Friday, November 08, 2002

I did not get to the range today. Sadly, it seems that even the old retirees have to work to make money for shooting. The democrats ought to come up with a government program to fund old fart shooters (OFS, pronounced oafs). $200 a month sounds right! Not that $200 would cover all my shooting, but it sure would help. Heck if the government can come up with $200 a month for my medications, why not for shooting. Shooting does a lot more for my health than those darn pills the doctor(s) prescribe.

Ok, ok, I'm joking. No money from the government, no new taxes. Heck we won this past election, big time! Big relief to me as well. I think it shows that the Democrats drifted too far to the left and John Q. Public didn't buy their brand of manure. Not that they will be in any better shape next time (2004) since they will apparently not learn their lesson and have a Kalifornia Liberal as House minority leader. But it all pays off for shooters as we have a strong case to make with the party in power that they would NOT be where they are but for us.

I hope to do some actual hunting Monday. Will take the Seneca out for a bit of squirrel culling and scouting. There are a number of places to check out and I'll be going there.

Thompson-Center Seneca
For those of you who might be interested: I got my Thompson Center Seneca as a Christmas gift from my father in 1973. I enlisted in the military soon after so I didn't get to shoot it for almost 8 years! A .36, my dad intended that I use it to target shoot and hunt squirrels with. I would have liked a .45 at the time and eventually I got one. Not a whole rifle but an extra barrel from Fox Ridge Outfitters, the home of the Thompson Center Custom Shop.

I'm really pleased with this rifle, very good quality and accurate. In the .36, I shoot 25 grains of Pyrodex P with a patched .350" round ball and a CCI #11 cap. I've never chronographed it but it is accurate to 50 yards although almost all squirrels are taken at 15-30 yards. The .350" ball is decisive on squirrels, rabbits, and groundhogs. MUCH better than the .22 LR. I've also experimented with the .36 MaxiBalls and 60 grains of Pyrodex P or FFG for use on coyotes and such. Unfortunately, I've never had the opportunity to shoot a coyote with this load. I've also tried the .350 round ball with a poly patch and 60 grains of powder. This is a fast stepping load, about 2000 fps, which really does the deal on groundhogs at up to 100 yards.

The .45 barrel is another great shooter. My intention was to use this barrel to hunt deer with the Seneca. Unfortunately (again!) the barrel has not yet been "blooded". It does shoot well though. My load is 80 grains of Pyrodex RS or GOEX FFG with the 285 grain Hornady Great Plains bullet. I did try another brand of blackpowder with this barrel but the fouling was hard and noticeably more. I was able to reduce its effects somewhat by filling the hollow base of the bullet with Wonder Lube (Bore Butter). Sorry, but I can't remember off the top of my head what brand powder that was. This is a powerful load which nearly equals the .45-70 and is more powerful than the .44 Remington Mag from a rifle length barrel.

The nice thing about a .45 is that you can also shoot the .440" round ball, patched of course, with a 30 grain charge for rabbits and squirrels.

The limiting factor here is the single shot (but as you've already seen, I shoot a lot of single shots) and lack of optical sights. I do have an aperture sight on this gun and that was my compromise between the nearly unusable sights (for my eyes for hunting) that came on the barrels and the bulky and very un-traditional scope sights. Having shot aperture sights all my life, it is not a problem to use these.

I will have to do some chronographing of these guns with my favorite loads and report the results here. I think that there is too little empirical data on the muzzleloaders as they are actually used and shot.

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