Creedmoor 1879 What you did not know

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Kenny Wasserburger
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Creedmoor 1879 What you did not know

Postby Kenny Wasserburger » Sun Dec 22, 2013 3:31 pm

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 Wassserburger
The Lunger
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Smokin
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Re: Creedmoor 1879 What you did not know

Postby Smokin » Sun Dec 22, 2013 3:50 pm

Hmm, much to digest. Thanks, Kenny.

Bruce
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Re: Creedmoor 1879 What you did not know

Postby bruce m » Sun Dec 22, 2013 4:42 pm

Kenny,
you don't have to do much long range shooting before you discover the "vert" (as we call it in oz) issue.
for some reason only known to the gods of fate, it always rears its ugly head on perfect windcalls, losing a point that didn't need to be lost.
times haven't changed much over the years on this issue.
of course the worst vert in bpcr is a dirt digger, so that is the first to address.
the less vert there is, the wider the target is.
keep safe,
bruce.
ventum est amicus meus

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Re: Creedmoor 1879 What you did not know

Postby gunlaker » Sun Dec 22, 2013 4:44 pm

Thank you Kenny. Do you know if reprints are available anywhere?

Chris.

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Re: Creedmoor 1879 What you did not know

Postby Kenny Wasserburger » Sun Dec 22, 2013 4:47 pm

Try Amazon Chris,

The 3rd Edition is hardbound and is spendy for a small book $39. It was in my opinion WORTH EVERY PENNY. I have a copy on the Way for Jimbo, I have been reading excerpts to him over the phone for bedtime stories. :lol:

Like me he is a real history buff-nut.

Do not buy the paperback 1st edition reprint, its not bad but contains none of the really good Information.

Kenny Wasserburger
The Lunger
We'll raise up our Glasses against Evil Forces, Singing, Whiskey for my men, Beer for my horses.



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Re: Creedmoor 1879 What you did not know

Postby gunlaker » Sun Dec 22, 2013 6:56 pm

Thank you Kenny. I just ordered a copy.

Chris.

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Re: Creedmoor 1879 What you did not know

Postby Kenny Wasserburger » Sun Dec 22, 2013 7:54 pm

Chris,

Glad you found a copy, I just stumbled accross this just a few weeks ago myself.

The Search for accuracy never ends, or for Historical Facts.

KW
The Lunger
We'll raise up our Glasses against Evil Forces, Singing, Whiskey for my men, Beer for my horses.



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Re: Creedmoor 1879 What you did not know

Postby desert deuce » Sun Dec 22, 2013 8:10 pm

Thanks Kenny, all good information. Reminds me of the equipment lists at Raton.

I am curious, was there any mention of the brand/type rifles, barrels, style of rifling and rates of twist that were deemed successful. What combinations did the winning shooters use?

And, a note from me, I don't get too concerned with shifts in vertical unless you have very consistent conditions. For instance, anything that will hold a minute of elevation for a string of fire (ten record shots) at 1,000 yards would be very, very satisfying. Regardless of conditions.

What I am saying is that I suspect that conditions affect verticle dispersion a whole lot more than I have seen or heard discussed. Of course I have heard the effects of conditions on vertical cussed but not frequently discussed. Push bullet up or down, light, shadow, etc...

One that sticks in my mind was: Jack Martin and I were pulling targets for Steve Baldwin at the Nationals at Raton at his 900 yard record shot stage some years back. I think it was his second record or third record shot that was a center ring 9 at about 4:30. So, we shoved the shot spotter in the bullet hole. The next three shots hit the center area of the spotter and the verticle was probably less than four inches for all four shots, probably closer to three than four inches. As you know, the shot spotter is only five inches in diameter. As I recall the conditions were good to fair and Steve mentioned that the conditions held pretty much, but, he did not mention (or I don't remember) whether he made any sight corrections during those four shots.

Another: I scored a shooter at Raton this past year and during his record string at 1,000 yards his verticle was about and maybe just a bit less than a minute by my estimation, yes I did plot his shots on the cork board. BUTTT....he was at least 10-12 minutes back and forth on the windage. So, should I conclude the rifle really holds verticle well, or, did the conditions conspire to favor him?

Or, should I conclude that some things that I have seen happen on the rifle range just don't have a logical explanation? :(

Or, was the cause evident and I just did not discern it? :?

I know, I know, I ask too many questions. :oops:
Sometimes you get the chicken, and sometimes you get the feathers!

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Re: Creedmoor 1879 What you did not know

Postby Don McDowell » Sun Dec 22, 2013 9:15 pm

Thank you Kenny.
Zack never too many questions, that's how we learn and when the answers/answers get hammered out in public forum like this we all learn and the sport benefits.
AKA Donny Ray Rockslinger :?

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Re: Creedmoor 1879 What you did not know

Postby Sarge » Sun Dec 22, 2013 10:02 pm

Kenny,
Many thanks to you for the effort on the information.
Sarge

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Re: Creedmoor 1879 What you did not know

Postby Ray Newman » Sun Dec 22, 2013 10:52 pm

Kenny: thanks for the informative and valuable post. Just ordered a copy from Amazon. Thanks again.
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Re: Creedmoor 1879 What you did not know

Postby dbm » Mon Dec 23, 2013 7:53 am

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

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desert deuce
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Re: Creedmoor 1879 What you did not know

Postby desert deuce » Mon Dec 23, 2013 8:22 am

Although I have not seen the rifle or held it in my hands, a very reliable friend told me he has seen and held an original Hepburn Creedmoor that is, as he recalls, marked as 45-105-550, although it may actually be marked 44-105-550, on reflection he was not positive except for the 105-550. He is not a black powder nut like we are. I would really like to see the rifle and thoroughly photograph it as it may actually be a 44-105-550 which we would probably designate as a 44 2.6 in our current day parlance.

The original Sharps 1877 Creedmoor that I did see and hold in my hands was simply marked 45 2.4
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Don McDowell
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Re: Creedmoor 1879 What you did not know

Postby Don McDowell » Mon Dec 23, 2013 9:12 am

I would really like to see pictures of the bullets, so as to see the comparison to what they used then to what we have now.
AKA Donny Ray Rockslinger :?

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Re: Creedmoor 1879 What you did not know

Postby 45bpcr » Mon Dec 23, 2013 12:18 pm

Thanks Kenny,

$39.99 is cheap money to read and preserve history.
And, Amazon is out. I just ordered the last one in Hardcover 8)

Merry Christmas all

Craig
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