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Old 08-27-2012, 07:32 PM
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Default shooting the black powder shotguns for hunting

Well, I have been asked several times over the last few years and more than a few lately about BP shotguns and hunting.
To that end, I will start this thread.
Many others , mind you , hunt steady with them as well, my good friend Hornhead, on occasion, uses a double flint shotgun to hunt pheasants and geese, and I know Petew also hunts with a muzzle loading shotgun .
I have also watched DaJimmer -after only a quick few minutes of instruction take a fast flying chukar with his single barrel muzzle loader as well.

So, for those who are interested, i will get this on the go, and will start from the bare basics, so if anyone wants to chime in please be aware that I am not going to get too complex about things so the new guys can get some sort of info on just how easy and enjoyable shooting with the old guns can be!

Also be aware that I will not be talking about the new stuff like inline muzzle loading shotguns because I know nothing about them.

First off, I will start with the muzzle loaders because they are a bit easier to decipher than cartridge guns.

You have several ignition systems, but flint and percussion cap are the two most common and I will only be talking about the cap guns because they are by far the most prevalent.

The percussion cap is just that, a small cap that is put over the nipple of the gun.
When the hammer strikes , the primer in the cap sens a strong spark down the barrel and ignites the black powder charge

The charge itself is made up of (for a 12 bore gun)
A: Black powder - either FFG or FG Powder

B: a hard card wad of about .125thick to seal the gasses

C: a softer lubed cushion wad of about .50 thick that is used to keep the fouling soft and to cushion the shot charge . This is a very hot topic among BP guys - many say the cushion wad does nothing, but most of the guns I have shot over the years are far easier to load after shooting with cushion wads.

D:another very thin wad of about.035 keeps the shot from inbedding in the cushion wad

E: the shot charge itself is then poured down the barrel and

F: another .035 wad is rammed down on top of it.

The gun is then capped , the hammers in turn are lowered slowly onto the cap to make sure it is seated properly, and then the hammers brought back to half cock.
Some hunters refrain from capping until the game is sighted or the dog goes on point, preferring not to trust a half cock hammer- on older guns this is often a very wise thing if the half cock is worn.

TOOLS THAT ARE IMPORTANT!

Okay, that's is how the gun is loaded, now here is what you NEED to load it!
Be aware, that the range is not the same as the field, many shooters ( I am not innocent here either!) tend to spread stuff out all over the bench when they are shooting at the range , but the most important thing to remember when hunting is to have a good system to organize your possibles in !

There are numerous bags out there, and some have the shot bag built into the strap with a special measure to dispense the shot .
Most also have several pouches in them, and often times a smaller pouch with a separate flap .
A horn or flask is also needed for your powder, and a cap dispenser , although not mandatory, is very handy.

You will need a measure of some sort as well, and the easiest way to find that is to buy a brass adjustable one with a swing over funnel on it.
Many shooters use a bit more shot than powder, but if you run 90 grains of FFG and use the same measure for your shot you will not go wrong with a 12 bore.
You will also need a a ram rod of course, and with shotguns there are synthetic ones out there that do well and tend not to break in the field!

NOTES ON LOADING:
before we load the gun, it must be clean and not plugged in the ignition channel, many hunters snap a cap while holding the muzzle down near a blade of grass to see if it will be blown by the ignition when the cap is snapped, other simply blow down the muzzle to see if the channel is clear - I MUCH prefer the snap a cap method!
hen you laod the gun the hammer(s) are on half cock, this way no air can get trapped with the powder.

The powder is poured from its container into the measure and in turn it is poured into the barrel.
Many fellas keep a thumb over the other barrel when they are pouring the powder in, then put the card wad jsutt started, then do the other barrel the same .
After the card wads are put down, they then repeat with the other wads , and in turn the shot.
This insures that they do not get a double charge or no charge in one barrel !!
I will stop this here for know and get some pics up.
Cat
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Last edited by catnthehat; 08-27-2012 at 07:43 PM.
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Old 08-27-2012, 07:59 PM
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Stuff tends to get spread around the bench when at the range because , well, it does!



