This is my 1st post and I am totally green to muzzle loading. I have wanted to get into it for some time, but I'm a stay at home dad on a fixed budget, so it has had to wait. I recently picked up a Harrington & Richardson Huntsman in .58 caliber at a local estate auction for $25. The only thing I got was the gun. I have been searching the internet as well as the forum's for info & possibly an online version of its manual, and have found a lot, but I haven't found a manual or recommendations on loads for it. I only wish to use it for deer hunting, and am leaning toward ball & patch, but being the greenhorn, I would love to get any insight as to what works best with this rifle. I look forward to any & all comments.
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December 24, 2006, 11:29 AM
Welcome to the forums!
Here is something I found on the forums here for you to read over, should help out a bit:
I didn't see a max charge for your .58 on it though, but I would bet 90 to 100 gr. by volume of black powder if the gun is in good shape would be fine. My brothers .58 can go up to 110 per the manual with patched round ball, but it isn't a huntsman. Anybody else on the max charge?
December 25, 2006, 02:00 PM
I can't find the manual but I have one that I purchased in around 1978. It has a slow twist and works well with a patched round ball, .562" if I remember correctly. I used a charge of 75 grains of Pyrodex and that seems pretty good to 100 yards. That is a light load but very accurate at that range.
One word of caution, the original gun had a breach-plug that could be driven out from the muzzle end of the gun with the ramrod. The plug has an O-ring that provides a seal.
H&R had a few people who seated a cap too enthusiastically and the breach-plug would fire itself out the back of the barrel before the action was closed. Needless to say that caused some pain. They offered to do a fix that welded the breach-plug into the barrel. If that has been done, don't worry about it. If not, just be gentle when you seat a cap and close the action. I never had mine modified and have never had a problem. I liked the ability to remove the plug and clean the barrel like a shotgun.
December 25, 2006, 02:21 PM
I have one too. It's been awhile since I shot it, But 75 grains of Black powder pushed a mini ball that my granddad molded. We had several in the family since it was the first inline available. As time went on some of us went to MMP sabots and 45 cal jacketed bullets and 100 grains. These shot alot better than the mini ball. We had no problems with the breech plug and used a standard #11 cap.
Smith & Wesson Man
December 27, 2006, 09:44 AM
Wow! To get one for $25 is a steal and a half! My father and cousin have several and they shoot round balls with 120gr of blackpowder. I would consider that a max load. Their is a guy on E-bay that is selling manuls for the H&R muzzleloaders. But, the manual doesn't give any max loads. If that breech plug is a slide in make sure to be careful with it/ I have heard a guy was killed by a hangfire with his. It wouldn't fire and when he opened the action if fired! The breech plug couldn't be stopped by the o-ring and the breech plug shot backwards and killed the man. the ones we use are threaded. Hope this helps.
January 9, 2007, 10:31 PM
I had one of those... and really liked it a lot. It shot really well, but after several years, ODFW (fish & game) decided it wasn't primitive enough for black powder hunting, so I sold it.
As I recall, the max load was 100 grains of 2FF behind a .562RB but it has been since the 70's. It seemed to shoot the RB better than a minnie ball, using 70 grains of 2FF Goex. I believe the twist was 1" in 60" and shallow rifling.
The breach plug did come out the break action, but ONLY AFTER taking off the forearm and removing the barrel from the action. The action had some kind of stop so as not to open too far and allow the plug to shoot back.
Never had it fire when the action was open, but bet the fire and smoke would come out, but the breech plug couldn't come all the way out as described above.
I got a Navy Arms Hawkin Hunter in 58 cal shortly after that and still hunt elk with it. Even got one this year (cow-201 lbs of cut and wrapped meat) See picture.
The Navy 58 cal likes 120 gr of Goex 3FFF behind a Lyman 577611 minnie. I load a felt wad under and over the minnie to keep it still in the barrel. The minnie is under bore size and might move. I do check is several times per day.
I have a Lyman 50 cal Great Plains too and really enjoy it. It shoots better than I can.
January 11, 2007, 09:38 PM
When the breech plug is held in by 2 O rings and not threaded I would not shoot it. Premature ignition could KILL YOU that is one reason they stopped making that model.
January 2, 2009, 05:29 PM
I have one of these guns in .58 great condition also have some extras to go along with re-loading it.. For Sale!! e-mail me if interested...
