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I just picked up a new(to me) 36 caliber MZ. It is a custom built rifle, that a fellow had and his widow wanted to sell it, so I picked it up. It is a Plain Jane custom, but that is no big deal. It is built like a Southern Mountain Rifle in style with a 34" barrel.

I have never owned or shot a smaller caliber MZ before. I have been shooting 45 caliber and larger MZ's for 40 years. So I am not new to MZ's. But as I said I am new to the 36 caliber.

Any tips or things I should look out for. The rifle twist is 1in48. I ordered my accessories this afternoon. Including .010, .015, and .018 patches along with .350 round balls. thanks, Tom.
 

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The 36,IMHO,is better suited for turkey,groundhog,yote,etc.It will work on squirrels but is a bit bigger than needed.IF LEGAL would work on deer with a proper charge.Know of some in years past that used it sucesfully on elk.
I have one in a TC Seneca.It likes 40grs of FFFg,.010 red stripe pillow,and a .360 RB.Before I came up with this all I got was about 1 1/2" at 25yds.Maxis gave almost 1 hole groups but I personally don't like to use them.My groups now.Lower shot is after sight adjustment.



Try all the varibles of patch thickness,powder types and amounts,and you are probably going to settle with a .350 ball.
My guess is 40grs of FFFg,.015 patch,and .350 RB.
 

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When we get down to the smaller calibers, using the same grains as the caliber can be overkill. I have a neat little 32 inline that does fantastic with a patched ball and 15 grain loads. I have put five shots on a postage stamp at 25 yds, offhand. 1;48 twist is actually a slow twist for a 36. 350 balls lose their energy very quickly due to air resistance and are much more subject to wind drift than large calibers. As for what patch and load, it depends a whole lot on the shape and width of the rifling. According to the Lyman Black Powder handbook 1st ed. in a 32 inch barrel, using 3fg Goex,

25 grains 1335 ft/sec 281 ft/lbs muz. energ.
30 1457 334
35 1579 393
40 1701 456

The energy left at 100 yds is 84, 91, 99 and 106 ft lbs.
(not much left)

Keep in mind that most folks who chrono their loads with todays powders report statistics less than what Lyman reports. (Perhaps a difference in powder formulation)

The thing is unless you get to be a good shot at small targets, increased velocity for flatter longer shots doesn't mean much. In addition, the "flatter" isn't all that much either. for instance, again according to Lyman, a 350 ball moving 1400 ft/sec drops 3 inches at 50 yds and 7.5 inches at 100yds. increasing that velocity to 1700 makes only a 1/2 inch difference at 50 yds and 2.2 inches at 100 yds. If you really juice it up to 2400 ft/sec the drop at 50 yds is 1 inch and at 5 inches at 100 yds. It will be very hard to try to find a load that will keep the sights "on target" at multiple ranges for small stuff like squirrels. For larger game like woodchucks, yes it is possible to have a load that will be good out to about 75 yds without making elevation adjustments.
 

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Agreed with Zimm, don't overload. Often times you'll find the .32 will produce the best overall performance and accuracy with 10-20gr loads under a PRB. The .36 with a PRB will often do best with 15-25gr Another thing is don't shy away from trying 2F (FF) powder granulation in the smaller bores as many will produce better accuracy and run cleaner with 2F as opposed to 3F - this is something you'll find very important when hunting the late season especially when temps dip down below 20°F and/or when the air is very dry. Smaller bores are also more picky about the manner of loading, pour the powder in slowly and methodically letting the barrel act as a droptube. When loading the ball, always push the ball down, don't beat it down, don't use the ramrod like a pile driver and seat it on the powder with the same pressure every time.

The particular barrel is going to determine the patch/ball combo it wants, overly tight is sometimes a disadvantage to producing acceptable accuracy. The tighter the combination, the more apt you are to deform the ball on loading while a combination that's too-loose will allow blowby. For optimum accuracy, use the highest quality consumables, buckshot is cheap to buy but it's not always spherical and usually has a lot of inconsistent dimples, both of which are detrimental to accuracy. I'll also caution about buying the commercially made alleged "swaged" balls since some are nothing more than re-packaged dropped buckshot selling for considerably more money.