A well organized bag goes a long way to making a hunt enjoyable.
This is the bag that was issued with this Berreta 300 year Anniversary muzzle loader.
Note that it is a O/U, most original guns were SXS, but this one was copied from an original and was one of 1,000.
Good guns with a few quirks of their own due to a very long ignition channel for the lower barre.

measuring the powder


wads going in

Capped and BOOM!

Followed closely by " Did I hit it??!!"

Cat
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Old 08-27-2012, 08:02 PM
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Are you ever planning a trip up this way?
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Old 08-27-2012, 08:08 PM
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Originally Posted by joshcat View Post
Are you ever planning a trip up this way?
Not in the near future, no, I am planning to pack up the guns and head south for the annual "Great Alberta Bird Safari" to brooks however.
Cat
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Old 08-27-2012, 08:14 PM
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I am interested in a BP, just not sure If i would go cartridge or muzzle loader.
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Old 08-27-2012, 08:15 PM
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DANG! Side tracked AGAIN!!
Okay, MORE tools!
In case you get a damp charge that will not ignite, , or no powder, you will need a little gadget that screws onto the end of the ram rod and is called a worm.
This looks like a cork screw that you can pull the wads with to clear the offending barrel and get it smoking again.
After the wads are out , work the worm in there until you get the powder out, then try and snap a cap on the barrel - it helps to make sure you are on the PROPER barrel .

I saw that once at a shoot, and the shot charge made a pretty impressive hole in the ground, the shooter's face didn't go back to normal for the whole day!
After the barrel is clear, it helps to put a brush onto the rod and work the crud out of the barrel.
many guys carry a small bottle of water or gas line anti freeze, or windex with them for this as well.
Snap a cap and resume the fun!
Cat
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Old 08-27-2012, 08:23 PM
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Okay, that is about as uncomplicated it gets for muzzle loaders - except for the cleaning.
Most guns have what is called a hooked breach, the barrel basically is held by a wedge that when slid out of the stock, lets the barrels get lifted off and then you can remove the nipples and stick the barrels into a bucket of hot soapy water and work a patch up and down on the ram rod like a bilge pump.
Run a rinse through it, make sure it's dry, oil it up, and then clean out the nipples.

I spray my guns down with G96 afterwards, some guys use WD40, and others use other stuff.
Still others simply clean out their guns with Windex, but unless I am going to keep shooting all day Ii don't like to do this.
Seems to me we were shooting a few years back and I loaned a gun to a fella and never checked it afterwards.
Turns out I traded the thing and the poor guy who got it finally gave up trying to get it clean!
Very embarrassing for me, nobody's fault but mine for sure.
Anyway, ask any questions and PM away if you wish, we will start on the cartridge guns tomorrow!!
Cat
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Old 08-27-2012, 09:00 PM
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Thats awesome Dave... Hope you can make it down to Magrath this year to chase some birds around with us when your on your great Alberta bird hunting crusade...
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Old 08-27-2012, 09:06 PM
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Originally Posted by elkhunter1234 View Post
Thats awesome Dave... Hope you can make it down to Magrath this year to chase some birds around with us when your on your great Alberta bird hunting crusade...
Well, maybe we should take a hike for the day!
I'll check with Hornhead and see what he figures.
Cat
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Old 08-28-2012, 06:23 AM
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Im in the market for one now for sure.
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Old 08-28-2012, 07:16 AM
densa44 densa44 is offline
 
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Smile Thanks Cat

That shootin' iron looks kind of heavy, how much do you think it weighs?

My concern is how is the gun unloaded? I know that you can shoot it but is there another safe way?

If you are at the Taber Pheasant Festival, I'll try to look you up, our dog just got a UT prize one and she is raring to go.
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Old 08-28-2012, 07:46 AM
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Originally Posted by densa44 View Post
That shootin' iron looks kind of heavy, how much do you think it weighs?

My concern is how is the gun unloaded? I know that you can shoot it but is there another safe way?

If you are at the Taber Pheasant Festival, I'll try to look you up, our dog just got a UT prize one and she is raring to go.
That gun is actually lighter than a normal O/U shotgun, very nice handling gun in fact.
if you look back about five posts, you will find the part about unloading a misfire, you use the same method for a charged gun.
Be aware, that a muzzle loader is not demed "loaded" until it is primed with either flash powder or percussion cap.
however, one must be carful not to be smoking around the stuff!

