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Thread: Please help me troubleshoot my 2 band Enfield.

  1. #1
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    Please help me troubleshoot my 2 band Enfield.

    Hello everyone,

    I have a new to me Parker Hale 2 band Enfield and it is my very first muzzle loader (I just joined NSSA for the 2019 season).

    I've been trying to see where it shoots and so far my conclusion is everywhere LOL And so I was hoping I could get some advice for trouble shooting. I'm sure I'm doing a lot of basic things wrong, but I'm going to describe what I have done and hopefully you all can guide me.

    The rifle seems essentially right out of the box. Very heavy trigger. Super short front sight and a super wide V-notch rear sight. I haven't altered anything. Bore seemed to be in very good condition.

    The mold I have is a LEE 578-478-Minie. It does cast around 477gr +/- a few grains and 0.577. I'm still new to casting as well so they aren't the most perfect bullets either.
    For lube, I'm using 50% beeswax and 50% olive oil. I just dip the bullet in the lube while its warm. When I load, I just let the extra lube that's caked on fall off as I push it down the muzzle. The bullet goes down pretty easily so my bore might be a tad bigger than .577?

    For powder, I have 3F Goex. So far I've tried 40gr, 50gr, and 60 gr. And I present to you the results at 50 yards, rifle rested on my backpack. I knew it would shoot high at that distance so I used a fine-sight with point aim right under the red circle. Please excuse the shabbyness of the target setup. Too poh to afford nice targets... haha

    The groups circled in red is the 60 grain group. The blue, 50 grain, and brown, 40 grain (a few was outside the target paper). The tiny holes are just me messing around with the Garand after getting frustrated with the Enfield.

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    What I noticed is that even though I'm keeping the point of aim as consistently as I can, the rifle definitely is favoring left. And how much it favors left depends on charge weight.

    Here come the questions:
    -Is this common, to have your rifle poi change as you change charge weights?
    -Do you guys do a quality control step when you select the bullets for shooting? Eg, only bullets that weigh within x % of nominal.
    -Is my lubing step no good? My method does seem to contribute to inconsistent lubing. Any advice as to what lube to use with what method?
    - Should I replace my front sight to something taller and also replace my rear sight to something that's conducive to more precise shot placement?

    I think my commander will help me get my trigger pull down to something more competitive.

    Any other advice, please, I'd love to hear them all.

  2. #2
    PoorJack is offline
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    I have a first gen Parker. With 42g 3f Old Eynsford, Hogdon minie sized 576, 50/50 beeswax/lard lube, it'll shoot 2in groups at 100yds. I recently worked a bit with another Parker one of my team has. With virtually no load development, it was shooting just over 2in at 50yd. That gun was marked .577 but when checked was found to be at least 580. Initial tests with 576 bullets were not successful with a big group and some keyholes. Changed to some 579s I had on hand and success.

    On your gun-
    You HAVE to know your actual bore size, not what's stamped on it, it CAN vary
    Bullets HAVE to be about .001 under bore size.
    Bullets should be QCed to eliminate variables. I use + - 1gr
    Minies are best from pure lead. WW is too hard.
    Lube is critical. I've tested Crisco v lard and lard won hands down on minies. I just dip lube the base.

    Yes, point of impact can wander with charge differences. Not unusual.

    Sights on my PH- taller thin front, rear built up with steel and fine notch cut.
    "A man can never have too much red wine, too many books, or too much ammunition"
    Rudyard Kipling

  3. #3
    PoorJack is offline
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    One further comment, the ONLY Lee mold I have that works is their version of the Trashcan minie. It casts at 576. It's been discontinued and has never been available in any other size. None of their other minies shoots well in my PH. The two molds my gun shoots wel-. RCBS Hogdon sized to the bore and the Lee trashcan also sized to bore. Both prefer the lard based lube.
    "A man can never have too much red wine, too many books, or too much ammunition"
    Rudyard Kipling

  4. #4
    bobanderson is offline
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    You have multiple issues that need to be addressed.

    First, your rifle needs to GROUP. Group size is most affected by load, sights and trigger. I would fix the trigger pull first. A heavy trigger that is crisp and consistent is ok, but "very heavy" will interfere with your ability to break the shots in the same place, even off a rest. By the way, rest your rifle with your hand between the fore end and the rest to minimize barrel jump. A rested rifle will shoot higher than an offhand hold.

    Next you should work on your load. First thing to know is your bore size. I believe Parker Hales are stamped under the breech. I would believe you can trust that marking for starters. If it's not marked, buy some minus bore gauges from Travers Tool to verify what you have. A "minus" gauge is .0005 (half a thousandth) under size so a .577 gauge will be an actual size .5765 that will be a snug fit into a .577 bore. These tools may cost you up to 5 bucks each, usually less, but will last you your skirmish career. I bought ranges of gauges around all of the common CW calibers (.515, .535-.540, .575 to .581 and .678 to .690) Sounds like a lot, but you'll waste a lot more money chasing group sizes.
    I would try as many different bullets of the proper diameter as you can. One or two of those will be your magic bullet. Look for a sutler called CWBULLETMAN (I think). He advertises cast bullets for sale so you can get a small quantity of the common minies (500 gr Old Style, Lyman 575213 for instance). Shoot the heavier bullets with 40 grains of 3f to start and then with 5 grains more or less. Many shooters try 1 or 2 grain increments but in my experience, and for shooting offhand and at the distances we do, 5 grains is good enough for starters.
    I size every bullet I shoot for two reasons. Sizing trues up the roundness of the skirt and removes excess lube that can affect loading. I use my own lube recipe in a Lyman lubrisizer with a custom base pin in the sizing die that presses the skirts out to the correct diameter. Many use a push through die with good results but that's not my style.
    After you have the right load that groups, fix the sights. Once you have the front and rear sights reworked to give you a consistent sight picture (leave the front sight taller than you need it), you can calculate the needed corrections by dividing the sight radius by the distance to the target in inches. For example, lets say the distance from the back of the rear sight to the back of the front sight is 27". To move your group 1" at 50 yards, divide the sight radius (27") by 1800 (50 yards x 3 feet x 12 inches) and you get .015". For each 15 thousandth that you add, remove or move your sights right and left, your group will move 1" @ 50 yards. Save this calculation for future use as well.

