Detailing my 50 Cal. Pennsylvania Flintlock Rifle Build by Ed Hale

A study of patchboxes prompted me to upgrade the one I installed (see earlier articles on this rifle build) and to correctly seat it. The beauty is in the details. Of course this is my first Flintlock Build but I can’t help but be pleased.

Details like correctly recessing my brass patchbox with all of its curves and getting the door to latch perfectly in prep for placing my now engraved patchbox and brass side plate. I did enlist the services of Certified Master Engraver Mark Swanson to recreate the 1770-80 Jacob Dickert design. A masterpiece of engraving! Thanks Mark!

A closer look below.

And the sideplate.

Of course it is a Patchbox for patches and such for use in the field. And the side plate was for holding the lock, stock and barrel together into position with the two large screws seen in the lower image.

I do intend to deer hunt with this 50 cal rifle this upcoming deer season. It is very accurate so far to 100 yards, where may testing has stopped.

Good Shooting!

© 2017 All Rights Reserved.




Nosler AccuBond 130 grain; 6.5 Creedmoor vs .270 Winchester

Just for fun and comparison purposes I decided to do some ballistic comparisons using the Nosler AccuBond™ in this article as I am such a believer of Nosler bonded (welded) lead to the copper jacket for big game hunting. The 130 grain bullet was used and made so famous in the .270 Winchester by Jack O’connor.

Below you can see the significant differences in the cartridge size.


It is simple amazing that the smaller than .308 cartridge size of the 6.5 Creedmoor verses the 30-06 size of the .270 parent Cartridge can launch Nosler AccuBond bullets that at 400 to 500 yards are essentially equals.

Max Point Blank Range for 130 grain .270 is 301 yards w muzzle velocity of 3100 fps

Max Point Blank Range of 130 grain 6.5 Creedmoor is 286 yards with muzzle velocity of 2900 fps

MPBR Difference: 15 yards. Not much!

At 500 yards the .270 has around 50 ft-lbs more energy than the 6.5 Creedmoor. Not much difference.

At 575 yards both max out deer killing energy at 1000 ft lbs according to JBM Ballistics comparisons.

At 325 yards the 6.5 will deliver elk killing energy of 1500 ft-lbs where the .270 delivers the same energy at 50 more yards of 375 ft-lbs. Again not much difference

The recoil of a .270 Rifle is around 19 ft-lbs and the 6.5 Creedmoor is around  4 ft-lbs less  at around 14.5 to 15 ft-lbs. 4 pound less is a big difference that is near 30% in favor of the Creedmoor.

The .270 Winchester is not as inherently accurate as the 6.5 Creedmoor.

Last but not least, my  Ruger American Predator in 6.5 Creedmoor costs under $400 dollars. Wow! and shoots 1/2 inch groups at 100 yards.

Nosler introduced the AccuBond Long Range bullet  few years back. I just purchased the 142 g version with a G1 BC of .719. The 142 grain being heavier shoots around 2700 fps at the muzzle but the BC is so high that it cuts the air like a razor delivering over 1000 ft-lbs at nearly 700 yards for deer.

© 2017







New 6.5 Creedmoor Bullet designs Edging Out .270 Winchester Performance?

Need a long range bullet that operates at all ranges? Both Nosler’s 142g Long Range AccuBond™ and Hornady’s Precision Hunter™ 143g ELD-X™ in 6.5 Creedmoor have come up with bullet Long Range designs that edge out the .270 Winchester bullets even though the .270 spitzer bullet is a bit faster at the muzzle. No we aren’t talking leaps here just that the 6.5 is better at delivered energy, bullet drop and wind deflection and yes sectional density, the key to penetration. For a given diameter science has added 10 grains to the oft touted .270 in 130 grain bullet for better sectional density at 140 grains. Does it matter much? Not hugely but it is a numbers game and it is about bullet construction and usefulness whether near or far and call it “all range hunting”. The ELD-X is said to hold its weight at close range by some folks and it is an interlock design. See the excellent article below from American 

I am a big believer in the accuracy of the Hornady ELD-Xpanding however the Nosler AccuBond LR is bonded meaning the lead and copper are welded not just interlocked. I am a believer in Bonded bullets for game or all gilding copper as my Moose and Buffalo and deer attest, Particularly the Nosler AccuBond. Where this may matter is that Nosler’s LR AccuBond in close quarters, say 100 yards or less will perhaps hold on to more lead than the Hornady leaving less lead in your game at shorter ranges. Long range penetration by both bullets is controlled leaving most all of the bullets intact. Below is a You-Tube from a hunter that discusses penetration and how the AccuBond really holds tenaciously onto the lead.