Cat
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Old 08-28-2012, 10:19 AM
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Slight corection , Pete is still looking for a ML shotgun to hunt with. I thought I had one a couple times, but deals didn't materialaze as planed. It will happen sooner or later. Great Tutorial Cat.
Pete
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Old 08-28-2012, 08:58 PM
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Sorry to butt in, Im no old pro like cat but have shot a few 10ooo rounds or so from a muzzle loader in my time.... Anybody trying this on there own a few extra tips.
It helps greatly to bite the edge of your over powder and over shot wads, it releases the air wich helps the wad from going down to tight, helps not to blow the powder into the nipple drum, or out the flash hole, especially on trade guns (big vent typically), helps if your wads seem to turn sidways in the barell. A nipple/flashhole pick is an indespensible tool, I leave the pick in my flint's flash hole when ever possible, it helps to pick a flint even if its not dirty when the main charge is loaded. It creates an airspace into the charge, and helps ignition. Talk to your welder friends and ask for a set of torch tip cleaners, they're perfect.
When I hunted or did a "grouse walk" I used tissue or news paper to premake my loads in a sort of cartridge. You twist it all up like rolling a cigarette, powder wads and shot twisted seperately. Tear the paper pour the powder, ram the wads in and seat, stuff the shot down paper and all. Its a great way to speed load and avoid carrying powder horn and measure, shot snake and measure, possibles bag full of 3 kinds of wads, etc..
Remember black powder is hygroscopic, so it actually attracts moisture from humid air, or rain down the barrel. I always shot or pulled a charge after the days hunting. Your powder will get sticky or even soft, causing misfires and hangfires. Its a good habit anyways, as I have seen more than once when capping to clear the barrel, there was a forgotten load that went off from hunting season past. This goes for caps too, if its been on the nipple all day when its damp, throw it out, they tend to soften up, misfire and plug your nipple with the resulting paste. Keep your flints clean and sharp. Dont forget the check it, its embarrasing when you have a loose flint fall out of the hammer when somebody is watching, not that I know anything about that.
If you can get your hands on the vhitavhouri brand black powder it is amazing stuff (also amazingly corrosive) But thats my personal opinion.

Last edited by flint guy; 08-28-2012 at 09:05 PM.
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Old 08-28-2012, 09:27 PM
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lease, butt in all you want,these are all good tips, for sure.
The best caps I have ever used are CCI, I have got them soaked form a dunking and dried them out the next day and they still worked - wouldn't recommend it , though!

I make a habit of clearing my guns every evening , for sure, don't like to leave a charge in there unless I am going to be in the hotel room with them and the air is not too humid.

many shooters I know keep a few kernels of rice in their powder horns to help absorb moisture.
Cat
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Old 08-29-2012, 06:57 AM
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Smile Gentlemen

O.K. you want to "unload" your fowling piece, do you leave the shot in the barrel or is that removed first (before firing the powder).

Is this procedure safe? Do the wads burn and create a fire hazzard?
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Old 08-29-2012, 07:45 AM
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Originally Posted by densa44 View Post
O.K. you want to "unload" your fowling piece, do you leave the shot in the barrel or is that removed first (before firing the powder).

Is this procedure safe? Do the wads burn and create a fire hazzard?
You have to use the worm on the end of the ram rod to take out the overshot wad., the shot will fall out then so you can ut it back into your flask, horn etc.
Then you oull wuth cushion wad and the hard nitro card wad.Then take out the powder- pretty much the reverse order of how you put it in there!
And yes, it is safe as long as you do not have a big o White Owl Invincible in your yap or any other smoke for that matter!!
In the dry weather one must be aware of their card wads, yes, they will smoulder for a time and can be a bit of a hazard!
Cat
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Old 02-10-2013, 12:47 PM
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Bumping this one for ABB!
Cat
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Old 02-19-2013, 10:27 PM
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Default shooting the black powder shotguns for hunting

I have been told that the govt is working on gun powder that goes bad. Putting an experation date on ammo. Ending people "stocking up" on ammo.

That would stink,to put it nicely. I have rifles that I only shoot one or two shots a year. At 40 a box, a box should last me 10 years. If it goes bad then Im out more money for nothing.
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Old 02-19-2013, 10:34 PM
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But the government doesn't make gunpowder.
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Old 02-20-2013, 05:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Smoolodag View Post
I have been told that the govt is working on gun powder that goes bad. Putting an experation date on ammo. Ending people "stocking up" on ammo.

