DOC'S BOOKS &ARTICLES
Tominator Shotgun- BG Series
Sporting Rifle AVAILABLE ON CUSTOM ORDER
Dec 2012- Eight elegant flintlock longrifles newly for sale, pictured in Newly Available with complete photos workups under Custom Traditional
November 2012 -GREEN RIVER RIFLE WORKS- A PICTORIAL HISTORY OF GREEN RIVER RIFLEWORKS NOW PUBLISHED ON THIS WEBSITE. SEE IT BY CLICKING ON GRRW TO THE LEFT
Fall 2012- AN UNUSUAL HAWKEN--NEW ARTICLE. SEE IT IN 'DOC'S RAMBLINGS' to the left.
2012 -DOC'S PAST ADVENTURES- now available on this website. A WEB BASED SCRAPBOOK OF DOC'S ADVENTURES OVER MANY YEARS.
NEW IGNITION SYSTEM- 2012
Readers of this site are aware of Doc's innovative use of the 32 S&W cartridge case as a primer in closed breech muzzleloaders. Doc's ThunderBolt is one of those that works quite well with it. Doc took the concept to Africa in 2005, using a Christensen Carbon barreled ThunderBolt with 336 primer ( as he called the 32 S&W system. the case is 0.336 " in diameter) with a modest charge 35 grains of 5744 smokeless powder to take 9 animals in 11 shots, two of the shots superfluous. The 336 system never went anywhere commecially as the White company contracted at about the same time, no new rifles being produced after 2005. Doc has now extended the 336 system to other competing models, principally by modifying H&R and other brand break open single shot shotguns, sleeving the breech with a White barrel and adding a 336 breechplug, White style sights, ferrules and ramrod. The system functions nicely with all replacement powders, including BlackHorn 209, and is as accurate as any other White rifle using recommended saboted bullets.
A modern H&R break-open single shot shotgun modified with a White barrel and 336 primer system.
Now Doc has designed a new bolt action rifle, using 1895 Mauser actions, with a new breechplug featuring the Colt 45 Auto case as a primer. This case fits the Mauser bolt face and extracts just like any cartridge. The internals of the breechplug are also different, with the case headspacing on the web of the 45 Auto case, rather than the nose of the case as is usual, thus enhancing ignition with modern hard to ignite powders. Doc plans to offer such rifles on a limited one at a time basis. Watch 'Custom Modern' and 'Newly Available' for them to appear. The H&R system is pictured as #747 and the M95 as #751 in 'Custom Modern". The new 45 Auto ignition system has not been named yet.
It must be obvious by now that Doc has changed his emphasis from the White Systems- WhiteRifles line of in-line muzzleloaders to custom traditional percussion and flintlock guns, which is where he started 60 years ago. The White companies have been financial failures for the most part, with great inventions, terrific developement, and innovative products with superb ergonomics and quality. But the management could never rise to the quality of the product. In the end, teaching a new doctrine was just too expensive. The current company, WhiteRifles, is a small remnant of what went before. Parts and bullets are still available, but there hasn't been a new design, let alone a new rifle, produced for over ten years. If you want to see what Doc does best, at present, look under 'custom traditional' found to the left. If you want top see what Doc used to do, look up the old White rifles, also listed to the left: G-Series rifles- the Whitetail, M97. The GS-series-the Lightning, The BG shotgun-the Tominator, The S-series- the Super-91, Super-91-ll, M98 and Thunderbolt.
WHITE RIFLES TEAM WINS THE 2006 MANUFACTURERíS MATCH
Thatís me, Doc White, on the left, then Rusty Cottrell, Lowell Crane, Merle Crane, David Jones and Steven Dick. The four with the rifles were the shooters, I got to cheer, while Steve managed the spotting scope and was handy in case we needed him as an alternate shooter. David Jones was the #1 individual shooter, Rusty was #2. The Crane brothers were # 6 & 7. Obviously, all are fine shots. The White team established a new record for the match, shooting 1132- 14X, eclipsing the old record of 1101-8X set in 2005 by the Knight team. David Jones also shot a new individual record for the match, shooting a 291-3X. He missed 9 points out of 300. WOW! It is hard for me to express how proud I am of this team of shooters. Their dedication to the task was exemplary. No one will ever know how many hours of practice it took to do this, let alone the mind control and discipline. They have my hearty thanks, little reward for their mighty accomplishment. The match was discontinued after White cleaned everyone's clock. I guess we get to keep the trophy.
