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Thread: Pritchett ball from Rapine Bullet Mold Company

  1. #1
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    Pritchett ball from Rapine Bullet Mold Company

    Anybody have this mold and do the bullets casted from it shoot well? I'm thinking of getting one for my Parker-Hale Enfields.

  2. Gary,

    Most folks are at Nationals. Give them a few days to get back to you. I have never shot them. As I undedrstand it, originally they were shot paper patched.
    Edwin Flint
    14th Mississippi Infantry, N-SSA
    Deputy Commander, DS Region

  3. #3
    Southron Sr. is offline
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    Prtchett

    I haven't seen the Rapine Pritchett Bullet Mould but IF it dosen't have Grease Grooves, shooting it in N-SSA competition is illegal.

    I have had smooth sided Pritchett moulds and swages made up. Without grease grooves, the Pritchett won't shoot worth a heck without a paper patch.

    WITH paper patches, the Pritchett Bullets will turn in phenominal accuracy with the correct load.

    Unfortunately, paper patched bullets are ILLEGAL to use in N-SSA competition.

    Interestingly enough, when British Ordnance reduced the diameter of the Pritchett Bullet from .568 to .550 they found that these reduced diameter .550 Pritchett's actually were MORE ACCURATE THAN THE .568 Pritchett.

    I attribute this increaseed accuracr to several possible factors:

    1. British Army issue Pritchetts were "compressed pure lead (swaged) bullets" and the process of swaging actually "softened" the lead more, making it "softer" than any cast Pritchett bullets, cast from pure lead. (A property of lead is that it "work softens.")

    2. The boxwood or burnt clay plug in the base of issue Pritchetts aided equal expansion of the skirt of the Pritchett when it was fired and...

    3. During the loading process the .550 diameter Pritchett Bullets slid down the bore of the .577 Enfield Rifles easily, even when the bore was fouled. This meant less damage to the nose of the bullet.

  4. #4
    John Holland is offline Moderator
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    Incorrect Information Clarification

    Mr Sanders,

    Grease grooves are NOT a requirement for a projectile to be used in the N-SSA's competitive matches. There are a number of competitors in the N-SSA who use a smooth-sided projectile in their muskets. I have seen them with a number of different hollow base configurations, and they all shoot quite well. The moulds cast a bullet in the common range of what we normally use in our muskets today. My own casts a projectile with a diameter of .576", and is an original English mould with shallow conical hollow base. Recovered fired examples showed full obturation with the rifling exhibited all the way up the sides of the projectile. The accuracy is excellent, and without the paper patch. You are correct about the smaller diameters requiring a paper patch and their non-permitted use in the N-SSA.

    Sincerely,
    John Holland
    Chairman, Small Arms Committee

  5. #5
    Southron Sr. is offline
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    Smoothsided Minies' Paper Patching, etc.,

    Dear John:

    I am very gratified that you and other Skirmishers have had good results with smooth sided Pritchetts, Minies, etc.

    Personally, in my occasional experiements in my backyard range with "smooth sided bullets," beginning back in the late 1970's-I never had much luck with them in the accuracy department. Matter of fact, until I read your post above, I had pretty well given up on them entirely!

    What I had found in my "smooth sided bullet" experiements was that not only the accuracy of these bullets "off the bench" was not up to par; but I experienced an increase in bore fouling compared to Minies with grease grooves.

    In addition, I had also experienced an increase in bore leading firing smooth sided bullets compared to those with grease grooves. I am thinking now that somehow I was using the wrong type lube or maybe something else.

    My experience has been that if you take a smooth sided bullet that shoots poorly "naked", and patch it with a paper patch, develop the right "load combo," and you can get exceptional accuracy "off the bench."

    To quote Bill Adams on Enfields and paper patches, whom I consider an excellent authority of Skirmish type arms, I refer you his fine article that appeared in the July-August-September 2005 issue of The Skirmish Line, Volume 50, No 3, on Page 21.

