1853 Nepalese Enfield

For discussions related to reloading any black powder or duplex cartridge.

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1853 Nepalese Enfield

Joined: June 12th, 2018, 3:58 am

June 12th, 2018, 4:15 am #1

Greetings to all!

This will be my first post on your fine forum.  

I purchased one of the 1853 Nepalese Enfields from IMA  last year.   Tonight was the first time I tried firing it with a Pritchett style Bullet, .550 diameter,  which I cast myself from a mould made by NOE.

I am still quite new to paper patching,  this being my first venture.  

I was using Pyrodex,  and it was not a good night of shooting by no means.   It was producing key holes at 20 yards.   Maybe using real black powder will help this.

If any of you have ever tried to fire one of these Enfield copies from Nepal, I would sure appreciate any type of insight or help you could give me that would better my accuracy.

Thank you in advance for your time and help.   This is a wonderful forum.
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Johnny Yuma
Veteran of the Regiment
Johnny Yuma
Veteran of the Regiment
Joined: November 16th, 2009, 1:07 am

June 12th, 2018, 9:18 am #2

Welcome to the forum Ron. In my eyes at least, you are a brave man. The Enfield P-53 copies from Nepal that I have seen are amongst the most worn, broken and variable of the Nepali guns. Im sure there were some good ones in there, but often, in discussion of them here, people find reasons when viewed in detail and up close not to shoot them. 
Your posting under this category is fine, but you should also post your question further down the Forums in the Loading and Ammo Forum. Most of our shooters hang out there and will happily discuss the experience that you describe and possible fixes.
Best, Johnny
"The Ideal situation, is that a man acquire a British flintlock musket or pistol every day. Any more and he will be perceived as greedy. Any less and his dedication will be suspect."
Johnny Yuma
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BobB
Colour Sergeant
BobB
Colour Sergeant
Joined: October 30th, 2017, 3:41 pm

June 12th, 2018, 1:45 pm #3

Hi, Ron!

Getting an Enfield to shoot well can be a bit of a trial. Just look at the pages and pages of threads on here regarding Pritchett cartridges.

My advice (for what it's worth) is to forget the paper-patched Pritchetts initially, especially in .550 calibre. Get yours shooting with Burtons to start with (or Minies, if you want the commonly used name) as that'll give you a bit of confidence. There's loads on info out there on using those. Choose a bullet close to your bore diameter. A mate of mine took his original P53 down from the wall and tried it for the first time ever last week (and, indeed, his first time ever muzzle loading!). I gave him Lyman 575213 bullets which we loaded atop 40/42 grains of 1 1/2F Swiss powder and he was getting 8" groups at 100m right from the off. Pleased as punch he was, having thought he wouldn't be able to hit a barn door, and it won't take long to refine the load and close up those 8" groups considerably.

That'll give you a benchmark before embarking on the Pritchett journey. When you eventually do, I can best suggest the following from our very own Brett, who has done more work on Pritchetts than anyone since the 1860s, I think! Scroll down for his various essays on using them. Really well worth a read:

https://www.papercartridges.com/home.html

If you do persevere with the .550 Pritchetts, using a hard (Milliput or similar) plug is a must, and you'll need 3F powder to give it the Ooomph it needs to send the plug home and expand the bullet skirt sufficiently. I must admit, I think it might be a real labour of love to get .550s to work in your rifle, but then that's the challenge of Pritchetts!

Good luck!

Bob.
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Brett
Lance Sergeant
Brett
Lance Sergeant
Joined: December 20th, 2016, 2:57 am

June 12th, 2018, 3:29 pm #4

Hi Ron, welcome to the forum! 

I wholeheartedly agree with all the suggestions made already by the highly knowledgeable gentlemen. What is the condition of your Nepalese rifle barrel? Sometimes they would put a muzzlestopper in the barrel and the bore would be immaculately preserved, and sometimes not... but if your barrel is in good shape, with generally intact grooves and no severe pitting, there's no reason why it shouldn't shoot with reasonable expectations (i.e. 19th century military standards) of accuracy. 

Make sure you are using absolutely dead soft pure lead. For the .550-cal Pritchett you also need a plug (you can get away without a plug shooting the older, pre-1859 .568-caliber version of the Pritchett). 

I've never used Pyrodex with Pritchetts, but I wouldn't be surprised if switching to black powder solves your keyhole issue. Experiment with different grain sizes of powder. My original Enfield likes 1.5f powder (I use KIK brand because its affordable and very close to the size of the historical "RFG" powder) but other rifles, like my friend's Italian reproduction Enfield, shoot much better with 2F or 3F powder. As Bob said, the NOE bullet has a thick skirt and needs a nice stout kick in the pants to expand into the grooves. 

I'll just make one last observation: getting Enfield rifles to shoot well with Pritchett-style cartridges has been the longest, most difficult, and sometimes the most frustrating out of any shooting I've ever done. It's also been, by far, the most rewarding, satisfying, and just the most plain old fun that I've ever had shooting. You're already way, way ahead of me by simply being on this forum! Check out Rob's videos on making Enfield cartridges on YouTube. 
"It is idle to say that either British or Americans are cowards; they are of one stock and of one blood, stubborn and courageous to the death."
--Colonel E.C. Wilford, Chief Instructor, School of Musketry, Hythe, November 1859
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yulzari
Veteran of the Regiment
yulzari
Veteran of the Regiment
Joined: July 13th, 2012, 11:48 pm

June 12th, 2018, 4:11 pm #5

I would agree that a Pritchett is not the way to go with one of these Ron. The Pritchett was part of a whole weapon system and demands a progressive depth of rifling only found in standard service Enfields or Parker Hale reproductions. I imagine that even a well made Nepalese Enfield will have a constant depth rifling as do modern Italian reproductions. These work best with Burton bullets. These also save you a need for a plug and will work better with a coarser powder such as 2Fg. Pyrodex is from the dark side. Be as one with the true black powder. Ideally Swiss.

Have you measured the bore? Is it constant all the way down? A tight patch will show you if it becomes narrower or opens up at all as you run it down the bore. Don't use excess force if it tightens or your next post will be how to get it out and/or the cleaning rod which lost it's tip in trying to get it out. I push some raw wool just off a passing sheep or rag stuffed in the bore leaving a couple of centimetres of muzzle free and then pour molten candle wax into the pre oiled bore and around a coarse screw or upturned nail. When cooled you can pull it out and this is them much easier to measure than the hole I think. A few hours in the deep freeze does not seem to affect it's size and makes handling easier.

John 
My religion consists in a firelock, open touch hole, good flint, well rammed charge, and seventy rounds of powder and ball. - Private Jack Careless.
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