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54 cal percussion loads?... update!

IdahoRedneckIdahoRedneck Member Posts: 2,699
Has anyone here found a good load for a 54 cal hawken muzzleloader. I just cant seem to find one with any consistency?

Comments

  • hillbillehillbille Member Posts: 11,386 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I use 75grains FFF black powder ,prelubed patches and round ball. good to go for 75-100 yards, for accuaracy and killing power at least for whitetail. size, thickness of patch and ball will depend on individual rifle,as to which combo is most accurate.
  • k_townmank_townman Member Posts: 3,588
    edited November -1
    I shoot a 380gr REAL bullet on top of 90grs of FFg Goex. D E V A S T A T I N G!
  • IdahoRedneckIdahoRedneck Member Posts: 2,699
    edited November -1
    sorry for sounding so green... but I am. i am using pyrodex select RS and am probably loading way to hot i was putting 90 grains behind a 430 grain maxi-ball. im starting to think this gun aint made for chronical bullets???? i thought i had enough twist (1:48 not 4 sure though could Be 1:60)my barrel is off a renegade (i think) And is only 26 inches long. At least 2 inches shorter than the Sile 50.cal barrell i had on it originally. Basically I just wanted a 54 cal Thompson hawken bad so i decided 2 build one. all im looking to kill is whitetail sized game, possibly mule deer, maybe elk we have some awesome muzzleloader only seasons here in idaho if you can draw, and you trust your gun. so thanks for the help and any more insight on what im doing wrong or different loads will be appreciated ill try them all!!!
  • Chief ShawayChief Shaway Member, Moderator Posts: 5,935 ******
    edited November -1
    I've never shot anything other than Geox powder.
    My .54 liked 65 grains of FFFg. That is with a round ball.
    I'm not an expert on twist rates but yours sounds right on with most of my rifles.
    I would try round balls out of it. I think your twist rate matches up with them better. Good luck.
  • ken44-40ken44-40 Member Posts: 201 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    My 20+ year old Pedersoli .54 Cal Tryon rifle likes 60 gr ffg Goex/Dragon/Scheutzen/Swiss, 535 Hornady swaged round ball, .010 Ox yoke lubed patch that has been wet down with Hoppes #9 plus BP solvent, ignited by an RWS 1075 cap. With this load I can shoot all day (40-50 rounds) with the last ball going down the barrel as easily as the first. This load is extremely accurate out to about 80 yards. Anything over 80 yds gets the same loading with 80 grains of ffg. Hunting load is 100gr of ffg; but shooting that load over a sheet/butcher paper/cardboard has shown that not all the powder gets burned.
  • hillbillehillbille Member Posts: 11,386 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    some guns just don't like maxi balls, I had a renegade that would not shoot them, poor accuracy and had to beat the second one down. My freinds renegade could shoot them up to 10-12 before wiping the bore with good accuracy, I think each barrell has its own pet load. this being said, try backing down the powder load in 2-3 shot groups to see if they tighten up. as others have stated 60grns will still kill whitetail, under a 100 yards. you may have to go to round balls to get the accuracy you want, they will still kill a deer just as dead as a maxi ball, don't let anyone tell you different, as long as you use balls made of good pure soft lead. good luck. each rifle will take time to find ITS perfect load have patience.
  • IdahoRedneckIdahoRedneck Member Posts: 2,699
    edited November -1
    thanks for the info, you all make good points ill keep playing with it!!!!
  • chigerchiger Member Posts: 40 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    I'm like hillbilly only worse. I've never seen a TC Renegade that would shoot anything but a patched round ball what I call accurate. And I've been shooting the same Renegade since around 1974.

    Mine will make 1 hole at 25 yards with 50 grains of BP and a 229 grain patched round ball. That's the target load. Hunting load is 90 grains of powder and 129 patched round ball. 2 - 2 1/2" group at 75 yards without touching the sights. Use to be a 1 1/2" group, but the old girl is getting about as worn out as I am. That's benched of course. I ain't that good a shot.

