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Thread: Creedmoor 1879 some things you did not know.

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    Creedmoor 1879 some things you did not know.

    IT’s 1879, and since the 1874 International Match at Creedmoor there have been a lot of Changes.

    Edwin Perry Shares, in his Third Edition of Modern Observations on Rifle Shooting 1880, some of the major Changes-Advancements in Creedmoor in just a short 5 years. When it comes to Bullet alloys, much of what has been passed around on the net as fact, about the advent of harder alloy bullets is frankly, nothing but conjecture. And what has been passed off as fact is in effect WRONG. Very hard alloy bullets, were in the Vogue by 1879 for long range competition and were sold by Sharps and Remington. Factory ammo was no longer used by any of the big name shooters, Most had, after careful study, found that their own reloads had much better performance on the long range targets. Make no mistake about it, rapid advances in Long Range shooting were going on, and much of it, we knew little about, until now. Rare catalog data shows it, but no reasons as to what or why or WHO was using it. Now we have some insights to it, the sad part is: it was always there, just had to know where and how………………..to find it.
    What I liked about this edition, which is as different, as night is to day, to the first Edition. Perry does not share just an opinion: He shares what the shooters were actually using, IE: powder charges much heavier and the reasons why. Bullet Alloys, sorry soft bullet alloy advocates, the softest bullet in use at Creedmoor by 1879, for long range was 1-14 in the Sharps Borchardt, patched with the Hyde Base-pattern or method, many were using 1-11 and the Hepburn base method. Others used 1-11 alloys, but patched with the Hyde method. Huge advancements, not just in alloy-powder charges, but also in Nose shape and bullet weights are also mentioned. He goes into discourse on the need for a rifle to hold Elevation (vertical) on the Target, something I have never seen before in Print on the subject of Black Powder Cartridge Rifles from that era. He makes mention of Frank Hyde’s methods and that his targets Spoke VOLUMES on the subject of hand loading one’s own fixed ammunition when it came to holding Elevation-Vertical. Talk about some eye openers! The advice given was simple, increase the powder Charge till elevation required, and the vertical was reduced to the minimum, then use 1-2 grains above that! Our British cousins lamented the fact and said we used to much powder, yet we kept handing them their collective team’s asses in every international sanctioned match.
    Perry states: The Men looked on as Giants in the 1874 International Match, have since been dwarfed by those willing to devote careful study to the Science of Long Range Shooting. Perry proposed a Match to promote the Advancement of this very Thing. Proposing a long range match at that time, was nothing new to be surprised at but……..The conditions-rules laid down for this match where.
    Sept of 1879 a prize match was announced to be shot at Creedmoor, 3 days of Long Range shooting, a $5 entry fee. Specific rules were laid out, such so that the NRA adopted them! The Only request was that each shooter must give a very detailed survey of load methods, bullet alloy, type of patching, style of bullet, Powder type and brand, charges weighed or thrown, fixed ammunition or muzzle loaded, rifle also, used in the Match. Some of the greats of the Era refused to enter, since they did not wish to divulge their personal methods, Perry makes mention of this, yet no names given. Some 33 odd shooters did enter, among them Sumner, Hyde, Garrish, Farrow, LL Hepburn, Perry, Jackson, Allen, Rathbone, Homer Fisher and many others. The results of this match were shared in this 3rd edition and give us many insights. Even a study of the MISSES! Perry and a good many other shooters it seems, wished to advance the Science of Long Range Rifle shooting and felt this was the exact venue in which to do so and only by sharing of ones findings, and methods, could the sport-science Advance! Mention of temps, humidity, barometric pressure, and proper quality instruments too measure such, being needed also. Proper scales to weigh Charges also mentioned. Even a proper Spotting Scope-Glass!
    Perry makes mention of changes in bullet shape, and weights, currently being tested and data on such, to be forthcoming in the next season. Perry also mentions that Judge Gildersleeve’s Rifles and Marksmanship, is at the time (1880) being rewrote due to the many advancements since the 1878 edition publishing date. Judge Gildersleeve does mention in his 1878 edition the need for thin paper and WET PATCHING THE BULLET. (AKA THE HYDE METHOD). That is if, one did not purchase their bullets already patched. (All my research shows no such 1880-81 volume to exist, so it may have never been published after all). All the publishing dates I can find, show only the 1878 Edition. (Of which I have an original Copy.)
    Many references I have, seem to show that the 550 gr bullet, that many Modern Day Armchair researchers seem to be fixated on, had to be of a very soft alloy, and thus draw the conclusion that it has to be of near pure lead to weigh that much. WHEN in fact, it is reference to a nose style and Metford mentions (in Gildersleeve’s Book) that most weigh around-about 540 Grs. My own Money Bullet in .446 diameter, weighs in at 538 grs in 1-16 alloy.
    Sadly by 1881, long range Competition fell from favor and following, America had lost its love affair with the Long Range International Match, foreign nations quit sending teams. A handful of men kept at it from all accounts, The 1900 National Matches at Sea Girt saw a 45-2-7/8ths black powder Sharps Borchardt, come out of the woodwork, with Paper Patched Bullets and win the Wimbledon Cup for the last time, with Capt. William DeV. Foulke at the trigger. Those Modern day shooters probably thought someone had just made the moon shot with a Estes Rocket.
    Focus shifted to Military matches and rifles and ammunition to advance the accuracy of such, no longer for the pure sport of long range shooting, but for a more effect service rifle for war and the average Soldier. Jacketed bullets and smokeless powder and Service Rifle shooting became very popular. Other Match shooters, shifted to Schuetzen and 200 yard matches, much less powder and only 200 yards.
    Gentlemen, for years I have wondered on the so called 550 Gr Sharps long Range Bullet; have we have been chasing a ghost? So it seems. We took for fact that the 550 it was the actual bullet weight and not something else. Too much has been left to speculation and conjecture these days, when actual reference material from the era shows something else entirely. When I first started patching Bullets I felt the twisted tail method, just stupid, the Hyde base just came natural to me and made much more sense. (Perhaps ole Frank Hyde was leaning over and just whispering in my ear?)
    We learn from doing and seeing: This year’s results from Phoenix-The Mile Match-Raton, would seem to show that harder alloys-thin Paper-shorter Patch, tend to preserve the nose shape better, reduce bullet set back, reduce Elevations needed and show less vertical on the Target. My results-findings, agree with Perry’s findings, the Hyde-Base Method work best for me. Make no mistake Creedmoor in the 1870’s was a fast changing evolving Sport, don’t get too mired in what you think was traditional for the ERA.

