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Thread: Starting pointers for a newbie (Pedersoli P53)

  1. #1
    Smokepole is offline
    Visitor (non-N-SSA Member)
    Join Date
    Mar 2020

    Starting pointers for a newbie (Pedersoli P53)

    Hey there.

    I'm not an N-SSA shooter, I live far too north for that kind of thing (Stuck in No-Fun-Allowed Canada. Though it is something I'd love to participate in some day.) and I recently started getting into Black Powder rifle shooting. Was able to put some money aside and purchased myself a brand new Pedersoli P1853 Enfield Three Band. This was right before our winter set in, so I was only able to get three trips out to the range to get some shooting done with the thing. Was a blast for sure, but one thing I noticed is that my minie-balls were going just about everywhere but what I was aiming at. At a hundred yards, I was noticing impacts about ten to fifteen feet to the sides of the target both ways and what sounds like a ricochet as the bullet left the barrel. This was with 60 grains of Goex FFg, 425 grain minies sized to .576 through a pedersoli push-through sizer. (It's listed as .577/.576, though the .577 stage measures out to about .5765)

    The Minies were purchased from a lead bullet manufacturer here in Canada. I have very little to no sources for historical rifle shooting supplies up here so they were my only option. I'm not sure if it's the quality of the minie ball, the weight or other factors that might be at play for my groups to be minute of mammoth at such a distance, so I was hoping folks here would have some input on how to get the most out of my new gun.

    I've got casting equipment on the way, should hopefully be seeing it in a week from now. I got some Pedersoli Dies recommended for the rifle, but it throws a whopping 650 grain long bullet with a very shallow skirt cavity. Gonna give them a try regardless but I'm curious if there are other molds out there folks have had success with for the Pedersoli P53.

    Any input would be a huge help. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Muley Gil is offline
    34th Battalion Virginia Cavalry
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Southwest Virginia
    New England - New York, Connecticut, New Jersey and Massachusetts

    The first thing to look at is the type of lead used in your Minies. You want pure, soft lead. Hard lead will not open up and grip the rifling. Next, you want the Minie to be .001"-.002" under bore size. You may want to get a machinist to use pin gauges to determine the actual size.

    There are a number of options for Minies. The Lyman 575213 is a good one. Lee makes inexpensive Minie moulds. Some folks like the Hodgdon. I would start at 40.0 grains of FFFg real black powder and work my way up 1.0-2.0 grains at a time. I use Goex black powder, although there are others. The N-SSA only allows real BP and I've never had good luck with the substitutes anyway.

    Good luck with your shooting and perhaps you will be able to be on the line with us some day.
    Last edited by Muley Gil; 3 Days Ago at 01:24 PM.
    Gil Davis Tercenio
    # 3020V
    34th Battalion, Virginia Cavalry
    Great, great grandson of Cpl Elijah S Davis, Co I, 6th Alabama Inf CSA

  3. #3
    Jim_Burgess_2078V is offline
    15th Connecticut Volunteer Infantry
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Bull Run Battlefield
    New England - New York, Connecticut, New Jersey and Massachusetts



    You will likely get a bunch of responses with good advice here. Let me start by saying bullet fit is probably the most important factor in avoiding "minute of mammoth" groups. Using pure lead is the second most important factor. Don't trust your Enfield to be a true .577 caliber. Reproductions can vary considerably in bore size and you need a soft lead bullet that is no more than .002 under bore size if you want any kind or accuracy. Nor should you trust the quality control of commercial cast lead bullets. That "ricochet" sound you heard was likely a blown skirt on a poorly cast Minie. You will need to determine the exact bore size of your Enfield and cast your own bullets to fit.

    Most of us who have been in this game awhile have multiple bullet moulds of different diameters and multiple sizing dies of different diameters so we can tailor our ammunition to a specific firearm. It is a simple matter of testing bullets sized in increments of .001" until you find one that just fits snugly inside the muzzle. You can get plug gauges that do the same thing.

    Bullet lube can also affect accuracy and that has been a rather hot topic on this bulletin board in the past. Cold weather in your latitude can have an adverse effect on bullet lube. You want to use something relatively soft but not so soft that it might start to melt in a warm barrel.

    I weigh my bullets and powder charges for optimum consistency but I'm probably in a minority among N-SSA shooters. Many do quite well without weighing things. I dare say most of us do not use full service charges of black powder. If you have a good fitting bullet of soft lead, a powder charge between 40 and 50 grains of FFFg should be adequate for target work. Once you have found a good fitting bullet you need to experiment with different powder charges to find the optimum load that will cut the best group. If you intend to hunt with your Enfield a service charge of 60 grains FFg may still be in order.

    Good luck in finding the right combination!

    Jim Burgess
    15th Conn. Vol. Inf.

  4. #4
    Jim Brady Knap's Battery is offline
    Knap's Battery, Pennsylvania Artillery
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Gettysburg, Pa.
    Allegheny - Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Virginia
    Well said Jim.
    Jim Brady
    Knap's Battery


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Deep South - Georgia, Louisiana, Tennessee, Mississippi and Texas
    I no longer have my Pedersoli P53 as I traded it for a Pedersoli 1859 Sharps Carbine.

    But when I had the Pedersoli, it had a .578 bore. Or rather, .578 bullets were the largest it would accept, so that is what I used.

    Agree with what others have said. Pure lead is essential. Many people like to use 3F powder instead of 2F as it provides about the same bang for about 10% less powder. But sometimes you find that 2F just is what the gun likes.

    The 575213 bullet is a good traditional minie type bullet. I also had good luck with the RCBS-500M. Mine dropps large enough to be sizeable at .578. You might also consider trying the RCBS-Hodgdon bullet.

    Steve Sheldon
    4th Louisiana Delta Rifles
    Team Web Site
    NRA Certified Muzzleloading Instructor

  6. #6
    Harry Gaul's Avatar
    Harry Gaul is offline
    3rd US Regular Infantry
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    East Petersburg, PA
    Middle Atlantic - New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey

    Variety of Bullets


    Would you be interested in trying a variety of bullets sized in 575 minies shipped. I will sell you 100 bullets of different styles sized in 575 for $40 dollars US shipped. Each bullet style will be identified with bullet manufacturer and style so that in the future you can look for the bullet mold that works for you.

    True Blue and Diamond Hard,


    3rd US


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