CptCurlAdministrator
(.450 member)
18/11/17 11:55 PM
16 Bore Double Rifle

This week I became the owner of a 16 bore double rifle made by John Pratt of Edinburgh. Going by the address on its rib it was made before 1853.

It has 28" damascus barrels with 11 grooves. The lands are squared on top. The grooves are "U" shaped. Both bores are excellent with no pitting or other blemishes. I haven't measured its twist, but the grooves appear to make over 1/3 and just less than 1/2 revolution in the length of the barrels. I think it will measure about 60" twist. Given the number of grooves and their cross-section I believe the rifle was plainly made to shoot a round ball, which delights me.

This is my first muzzle loading double rifle. I'm sure I will learn a lot as I get to know it. There are 8 very old lead balls present in the case. I wiped off the lead oxyidation with an oily rag and plan to shoot these today. I have a modern ball mould of correct size and will fire up my lead furnace in the coming days.

It's sinful to make a post such as this without sharing some photos. I haven't had time to photograph the rifle myself, but here are a few photos from the listing by which I bought the piece.




















I will post more elegant photos when I can.

BTW, it has shot barrels also!

In the meantime, here's a question. What size percussion caps? I have some No. 11 caps. They are just a bit loose on the nipples. They will do for practice but might fall off in a hunting situation. Any suggestions?

Curl


Wayne59
(.400 member)
19/11/17 04:53 AM
Re: 16 Bore Double Rifle

Size 10 percussion caps. Not real common will have to go to Track of the wolf or The Gun Works in Springfield Oregon. Looks like a lot of fun. Can't waite to see how well it shoots.

Daryl_S
(.600 member)
19/11/17 05:04 AM
Re: 16 Bore Double Rifle

If need be, the 11's can be pinched a bit, but should have the right sized caps.

You might want to pull the nipples and check them Curly - making sure the inner hole isn't too large.

With a 60" twist, or maybe slower, there is really no limit on loads - so whatever shoots to the sights will work.

Curl - you dog. What a beautiful 'find'. Well done, man.


sharps4590
(.300 member)
19/11/17 06:38 AM
Re: 16 Bore Double Rifle

Is there an adjective that satisfactorily describes that rifle/gun? Superlative seems inadequate to me. Very well done sir and a hearty congratulations.

Daryl_S
(.600 member)
19/11/17 08:51 AM
Re: 16 Bore Double Rifle

A sharper picture of the muzzles would be nice.

93x64mm
(.400 member)
19/11/17 09:07 AM
Re: 16 Bore Double Rifle

Quote:

Is there an adjective that satisfactorily describes that rifle/gun? Superlative seems inadequate to me. Very well done sir and a hearty congratulations.



Bloody marvellous (piece of kit)
Sorry two words!
Thanks for that CC, hope to see more photos & what she will do.
Don't get any better than this.
93x64mm


Iowa_303s
(.375 member)
19/11/17 02:45 PM
Re: 16 Bore Double Rifle

Oh WOW! what a great find!
Can't wait to see more


BigEyeBob
(.275 member)
21/11/17 02:39 PM
Re: 16 Bore Double Rifle

That damascus pattern is absolutely gorgeous . Im very green with envy.

tinker
(.416 member)
22/11/17 03:40 AM
Re: 16 Bore Double Rifle

Nice..!!!


I need to catch up with you Curl.
Perhaps a call is in order over this holiday season...



Cheers
Tinker


CptCurlAdministrator
(.450 member)
22/11/17 12:19 PM
Re: 16 Bore Double Rifle

Tinker,

I would welcome a call. My number hasn't changed. I hope you are doing well.

Haven't had the 16b to the range yet.

Curl


CptCurlAdministrator
(.450 member)
02/12/17 11:13 PM
Re: 16 Bore Double Rifle

An update.

Last week I spent an afternoon casting some much needed bullets. I was nearly out of the .450 bullets I use in my .450 3-1/4" BPE Holland & Holland double and Henry single shot. But I also cast a good bunch of 16b balls.

The Pratt double came with a modern 16b ball mould. It casts a fine round ball for this rifle. I laid in a fairly good supply.

With loading supplies in hand I ventured to the range this past Sunday - November 26. Making a guess, I decided to try 3 drams (85 grains) of GEOX 2F.