    Kenny Wasserburger
    The Lunger
    2006 NRA Creedmoor Scope Champion
    2009 NRA Winternationals Scope Champion
    2013 NRA Winternationals Scope Champion
    2013 NRA Creedmoor Scope Champion
    All Won with Goex EXPRESS Powder

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    Nice write up Kenny!

  3. #3
    Boolit Master

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    Very interesting information there Kenny. I patched so in the Hyde style I believe no tail, but a open area in the patch about the size of a pencil lead in dia. Got cold here in Ohio and Im not shooting till it warms up about 30 degrees.

  4. #4
    I been away for some time on here and could not get back in so I have to start again

    It is interesting but it still not clear from the lack of documentation what was in actual use and what the patched diameter was.
    Using a very hard bullet can create problems depending the final patched diameter and nothing is said what is used for wads, single or multiple.
    It still leaves a lot of speculation dont it??

    Keith

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    A lot of the originals bores are .451 to .453 so would be a different size then most of us are using now I would suspect. We know for fact they patched to BORE. My heavy Bull barrel Rifle 25# is tighter bore then my old LRE, so I use a .444 in it patched to .450. My old LRE I use a .446 and patched to .4515 or so it is a firm push of the thumb into the barrel. I found it interesting that some shooters refused to share or enter the match as they did not want to let folks know what they were using. Very Few top guns today will tell you the wads-howmany or what they are using. Nothing new there.

