1861 Springfield made in Japan?

Discussion in 'Black Powder Shooting / Muzzleloaders / Handguns' started by Oldbull, Oct 30, 2009.

  1. Oldbull

    Oldbull New Member

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    Hello. Cound someone please tell me if these muskets were rifled or smoothbore. I haven't had the opportunity to disassemble and verify myself. I will be doing that later this evening but would appreciate anyones experiences now. Thanks.
  2. Oldbull

    Oldbull New Member

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    Okay, I found my bore light and replaced the battery. Yes the musket has rifling. I also measured the bore and got a reading of .578". All done for now.
  3. jim brady

    jim brady Well-Known Member

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    Bought one of those 1861 Springfield Rifle 'kits' from Dixie Gun Works. Too bad the kit was made in Japan, but the parts were A1 quality - including the full walnut stock. I did stamp VP, eagle head, U.S. and the U on the barrel bands, just to make it more eye pleasing to myself. Not intending to manufacture a 'fake' - just wanted to make it a little less of a Japanese import. Still has a serial number, so anyone knows that Civil War muskets were not serial numbered. Only cost a little over $500, but I wanted a shooter. You can find originals for not much more, but you'd be crazy to risk such treasure doing so.

    Also fooled around with researching and crafting 'cartridges' for it. Very worthwhile venture. If you are into history, that is a lot of fun.
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2010
  4. jim brady

    jim brady Well-Known Member

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    Old Bull - here's part two of my reply on those Japanese made Springfield replicas. I assume you bought that musket as a 'shooter'. Yup, they are rifled. I was pleased with the kit musket I completed. I use a Lyman 'old style' .58 minie ball mould, and a 60 grain FFG charge.

    You can make 'cartridges' for it by nitrating very thin paper, rolling it on a 1/2 inch dowel to form a 2 1/2 inch 'tube' over a minie bullet, then gum the paper and fill with 60 grains blackpowder. Then you remove the bullet and cartridge from the dowell and twist the loose end into a 'pig-tail'. I gum the twisted pig-tail and fold it along the side of the 'cartridge' body. Ain't easy, but it is a lot of fun.

    These 'cartridges' are delicate, so I carry them bullet-down in a civil war type cartridge box. I think the cartridge box will hold about 40 'rounds'. Only thing is that biting the pig-tail off for loading with the nitrated paper is NASTY. Have fun!
  5. Oldbull

    Oldbull New Member

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    Just a follow-up. I purchased a .580 minie-ball mold from RCBS. The mold casts a 395 grain bullet and so far I have tried several volumes of powder. 60 grains blows the skirt so I am using 55 grains. Nice 1" group 1" high at 50 yards from the bench. Definitely a shooter as I live out in Colorado. I hope to use it while deer/elk hunting next fall. I also will try to do the cartridge thing after I get in some more practice. Thanks for your advice.
  6. mrkirker

    mrkirker New Member

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    If I may offer an additional suggestion.
    I make 'cartridges' from plastic re-bar end-covers. They are colour coated to reflect re-bar sizes. The red coloured covers are just the right size to snugly hold an inverted and lubed bullet, with a powder charge underneith. (The black coloured ones are just right for .69 cal smooth-bore round balls.)

    They carry well in a CW styled cartridge box, are weather resisitant, and make loading a snap. They last a long time, as well.
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2010
  7. rammed

    rammed New Member

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    Hey Oldbull It sounds like you are good to go.

    You probably know all this but:

    Are you using 2F or 3F? It should be 2F.

    Repro barrels are cut at a 1 to 48 twist. The original barrels are 1 to 72. The faster twist is not as forgiving as the slower twist originals.

    Do you have a lot of creep on your trigger pull. If you do, pull the lock and look at the depth of the sear in the full cock notch on the tumbler. It will probably be very deep. Soft solder a piece of brass to the back of the notch. You want the sear to have a good hold on the tumbler but not so much that it will slip off accidentally.

    Is your trigger pull very heavy. You can weaken the sear spring by grinding the leg of the sear spring that puts tension on the sear. Just don't make it too light. When you are satisfied with the trigger pull polish the grind marks off the spring.

    As a disclaimer, If you are not mechanically inclined, Don't do either of these
    mods.

    If you make your own lub for the minie balls, try a toilet bowl ring from the hardware store. They are mostly bees wax. Thin it with Crisco. 4 parts toilet bowl ring to 1 part of Crisco. Not use the butter flavored Crisco.:D

    Doug
  8. mrkirker

    mrkirker New Member

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    "Repro barrels are cut at a 1 to 48 twist. The original barrels are 1 to 72."

    better check on your particular musket. not all repros are at 1/48, many are at 1/72, in order to stablize the heavy mine' ball.
  9. rammed

    rammed New Member

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    I should have said most. I have owned a couple repros that were slow twist. If the new ones are slow twist maybe they got the idea and changed. Dixie Gun Works had a booth across from us on commercial row in Friendship. I would pick up repos for guys that could not make the trip there. The barrels on their repos were one in forty eight . some were stamped Spain and some Italy. Dixie wasn't importing from Japan at that time. I have not checked a new one for about 6 years. I'm in a wheelchair now. Had to stop shooting muskets.

