Research Press

Historical Firearms, Long Range Target Shooting & Military History

Black Powder Cartridge Rifle

BPCRnet was established in 2003 and finally closed in 2022 (albeit after a long period without update). The following articles have been retrieved from archive, and while many are quite old now they still contain relevant and useful information. Please contact Research Press if it is felt that copyright is infringed by reprinting these articles.

The shooting of black powder cartridge rifles is a great challenge and one which has very few finite rules. It involves almost continual experimentation with old and new components and equipment. For short range hunting and target practice, simple and proven reloading methods will provide suitable ammunition and accuracy. For those who want to surpass that level, specialized and developed handloads will always produce a significant improvement, just as it does with reloading for modern smokeless powder arms. 

The Black Powder Cartridge Rifle Reloading Guide was written by Dick Trenk in 2003. This is a different kind of reloading instruction text, not just advising how to do things but also providing the reason why they are done that way. While this guide still provides valuable advice and instruction, as ever 'best practice' evolves and wider reading of current literature on the subject is also recommended.

Additional technical information and articles from BPCRnet:

For further reading on the subject, primarily of historical subjects, see also Long Range Target Rifles and Ammunition.

Note also that Research Press manages the following group on Facebook: Long Range Target Shooting with the Black Powder Rifle. Long range target shooting with the percussion muzzle loading rifle and black powder cartridge rifle. Historical study and shooting today. 19th Century competition at Wimbledon, Creedmoor and Dollymount. Rifles, ammunition and equipment. Riflemen and Gunmakers.


Another Day the Paper-Patch Way

Today more PP testing was done to refine the load shot at the American Creedmoor Cup as well as do some testing with the 45-cal BACO PP bullet. A 0.4410" diameter PP mold was the prize for being high PP shooter at The Cup. The bullet actually mics at 0.4424" when cast in 20-1, which was the only alloy tested today. The 16-twist, 45-90 with a replica of an original Sharps PP match chamber was used as the test platform. A number of different powder charges using Swiss Fg and 1.5 were tested.

Read more: Another Day the Paper-Patch Way

How to Use Tang Type Rear Sights and Insert Type Front Sights

Young eyes usually have little trouble using the rear tang sight which has a single pin hole or the "Hadley type" eye cup which has many pin holes of increasing sizes. The following instructions apply to both young and old eyes but there is need for special advice for older eyes.

Read more: How to Use Tang Type Rear Sights and Insert Type Front Sights

Paper Patched Observations at the 2008 American Creedmoor Cup

This past week [2008], a coterie of hardy souls attended the American Creedmoor Cup (ACC) at the Ben Avery Range, 23 miles north of the I-17 / I-10 interchange located in Phoenix, AZ. This particular 2-day BPCR long-range match (800, 900 and 1,000 yards) is unique in the USA that no coaching is allowed once the competitor hits the target while shooting sighters. Only 2 more sighters are allowed after hitting the target for the first time whether they hit the target or not before the competitor must go for score. And, each shooter has only 20 minutes to fire sighters and 10-shots for record so waiting for a condition is not a workable option most of the time. This is a real rifleman's game where one must turn the windage and elevation knobs quickly and precisely to stay in the game.

Read more: Paper Patched Observations at the 2008 American Creedmoor Cup

BPCR Lube Thoughts and Findings

The topic of what a BPCR lube does and how it does it is often the topic of conversation; at matches, over the phone and online. Those of us that have shot BPCR for a while know that accuracy degrades rapidly without a good lube as well as either wiping or blow-tubing between shots. After several years of extensive research, experimentation and thinking about BPCR lubes and how to make them better some general conclusions have been drawn.

Read more: BPCR Lube Thoughts and Findings

Bullet Stability

The issue of BPCR bullet stability has been quite the puzzlement, for quite a while, to this crank. For the past 6 years there has been a considerable focus on optimizing bullet design for a given twist and vise-versa. Some solidification of understanding is starting to take place through extensive testing by shooting bullets through heavy corrugated cardboard at distances from 50 yards to 1,000 yards and applying a measurement technique to estimate bullet yaw angle or wobble about its center of mass or gravity. The short story is, all is not as it would seem.

Read more: Bullet Stability