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  #1  
Old 02-12-2012, 04:09 PM
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First shots with Parker Hale 1858 Enfield


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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!
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  #2  
Old 02-13-2012, 07:05 AM
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Good report! I have always thought I would like to try a.58cal black powder rifle and admired the ones made by Parker Hale in the Dixie catalogs. Having just cast a couple of hundred .45 Colt bullets, I can't imagine how few bullet can be cast weighing 566grains; you must have a lot of lead "on board". It sounds like a "hoot" to shoot! Regards, Riley
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  #3  
Old 02-13-2012, 09:50 AM
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that really sounds like fun. The old military rifles were really something to shoot.

I once had the privilege of shooting an original 1863 Springfield Rifle .58 caliber. The rifle was handed down through their family, and my friend ended up owning it. He was not supposed to shoot because the family feared the stock had dried out. But you'd have to know this guy... that never stopped him from anything.

I happened to stop at his house one afternoon and he was on the upper back deck of his house that over looked his fishing ponds. (he lived in the middle of 80 acres in the country in a beautiful house) shooting that rifle and a CVA ,58 caliber Mountain Rifle at a one gallon milk jug 100 yards away. So he let me shoot it. As I remember it shot 60 grains of 2f black powder and a patched roundball. I only shot it a few times. But the rifle was amazingly accurate once you got used to the sight. Now his CVA Mountain Rifle was much more accurate IMO and so we ended up having a great time that afternoon.
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  #4  
Old 02-14-2012, 06:08 AM
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The original Civil War era Enfields (and Springfields) had the sights calibrated for a pointed Minie Ball that was a good deal lighter than the bullet you're shooting, Gatofeo.
I don't know the exact weights, but I suspect it was more in the 450-475 grain ballpark. I expect some of our Civil War experts will know.
You can get Minie Ball molds from Lee, pretty inexpensively.
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  #5  
Old 02-14-2012, 09:47 PM
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I did quite a bit of research on the net, after I bought this rifle.While the standard American bullet was around 500 grains, the British projectile tended to weigh a little more.
As prepared in paper cartridges, the British bullet was also smooth-sided and lacked grease grooves. The hollowbased English bullet was wrapped in paper that was lubricated, to ease loading down the bore. This meant that the bullet was smaller diameter than the American bullet, to allow for the thickness of the paper, according to "Construction of Authentic Civil War Paper Cartridges" by Brett Gibbons, dated April 2009.
This is a wonderful reference for anyone wishing to make their own, authentic cartridges for the Springfield or Enfield. A net-search will find it posted at various sites.

There is an amazing volume of information on 1853 and 1858 Enfields out there, much of it coming out of England where they compete with original and Parker Hale Enfields. Some of this competition is out to 1,000 yards. Most of it's 600 to 800 yards.

I used the Lyman 575213PH bullet, which is designed specifically for the Parker Hale Enfields and their 1:48 rifling.With pure lead, it casts at 566 grains.

That Lyman bullet is made specifically for the Parker Hale. It's heavier than normal because the hollowbase is shallower and the skirts a little thicker than the typical Minie' bullet. This is done to resist deformation of the skirt, or so I've read on the net.

One of the best sources of information for shooting original and Parker Hale Enfields is found on the internet: "Managing the Enfield" by William S. Curtis and copyrighted 2001. He's posted it at a number of sites, an internet search will quickly find it.

Curtis is an English competitive shooter who has fired original and Parker Hale Enfields for years. He writes:
"I had quite a successful record with Enfields when I was younger from 100 yards to 600 yards (anything less than 100 is not regarded as Enfield shooting) and I never used anything other than Lyman 575213 with the issue base plug for the P/53, and the modified shallow base plug for the P/58 Naval or the P/61 Artillery."

This last bullet he refers to, with the shallow base, is the Lyman 575213PH. This mould is still made.

Interestingly, many of the competitors swear by the use of FFFG black powder, over FFG. These English shooters say that it is closer to the granulation of the old British Army musket powder that was issued for the Enfields.
Some American shooters claim its benefits as well.

I have much to learn about my Enfield, but I've learned a great deal simply by searching the internet. I've compiled 25 single-spaced pages of notes, gleaned from the net.
We live in wonderful times, when it comes to communication. Not too many years ago, the above information would have been wholly unavailable, or taken years to find. Today, you can acquire what would have been a decade's worth of information in a few evenings.

