Well, today I started shooting groundhogs; Puxatawny won the first two rounds but at least it was before the snow started (it is snowing as I type this).
I shot 2 of 4 targets, one with the Savage 99 in .308, and one with the 1873 trapdoor. Dissertations follow for your reading enjoyment.
First, the Savage. I was given a dozen cast bullets a couple years ago, and figured this shoot would be a good use for them. They weighed 176+/- grains each, with a red lube. I know, not a lot of hard core date, but the giver is no longer around. Anyway, I loaded them up with CCI 200 primers, Hornaday cases, 12 grains green dot, and seated them with the top lube ring just barely exposed due to length. Since I had 12, I used the first two to sight in where the bullets struck, then used the last 10 for score, shooting in an unsupported sitting position with the scope turned down to between 3 and 4 power. I could not see the holes in the paper using the scope, so went down to the target after the first two rounds for record, good shots. I then went back to the line, shot the rest, and found out the strikes of the bullets wandered up. Barrel warmed up, so did the bullet impacts, also going a bit to the conservative side. Argh, but at least they all went "bang". No more cast bullets for .30 cal so done with that.
Now, on to the first of two Trapdoor 45-70's. I decided to load up some light smokeless powder loads, and they seemed to shoot well a few weeks ago. Using what I had loaded (416 grain flat base bullets, plain base, 32 grains 4198, CCI 200 primers, SPG pan lube, .458 unsized cold water hardened), I checked the zero with three rounds off the bench, so far so good. Then I posted the silly groundhog at 50 yards, sat down at the firing line, and proceeded to shoot 10 rounds. I had a really nice group, unfortunately the recoil difference between off the sand bags and unsupported sitting had the bullets for record striking about 3 inches below where I expected. But, once again, at least everything went bang when it was supposed to.
Thought for the next targets is do the sighters the same way as I will shoot for record. Sometimes we forget the basics. Now, on to a couple more things.
I brought out the chronograph for after the groundhogs if there was time, and shot a couple sets for data. I shot a set using the smokeless powder, and a set using Black Powder which I will be using next groundhog for record. The smokeless loads, not using a filler, averaged 10-150fps faster than the BP, but extreme spread was 230 fps or so, with a SD of 90. In a word, abysmal. The black powder, on the other hand, had an extreme spread of 9fps, with a SD of 3 or 4. I like that. Elevation wise the first and second shot of the smokeless loads were within an inch of each other. The first 2 shots of the BP were almost 3 inches apart, which has always been the case for me and I expect it. Velocities, if I remember correct as I am too lazy to go out in the snow and get the Chronograph right now, were a bit over 1300 fps for smokeless, just over 1200 for the BP.
Not looking for nitpicking, just thought some may like to read what I have done so far before the snow started back up today.