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MUZZLE LOADER QUESTIONS


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I wuz minding my own business, I wuz even working on the clock in my own shop, when it barged into my life......It's a TRADITION WHITETAIL HAWKEN STYLE front loader, 50 cal 1in 48 twist. I've never owned a muzzle loader, but I do know a little about black powder. I load 44-40 black and compete with cap guns occasionally. But, how do I feed this thing? It came with some .490 Hornady lead balls and some old dried round patches. I'm assuming I can lube the patches w/bore butter? Or should a dry patch go on top of powder? My #10 caps seem to fit the nipple ok. Big question is , how much powder? I know there's a wealth of wisdom around this fire, so throw some at me!

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Hey No Horse Hair:

Here is a copy of the Thompson Center sidelock manual.

http://www.dakotaskipper.net/ebay/Shooting_TC_Side_Lock_Black_Powder_Guns.pdf

Yes, you should lube the patch with bore butter, spit, crisco, etc.

Spit is easy on the range, but for hunting, where the load might sit for hours, use bore butter or the like.

80 grains FFg and a .490 ball will do you good, but you should work up a load for accuracy.

Check out the loads in the T/C booklet.

 

Try #11 caps too, to see if you get better ignition.

--Dawg

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A 1-48 twist barrel in .50 cal. seems to handle two loads quite nicely 65 gr. of 3f under a lubed patched ball for target use ...

And between 110 - 120 gr. 3f under the same patched ball for hunting ... My .50 prefers the 120 gr. charge over all others, but

the 65 gr. load is almost as good with less kick ...

I have burned a lot of Black in Muzzle loaders in the past 45 years ... In .45, .50, .54, 58, and 62 calibers as well as in .36

and .44 caliber Pistols ....

 

 

Jabez Cowboy

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OK, my pet load for target work is 70 grain of 2F under a .490 ball with a .015 thick lubed patch. CVA makes a great patch lube as does TC and others. For hunting, I bump my powder charge to 90 grains.

The 1:48 twist will also stabilize a conical pretty well. I cast a Lee R.E.A.L bullet that likes 1:48 and faster. TC makes the Maxi Ball also.

Anything more than about 100 grains of powder will make a nice flash but not add too much to a round ball. It will also burn/shred the patch. If you want to push the velocity you need to use a sabot or conical.

The #10 caps will work but a #11 will probably fit better. Push those #10's down firm with your finger to seat them on the nipple proper.

 

Hunting with my Great Plains tomorrow. Have fun!

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Do not have an air gap between powder charge and the patched round ball!!!! I clean between every shot, pop a cap or two, then load to get exactly the same bore condition for every shot. Its very slow that way, but safe, and accurate. Have fun, b safe!!!

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Almost forgot, your pet load will probably be more in the medium range, rather than the hot. Your twist rate is for medium charges with the roundball. The 48 twist stabilizes short conical bullets too. A slower twist like a one in 66 would be a devoted ball gun, with hotter charges ok without stripping the rifling. A fast twist barrel is for conicals. They range from 26 to 32 twist rate. 48 and slower, i've done better with a ball usually.

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When all else fails...

 

Thompson Center has an owner's manual for you. It will work fine for another brand.

 

https://www.tcarms.com/pdfs/uploads/manuals/Hawken_Manual.pdf

 

My apology to Prairie Dawg; I failed to note his link. Outdrawn yet again!

Edited by J-BAR #18287
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Ramming the patched ball down a rifled musket requires considerable effort. If the firearm came with a wooden ram rod, I suggest getting a brass or fiber rod. The wood will bend, and break if not supported.

 

Cleaning between shots is necessary to be able to ram subsequent patched balls down.

