Cabelas hawken-hottest load consistently used?


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ColdChili
August 13, 2009, 01:46 PM
What is the hottest load (ie the most powder) you have used in your cabelas hawken(investarms)? If I recall correctly (I don't have the manual in front of me right now) the manual reccommends a max charge of 70 grains. I've always used 80 grains of pyrodex with no problems? Has anyone pushed this to 100 or more grains?

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higene
August 13, 2009, 02:44 PM
Isn't Investarms a Lyman?

:scrutiny:

Higene

PS If a hit with a 357 is better than a miss with a 44 isn't
a hit with 80 gr better than a miss with 100?

mykeal
August 13, 2009, 04:55 PM
It's the other way around - Lyman rifles are made by Investarms.

I've always used 70 grains.

If you've used 80 grains with no problems, why jack up the load and start having problems?

arcticap
August 13, 2009, 05:04 PM
The Cabela's/Lyman/Investarms guns are basically clones of the Thompson Center rifles.
On page 75, the TC Sidelock Owner's Manual lists the maximum powder load for their .50 caliber rifles with a .490 175 gr. round ball as 110 grains of ffg black powder.

http://www.tcarms.com/assets/manuals/current/Shooting_TC_Side_Lock_Black_Powder_Guns.pdf

MCgunner
August 13, 2009, 05:13 PM
I commonly shoot 90 grain equivalent Pyrodex behind a 385 grain Great Plains minie in my Cabela's Hawken Hunter (Investarms). Ain't blown up, yet. I tried a couple of shots with 120 grains equivalent Jim Shocky's Gold, kicked like hell, but didn't blow up. Wasn't accurate, either. I didn't find an accurate load with that stuff.

My standard load is 90 grains pyrodex BP equivalent. I've had the gun for over 15 years and have fired it quite a bit.

Smokin_Gun
August 13, 2009, 05:16 PM
My max. accurate load is 60gr of ffg BP 70gr with a .490" patched R.B. or a .58 cal Minnie Ball(60gr)
Why blow or burn holes thru your patches and cause an irratic shot?

MCgunner
August 13, 2009, 05:19 PM
No patch behind my Minie and the Hawken hunter carbine with a 1:24 barrel isn't worth a toot with round ball. I shoot Minie or sabot .44 bullets well, but round ball won't even hit the target board at 100 yards.

mykeal
August 13, 2009, 07:13 PM
The Cabela's/Lyman/Investarms guns are basically clones of the Thompson Center rifles.
Externally they have some very basic similarities. The barrels exhibit similar characteristics as well, but we know very little about the basic material properties and manufacturing processes of the different brands. T/C's are made entirely in the US, while the C/L/I trio is made in Italy. I really don't think we can draw conclusions about maximum loads in the Italian barrels from manuals giving advice on US made equipment.

ColdChili
August 13, 2009, 09:21 PM
Thanks for all the input!

I have taken two does with the hawkens using patched round balls, both between 50 and 70 yards. Overall I am happy with the performance but there is definite room for improvement.

last year while sighting in, my brother and I both shot at a chunk of treated 6x6 pine (at around 40 yards). My patched round ball with 80 grains of pryodex penetrated into the wood about 1.5" to 2". My brothers T/C inline with 3-50grain pellets and sabot (sorry I don't have more specifics on his set up) went clean through the 6x6 and left about a 3" exit hole.

So I'm thinking about increasing the 'charge' and finding the lightest projectile available...going to try the small and fast route. Or if anyone has other suggestions to make the hawkens more effective on deer I'd be open to suggestions.

Thanks!

madcratebuilder
August 13, 2009, 09:51 PM
My .50 T/C Hawken shoots best at 90grs of 2F and a .490rb in a .015 patch.

Ratdog68
August 13, 2009, 10:02 PM
Sorry, not trying to be a smart ass, but I just don't get it. If the point is to harvest a deer... why are you concerned with being able to blow a big ol' hole in a timber? To me... what's the most accurate load for my gun... and keep that accuracy/groupings for the hunting range as close as possible. The gun/bullet is designed to get the job done if I do my part to place my shot well. It's been getting it done for hundreds of years for countless people before me. Do your part and the gun will do its part to fill the freezer.