    Have a good one :)

    Doug
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2010
  10. jim brady

    jim brady Well-Known Member

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    Interesting! I did not know the twist rates vary that much. As I recall, the original bullet wieght for the .58 minie was 505 grains. Don't remember just what my Lyman mould casts, but I think it is close to that. The modern faster twist should handle the lighter bullets better.

    I have a 'Zouave' (Navy Arms) that is stamped 'Italy' on the barrel. Bought this one about ten years back. From everything I've read, it appears to be a rough copy of the 1855 Springfield. Lyman made these in the 1970s, too. Don't know where the 'Zouave' came from. The quality and authenticity of these varies a bunch. The Lyman and Navy arms muskets were pretty decent.

    Bought an "El Cheapo" Zouave mail order in the early 1970s. REAL piece of J.U.N.K. Two piece hardwood stock. Brass u-notch rear sight. Really poor workmanship. Look in the dictionary for "Rip-Off" and you will see this rifle's picture. Look for "Sucker" and you will see mine.
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2010
  11. Oldbull

    Oldbull New Member

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    Okay, I've got to ask...why FFg as opposed to FFFg? And why black powder as opposed to pyrodex? Using 55 grains of powder regardless of grade or make will not damage the barrel. Where are you guys getting your information? And for that matter experience? I am interested in obtaining the most accurate combination that I can. Having said that I do question you statements about restricting all components of a load. Especially since Navy Arms publishes reloads up to and including 110 grains of FFFg black powder under a 505 grain minie-ball.
  12. jim brady

    jim brady Well-Known Member

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    Hi Old Bull. No expert, just shooting blackpowder since the early 70s. A couple of different answers as far as my experiance goes. Pyrodex is a blackpowder substitute, and replaces blackpowder by VOLUME ONLY - not grain-for-grain. That is unless there has been a change that nobody told me about - And that is a possibility. I'm just a shooter.

    FFG is mostly used in very large bore pistols and rifle/muskets. 3F or FFFG is usually used in pistols or small caliber muzzel loading rifles. I have used FFG and FFFG in my .58 caliber muskets, and really have noticed no difference in loading or performance. I would assume that 3FG powder, being a finer grain powder, would ignite faster than 2FG.

    As a side note, flintlock guns usually call for 4F (FFFFG) powder for the priming pan (because it is REALLY fine powder and ignites VERY easy), but I can't see buying a whole pound of 4FG just for that, and find 3FG works pretty darn well.

    One final thought. You may already know this, but NEVER load a charge into a barrel directly from a powder horn or powder flask!!!!! That is a close cousin of holding a hot hand grenade in your hand. Always use a secondary powder metering device. That is if you like your extremities as they are.
  13. Oldbull

    Oldbull New Member

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    Jim,
    Thanks for your reply. I too have been shooting black powder from the late 1960's thru today. Rifle, shotgun, pistol and finally a civil war era musket. Am I an expert? Not in any terms but I do like to experiment. Heck I have even built my own rifles and pistols including the flintlocks and percussion locks from kits. Yes I agree FFFFg works very well to prime the pans but I do use FFFg in both my 50 and 54 rifles. Volume mesaurements and I do load from the powder measure only. One thing I do not do is hot-rod my weapons. I find a reasonable powder charge that yealds the best accuracy for the ball, patch, & lube, combination for that weapon. ie) 35 grains by volume in my 50 cal flintlock yealds a 1/2" hole for 5 shots at 25 yards from the bench. 27 grains in my 40 cal caplock squirrel rifle will take any squirrel and rabbit out to 50 yards easily. This 1861 musket does have a 1 in 48" rifled barrel. So I won't be using more than 55 grains in it as anything more blows the skirts on the minie-ball which leads to 10" plus patterns at 50 yards. Thanks everyone for your contributions.
  14. rammed

    rammed New Member

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    Oldbull
    A little history of myself. I have been shooting black powder for 25+ years at my 2 muzzleloading clubs and the National muzzleloading Rifles Association.
    Google NMLRA.com

    The advise I give is from picking the brains of the older shooters. The hints on how to tune your musket lock is from the armorer at the NMLRA. He also owns the farm that one of my ML clubs shoots at.

    As far as 2F versus 3F. Rule of thumb is 3F up to 50 cal, 2F over 50 cal.

    I don't have any experience with substitute black powders. They are not reliable in a flintlock. I do know the residue is corrosive. It is less fouling. Clean well after using.

    Do you have any blackpowder clubs in the Denver area? You can call the MNLRA ask about clubs. They are a good source of information about this hobby.

    Keep your powder dry and have a good one
    Doug
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