Shooting pritchetts
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Thread: Shooting pritchetts

  1. #1
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    Default Shooting pritchetts

    Who here shoots pritchetts with success? I've been trying to get them to shoot (NOE .550 with deep plug) out of a first gen Parker Hale P-58 and a Pedersoli P-58 for about a year with zero luck. Can't hit paper at 50 yards and when I do they're key holing.

    So far I've tried with base plug and without. 50, 55, 60, and 65gr increment loads of 3F Olde Eynsford with no luck. Have also tried 100% cotton onion skin and vellum with no dicernable difference

    By the way round ball with pillow ticking will put 3 shoots in a half dollar at 50, so they are capable of decent accuracy.

    But pritchetts seen to need some sort of witchcraft. Any suggestions?

    And pure lead for casting.

    Sent from my Moto Z (2) using Tapatalk

  2. #2
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    Blue Oval, I have tried a few that I purchased. I only did 10 of each since they are quite costly.

    The .568's hit a 10" group at 100 yards. The .550's missed a 4x8 sheet of cardboard completely. I moved up to 50 yards and still no strikes. Finally at 25 yards I hit the top of the sheet. So they were going WAY high.

    I used 65 grains of Goex ffg. The instruction sheet give recommendations for working up a load but I don't have the funds for it. So I am going to make a sizing die to use in my reloading press. I will size down my Lee Minies and paper patch them. The problem is the it is getting a might cold for doing much shooting go here in the Great White North.

    These are the ones I used:

    https://www.papercartridges.com/pritchett-bullets.html

    If you haven't yet, check out Rob's You Tube videos:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZXL...E13GshHB8uxbK2

    Let us know how you make out with the project. My 1861 has been frustrating.

    Gunz

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the response.

    I actually have seen Rob's videos and those are what got me to acquire Enfields (and Martini rifles) in the first place. I used his drawings for making my patch/wrapper templates. Rob does however use a slightly different pritchett mold design than NOEs, so there might be something there.

    Both my rifles also shoot high like yours. If I recall about 3 feet high at 50 yards with pritchetts when they hit. Ball is high but only maybe a foot.

    I'm just stuck on trying to get them to stabilize. I'll try ordering a few 0.568s from the website. If they work than I guess I have to bite the proverbial bullet and order a .568 mold.

    I just wish I knew what witchcraft the British used to get .550s to be reliable.


    Sent from my Moto Z (2) using Tapatalk

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  5. #4
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    A few weeks ago I took out the last of my Pritchett's to shoot. The .568" gave me 13 3/4" group at 100 yards. The .550s hit 7 feet high and 3 feet left. I could see them hitting the wet clay of the berm with a mighty splatter. I have picked up a copy of, The Paper Jacket by Paul Matthews. He recounts a shooter in 1891 who shot 15 consecutive paper jacketed rounds into 2 inch ring at 200 yards! I doubt I could do that with any centre fire rifle I own with a scope on it.

    At any rate it would appear that it may be time well spent to play around with paper a bit more. To that end I have started making a sizing die to reduce my cast bullets down to .568 and I have acquired some Staedler rag paper to roll them with. An art supply place sells it by the pad or by the sheet. I see that it is possible to buy a 50 foot roll of Staedler drafting paper at Staples which is also 100% rag content. That would be a lifetime supply for the amount I will ever shoot.

  6. #5
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    BlueOvalB - I'd stick with the round balls. You know they will shoot and shoot well. RB's shoot well in all of the various military 54's and .58's & 69's.
    Daryl

  7. #6
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    I also gave the .550 plugged and the .568 pritchett a test run 2 summers ago , I bought them from paper cartridges .com , works of art . in the 1861 Springfield the .550 plugged didn't work at all , the .568 was good at 50 yards but out at 100 yards shooting low , group size was OK . since I hunt dear with it I like to use a minie that will group point of aim at 100 and keep um in a 6 inch circle . no paper patch bullet I tryed could do that . my load for the 61 Springfield is 42 grains 3f with a .578 dia ,hodgdon 398 grain north south skirmish minie .sized to .577 . my bore size is.5775 . now with this said look at it this way , bore size .5775 shooting a .550 minie ball 27 thousands undersize . bore size .5775 shooting a .568 minie ball ,7 thousands undersize . how does this promote accuracy ? It don't . this minie were design for rate of fire with at the time military accuracy. In my opinion for today's accuracy you should load a minie 1 to 2 under bore size and a minie ball that might not be period correct .