 

B Slim

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On the muzzle loading rifles I use for hunting, I replace the #11 size nipples with ones that accept the larger musket caps. They are easier to handle with cold fingers. I got mine from here. https://www.dixiegunworks.com/default.php?cPath=22_238_566_573&osCsid=0hmhh92902ukv446p3hnrbco77

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I use pre-lubed patches of the .015 variety under the .490 ball. When target shooting I use 50 gr. FF real black and topped with a felt lubed wad, add a little more Bore Butter on top of the wad and then seat the patched ball. I've gone 30 shots with no issue re-loading and have never had FTF. 85 grains to seems to be most accurate in my gun for hunting. Play with it and have fun.

As Lunger said--- stay away from the subs. Real Black is the only way to go and much easier to clean and less corrosion.

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Reading the manual is the first step then ask questions. I use 40 gr of 3f as a target load out to 50 yards and up to 70 for 100Yds in th 50 cal. You may find your most accurate load by stepping up 5 gr at a time but generally theres no use sense in blasting 80 gr at a 25 yd six-bull. 3f burns a little cleaner. Even more important is your ball patch combo. Buddies find that the time honored .490 ball and .011 patch in a TC is quite accurate....sometimes a .495. This is something you'll have to work out for your rifle! My own custom rifle with deep rifling uses a .498 ball, 018 patch and 50 gr of 3f for max accuracy. This is too hard to load in the hunting field for follow up so the second load is a .490 ball, 012 patch and 85 gr of KiK or Goex 2f. This goes down easy over fouling and is plenty accurate.

 

I use a spit patch for target and wipe every 5 shots. If you try to drive a lubed patch ball down a fouled bore you're asking for trouble however a spit patch works like magic. You'll need a short starter and a stainless steel or brass range rod. Its hard to beat the new bore lube but prefer and mix of mutton and deer tallow.

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Can't beat a Durango Range Rod for use at the range, where you'll take lotsa shots.

Save your wooden rod for when you are hunting & only will take a few shots.

http://www.jedediah-starr.com/closeup.asp?cid=76&pid=865

 

Notice that it has a muzzle protector, cuz yer always going in from the front.

Always use a muzzle protector with a ML, except when you are in the field

When you're hunting, load the first round of the day with your range rod & leave it back at the truck.

--Dawg

Edited by Prairie Dawg, SASS #50329
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Pressure tested Data .50 Cal 28 inch Barrel 1-48 twist, using " Ox-Yoke " pre-lubed Patch .015

.490 Ball Wt. 177 Gr. Goex 3f ...

60gr. velocity 1,566,,, pressure 7,500 psi.

70gr. Velocity 1,657,,, pressure 8,500 psi.

80gr. Velocity 1,748,,, pressure 9,500 psi.

90gr. Velocity 1,830,,, pressure 9,900 psi.

100gr. Velocity 1,911,, pressure 10,200 psi.

110gr. velocity 1,963,, pressure 10,300 psi.

120gr. velocity 2,015,, pressure 10,800 psi.

 

Using Goex 2f. with the same components as above ...

100gr. velocity 1,729 ,,pressure 7,500 psi.

110gr. velocity 1,768 ,, pressure 7,700 psi.

120gr. velocity 1,806 ,, pressure 7,800 psi.

 

Hope this helps ...

 

Jabez Cowboy

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The 120 gr. load with 3F. Goex but using a pillow ticking patch lubed with bear oil and bee wax mixed 40% oil to 60% wax is my hunting load in my "Lyman Trade Rifle" with a 1-48 twist ....

I had a 50 cal with 1-72 twist that just loved even heavyer loads of 3F. The barrel was Made for me in Montana many years ago , and I used it to win the provincial championship many moons ago ... The hunting load for this gun was 180 grains ...

 

 

Jabez Cowboy

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That Custom barrel was far more accurate than many modern center fire rifles the come off the dealers racks each year ...

 

Those were the days ,,, young eyes and a rifle that shot a way better than anyone had a right to expect ...

Reminds me of old friends, most have passed on but will never be forgotten ....

 

 

Jabez Cowboy

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