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How much powder for roundball deer?

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by brewer12345, Apr 8, 2020.

  1. splattergun

    splattergun Member

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    Shot on target. A ball powered by a 70 gn load that hits where you want it to hit is far better than a 100 gn load that misses by 6 inches.
     
  2. Weflyfast

    Weflyfast Member

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    My sweet spot for accuracy is 90 grs....shot two whitetails with it...one in the head....other in the heart....plenty enough for both at 75 and 100 yrds.
    50 cal Hawken
     
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  3. brewer12345

    brewer12345 Member

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    Well, one last note. I had this rifle out with Black MZ, FFG and FFFG. It shoots well to excellent with any of these powders as long as I stick to the magic 70 grain charge.
     
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  4. Shanghai McCoy

    Shanghai McCoy Member

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    There's your answer.. :thumbup:
     
  5. arcticap

    arcticap Member

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    That's interesting since it's a GM slow twist barrel.
    I thought that slow twist barrels actually preferred more powder.
    I've also heard many people describe how their gun can have more than one sweet spot, such as with a target load and a hunting load.
    But a person would need to experiment with higher charges in order to see if that holds true for their gun.
    I suppose that the patch and ball and lube selection could also affect that too.
    Did you experiment with the higher charges?
    IMO the first shot out of cold clean barrel will show more about its hunting accuracy than the group size will after the barrel gets warmed up and fouled.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2020
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  6. brewer12345

    brewer12345 Member

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    I went up to 90 grains with generally poor results.
     
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  7. WestKentucky

    WestKentucky Member

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    My .45 does good with accuracy until it gets to somewhere around 85 gr. I can’t really tell a difference though between 80 and 85, and 77.5 gr volumetric measure is what gets me the best accuracy, so that’s what I use. I would expect a 50 to be a bit more, falling apart around 100gr and I would shoot in the 90 range. 54 likely 120 or so and I would shoot in the 105 range. That’s unpatched soft round ball. It does a lot better in my gun than anything patched has ever considered.
     
  8. brewer12345

    brewer12345 Member

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    I could conceivably put an overpowder wad in and try higher charges. Not sure I will bother as 70 grains should do the trick to 75 yards and more than likely I will end up hunting with the 58 and the 50 will just be a target gun for kicks.
     
  9. arcticap

    arcticap Member

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    Not trying to change your mind or anything like that since you're doing the shooting.
    For me, sometimes a gun's load preferences can change with the weather.
    Really cold hunting season weather vs. mild, warm or extremely hot months at the range.
     
  10. woodnbow
    • Contributing Member

    woodnbow Contributing Member

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    I have a Hoyt barreled .54 with a 1 in 60 twist that likes 110 grains of Swiss 2f, and really likes 80 grains of Swiss. Both of those loads, from that rifle, have killed a few cow elk. One shot kills under 70 yards or so. Round balls don’t usually kill like a thunderbolt from a high velocity .30 caliber but they are very effective if placed properly.
     
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  11. Gordon
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    Gordon Contributing Member

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    I hunt with a .50 Lyman Deer Stalker with a short 25" barrel and use 70 grains of 3x Swiss with a lubricated felt over powder wad . Chronographed it one time a few years back and got almost 1600 FPS at 20 feet from muzzle. In the small coastal deer here that weigh at most 175 pounds for a bigun the ball has all passed thru leaving a quarter sized hole . I also carry with me a Lyman .50 Plains Pistol which I chronographed the same day with the same ball and wad but with the 55 grain maximum charge I use in it which prints to the sights at 25 yards and got 850 FPS at 20 feet . I use that gun as a "finisher" incase the first shot doesn't do the job completely. At close range the ball still goes thru but with a 1/2" exit hole. I would Imagine my longer 32" barreled Hawken might hit 1700 FPS with the 70 grain charge.
    I think the 70 grain .50 charge in a rifle is a good deer charge and other ML hunters in the area (and a warden) agree , out to 100 yards or a touch further with a good lethal hit. The pistol probably could hunt to 30 yards or so. If I was going after bigger deer or elk then a .54 or bigger and alot more powder would certainly make me happier!
    Oh and I have shot more pigs than deer with those MLers , I never shot one over 70 yards but it worked fine at that range , seemed like a .44 magnum hit to me in reaction like the years spent hunting with a .44 Magnum Ruger super blackhawk over dogs .
     
