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    St Petersburg, FL
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    woodworking, steel forging, engineering, Civil War era history. Hunting, fishing, camping.

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  1. I grew up hunting with traditional self-made bows and occasionally a 22, but today I stalked and took a wild boar in central FL using my miroku 1866 in 44-40 and self-cast lead. Land was private, and hog season is year round in FL (they are considered a pest out here). Harvesting meat for me is bittersweet, there is a quote by NY Times writer David Joy that I've always thought describes the process best, "There is a sadness that only hunters know, a moment when lament overshadows any desire for celebration. Life is sustained by death, and though going to the field is an act of taking responsibility for that fact, the killing is not easy, nor should it be." If I'm being honest, as a friend of animals, hunting is a bit hard on my spirit. But I know that if I buy a pork shoulder at the grocery store without a second thought as to where it came from, that is the biggest form of disrespect to the animal. By hunting my meat, I can take responsibility for my dietary needs and walk away with a deeper appreciation of the life that was given to sustain me. I've pretty much sworn off of grocery meats (unless I'm a guest somewhere, or occasionally at a restaurant) and this lifestyle change has been rewarding to me. This was my first hunt without using a scope of any kind, and since making a single well placed ethical shot is critical, I practiced with my new 1866 for around 12 hours over the course of a month. I made some good progress with the buckhorns and black powder at 50 and 100 yards, but even still, acquisition wasn't instinctive and my groups with black powder (OE 3F droptubed 3' and compressed) were 3x larger than with RL7 at the same velocities (using chronograph). So I didn't think I was good enough yet to hunt with them, still have lots of load development/casting work to do to make BP work like it should. So I decided to cheat on this front for the sake of the animal and installed a skinner aperture rear sight just for the hunt (much, much easier to acquire a fast sight picture on a moving target) and used the RL7 load. Maybe by the next hunt I'll have mastered the buckhorns with BP to make it extra authentic. Rifle: Miroku 1866 24" octagonal 44-40, Skinner aperture rear sight Lead: self-cast 43-215c from 1:20, sized to 0.430. Lube: 40% beeswax, 40% tallow, 10% paraffin, 10% lanolin (and a touch of green crayon for style ) Load: the late John Kort's load for RL7 Data: avg 1423 fps, 217gr bullet Primer: Federal LPM (the photo looks like there are wrinkles, but its just residual lube from pan lube process) Two 3-shot groups at 25 yards before hunt: my groups at 50 yards were within 3". After a bit of exploring, I had a clear shot of a boar at about 40 yards away. I steadied and hit dead on at the shoulder, one shot. It ran about 10 yards before collapsing. It was clear I hit the vitals but I wanted to give it a quick exit so I placed a swift follow-up shot at the earhole. It ended right there. As the boar was quartered, I noticed that the 44/40 did exactly what it was supposed to. The entry shoulder was completely shattered. It passed through the lungs, and then exited through the other shoulder, shattering that as well. Right now I'm bleeding out all the meat under ice for about 4 days then processing. Total bone-in meat yield was 37 pounds. It's going to be three months of good eating for me and my wife. I'll come back to post more pictures of the processed meat and some recipes I make that the misses likes. I personally like it, and so do my dogs but boar has a strong flavor, needs to be treated right for those more discerning of flavor. So many local hunters told me the 44-40 cartridge was too weak to hunt a big bad hog with, and my 'grandpas gun' won't do what a modern AR could. But here's some more proof that they don't know what they're talking about. I couldn't imagine the hog being any more dead, and it happening any faster. Sure beats using my wooden traditional bows, and I sure feel like more of a marksman using a miroku 1866 with open sights vs an AR and scope.
  2. Probably wasn't very clear in my post, I feel I'm not ready because my coach gun is in pieces on my workbench and I still have to get my pistols and basic costume together. All I have right now is an old Boseman hat! I shoot all of my guns at the 50 and 100 until I master them - mostly as a personal objective. If I own a gun, I need to know how to use it. I'm confident I can ring steel at 15 just fine, albeit slowly. I have snap caps and I practice my cycling and speed for SASS. The rest is a personal challenge. If I don't have the time to master a new gun, I don't let myself buy one. It keeps the finances and the collection in check. I posted the targets mostly to showcase the capabilities of the rifle with stock iron sights for a first- time user. In case it comes in handy for people searching for more info on the miroku. Thanks all for stopping by and for the warm welcomes!