This weekend is supposed to be sunny, and in the 50s. I hope to send some more .58-caliber projectiles across the wide open desert, if the weather holds.
I'm really loving this rifle.
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  #6  
Old 04-03-2012, 07:14 PM
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Last weekend I brought out -- of all people -- an active-duty Army chaplain to try the 1858 Enfield, and my Uberti-made 1858 Remington revolver in .44 caliber.
He loved shooting them and their history.
The chaplain had fired the M16 rifle and M9 9mm pistol, but this was something new and fun for him.
We shot at about 50 yards and less, just for familiarization, but he did pretty good with them. He wants to go out again, and I'll gladly accommodate him.
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  #7  
Old 01-13-2013, 06:45 AM
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Just found this thread, Gatofeo. Did you ever get your Enfield dialed in?
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  #8  
Old 01-13-2013, 09:15 AM
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No, I last fired my Enfield in May, 2012 when I took an Army chaplain out to try it.
The problem: drought.
I live in the remote desert of northwestern Utah. Contrary to common perception, the desert here is not covered in sand. Instead, it's thick with sagebrush, greasewood and thigh-high dry grasses.
About August, the Salt Lake Tribune reported that, based on reports from the police, sheriff and Bureau of Land Management, at least 21 large range fires were started by shooters.
This isn't fantasy. Too many shooters seem to forget the first four letters in the word, "firearm."
They forget about sparks, fire, steel-cored bullets that cause sparks when they ricochet on rocks, smoldering fabric wads, etc.
So, rather than being handed a million dollar bill for the range fire I started, I hardly shot any firearm all summer. I went out once with a .22 rifle in a small, abandoned gravel pit but even that gave me the willies so I gave up.
Living remote, you soon realize that all the services you take for granted in cities and small towns aren't as readily available to you, including police and fire response.
Start a fire out here in drought conditions, coupled with just a light breeze, and it can burn thousands of acres before the first firefighting units show up.

You hear that, you twenty-somethings with your AKs and SKSs that shoot ammo with steel cores that cause sparks? --- Gatofeo practices a concept called RESPONSIBILITY!
Sorry if I've offended anyone with such rifles, and of such age, but the two seem to be the most rapacious bunch I've ever encountered. They come out from the city, shoot the legs off any target stands I make, turn bottles into dangerous fields of broken glass, often leave a washer or old refrigerator full of holes in their wake, and shoot any animal they see -- including hawks, owls and harmless little lizards.
I run across these jokers once in a while and politely ask them to clean up their mess, but I'm literally risking my life doing so. In the summer, they've often got a few beers in them.
It's different out here, in the remoteness. You're friendly and non-agressive with everyone because -- not only is it the right thing to do -- but it's a survival mode.
I frequent areas that have no cell phone connection. Indeed, much of the desert doesn't have it.

Anyway, no I haven't fired that Enfield since May.
As I write this, we have about 12 inches of snow. I'm hoping that the county has plowed some of the roads so I can get out to some shooting areas. But we've also had wind and that creates drifts over roads that can be as much as six feet deep.
No 4WD, including mine, can get through a drift that deep.
The sun's peeking out from the overcast as I write this.
Hmmmmmmmmm ... might just get that Enfield out yet today!

Thanks for your interest. Forgive my rambling, but I felt that the concept of RESPONSIBILITY needed to be emphasized, especially to folks who shoot in the country but don't live there.

Adios from the remote Utah desert!
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  #9  
Old 01-13-2013, 03:58 PM
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Do you think that your Parker Hale Enfield would shoot roundball accurate? I understand that it might well have been made for the Minnie you mention.
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Old 01-14-2013, 01:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cayugad View Post
Do you think that your Parker Hale Enfield would shoot roundball accurate? I understand that it might well have been made for the Minnie you mention.
Hiya Fellas,
It's been years since I was last in here but I saw this thread and wanted to add me tuppence worth,

First off, nope the PH Musketoon does not like patched ball much, the twist and progressive/tapered bore is solely designed for a Minnie, and since they shoot the Minnie so well why bother with Ball?

I have had my Toon for over twenty years and use it every second weekend here in Aust, I have a *Bugg* mould that throws a 615 gr Minnie, it has 4 conalures, it is perhaps the best Mould I have ever used, Bugg, (Trevor Bugg) was a barrel and mould maker here in Adelaide Aust who died some 6 years back.
I was told I must shoot a Water Buff with my toon before using any other of my rifles, since I now live in the Northern territory where the Buff roam.
I usually use 50Gr of 2F for target work, I have found that you can go as low as 35gr and still maintain accuracy, but to take a buff I would need a much stronger charge.