BLACK MAG POWDER
Back in 1994, I ran into Tony Chiofffe at the SHOT show. He was promoting his new Black Mag replacement powder , an ascorbic acid based powder that looked for all the world like a handful of sand. I shot some and fell in love with the stuff. In 1995 I killed 12 head of big game with it, all deer size or larger and including a huge moose at 170 and a big caribou at 250 yards. Unfortunately, Tonyís health was bad and he died before the product could be fully developed in the market. Black Mag disappeared for a few years but has finally resurrected. I have been shooting it again lately and it appears to be every bit as good as it was originally.
The powder is sandy looking, not black like we all expect, about FFFg size and pours freely out of a measure. I was shooting 80 grains of PyrodexP and fffG 777 a few weeks ago, with a 504 caliber M97 Ultra Mag equipped with 26 inch barrel, loading it under a 460 grain Power Punch bullet. This rifle is particularly accurate with its Leopold 3 X 9 scope. I was shooting rocks, as the red rock cliffs around here offer a great place for marking bullet placement at long range. The hits are plain to see against the red background, a lighter splash on the rock surface, which weathers and fades back to red within a year. Itís a great way to teach yourself long range distance estimation without using a range finder. Pick an elk sized rock, estimate the range and drop of the bullet, pick a heart sized target on the rock, then try to hit it. I was shooting up to 400 yards with most shots at 200-250 yards. It was pure fun.
I could tell very little difference between the three powders, shooting them interchangeably. One seemed to be as good as the other. All shot into the same group as the others. It was as easy to hit an elkís heart at 200 yards with one as with the other. The 777 seemed a touch more potent than the PyrodexP and the Black Mag a touch more potent than the 777, judging from the recoil (I left the chronograph home) but the practical results at the distances I was shooting were effectively the same. I did not clean the rifle the entire afternoon until the shooting was over. Neither did I pick the #11 nipple or shift the breechplug during the shooting session. The bullets loaded easily, one finger on the ramrod with all the powders, but the Black Mag would clean out the harder residues from the other two with a shot or two. Where usually a hard crud ring develops with long shooting strings using Pyrodex and 777, the crud ring was blown away with the Black Mag.
The real difference was in the cleaning. I purposefully shot a string of shots using just the Black Mag to finish up the shooting session, wanting to know if it cleaned as easily as it originally did. I was not disappointed. I usually clean a barrel dirtied with Pyrodex or 777 with 4-5 patches wet with my blue SuperClean then follow with 4-5 dry patches, ending with an oiled patch. The Black Mag dirtied barrel cleaned with fewer patches, taking only three SuperClean wetted ones before going to dry patches. I donít think the Black Mag is any more soluble in water and alcohols than the others, but I do believe there was less residue, thus a little easier cleaning.
I am delighted to see Black Mag back. I have no idea what the stuff costs or how widely available it is right now, but I can testify to how well it shoots and cleans. Of all the powders I have ever used, it burns cleaner and shoots better long strings than any other as the residues are so much less. I still need to get it on the chronograph and also do some true accuracy testing, but for general hunting: ie- taking out an elkís heart at up to 250 yards, itís fine stuff, easily as good as the other two.
A quick note on Pinnacle and American Pioneer powders. The folks at Goex were delighted that I was interested in Pinnacle and arranged to send some for testing in White rifles. American Pioneer was another matter. They could have cared less, insisting that all the research needed was already done. I suggested that a recommendation from me might be a powerful argument for a shooter to buy it but just got a horse laugh at that egotistic sally. I will report on Pinnacle as soon as I get some. American Pioneer will wait until the company is a bit more co-operative and not afraid of independent research.
PS- i've been using Black Mag to accurize barrels for a while now. I am even more impressed with it. It cleans so easily! And it is very accurate with PowerPunch bullets. DOC
209 PRIMERS IN W-SERIES RIFLES
There has been considerable interest on the part of some shooters in switching the #11 cap usually found on W-series White rifles (Super91, M98 Elite Hunter, Super 91-II) to 209 shotgun primer. I have never been a great advocate of the 209, usually preferring a musket cap for my own hunting because of its speed of removal, so have been pleasantly surprised in the last few weeks while working with a pre-production 209 kit in a new .504 caliber Super 91-II. The surprise comes from several fronts as I had not expected such good results as I got.
