I tried a couple of different Barnes
slugs. Here - you see the strike on the 50 yard steel target.
Makes a huge impact!
Here's a few of the recovered slug
splats. The "coins" are all that remains of the 469
grain slugs. I weighed the "coins" and they average
about 214 grains. That means that fully 256 grains has exploded
off the collapsing slug on impact. You note the "flare"
fragments and see how there would have been a complete ring of
this material as the slug collapsed on the steel at impact.
Also - note the crisp rifling marks
on the slug bases. That bottom drive ring has turned and now shows
the surface that was cut by the rifling. Also, note the "boiled"
lead in the center of the "coins". Frozen at impact.
I kept running back and forth across
this wet weather stream to recover splats and freshen the paint
on the steel. You see the Orange steel at approx 50 yards and
the blue steel at approx. 75 yards. Camera is around 30 yards
from the bench here.
Tried the ball at 75 yards. Still working
The ball splat at 75 yards. Still "packin".
You see one of the characteristics
of commercial round ball here. They aren't all the same. You can
feel subtle differences when you load them. This one was just
a hair smaller .... and the rifling could not gain perfect control.
Still flew well (often they do) but I always like it better when
the tracks are "radial" indicting that the ball flew
as a slug - nose first all the way.
I use a "false muzzle" kit
(Barnes manufactured) and a leather ground pad when loading. The
false muzzle starts ball and ... especially slugs ... straight
into the bore without canting them..
The slugs are far more "uniform"
than ball. I mostly always size them as well. By grading and sizing,
you get very consistent ammo.
The alloy of lead makes a difference
to how slugs cast, load, and perform. Adding just a percent or
two of tin makes them cast alittle more "crisp" and
makes the slugs just alittle harder.
I had soft lead slugs and tin alloy
slugs with me. Both worked well. I did think I could notice that
the softer slugs offered just alittle more resistance when loading.
I actually had some slugs in a kit
which I carried on my Buffalo hunt! I only needed ONE slug that
day. However; modesty prevents me from mentioning that fact. ;?))
These several year old slugs worked
Both slugs flew very well. The 450
from the Buffalo hunt and the newer 469 grain.
Packed a huge punch. Oh ... WAIT! ....
that's a hub cap from a 56 Buick Roadmaster! How'd that get in
there .... haha. ;?)
This is a 50 yard slug strike with
They just hammered these steel plate
And ... I knew you'd want to see a
longer range group.
Now ... here's sum (get it?) fun with
Before I start getting the e-mails
talking about "Fliers" ... let's toss in some numerical
You can't see jack at 100 yards with
open sights. So - this group was shot totally blind until I hiked
over to the target and found it.
OK ... now .... let's say ... that's
about ... what? 8 slugs wide? Close to that. So ... 8 times the
.566" sized slug is about 4.5" ... minus one slug
to get center to center. That makes the group about 4" Pretty
close. Most everyone uses the figure of 1" @ 100 yards as
1 MOA (one minute of angle).
Let's figure how close I was holding
the barrel. I had the gun laid on my left hand and that hand on
a bag. The rifle butt was against my shoulder - without any rear
bag. Of course - I had open sights.
One MOA is .016667 degrees. That's
the Arc Angle of one MOA. Now - we have an approx. 4" group
... so that's .06668 when converted to degrees. We take Pi times
our degrees, times our barrel length (which is the radius at the
muzzle) and divide by 180. We get .0349" or ... 35 Thousandths
of an inch. Of course ... the center of our group is the POA ...
so we can divide my 2 ... to get 17.5 thousandths of an inch on
either side of perfect POA.
My digital caliper shows two of my
brand of 3 by 5 index cards at 14 thousandths of an inch in thickness.
So - WHEN THE GUN FIRED, RECOILED, AND THE BULLET LEFT THE BARREL
... holding OPEN SIGHTS on a spot 100 yards away, I held each
of five shots so that the barrel was within two thicknesses of
an index card of perfect Point of Aim. AND, I did alot better
than that for vertical hold as the group is shorter than wide.
Now ... that's just the math. That's
THE ABSOLUTE MINIMAL REQUIREMENT for those slugs to have arrived
in that configuration. That would be considering that all five
slugs were absolutely the perfect clone of each other. ANY variable
which degrades accuracy would mean I held even better than the
minimum requirement. Wind gusts, slug variation, psi variation,
bench bag compression, .... even a variation of the back pull
of pressure against my shoulder would errode accuracy. Any or
all requiring that I would have HAD to OFFSET each error by an
even more perfect hold for those slugs to print as they did.
I always hope readers will get a better
idea of the "reality of accuracy" when numbers of group
sizes are tossed around. Keep in mind too - this gun is a muzzle
loader ... SO ... between shots, I had to stand up, fill the gun,
load the slug, reseat, reacquire shooting position, and duplicate
the last shot. ;?)
The main point being ... the gun shoots
where it's pointed. And, you might imagine how easy it is to aim
half the thickness of an index card off on a fuzzy spot at 100
yards with the naked eye. ;?) You want to use high power optics
and lock the gun into bench bags, you can aim better.
I had the gun tuned to shoot these
slugs for right at 500 fpe. (You can divide by 100 during the
formula and keep a calculator from showing ERROR - but you get
the displaced two decimal places). So - we see 502.4 fpe here
at about 700 fps on these slugs.
Jack up the weight of the slug and
you get more energy. More spring, harder firing cycle - alittle
more psi - alittle more energy. I set up the guns to run to my
taste. Not necessarily with the gas petal permanently mashed to
the floor boards. ;?) I think the steel targets, the smashed lead,
and the dirt tunnel shows that this is significant energy. ;?)
The recovered full ball from the dirt
was 276.8 grains. Shot alittle over 850 fps, that gathers 444
The butt stock hammering my arthritic
shoulder and the stock cheek slapping my face during recoil was
quite enough to my taste! haha. ;?)
A slug being run down the bore during
loading! You don't want to be here when it comes back out!!!!
Hope you enjoyed the range session.
I now sand, polish, and reblue this
entire barrel (accidently scratched) and ship another completed