It is like splitting hairs for some folks! Both Bullets are the very best in Long Range choices! For shorter ranges inside 100 yards, I am a Nosler AccuBond fan and I like the new gilding copper. See next article on Copper Bullets.

Get ready to hunt! Good Shooting!



Recoil is a Large Factor in a New Rifle Purchase for Most Hunters

There is no way I’m gonna buy that rifle. It is gonna beat my shoulder to death! Heard that before? Yes, it is a common lament. Going into a purchase, the buyer should have an idea of what is tolerable and what is not for deer hunting.  Most rifles for deer hunting weigh in 6 to 7 lb class w/o scope and larger calibers up to 8 and 9 pounds. I think 7 to 8 pounds is ideal for a typical hunter to  carry in the deer woods. A scope will add just a pound.

Shooting a prospective rifle at a bench rest is not the real way to gauge tolerance of recoil.  If you have an opportunity to test a rifle at the range for hunting, shoot it in a standing position at shorter ranges of say 25 to 50 yards. If you want to bench rest it, ok but get a shoulder pad or a jacket to absorb some energy. Better yet get a Simms SVL  Simms Vibration Laboratory slip-on pad or a Pachmayr Decelerator or similar slip on pad that will cut recoil in half and make your shooting a much more pleasant experience. The bench rest locks your shoulder into the rifle with little ability for your body to sway and absorb the recoil.

A recoil calculator is helpful in seeing the recoil of your perspective caliber purchase.

I shoot an African 375 Ruger full power load 260 grain head traveling at 2650 fps with a Pachmayr decelerator pad, standing and in my t-shirt. No Problem! Not only does the pad reduce felt recoil by 50% but your vertical body will sway with the recoil and absorb even more. At the bench I use a decelerator or Simms pad too. This is a level of intelligent shooting that anyone can do! You just have to understand that and make it happen each time you shoot. Your conscious brain wants to shoot but your sub-conscious protective brain is ready to flinch if the recoil is severe and painful. By practice you can teach your sub-conscious brain to trust the conscious side by adding protective pads etc. Years ago I had a flinch but it has been gone for years because I understand and protect my shoulder all the time.

So go ahead and buy a adequate rifle that has a measured amount of recoil but get the recoil reducing pads with it and train your brain.

Good Shooting!

© 2017



A Quick Walk with Ruger American 6.5 Creedmoor and Ruger M77 African in 375 Ruger

OK, it’s August and it is time to get the cobwebs out of my Gun Safe.  My two most accurate rifles for the price are the Ruger American Predator in 6.5 Creedmoor ( around $400 retail) and my Ruger African M77 in .375 Ruger ($900 retail). Today I am about to shoot them when I met fellow rifleman Joe Chicarello shooting his bull barrel .22 Long Rifle. I am sure he was having a great time and nearly done shooting when I arrived at our club range. Joe was easy to talk to and we resonated on shooting and safe handling practices. He has a Browning .223 that he has yet to shoot due to a scope ring issue. I hope you get the rings soon Joe! I invited him to check out my Ruger Rifles. He has never shot any of them so after putting a round down range in the larger bullseye at 50 yards off the Caldwell bench rest with the 6.5, I invited him to try it. I said, it does kick a bit more than the .223 so my bullet hit the center target just off the dead center by a half inch. I put three rounds in the clip with an open bolt and got Joe ready to try it, again at 50 yards, but to shoot a smaller target in the upper right corner. The scope was my Leupold VX-3, a superior hunting scope ready to hunt anywhere in the world

So he shot and I put  my binoculars on it and grinned. Joe it is dead center in the bull, I said excitedly. Kicks more than I expected, he exclaimed. So I put a neoprene pad on his shoulder and he fired again. Just that one hole there, I observed. How did the pad work? I asked. Much better, he added. You’ve got another shot left Joe. So he took aim again and fired. He said, “maybe I wiggled on that one!” Accordingly, I observed that same one hole there. Lets take a look Joe  and see what’s up. The range was made cold and we walked to the target.

Arriving at the target, here we are looking for strays but when we looked close enough there was one tri-cloverleaf hole in the upper right target. All the time Joe said, I’m a bit shakey.  I assured him that was not the way the bullets saw it,and congratulated him on such fine shooting.

In my testing this rifle a year ago, I shot 1/2 inch groups at 100 yards with other hand loads in the Ruger American and was thinking these were hand loads too but not so. They were right out of the Hornady Precision hunter box which features ELD-X™ bullets (Extremely Low Drag) that I used this past summer in a different rifle where I popped 8 inch balloons at 1000 yards at the NH Sig Sauer Academy with my son Jason.

