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Thread: My Indian Musket

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy
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    My Indian Musket (W/ proof test)

    In the midst of this ammo shortage, I figured it was as good a time as any to get back into black powder shooting. I had never played with a flintlock, so I bought an "1801-05 prussian sharpshooter musket" from military heritage.
    http://www.militaryheritage.com/musket32.htm

    Their guns are, of course, made in India. I already know that this thread will spark a heated debate with responses ranging from "they're pipe bombs and I would never touch one", to "I shoot mine all the time".

    Neither of those tells us anything. The first party has no first hand knowledge, and, when pressed, will produce one of only two pictures of blown Indian muskets that I have been able to find and verify. Even then, we don't know the cause, and I can find as many or more blown barrels from other manufacturers. The second party doesn't tell us what they have been shooting out of it. It might be 10 grains of powder and a ball of paper for all we know.

    So, I have decided to document my experiences with this one. If it performs flawlessly, you'll all know. If you stop hearing from me for a year or two, well, that'll tell you what you need to know.

    So far, here's what I have.

    The breechplug has thread engagement past the pan. There is a groove cut in the plug to allow the touch hole to be drilled in the correct spot. I drilled mine at 1/16" with the hole centered with the top of the pan.

    I had to remove a ton of material from the frizzen spring to get it to move. When I got it, the spring was the same thickness all the way through. The hammer couldn't budge it. I was kind of expecting that when I saw that spring in the stock photo. Looking at the photos for their other models, they don't seem to have this issue. This model was marked "New product" when I ordered it.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Now that the frizzen can move, the lock throws lots of hot sparks. It can actually ignite pyrodex (more on that later).

    I have fired a total of two shots with 60gr pyrodex p and 1oz of #7.5 shot. It patterned nicely at 25 yards.

    The inletting is rough to say the least, but everything stays in place, and the fit is good enough to keep fouling out of the works, as you can see here.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    About the pyrodex. I mentioned to a friend that I had bought the musket, and I was going to have to get some real black powder. He said, "I have a bunch of it that I load 45lc with. I'll bring you some!" A week later, he shows up with a peanut butter jar marked "FFF 2lb". I thought, "great. 2 pounds will last me a while." The next day, I loaded the gun up and pulled the trigger. As soon as I saw how it burned, smelled the smoke, and saw the sheets of fouling it left, I immediately knew it was pyrodex. I only fired the second shot because I was going to have to clean the gun anyway, so I might as well see how it patterns. While it will ignite, it burns very slow in the pan and makes for a long firing delay. Oh well, it was free. I'll shoot it in my revolvers until it's gone and switch to the real stuff.

    Update 12/31/20: I took 5 reference measurements along the barrel in preparation for the proof test. They are as follows.

    1. Just ahead of the breechplug- 1.0785"

    2. Where the end of the proof load will sit.-1.023"

    3. Halfway between the first and second lug. -0.8385"

    4. Halfway between the second and third lug.-
    -0.7985"

    5. At the muzzle. -0.7785"

    I know, I know, calipers are not accurate to that many decimals. They're digital, and I just wrote down the numbers they showed me. I didn't round because that's an added variable.

    Update 1/1/21: Happy new year! I brought it in with a bang.

    Here's the part you've all been waiting for. The proof test.

    The proof load was 200gr of 3f powder, a folded paper wad, 3 ounces of #7.5 shot, and another paper wad.

    I reassembled the gun, loaded it up, and put it in a rest. I tied a piece of paracord to the trigger and ran it to a great big oak tree that was to be my shrapnel shield. I then primed the pan and cocked the hammer.

    Safely behind the oak tree, I took a deep breath and yanked the string. I heard the big kaboom and prepared for the worst. It was time to inspect the damage.

    I was extremely relieved to see a. complete gun in one piece. There were no cracks or visible bulging. The stock was intact.

    I brought it inside and gave it about half an hour to cool to room temperature. I removed the barrel and took measurements at each of the 5 reference marks. NO CHANGE!

    As far as I can find, this is the first publicised proof test of an Indian-made musket. Take from it what you will. As for me, I'm going to order the matching pistol and have fun.....the things I do for knowledge.
    Last edited by Thundermaker; 01-01-2021 at 07:46 PM. Reason: update

  2. #2
    Boolit Master scattershot's Avatar
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    Please keep us posted. I have wondered about these for a while now. Pics if you can would be appreciated, too.
    "Experience is a series of non-fatal mistakes"


    Disarming is a mistake free people only get to make once...