  8. #7
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    I think you are all looking at this wrong.....the Pritchett bullet is designed to shoot ,more correctrly load,in a heavily fouled barrel.......a fouled barrel where a 57 bullet couldnt be hammered down .These bullets are fit for purpose ,just not yours......Incidentally in Volunteer target shooting competition ,the answer to the use of loose fitting issue ammo was the "reduced bore" .56 ,made by all the well known makers..So take yourself to Charles Lancasters shop ,pass a few sovs over ,and purchase one of the famous Lancaster Volunteer Pattern reduced oval bore target rifles.

  9. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by john.k View Post
    I think you are all looking at this wrong.....the Pritchett bullet is designed to shoot ,more correctrly load,in a heavily fouled barrel.......a fouled barrel where a 57 bullet couldnt be hammered down .These bullets are fit for purpose ,just not yours......Incidentally in Volunteer target shooting competition ,the answer to the use of loose fitting issue ammo was the "reduced bore" .56 ,made by all the well known makers..So take yourself to Charles Lancasters shop ,pass a few sovs over ,and purchase one of the famous Lancaster Volunteer Pattern reduced oval bore target rifles.
    All true but- the .55's were accepted as a solution because they didn't ruin accuracy while allowing easier loading. There is ample data available to show how the "service bullet" (ie plugged .55 minie) would shoot. At the time of the Snider trials, for example, a group of rifles were tested pre-conversion and found to average a FOM of 1.19 feet at 500 yards. Not up there with period pure target rifles but probably a level of accuracy we'd be happy with today. Bottom line- .55's did expand and take the rifling either clean or fouled.

    Ruprecht

  10. #9
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    Hi all , I will tell you that the .55 minie ball plugged will shoot 1.3 feet at 50 yards out of the 61 spring field . clean or dirty . with some key holes . when I started shooting civil war rifles I went to the north south skirmish gentleman .and asked a whole lot of questions and than show me ...... 75 % of those gentleman did not use period correct minies . the hodgdon north south 398 minie was being widely used at that time . a friend of mine Jim shoots a 1853 Enfield in competition . I was spending all sorts of money on period correct minies , he suggest I try his load . 42 grains 3 f , 398 hodgdon and walla . it is accurate and it kills deer .

  11. #10
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    Until some shows me a better combination of a hodgdon .578 north south skirmish sized to .577 in front of 42 grains 3f , out of my original 1861 Springfield I will stick to this load . this was the last shoot just before deer season . if anyone doubts this come join me at the range and bring the best you got . the type 3 Williams cleaner has shown promise , but I haven't sat down with the new mold yet and cast . and this is with the original front sight.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails IMG_20191102_140239_1577657159510.jpg  

    IMG_20191023_202904_1577657194537.jpg  


  12. #11
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    I've had pretty good accuracy out to 100 yards with the NOE .568 Pritchetts, in my own repro cartridges, and my P58 PH rifle. Fwiw, I've had to use~stout~ loads of 3fg to get expansion of the bullet --68 grains. I also use base plugs molded from Sculpey clay, even though I've read that others find the Sculpey to not work so well.
    My experience with the .550" is much better than your reports, but it's not really a target round anyway.
    Overall, however, I'm disappointed with the NOE Pritchett molds--I have both a .568 and a .550-- I think the bullet skirts are too thick to expand properly, with pure certified lead and the normal service 60 grain powder charge.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 1858 1.jpg  

    1858 2.jpg  

    "No Anchovies? You got the wrong man, I spell my name Danger!" (Click)

  13. #12
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    John K, British Muzzleloaders (forget his name) on You Tube shoots paper jacketed bullets to pretty amazing accuracy. 20" at 300 yards if memory serves me correctly. Sure, they were designed to be easier to load but they are also expected to have a certain minimum accuracy.

    Every rifle seems to handle them differently. Some do well and some do not. You just have to try them. I want to try wrapping my own on a larger diameter bullet. I am convinced with all the testing I did on my 2 band enfield musketoon that shorter bullets will work better. The rifling twist is too slow for stabilizing long bullets. Good groups at 50 yards and lousy groups at 100 is the symptom of that. Although... some people do fine with them. As I say test and see. Different powders and different charge weights of them. It can take some time. The Lyman 315 grain SWC worked magic for me when other shot between 14" and 7 foot groups. Got them down to 3" at 100 yards.

    As for clay and wooden base plugs, I do not see the point of using using them. If the force of the explosion will force a plug to expand the lead surely it will have enough force to expand a mine's hollow base without a plug. It seems to me to add an unnecessary variable. If they are not shaped or placed to extremely tight tolerances it will unbalance the bullet making them shoot worse. No doubt there are guys who can locate them within a half a thou but I know I couldn't . More power to you if they work for you.