    My recent scores the past 2 years pretty much tell me I am on the right track.
    But your right still a lot of room to speculate I guess.
    KW
    The Lunger

  6. #6
    With those 4 scope championships you won, did you use the same wad stack, lube and bullet hardness? and are those match winning championships or class championships?
    The reason I'm asking is your right that most of the match winners dont talk about the loads or equipment and I'm just starting to get into this since my retirement now that I have time.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    Great information, thanks for Sharing.

  8. #8
    Kenny,

    Thanks for sharing. I have some additional information on bullets and powders that will hopefully be of interest.

    In 1875 Alexander Shaler reported to the NRA on experiments to determine the proper powder charge to use in long range shooting in the Remington Creedmoor Rifle. The bullet used was swaged, composed of fifteen parts lead to one of tin, and weighed 550 grains. Cases were new (“of the long kind” ?), and none were reloaded. Powder was Hazard F.G. and both powder and bullets were weighed. Some 2,250 shots were fired over several months at ranges of 500, 800, 900 and 1000 yards. Shooting was over a camp stool "to ensure accuracy of aim."

    At the conclusion of the experiments Shaler was satisfied that “115 grains, and possibly 120, may be used to advantage at 800, 900 and 1000 yards.”

    I’ll get the report posted on my web site over the christmas period and update here when available.

    David
    www.researchpress.co.uk
    Firearms, long range target shooting and associated history

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    Great Info David thanks!

    Kenny

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    Keith,
    THe NRA At nationals and Reginals Gives A gold Medal to the top shooter shooting a Scope no mater what class, thats all they offer for Scope It is an open class and all Masters-Experts-Sharpshooters-Marksmen Compete for the Single Award. The top scope shooter is also usually at Raton-Phoneix one of the top 10 in the Overal Rankings not always but usually is.

    The America's Cup match at Phoenix awards a Cup to the High Scope shooter and also to the High Paper Patch shooter, along with the Overal winner 2nd and 3rd Overall. This match is shot with no spotters and a very short time limit making one dope and shot all on ones own merit, it is perhaps my favorite match. The top Patch shooter is most often in the top 10 over all also and so is the top scope shooter, this year the top scope shooter was Jim Terry with 3rd overall but he used his heavy gun so took top scope-heavy award. I have been the top PP Shooter the past 3 years running, I finished 7th overall 8th was 5 time National Creedmoor Open Champion Dave Gullo.

    Perhaps that explains it better for you.

    KW
    The Lunger

  11. #11
    Well no not all.

    What I really was after was your load information and how they classified the scope results. From what I understand from reading past posts on the creedmoor matches that the scope had a special class and the use of the scope was very low a few years ago and even a shooter in the say expert class could end with a gold or silver. What I really wanted to know if the scope was on the same level with the iron sights.
    I'm getting ready to shoot the Nationals using a scope and going to send off for the rule book soon so I can get things together.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master Don McDowell's Avatar
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    Everyone that shoots the nationals can enter any and all class they are qualified for, gold,silver and bronze medals should be awarded for every class. Any shooter that enters into the scope class that has the highest score will be the National scope champion, doesn't matter if that shooter is unclassed, woman , or junior. Scope class is just that. I think sillouette does it different, but that's due to the number of shooters.
    You can get the rule books online from the NRA website competitions page.
    GUSA #6
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    People will forget what you did...
    But People will NEVER forget how you made them feel

    Want to join in adult conversation about shooting the old ways without the hysterics associated with other places?http://historicshooting.com/mybb/index.php

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    I would be glad to share my load information,

    In 2006 I was using a Mono-groove Grease Groove bullet, of a Different lot of powder but I did use 3 wads the bullet had a short shank of only .470 in length. Due to it being shortend version of Dan T's NASA bullet. The wads were .060 Veg fiber used to compress the FG Goex of lot 01-79 .385 after drop tubing it in a 24 inche drop tube, next came a Poly .060 wad and the last a .092 Cork wad the bullet was seated down on this stack. Brass was annealed and had about .002 neck tension.