The first surprise was that the 209 primer stayed in the primer pocket of the White 209 Breechplug with every shot. The second was that none were blown to pieces. I had gone to the range prepared with hat and safety glasses expecting that primers or pieces would be flying close by with every shot. I attribute these surprises to the good design of the breechplug, which after considerable trial and error has evolved into its present form. The primer pocket holds the 209 primer firmly in place due to the double wound spring wrapped around the hex head, There is also a double pressure release hole drilled through from side to side. This allows excess gases to escape to either side rather than blowing the primer out of the pocket. Another surprise was the ease with which the 209 came out of the pocket after firing. It took a fingernail, but the first three flipped out easily, almost by themselves. (And who gets more than three shots on a hunt?) After a dozen shots, it took two fingernails but still came out easily enough for casual shooting. The lesson here is to keep that pocket clean for the first shot of a hunting day, if for nothing more than to speed up the second shot if needed.
Another surprise was the consistant accuracy of the rifle. I used two loads, 70 grains of 3fG 777 and a 460 grain PowerPunch bullet and 100 grains of Pyrodex Pellets (that's 2 each 50 grain pellets) and the White 320 grain saboted hollow pointed Shooting Star. I used the Remington 209-4 primer made for the 410 shotshell or the CCI Trap & Skeet primer in all loads. I have found that these primers are by far the most consistent from load to load in White rifles. Unfortunately, Remington has stopped making the 209-4. Other stronger 209 primers have not been nearly as consistent.
I was not terribly surprised by the accuracy of the 70/777/460PowerPunch load as it is almost universally accurate in White rifles fired with #11 or musket caps. But I was very pleasantly surprised by the 2 Pyrodex Pellet/320 grain Power Star load. I had saved some 50 grain Pyrodex pellets since last fall, leaving the box open to the air, but in a high, dark, dry place, to promote aging. I had intended to see how badly they shot, since prior experience with aging pellets had been adverse. Lo and behold, the load shot into 4 inches at 150 yards with open sights and my old eyes. Maybe I was just lucky but maybe Hodgden has solved the pellet aging problem. All previous experience had been with #11 or musket caps. Anyway, I was extremely pleased with the results.
I also discovered that the combination shot very much like the same load in a White Thunderbolt rifle. The large amount of flash from the 209 primer in the short White breechplug promotes faster burning of the powder, higher pressures and higher velocity. I was impressed that the same rules promulgated for the ThunderBolt apply to the 209 in a Super 91 or M98. That is, you won't need as large a powder charge to get the same performance as with a #11 or Musket cap. You also will do better with heavier grained powders, like Pyrodex Select and 2Fg 777 rather than PyrodexP or 3Fg 777. Pyrodex pellets also work well as long as you use a saboted bullet. Work up the load from 70 grains in 5 grain increments until you get the performance and accuracy you want. it's rare to need more then two Pyrodex pellets with a White bullet, even for the largest elk or moose.
I was originally quite surprised at how much the 209 enhanced performance. I previously had been unpleasantly surprised at how full power 209 primers degraded accuracy. It was only after switching to Remington 209-4 primers, made for the 410 shotshell, that accuracy returned to normal levels. So never use a magnum primer, always prefer the Remington 209-4 (now replaced by the 'Kleanbore') if you can get any. Winchester is also now making a special 209 for muzzleloaders. If you must use any primer other than the ones specifically made for muzzleloaders, then use the weakest one you can find, like those made for low power trap and skeet loads.
There was no surprise in the amount of blowby left in the breech after each shot. It was about the same as with any #11 or musket cap. Since the touch-hole in all cases is the same diameter, it would be reasonable to expect a similar amount of blowby with similar loads. Cleaning this area after shooting should be no worse than with the #11 or musket cap.
The White 209 breechplug will universally fit any White rifle so far made and has the same 3/8 inch diameter industrial hex head that will fit any 3/8 inch hex wrench- no special tools needed for installation or removal. Use the 1/4 inch socket set in your tool box if you want. Grease the 209 breechplug with White's new Super Blue moly breechplug grease when you install it, just as you would the old #11 nipple-breechplug, so it will come out easily when it's time to clean.
I have recommended to White Rifles LLC that they immediately bring the 209 primer kit for W-series rifles into the market. There will be a new breechplug to replace the old one and a new hammer with firing pin to replace the old one for #11 or musket cap. There are no other parts changes. I don't know what the cost will be. I have also recommended that they carry appropriate primers, which can be hard to find, thereby solving the 'find' part of the problem for our shooters. This involves getting a Hazmat license so it may be a while before that happens.
