Cost to shoot a 50cal?


August 14, 2009, 07:04 PM
Looking to buy a 50cal muzzleloader. Not sure of the brand at this time. I am curious of the cost per shot. I know bullet price and powder can vary but what are you all paying per round? Thanks.

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August 14, 2009, 07:43 PM
What type of muzzleloader? There's a big difference between in*&^es shooting pyrodex pellets and powerbelts and a traditional sidelock shooting the Holy Black and PRB.

August 14, 2009, 08:18 PM
Looking at the CVA. Wal-Mart had a few model that range from 120-300. I am pretty sure the lowest price CVA would take powder or pellets.

August 14, 2009, 08:20 PM
You are asking a very broad question.

Powder: REal BP for me is about $14.00 a pound. Pyrodex and other subs run roughly $20./lb. .

Cast my own balls mainly with lead roughly.85 per pound but a Box of 50 Caliber, with 100 per box, round ball runs roughly $8.-$10. Patches per 100 about $5.
Sabots, Power Belts, Buffalo bullets with usually 15-20 per box run about $10-12.


209 primers run about $6. per 100.

#11 caps run about $7. per 100. Musket caps about the same.

Too many variables to give you a per shot cost. Depends on what combination you settle on.

August 14, 2009, 09:28 PM
Can I use wheel weight lead to cast or is it to hard? That would cut cost down. I did not know I could shot round lead balls out of the ML. Thanks for the info.

August 14, 2009, 10:24 PM
70 gr Goex @ 100/ lb = .20 (Goex is $ 20 / lb delivered to my door - hazmat fees)

2.00 / lb for lead. = 40 175 balls = .05 ea. - (less for cast wheel weights more for store bougnt bullets $10 / 100 for Hornady)

CCI #11 caps are $5 / 100 = .05

I cut patches from pillow tacking or old T-shirts.

A can of Crisco or home made greeze is not much.

So I would guess if you cast your own balls or conicals and cut your own patches, grease the patches with homemade stuff and hold down the load

as little as .25 to .35 per shot.

If you buy everything .45 - .60.

If you burn high dollar bullets and powder 1.25 -2.00 per shot.

I shoot a .32 (equal power to a .22 Mag) for under .20 per shot.
I shoot a .54 flintlock (90 gr Goex @ 225 PB) under .30 per shot.

I hope that helps.



August 14, 2009, 10:30 PM
I think the cheapest way to shoot (looking purely at per-shot costs, not including the gun and equipment) ML rifle would be a Savage ML10 and full-caliber hard-cast bullets.

Smokeless costs the same as or a little more than black, but you use about 1/3 the amount. Casting your own bullets from wheel weights or somesuch (hardness would actually be a plus here, would keep barrel leading down), using something like a Lee R.E.A.L. mold.

August 14, 2009, 10:34 PM
Yes, you can shoot RB out of ML. That is what they started with 100's of years ago. It was only in the 1800's that conicals became standard.

You can use wheel weights but it is not preferred or desirable. It is too hard as a rule. It is usable though if you have to. You can buy 100 rounds for $8-$10 at any gunshop or dealer. By the time you acquire the mould and cast them, it is not worth the effort. I shoot minie balls which require pure lead. The accuracy is better over longer distances than RB and for competition.

Before you get too far along, I suggest you study up a bit before buying. At the head of the forum here you see a topic called Black Powder essentials. At the very least, view and listen to all of those videos. I also suggest you go to a local gun range and ask to talk to those that shoot BP. There will not likely be many, but it is worth the effort to find them, particularly, those that tend to shoot traditional BP rather than the modern stuff. They tend to be a little more willing and patient to introduce new shooters to their past time.

There are several genre to BP shooting. Match lock, wheellock, flintlock, Colonial/Revolutionary War, Mountain Man, and Civil War. Western era is also a BP era but that was mainly a cartridge era, which most BP shooters consider "Modern".

You might also want to go to this web site:

It will set you up with folks that shoot the Civil War Era BP guns. They are very willing to help new shooters.

poco loco
August 15, 2009, 02:16 AM
I've read some pretty scary stuff about their safety lately.

August 15, 2009, 07:25 AM
Thanks everyone for all the great information.

August 15, 2009, 11:41 AM
You won't be shooting RB out of any modern CVA from Wal-mart. The ROT is simply too fast. You'll need to shoot some type of conicals or sabots. Both are much more expensive than RB.

A patched RB is plenty accurate out past 100 yards, and is more than adequate for deer-sized game in .50 caliber and up. Larger calibers (.54 and up) are capable of bringing down elk-sized game and bigger.