    The same gun does good to group 8" at 75 yards or 3" at 25 yards with a maxi or saboted bullet. She just will not shoot um with any powder or charge. Not even when she was new, which was before sabot loads by the way. None of my buddies would either. The twist is wrong. But when it's chunkin' a 229 grain round ball down range at like 1900fps...who cares? It'll knock down a house. ;~)
  • IdahoRedneckIdahoRedneck Member Posts: 2,699
    edited November -1
    Well my problem aint that its a renegade. my gun is a 50 cal kit gun made by Sile inc in the late 70's early eightys (might b the problem). I paid 75 bucks for it got a 54 cal Thompson barrel given to me, and have continued to add parts as I see fit to make me the Hawken i want. a good lookin gun, an boy she sure is pretty. but im right back to if i cant make her shoot what is she good for??? and i am very new to black powder too so that dont help. im not sure of the twist I have other than I know its either 1:48 or the 1:60 or 66 whatever the standard was. but my groups are 10 to 22 inches at 100 yards i gotta find somethin better than that or this gun and me aint gonna hunt together. i think alot of it is the maxi-ball. ill try the round balls and see where i end up.
  • hillbillehillbille Member Posts: 11,386 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    If you go to round ball also try different thicknesses of patches, along with a variety of different loads try 5-10grain differences every three shots. YOU shoud also try this with the maxi using different powder charges first. they also make buffalo balls which are a smaller type/similar to maxi ball. I'm sure your shoulder will get sore before you find your pet load.
  • IdahoRedneckIdahoRedneck Member Posts: 2,699
    edited November -1
    thanks for the post hillbille one more quick question when im trying to find the pet load for my gun how often should i clean it? every shot every 3 or 5. im sure it is a factor depending on which powder im using right?
  • hillbillehillbille Member Posts: 11,386 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    most will say run a wet patch down everyother shot, You can use rubing alchohol it will cut black powder and it evaporates without leaving any moisture. just get a patch wet run it back and forth time or two should be ready to go. You will still need to give it a good cleaning when you get it home.
  • IdahoRedneckIdahoRedneck Member Posts: 2,699
    edited November -1
    thanks again! ill let ya know how it goes!
  • chigerchiger Member Posts: 40 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    idaho,

    If it says Thompson Center, 54 Cal on the barrel and measures 27" from where the breech plug screws into the barrel to the end of the barrel...it's a Renegade barrel.

    If that's so, It'll be a 1:48 twist. Highly accurate with a TC round ball and TC patch. But as I say in 30 years of trying everything new that's come out...that is the only thing I've ever been able to get to group through a Renegade barrel. GRRRRR!!!!

    Like hillbilly said, no need to clean between each shot. Heck, I shoot patches presoaked in 1/2 water and 1/2 dishwashing detergent. I sometimes shoot 20-25 times before having to swab it a all.

    Oh, if it is a renegade barrel, it will shoot pyrodex fairly well, but it will like BP a lot better.

    One other thing since it's a modified kit, make absolutely sure that the bolster is fitting securely and square to the breech plug when you drive the tang home. Barrel and sight movement on recoil is the cause for a lot more accuracy problems than some think. Heck, I go so far as to super glue my sight adjuster screws and rear blade in place.

    Good luck man. I hope there is nothing wrong with the barrel. Like maybe it's been hot. If not, I feel confident you will find a load that shoots good for ya. Don't give up dude.
  • IdahoRedneckIdahoRedneck Member Posts: 2,699
    edited November -1
    thanks chiger it does measure 27 so we are working w a renegade barrel. good to know. ill get some different powders and some round balls then give em a try, thanks again for the post, appreciate all the info!!!!
  • steve45steve45 Member Posts: 2,847 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Idahordnk, I dont mean any offense but shooting a muzzleloader is different from shooting a centerfire. One of the differences is locktime. This is the time from when the sear breaks and the hammer starts to fall to the time when the powder fires. This is MUCH slower on muzzleloaders than on centerfires. It is possible to move the gun or relax after the trigger breaks but before the bullet is out the barrel throwing off your shot (its measured in milliseconds). Practice followthrough (holding the gun on site until the recoil takes control). If this has no effect on your groups then disregard. Its already been said but Ive found round balls to be the most accurate out of 1:48 twist rifles. Shameless plug, go to auction 123541716 This Hawken replica shoots T/C maxi-balls very accuratly with 100 gr of pyrodex select.
  • IdahoRedneckIdahoRedneck Member Posts: 2,699
    edited November -1
    Thanks steve45 i knew it had to be a little slower but that makes good sense too!! thats a nice looking gun on the auction side, that is basically what im working on here.
  • castalotcastalot Member Posts: 13
    edited November -1
    Try these steps, and see if it helps.

    First off, set up a rock solid shooting platform, where your upper torso is erect while shooting. Leaning into a shot can alter the butt placement from shot to shot.

    Second...Place the target no more than 50 feet away. Mark a clear X pattern on your target.

    Third....Load your gun with ONLY Blackpowder. Pyrodex is death to muzzleloader barrels. It is highly corrosive. I have seen dozens of barrels destroyed by the use of pyrodex.

    Fourth...Your target load should be between 60, and 80 gr of FFg, and your hunting loads should be about 90 to 100 gr of the same.

