Following this post I did some shooting with a patched round ball which was not successful. I discovered a maker in England who would make a custom belted-ball mold for my gun. This has been ordered (4/2010). The original testings of the Brunswick rifle with these belted balls gave better results. I hope to get sufficient accuracy using the new balls to hunt with this gun this Fall.
To obtain better accuracy than was possible with smoothbore muskets, the British government experimented with belted balls which were mechanical fits to grooves cut into the gun’s barrel. The resulting Brunswick 2-groove rifle was introduced into the service in the 1850s to be used by Marines to snipe at enemy sailors and was also provided to some land units.
The objective was to issue guns that would be of the same caliber, but shoot more accurately, that the Brown Bess smoothbores. I had never worked with such a gun, and when the opportunity came to purchase a Brunswick rifle from Atlanta Cutlery, I did.
The only markings on the gun are in a script which indicates that the gun was made in India (I suspect) or Nepal (as the importer reported). Although the gun was old, the lock was made of well-tempered steel, the barrel had only a few pits and the walnut stock, despite some worm holes, was basically sound. I thought that it might be possible to shoot and ultimately hunt with this 150-year-old gun.
The following 5-minute video goes through the cleaning and test- shooting process. Another video will follow when I hunt with it. Although my gun was safe to shoot, many of those brought back from Nepal from Atlanta Cutlery are not. That firm sells their guns only as collector’s items. Before shooting any old gun have it inspected by a knowledgeable gunsmith to insure that it is safe and heed his recommendations on appropriate loads and uses for the gun.
In this version of the narriation I call the gun a smoothbore. It is, in fact, a .75-caliber two-groove rifle. There were also .69-caliber Brunswick smoothbores in the Royal Arsenal.
I have a longer version of this video on Youtube that you may access by the link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oVSHj1SMP0E . The Youtube version not only contains more material but runs more smoothly than the one posted here.