  3. #3
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    Very interesting. Is it normal to have to do that much prep work to get the gun to fire? This may end well, and prove to be a nice rifle, but it sounds more like it wasn't intended to be used. Hoping for photos, and good luck with your project.

    DG

  4. #4
    Boolit Master pietro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Der Gebirgsjager View Post

    Is it normal to have to do that much prep work to get the gun to fire?

    Sometimes...………. I bought several new Marlin 336's from 1966-85, and while older/used guns are very smooth-operating, most of the new one's weren't.

    I always had to spend some time & elbow grease to totally dissemble & de-burr the internals before they became smooth enough to use comfortably.

    .
    Experience is a wonderful thing - It lets you recognize a mistake, when you make it again.

  5. #5
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    Hmmmm.....yeah...but a muzzleloader made without a touch hole? Kind of like a Marlin's bolt without a firing pin channel. "Our liability ends with your modification." I'm just commenting---not necessarily knocking the rifle. Performance remains to be seen, and the OP is offering to share his experience with us, so I'm sure we'll all be interested. Folks in different countries do things differently.

    DG

  6. #6
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Der Gebirgsjager View Post
    Hmmmm.....yeah...but a muzzleloader made without a touch hole? Kind of like a Marlin's bolt without a firing pin channel. "Our liability ends with your modification." I'm just commenting---not necessarily knocking the rifle. Performance remains to be seen, and the OP is offering to share his experience with us, so I'm sure we'll all be interested. Folks in different countries do things differently.

    DG
    All muskets made in India ship without the touch hole to get around Indian gun laws.

    From the militaryheritage.com site:

    "We sell historically accurate muskets and pistols in a non-firing state. This allows us to comply with various local, state, national and international firearms regulations, along with shipping company policy restrictions. This means the product comes right to your doorstep. A certified gunsmith may decide to alter a musket or pistol to a firing state by drilling the vent hole and test firing it. We are not legally responsible for any changes from its present state"

    I can understand the disclaimer, because they have no control over what some idiot might stuff down the barrel.

    The frizzen spring problem seems to be unique to my model. It was made from ungodly thick stock.



    It has a threaded breachplug with a groove cut in it so as to have added thread engagement while allowing the touch hole to be drilled in the right place. It has three sizeable lugs on the barrel to hold it in the stock with three steel pins. The lock is functional with a well-hardened frizzen. That's an awful lot of trouble to go to for a wallhanger.

  7. #7
    Boolit Buddy
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    pics added

  8. #8
    Boolit Man


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    Will you be testing it with a proof load from a safe location?
    Link to leave feedback for me.

    Will Rogers 1879 - 1935:
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    Everybody is ignorant. Only on different subjects.
    There are three kinds of men. The ones that learn by readiní. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    can any one show a police report of a person being hurt from a blown up one, or a bonafide emergency room accident report on an injury stemining from a blowed up INDIAN MUSKET? I think not. so if any one has a police report of this happening, with the place & persons name of whom the place & person that it happened, I would say I am going to keep on shooting mine, I have 6 different INDIAN guns, and shoot them on a regular basis.

  10. #10
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    Toot,

    We cannot in good conscience take the position that no firearm has ever failed in a catastrophic manner.

    We probably can agree that catastrophic failure is a rare occurrence with firearms manufactured to good standards unless someone does something stupid.

    Most reputable firearm manufactures proof fire a firearm prior to it leaving the factory to verify correct operation and safety. It appears that this firearm was NOT tested, and probably should be.

    I am not implying that India can’t make good quality items, in fact it is quite the opposite. India has a long history of metalworking. One of the notable artifacts is the iron pillar of Delhi. It was made somewhere around 375-415 CE.

    The problem is this display piece could have been made of the highest quality materials and workmanship or something less. By the OP comments on the need to fit the parts we can surmise that it may be more the latter than the former until tested to prove otherwise.
    Link to leave feedback for me.

    Will Rogers 1879 - 1935:
    The problem ain't what people know. It's what people know that ain't so that's the problem.
    Everybody is ignorant. Only on different subjects.
    There are three kinds of men. The ones that learn by readiní. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.

  11. #11
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brass&Lead View Post
    Will you be testing it with a proof load from a safe location?
    To answer that question, a lot of other questions would need to be answered. What constitutes a proof load. To answer that, we would have to establish what a "normal" load is. Is it 1 grain per caliber? We know that originals weren't loaded that way. Is it 2/3 the weight of the ball? That'd be about 175 grains. The service load of the baker rifle, which was the same caliber, was 95 grains of "fine rifle powder".

