I did it! I finally shot my Monkey.

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I did it! I finally shot my Monkey.

BobB
Colour Sergeant
BobB
Colour Sergeant
Joined: October 30th, 2017, 3:41 pm

April 8th, 2018, 2:08 pm #1

It had to be done.

Every time I opened the cabinet, there was my Monkey, sitting in the corner, looking up at me. Nigh on three years it had been sitting there, wanting - nay, needing to be shot. So today, despite spotting rain (as evidenced in the photos!) I shot it.

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The Monkey (Tail) itself is well documented and known as one of a batch manufactured for the Royal Gloucestershire Hussars (my family regiment). The barrel is, I'm told, a period replacement but that's fine by me - all part of its history.

The bullet used was a Lee 457-450 and the cartridges made from nitrated hair curling paper charged with 55 grains of Swiss 2F and semolina filler to make up the space.

The sealing wad at the rear was cut from natural felt soaked in beeswax. Taking my cue from various threads on here, I made sure the sealing wad was large enough - a little too large as it turned out, as it took some effort to close the tail on the chamber, but rather that than too small. I'll probably make it a tad smaller next time. 

I donned a pair of shatterproof safety glasses atop my normal range ones, together with a hat, just in case it was a bad monkey and decided to spit in my face, but no - it was a very good monkey and nothing of the sort occurred. Everyone was crowding round (albeit at a safe distance) just for the sport of seeing Bob blow himself up. There was quite a recoil and billows of satisfying smoke and, best of all, I was still in one piece...

I didn't push the old wad forward with the next round in historical loading style, but hoiked it out after each shot, along with the remnants of the reinforced 'collar' around the base of the cartridge, which was the only paper remaining.

Accuracy? Not bad, really, bearing in mind these were my first ever shots with it (at 25m). Thinking it might shoot high, the first one was aimed at 6 o'clock just below the outer ring. That printed a couple of inches high, left, so I aimed the second one at the bullseye - much the same relative POI. 

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Then, of course, on realising that I hadn't blown myself up or ended up looking like Man Friday, everyone wanted a go, so I was happy to oblige.

So, first outing a success I think - monkey shot with much enjoyment and without drama. The Range Officer did give me a few sideways looks, but that's only because he wanted a go, too.  With a slightly smaller diameter sealing wad and with a bit of playing around with the load, I think this could be fun!

Bob.   
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yulzari
Veteran of the Regiment
yulzari
Veteran of the Regiment
Joined: July 13th, 2012, 11:48 pm

April 8th, 2018, 5:17 pm #2

Bravo Bob! Well done. 

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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PommyB
Veteran of the Regiment
PommyB
Veteran of the Regiment
Joined: September 3rd, 2009, 9:41 pm

April 8th, 2018, 5:45 pm #3

Very nice, Monkey-Tails have been a bit scarce around here lately.
"For a man, be he ever so much resolved to do his duty as a parent, can't be flogging his children all day....."

The Memoirs of Barry Lyndon, Esq. (William Thackeray).
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martinibelgian
Veteran of the Regiment
martinibelgian
Veteran of the Regiment
Joined: March 17th, 2002, 5:43 am

April 9th, 2018, 5:58 am #4

And here's me thinking of reading about a hunting adventure, shooting monkeys...  What would they taste like?
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BobB
Colour Sergeant
BobB
Colour Sergeant
Joined: October 30th, 2017, 3:41 pm

April 9th, 2018, 8:50 am #5

martinibelgian wrote: And here's me thinking of reading about a hunting adventure, shooting monkeys...  What would they taste like?
Mine would taste of Ballistol.
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BobB
Colour Sergeant
BobB
Colour Sergeant
Joined: October 30th, 2017, 3:41 pm

May 13th, 2018, 11:24 am #6

I took Monkey out again today.

Having learned from the initial shoot, I made the cartridges slightly differently. Now I know that I won't get leakage from the felt/beeswax sealing wad, I incorporated this into the cartridge itself rather then having it stuck on the outside. I punched the wads out to the same diameter as the fired ones I'd extracted from the breech last time and simply inserted them into the open end of each rolled cartridge, letting the subsequent beeswax dip 'glue' them in place. 

I didn't dip the bullets in lube this time, but hand-smeared a beeswax/tallow mix (with a bit of ballistol added to make it softer) onto each bullet before loading, pretty much like you might use Udder Cream (I didn't have any). All cartridges loaded smoothly and I could have kept up quite rapid rate of fire with them had I not been extracting the used wad each time and pre-lubing the bullets. 

Herewith a few shots of the setup, along with representative groups with different aiming points, and a final shot showing all 16 rounds. The trigger is quite light, so one or two fliers occurred when this took me by surprise (plus some of the rounds were fired by other people). This was all at 25m. 

With 50 grains of Swiss 2F and semolina filler to make up the space, it's the most fun rifle ever to shoot! 

Bob.