Holes in the black are from a 36" long, .36cal, 1:60 twist flintlock I built, this 50'ish yard group was from the bench on a calm morning. IIRC, the load was 20gr Schuetzen 2F, 0.395" balls cast in a Lee mold (either 9:1 or 8:2 pure:WW alloy) and a 0.015" patch.

 

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I'm a little light on .36 caliber potential, but the one I built a couple of years ago around a 42" Green Mt. barrel amazed me when I took it to the range. At 50 yards, with 35 grains of FFFg, a .015 patch and a .340 roundball, I couldn't cover 5 shots with a pie plate!

I reduced the charge to 30 grains of FFFg with the same patch and ball, and placed 5 roundballs in a 2" circle! That was my last session on the range for declining vision reasons, but I think the eyes of my grandson and some fine tuning of the front sight will bring this rifle into an amazing situation for harvesting limb bacon!


Why do we wait so long to find the fascination of flintlocks!
 

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BerksCoflinter said:
Why do we wait so long to find the fascination of flintlocks!
Very simple answere. You gave up carring if you came home with game in the bag. Also looking for more of a challange than putting the crosshairs on them. Sorta the same as me shooting my home made long bow when I got a perfectly good compound with good sights sitting here. Luckily for me I got to that point before my eyes got bad.
 

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As for the powder charges, one must keep in mind that the ball mass is disproportional to its diameter. Where a 0.495" ball weighs in around 180-185 grains, a 0.355" ball is only 65-67 grains. The lower mass ball combined with the smaller bore means far less powder is required to obtain like velocity. It is not impossible to drive a .32 or .36 caliber PRB well in excess of 2,200 fps which is often quite detrimental to both accuracy and performance.

On another forum, a poster was comparing a .22LR to a 25cal PRB which if we put things into perspective, a standard high-velocity 40gr .22LR conical bullet has a MV of around 1,250 fps but if one looks at a target load in the .22LR the same 40gr projectile has a MV around 1,050 fps. While the roughly 200 fps reduction seems small, it often means the difference between a rifle that will produce a 2" pattern at 50 yards as opposed to a 1/2" group at 50 yards. The same applies to ML's in that a PRB driven at 1,400 fps will often produce considerably better accuracy than the same PRB driven at 1,800 fps from the same rifle.

The twist rate is fixed so it cannot be varied, the RPM of the projectile is varied proportionally by varying the velocity. Since quality PRB's require very low RPM's to maintain stability, the combination of a fairly fast 1:48 twist and excessive velocity produces excessive RPM's on the ball which only serves to make the ball unstable in flight because instead of the rotational force canceling out the minor flaws, the flaws are actually amplified making the flight path erratic and thus reducing accuracy.

As a custom ML builder, I have found that more often than not, complaints on accuracy are related to overloading. When one starts with a load such as Berks did using a 35gr charge in a .36 cal, reducing that charge by say 5gr at a time, one may find the accuracy peaks at 30gr then falls off at 25gr. More often than not, the shooter will stop there rather than keep going as PRB's will often have multiple "sweet-spots" or "pet loads". For example, the same .36 bore may produce good accuracy at say 10gr, again at 20gr and yet again at 30gr, yes, it's defies the common thinking but it is what it is and it all relates to at what RPM the ball can maintain stability. I like to use the example of a tire & wheel combo on a vehicle as one will often find that at 15 Mph the tire/wheel can cause a "felt" vibration/shake then run smooth at 20-30 Mph while again producing a felt vibration at 35 Mph and 55 Mph with the corresponding smooth run in between those points. The more one gets into small bores, and especially those with faster rifling twists like 1:48 & less, the more common it is to have very narrow sweet-spots where a particular combination may shoot excellent groups with a 22gr charge yet not be worth a hoot with a charge of 20gr or 24gr. Another thing, the smaller the bore, the more critical they become on loading consistency. Of course, all bore sizes will benefit from diligent loading consistency but as everything gets smaller, the less inconsistency that's needed in loading to wipe out any level of accuracy.
 
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