THE NEW 336 PRIMER
White short 336 Breechplug and 336 primer. The 336 Breechplug is the same size and thread as other White Breechplugs. The 336 primer is an adaption of the old S&W Short cartridge. It uses a small pistol primer and is reloadable with common reloading tools.
It has long been apparent that the 209 shotgun primer is not the final answer to muzzleloading ignition. Results with the common brands of 209 primers has been erratic to say the least.
For one thing, 209's are way too fragile to stand up to the higher pressures encountered in most muzzleloaders unless supported by a metal case, as in the Savage or a solid breech design, like the White T-Bolt. Ordinary shotgun pressures are low, in the 8-12000 psi range. Pressures in muzzleloaders can be as high as 30000 although most loads are less then 20000. Especially potent loads in slam-fire rifles can be expected to destroy the primer, with lots of leak to the rear to dirty up the action.
The weakness link in the common brand 209 is its thin copper or brass rim, which is not stout enough for sure extraction. This rim bends easily and does not support the edges of an extractor well. If the 209 gets stuck in the primer pocket, and this can happen easily with black powder residues, the primer can be a regular bitch to pry out, simply because the rim will not stand up to prying. In consequence, most muzzleloading manufacturers have made their primer pockets excessively loose or shallow, or both, resulting in lots of blowback and a dirty breech.
209 primers are also quite sloppily made, with a lot of size variation between brands and even individual lots. This is natural, as 209's are made to fit in the back end of soft plastic shotshells, with thin brass sheathing and often paper wadding. That means that a lot of variation in size, though not in quality of ignition, can be tolerated. Alas, this variation does not work well in steel primer pockets. Again, the solution is a larger and shallower than needed primer pocket with lots of blowback.
The one thing that 209 primers do well is ignite shotshells. They do this well because the amount of primer material is relatively large, and relatively surefire with a light firing pin strike. The one thing that shotgun shooters demand is sureness of ignition. They do not need accuracy, as they depend on a pattern of shot to harvest their game or break their clay. Thus, the amount and temperature of flame in a shotshell can be far in excess of that in a rifle or pistol cartridge. This situation has resulted in several problems in muzzleloaders, the worst of which is Ďover-ignitioní, a term that describes too much flame and pressure for accuracy or safety.
Rifle shooters long ago noted that the most accurate loads were those that ignited progressively, from the back end. Pressures are lower, burning rates are more consistent, bullet jump is avoided and accuracy is enhanced with lower power primers. I well remember loading 308 Winchester target loads with special cases made for small rifle primers, just to enhance accuracy. Target primers are always loaded with less priming material than hunting loads.
Bullet jump is probably the bigger bugaboo with 209's in muzzleloaders. The common brand 209's are so powerful that they will throw a bullet clear out of the barrel all by themselves. There is no great velocity there, but the fact that they will is evident of their greater power. It seems that this greater power results in the muzzleloading bullet being shoved ahead by the primer alone, before the conflagration of the powder catches up to it. The shove is naturally going to be quite variable, so the distance up the barrel before powder burn catches up is going to be variable as well. Accuracy problems are understandable.
White long ago recommended the use of the Remington 209-4 primer in its 209 using rifles. This primer was especially made for the 410 shotshell and had about half the power of the ordinary 209 primer. It enhanced accuracy in White rifles, but was hard to find at the ordinary sporting goods store. I had to ship mine in from far away and had to buy 5000 at a time to get them. Remington ceased production of the 209-4 last Spring, but has apparently substituted the 'Kleanbore' line of 209 primers. Other manufacturers have advertised 209's made especially for muzzleloaders, the RWS primer being advertised for at least the last year, but I have yet to see any of them in Sporting Goods stores. Using the lowest power 209 available is the only thing a shooter can do.
With all this in mind, several years ago I started looking for an answer to the problem. It was obvious that some kind of primer containing case would probably do the job. The problem was which one. Savage turned to a solid metal case for the 209 primer in its rifle. The resemblance of their case to the back end of a 30-06 is obvious. I found that its size and weight was a deterrent to its use, although it seemed to work well, the very length cooling down the priming flash by virtue of its distance from the powder charge.
