Hand Loading at the Range – Springfield Trapdoor

I saw something recently that I suspect many shooters don’t get to see. Someone who is actually loading rounds at the range to test for optimum accuracy.

Ok. Let me say that again. There was a guy at the range who had setup a single stage press and was assembling live rounds to various specs and then turning around and shooting them for results.

Shooter sets up a blackpowder loading station while shooting at the range.

Shooter sets up a blackpowder loading station while shooting at the range.

I personally have only ever seen that once before and that was about 20 years ago and involved a bench rest shooter and a pretty modern bolt gun. In this case, the guy was loading cast lead bullets and using blackpowder in a 45-70 Trapdoor.

You can see the different bullet weights he is trying with various powder charges

You can see the different bullet weights he is trying with various powder charges

He was kind enough to let me take a few photos to share with all of you. You will notice such things as soapy water and toilet paper. Blackpowder, besides being a mess, is corrosive. So he was performing due diligence and keeping his barrel very clean to maintain the validity of his data.

Pretty interesting guy. I can even go as far as to say he was an “old coot” who liked what he liked and didn’t have time for anything that bored him. Upon inquiry, he stated he personally owned this Trapdoor for 50 years. And even admitted that at one point in his youth, he had some of the parts hard-chromed since, “that was the style back then”. But his tone seemed to indicate that he regretted the act in his later years.

Personal challenge. When some of you young bucks are at a range and you see the typical “old coot” down at the end, don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation. If he’s shooting something that was made before your daddy was a glint in his daddy’s eye, be honest. Admit you don’t know something and be open to hearing the inevitable story.

Old Coots are funny like that.

 
Sincerely,
Marky
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Marky Mark

Marky Mark

Writer at John1911.com
Writer for john1911.com. Co-Host of the John1911 Podcast. Video content provider for John1911-TV.

Areas of focus: Defense and National Security, Modern Light Weapons, Small Arms, Weapons Training.
Marky Mark

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