View Full Version : Traditional BP questions
10-05-2009, 08:28 PM
Ok fellow traditional JHOers, :JHO rocks:
I am new to the traditional muzzle loading, in putting the first 45 shots through my Cabela’s Hawken .54 caliber 28” barrel 1:48 twist with open fiber optic sights. I have noticed a couple of things; First and foremost it IS my new favorite gun to shoot. 2<SUP>nd</SUP>, I have shot, Hornady Great Plains 425 gr HB-HP, TC maxi-ball 430 gr, & Buffalo Bullets 425 gr bullets. I also have the TC maxi-hunter 435 gr but have not shot them. I am pushing them with 80 gr of FF black powder. I am shooting in what I believe is field conditions, 3 shots before cleaning. The first shot with each of the bullets is solidly on a 10” paper plate at 100yds. But the big difference is when I shoot the 2<SUP>nd</SUP> and 3<SUP>rd</SUP> shots. The Buffalo Bullets and the Hornady Great Plains bullets, which fit much tighter than the TC maxi-ball, Start to tail to the left. Shot #2 is about 6” left of shot #1 and shot #3 is about 18” to the left of shot #2. I can keep all three shots with the TC maxi-ball on the plate (about a 6” to 8” pattern). My concern with the TC maxi-ball is its loose fit; I can start the bullet with my finger, and it pushes down the barrel really easy. I have the M3 <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-comhttp://www.jesseshunting.com/forums/ /><st1:City w:st=</st1:City>Doyle <st1:State w:st="on">CA</st1:State></ST1:p muzzleloader season coming up and I want to be perfect. Do I live with the loose fitting TC bullets, checking to see if the bullet is seated every 15 minutes so I can have 3 shots - or - do I put all my eggs in one basket and go with the tighter fitting bullet knowing I only have one shot? I know with black powder you should approach it with a one shot attitude, but I also know the best laid plans can, and do go array in a blink of an eye. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
10-05-2009, 10:44 PM
I have used the hornady great plains bullets on a bear hunt in alaska, shot a 450 lb black bear that never got up. I have found that both of my lyman 54 cals shoot best with 85 to 95 grains of 777 might try diferent powder or charge to see if groups improve
10-06-2009, 04:47 AM
1:48 is a twist rate that was developed to stabilize both round balls and conicals. As such, it doesn't stabilize either one as well as it should. It has been called "neither fish nor foul" and I think it's a good description. I have a Lyman trade rifle with 1:48 (or is it 1:44?) twist. It shoots sabots much better than true conicals. And it shoots round balls to the same point of impact, but neither group especially well.
I agree with gundogtrainer. I think you need to devote a little more range time in trying to find a powder charge that will bring the Buffalo Bullets and the Great Plains bullets into a tighter group.
FWIW, I view "field conditions" differently than you do. If I'm in the field, I am, of course, looking to plant that first shot in the boiler room. Failing that, I may load a second shot without cleaning if I can still see the (deer, elk, moose, squirrel, tank, truck, what-have-you) However, I would take the time to run a spit patch down the barrel before I loaded a third shot and nearly always before I load that second shot. Again, if the deer is flopping around acting gut shot after the first shot, then time is of the essence.
What I'm suggesting is that you go to the range and look for a powder charge that will put the first two nearest one another and then do a spit patch and two more shots. What you're doing, in essence, is improving your setup while being perfectly reasonable as to the way it would likely pan out in the field. You'll appreciate the difference that spit patch makes on the third shot if you don't change anything else from your current setup. Then, when all is said and done, you can shoot a third shot without cleaning, just to know where it's going to go in the unlikely event you have to make a shot that way. You can always aim high and right if the third shot is consistently low and left.
At the very least, I would back away from the TC's if they're loose. There are too many distractions in the field to have to worry about re-seating a bullet every 15 minutes. And in the heat of the moment when you're tightening the trigger slack, you likely won't stop to think "Now when did I seat the bullet last?" I'd leave them in a drawer at home.
10-06-2009, 07:31 AM
I shot traditional twenty years ago and carried my .54 caliber hunting for several years. I thought I would share a couple of things I learned, both from my own experience and from gleaning info from some really obsessive trad shooters.
1: Typically, black powder is going to give you better overall accuracy. 80 gr. seems a bit light. Play with your charge up to 100 grains. FF is correct for a .54 caliber.
2: The T/C maxi ball was the best shooter for me, but I made up a lube based on SPG bullet lube (lyman pistol lube) and lubed my bullets with it. One advantage to using this lube is it tends to bear on the rifling better and supports the maxi ball seated over the powder, as opposed to using the softer stuff T/C sells (wonderlube).