The rifle has wonderful bores. Here are a couple of photos.



Right barrel.





Left barrel.



Notice that the tops of the lands are square and sharp. The grooves are "U" shaped - no corners in the grooves at all. There are 11 grooves. This geometry says to me that the rifle was made to shoot a patched round ball.

You can see some etching of the damascus structure visible in the very oblique light of my photos, but there are no corrosion pits or other blemishes at all.

Optimistic that the rifle would like my newly cast balls, I loaded her up. Here she is loaded and capped with the first two loads by my hand:





My balls measure 0.658". I used 0.015" thick pillow tick cloth for my patches. It was generously lubed with BP bullet lubricant. The ball and patch made a tight fit and loaded well.

At 50 yards I let fly with a right and a left. The right printed slightly above the left. I loaded her again and sent two more balls down range. Again, the right printed slightly above the left. Here's my very first target. In the bottom left corner I drew a legend to identify my individual shots.





In my mind I was seeing fairly good success. With a bit of fine tuning I felt the barrel groups could be brought to the same elevation, with good regulation. So which way to go? In the interest of conservative loading practice I decided to try slightly lighter loads.

For the next hour or two I loaded successively lighter charges. All the while I observed the vertical dispersion increasing. Of course, by the end of this I deduced the old girl probably wanted a little heavier charge. But the day was then done, so I cleaned her and took her home. I felt pretty good about the day's shooting.

Reflecting on my results I couldn't help but wonder, "What was the 'normal' load for a 16b muzzleloading round ball rifle?"

That evening I got my good friend Watson577 on the phone. He's an encyclopedia of knowledge. I told him about the day's shoot and asked whether he knew of the "normal" charge for a 16b back in the day. He thought for a moment and then said, "There's a book by James Forsyth titled The Sporting Rifle and its Projectiles. You can download it from Google Books. I believe toward the end of that book he has a chart with exactly that type of information."

I downloaded the book and quickly skimmed through it. Sure enough, on page 156 is a chart with exactly the general information I was wanting.



Pay attention to the footnote. Forsyth refers to the muzzleloader I have as a 14b, with a notation that in a breech loading rifle it would be designated a 16b. He states the normal charge to be 4 drams in a 9 pound rifle.

This information confirms the deduction I had already made. The old girl wants a little more coal. For my next trip to the range I will try incremental increases from 3 drams up to 4 drams (maybe up to 4-1/4 if it seems necessary). Stay tuned!

Curl


CptCurlAdministrator
(.450 member)
02/12/17 11:26 PM
Re: 16 Bore Double Rifle

Oh, I failed to mention this. The fired patches I recovered were absolutely undamaged. There were no cuts nor burns. These patches could easily be used again. Of course, I won't do that!

Curl




Heelerau
(.300 member)
03/12/17 10:21 AM
Re: 16 Bore Double Rifle

I have a similar stye of rifling in my Lancaster style flintlock long rifle, 44 inch swamped collerain barrel, the rounded grooves work fine w. your rifle would be for patched ball. Ball was for a long time a preferred projectile, hardened with a little tin or antimony. Big charge, and slow twist to prevent stripping. Lovely piece, I do not to envy, but I could !! You might try a greased felt wad over the charge and see how that goes. I have had success with my 12 bore Forsythe type rifle. It will interesting to see what charge your settle on, I think the FFg is a good idea. These rifles I suspect are for shorter, rather than longer ranges. For dropping large moggys at your feet !

Lovely piece look forward to your next range report.

Cheers

Gordon


Wayne59
(.400 member)
03/12/17 01:14 PM
Re: 16 Bore Double Rifle

If I read your legend correctly it looks like R1 & L1 crossed And R2 & L2 did not. Did you clean the bores after the first round or did you just reload and shoot the second string. I would not discount 1f powder if you have any. From what I have read the rounded groves in your bore where there to reduce powder fowling. JMHO 1F may be more suited to that style rifling.