As far as cost, I can cast 31 .530 RB with one lb of lead. The last lead I bought from Rotometals (99.99% pure) ran me $1.70 per lb, shipped to my door. That's 5.5 cents per ball. My .530 mould, pot and ladle cost me about $60. They paid for themselves within a couple of months with what I saved over buying commercial swaged or cast ball. Plus the balls I cast are much more consistent than the swaged balls available from Speer or Hornady. I also cast for my flintlock pistol and my Uberti 1860 Army, but each mould is only about $20 from Lee Precision. Once I get going, I can cast between 100-200 balls per hour (depending on size), so the time spent is minimal compared to the potential savings.

I would highly recommend dropping a bit more cash initially and getting a Lyman GPR or one of T/Cs more traditional sidelocks. Cap or flint is up to you. I think you would find a more traditional gun is much more fun to shoot, and is much cheaper per shot. You'll also be more inclined to get into other facets of muzzleloading, such as casting your own RB and even crafting alot of your own equipment, such as powderhorns, bags, etc. To me, these other hobbies are a big part of the fun of shooting muzzleloaders. I enjoy shooting blackpowder so much that I no longer own a single suppository gun.

August 15, 2009, 12:06 PM
It is a lot of fun. As for cva. They have had a bad rap as long as i can remember. I just turned 40. & i built my first Kentucky From a CVA kit that dad bought me for XMAS about 1991. Yes it was as cheap as they come. BUT. i shot it for years. Had to have several 1000 threw it. I traded it for a Ruger single 6 Plus a little cash. It was a great rifle.For a starter. As for the new modern black rifles. The bullets or saboes Are up to $20 for about 25 of them. In Omaha. I never thought my 45 acp would be cheaper to shoot. Go old school. Buy a raccoon hat & go have fun fun fun fun!!!!!

August 15, 2009, 01:42 PM
Muzzle loaders are cheap, especially if you cast. .50 cal BMG round, not so much. :D

Mine came from Cabelas, a Hawken Hunter Carbine. It ain't patched ball friendly, likes heavy conical's/minies and sabot .44s. I have a 360 grain minie mold for it. It's a hoot. :D I got mine for just under 200, 15 years or so ago. They're up in the 300s now days, have gone up like everything else. The carbine has 1:24, not for round ball, but great for hunting bullets and minies, what I wanted it for in the first place.

August 16, 2009, 05:40 AM
It's was once said about yachts " if one asks, How much does it cost? then its likely you can't afford it.

August 16, 2009, 09:01 AM
I have heard that saying before, but unfortunately with the price of components I have to. I am not poor but also not rich. I call myself frugal. If I did not reload I could not afford to shoot. So, with that said I have to ask "how much does it cost to shoot". So if you don't have anything useful to add to this discussion don't bother.

August 17, 2009, 05:27 AM
No insult was meant, just a small jest, that was lacking on my part, please do forgive.

Das Jaeger
August 17, 2009, 07:48 AM
people around here . :banghead:
Life aint that serious , get over yourselves , I have already :neener:

In a nutshell I pay about $20 for a can of powder , another $14 for balls , $5 for patches .
There are too many variables on the powder to accurately inform you of cost per shot really ?
Its cheap , hows that :D


August 17, 2009, 08:58 AM
Let's put it this way, in the amount of time it takes to empty a box of .22 LR through a 10/22, you might have gotten five shots off at practice with a muzzleloader.

Why? Because you are not going for speed with a front-stuffer. You are going for accuracy, and part of that accuracy comes from doing some cleaning between shots.

Am I an expert on this? No, but I stayed once at a motel approximating a Holiday Inn Express. :neener:

Nah, I shoot a lot, and sometimes with smoke pole shooters, and I watch them as I blaze away with my milsurps. They are meticulous on the way they prepare.

As to that post with the warning about CVA, ignore it. Wakeman's claims are NOT what they are cracked up to be. :fire:

As somebody else here said, the rate of twist of the guns you are looking at means that you will have to use conical balls, such as a powerbelt or saboted rounds as opposed to a round ball with patch.

By the way, I'm frugal, too. No harm in that. Muzzleloading is a fun aspect of our sport of shooting. I have several B/P revolvers, two derringers, and now, a .54 Jaeger.

Your initial investment, once you learn all about it, should bring you years of fun and enjoyment. Oh yes, you have to clean it, too. Like I say, learn about this. It's not just the cash, it's protecting the investment as B/P is a rust producer par excellance.

Have fun! :D

The Doc is out now. :cool:

August 17, 2009, 09:01 AM
Sure is some uptight
people around here .
Life aint that serious , get over yourselves , I have already

After seeing your photo, I can understand why you would have to get over yourself. Sheesh!!! :neener::evil::D

Ah, couldn't resist. Fine Spiller & Burr photos, by the way.

The Doc is out now. :cool:

PS, Yeah, I know I am living in that glass house throwing stones, no delusions here, just illusions, there IS a difference! :rolleyes:

August 17, 2009, 09:27 AM
Thompson Center guns are made by a company that has learned over the years how to make a safe, reliable gun. They actually magnetic particle inspect their barrels for cracks, and understand the concept of stack-up tolerances.