Others wrote about shortened 22 Hornet cases, using the small rifle primer. I tried this in a re-barreled Remington single shot shotgun. I cut off the barrel in front of the rotating lug, bored out the shotshell chamber on the lathe and fitted a White 504 barrel to the stub, soldering it solidly into place. The barrel was already drilled and tapped for the White nipple breechplug. I modified a White 209 breechplug, the one used in the ThunderBolt, to take a shortened 22 Hornet. I found that it ignited any powder I wanted, including smokeless, but did not contain the blowback. The shortened case wall was just too thick to expand with the shot. Besides, I had to shorten the Hornet cases, a major pain without an expensive hardened cut-off die.
I considered the 38 special case but it was too big and too long. The 38 S&W was shorter but still too large in diameter to fit the basic White breechplug. I did not want to have to change the interior diameter or legnth of the breechplug pocket, which so far has been the same in all White rifle barrels, no matter when made. The 32 mag was about the right diameter but was way too long for the breechplug and I did not want to have to cut them off. Rimless cartridges were available, but too hard to extract. I tried 25 and 32 Colt auto cases, found that they worked quite well, containing all blowback despite the short length, but their rimless cases were hard to extract from a Pyrodex contaminated pocket. I decided to stick with rimmed cases.
One day I was in a local hardware store and noticed a display of cartridges. They were at eye level or I never would have seen them Two boxes of Remington 32 S&W were displayed. What attracted me was the flatness of the box, telling me that the case was very short. I grabbed a box and popped it open. I knew that the 32 S&W (Short) was the first 32 caliber center fire cartridge ever made by S&W, originating back in the 1880's or earlier. I thought that it had bit the dust long ago and was no longer manufactured. Lo and behold, these were indeed newly manufactured 32 S&Wís, come to find out a caliber favored by Cowboy Shooters for small pocket pistol matches and currently produced by both Remington and Winchester with 80 grain bullets at about 700 FPS.
I bought those two boxes, pulled the bullets and reamed a proper .336 pocket to fit in a White breechplug. First rifle I tried was a re-barreled H&R .410 Topper, cut off in front of the lug and with a White 504 barrel sleeved and soldered in place. Worked fine with absolutely no blowback. Extracted easily with its substantial rim. Proved to be large enough to handle quickly and easily, being somewhat larger than a 209 primer or 25 auto case. I then adapted a ThunderBolt to fit it. That took about 30 seconds, long enough to screw out the 209 beechplug and screw in one for the new primer. Once again, excellent results. No blowback, surefire ignition with all powders, thick rim made for easy extraction and size just right for quick and easy handling. Not too large to fit into the breechplug even with cold fingers under a scope, not too small to be easy to get hold of in a hurry. And the rim would adapt to a priming tool easily.
The original 32 S&W cartridge is illustrated left, the White 336 Primer in the middle, a fired 336 Primer on the right. Note that staining on the fired primer does not extend to the base of the case, The thin wall of the primer's case seals off powder gases with no leak to the rear.
I took the concept to Africa in July 2004, using a T-Bolt .451, where it proved viable. I shot all the nine animals that I took with it, never fumbled a primer once, and used fingers alone to load the primer on the eleven shots I fired at critters, plus about 20 practice shots. Loads went as long as three days between loading and firing. eight out of nine shots were one shot kills, a Kudu taking the other three. Ignition was sure, with no misfires, and accuracy was phenomenal, my 1600 FPS load shooting into an inch at 100 yards with the 45/40-350 PowerStar saboted bullet, no cleaning between shots.
The cases are also reloadable. My CH reloading press handles primer extraction and re-priming without a hitch. For those of you who do not reload, all you need is a hand held priming tool, the proper case head holder and a common punch and something to hit it with. RCBS, Lee and CH all make hand held priming tools that cost less then $30, the Lee being the cheapest at less then $15. Case head holders cost less than $4 and some of the tools have a universal head. Punches are available at hardware stores as are small hammers. Many brands of Ďsmall pistolí primers are available, all made to high standards of size and power. A magnum version of the small pistol primer is also available if you want.
If you use the new primer with Black Powder or a substitute, and want to reload it, you will want to clean out the black powder residue after shooting. This is a simple task. replicating what you do with Black Powder cartridges. I throw the spent primers in a cup, drop in a drop of detergent and add hot water, then swirl the solution and primers around for a few seconds. I do the swirl a second time with a rinse of hot water only, then dump the rinse and spread the cases out on a paper towel to dry. You can speed up the drying in an oven at low heat if wanted but itís really not necessary. Once the cases are dry, they can be re-primed.