MCgunner
August 13, 2009, 10:03 PM
I think I'd go heavier, as in small conical, myself. Yours is 1:48, right? You could try the Lee REAL (stands for "rifling engraved at loading") bullet, probably would shoot well in that twist rate. You need mass, not speed. BP is not about velocity, it's about bigger is better. Things were a lot simpler back in the day. :D Out of my Hunter Carbine, the 385 grain Minie is not only accurate, it hits HARD. That's why I originally wanted the carbine, the faster twist, 1:24. But, the added advantage is it's short and light and handy. It still gins up about 1200 fps out of 20" of barrel with that big pill and 90 grain equivalents of Pyrodex RS behind it. It shoots about 1500 fps with a 240 Hornady .44 sabot and is VERY accurate with that load. I can shoot 2" groups at 100 yards with the sabot. The Minie is accurate enough, though, and I just kinda like the size of it. :D

ColdChili
August 13, 2009, 11:52 PM
The point is not to blow a hole in timber, but to dispatch the deer in the most efficient manner possible. The timber was only given as an example of the penetration I'm getting with that particular powder/projectile combination.

Another story: last year I had a text book shot on a deer at 50 yards with the rb. The ball didn't exit the deer and after waiting 5-10 minutes before climbing down from the stand I found the deer alive, laying down with its head up looking around (only about 15 yards from where I shot it), I dispatched it with a head shot at 5 yards.

Since then, I have been thinking about ways to make my current muzzleloader (with the 1:48 twist) more effective. I would like to think that when there is good shot placement, one shouldn't have to fire another round. So that brings me to my current situation...looking for a more 'effective' hunting load (assuming there will be no loss in accuracy with whatever path I choose).

Smokin_Gun
August 14, 2009, 12:23 AM
Since then, I have been thinking about ways to make my current muzzleloader (with the 1:48 twist) more effective.

Use a .50 cal Thompson Maxi Ball Boolit... 70gr BP or as much as you like...

mykeal
August 14, 2009, 07:12 AM
You'll be better off improving your shot placement than in pumping up the velocity. Adding more powder simply decreased the gun's accuracy, and since shot placement is already an issue, the situation will not improve.

In your example from 'last year', what was the wound channel?

eastbank
August 14, 2009, 07:47 AM
my flint 50 cal rifles like 80grs 2f with round ball and the 240gr hornady bullet(likes the hornady bullets better). volicity close to 1500fps. eastbank.

arcticap
August 14, 2009, 01:12 PM
T/C's are made entirely in the US, while the C/L/I trio is made in Italy. I really don't think we can draw conclusions about maximum loads in the Italian barrels from manuals giving advice on US made equipment.


You're right Mykeal, I should have referenced a "more proper" manual to be on the safe side and technically more correct.
The link below is to the Lyman manual for their guns that are also made by Investarms. The Lyman manual doesn't distinguish between models. On page 14, it lists the maximum load for .50 caliber rifles with a .495 round ball as 110 grains of ffg and 100 grains of ffg if loading with a saboted bullet or conical.
Note that it states to make a downward adjustment if loading with fffg powder which I don't believe that TC distinguishes between the two powders in their manual.
It's also understandable to believe that the manufacturers have built a margin of error into their guns for safety in order to accommodate loading errors & deviations with different powders, measures and projectiles.
I hope this helps to clarify the issue of what the safest maximum loads are for the Cabela's Hawken. :)

http://stevespages.com/pdf/lyman_blackpowder.pdf


Maximum Loads
Lyman Black Powder Guns
The following loads are maximum combinations of propellant and projectile for Lyman Black Powder guns.
Do Not Exceed!


Rifles
.50 .495" RB 110 grs. 2Fg or 90 grs. 3Fg
240 gr. Sabot 100 grs. 2Fg or 90 grs. 3Fg
335 gr. Sabot 100 grs. 2Fg or 80 grs. 3Fg
420 gr. Maxi 100 grs. 2Fg or 80 grs. 3Fg

Mr_Pale_Horse
August 14, 2009, 01:29 PM
Firearm: Lyman Trade Rifle, 54 Caliber
Barrel: 28", 1:48" twist

Hottest Load(s):
- Conical = 390 gr. Lee REAL lubed with Alox in front of 90 grains of Swiss 3F
- PRB = 0.535" Hornady Swaged Ball, 0.015" pillow ticking, lightly moose milked, in front of 110 grains of GOEX 3F

MCgunner
August 14, 2009, 09:48 PM
In your example where you didn't get exit on the deer, again, more bullet, not more speed. You need more lead, better penetration than that ball. Round ball will kill, I know, but the sectional density is pathetic. That, and the momentum of a bigger bullet will give you total penetration. Also, a proper minie or Lee conical will give you better wounding being as it's big and pretty flat pointed. Round ball just don't sound like it's cuttin' the mustard for you and a 1:48 WILL shoot a conical. I doubt you could get a sabot to stabilize, but a 250 grain or so conical will.

