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There's a group at Cavalier Rifle and Pistol, here in Richmond, Va. that gets together to shoot off hand at a steel ram at 200 yards.
The only critria is that the rifle be of the late 1800 vintage or a modern copy of one, shooting 45-70. You don't have to knock the ram down just make it ring and swing from it's chain. This is a 40 round match so I'm thinking that bullet weight and everything that could apply to recoil would be a consideration
I've been shooting a Saeco 350 grain GC a head of 50 grains of RL-7 out of my Win. 1886. Any suggestions as to better bullet weight? Any excuse to buy a new mold!
Jim
 

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jimcool
You might try XMP5744 and any 405 grain plain base mould. It duplicates black powder loads real close, recoil isn't too severe either.
 

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I have a Pedersoli 1874 Sharps Shiloutte in 45/70 which I use for chickin scratchin, boar bashin, turkey toppling, ram slammin, CAS long range rifle and just plain fun.

This rifle has a 1 in 18"twist that seems just a perfect match for the Lyman Postell 535gn bullet. I shoot them unsized 0.4594 and only finger lubed with bees wax;copha and olive oil in a 4/3/1 mix, and a good dose of Swiss 2F black.

We often shoot a swingin ram as you describe at ranges up to 600 yards and I cant recall a time I missed a target inside 300 with this combination
 

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When I used to shoot these matches at the Fairfax Rod & Gun Club in Manassas, VA I won the marbles several times with a 36x40 shooting ordinary standard velocity .38 Special 158-gr. lead RN loads in a rechambered Cogswell & Harrison .360 No. 5 Rook rifle which weighed 5-1/2 pounds and had plain fixed open sights.

The boys who had the $1000 custom buffalo guns and the store bought cowboy clothes got tired of getting beat, so they changed the rules to require a cartridge of .40 caliber, at least 2" long. So then I went to using an original 1884 Trapdoor Springfield with 370-gr. Rapine hollow-based carbine bullet with 11 grs. of 700-X, in a nice gentle subsonic load of 950 f.p.s. which groups about 4-5 inches at 200 yards. They didn't like getting beat with that either and came up with another rule change to rule out "mouse fart" loads.

Go figure...Sore losers with too much money. I don't have much use for club shooting anymore. Don't miss them either.
I'll just stick to shooting a 12" gong offhand with my long barreled .38 Special at 200 yards. Anybody wanna play?
 

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Ed,

The good Rooks are really neat little rifles.

Since your club banned your Rook rifle, I'd be more than happy to help you recover from that loss and free up a slot in your cabinet. ;)

Regards,

- Charlie
 

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Cricky Ed those mouse farts you speak of must be of the sabre toothed variety
I got a 500Nitro x 3" laoded with 500gn cast and 130gn FFG that I keep for such critters.
Really though any shooter that is winning with such loads is to be admired and listened to NOT pushed out of the Club activities.
 

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Swifty: Doubt you'll be happy with 5744 in that handgun (the French Ord. revolver posted elsewhere?). 5744 is a good powder for loads in large BP rifle cases, I've not gotten it to work worth a hoot in a .45LC (unless used in a rife/carbine barrel)..and it gets worse with smaller cases. Give it a try, maybe you'll have better luck than I did.

Ed: that 38 rook rifle would be fun, but as you have found out, the rule-makers hate losing. (Mel Brooks was right, "It's good to be the King!"...either you get to make the rules, or you carry the p-bucket).

Think the trick to you match would be that (1) it is 200yards and (2) you KNOW ahead of time it is exactly 200 yards. Knowing those two things, could easily set up a light load that would smack the steel even if the trajectory was sky high...accuracy would be your only goal (and a lot of practice with the wind).

Sounds like a good excuse to lob some 50/70 or 577 snider rounds out there...would still have the recoil, hard to call them 'mouse fart" loads, but can be accurate at vel. down to 800fps.
 

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Ed,

Take that trapdoor out again with 'full' loads - of black powder! That'll show 'em!!!
 

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Long Range Revolver Loads

The .38 Rook rifle will always have a valued place in the gun cabinet between the rechambered 8x32R Martini Cadet rifle and my 1894C Marlin .357, premier wild turkey rifles all.

My rook rifle was featured in the Gun Digest some years ago, and I was lucky to be ahead of Ken Warner in line to get it. Norma factory .38 Spl. LRN groups about 2" at 50 yards and shots dead on to the fixed sights at about 900 f.p.s. The Winchester X38SPD 158-gr. lead hollowpoint +P FBI load groups almost as well, at 1200 f.p.s. and shoots to the fixed sights at 100 yards. For my .38 Special long range handoads I use a 175-gr. hollowbased flatnosed NEI bullet intended for the .35 Stevens and Maynard, with a charge of 4 grs. of Bullseye for about 1030 f.p.s. While a single-cavity mould, this was an experimental automatic ejecting design similar to a Pope, which makes it possible to run 500 bullets in an evening if you are in the right mood and everything is working right. For the Rook rifle I must run them quite soft, usually 1:30 tin/lead, so that the hollow base will obturate in the .366" groove diameter barrel, originally intended for an outside lubricated bullet.

This same bullet makes possible some great long range revolver loads for the .38 Special. For my 200 yard shooting I use a +P equivalent charge of PB or SR-7625 which gives about 850 f.p.s. in a 6" revolver. This groups about 6-8" at 200 yards off the Ransom rest for 12-shot groups from my ca. 1934 Colt Officer's Model Match heavy barrel and almost as well from my 6" Ruger Security Six.

In the Ruger I have some heavier hunting loads with this bullet using 11 grs. of #2400 in Federal .38 Spl. +P cases with the Federal 200 primer for about 1200 f.p.s. These are OK in a .357 gun or in the Marlin 1894, but I do not recomend them for any .38 Specials except for the S&W N-frames such as the Model 20 .38-44 Heavy Duty or Colt Shooting Master, both rather scarce collectibles these days.

For practice I find the Saeco #358 158-gr. FN Cowboy style bullet shoots very well to 200 yards with standard velocity, not +P charges, which provided velocities of 800 +/- 30 f.p.s. in a 6" revolver and remain subsonic in the rifle. This bullet doesn't group as well from Microgroove rifles in supersonic loads. About 3.7 grs. of Bullseye, 4.2 grs. of W-W231, 4.6 grs. of SR-7625 or 4.8 grs. of PB fall in this velocity range in my guns. These of +P pressure and shouldn't be shot continuously in the S&W K frame and J frame .38 Specials or any alloy frames.

I've shot a lot of blackpowder in original trapdoors, but never got the accuracy with that I did with light smokless loads, and quite frankly, I don't enjoy the heavy recoil anymore. When you get to age 50 you don't need to practice anymore to be uncomfortable.
 
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