If any of you are not familiar with the NT Buffs I suggest you google it, they are very hard to drop before they stomp on you.
Using a charge of 120 gr of 2P powder I found that off the bench, or sticks, I got terrible accuracy, but free hand it shot 6inch at 150yards, good enough.
That shows me that because the bore is progressive and tapered resting the rifle un-stabilized it, free hand the shot was stable, interesting yes?

The PH Toons are very scarce here now and prices for used ones are commanding up to $900.00, but even at that price they are well worth it.

I'm going after my Buff next dry season, and will be backed by two Blokes, one with a .450-400, other with a 500 Nitro.... well I am over 65 now and don't quite move as fast as I once did, he he!!
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Old 01-14-2013, 05:20 PM
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Um ... Paladin ... you go ahead and shoot that Water Buffalo. I'll be in the rig, parked on a ridge, watching you with binoculars ... and powerful ones at that ... enjoying a gin and tonic ...
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Old 01-14-2013, 07:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Gatofeo View Post
Um ... Paladin ... you go ahead and shoot that Water Buffalo. I'll be in the rig, parked on a ridge, watching you with binoculars ... and powerful ones at that ... enjoying a gin and tonic ...
Funny, that's what my Mates said, apart from having to take a sideways step to see the Buff past the smoke, they reckon it will be hard to hold aim due to laughing so much,

I'm quite confident the Toon will do the job, I have shot large pigs with it and mostly only needed one shot.
And no *Ridge* around Mate, only very small trees,
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Old 02-15-2013, 08:55 AM
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Sounds nice, Paladin. I may be in Perth, and on a road trip north of there, in May 2014. A lady friend I visited in October 2010 in Perth wants me to return for a road trip. Not sure where we'll be. It's all in the "maybe" and "I heard about this place" stage.
I expect we'll travel north along the coast, then double back through the Outback to return to Perth. Probably be on the road for two weeks, in a rented RV or camper van.
Been wondering about bringing my Remington 870 pump 20-gauge shotgun. It's conventional, doesn't look "assaultish" and shouldn't be a problem to bring. Feel naked going on a two-week road trip without some kind of firearm. Might knock off a couple of rabbits for the pot.
I'll have to look into what it would take to bring it. Going in and out of Canada with a shotgun is easy, as long as it meets specifications and you have the right paperwork.
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Old 02-15-2013, 09:34 AM
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Oh dear, well we sort of have these strange ideas down here, Pump Shoties, and autos, are on the *bad gun list*, along with the humble .22 semi auto, seems the grubbermit don't reckon we should have them, this also includes any form of centerfire semi auto.

So in order to actually have one you need to go all sorts of trickery and tests to get a special permit.
Best you stick to a humble double shottie, or a bolt action rifle.

But Hey if you do get to Darwin give a Bloke a yell Aye!...It's just up the road from Perth, he he!!
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Old 02-15-2013, 04:45 PM
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Ah, okay. I thought pump shotguns were okay.
Probably won't bring anything, then. I don't own a double-barrel. And it would probably be a small metric ton of paperwork to bring one.
May go through Customs in Darwin, as I hope to fly from Honolulu.
Not sure if Darwin is a Customs entry point. Still not sure I'll take this trip in May or June 2014, so I have plenty of time to look at the logistics of transporting a grumpy, ol' desert cat!
I was on line to take a soldier out shooting the Enfield today, but he had to back out. So, may go out tomorrow. About 14 inches (35 cm) of snow here. Not much chance of starting a fire in a field of snow.
I've shot across long fields of snow before, with other firearms. It's fun. The snow shows your bullet strike at long range.
When the sun gets low, if you shoot with it at your back you can sometimes see the slower bullets in flight!
The .45 ACP is particularly good for this, but even the tiny .22 rimfire bullets may be seen as a gray streak.
Bullets fired into a big pile of snow are pristine when recovered in the spring. Much better than oiled sawdust. I may drive around the desert, looking for a big drift, and shoot some .58 Minie's into it. A metal detector would find them later.
Rather have some warm weather, though. Tired of all this sub-freezing temp and snow here ...
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Old 02-15-2013, 08:43 PM
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As I said Mate, get in touch closer to the date and we will sort you out, Darwin is an International Airport so no drama there.
And Perth is just a lazy 4041 Kilometers from here, what we call a slab Trip (Slab of beer, that's how long it takes), so yeah Perth is just down the hill really. he he!!

I'm a Moderator on an Aussie forum with almost 6000 members (Australianhunting.net) and know quite a few Blokes down in Perth, we will sort out a rifle for you if you wish it, just bring your Licences.
At present it's 34C here, this is our wet season, although it's the driest Wet we have had for years, it's very humid, Darwin's temp is between 30 and 35C every day, all year around.
It's never snowed in Darwin.
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