Heelerau
(.300 member)
05/12/17 09:46 AM
Re: 16 Bore Double Rifle

Mate ,
I might also be inclined to fit a new set of cones, when they flame cut out over time the groups will expand, you can get them sent over from Track of the Wolf, just need to work out the threads with a thread gauge.
Is there any information in the case or on the rifle re charge? as the rifle will have been regulated for a particular ball and charge weight. As Darryl says what ever the charge for the rifle to shoot to the sights. Is the powder flask original to the rifle?
You will have a big old bunch of fun with that rifle, have you tried the shotgun barrels? and if so how does the balance feel?

Cheers

Gordon


lancaster
(.450 member)
06/12/17 06:19 AM
Re: 16 Bore Double Rifle

great double, thanks

93x64mm
(.400 member)
06/12/17 07:21 AM
Re: 16 Bore Double Rifle

Coming together nicely Capt!
Bit more for you to play with....lucky bugger, we're all envious!


Chasseur
(.375 member)
20/02/18 05:38 AM
Re: 16 Bore Double Rifle

Supurb Curly!

Daryl_S
(.600 member)
20/02/18 08:01 AM
Re: 16 Bore Double Rifle

Good stuff, Curly.

If testing patches or sighting, oft times I pick up the old patches and indeed, use them again, in my 14 bore rifle.

I call my .69 a 14 bore & it measures 9 1/2 pounds, as well as having a bore .003" smaller than true 14 bore size. I use either a 15 bore ball (.677" in WW or pure) or the tighter fitting .684" ball in pure lead. I use the same .025" patch(mic. compressed) for both. They are quite tight with the larger ball, but both are reusable for a number of shots. I once shot a 5-shot group off the bags at 50 meters, using the same patch for each shot, simply re-lubing it each time. The charge then, in 1987 or 88, was 165gr. (6 drams) 2F.

That rifle shoots best with a bit more powder than your smaller 16 bore will likely need, but still shoots passably with a mere 110gr. to 120gr. 2F. It just does better with more powder.
Your groups look fine for a DR- but going up 10 to 20gr. might be even better.

I think Dan P. stopped at 140gr. of 2f in his 16 bore single barrel flinter, showing 1,700fps and good accuracy. I also think he was using Swiss 1 1/2F.

If you are shooting a sub 16 bore ball, I would not call it a 14 bore. 16 bore, of course is .662" and 14 bore is .693", nominally.


Daryl_S
(.600 member)
20/02/18 08:26 AM
Re: 16 Bore Double Rifle

Quote:

If I read your legend correctly it looks like R1 & L1 crossed And R2 & L2 did not. Did you clean the bores after the first round or did you just reload and shoot the second string. I would not discount 1f powder if you have any. From what I have read the rounded groves in your bore where there to reduce powder fowling. JMHO 1F may be more suited to that style rifling.




That is the way I see it as well, Wayne.

I would likely stay with 2F GOEX, or switch to 1 1/2F Swiss.
I would increase 5 to 10 grs for the first test - like 3 1/2 drams. (95gr.)

This should unfold them and may even bring the tubes together for elevation. That is what my .58 SxS did.

Due to not needing long range accuracy, I stuck with a load that shot both tubes into the same group at 50 meters, thus as 100 meters, they shot "about" 1" apart(bore axis apart), same as they would if shooting parallel at 50yards.

Experimentation is fun - nice rifle!!!!!!!!!!


Longknife
(.300 member)
14/03/19 01:34 AM
Re: 16 Bore Double Rifle

Curl, I was wondering if you got this sweet lady shooting center???

85lc
(.300 member)
14/03/19 05:23 AM
Re: 16 Bore Double Rifle

Rereading this post makes me want to get my 18 ga Barnes DR out and start shooting it. I had shot it with 0.62 balls and 3 drams of 2F. At 50 yds, it shoot a 4" group.

Longknife
(.300 member)
15/03/19 01:11 AM
Re: 16 Bore Double Rifle

85lc,,,,Start a new thread and post some pictures, ,,,,Ed

Daryl_S
(.600 member)
15/03/19 04:31 AM
Re: 16 Bore Double Rifle

Exactly!

tinker
(.416 member)
04/11/19 12:03 PM
Re: 16 Bore Double Rifle

This conversation deserves some attention.


Curl, have you had this out for another run?


Heelerau
(.300 member)
04/11/19 11:25 PM
Re: 16 Bore Double Rifle

I am interested in how it is shooting, and if you have got it regulated nicely yet.


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