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GUNS Magazine May 2012 Digital Edition - Page 46
Loading the Black Powder Cartridge Rifle for accuracy, consistency and precision. Mike “Duke” Venturino Photos: Yvonne Venturino he following story actually happened to a good friend and master class BPCR Silhouette competitor. He arrived at a public range to try a few experimental loads in his custom rolling block .45-90 match rifle and so set up his gear on a 200-yard bench. A couple of fellows watched as he unlimbered the big iron-sighted, single-shot rifle along with its huge cartridges with their shiny lead alloy bullets. One wiseacre said, “Hey buddy, the 50-yard range is over that way.” T Ignoring the fellow, he sat down and proceeded to blow out huge clouds of white smoke. After a fouling shot and then five rounds on paper he told the onlookers to take a look through their spotting scope. Those five rounds clustered into about 2 minutes of angle (MOA) or roughly 2" at 200 yards. Since the other guys with their scope-sighted, magnum bolt guns, had bigger groups on their targets at 100 yards, they suddenly became humble and inquisitive. “How in the world could that old exposed hammer rifle be so accurate?” They can be. The rifles need not be custom ones either. Most off-theshelf modern-made replicas of Sharps Models 1874 and 1877, of Remington No. 1 Rolling Blocks, and of Winchester Model 1885 “high walls” are easily capable of such accuracy. However, startling performance from good rifles requires superlative ammunition. While the processes to make such handloads is a bit involved overall it’s not difficult. Duke’s current two favorite BPCR Silhouette rifles are both built upon original actions from the 1870s. His primary rifle (front) is a Remington No. 1 rolling block and his backup is a Sharps M1874. Both rifles have new Krieger barrels chambered for .45-90. Avid Interest The following is certainly required: an avid interest in shooting along with some experience in casting bullets and pumping reloading press handles. Of course it doesn’t hurt to have basic shooting ability. Here’s another little story; this time personal. In the fall of 2011 a long-time friend decided he would like to try his hand at the BPCR Silhouette game so I took him along to a match. He had a good .45-70 Shiloh Sharps Model 1874 rifle with decent sights but no experience in loading black powder in cartridges. Therefore, I furnished him ammunition crafted for my own Shiloh Sharps Model 1874s. In his first match he scored high enough to begin his silhouette career as an AA class shooter. He says he’s going to continue in the game. I predict he will have difficulty rising above AA class. Why? By his own pronouncements he detests handloading. He only does it so he can afford to shoot to contentment and does it all on progressive type reloading presses. Nor does he like to 46 W W W. G U N S M A G A Z I N E . C O M • M AY 2 0 1 2