The Wesson rifle

  • Last Post 01 May 2017
JeffinNZ posted this 30 April 2017

Hi all

I have had a request from a forum member to do a 'show and tell' on the MLer I took wallaby hunting.

The rifle is a rebarreled Richland Wesson.  Originally the rifle was a .50cal with a 1 1/8 inch across flats 28 inch long barrel with a 1 in 48 twist.  I bought it second hand from my MLing mentor.  The .50cal barrel was problematic as it was not in the best internal shape so after much research I replaced the train axle barrel.  The .50cal used to knock me around something shocking as the butt has a crescent plate that is only about 3/4 to 1 inch wide and initially I shot Maxi balls from it (most unpleasant).  As I predominantly shoot small game and target I decided .40cal was the way to go on advice from a friend who builds beautiful flintlocks in Alabama I bought a Colerain swamped barrel of 42 inches.  In order to ship to NZ the barrel was shortened to 39 inches and this is what was installed.  From day one is shot .395 round ball like you wouldn't believe and would cloverleaf them at 50m using a peep sight and Swiss 3Fg powder.  Later on the barrel was cut back to a more manageable 33 inches and interestingly enough the velocity of a top end 45gr load stayed the same and for a 30gr the velocity went up 100fps!  The rifle came to me wearing a full length brass tube sight mounts in Stevens Favorite scope mounts.  In the .40cal format the rifle has worn a tang mounted peep sight, the tube sight and now a buckhorn. 

Some years back on the Boolits forum a member asked about a bullet mould he had.  It was limited addition Lyman that turned out to be a run that Lyman did for Dixie Gunworks when Dixie had a .40cal rifle available.  The mould was for a hollow based Minie style bullet weighing nominal 100gr.  Another member commented they had such and no use for it and it was free to a good home so it ended up with me in NZ.  Cast in 40-1 alloy the bullets drop at .396 so .004 undersized for the Colerain 1-48 twist barrel (the correct twist for .40cal round ball BTW) so from day one I have paper patched them with 9lb bond paper bringing the girth up to .402 for a perfect fit.  Over 30gr of Swiss 3Fg they will cloverleaf at 50m if I do my bit.

All targets below are 50m/55y.


Two offhand 50m targets

Wesson with tube sight

Wesson lock

Paper patching

.40cal Minie style bullet

50m 3 shot group .40cal Minie PP

Cheers from New Zealand

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R. Dupraz posted this 30 April 2017

Thanks Jeff for posting. You make me jealous. When I was building and shooting Cap locks, a .40 with a 48 twist was my match rifle. With that combination and a .395 patched RB, those rifles were pleasant to shoot and very accurate little speedsters. And, were deadly on old tom turkeys.I might add.

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 30 April 2017

thanks ... what is to like ?? .... everything !! ...


how about more info on the brass tube sight  ? looks just right on there .


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JeffinNZ posted this 30 April 2017

The tube sight is just a peep sight. Adjustable aperture in the rear and target filament in the front. Quite cool. As my eyes age I will go back to it.

Cheers from New Zealand

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David Reiss CBA Membership Director posted this 01 May 2017

Thanks Jeff, nice little write up, just what I wanted.

David Reiss - NRA Life Member & PSC Range Member Retired Police Firearms Instructor/Armorer
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