will not run the risk of traveling subsonic causing potential bullet instability / keyholing . Lots of wood frame exposed around the targets and we have live manned target pullers and we don't want to risk a stray bullet ricochet off the wood frame.

  16. #16
    Here in the UK we shoot muzzle loading rifles out to 1200 yards. These would typically be the mid-late 19thC match rifles such as Gibbs-Metford and Rigbys (a popular modern repro for this discipline would be the Pedersoli Gibbs). We shoot rifle muskets (typically Enfields) with open sights out to 600 yards in MLAGB National Rifle Championships - sometimes further (800 yards) in club comps. Patched round ball don't generally feature in shoots beyond 200 yards.

    David
    www.researchpress.co.uk - www.facebook.com/ResearchPress
    Firearms, long range target shooting and associated history

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Road_Clam View Post
    We have some very opinionated (stubborn) individuals on the BOD whom did not want anything larger than .338 . Several members own .50 BMG rifles and the club did not want the risk of neighboring residents complaining to the town about noise. My club sits on 420 acres , and abuted by residents whom are just waiting for some situation to start complaining. As for supersonic only, this was so that traditional centerfire rifle bullet flight will not run the risk of traveling subsonic causing potential bullet instability / keyholing . Lots of wood frame exposed around the targets and we have live manned target pullers and we don't want to risk a stray bullet ricochet off the wood frame.
    I understand that. Also makes sense to keep the traditional ML's out of there. Shooting at long range is kind of a lob with a large angle at the target. If shooters not very good there is no telling where the rounds will land around the target.

    The SASS range out here in Edgewood, NM has the neighbor problem. They are always being threatened with shutdown. Last time it was due to all the trash after a national meet.

  18. #18
    Boolit Grand Master



    M-Tecs's Avatar
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    It doesn't sound like your range has target pits . If it does the steep trajectory can be a safety issue. Properly setup MZ can have the same range and accuracy as BPCR.
    2nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. - "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by bob208 View Post
    I have shot in matches since 1984. almost every weekend average of 60 shots a match. have never seen a fire started. the only time we had a fire problem was when a friend and I shot up a case of .303 tracers.
    If all that shooting involved shooting dry cotton patches (not a common practice) then either a) you have been extraordinarily lucky b) the grass werent dry enough to easily catch . We dont shoot MLoaders in the field here from 1st november to 1st April (summer bushfire danger period) - for darn good reason. You may laugh but the smoke cloud will call halt to that.
    Re the lube cookies - saw that righe up close - my son set fire to a paper targhet at 15 yards (several times) with an army colt using a 1/8th inch lube cookie over the powder - black powder tracer rounds - kinda kool!

  20. #20
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by M-Tecs View Post
    It doesn't sound like your range has target pits . If it does the steep trajectory can be a safety issue. Properly setup MZ can have the same range and accuracy as BPCR.
    We do. The trajectory issue was my biggest obstacle. At the base of our berm is a man made rock wall to prevent berm erosion. Many of my club's opposers claim that the substantial arc trajectory of low velocity BPCR would run the risk of striking the rocks within the berm. I respected this concern and first constructed an accurate 600 yd range simulation within Autocad. I then plotted out 2 different bullet trajectories. The first trajectory was a typical .308 caliber , 168 gr bullet traveling at 2600 fps. I then plotted a 45-70 BPCR trajectory using a 535 gr bullet at 1175 fps. Substantial difference in bullet arc, but the impact in the berm by the numbers only impacted about 12" lower than the .308. I then want to the BOD with my data and got permission to test my data with live fire. I used a Caldwell bullet camera system first with "unmanned" pits. Sure enough my data was solid. Lastly we moved to live pits and long story short there is no way that even excessively low hits on target could impact our base berm rock wall. I presented all my data to the BOD and was then given the go ahead for allowing BPCR. The ML addition is where I need to gain knowledge. Here's a side view of our pit layout :



    The "36" dimension on the right represents a MR target's black scoring diameter at full mast.
    The 90 degree ledge on the right represents the rock retaining wall
    The "radiused" bowl within the berm represents our typical "sweet spot" divot of bullet hits.
    The upper arc is the 308 trajectory, and the lower arc is the 45-70's trajectory.
    Our 600 yd range is 24 lanes in width, and utilizes a massive sand berm and was designed back in 2000 by the Army Corps of Engineers.
    Last edited by Road_Clam; 07-14-2019 at 07:05 PM.

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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"
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LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check