BP Rifling twist rates


August 30, 2003, 01:31 PM
I have a question about rifling twist rates in BP muzzleloaders. I'm considering buying a muzzleloader. One I'm considering is a Hawken model in .54 caliber and has a rifling twist rate of 1 in 48".
Can anyone tell me if this twist rate can reliably stablize conical bullets?
I'm not interested in shooting sabot or sub-caliber loads and my choice of propellents are the BP substitutes since getting BP shipped out here is going to cost more than 5 times the price of the powder itself.

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August 30, 2003, 02:21 PM
I'd say that your 1/48 twist should stabilize conicals just fine, and qualify that by adding that there are other factors at work besides twist rate, that will affect just how well an indivdual rifle will shoot with a given bullet. Rifling depth, 'tightness' of the bore, etc. can all affect this.

We've got an old Traditions "Springfield Hawken" .50 here that has a 1/66 barrel, and shoots 3" groups at 100 yards with Hornady Great Plains 385's. You have to push 'em pretty hard to get enough rotation to stabilize them; but 90-100 grains of Pyrodex accomplishes this in fine style. This load hits hard, and you can sure enough tell when it goes off.

By all conventional wisdom, this barrel shouldn't shoot this good, especially with this bullet. What's even better is that this same rifle, wich is dead on at 100 yards with the aforementioned hunting load, will shoot dead on at 25 or so using a fine bead, and patched round ball over 50-60 grains of powder. Price was right, too.

I believe it is Geronimo who is quoted with the earliest use of the statement "Never look a gift horse in the mouth." I don't know why it works- it just does, and I'm pretty happy about it.

August 31, 2003, 07:34 AM
Thanks Sarge!

September 2, 2003, 05:24 PM
Rifle twists around 1:60 are for patched round balls. Round balls don't need too much twist because the sphere doesn't have a heavy back and a light front part.

Conicals, as they are different in weight from rear to front need much more twists to stabilize the shape, so a twist of around 1:48 is suitable for that.

September 3, 2003, 08:54 AM
When shooting conicals the best advice is to gather up some samples of different types and try them. With a 1:48 barrel, you may want to stick with bore size conicals vs. sabots. Try different weights and lengths.

I have a Lyman GPR 1:60 which shoots Lee REAL bullets in 200 grain version extremely well.

I have heard good things about Buffalo ballets and bullets.


September 4, 2003, 07:59 AM
JPM63US, The one really want is the GPR with the extra Hunter barrel. Have to compromise for now though.

My intention is to shoot both round balls and conicals. Most of my plinking loads would be with the ball and use conicals for hunting both being launched with Hodgdon Triple 7. I've used the Buffalo Bullets in the past with good results, but in .45 cal.

Mike Irwin
September 5, 2003, 12:20 PM
1 in 48 is really a compromise twist.

It will allow adequate stabilization of both round balls and conicals, but normally doesn't give great accuracy with either.

For most conicals, a twist of around 1 in 24 provides great stabilization.

For round balls, 1 in 60 to 1 in 80 is closer to optimal.

September 8, 2003, 01:46 PM
I have TC New Englander with 1 in 48 twist. The accuracy with TC Maxi-hunter conicals wasn't too good. Went to shooting patched round balls and accuracy made big improvement. My next rifle will have twist for either conicals only or round ball only. Just haven't cared for the lack-luster accuracy of the jack-of-all-trades-but-master-of-none 1 in 48 twist.

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