September 22, 2009, 05:45 PM
I have a H&R Huntsman 58 cal. The stories you hear about the breech block being blow out are an "Urban Myth". I have one of the "O Ring" models. It is impossible for the breech block to be removed without removing the barrel from the receiver. With the action open if you try to force the breech block out with the ramrod. You will find that the breech block will hit the upper part of the receiver and can not be removed. So put that out and out lie to rest.
As for the best load. For accuracy buy a Lee 440 grain "REAL" bullet mold.
The powder charge is 36-45 grains of FF blackpowder. This is the most accurate load I have found out to about 40 yards. When you get to the
really large blackpowder calibers, more is not always better when it cames to powder. Overcharging tends to throw the projectiles in unpredictable directions. So, my advice, "Less is more"
September 22, 2009, 07:31 PM
If anyone wants to sell a H&R Huntsman. Email me and I will buy it. I really want .58
caliber but would consider any caliber.
September 22, 2009, 07:39 PM
If anybody wants to sell one for $25.00 bucks,give me a hollar!
September 22, 2009, 08:19 PM
You will find that the breech block will hit the upper part of the receiver and can not be removed. So put that out and out lie to rest.
Maybe that sliding breechplug design can't be removed under normal circumstances, but the breech plug or a portion of it can be blown out.
And far stronger breech plugs have blown out.
It's probable that the related death is the direct reason why H&R went out of business for 5 years from 1986 to 1991.
That is not an urban myth.
I bought one of these Huntsman used, read an article about the danger and history of the gun and then sold it back to the dealer.
The firing pin wouldn't even reach the capped nipple without being shimmed.
September 23, 2009, 12:45 AM
It's impossible that the breech block can come out with the action open.
Some people will buy anything. I had mine out of the safe again today.
There is no way. End of story
September 23, 2009, 02:45 AM
The NMLRA is aware of the danger of the H&R models with the sliding breech plug and have prohibited them.
National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association’s Rules and Regulations
2470 – BREAK-OPEN POLICY – Sealed-ignition break-open muzzleloading firearms will be allowed on all ranges in specified matches during the
NMLRA National Shoots.
a. Approved firearms will have a semi-permanent, mechanically fit breeching system.
b. Said breeching system shall be either threaded or welded in place.
c. Firearms with a press-fit breech plug secured by an O ring, such as the Harrington and Richardson Huntsman model, are prohibited.
September 23, 2009, 03:29 AM
close the gun with the breach canted to the side,pointed away from your noggin.Tah da!Problem solved.Yer welcome.
September 23, 2009, 07:46 PM
NMLRA makes no reference to any "danger" with the firearm. I think they don't like it because the breech block can be removed between shots while on the firing line for
cleaning. Thats a big advantage. The organization is not fond of inline rifles in general.
They ban the rifle in a earlier paragraph because the barrel is shorter than 33 inches.
The fact is you have a hardon for the rifle as does the NMLRA. So do another 2-3 thousand posts online and I will go shoot. Have fun
November 21, 2009, 02:43 PM
I inherited my Father's .58 caliber Huntsmans. Believe it or not he never even fired this shotgun just had it hanging over his fireplace. My Hubby and I would like to get into muzzleloading but neither have ever had any experience with it. Where would be a good place to start? I'm assuming since it's a .58 caliber I'm not going to easily find supplies for it at the local Wally World. I would appreciate any info anyone could share.
November 21, 2009, 03:10 PM
I still have the shotgun barrel around here someplace,but it should also have a .58 caliber rifled barrel,I believe.
November 22, 2009, 04:10 AM
The ideal way to learn about the model that you intend to shoot is to read the owner's manual for it. But that's not available since H&R doesn't offer any support for it.
There's a series of videos contained in the sticky near the top BP forum page with a lot of basic muzzle loading information:
If you choose to start by shooting patched round balls, then a .570 round ball and either a .010 or a lubed .015 patch is a place to start. Begin with a low powder charge of about 60 grains of powder and increase that in 5-10 grain increments until satisfied with its 50 yard accuracy. One round ball shooter recommended loading 75 grains of powder. Swab the barrel to wipe it clean about every 1-3 shots as necessary or when loading begins to get difficult.
And please let us know how everything works out. :)