Then I shot a .375 Ruger light hand load (2200 fps) of speer 235 grain heads out of the stone cold gun and it hit 1 7/8 high from the dead center. I invited Joe to try but he said he was done. Perhaps a bit fearful, I dunno. Doesn’t kick any more than my T/C Encore muzzleloader with 100 grains of Pyrodex I said. Nope, Joe wasn’t ready.

So I proceeded to put 2 more shots in the center bullseye using the same aiming point. If you look close you can see my first shot from the 6.5 in the center bull as well.

All said and done that was a nice short walk in the park (range) and made a new friend I too. I asked his permission to use his name in this article. Of course, he said.

Good Shooting!

© 2017

Time to Prepare for Hunting Season – Now!

If you are a bow hunter, August is a must for practice and tuning your bow, arrows and razor sharp broad-heads, especially if you haven’t been shooting all summer long like at a 3D shoot.

Check out your tree climbing stand and safety harness gear to ensure you have all the parts and practice with a climbing stand to be safe. Try to practice in the dark to strap on your stand making as little noise as possible and climb a few feet up and mount your stand and pull up your bow. A clanky/noisy set up sends the message of warning to deer.

Avoid trees that have smooth bark, like birch and beech as your stand can slip.

Now is the time to put up ladder stands and begin to scout. I made the mistake of hunting in an area that had more ladder stands than deer. Once the deer get the idea there are hunters, paint the deer very wary and will often leave the area. You won’t see those adult deer in daylight either.

Muzzle Loader hunters clean your barrel again! By this time most barrels from muzzle loaders need attention and cleaning to prepare for the deer season. I like to pre-load my bullet and powder if possible in small containers you can purchase. I find in modern muzzle loaders such as my T/C Encore that PowerBelt™ Bullets seem to load easier (even with a barrel that has taken several shots already)  and are very accurate. I have used saboted bullets but find them a pain to load as the plastic does not go down the barrel easily. If that is all you’ve got then it works.

I will surely hunt with my newly created 50 Cal Pennsylvania Flintlock and 44 inch barrel I will stick with round balls from Hornady .490 with .015″ patch and are very accurate as well. Keep shots under 100 yards and preferably closer to 50 yards.

The time for scouting can begin but remember that food sources will shift to acorns and other mast such as beech or apples. Find the does and you will find the bucks.

Practice at the range, after sighting in should be standing, kneeling or using a tree for rifle support.

Good Shooting!

© 2017

Ruger Precision Rifle -Safety Bulletin

Ruger has issued a Product Safety Bulletin for certain Ruger Precision Rifles due to the potential for interference between the aluminum bolt shroud and the cocking piece (also known as the firing pin back). Although only a small percentage of rifles appear to be affected and we are not aware of any injuries, Ruger is firmly committed to safety and is offering replacement aluminum bolt shrouds for affected rifles in order to eliminate the possibility of such interference. View Safety Bulletin PDF

where there is a short video.

Newfoundland Cod Jigging with a Hand Line…and More

Back from a week of vacation in Newfoundland where the cod are so plentiful that our boat with three fishermen jigged up our boat limit of 15 fish (five fish each) in just 30 minutes of jigging with hand lines on August 2, 2017.

In the video’s below I am fishing off Fort Point Lighthouse in Trinity, Newfoundland with boat Captain Mike Hogarth of Trinity East and his Son Michael. His lovely wife is taking expert video with my IPAD, my apologies to her, as I did not record her name.  The cod jigs were banging into the school of fish on the way down to the 60 foot bottom and we sometimes hooked the fish in the side on the up side of the jigging.


Part of the story here, I’ve discovered, is about the high quality of the fish when they feed on their main diet of capelin, a sought after small school fish eaten by Newfoundlander’s and prized by the Japanese for its fish roe in sushi. It is essential for these cod to feed on the capelin to maintain the pure very high quality of its flesh. The capelin came in mid July a month later than usual and brought the wales too who feed prolifically on them.

My wife Susan and I  stayed in a small village called Jamestown at a family owned home on Bonavista Bay, Newfoundland. My father-in-law built a second story walk around on the house that can see miles across the bay. Not too shabby,eh!

A view from the upper deck!

I purchase a vacuum food sealer to freeze our catch and take back home. On the return trip to Boston, US Custom’s agents in Halifax held all our luggage for further inspection of my Styrofoam cooler and frozen fish to ensure that was all that was in there. I feared for the fish but we received it still frozen more than a day later.

Fish and Chips at its very best!

I did try to Trout fish in the local ponds but the trout were not biting.

We did see a young cow moose in our travels but she did not like getting her picture taken and sauntered into the woods.

Got to love the Great Outdoors!

© Copyright 2017 All Rights Reserved.