    My approach is this. The heaviest load I would ever conceiveably shoot in this would be 100gr under 8 pellets of 00 buck. If the barrel survives 10 rounds of that without changing dimensions, I'm going to call it good. Some will say, "yeah, but the next one might be the one that blows it up!" Fair enough, but, by that logic, no gun can ever be considered safe to shoot, because, even if you've fired 10,000 rounds through it, that next one could blow it up.

    Quote Originally Posted by Brass&Lead View Post
    Toot,

    We cannot in good conscience take the position that no firearm has ever failed in a catastrophic manner.
    Nobody said that. Just want to make that clear because I know how some people read forums.

    Quote Originally Posted by Brass&Lead View Post
    We probably can agree that catastrophic failure is a rare occurrence with firearms manufactured to good standards unless someone does something stupid.
    Agreed

    Quote Originally Posted by Brass&Lead View Post
    Most reputable firearm manufactures proof fire a firearm prior to it leaving the factory to verify correct operation and safety.
    Not in this country they don't. They might fire a couple of normal rounds to get the "fingerprint" for records purposes, but they don't proof anything. Even if they did, there are no proofing standards in the US.

    Quote Originally Posted by Brass&Lead View Post
    The problem is this display piece could have been made of the highest quality materials and workmanship or something less. By the OP comments on the need to fit the parts we can surmise that it may be more the latter than the former until tested to prove otherwise.
    I didn't have fit the parts. I just had to thin the frizzen spring down. Everything fits fine.

  12. #12
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    Your proof load should be double what you expect to shoot. Sure as God made little green apples, someday you will double load it.
    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.
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  13. #13
    Boolit Buddy
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    Interesting the "Sharp Shooter" model has no rifling.....

  14. #14
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by freakonaleash View Post
    Interesting the "Sharp Shooter" model has no rifling.....
    No Indian made gun has rifling because it would then legally be a weapon. Besides that, the original musket it replicates didn't have rifling either.

    Quote Originally Posted by waksupi View Post
    Your proof load should be double what you expect to shoot. Sure as God made little green apples, someday you will double load it.
    Well, if the forum wants to chip in to replace the gun, I'll test it to destruction. If I got $2 for every view this thread has, that would cover the gun and the expense of the test rig. Then, we could settle this debate, one way or the other.

  15. #15
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    I have read somewhere what Proof Loads were. But that was too any years ago for me to make any statement.
    Has anyone tried to Google "Black powder proof loads" ?
    "Come unto Me, all you who labor and are heavy burdened, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28
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  16. #16
    Boolit Grand Master


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    I just searched "Proof testing a Muzzle Loading Rifle".
    There is all sorts of info from the Birmingham, Itallion and other Proof Houses.
    There is a 3 minute YT from a manufacturer who uses the Double Charge (2x powder and ball) one time test measuring the barrel at 5 places before and after..
    "Come unto Me, all you who labor and are heavy burdened, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28
    Male Guanaco out in dry lakebed at 10,800 feet south of Arequipa.

  17. #17
    Boolit Buddy
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    That's a common definition of "proof load". The problem is, you have to establish what the normal load is before you can double it.


    On a related note, anybody know where I can get some really tiny fuse?
    Last edited by Thundermaker; 12-29-2020 at 07:54 PM.

  18. #18
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  19. #19
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    I own several original muzzle loaders. Sometimes I consider buying a reproduction and I do a bit of research. What I’ve come up with is the better ones come from Pedersoli in Italy. They are more expensive, but the quality and workmanship seems worth it to me. I haven’t bought one yet. This is just what I have learned from research and talking to people who own reproductions.

  20. #20
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by GregLaROCHE View Post
    I own several original muzzle loaders. Sometimes I consider buying a reproduction and I do a bit of research. What I’ve come up with is the better ones come from Pedersoli in Italy. They are more expensive, but the quality and workmanship seems worth it to me. I haven’t bought one yet. This is just what I have learned from research and talking to people who own reproductions.
    I'm sure pedersoli does make the best repros. I would hope so, since they cost about $1000 more. This thread is not a comparison of Italian vs. Indian muskets. That horse has been beaten to death and beaten some more. Its sun-bleached bones are still being pulverized as we speak. The purpose of this thread is to document my experiences with my Indian musket with actual data.

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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