Double Rifle BPE
This is a discussion on Double Rifle BPE within the Hunting Equipment, Gear & Optics forums, part of the Hunting Equipment & Gear Forums - Hunting Equipment & Hunting Gear category; May have a chance to buy a double rifle in a 500 BPE (Black Powder Express), anyone have experience with ...
08-22-2011, 02:27 PM #1
Double Rifle BPE
May have a chance to buy a double rifle in a 500 BPE (Black Powder Express), anyone have experience with these old monsters?
08-22-2011, 03:14 PM #2
Not with those specifically but black powder cartridge (assume you are talking about cartridge) guns are lots of fun and can be quite accurate. As long as its functional and not worn out and the price is right, why not? I have a C. Sharps 1874 .45-70 that shoots superbly with black. Dont be scared off with horror stories about cleaning black, its easy and quicker than cleaning smokeless rifle barrels, no copper jacket fouling to deal with as you will only be shooting slow moving lead bullets. What make gun is it? Keep us posted.
08-22-2011, 07:01 PM #3
Scott, the rifle is a C.G Bonehill "hammerless", uses 3 inch 500 NE brass. Guy is asking $4500 for it. I hunt whitetail with blackpowder, so I kinda know the ins and outs of cleaning one. Thing is I have read about the BPE used in Africa and there seem to be alot of stories about these things "cooking off" while loaded, sun beating down on the barrel and such. I guess if you travel or pack it unloaded, then load it when you came upon your quarry then it would be no big deal. Just need to know if the rifle is worth it first and foremost,it is in really good shape, looks refurbished but rifleing is strong. Secondly, again, i know a lot of game has been harvested with these things but, how do they compare to smokeless as far as accuracy and Knock down power. Thirdly, if it is stamped 500 BPE on the barrel, is it troublesome to get it into Africa if the headstamp on the brass does not match, i.e. 500NE?
08-22-2011, 07:17 PM #4
Right, well only mentioned the cleaning thing because a lot of guys that have never played with black always say, "oh its so horrible to clean". Thats why I mentioned it. As to the round itself, dont know much about it other than mentions in books. Dont recall myself reading much about the cook offs but I suppose its possible. Cannot see where it would be a problem in southern Africa during the times we normally hunt there, winter. As far as its ballistics, not terribly impressive, about like a 300 magnum but a huge heavy bullet, and that makes up for "book" power. As to accuracy. Its still a double so regulation will be the biggest problem but if the bore and crown are good each barrel should have no problem giving adequate accuracy for most hunting. The headstamp thing on the brass? I doubt it would ever be an issue. The customs guys would be too busy oogling the huge case and as long as it said .500 on it they wouldnt care about the rest.
Considering what one can buy in a new double in a modern caliber I would be somewhat reluctant to spend that much dough on such a piece, though it may be worth it from a collector standpoint. Good luck either way!
08-22-2011, 07:35 PM #5
Thanks, unless anyone else has some input I may pass on this one, although, there is a guy who teaches hunters ed with me who has documented cases where the good old American 45-70 loaded with BP took Bison at over 1000 yrds, so I guess the knock down from the fat slow bullet is there, I think Elmer Keith wrote about it as well, either way I know I have mentioned it to you before, but, I am not a handloader, if I bought this monster I guess i would be forced to become one, right. It is a neat piece of hardware though. I'll let you know what happens, if the guy will come down on his price, I may reconsider.
08-22-2011, 09:08 PM #6
You are missing out on a great hobby by not handloading. It does save money for sure and its lots of fun and you really learn a lot about ballistics. The only thing I dont reload for are the small pistol cals like .380 and .32 ACP or 9mm. Starting at .38 Super I load for everything else.
08-22-2011, 10:04 PM #7
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Thought I might chime in. I have no real experience with a BPE, but certainly with "black powder" rifles & pistols. I agree that cleaning BP rifles & pistols is not an issue, you just have to clean them thoroughly. Personally I find it takes longer to clean my bolt actions & semi-autos.