    I would love to see someone do a video of the minie's leaving the barrel with a high speed camera to see how much the bases expand at different charge weights. Do them with and without base plugs. Anyone got the right camera?
    Last edited by Gunzanamo; 04-30-2020 at 04:11 PM.

  14. #13
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    FGD, not all Pritchett's have a hollow base. IIRC the.550s do not but the .568's do. That is probably another eason the 550's gave me 7 foot groups at 100 yards. They are the most inaccurate bullets I have shoved down the pipe by a large margin.

  15. #14
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    Here is a rifling twist calculator that was a real eye opener for me. Play with it a bit and see what you discover. Old time smoke poles have way too slow rifling twist for the length of bullets that are typically used in them. Typically they are 1 in 48 to 1 in 72. Most of the modern ones are 1 in 24 or tighter.

    I believe that sometimes we think it takes a heavy charge to make the bullets expand when in reality it takes a heavy load to make them go fast enough to stabilize them adequately.


    http://kwk.us/twist.html

  16. #15
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    There is an important critical piece of info your leaving out , most serous shooters size there bullets 1 thousands under there actual bore size , if your bore is .580 you size down to .579 . you don't want to shoot a .575 minie out of a .580 bore if accuracy is what your looking for . some guys size down 2 thousands below bore size . a .550 prittchard shot out of a .580 bore needs to expand 30 thousands just to reach the lands and another 3 thousands to fill the grove , rate of fire is great but accuracy sucks . this is the most critical part of shooting accurate . progress rifeling is key to the minie as well . glad you got your going

  17. #16
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    Hightide, the .550" diameter is just the bullet without the paper jacket. The OD with jacket of the one I have is .570". Is is "only" a .010" expansion.

  18. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gunzanamo View Post
    FGD, not all Pritchett's have a hollow base. IIRC the.550s do not but the .568's do. That is probably another eason the 550's gave me 7 foot groups at 100 yards. They are the most inaccurate bullets I have shoved down the pipe by a large margin.
    The "Pritchett" was the initial bullet used when the P53 cam out- they were essentially solids, with a tiny base cavity. They were very rapidly replaced, in service, by hollow bullets with base plug (minies). The .55 bullet was the final iteration of the minie bullet (not counting limited use Metford hollow nose explosive bullets) and was implemented after problems arose loading the larger diameter bullets, in fouled bores, during the India Mutiny. Apparently accuracy did not suffer. Base plugs were always used but many felt the role of the plug was as much in protecting the bullet from deformation (before and during firing) as in aiding expansion. The Government bullets (.55 or .568") seem to have worked equally well in both 1:78" and 1:48" twist barrels. I have historical data showing that P53 accuracy peaked around 1865 (just before the Snider) with near one foot "figure of merit" at 500 yards (with the .55" bullet). Stability of minies can't be calculated using the standard equations- there is a significant shuttlecock effect with minies that aids stabilization.

    Ruprecht

  19. #18
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    I fully disagree with you , the bullet at the cavity is .550 and must expand to grab the rifling .the plug was added because of the amount of expansion needed to perform . the paper stablizes the bullet from chattering in the bore and adds the lube . very fast to load , the English sacrificed accuracy for volume of fire . if this style bullet was what the English designed for military service why is it not working in your Enfield the way you want for deer hunting ?

  20. #19
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    British Muzzle Loaders shooting Pritchets at 300 yards. Works for him. Sure didn't for me.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UmflqQfgXgM&t=771s

  21. #20
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    The rifling twist calculator above shows that to stabilize my 500 grain, 1.07" bullet I would have to get it up to something like 2000 fps. That would take, what, 220 grains of powder? I'm not pulling that trigger.

  22. #21
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    I've seen this video , but just watched it again , the shooter had to try 3 times with the 61 Enfield just to get all rounds to strike a piece of plywood , that's what you call accurate shooting ? That's what I call military accuracy . I'd stick with the load you worked up all is well there , and no I wouldn't pull the trigger either 220 grain load . the guy that does it rite is cap and ball . he shows you step by step what it takes to get the particular rifle he's uses to shoot accurate , and most time at 50meters he is using 38 grains of 3. F with minies over 500 grains ,

  23. #22
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    But hightide, he is shooting at 300 yards with original military open sights. My 1861 Musketoon with Pritchetts would only hit a 7 foot group at 100 yards. I'm impressed.

    The problem with shooting at 50 yards is that bullet stability issues don't usually show up. Mine was reasonably accurate at 50 but a huge disappointment at 100. With BP 50 yard groups don't tell you much really.

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