3: For pure accuracy, try loading, then cleaning the bore before shooting. I know this is not practical for hunting conditions on the second shot, but it may well give you best first shot accuracy. I tried this technique and cloverleafed a 100 gr FF load using a maxi ball at 100 yards. My gun was rifled 1:72 though.
10-07-2009, 05:09 AM
My thought would be to use the same procedure that we use when using 777. Spit patch between shots. I think you will find that if the first shot is good out of a clean barrel, then it would make sense to "spit" after each shot, followed by a dry patch I used to do this with a Ballistol & water mix, predampened patches that I carried. It became a part of my routine when loading with black powder, just as many of us do with 777. Anyway, enjoy experimenting & I agree with Myfriend, kick it up a notch & go as high as 100 gr.:wavin hello:
10-07-2009, 12:42 PM
Ok guys, this is where I show how much I don’t know about this.:bag-on-head:
I can’t thank you guys enough for your help, but your input has spawned a couple more questions.
1. I thought that 777 powder was too hot to shoot out of a traditional muzzleloader. I take it, this is not the case? I do plan on getting some to take with me to the range this weekend.
2. The charts for my gun say to use 90gr max for shooting conicals. Is it ok to run the powder charge up to 100gr? I’m not questioning your expertise, just trying to give accurate feedback on my setup.
Again THANK YOU!!!!!:not-worthy:
10-07-2009, 04:01 PM
777 can be used in traditional sidelock caplocks, but ignition can be a BIG problem. It's a problem with Pyrodex too, but not as bad.
This stuff isn't like black powder at all!
777 and Pyrodex are sugar based and share no chemical similarity to black powder. Cleaning is accomplished with stuff that cuts sugar. Black powder requires additional cleaning aids like soap to properly clean the barrel and prevent rusting.
I would not recommend 777 in a sidelock at all, unless you are loading a "kicker" charge of 3F black (about 10 grains) first. But if you are doing that, you might as well just load FF black powder to begin with. And again, the black powder guys spurn pyrodex and 777 as inaccurate in their traditional rifles. That's pretty much enough for me.
10-07-2009, 05:46 PM
myfriendis410 is correct. 777 was developed as a black powder substitute. Use it at will, but be wary of hang-fires and other ignition problems.
I shoot Pyrodex exclusively in my two side-locks and my in-line. I've never had a problem with ignition (once I figured out a nipple problem on one gun). Knock on wood...... I would, however, recommend a musket nipple and musket caps if you can make the swap. Musket caps put out 2 or 3 times the fire of a No. 11 cap.
I'm not going to recommend that you exceed the powder charge that your manufacturer lists as max. But I do think 90 grains is just getting started with the weights of bullets that you're using. You might even consider a reduction to 85 grains. Or maybe even 80. Whatever powder charge and bullet makes the tightest group is what you want to shoot. Remember that the venerable .45-70 was a US government selection based on 70 grains of black powder heaving a bullet around 400 grains, wasn't it?. Don't be afraid to experiment around and find what your gun likes. Range time is what it's all about!
To touch on a previous issue, I personally swab between all shots. I don't really "clean" it so much as just swab it with a wet patch, and then follow with a dry patch at the range. This is my primary setup and is what I'd make every effort to do in the field. Once I find the group that my gun likes, I start experimenting by shooting my primary shot, then I load one without swabbing and watch where it goes. With any luck, all of your second (unswabbed) shots will go the same direction and you can use Kentucky windage to place that shot in the field if you don't have time to swab it like you should. That's my plan and that's how I load and shoot. I've only loaded once "in the field" when I didn't have time to swab, but I didn't have time to get the shot off after loading either. C'est la vie.
10-07-2009, 07:09 PM
I have found that if you use #11 mag caps with 777 that hang-fires go away but did have a problem withstandard # 11caps. I switched when I couldnt find any black powder localy. It worked well in both of my 54 cals, better than black powder but wouldnt shoot well in my other side locks.
10-07-2009, 08:22 PM
Thanks again guys!
I plan on going out to the range Saturday morning I hope to get about 4 hours of shooting in. I plan on experimenting the whole time. Gundogtrainer, I do plan on getting some 777 since my Cabela’s Hawken is made by Investarm, which from what I understand is basically a Lyman, i figure if it works for you it might work for me. I am using magnum #11 caps with a red hot nipple, hopefully it will ignite it. If it doesn’t work for me I will give it to my brother or dad they both shoot 777 pellets out of their inlines, they will just have to bust out their powder measurers. Belchfire & myfriendis410 you guys rock! I will go to the range with your input in mind.
Thanks to all
11-13-2009, 06:01 AM
Personally, I wouldn't hunt with a rifle if I couldn't make it shoot better than what you've mentioned. If point of impact shifts as much as you say between shots, the ANSWER is to CLEAN between shots.