    Fifth....Use "pillow ticking patches", has they have a tighter weave to hold back the pressure gases. Patch thickness will depend upon your rifling. Barrels such as Green Mountain are over bored, and require larger balls such as a .495, or .500 ball in 50 cal.

    A good starting point would be a .018 patch, and a .530 ball. If that combo loads effortlessly, you have an overbored barrel, and that could be your problem. Go to the next size ball, which will be a .535 ball. BTW, there is no need to shoot conicals for whitetail deer. Stick with a patched round ball.

    Sixth...take your first shot. The first thing to look for is the spent patch. If it is shredded , or burnt, you have hot gases escaping, which means you either have a sharp piece of rifling tearing the patch, or an undersized ball, patch combo. If it is the former, you can try running a patch with valve grinding paste down the bore to smooth things out.

    With that said....A rifle that tears up patches will never be consistent. Show me a rifle that produces a nice patch seat, and I will show you a rifle that will drive tacks.

    Seventh...If you are getting a good patch, continue to shoot a five shot group. Your group should be very tight. If you are getting flingers, and have ruled out your holding of the rifle as the problem, check to make sure the barrel is secure in the stock, and that there is no movement.

    Gotta go for now, but will check back soon
  • IdahoRedneckIdahoRedneck Member Posts: 2,699
    edited November -1
    WOW! Thanks Castalot thats awesome feedback its gonna Be a few weeks before I can get out and shoot again (as we are planning a wedding) but I will keep you guys posted.
  • IdahoRedneckIdahoRedneck Member Posts: 2,699
    edited November -1
    Alright men, headin out in the mornin gotta figure this gun out or sell it. Not shootin maxi-balls any more got me some Hornady .530 round balls and a Wonder ticking .018 patch (Thanks Castalot for that starting load). will still be shooting pyrodex though because just like everything else around here I CANT FIND GOEX, its pathetic, but it is what it is. By the way why dont they tell ya how many grains that hornady .530 ball weighs? k_townman what is a 380 grain REAL bullett. is REAL a company cuz i couldnt find anything like that around here. again its pathetic, 22 rimfire bricks been gone for months, ken44-40 I wish I could find any of thoughs powders you listed, And I will eventually, if I have to pay more than there worth on the internet to get em. The bottom line is this, Me and my brother in law are going to put in on this awesome muzzleloader only hunt for antelope this year with a guy I work with. Its kindof a sleeper hunt, he has drawn for the last 8 years and has the hunt figured out. He tells me all you gotta be good for is 100. My brother in law has a knight so he is good But I wanna hunt with this old Hawken I built. Will let you guys Know how it goes 2marrow! any ideas before we head out in the mornig will be appreciated!
  • festusfestus Member Posts: 971 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    I have had good luck using the 3 pcs.break away sabot by T/C with a 240 gr. XTP bullet. I use 90 grains of FF black powder. Been shooting this load in a T/C renegade 54 cal. for 25 years. Found these on auction side # 128839028 Thompson Center Break-O-Way Sabots .54 Caliber .
  • johnnybar1johnnybar1 Member Posts: 6 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    The 54 real will work for sure in your 48 twist...I've cast and shot 100's in 50 and 54. Try filling the grooves completely full of Bore Butter or unsalted lard (not Crisco) and put a Ox felt wad under the base with a little Bore Butter/Lard to stick it there. DO NOT tamp or ram hard...it will deform the soft lead. Same goes for any BP projectile. Try 70,80,90 grains at 75 yds from a GOOD rest and stick with the best load for life. My cheap CVA Hawken 54 will shoot 1" to 1.5" at 75yds with 80 of Pyrodex RS. A TC should do a little better I would think. The Ox Felt wad keeps the hot gases from cutting the base of the bullet which can cause slight tipping when it exits the muzzle...it makes a difference on med to heavy hunting loads...not so much with light target loads at 25 to 50 yds. -JB
  • johnnybar1johnnybar1 Member Posts: 6 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    PS: 54 ball will be approx 230 grains if pure lead, which I'm sure Hornady's are. -JB
  • madcastermadcaster Member Posts: 8 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    Sure!80 grains Goex 2f and a patched .535" ball,set off by a piece of handknapped flint![;)]
  • Billy ThunderBilly Thunder Member Posts: 6 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    A hard, 1/4" thick 'Nitro' or overpowder wad card loaded over the powder charge will help to get a nice patch seal. It prevents the patch from burning through. Since I discovered this tip, I always use an overpowder card in my rifles.
    Traditionaly, I think hornet nest material, tow, or other wadding material was used. I think most modern ML shooters have omitted this step in loading.
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