    In 2008 I made the switch to paper patch bullets and had some poor results at Phoenix that March. Switching to thinner paper and a fater .046 from .041 bullet I had much better luck, I continued to use the same wad stack except a switch to .042 Rubber Cellouse wad in lue of the .060 poly with about .420 of my PP bullet in the case.

    This Year My load was 110.8 grs of FG Goex Express lot 01-89 compressed .385 with a .060 veg fiber wad, a .060 poly wad, and the change to 1/8 inch Felt wad that my 520 gr PP Money for 800 yard shooting and , my 540gr PP Money for 900 and 1000 yards. About .360 to .340 of the bullet is in the case. Actual bullet weights in 1-16 alloy run 516 grs for the 520 design and 538 for the 540 Gr design. I wipe 3 damp patches after each shot and follow with 2 dry patches before reloading. The Bullet moulds are made by BACO.

    Powder weights vary from lot to lot dependent on the bulk density of each lot. But I strive for about .380 to .400 compression of the FG Express as I have several cases of the powder still left.

    I have tried to explain scope Class in pretty plain english, not sure what your after now or trying to infer? You claim to have read past posts, so that would also infer you already know my load data as it is public knowledge here. What ever it is........ the problem now lies with you.

    KW
    The Lunger

  14. #14
    Thank you, that is the load information I was looking for.
    I was not trying to infer nothing. I wanted to know if they now putting the scope shooters on the same platform with the iron sights.
    I personally dont see any advantage using a scope over aperture sights except it helps the shooters with poor eyesight define the target.
    I didn't mean for the hair on the back of your neck to stand up for what ever I might have said.

    As far as..... "What ever it is........ the problem now lies with you." I have no problem!!!!! sorry I asked you a tough question.
    Shoot straight..Keith

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    Keith:

    I am always-always glad to share load data on my old Sharps. No harm then, no foul.

    I thought I had made it pretty clear scope class is just that you can only get the Scope award if .........................you Win.

    Anyways your welcome and I am willing to share anything else I can on the 45-110.

    KW
    The Lunger

  16. #16
    I'm A Honcho! montana_charlie's Avatar
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    While visiting forums this morning, I was presented with a link to an article about hardening bullets.
    Since it relates to Creedmoor and the 1870's I post it here for general information on the shooting by Old Dead Guys.
    http://researchpressuk.wordpress.com...cksilverrigby/

    However, the first newspaper clipping talks about the American team having problems due to inconsistent tin quantities in their alloys. The softer bullets (apparently) resulted in leading of the bore ... which makes me wonder if they were even using paper patched bullets.

    CM
    Retired...TWICE. Now just raisin' cows and livin' on borrowed time.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master

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    An excellent read of yesteryear! It makes one wish for a time machine to go back and see it firsthand!
    NRA Endowment member, TSRA Life member, Distinguished Rifleman, Viet Nam Vet

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    They were paperpatching using 1-20 and a high patch undersize factory rounds. There were rapid changes as I pointed out.

    Kw
    The lunger

  19. #19
    Boolit Master



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    I went to the link about the 'match bullet' composition. The formula was very interesting; 94.3%lead, 3.25% antimony, 2% mercury, and ~.44%bismuth. With the exception of the mercury, not too different from what we are using today.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master Chill Wills's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikeym1a View Post
    I went to the link about the 'match bullet' composition. The formula was very interesting; 94.3%lead, 3.25% antimony, 2% mercury, and ~.44%bismuth. With the exception of the mercury, not too different from what we are using today.
    True in some cases and I have NO idea what the various amounts of Mercury would do in an alloy. I likely won't either least not first hand!
    Michael Rix
    Chill Wills

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check