A too loose bullet/barrel fit is a problem just waiting to happen.
My 1-48" twist 50cal shoots best with sabots, but does require cleaning (at least a damp patch) between shots to shoot 3" at 100 yards with iron sights. I shoot real BP, and ffg is what is working for me.
You might want to try some Lee REAL Bullets as they're tapered, and should make for a tighter fit.
11-25-2009, 06:25 PM
Used to use the 430 grain maxi in my old renegade .54 .85 grains of pyrodex,swipe a patch through between shots with open sights and got 2' groups at 100 yds.best it would ever do,but then again it didnt have a fast twist barrel either. so i felt that confident with it in the field and took a couple of utah bucks with it.one shot was 60 yds laying down and the other was 90 yds broadside.neither deer even thought about moving after they were hit.might give the" no excuse" and the" precision rifle" conicals a try.keep working at it you will find that sweet spot combo eventually.also i never had aproblem with pyrodex and a standard #11 cap in that old renegade,even in utah when the season used to be in november..
11-26-2009, 05:34 AM
builder, please tell me that you meant 2 inch groups rather than 2 foot groups!
02-14-2010, 02:07 PM
Ok fellow traditional JHOers, :JHO rocks:
I am new to the traditional muzzle loading, in putting the first 45 shots through my Cabela’s Hawken .54 caliber 28” barrel 1:48 twist with open fiber optic sights. I have noticed a couple of things; First and foremost it IS my new favorite gun to shoot. 2<sup>nd</sup>, I have shot, Hornady Great Plains 425 gr HB-HP, TC maxi-ball 430 gr, & Buffalo Bullets 425 gr bullets. I also have the TC maxi-hunter 435 gr but have not shot them. I am pushing them with 80 gr of FF black powder. I am shooting in what I believe is field conditions, 3 shots before cleaning. The first shot with each of the bullets is solidly on a 10” paper plate at 100yds. But the big difference is when I shoot the 2<sup>nd</sup> and 3<sup>rd</sup> shots. The Buffalo Bullets and the Hornady Great Plains bullets, which fit much tighter than the TC maxi-ball, Start to tail to the left. Shot #2 is about 6” left of shot #1 and shot #3 is about 18” to the left of shot #2. I can keep all three shots with the TC maxi-ball on the plate (about a 6” to 8” pattern). My concern with the TC maxi-ball is its loose fit; I can start the bullet with my finger, and it pushes down the barrel really easy. I have the M3 <st1:city w:st=" border=" 0="" alt=""></st1:city>Doyle <st1:state w:st="on">CA</st1:state>
I've been shooting traditional muzzleloaders since the 70's and still still learning! That's what makes shooting them so much fun.
When I go out to target shoot, I don't pay any attention to my first shot. (a fouling shot).I may shoot twenty times without running a wet patch down the bore.I have used Pyrodex, and other subs in the past, but find 3 f Goex is the best powder to use in sidelock or flintlock guns.
I quit using 2f, because I get more shots for the money with 3f. I use about 10% less with the same results, and it cost the same.
If you are still getting fliers with those big conicals, try using an overpowder wad. This could improve your groups! The over powder wads will keep the hot gases behind your conical where it belongs. and not let it blow bye.
You can buy the OP Wads, or make your own. I use natural wad material, like Hornets nest, or even green leaves will work. It might sound crazy, but it works
Drop your powder chg back to say........60 grains and work up at 5 grain increments. You may find a sweet spot at less than 80 grains for that particular bullet, and if you use the wads the pressure will increase.
Actually the 1/48 twist is a great twist for both Round ball and Conical.
I shoot mostly Round ball now, but I do cast and shoot the Lee Real bullets some. Most 1/48 twist barrels, love the real bullet.JMO!
02-14-2010, 09:43 PM
Something I learned shooting traditional was to swab the bore AFTER loading and before shooting each shot. Very tedious. The idea is to clean the fouling and distribute a thin film of bullet lube along the bore. Shot T/C maxi balls home cast and lubed with standard Lyman alox lube and got cloverleafs at 100 yards. Certainly not something one would want to do in the field, but for shooting for group it was very doable.
10-27-2010, 05:03 PM
i shoot a .45 cal with 1-72 twist side lock ML i get my best accuracy with 60 gr pyrodex and round ball and patch. with that load i shoot 2 inch groupes at 100 yards. all of the maxi balls would shoot ok at 40-50 yards but fell apart at 100. im sure thats do to the slow twist.
im sure if you try different loads and different weight bullets you will find something that will shoot well. sometimes with the 1-48 twist a lighter bullet will shoot better.
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