That would stink,to put it nicely. I have rifles that I only shoot one or two shots a year. At 40 a box, a box should last me 10 years. If it goes bad then Im out more money for nothing.
Urban legend!
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Old 03-05-2013, 02:20 PM
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Guess I need to study this page more. I am the very proud owner of a pristine Pedersoli 12ga Double. Cat came thru with an awesome gun for me. Thanks Bud. I love it and can hardly wait to fill the air with smoke and shot.
Pete
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Old 03-06-2013, 06:36 PM
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Friday is the day to christen the new Double 12 I got from Cat... I had caps and powder and shot, but no wads or cards. Today I got a few cards and wads from my buddy, and now I am getting excited to try out the Pedersoli double. I can't wait to hear her bark and belch smoke and flames.
I expected a heavy weight gun like my Hawhen rifles are, but to my delight it is the lightest weight double I ever held. After the shooting trials on friday I will post about how good or bad and easy cats directions above are, without the part about removing a charge because of no powder in the barrel I hope.











I think I am sliding off the evolutionary chain. Modern semi autos to compound bows , to traditional bows , to Home made all wood self bows, to percussion caps and Flint locks.
Yup going backwards and loving every step.
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Old 03-06-2013, 06:40 PM
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DANG!! I should have thrown some wads in for you!
Cat
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Old 03-06-2013, 06:56 PM
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I should have asked.
I just wish that I discovered a long time ago how beautiful , slender and light weight these guns are.
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Old 03-09-2013, 07:02 AM
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She shoots so nice. I fired a couple rounds Friday .
We learn something every time we shoot a diferent type of BP gun,
What I learned Yesterday is you need to squeeeze the cap a bit to make it tight on the nipple. The nipples on this one are still like new, smooth and shiney on the outside.A loose percussion cap will be blown off 1 barrel when both hammers are cocked and you fire the other side. A simple squeeze of the caps skirt to create a friction fit when puting it on is an easy fix.

I think a Flint lock is a great way to avoid this tiny issue.

You can not have to many Flinters.

Last edited by petew; 03-09-2013 at 07:07 AM.
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Old 10-10-2013, 11:04 AM
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A bit of time has passed since I got the Pedersoli from my friend Cat, and a few things learned. It is actually a 13 ga, and normal 12 ga wads are a bear to load. Yes a 13 ga, and to my surprise 13 ga wads and cards are readily available.
From doing some research it is very common for muzzle loaders to be bored in odd ball gauges like a 13 even though they are sold as a 12.
It turns out this one is a cyl bore 13, not a choked 12. perfect. for my needs.

This weekend I am going to do some patterning with #6 shot, 00buck and some .690 round balls I just cast. I like the idea of #6 in the right side and a 485 gr .690 pure lead ball in the other for that deer that always steps out at 20 yards on a bird walk. {Those 13 ga wads and cards load so easy.}
With luck it will shoot the RB accurately in 1 or both sides out to 40 or 50 yards.I hope it likes an over powder card, fiber cushion wadd, ball, card , rather than patching the round ball. Time will tell.

I can't see me using the 00buck to hunt with other than possibly a coyote load.

Last edited by petew; 10-10-2013 at 11:10 AM.
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Old 10-10-2013, 11:13 AM
blueskys blueskys is offline
 
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You can get gasket punches at Acklands sized in 1/32" increments. I punch out my own wads. The tops off of Kentucky Fried Chicken barrels work great for card wads over powder when shooting conicals in my flinter.
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Old 10-10-2013, 11:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blueskys View Post
You can get gasket punches at Acklands sized in 1/32" increments. I punch out my own wads. The tops off of Kentucky Fried Chicken barrels work great for card wads over powder when shooting conicals in my flinter.
Good to know, thanks. I just got 1000 of each so I will be ok for a while.
Those KF lids would be pre lubed with grease too. LOL
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Old 10-10-2013, 05:39 PM
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Interesting that it measures as a 13 bore, IIRC isn't it labled as a 12?
And yup, you can get pretty much any size of wad you want from either Circle Fly or OxYoke!

Cat
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