I have recommended that White offer the #336 primer conversions for ThunderBolt rifles and that the concept be incorporated into the new Alpha rifle once it is in production and the 336 breech-plug is standardized. One further modification is advisable. The diameter of the flash-hole in the usual White solid Breech-plug ends up at 80 thou once the plug is drilled and reamed for the 336 primer. The smaller the flash-hole, the less the blow-back and some claim the better the accuracy, but also the greater the chance of a mis-fire because of the chance of flash-hole plugging. Muzzleloading target shooters often insist on flash-holes of about 30 thou, but few targets charge and stomp you into red mud. I toyed with the idea of a replaceable flash-hole a la Savage (it;s a simple short hardened screw with 0.032" touch-hole leading off a hex), and finally got it done here lately, installing one in the breech-plug of a modified H&R Topper. It works fine and all the powders I tried ignited without a hitch, due probably to the shortness of the White Breechplug.
32 S&W Short cases are available at many sporting goods stores and over the web. The caliber has become very popular for CowBoy Action shooting in small pocket pistols. Cost is about 10 cents apiece in quantity. Small pistol primers in both regular and magnum persuasions are available everywhere. So are the reloading tools.
By the way, one of the quick ways to get the spent case out of the primer pocket is to simply open the action after the last shot and reload the rifle. Don't bother to remove the spent primer. The new bullet will act somewhat like a piston and usually pop the spent case out of the pocket when you shove the new bullet down the barrel. It works every time if you keep the primer pocket reasonably clean.
The SCS Sabot and SCB Bullet
I believe that the biggest bugaboo for both traditional and modern-day muzzleloading is cleaning the rifle between shots. When I first joined muzzleloading back in the 1950's, the first lesson was that the rifle had to be cleaned between shots. I found this fine on the target line, but I found it to be a real pain and impossible, if not dangerous, while hunting. I always imagined myself furiously cleaning my rifle while Old Ephraim popped his teeth at me, enraged because the first bullet didn't quite do him in.
A serious reading of the muzzleloading literature from the bad days of the French and Indian war up through the many battles of the Old NorthWest fail to show me that any Indian fighter or serious hunter had any interest at all in cleaning his rifle between shots. The literature of the early west also confirms that no wise frontiersman cleaned between shots. Indians and grizzly bears were just too ferocious and fast.
Thus it was, as a serious modern-day muzzleloading hunter, that I found myself pondering the best way to avoid cleaning, in fact, pondering the best way to shoot as many times as I could before the gun clogged up so much that it simply had to be cleaned.
I found the answer in part in the White Muzzleloading System with its tightly fitted but slip-fit elongated bullet. The world-wide experience of the Mini-Ball, and the later British experience with Whitworth's elongated slip-fit hexagonal bullets convinced me that we moderns could duplicate and maybe even better the performance of yesteryear. I was right, largely because of modern industrial techniques and the development of Black Powder substitute powders. Pyrodex P came along at just the right time.
However, even that superior system did not totally answer the problem. I quickly found that shooting in the dry West limited the number of shots I could fire with a White rifle and bullet before the powder residues build up enough to inhibit accuracy and retard a quick reload. I also found that shooting in the wetter East and South, though sloppy, was much less limited. Once, at a demonstration in Georgia, we fired a White rifle and bullet 219 counted shots with never a cleaning rod down the barrel while we watched our competitors clean after every shot.
Of course, that's not hunting. A muzzleloading hunter gets one or two, at best three shots at fleeing game, with rare exceptions. Any more than that means he's got the wrong rifle or he's the wrong man for the task. What the hunter needs is quick reloads, for that occasional circumstance that demands a second shot, with accuracy undiminished from his first shot.
The question has always been, and still is, 'how do I get accuracy, every shot, just like the first shot, all day, anywhere, with any brand rifle.'
About two years ago, I was cleaning up some old stuff, an accumulation of antique black powder bullets (both muzzleloading and cartridge) and some old books. I idly glance through the bullets, picking up several made for black powder cartridge guns. These were paper patched. I knew that paper patches had never worked well on muzzleloading hunting rifles, the paper patch being too fragile, although they are very useful on mechanically loaded target slug guns, but they caught my attention.
