Out shooting today. I’ve made some strives with my 1777 Charleville! First off, thanks to the power of YouTube, I’ve discovered the best way to make a cartridge. I created a template using the recommended paper (Walmart packing paper actually). Now the same amount of powder and paper will be loaded every time. This technique is so nice that it makes for ‘rapid’ reload and allows the paper to remain wrapped around the ball as it is loaded in the barrel. A tighter fit means tighter groupings!

Cartridge Box

My French Grenadier Cartridge Box

Secondly, I’ve added more powder to the charge. I was using 80 Grains of FF Black powder, however Matt Murphey informed me that military charges (at least for the Brown Bess) were 120 Grains. Since the Charleville is a slightly smaller caliber than the Brown Bess, I bumped it up to 110 Grains. This took some adjustment. I basically needed to accommodate less for bullet drop.

The First Six Shots

Target (the larger holes are mine)

Target (the larger holes are mine)

This is from 25 yards. For those of you who ever shot a smoothbore musket, you know that aiming is a relative term. I was aiming for the center of the target, which I have a pretty good grouping of 5 here. However I feel obligated to explain the top right shot.

Misfiring is somewhat common for a flintlock (however not as common as you would expect). From my experience, the primary cause for a misfire is the flint failing to adequately spark the frizzen and ignite the powder in the pan. So during an hour or so of shooting I will pause to readjust, clean or replace my flint at least once or twice.

Not a big deal, however there is one drawback to misfires–they REALLY mess with my head. When you expect a large BOOM and get a quiet ‘click’, it throws things off. On top of this, adjusting the flint after a misfire can be a bit um…delicate to say the least. Tweaking a fully loaded firearm with a pan full of powder can test my nerves. As a result, I’ve discovered that if I misfire more than once, it affects my aim proportionally.

So that top hole in the target? Yea, that is a shot after 3 misfires in a row. Three ‘clicks’ when I expected a BOOM…Thats my story and I’m sticking to it.

VERY exited about my shoot today. Now that my methods are becoming more systematic and consistent, I expect my accuracy to eventually improve. I want to move to the 50 yard range soon, but I still need to try and figure out a way around the range rule that states you must be sitting when shooting from the 50 yard range (this rule is the sad result of irresponsible/inexperienced gun owners not respecting their firearms. If anything, the attention that the Charleville demands has taught me a respect for firearms– but thats a post for another day).

The barrel can get very hot after only a few shots.

The barrel can get very hot after only a few shots.