    This advice is what works for me. I'm not the top shooter on the line, but my guns hit where they are pointed, which is what you need to get to the next step.
    Bob Anderson
    Ordnance Sergeant
    Company C, 1st Michigan Volunteer Infantry
    Small Arms Committee

    "I won't be wronged. I won't be insulted. I won't be laid a hand on.
    I don't do these things to other people, and I require the same from them."
    - John Wayne in "The Shootist", 1976

  5. #5
    JW 5875V is online now
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    Other issues that will have dynamics on group size is if the bolster is touching the lock plate, tang screw being too tight,
    and check barrel bands for tightness.
    Also check bedding, sometimes too much oil
    can get under the barrel and collect grime.


    Welcome to Skirmishing where we all
    learn something new every day!!!!!!!!!!

    Jim W. 5875V
    Allegheny City Guards

  6. #6
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    I have a Pedersoli P58. It shoots very well using the RCBS-500M bullet with 60 grains 2F Goex. I had to put a taller front sight post on mine.

    Yes, it is very common to see changes in POI and group size depending on load.

    You need to use pure lead for expanding or compression bullets.

    I size my bullets by going up in sizers by .001" increments until the bullet does not fit in the bore. Then I back down one .001".

    I use a Lyman Lubrisizer that will lube and size at the same time. But, you can size and dip lube also.

    I weigh all my bullets and re-melt any +/- .5% from average.

    You may find a heavier bullet than your Lee bullet works better in the faster twist of the P58. Mine is 1:48; I assume yours is too.

    Steve

  7. #7
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    thanks all to the replies so far!

    Bore size: PoorJack, I might be in a similar situation as your friend. I gently tapped in a larger led bullet sized at 0.6 to get a impression of the muzzle, and I got a 0.587! The underside of the barrel said to use 577 bullets though. I thought early generation Parker Hales had pretty good quality, but now I'm getting a bit skeptical. Mine has serial number 1794. I just ordered pin gauges 586, 587, and 588 to get a more accurate measure.

    Stock bedding: I have not bedded anything yet. I took the barrel out and I didn't see any thing immediately suspicious. But as Jim W. pointed out, I checked the bolster-lock plate contact. If the barrel is seated in to the stock and tang bolt made snug, the lock plate won't go in... the bolster interferes with it. So what do I do now? Do I file off the lock plate or the bolster?

    Trigger: I get the importance of this. I remember when I switched out my AR stock trigger to competition grade in prep for Highpower matches, my practice scores went up immediately. Unfortunately, I don't think I'm skilled enough to work on them. In terms of method, I found this NSSA website: http://www.nwtskirmisher.com/useful-locks.shtml Is this basically what to do?

    Charge weights: Good to know that charge does affect POI. I reload for my center fire rifles and I'm accustomed to vertical POI shifts but not so much lateral shifts. At the same time, I never make 10 grain increments for load development either for that haha. It's interesting that Steve ended up with a charge that was bit on the higher end. Good data point to keep in mind. Mine is probably 1:48 as well. It's an early Parker Hale 2 band. So just from my center-fire reloading knowldge, I figure it would prefer heavier projectiles. I think I read a whole bunch of your posts regarding that also. It's been very educational!

    Bullet: Once I figured out what the true bore size is for my rifle, I think I'll take Bob's advice and sample ready made bullets. That will rule out my casting skills. But I do have a question regarding the sizing of bullets. Are you able to size up? Since my bore seems to be larger than nominal, I'm not sure if there are many molds that will drop something higher than 587. Bob, is you custom base pin for the sizer made just for that purpose? I don't have a sizer since those things seem to be expensive...

    Sights: As a few of you said, I'll leave it as it is for now and focus on groups.



    thank you again for the many advise so far!

  8. #8
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    You can't count on what is stamped on the barrel. I had a Euroarms P53 that turned out to have a .584 bore. I forget if it has the size stamped on the barrel but it never did shoot well even when I found a bullet that big to fit it. I ended up replacing it with a Whitacre barrel.

    You can "beagle" a mold by shimming it with metal tape, which will give you a slightly larger bullet across the mold blocks dimension. You can also put them in a die and swage them which will shorten them and fatten them up a bit.

    But best bet is to find a mold that drops at size or slightly bigger so you can size down. If you get lucky you can shoot as cast.

    Steve

  9. #9
    Lou Lou Lou is offline
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    Obi
    Do any of your new teammates live near you? They would be a great resource. As a new person you may not be able to execute all of the suggestions. Good to have a shooting buddy
    Lou Lou Lou Ruggiero
    Tammany Regt-42nd NYVI

  10. #10
    JW 5875V is online now
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    For the lock plate / bolster clearance,
    you could file either one, I prefer to file the bolster.
    Another option is to cut a strip of plastic milk
    carton and use it as a shim under the tang.
    I have done this on original muskets where I
    wanted to keep them in original condition.


    You have just passed the first level of musketry ---------- confusion!!
    And, asking for help*

    Jim W. 5875V
    Allegheny City Guards

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