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54 cal. 455 gr. Maxi Hunter Powder Charges ?

RLL2966RLL2966 Member Posts: 46 ✭✭
I recently purchased a Thompson Center Arms Renegade .54 cal. rifle. This is my first muzzleloading rifle. I have done a lot of reading on safety, loading, firing, and cleaning of muzzleloading rifles. I have just gotten together everything that I should need to fire and clean it. I was able to find loading data (powder charges) for patched round balls and the newer 430 gr. Maxi-Hunter conical bullets. They were listed as; 60-120 gr. FFg powder charges for the .530 dia. 230 gr. patched round balls and 90-120 gr. FFg for the 430 gr. Maxi-Hunter bullets. I found some of the older .54 cal. 455 gr. T/C Maxi-Hunter conical bullets at a good price and bought them, 140 of them. I have been looking for loading data (powder charges) for them, with no luck. I was wondering if I need to drop the powder charge a little for the slightly heavier 455 gr. bullets and if so, by how much? Through my reading, I learned that I should try different combinations of loads, and try to find one that shoots well in my rifle. What would be a good starting load for a patch & ball and the 455 gr. Maxi-Hunter conical bullets? Thank you, Rob


  • allen griggsallen griggs Member Posts: 35,149 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    You are right, you should back off on the powder charge with the big Maxi Hunter.
    If you fired that big slug with 120 grains of powder it would give your shoulder quite a thumping.
    You could take just about any game on the North American continent with that slug and 90 grains of powder.
    With the same powder charge, the bigger the slug, the more foot pounds of energy, and the greater the kick.
    I would try 60, and 70, and 80 grains of powder with that big slug, see which is more accurate.

    In the Civil War, the big conical slugs, the minie balls, were 530 grains and they were fired with only 60 grains of powder.

    If I were you I would seriously consider shooting round balls.
    I have killed over a dozen deer and hogs with a Thompson Center .50 using the patched round ball, and 90 grains of powder.
    The round ball proved to be unbelievably effective on game, I made lung shots and in all cases I got one-shot kills, none of the game mde over 50 yards.
    This is better performance than I got from my 30-06.

    Whatever the .490 round ball will do, the .530 will do better.

    With the round ball in that big barrel I would try 70 and 80 grains of powder. If that rifle is accurate with 80 grains you need no more powder.
    I bet that the .530 round ball has more foot-pounds with 80 grains of powder, than the .490 has with 90 grains.
    There is not a deer on the continent who can take a lung shot with a round ball from your rifle at 100 yards or less.
  • bobbyrose512bobbyrose512 Member Posts: 2,212 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Patched round ball is the way to go. I have a 30 yr old CVA that I use 80 gr in and it is accurate out to 150 yds. All the conical bullets I've tried to use just doesn't give me the same accuracy.

    My .54cal Sharps paper cutter only uses 60 gr with a 450 gr bullet. It will still give you a thump
  • RLL2966RLL2966 Member Posts: 46 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    Thank you for your replies and advise. Hopefully I'll be able to get out and shoot it in the next week or so. I bought the rifle for mule deer hunting here in Colorado. I wont be able to go this year, but maybe next year. I want to be comfortable shooting the rifle before hunting with it. I think that I will use the round balls for deer hunting. I'll be hunting in the forest behind the house and wont be making any long shots. I figure 50-60 yards max. Maybe I can use those big slugs for elk or bear hunting if I decide to try that. There are some large bull elk around and I've had a * bear in the yard a couple of times. He was on my patio last fall and on the deck this summer, scared the crap out of my cat. His back was as high as the railing on the deck. Right now, the only powder that I have for it is some American Pioneer Clean Shot blackpowder substitute. My ffl dealer recommended it. He also does a reloading business and said that it was all that he uses in his muzzleloader. I also want to try some blackpowder and Pyrodex or Hodgdon 777. For round ball cloth patches, I have some unlubed cotton .015 T/C brand and a tube of their Bore Butter for lube. The round balls are Hornady .530 dia. I was wondering how much lube to apply to the patches? Also too, if the pillow ticking patches are better? Rob
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