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Pukka Bundook
Veteran of the Regiment
Pukka Bundook
Veteran of the Regiment
Joined: March 3rd, 2004, 3:19 pm

May 13th, 2018, 12:32 pm #7

I bet you are very pleased with the old monkey Bob!

Now why not try shoving the wad forward?

He seems to group very well, and a real good start. Bravo!

I'm wondering if the lube for the wad would be better if slightly softer?  I know beeswax can set like  concrete at times.  (Might make it harder to form to the chamber)

Again, well done and I'm very pleased!
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BobB
Colour Sergeant
BobB
Colour Sergeant
Joined: October 30th, 2017, 3:41 pm

May 13th, 2018, 1:19 pm #8

Thanks, Pukka!

Well, I think shoving the wad forward is perhaps something for next time. I'm a bit nervous about having something in front of the bullet. I know it's historical but you know what it is with the "barrel-blockage fairy" whispering in your ear all the time that it's somehow not a good idea... One day I'll pluck up the courage!

Yes - perhaps the wad lube could be softer. That said, the pure beeswax keeps its shape and holds the rear of the cartridge together very well, without mess. They load smoothly and with very little effort now I've adjusted the size - almost like loading a metal cartridge. Good idea, though, and I'll try it.

For interest, I plotted all the shots from the final target into Rob's FOM calculator. By dismissing the known flyers (caused by the sensitive trigger plus other people having a go), and adjusting all the shots to the same POA, the plot looks like this, with a 2.6" group and a Figure of Merit of .76. I'm VERY happy with that for only my second go with the rifle!

Monkeytail corrected FOM.jpg
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Brett
Lance Sergeant
Brett
Lance Sergeant
Joined: December 20th, 2016, 2:57 am

May 13th, 2018, 3:08 pm #9

Well shucks. I didn’t know I needed one of these before now.

Great shooting Bob! It’s always exciting to see these fine old pieces used with good cartridges.
"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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BobB
Colour Sergeant
BobB
Colour Sergeant
Joined: October 30th, 2017, 3:41 pm

May 13th, 2018, 4:30 pm #10

Brett wrote: Well shucks. I didn’t know I needed one of these before now.

Great shooting Bob! It’s always exciting to see these fine old pieces used with good cartridges.
Well, you do now, Brett!

I think you'll be hard-pressed to find much American use of the Westley Richards Monkey Tail, though, so they might be a bit hard to find.

Quite a favourite with the Boers and I understand it was something of a coming-of-age challenge for a Boer lad to hit a hen's egg with one at 100 yards (perhaps I could start with an ostrich egg and work my way down?).

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

May 13th, 2018, 8:48 pm #11

Bob, it is in fact better if the particular firearm in question had little or no involvement or use in America. For instance with P53 Enfields, just about every original over here is touted as “Confederate” in some way. Even P53s smothered in U.S. acceptance marks and Union Army regimental stamps will be given a “probable Confederate capture” provenance based on some spurious alleged account from the previous owners great grandfather who took it off a dead Yankee.

The more obscure the gun and the further removed from US military history, the better for the shooter and collector. Although I have to say there is a significant and growing fondness for Sniders and Martinis here, probably due (I think) to them being featured in very popular YouTube channels.
"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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BobB
Colour Sergeant
BobB
Colour Sergeant
Joined: October 30th, 2017, 3:41 pm

June 7th, 2018, 4:40 pm #12

The Hundred Metre Monkey!

I took the Monkey Tail carbine out to the range today for a bit of a workout at 100m. It was as much to test the efficiency of my "improved" cartridges as anything else. By "improved" I mean making them from un-nitrated hair-curling papers as they burn just fine without the fuss of nitrating, and with the sealing wad fitted as per my post above (13th May). The charge was 50 grains of Swiss 2F powder with semolina filler to take up the extra space. The bullet was the same Martini Henry Lee 457-450 with a dab of a cheaper equivalent to Udder Cream on the nose for each shot. 
  
I maintained the same POA (the X-ring) and levered out the sealing wad each time with a dental tool rather than pushing it forward. I did one quick clean of the barrel half-way through.  

After the shoot I removed the patches to see what the overall group of seventeen shots looked like together and here they are. I'm jolly pleased! They're a little low as I had the sight folded down and there are a few flyers, but by raising the sights a bit and taking more careful aim I think I can get a decent club competition rifle out of this old monkey! 

Bob.

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yulzari
Veteran of the Regiment
yulzari
Veteran of the Regiment
Joined: July 13th, 2012, 11:48 pm

June 7th, 2018, 9:20 pm #13

Nice work Bob.
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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BobB
Colour Sergeant
BobB
Colour Sergeant
Joined: October 30th, 2017, 3:41 pm

June 8th, 2018, 12:08 am #14

Thanks, John.
And don't worry - I'll get round to shooting your old East India Company musket sometime soon, I promise!
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heelerau
Veteran of the Regiment
heelerau
Veteran of the Regiment
Joined: July 12th, 2011, 7:25 pm

June 8th, 2018, 1:25 am #15

I would say you are doing ver well with said monkeytail,  nice groups, well done sir !
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