best load for my rifle?


December 13, 2009, 02:46 AM
I have a CVA plainshunter muzzleloader, which I believe is very similar to a Hawken. It has 1-48 rifling and a 26" barrel. It uses a #11 cap.
What is a good load for this gun? I will be using it for hunting deer in MI.

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December 13, 2009, 05:32 AM
is that a fifty? try 60gr. 2f Goex.

December 13, 2009, 08:06 PM
For deer hunting you want to work up a powerful load that still remains accurate out beyond 60 - 70 yards or more.
For patched round balls start with 60 grains and increase the powder in 5-10 increments until you're satisfied with 50 yard accuracy.
Then move out to 70 - 75 yards to see if the load will maintain it's accuracy.
80, 90 or even 100 grains of powder is often used for a hunting powder charge if shooting patched round balls as long as the accuracy is satisfactory.

240-250 grain saboted bullets can also be tried with 80, 90 or 100 grains of powder, as can lead conical bullets like the Hornady Great Plains or the Hornady FTB:

December 13, 2009, 10:20 PM
Yes she's a fifty. I guess that may be an important detail. I've used the patched r.b. in the past with satisfactory results. my biggest problem has been with missfires and hangfires. Is Goex FFG better than Pyrodex RS? I've tried several brands of caps all with similar results. Or am I expecting too much. 1 out of 5 bad shots?

December 14, 2009, 12:48 AM
There are methods & products to decrease the rate of misfires. And there's really no reason to have that high of a rate of misfires even when using sub powders.

1. Real black powder is easier to ignite.
2. FFFg or Pyrodex P has a finer granulation and flows into the drum better.
3. Tilting the drum downward toward the ground after loading the powder and slapping the side of the rifle with your hand will help powder to flow into the drum and closer to the flash channel.
4. Cleaning out the flash channel and powder chamber in the breech helps to promote better ignition. There should be cleanout screw that can be removed to allow you to dig out some of the residue from the drum.

This is what the drum and powder chamber look like inside the breech:

5. Remove any spent cap from the nipple and put the hammer on 1/2 cock when loading powder and ramming so that the flow of escaping air can better assist the powder to flow into the drum.

6. Try the hotter magnum or plus rated percussion caps, and upgrade the nipple with a better after market model like the Red Hot or Spit Fire replacement nipples from Cabela's. That switch alone can solve many problems.

7. If that doesn't help there's conversion nipples that allow you to switch to musket caps, and other conversion units that allow the use of 209 primers and even .22 nailgun blanks.

8. Use a nipple pick to clean your nipple out and soak your nipple clean after each shooting session along with cleaning the rest of your gun.

December 14, 2009, 01:46 PM
thanks for the input. I think I will try FFFG as this should work in my 1851 navy too.
I already put in an aftermarket nipple so maybe the easier flowing powder will be just the ticket. Thanks again!

Loyalist Dave
December 15, 2009, 08:34 AM
I always found that the German caps were better than Reminton or CCI, meaning little or no ignition probs. CVA's tend to work better with conicals than sabots (imho) as projectiles, and (iirc) CVA recommends "power belt" bullets with their inlines. Now their inlines are faster twist than your rifle, so you might be able to also use T/C conicals or Buffalo Bullets (which may be also available) as T/C does a 1:48 twist on their plains style guns too. (IF you want something heavier than the round ball.)

I like 70 gr of 3Fg with my .530 round ball in my rifle, and it will go through a 100 lbs. deer at 90 yards with a profile shot.

ML guns all have personalities, and you need to try different projectiles and loads to find the optimum.


December 16, 2009, 02:17 AM

Loyalist Dave
December 16, 2009, 07:30 AM
Ja zee, der power belten werk gut! :D

That's pretty much a .45-70 load with that weight of bullet over that powder in the first group, with a tiny bit bigger hole on impact! The round ball isn't bad either.


twice barrel
December 16, 2009, 08:15 AM
Once you establish the best powder charge for a patched round ball, experiment with different patch materiels and thickness. You might be amazed at how you can really tighten your groups up.

But 1 in 48 is a fast twist for a round ball and I suggest you look into mini or maxi ball options. Always had great luck with Hornady and Thompson products. Never cared for the sabot stuff.

Have fun,


December 18, 2009, 01:37 PM
70 gr. 3F and your appropriate round ball and patch should be good.

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