  3. Hey thanks Santa Rosa Slinger! Believe it or not, I've been shooting at Wyoming Antelope almost every Friday after work to get my sights dialed in. I still have a ways to go before i can compete, I'm fixing up a coach gun right now, then need to get my pistols and outfit sorted out. But once I'm ready to join officially I'll drop you a PM and see whats going on. I've been testing various loads and self-cast bullets for the past few trips, and though its a pain to clean up, have decided I really like the full black powder load. My groups are tightening up at 50 yards, and I'm getting better at repeatability with my cheek hold. My latest 50 yard target is attached (zoomed in to center), the tan and red one. not quite 1MOA yet I decided to venture out to the 100 yard line this past trip and man, that was ROUGH. The ladder sight on the miroku is useless, the RO helped spot me and with the ladder on the lowest notch the rounds were going way high. So I dropped the ladder back down to use the regular notch and used a 12 o'clock hold on the target (as much as I could, I mean, with these old notch sights the entire target was covered and I couldn't really see what I was aiming at lol). But on my last set of 15 rounds, all 15 hit paper, with only 2 off target and the rest on at various degrees. I can live with that for a first try. Picture is attached, the black and green target. Ignore the tiny bullet holes at the bottom, those were from someone else. I read about a lot of people using tang mounted peep sights and now I get why. If I had a Shiloh, I'd probably use one, but it seems a little much for an 1866. Maybe I'll get one of those antique 34" brass scopes I'm kidding. I'd never drill holes into it. We'll see if I can get better/used to it the next few times. For now, I'm happy and just having a good time practicing.
  4. No plastic, there was a coating that I removed before shooting, but the tarnishing in the picture is on the receiver. I ended up taking some simichrome to it and its mostly gone. Just hope this severe splotch doesnt happen everytime I shoot (weekly), otherwise there will be no more brass to polish! I like the look of tarnished brass but splotches like that just look like I dont take care of my stuff. Ahh got it, thanks for that tip. I went into settings and changed sensitivity to High2, we'll see next Friday if that did the trick
  5. Well I took her out to the range today to do some load development, but first I took a peek at that loading gate to see if it needed reinforcing. It did, so I scuffed it up, wiped it down with acetone then applied JB metal putty. Cured for 24 hours then oiled and reassembled, that should last me a decade or two. Unfortunately my chrono wasn't working; its the magnetospeed sporter, strapped it per the instructions and all that and it just said 'no data' despite having shot 50 rounds through have to call on monday and see what the deal is. But I wasn't about to go home so I decided to focus on what load gave better accuracy at 50 yards. Turns out this miroku likes compression! Using Goex fffg and an acurate 215c 1:40, with compression die, I was getting odd groupings up until about 36gr of powder and 38gr really locked it in. When I got to the 38gr rounds the rifle became a tackdriving machine and I shot 3 consecutive rounds one atop the other with the holes touching. 40gr worked well too but I felt it was a little overkill (and not easy to get it all in from a 2 foot droptube. possible, but removing the case from the tube makes a bit of a mess). 50 shots of BP and the barrel was still driving the rounds home. They really did well with that 215c design. I noticed something odd though, with the lower velocity loads I was getting grimey blowback and buildup outside the actual receiver... picture below. Is this normal? I had to really attack that stain with bore cleaner and its still not all gone. It pretty much stopped when I got to the more compressed loads. Sgt Hochbauer you weren't kidding about that grin, its still plastered on! Can't wait to go back next week.
  6. Cat, I'm a professional chemist - I'm paid to overthink! That said, no harm in enjoying somethin the way you want to - hot, cold, mixed with bitters and a sugar cube - have at it. I'm gonna grab a drink myself.
  7. Still Hand Bill got it right. Ice is added to higher proofs to expand the perception of flavor. Whiskey is made up of a bunch of many different chemicals. Ethanol is the main component. But Aldehydes contribute to the 'bite' and over time in the barrel react with acids and tannins to become Esters, which give the different flavor profiles in a spirit. On the back end of the distillation are the oils which contribute to the 'slick' mouthfeel, richness and lasting finish. The higher the proof, the more your mouth numbs itself and the less of these compounds you'll taste. Once it dilutes, your tastebuds open up and start to pick apart the flavors -good and bad. Every batch has a 'sweetspot' where the product tastes the best - that's why products are released at specific abvs. Its very intentional. Cask strength is a fun product, because the distillery is letting you find that sweet spot. The proper way to enjoy cask strength is to pour 2oz of spirit into a snifter, and add 1 cubic inch of DI ice. Take a sip before any of the ice melts. Periodically swirl the glass to homogenize the spirit with the water, tasting as you go, until the ice melts. If you started with a ~60% spirit, once the ice melts you'll be near ~45%abv. Theres more to it than that of course but thats the idea. Temperature plays a factor as well, but its mainly for the dilution factor.