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  12. rodwha

    rodwha Member

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    I’m surprised your velocity was that low with Swiss. Using T7’s numbers but using Olde E (typically I see Olde E and Swiss giving slightly higher numbers) I figured I was likely in the park of 1825 FPS with my Deerstalker. Guess I need a chronograph...
     
  13. Gordon
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    Gordon Contributing Member

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    Make sure you set the chrongraph back a ways. 20 foot was the minimum mine would work with the side breeze taking the cloud away from the screen.
     
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  14. stephen cockerham

    stephen cockerham Member

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    out of my t/c 50 cal hawken i use 95 or 100 grains of tripple 7 ffg
     
  15. skeeterfogger

    skeeterfogger Member

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    Placement more important than charge.
     
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  16. stephen cockerham

    stephen cockerham Member

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    I just got nice trajectory and range with that load with 50cal ball ammo nice and flat
     
  17. dave951

    dave951 Member

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    With 3f and PRB and your twist, I'd say you'll find best accuracy between 50-90gr. Once you find that point, the velocity gains fall off quickly. The PRB has a horrible ballistic coefficient so it sheds velocity quickly so keep the shots to about 100yd or less. Once you have your best accuracy established, practice. Learn your gun and you'll be fine even if that load is "only 65gr". A shooter who can hit his target with a "lesser" gun is far more successful that one with a much more "powerful" gun who can't hit a barn from inside the horse stall.
     
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  18. Jackrabbit1957

    Jackrabbit1957 Member

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    As skeeterfogger and dave951 said. Work up your accuracy load by starting off at 50 grains powder, shoot a 3 shot group, go up 5 grains, repeat 3 shot group, go up 5 grains...etc until you get the tightest 3 shot group. This is your accuracy load, continue going up until the group starts to open up. This your max accuracy load. I stick to my accuracy load of 65 grains and don't change from there, I have 3 50 cal rifles that dial in at 65 grains, one being a double rifle which the left barrel likes 70 grains, the right wants 65.
     
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  19. AJumbo

    AJumbo Member

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    I have been accused of being a recoil junkie. My process has always been to keep increasing the powder charge until either the accuracy falls off or the patch shreds, then back off by 5 gr increments until the problem goes away. That said, my .54 round ball charge is 115 gr of Goex or Swiss FFg, or the same volume of RS Pyrodex. I haven't done any RB load development with Triple 7, but I'm currently using 85 grains of it under a Hornady Great Plains bullet. That load sailed through my last elk, broadside at 35 yards, which figures; I beat my shoulder black and blue practicing at 100.

    For a stock .50 TC barrel, I'll bet you end up in the happy zone at around 90 grains, more or less. More. I suggest more. See first sentence.
     
  20. B-Sharp

    B-Sharp Member

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    What size ball, and how thick a patch are you using?
     
  21. stephen cockerham

    stephen cockerham Member

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    cotton t-shirt patch material .490 ball 90-100 grain powder load works fairly good but I will try dropping it down and see how it works
     
  22. entropy

    entropy Member

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    I used 83 grains of Pyrodex 'P' with round ball, but never took a deer with it. I used the same amount under a 385 Gr. Buffalo Bullets HBHP to get a doe at 125 yards.
     
  23. Jackrabbit1957

    Jackrabbit1957 Member

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    My favorite patch material is .018 canvas duck from Wally World. It takes a good whack with a short starter to get the ball into the barrel but it's worth it for the accuracy.
     
  24. Pistolero_Libre

    Pistolero_Libre Member

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    I use a cheap Spanish-made .50 Hawken rifle, think it might have been marketed by Traditions. It is deadly accurate with a .490 ball and ticking patch over 70gr FFg Goex. Groups tightened slightly by going to FFFg. Results on deer are uniform and as described by others. Flat slab of lead found inside the skin on the opposite shoulder. I've bumped the loads to 90 grains without any real change in terminal ballistics so I settle back to the pleasant-to-shoot 70 grain load.
     
  25. brewer12345

    brewer12345 Member

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    I got my hands on some olde eynesford 1.5f and tried it with this rifle. 90 grains was extremely accurate and surprisingly clean. Haven't decided which gun to hunt with, but if it is this one I will use this load. For punching paper, I have no reason to stray from 70 grains
     
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