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Old August 31, 2014, 11:48 AM   #1
TascoFeldman
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Join Date: March 19, 2009
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New bp shooter

I've recently acquired a 50 cal CVA Hawkins rifle and need some help. It came with some balls, patches and some caps. What's the best powder, how much and how do you measure? Can saboted bullets be used or only balls. The local gander mountain only caters to the in lines so where is the best source of the items I need to enjoy the experience. Also it is missing the barrel wedge so I need to find one of those as well. Thanks for y'all's help!!
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Old August 31, 2014, 12:37 PM   #2
g.willikers
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The type of projectile is determined by the twist rate of the barrel.
Slower twist for round ball and faster twist for bullets.
For measuring the powder, you need a genuine measure; it looks like a tube with an attached funnel, and has an adjustable slide in the bottom.
As for the amount of powder and the type, that will probably require some testing.
I prefer Hodgdon 777, for the cleanliness and lack of sulfur stink.
Lots of folks like Hodgdon Pyrodex.
Actual Black Powder has shipping restrictions and might be hard to find.
To find places that sell bp supplies, just do a web search, there's plenty of them.
Other folks should be along to add their recommendations.
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Old August 31, 2014, 12:39 PM   #3
rodwha
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The best powder is that which gives the best groupings I'd say, though it could also be that cost has something to do with it as well. That's something you'll need to figure out as every rifle is different.

I'd suggest using 3F to begin with as it's generally said to be a little bit cleaner, and a slightly lighter powder charge to get the same velocity as 2F, though some have found 2F to be more accurate in their rifle.

Can you talk to the person who sold it to you to see what they've tried and experienced?

You'd need to know the twist rate to know if it's a ball only type rifle. You can fit a tight patch on it and run it all the way down. Put a piece of tape around the ramrod making a flag out of the end to designate where it is, and point it towards the front sight. Pull it out until it rotates 180* and points away from the sight. Measure the distance and multiply by 2 and that's the twist. A ball only rifling will be something like 1 turn in 60-77" or so. The "compromise" twist is usually about 1:48, and a fast twist meant for bullets and long conicals is often between 1:18-32".

If you have a slow twist barrel it might do OK with the 250 grn Lee REAL conicals. I'm not sure if there are any other short conicals. You'd have to see if it would shoot lighter weight short bullets, but if it's a RB barrel the grooves will likely be deeper, and you'd probably need a felt wad to help seal the bore. I have to do that to shoot the REALs from my deep groove rifle.
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Old August 31, 2014, 12:41 PM   #4
rodwha
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You can look at Grafs, Dixie Gun Works, Track of The Wolf and many others.
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Old August 31, 2014, 07:54 PM   #5
TascoFeldman
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Can't ask the previous owner so I'm having to do this on my own. A friend loaned me a pistol flask with some powder in it but he doesn't know what it is. It belonged to his deceased father. Dropped three tubes of powder in and was able to hit an 8" plate @ 50 yds with regularity till I ran out of balls and powder. Enjoyed myself even though it was a seat of the pants kind of experience. Just glad it didn't grenade on me. I just want to learn how to do this safely. Also, how do you clean this thing.
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Old September 1, 2014, 12:51 AM   #6
BullSlinger
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For cleaning the bathtub is your friend. Drop the barrel in after removing from stock add dish soap and hot water, scrub and dry. Oil with bp lube or olive/vegetable oil.
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Old September 1, 2014, 03:04 AM   #7
BHP FAN
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pull the wedge on the barrel, and lift the barrel UP, as though it were hinged. this'll get the barrel out. take the barrel and a tea pot of hot water out on the back porch. pour the water down the bore. the barrel will be hot so hold it with a rag, or paper towels. you'll need those anyway to clean off the outside of the barrel, and wipe down the lock and hammer. pump a rod with the right size brush up and down in the barrel to move the water around in there, then switch to dry patches. when the patches come out dry, spray WD 40 lightly on a bit of rag, then pump that up and down in the bore to prevent rust. Do NOT spray WD 40 down in the barrel, this'll make it mis fire when next you take it out. Check it with another dry patch in about a week, to make sure no rust has formed. if it has, use another lightly sprayed WD 40 patch. other folks will tell you petroleum distillates can't be used with black powder, as a lubricant. well, they're right. makes really nasty fouling if you can even get the thing to fire. THAT'S why we only lightly sprayed the patch. We're only preventing rust here, not using WD 40 for lube. lightly rub down your hammer and lock work and other metal with the WD 40 and put it away, checking on it periodically for rust. As you get more ''into'' black powder you'll pick up special ''black powder'' solvents, and tools, but this will get your rifle clean and properly stored, in the meantime with tools and chemicals you likly have on hand, now.
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Old September 1, 2014, 10:30 AM   #8
rodwha
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I use a small tub to do my cleaning, and use dish soap (Dawn). I've used just warm water, and as hot as it'll come out of the spigot. I'm not sure the temp matters that much, and some just use water with no soap.

I pull the nipple out, remove the barrel from the stock, and use a cleaning patch with the cleaning jag to pump up and down inside the barrel which will create a suction and draw the water up the barrel.

I've used WD-40 in the past, but now use Ballistol after I'm done. It's not the best rust preventative, but it will mix with the water, and once the water evaporates it will leave the oil behind to protect the barrel for some time. I go back and run another patch with Ballistol the next day to check it, and then again several months later to reoil it.

You may want to contact DD4lifeusmc as he casts up projectiles and sells them for a very reasonable price. He also sells plenty of accessories too. I've bought from him several times, from a holster, belt, and pouch, to projectiles, to cleaning accessories, and parts. He does what he can to come in under what the big boys charge.
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Old September 1, 2014, 11:09 AM   #9
J-Bar
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Get one of Sam Fadala's books, he gives excellent information on all aspects of black powder shooting. Amazon has some, but you can find something in a used bookstore or Barnes and Noble or Hastings.

Examples of titles:

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_no...eywords=fadala
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Old September 2, 2014, 07:02 PM   #10
mykeal
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Quote:
A friend loaned me a pistol flask with some powder in it but he doesn't know what it is.
You got away with it once, but don't ever, ever use an unknown powder in a black powder gun again. IF that had been modern smokeless powder the gun very well could, and very well likely WOULD, have 'grenaded'.

If anyone ever gives you some unknown powder again, say thanks very much and then use it as a topical fertilizer in your flower garden.
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Old September 2, 2014, 07:19 PM   #11
Flatbush Harry
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+1 to what Mykeal has posted. The same is true when using unidentified smokeless powder &/or unknown hand loads in modern guns. I have heard folks try to identify smokeless by appearance or say they got some hand loads with a gun from a previous owner.

If I don't take powder from a can I originally opened after purchasing it from a known retailer or hand loaded the ammo myself, I don't use it.

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