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Downing Steel

Downing Steel
Loading The Black Powder Cartridge Rifle For Accuracy, Consistency And Precision.

The 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.”

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-the-shelf 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.
Story By Mike “Duke” Venturino
Photos By Yvonne Venturino

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