Before the day was out, I had thumbed through the books, especially attracted to one on Civil War cannon by Harold Peterson. He had illustrated the slip-fit shells used on those muzzleloading monsters, showing the mechanisms that caused expansion in the bore when they were fired. All were loaded slip-fit, the slightly undersize shells sliding down the lands of their rifled bores. There were several with expanding copper bands and some with flaring copper butts. None looked like they would work in a modern day muzzleloading rifle. They were simply too complicated to manufacture or function reliably. While thinking on this, I picked up a more modern bullet with a copper gas check on it. I glanced at it and turned to throw it in the discard pile. The thought struck me like a brick to the side of the head. Why not an expanding gas check, loaded land-to-land size, expanding to groove-to-groove size with the shot? Seemed like a great idea. So simple, like all truly great inventions. But on second thought, I was sure someone had already thought this one up. I pretty nearly forgot the subject for several months, then had a slack day. I spent it researching the concept. Lo and behold, it appeared that no other inventor had ever thought of the idea, or at least patented it.
Looks like a gas check, but it's far more then that. It not only loads easily, protects the sabot or bullet from gas cutting, evens up pressures and enhances accuracy, but also cleans the barrel with the shot. Every shot loads and shoots the same as the first shot. Clean-up is easier, too.
Intrigued, I arranged to have some made. The first ones were crude and hand stamped, but they worked!! I was pleased, not to say ecstatic. I originally tried them with ordinary loads, up to 100 grains PyroP and a White saboted 435 gr PowerStar bullet in a modified PowerStar sabot . They worked fine. The bore was uniformly clean from shot to shot and the number of patches required for eventual cleaning the rifles was fewer by half than without the Self-Cleaning Sabot. It was clear that I had a superior idea and that it worked quite well. I tried it with the dirtiest black powder I could get hold of, some heavy grained old stuff we used to use in small bore cannon. To my amazement, it even swept that filthy stuff out of the bore.
I also tried the device on the back end of my PowerPunch bullets. I had to machine each bullet on a lathe to fit the SCS device on the back end. I called it the SCB for Self Cleaning Bullet. To my vast delight, the device worked there just as well as it did on a plastic sabot. It worked every bit as well on heavy loads, like 140 grains PyrodexP and a 600 grain PowerPunch as it did on lighter target loads, keeping lead and powder residues at 'first shot' levels. I subsequently used the 504 caliber 600 Power Punch with SCB device over 140 grains Pyrodex P to take the new world record Asian Water Buffalo. Groups ran 1.5 inches at 100 yards for 5 shots. Interestingly, if I used the same 600 grain bullet without the SCB device, accuracy went to hell above 120 grains. In effect, the SCB device added another 20 grains of powder to power limits with excellent accuracy while affording easier loading and cleaning at the same time.
Now, one of the reasons that I advocate Pyrodex P in most White rifles is that it burns more cleanly then Black. Use Black Powder and you will have to clean between shots , even with the clearly superior White Muzzleloading System. Use Pyrodex-P and you'll get far more shots without having to clean than with Black. Now, with the copper SCS device on my sabot, I can go back to using Black Powder if I want. I tried it with all the other powders as well, some old Arco, ClearShot, CleanShot, Pyrodex RS and Select, and every brand of Black Powder available. It worked with all of them, keeping the barrel as clean as if every shot was the first shot and making clean up chores at the end of the day much easier.
It's obvious that the device will work every bit as well on a lead bullet as on a plastic sabot. It's also obvious that it will work in black powder cartridge rifles too. By summer White hopes to have SCS sabots with PowerStar bullets and SCB PowerStar bullets available for purchase. They will be available in 45 and 50 caliber to begin with, other calibers later. SCB bullets and SCS Saboted bullets for all calibers and all rifles with all available rifling twists will most certainly follow.
Watch for them. They will change your muzzleloading habits dramatically. Just think, you'll never have to clean your muzzleloading rifle after a shot in the field again. And cleaning it at home after a shooting session will be much easier. No matter what brand rifle you shoot, White or otherwise, the new White SCS will work for you. DOC
Here is a photo of the 600 grain SCB bullet used to kill that big Asian Water Buffalo with me and Randy Smith behind it, before loading and after retrieval from the buffalo. Obviously, the copper SCB gas check stays with the bullet, expanding and flattening out, preventing gas cutting of the bullet base and cleaning out powder and lead residues as it flies down the barrel.