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Ball, patch, powder combination to start

6759 Views 7 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  Hunting Man
OK, now as I get a .50 caliber rifle, where do I go next? How can I learn which load my rifle likes most without buying every single product on the market?

Balls... I guess any .49 will do.
Patches... Which thickness to start with? I have .15 and .20 easily available at store near me, and .18 as a mail order. Is .15 too little and .20 too tight? OR should any be all right and I'd get one of those .15 (or .20) and go shooting?
Powder... I'd rather start with Black powder, not a Pyrodex (I heard some people said it's more corrosive than Powder). Is FFG or FFFG better place to start? I'd rather go with FFFG, since it's a hotter load for the same price and I might as well load less powder per shot. Are there any advantages for FFG though?

So, please tell me if I am correct or not.
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So you're shooting a patched round ball 50 cal. Your rifle will either like a 490 gr ball or a 495 depending on the bore tightness. I shoot .10 pre-lubeb TC patches with a 490 round ball and 90 gr of 3F black powder. If you have a really loose bore a 495 ball may be needed. One important thing to look for when shooting is retrieve some of the patches that have exited the barrel and check for burn through. You should have a patch with no holes and the rifling marks clearly on it. Using pre-lubed patches like those from TC you should not have any burn through. Patching thickness will be determined during the loading process and seeing how hard the combo loads and getting acceptable accuracy. A good tight load, still loadable though will normally shoot more accurate than a loose load combo. Seat each load consistantly with moderate tamp, don't need to crush anything. 2F powder was generally for 54 cal and above.
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What type of rifle did you get? What ignition does it use and what is the twist rate if you know it?

All these questions can lead to answers, heh or sometimes more questions.

To answer about powder check out Southern Muzzleloading: The Flash and Bang: Powders and Primers for a run down of most of the commonly found powders on the market. Blackpowder requires careful storage and handling. More so than its substitutes. However some people swear by the real stuff.
Hey, I'm sorry for not mentioning it here. It's a Kentucky long percussion rifle from Cabela's made by Pedersoli. It has 1:48 twist and I plan to take it shooting next weekend to a range with a powder charge, ball, patch and black powder. My question was which ones are best to buy as a starting point, so that I am reasonably close...

I think I shall try to use 3F powder for its hotness and economy (same price for either, so why not to go with a hotter one). I will try to downplay loads for target practice (it should be considerably good at 25-50 yds with only 30gr or so) as well as up-play loads to see how it handles up to its maximal recommended load of 70 gr of 3Fg for the round ball (I doesn't sound a lot I know, but that's what a book said for maximum recommended load in 3Fg...).

Next, I will find a good combination for a hunting load with Hornady Great Plains Bullet with as much powder as it can handle well and same POI as a round ball at target round (I don't know if that's an achievable goal, if not I'll just go for anything persistent).

I guess once I have a good tight hitting combination of ball/patch and powder, I will have a good standard for testing different combinations of conical bullets and maximum loads for hunting. If I would be able to get them to the same point of impact as a target round, that would be ideal (if that would mean to increase target load or patch thickness, that I will do). And then, well, that's where fun begins, ain't it gentlemen?
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done that, need advise on how to sight it now

Been to the range today, spent some 4 hours loading and shooting. It's totally incredibly sweet and tight with any load from 30 gr to 70 gr of 3F. Unfortunately, it's 5 inches below point of aim (and 2 inches to the right) at 25 yards and not even on paper at 50 yards (unless I am not aiming at the top edge of target, than it's nearly dead center). Anyways, it's a Kentucky long rifle and it has fixed sights. Any ideas how to sight it and at what distance where it is supposed to hit the target?

More specifically, I've read an advice to print 3" high at 50 yards, but I love to start at 25. Where it should be at that distance to get to 3" at 50 and 0-2" at 100?

I shoot patched balls, if that matters... but will it be different point of aim for conicals?
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with primative sights you will either have to severely file down the front sight or have a lower height sight installed. My 54 Hawken printed 1' low at 50 yds and so I got the dremel tool and started shaving the front sight down which raises the bullet's point of impact down range. don't be afrid to boost the 3f charge to the 90 gr volume measurment for hunting. I tend to shoot 110 gr of 2f by volume in the 54 cal. My TC, PA flint hunter shoots 90 gr of 3f really well. I doubt if you will get consistant groups when switching patched round balls to conicals. Each may have a sweet spot but both may not impact the same area?
Do you blue or somehow rust-proof your front sight after the shaving?
German silver, front sight blade so no rust. If steel, I would use a blue stick to coat the exposed area and take the bright shine away.
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