If you are stuck on using round ball, you need to go to a .54 or .58. Like I say, things were simple back in the day. To kill bigger animals you just used more lead. It wasn't about velocity or more powder charge. Black powder isn't terribly good a producing velocity. It will push a ball only so fast. That's why the 8mm Lebel didn't come along until after Alfred Nobel was born.

mykeal
August 14, 2009, 11:36 PM
Articap - excellent data. Thanks.

Smokin_Gun
August 15, 2009, 01:11 AM
Articap - excellent data. Thanks

Indeed Arcticap well done...

Dithsoer
August 15, 2009, 02:57 AM
I'm not telling you to do this by any means, just an interesting historical fact, but in a book that I recently got from Track of the Wolf about the guns and gear of the mountain men, some men would use loads using 200 grains of powder in their Hawkens. Not with round ball, but with conicals. Has anyone here ever tried a load of that magnitude in their modern Hawken? I realize the principle of diminishing returns, but they used such loads on buffalo, trying to squeeze out as much power as possible for long range shots. If their older rifles with lesser-quality steel withstood such loads, one would think that modern barrels certainly would. Of course accuracy would suffer and it really isn't necessary, but it's just a question.
At the other end of the spectrum, the gunsmith Peter Alexander tells how he seen a friend shoot a .45 caliber round ball through a steel plowshare at 60 yards with 60 grains of FFFg.

mykeal
August 15, 2009, 08:15 AM
...in a book that I recently got from Track of the Wolf about the guns and gear of the mountain men, some men would use loads using 200 grains of powder in their Hawkens....If their older rifles with lesser-quality steel withstood such loads, one would think that modern barrels certainly would.
I learned a long time ago not to believe everything I read. However, I'm sure someone tried it at some time, and may have survived it. Perhaps the powder was a bit weaker... It's also possible that someone else tried it and didn't survive it, and if anyone recorded the event did they accurately specify the reason? So we don't know if one guy survived due to weak powder and 50 didn't but the reason was unknown.

I think your conclusion is unwarranted and frankly dangerous.

MCgunner
August 15, 2009, 01:51 PM
200 grains? :rolleyes: Frankly, I'm quite content with 90 grains charge weight behind a sabot or minie. I am ugly enough without a barrel fraggin' in my face. :rolleyes: Besides, I did try 120 grains once and all I got was more recoil and loss of accuracy.

ColdChili
August 15, 2009, 05:04 PM
Well it sounds like the best solution is to maintain the powder and switch to a different projectile. Thanks!

fyrfyter43
August 17, 2009, 09:25 AM
A round ball is an adequate projectile for the largest game on the planet. The only caveat is that you must use a large enough caliber. Elephants have been killed with an adequately-sized RB.

That said, many thousands of whitetails have been killed with a .490 round ball. In fact, many have been killed with an even smaller ball. And 80 grains is more than enough powder to drive that RB.

Penetration on a piece of lumber has nothing to do with a projectile's ability to kill a deer. A fast, lightweight bullet that passes through and imparts relatively little of its energy to the organs and tissues really isn't very effective. Even though a roundball often doesn't pass through, it imparts every bit of its energy to the organs and tissues of the animal, causing significant damage. Remember, a rifle's projectile kills by shock damage, not by causing hemorrhaging like a broadheaded arrow.

Last December, I killed a buck at 35 yards with a single .32 cal. RB, travelling at MAYBE 1100 fps. (It was a single 00 buckshot pellet out of a 12 ga. 2-3/4" shell). The pellet stopped just under the hide on the far side. The buck literally dropped in his tracks.

DrLaw
August 17, 2009, 11:26 AM
See if you can find somebody who has a Lee R.E.A.L. mold and try some of those.
Some people I have seen swear by them, others swear at them. I found them to be accurate and easy to load, using Lee Alox lube tumbled on them.

The Doc is out now. :cool:

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