  8. I like the way you all think! Gives me a little more confidence to enjoy it. Thats a nice looking 73 Trooper Ozzy, glad to hear its been holding up. El Hombre, good to know about 66/73 interchangeable parts - thats a big relief. That reminds me, I should probably reinforce that loading gate sooner rather than later. Good tips on not using steel brushes Jabez, thanks for that. I'll stick to solvent and rags. I actually like cleaning my guns, theres something therapeutic about it to me. So I won't complain about a little more time on the bore. JD and Burn Through, that is true. There would inevitably be more stories attached to a well used rifle, giving it more meaning. Thunder Creek do you find you could benefit from lighter springs in your 66? i've cycled through some dummy rounds and it feels nice and smooth but a bit heavy on the force needed. Good idea to modify a second pair and keep the originals just in case. Have you reinforced your loading gate/did you need to do that on yours? I have a lot to learn about these toggle links and I'm looking forward to picking more brains as I go forward. I'm scheduling a range trip next week with the chronograph, I'll post a range report with some general findings.
  9. Howdy folks, first post here on the wire, I'm a new member and excited to get into the sport. I guess I could be considered younger (age 33 this July 4) but whats in a number anyway. Wanted to introduce myself, my new rifle and ask a question as well. I've been a Civil War history nut since i was 8 years old when I wrote my first 2,000 word paper on Lee vs Grant's battlefield tactics. My dad helped me write it in his earlier days he was a professional fox trapper in upstate New York, canadian border. My parents were italian immigrants. Built themselves a log cabin with a chainsaw and their neighbor's tractor and lived off the land. When my siblings and I were kids we all moved down south to FL and he started his own business (laboratory). Now I'm working there with him. It's a far cry from survival down here (seems everyone comes here to vacation) but having him as a dad keeps me grounded to the dirt. He's taught me everything I know about survival, DIY, and the importance of a humble life. We've gone on a few small game hunts with .22s but mostly growing up we would fell juniper trees, quarter them, season them, hand carve bows with sinew backings and steam recurves, and make/fletch our own arrows to take our game. Nothing like using your own handmade bows and arrows to put meat on the table... but I tell ya, a strong traditional bow strung with sinew will slap your wrists red after nocking 15 arrows. On to the rifle - I just got married to my wife this April, and as a wedding gift she surprised me with my lifelong dream gun: a 24" winchester 1866 in 44wcf with octagonal rifle (made by Miroku). Yep, I made the right choice, the wife's a keeper. Pics are attached in all its glory. It has a weird oxide pattern on the buttplate though, hard to make out on the picture... I used simichrome to buff it out but the weird pattern came back again. Oh well, all part of that 'look'. Part of the sustainable lifestyle includes handloading... so I plan on casting and loading with black powder. The bore measures 0.4295, Already got myself an accurate 43-215c mold and 1:40 lead. Haven't had a chance to take it down the range yet, but I have 20 different load sets worked up with Goex fffg, TrailBoss and Titegroup (all I could get with this mad rush for gunpowder right now) to find out what load makes it 'tick'. Now to the question... Since this was a special occasion gun, I'm worried about the wear and tear on it. I've heard some people say with soft lead and black powder 44-40 barrels won't wear like the modern ARs do. But what about the action? I really want this gun to be something I can pass down to my kids someday, and I don't want to hand them a paperweight. But I do want to enjoy using it. In the meantime, I'm eyeing a shorter model 66 Uberti (either 19" round carbine or 20" octagon short rifle) to use as my primary, "ok if it gets beat up" gun. Having a hard time deciding between the carbine and the short rifle... on the one hand, the carbine is a nod to the old trappers of the day, the lighter, more portable unit, and is available now new for around $1k. But I like a little heft to my guns and there's nothing like an octagonal barrel. Both buttstocks are fine to me, i'll eventually own both and I've read every thread on here about the pros and cons of each... just have to make up my mind for whats first. But what do you all think of using the Miroku? Since it looks like Winchester/Miroku has completely stopped producing these 1866 models to begin with (website says not in production), parts will be harder to come by, and wear and tear could render it inoperable... or will it just get 'smoother' with time, and any SASS reputable smith can fix any future issue for me no problem?
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