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Thread: Starting pointers for a newbie (Pedersoli P53)

  1. #1
    Smokepole is offline
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    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!

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    Muley Gil is offline
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    Welcome!

    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; 2 Weeks Ago at 01:24 PM.
    Gil Davis Tercenio
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    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
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    Pointers

    Smokepole,

    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.

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    Jim Brady Knap's Battery is offline
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    Well said Jim.
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    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
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    Variety of Bullets

    Smokepole,

    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,

    Harry

    3rd US

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  7. #7
    Smokepole is offline
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    Thanks for the replies everyone. I was able to get the barrel checked yesterday and was given the following information:

    Small Diameter (Land to Land) : 0.5787
    Groove Depth : 0.0045
    Large Diameter, groove to groove : 0.5877

    So it looks like I've got something a fair bit larger than .577. Would I just round this up to .579 in this case? Not sure how peculiar you have to be with the overall sizing for matching bullets to the land to land diameter.

    As for powder. The selection I have here is incredibly limited. I either have Pyrodex and other substitutes, and in rare cases when the Goex FFg powder shows up during black powder season here. Ordering it is a pain due to the costs involved. I was able to get in early and picked up four bottles of the Goex FFg when I had the opportunity, so thats what i'll have to use for the meantime.

    As for the lube. What would you folks recommend? Just not sure what ratios/mixtures I should be setting up. Spring and summer here can get a bit on the hot/humid side (70f to 90f is common) if that helps determine anything.

    Also, I'd be very interested in trying out those bullets Harry, Would the .575 sized bullets be adequate for the size of my barrel? What other folks have said that might be a bit too small for what I've currently got. I'd be happy to try them regardless. (Edit: Spoke to Harry already. Thanks!)

    I have about 200+ of these commercial minie balls. Is there a way I can purify the lead myself or am I stuck with them as is? Still very new to this stuff, and im hoping to have my casting pot within a week or so.

    Thanks again everyone.
    Last edited by Smokepole; 1 Week Ago at 12:27 PM.

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    Smokepole is offline
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    Just a bump post, my last response was held up in the system until today.

  9. #9
    Lou Lou Lou is online now
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    You need a finished size of .578 if land to land is .5877.
    Lou Lou Lou Ruggiero
    Tammany Regt-42nd NYVI

  10. #10
    Jim_Burgess_2078V is offline
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    Recommendations

    Smokepole,

    Your Minie bullet can't be any larger than your musket's land diameter (.578) and not much smaller. When you get your melting pot and a bullet mould of adequate diameter you can always melt down and recycle your supply of commercial bullets into something that better fits your bore. It will still take a lot of experimentation with whatever powder obtainable to find the optimum powder charge.

    As for bullet lube, the original formulation was a mixture of beeswax and tallow. Some of us substitute shortening for the tallow or add things like olive oil to soften the beeswax. The proportions of ingredients can be adjusted depending on the season. You don't want it too hard or too soft (prone to melt easily). Commercial bullet lubes designed for black powder (SPG, MCM, etc.) may work well in summer but not so well in winter. Stay away from using any lubes containing Alox as that is intended for cast bullets in modern firearms. The purpose of the lube is to keep the black powder fouling soft. The Minies can scrape out the soft fouling from previous shots so the fouling doesn't build up in the bore. Some of us also put lube in the base cavity of the bullet to help this process but it is not absolutely necessary if you have adequate lube in the outer grease grooves. With adequate bullet lube you should be able to shoot continuously without having to clean or brush the bore.

    Jim Burgess, 15th Conn. Vol. Inf.

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