    Mr. Adams states:

    'One of the secrets of the [Enfield] Pritchett bullet was that it was paper patched, just like the bullets used in the high-grade target rifles of the era.. The early P53 bullets were .564" in diameter and the later projectiles used with the improved J2 powder were .550" in diameter. The lubricated paper patch took up some of the difference between the bullet and bore diameters. The .550" bullets were found to be more accurate than larger bullets. The projectile did not ride on the bore; thus there were no leading problems. Paper patches are not used in N-SSA competition. There is apparently a misconception that the paper patch presents a fire hazard, loading danger, or cook-off hazard. In the hundreds of battles fought with paper patched bullets and the tens of millions of rounds fired in in combat and competition with that ammo, there is no known instance of a fire being started by a bullet patch. Ranges were not consumed in flames, nor were the American prairirs ignited by buffalo hunters firing paper patched Sharps bullets.'

    In my limited experiments with paper patched bullets, I have found that not only do they give exceptional accuracy, but as far as I can tell, present no danger of "cook-offs" nor range fires. The paper patch shreds or partially shreds when exiting the muzzle and seem to present no danger of a fire hazard to dry range grass.

    I do invite you to experiment with paper patched bullets. Hopefully, the SAC will consider in the future, making paper patch bullets legal for N-SSA competition. I think that they would be especially useful in the "Long Range Matches. The Richard Corbin website has an excellent section on "How To" paper patch bullets. His comments reqly equally to swaged as well as cast bullets-just go to:

    http:www.rceco.com/

    When the website's Home Page comes up, go to Richard's Swaging Book and then the FAQ on "Paper Jaacketed Bullets."

    THANKS!

    Sincerely Yours

    Southron, Sr.

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    Pat,

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    Pritchett Mould, De Ju Vue

    Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, I Know.....De Je Vue

    In the meantime I (as an experiment) I am cutting a Metford/Pritchett mould that will throw out a .550 diameter bullet as an experimental project.

    According to the records of British Ordnance (and I don't recall the exact figures as reported in Rhodes book when tested against regular "solid nose" Minie type bullets-the HP Metrord returned a "Figure of Merit" around .68 while the nearest solid nose bullet tried rated around a 2.35 "Figure of Merit" In other words, the HP Metford/Pritchett shot " a heck of a lot better" than its nearest rival from "off the bench"!!!

    The ONLY reason that the Metford/Pritchett HP was not adopted as the standard Enfield round is because it lacked the penetration of a standard solid nose ball, i.e., the HP caused rapid expansion.

    When the British got around to adopting the breechloading version of the Enfield, the Snider, they realized their mistake and adopted various versions of the .577 Snider bullet with a HP nose. In the first "Marks" the HP was filled with a wooden dowel and later versions used a "spun over" nose that actually closed the forward end of the HP cavity.

    Yeah, I know that the "paper patch" was dropped in favor of cannelures in the Snider rounds, but NOT because of any deficiency of the paper patch. As the Snider round used the bullet crimped firmly in the cartridge case, (after all this was "combat ammo") breechloading paper patch rounds must have a more or less "loose fitting" crimp or the patch will be torn off on firing the arm.

    The main reason I am making a .550 diameter Metford bullet is because when the British dropped the .568 diameter Pritchett in favor of the .550 diameter Pritchett for their M/L Enfields-AMAZINGLY, they found the .550 diameter bullet shot better!

    According to general consensus, Minie type balls should be only 2 or 3 thousands under bore diameter to shoot to their maximun accuracy. Hence a .550 diameter bullet (even if it is paper patched) should be absolute heracy according to the general concensus.

    So, that Metford/Pritchett mould I am cutting will be in .550 diameter, have a HP and utilize (as the originals) paper patching. I am just curious to see how well the HP .550 diameter Metford shoots "off the bench" with a little "load development."

    Give me a month or so, and I will post the results, complete with pictures-even though I know any paper patched bullet is illegal in N-SSA competition, call this my own "history project" heck, I am just curious!!!

    My thinking is that British Ordnance had a multitude of resources available to find the BEST bullet for the Enfield for general issue. So, I am going to see if they possibly did for my own personal satisfaction.

    If they were just satisfied with a bullet that would only hit "brigade size targets" in combat, they certainly wouldn't have spent so much time and money on research as they did. Maybe, just maybe, they were "on to something."

    MY BEST REGARDS TO ALL!

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