As for knock down power I have a .50 cal TC Hawken and a Kodiak BP Double Rifle in .54 cal, both have a lot of knockdown. I prefer the .54 cal over the . 50 cal. The accuracy is better with mini-ball/conical, but better results in regards to trauma with round ball. I base that assumption on penetration when fired at 24"H x 12"W White oak chuncks (that were green). A friend and I were having fun one afternoon shooting my battery of BP "fire sticks" & "palm cannons"- .50 cal Hawken, .54 cal Kodiak O/O, .30 cal pistol, .30 cal derringer. I don't know if I still have those cross sections (I'll have to look).
I will try to find my last target for the .54 cal and post a pick here. If I recall correctly the grouping was 3" or 4" at 100 yds. The load, however, I am sure of was 80 grains Goex fffg with Hornady mini-ball/conical 425 grain. I have found that using a felt wad then cardboard patch on top then the bullet works best. That combination is very effective on Black Bear.
The information I have given is not useful for a BPE, except that the .500 should be an excellent choice for large game- in NA. I can't say for African big game, as I have no experience there. I feel that Black Power rifles are very under rated.
As for cooking off, not sure if that is a problem unique to BPE rifles, excuse my ignorance. I have never experienced that with my BP and I live in an area where it gets very hot.
I say it would certainly be a unique addition.Animus facit nobilem
08-22-2011, 10:21 PM #8
I was just looking at some targets fired at 100 and 200 yards with my C. Sharps .45-70 some time ago, and was getting groups around 1-2 inches at 100 and around 3 inches at 200 with the better loads. Swiss 1.5 powder is really good stuff, better in cartridge guns than GOEX. The big thing with loading BP in cases is making sure there is NO airspace between the charge and the base of the bullet. Its critical. Most use some form of wad, either cardboard or felt or vegatable wads made just for that purpose. If there is airspace it can cause a ring in the barrel because you will actually get an explosion in that space between bullet base and charge. I compress mine a fair amount using a wad then seat the bullet down on top and measure it all carefully. Mike Venturino has written extensively on this and he is the man. Black powder cartridge loading requires a bit more attention to detail than front stuffing but its loads of fun and one can get surprisingly good results.
08-23-2011, 04:10 AM #9
The 500 BPE is a fine caliber, but you should remember it was created as a stag and boar rifles; or perhaps as a "light" rifle for the Raj or East Africa. The dangerous game rifles of the day were 8 and even 4 bores - sometimes with explosive shells. A .500 BPE serves admirably for that purpose today. They are light weight, relatively speaking, and come from the height of British and Continental gun making. They can also be VERY tempermental to regulate. Ross Seyfried has written a couple of million words on the subject in various articles and researching those would be the place to start in trying to get one up and running. But to repeat, with the exception of cats, they are not dangerous game rifles and were never so intended."We sleep peaceably in our beds because rough men stand ready in the
night to visit violence on those who would do us harm" Winston Churchill
08-23-2011, 08:39 AM #10
Per my post above, I should mention that it is of course equally important to avoid airspace between ball and powder in a muzzle loader as well, not just cartridge guns. Doing so in either gun will result in a damaged rifle. Always compress the load with black powder. It burns better that way too.
08-29-2011, 06:39 PM #11
He won't budge on the price so I decided to pass. I'll find another double somewhere. thanks for the input. Deciding factor was the 3 inch difference in bullet impact at 75 yrds. Hell I had a double barrel muzzle loader that shot better. Scott, black powder is the closest i will come to handloading, lol. i can tell this is going to be an issue between you and me.
08-29-2011, 07:20 PM #12
Well I wont let it be an issue if you dont! Just missing out on lots of fun, thats all. Too bad the double didnt work out, but I think you will find something better. Whenever I miss out on a good deal I usually find a better one down the road.
08-29-2011, 07:48 PM #13
Scott, I don't think that our opinion on factory vs. hand loading will be an issue, I value and agree with your opinion on most of the shooting issues on this site. Only difference is you like to roll your own and i will smoke them off the shelf. BTW I use to own an old U.S. Navy 45-70 gov that I did roll my own with, crunched a lot of powder, it was a good rifle and I regret selling it. Later, Scott.
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