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Which bullet and how much powder?

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Which bullet and how much powder?

Old 12-07-2002, 06:44 PM
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Spike
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Default Which bullet and how much powder?

I have a Hawken .50 cal side lock muzzle loader. My question is, which bullet and how much powder (Pyrodex) would be best suited for whitetail?
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Old 12-07-2002, 07:45 PM
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Old 12-07-2002, 09:22 PM
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Default RE: Which bullet and how much powder?

Wow Coondog, you need to relax a bit don't you think? He didn't say he didn't plan to work up a load and sight the gun in before he hunts with it either. Did you consider that he may have just bought this gun and maybe he's new to muzzleloading and just want's to get off to a good start? You're right that he probably hasn't taken his gun to the range yet because he'd like to know what type of load to start off with, so he doesn't make beginner mistakes. He may already be a very good centerfire rifle shooter, but muzzleloading can be a little intimidating for someone who is used to shooting factory cased ammo. Cut him some slack, everybodys starts out a beginner, or don't you remember?

VAboy,

The best load you can use depends a lot on the rifle you're shooting and what you want to use it for. You said that you have a Hawken .50cal and you want to use it for Whitetails, which is a start, but really isn't enough info about the gun to be very specific about buttet/load suggestions. The most important characteristic of a muzzleloader that determines what it (probably) likes to shoot is the rifling twist rate.

If your Hawken's twist is in the 1 turn in 48" through 1 in 66" then it's probably going to best like shooting roundballs or a limited selection of lighter maxi-balls. This slow of a twist rate usually will not properly stabilize sabots or longer conical bullets. For roundballs start at about 50 to 60 grains of powder and work your way up in about 5 grain increments until you find the most accurate load for your rifle. With roundballs you'd be best to stop at about 90 grains of powder (any more with the light roundballs is a waste), and most guns shoot roundballs best with 70-80 grains. This is more than enough to kill whitetails.

If the twist rate is faster than 1 in 48" but slower than 1 in 32" then your gun will probably best like the somewhat heavier lead conical bullets in the 300-400 grain area with either a flat nose or hollow point. Start out with about 70 grains of powder and work up until best accuracy is achieved or until you reach the max load for your gun (probably 100-120 grains, see your owners manual).

If the guns twist is faster than 1 in 32" it'll probably shoot sabots (240+grain) and long heavy conicals (385grain+) the best. Start with the same 70 grain load and work up to best accuracy or max load, whichever comes first.

There is always some overlap in bullet stabilization, i.e. a 1 in 32 barrel might do ok stabilizing a very heavy conical, but will severely overstabilize a round ball. The above suggestions are just basic guidelines, but unfortunately every muzzleloader is different and there are some that are just downright picky eaters. Pick the projectile you'd like to use that as closely suits the rifling as possible and go out and try it. It way shoot very well or it may not group at all. If not you'll have to try different bullets until you find a suitable load.

One other word of advice. When I had my Hawken I tried Pyrodex in it and found out that it made the ignition somewhat slow and unreliable unless it was very carefully loaded each time. Pyrodex is just harder to light than black powder and the flame from the cap might not be hot enough to light the pyrodex off quickly every time. I found that straight black powder (FFg) worked the best in that gun and made it very reliable.

Good luck and have fun,

Mike



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Old 12-08-2002, 02:17 AM
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Old 12-08-2002, 06:20 AM
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Default RE: Which bullet and how much powder?

I just got a lyman 54cal.,1-48 twist.also have a knight,taken deer with it. i thought it was a good idea to ask if you guys had any favorite loads. coondog must be one of them know it alls,the way he,s barkin, he should go lay by his bowl.
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Old 12-08-2002, 08:40 AM
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Default RE: Which bullet and how much powder?

Hey Coondog, easy there or you'll overdose on those bada$$ pills.

Driftrider, thank you for the informative response. My dad bought the gun new about 18 yrs ago. It's a 1/48" rate, so I think I'll stick with the maxi-ball (he's been shooting a 370 gr), just maybe try a lighter one. And I'll start with 80 gr of Pyrodex.
Just for the record, I have hunted and killed deer for 20+ yrs. Got a 3 ptr & a nice 8 this year. With bow and rifle. I have just never been black powder hunting. Thats the reason I posted the question.



Edited by - VAboy on 12/08/2002 09:42:01

Edited by - VAboy on 12/08/2002 10:07:30
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Old 12-09-2002, 02:35 AM
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Old 12-11-2002, 09:09 PM
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Default RE: Which bullet and how much powder?

Driftrider, thank you very much....

I don't come into this forum often, I'm such an avid bowhunter and usually carry the bow second season which overlaps muzzleloader season.

Here in PA we can only use flintlocks which I feel is great, and I've purchased my first two years ago and have yet fired a shot....I bought powder today.

I came in to ask the same question, same gun, same caliber and I knew to work my loads for I have an experienced hunting partner, but I wanted some others perspectives....

Your post Drift, was excellent....

Coondog, I see your point, but patience is a virtue my friend, I am a very seasoned hunter, but new to muzzleloaders...everyone starts at the begining and gains experience from there. We can be part of the solution or part of the problem.....Educate and learn, all of us can do both.

<font color=blue>Good Luck and Good Shooting</font id=blue>

<font color=red>Rob</font id=red>
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