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!
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
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).
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Kevin Kelly said:
I’ve never fired an 18th century replica musket. Can you explain the “fear” you have for fixing a misfire? I would think you’d just pull the hammer back and try to ignite the powder in the pan once more, but I’m obviously missing something….. thanks.
Good question. The misfire is caused by an issue with the lock. I’ll try firing it a few more times, and if that doesn’t work, then that means I need to adjust the flint or replace it, or add more powder to the pan. That means fiddling with the lock while the gun is loaded. So imagine if something was wrong with your trigger in a modern firearm and you had to tool around with it while the safety is off and a bullet in the chamber. It just makes you a little fidgety. 🙂
Then there is the possibility that you could fail to fix the lock, which means you still have a loaded weapon–basically a steel tube with lead and gunpowder stuck in it. Never fun!