I speak as one who wss expert witness (metallurgy) for the plaintiff in a suit against T/C in the '80's.

Long run, or if something goes south (no offence, Sons of Confederacy) you might not end up happy using the cheapest gun you can buy.

Experience is vital in gunmaking. I should say, Learning from Experience is vital. T/C has it.

(me, I mostly shoot & prefer the metallurgy of Pedersoli but have a T/C Black Diamond in-line just to see what they are like, and am considering a Hawken to decorate w tacks & otherwise mess up)

August 17, 2009, 10:34 AM
You can easily pay over a dollar per shot with primers, fancy pellets and factory whoopdedoo bullets.

In 1990, I purchased 25 pounds of bulk powder for $3.00 a pound. I keep a look out for lead. In 1984, I purchased 1,500 pounds of telephone cable shielding for around $50.00. Buddy that owns a black powder shop let me in on a large purchase of percussion caps back around 1990. I still have around 3,000 RWS caps, that cost $4.00 per thousand then. I purchased a box of 15,000 patches from Numrich Arms back around 1981 for around $10. My 45 caliber target barrel and load, 50 gr of ffg and a patched round ball. Costs around 4 cents each excluding my time.

Last year, I purchased over 200 pounds of lead pipe at a yard sale for $4.00. Figure after slag is skimmed off, I'll have at least 190 one pound ingots, to sell for $1.00 a piece at the muzzleloader matches. 190 minus 4 not a bad profit.

Now if you really want to see cheap. I shoot a 32 caliber target pistol. 7grains of FFG, a perc cap and balls I mold myself. costs around 1 cent per shot. (1,000 shots to the pound of powder) Even at todays prices it would only be around 10 cents per shot.

Das Jaeger
August 17, 2009, 12:05 PM
That was a good one :D ! Three cheers for the Doctor ! :D
Maybe your house is full of mirrors and not sheet glass that your throwin stones into is your point , hmmm :) That could really hurt if one hits you you know .

Well , hopefully 357 can find what he is looking for and do enough research and still not be scared away Dr. Law :D He's got some great advice and facts to go on now, and none of it was mine :D Of course I specialize in BABBLE and DRIBBLE only . What do I know, I have never shot a gun in my life . :)


August 17, 2009, 01:19 PM
An Illusion is a dream that has gone to extremes. A delusion is fostered by a poor mental state. Like I said, no delusions here. :rolleyes:

As far as not shooting and babbling, well, I will agree on the babbling (just kidding) but you are a bad liar when it comes to not shooting. Why, you just posted those Spiller & Burr pics here. :neener:

I agree. 357Mag357 will have some good info after he reads and learns. He might even become .45Mag45 or even .50Mag50 after a while doing BP shooting. :evil:

The Doc is out now. :cool:

August 17, 2009, 03:11 PM
Saboted bullets alone can run run anywhere from .40 cents each to over $1 each depending on if one is shooting lead bullets or premium hunting bullets.

Even if one buys bullets and sabots in bulk, it will still basically cost the same as buying the cheapest TC sabots and lead bullets which are called Cheap Shots.

Depending on how much powder is fired per round, at $15 - $20 per pound of powder, a 100 grain load will cost .21 - .28 cents per round. That's 70 loads of 100 grains of powder.

Shooting an inline & adding in another nickel for a primer, then that totals about a minimum of .70 - .80 cents per shot without any other costs involved for cleaning supplies, accessories and maintenance items. And that cost could be doubled if shooting premium bullets and if needing to pay more for shipping.

Those costs can be reduced some by shooting patched round balls, but probably not by much if shooting lead conical bullets unless they are cast at home. And it takes a fair amount of shooting just to make up for buying the mold, lead and any other related casting equipment.

If shooting patched factory round balls with reduced powder loads, it would still cost about .35 cents per round at a minimum.

.10 cents per ball
.13 -.20 cents per powder load
.05 cents per lubed patch
.05 cents per primer

So the average minimum price to shoot a .50 muzzle loading rifle would be either .35 or .70 cents per round depending on whether one is shooting sabots, conicals or patched round balls.

August 18, 2009, 11:04 PM
I have an inexpensive inline .50 cal CVA rifle. I bought it used, shipped to my door for $100. All I bought it for was to have a BP toy. I don't think I will hunt with it, but I could if I felt like it.

The rest of the BP accessories required (measure, cleaning stuff, etc. can easily cost $30to $75 for the whole pile of it.

I shoot store bought patched round ball with reduced loads of Pyrodex. Its great fun. No recoil. Huge smoke clouds. Easy to see the holes in the targets. Decent accuracy too.

What's not to like?

August 19, 2009, 10:08 PM
Thanks again for all of the great info. I will be buying my first ML in the near future.

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