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Thread: First shots with my Parker Hale 1858 Enfield

  1. #1
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    First shots with my Parker Hale 1858 Enfield

    Was out yesterday for the first time with my Parker Hale-made 1858 Enfield.
    Set up a target at a measured 50 yards and shot from a benchrest.
    Didn't get a whole lot of shots off, because my buddy is a videographer and wanted to get video of me shooting it. He'd never seen a muzzleloading rifle, so for him it was a treat. Got some nice video with the camera set on a tripod, and me shooting to the side of the tripod.
    But ultimately, I put 3 shots into a 1" group about 2 inches above the point of aim. This was with the Enfield's sight at its lowest setting, presumably 100 yards.
    Theload was:
    Kik FFFG black powder, 60 grains measured by volume.
    Lyman 575213PH bullet of 566 grs., soft lead.
    Bullet lubricated with Gatofeo No. 1 Lubricant, a homemade lubricant I've used for all blackpowder purposes for years.
    CCI Musket cap

    We also shot some plastic 2-liter bottles filled with colored water, my buddy brought along. He set his camera on a tripod about 20 feet from the jugs, turned it on, retreated to behind me, and we got some fun footage of the bottles exploding in a spray and mist.

    My last shot of the day was to try to hit a desert rock at about 1,500 yards, with the Enfield's ladder-type sight set to 1,000 yards. Alas, we didn't see the bullet strike. The ground was wet. If it had been summer, we surely would have seen a cloud of dust erupt.

    This was my first outing with the 1858 Enfield and I just love it. Got it in November, but it's been so dry this winter that I've been reluctant to take it out. We had a long, wet spring and summer and the dry, brown Cheatgrass and other grasses are high. I've been afraid of one spark starting a range fire.
    We fired from an area that was bare ground for 25 or 30 yards ahead of the muzzle. Beyond that, the grass was damp from recent snow.

    I was a little surprised at the recoil of the 1858 Enfield. I'd equate it with roughly a 20-gauge shotgun and upland loads. Not uncomfortable, but I guess I've been spoiled by my Hawken-pattern .50 caliber and its lead ball in a cloth patch.

    Today is dreary, rainy and just above freezing. More snow is forecast through the week, but I hope this weekend will clear and I can get out again. I'm fortunate to live in the remote Utah desert, where I can shoot as far as the eye can see. Rather anxious to see what the ol' girl can do out to 500 yards or more.
    But first, I need to practice at 100 and 200 yards.
    I've been shooting cap and ball revolvers for more than 40 years, but this is my first .58-caliber Civil War era rifle. I think I just found a nice adjunct to my longtime hobby!
    "And therein did I see an ugly cat. Blue smoke. Brimstone. Holes in paper. And this ugly cat was much amused." --- the prophesies of Gatodamus (1503 - 1566).

  2. #2
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    Go to Dixie Gun Works and get a box of the swedged bullets for the Enfield. You will be suprised to see the difference they make.

    http://www.dixiegunworks.com/advance...enfield+bullet



    Oneshooter
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  3. #3
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    It is interesting you comment on the recoil. Years ago when I was researching a Civil War rifle, the recommendation was to shoot both Enfield and Springfield as the stock design made them very different to handle even with the same load. The Enfield stock being straighter tends to smack the cheek more than the Springer with its' more exaggerated drop. I'd own one if it weren't for that.

  4. #4
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    I don't recall my cheek being smacked. I do recall the recoil into my shoulder. I was surprised but shouldn't have been because of physics: the heavier the projectile, the more recoil (powder charge being at or near equal).

    Oneshooter, thanks for the tip about swaged Enfield bullets.
    I looked at Dixie Gun Works when I began to order bullets, but found them at about 50 cents each. I found them at about 36 cents apiece on an online auction.
    But I'll have to return to DGW for the more authentic swaged, smoothsided, hollowbased bullet.
    "And therein did I see an ugly cat. Blue smoke. Brimstone. Holes in paper. And this ugly cat was much amused." --- the prophesies of Gatodamus (1503 - 1566).

  5. #5
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    Gatofeo,

    Why such a heavy bullet?

    I understand that the US issue cartridge (used in both the Springfields and Enfields carried a bullet of 505 grs. - 510 grs.

    Those bullets have worked well with the sight graduations out to 300 yds.

    Buckshot

  6. #6
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    The 566 gr. bullet -- Lyman 575213PH -- I used is made espressly for the Parker Hale and its 1:48 rifling with progressive depth. Lyman's version has a shallower hollowbase and slightly thicker skirt than its companion mould, the 575213 (no suffix).
    Lyman also makes the 575213OS, to indicate an older style Minie ball.
    In any case, I used the bullet that my research indicated would be the most accurate in my Parker Hale, with its rifling authentic to the original Enfields.
    My research paid off. I fired four shots onto a target that first day of firing, at a measured 50 yards. Group size was 1" measured from center to center.
    I would have fired more shots onto targets, but my videographer friend wanted more shots of me busting 2-liter bottles filled with colored water. Ultimately, we even got a frame that showed the bullet in flight, enroute to a plastic bottle.

    I haven't been out with the Enfield since that Feb. 11 day, because it's been cold or windy since. Some weekend soon, when I get a warm day, I'll try my Parker Hale Enfield at longer range.
    "And therein did I see an ugly cat. Blue smoke. Brimstone. Holes in paper. And this ugly cat was much amused." --- the prophesies of Gatodamus (1503 - 1566).

  7. #7
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    Two interesting video captures of me firing my 1858 Enfield made by Parker Hale in the early 1980s. One photo shows it firing, and the black arrow I've inserted shows the .58-caliber Minie' ball in flight, enroute to the distant plastic jug filled with colored water.
    The next photo shows the jug bursting.
    My friend took the video and sent me these two photos, but was unaware he'd captured the bullet in flight. When I saw them, and the intact jug in the background, I realized that the bullet had to be somewhere between the smoke and the jug. Found it!
    He used a Canon digital still camera that also has built-in video.

    These photos are copyrighted 2012 by Gatofeo ... me! Gunrightsmedia.com may use them for its message board, but any other use or copying requires my permission. Contact me at gatofeo@cut.net for permission or details.
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    "And therein did I see an ugly cat. Blue smoke. Brimstone. Holes in paper. And this ugly cat was much amused." --- the prophesies of Gatodamus (1503 - 1566).

  8. #8
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    Mohsin

    I looked at Dixie Gun Works when I began to order bullets, but found them at about 50 cents each. I found them at about 36 cents apiece on an online auction.
    But I'll have to return to DGW for the more authentic swaged, smoothsided, hollowbased bullet.

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