Is that all it takes?

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by BCRider, Feb 19, 2017.

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  1. BCRider

    BCRider Member

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    So after something like two years of hauling my two flintlocks out to the club black powder trial days and shooting at gongs out to the side of the trail against the hillside and not having a good idea of where they were hitting I FINALLY took a day to shoot them at paper and get a handle on what charge they like with the ball sizes and patches I've got.

    One is a Lyman GPR in .50Cal. The other is an older custom gun with carved details and silver wire inlay that a local builder made to be his own gun. Sadly that was way back and he's no longer with us.

    So I start with 30 grains and move up in 5 grain steps. Shooting off a rest block at 25 yards so my eyesight and shaky arms are not much of an issue.

    Both of these shot really neat tidy three shot groups of less than 1 inch with 30 grains. And going up from there to 45 the groups opened out progressively worse. I went down to 25 grains with the nice custom gun. And the two shots I took were touching each other like a figure 8. But that amount felt like I was spitting the ball instead of shooting. There HAS to be limits you know... :D

    So what in heck is going on? I'm happy as a clam in butter to find that I've found a frugal charge that provides good groups. But how in blazes would either of these ever be used for hunting? Is it common for the accuracy to open up at first and then close down? Like if I'd kept going up to 55 to 70 grains that I'd be back to having a tack driver?

    Meanwhile the sweet spot for my cap lock underhammer turned out to be a pinch over 60 grains. Should I have kept going with the two flint locks up to that amount?

    Looking foward to reading what others found that have done this stair step testing and gone further than what I did today.
     
  2. Panzerschwein

    Panzerschwein member

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    I'd only go up and see. You should have a 1-60" round ball twist rate for your GPR so heavier charges might work well. I recall some people have said they had good groups with larger charges in the GPR. I have a GPR flint in .54 cal that I shot this weekend:

    [​IMG]

    This was my first time shooting a flintlock and right now I'm just working on consistent ignition.
     
  3. BCRider

    BCRider Member

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    I wish I'd thought to try a higher charge to see what happens. But I was there for quite a while and although it started out mild and sunny it got cold pretty fast as the afternoon moved along.

    I found that my own GPR likes a fair bit more pan charge than I need with that custom rifle. With the small push nozzle horn dropping little puddles of 4f I found that I needed two pushes worth in the GPR compared to just one with the Al Brown rifle to avoid just getting flashes in the pan failures.

    When I looked into it earlier I'm pretty sure I found that the Lyman's share a 1:48 twist rate so they are decent with either patched round ball or with sabot bullets.

    Which reminds me that I bought a pack of sabot bullets a while back for something totally unrelated. I should try them out in my own GPR for giggles.

    The other thing that the other flint shooters put me onto is having a touch hole wire. I tied a leather lanyard to the trigger guard with a wire on the end so it's always there.

    If you find it eats flints like a kid going through sweet breakfast cereal remember that post on your other thread that I did about slightly reshaping the point on the frizzen. Other than that enjoy!
     
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  4. Crawdad1

    Crawdad1 Member

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    That's pretty much a useless hunting load in a 50 caliber. You might have a lot of work in front of you. Differing round ball and patch thickness combinations could be effecting its accuracy as much as the powder charge. I wish there was an easy solution or formula one can fall back on but the problem is every rifle is an individual and there isn't two on this planet that are the same.

    I tried all sorts of powder charges, different caliber round balls, with differing patch thickness combinations in my rife and found out that my rifle like them but what it didn't like was a lot of grease on the patch. It loved a relatively dry patch. Stumbled on that by accident.

    Not much help I know but, Good luck.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2017
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  5. Crawdad1

    Crawdad1 Member

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    Great looking Lyman Cooldill!!! :thumbup:
     
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  6. BCRider

    BCRider Member

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    I appreciate that. I only did try the one ball size and patch to go with it. A .495 and the prelubed CVA .015 patches to go with them. It was a snug fit getting things started.

    On my other custom rifle the .440's with soft cleaning patches and Moose Milk were very easy to ram home. Yet both produced similar accuracy groups with the light charge.

    I should point out that I'm only a sport shooter. No muzzle loader hunting in mind. If I have any concern it's about reaching the longer targets without excessive drop.
     
  7. Crawdad1

    Crawdad1 Member

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    I should have said BC in my post is that your light load is pretty useless for a hunting load for some specific types of hunting. :)

    Sounds like a winner target load however.
     
  8. Armored farmer

    Armored farmer Member

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    My .45 shoots good with 50gr 3f, .440 ball, .015 pocket drill patch, mink oil lube. I'm not saying that yours will, just that you have plenty of room on the upside of 30gr loads. Many of our paper matches at local clubs are shot at 50yds. Your 30 gr load may run out of gas at 50yds but I doubt it. I don't know of anyone shooting a 30 gr load, but if your shots are touching holes consistently......rejoice, that's awesome. Don't mess with success.!
    I will try some light loads in my rifle, I don't think that I have shot less than 40gr in mine.
     
  9. Armored farmer

    Armored farmer Member

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    Look around for your spent patches on the custom rifle. Make sure your soft cleaning patches aren't blowing up with the heavier loads, that might be why your groups opened up.
    Try some of the cva prelubes in the custom rifle with heavier charges. You might trim them a bit.
     
  10. BCRider

    BCRider Member

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    They would be too thin for the .45. But I hear what you are saying. I'll make it a point to take my flashlight along and find some of each tomorrow evening. I've got some old bed linens I can cut up and try for patching.

    Clearly this process is only just starting. I've got ONE solution which I can use in a pinch. But I've got a few other things to try now thanks to you folks.
     
  11. Stony

    Stony Member

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    That should be a 1:60 twist, which is pretty much designed for RB's. If it were me, I would be using some tougher patch material, like pillow ticking. I've owned one of those before and a 490 ball with pillow ticking worked well out of it. I generally shot 60 grains out of it for targets out to 50 yds, and 90 as a hunting load. They are all individuals, you might find something better for yours. Some experimenting with lube might also be beneficial as some wetter lubes for target use can be a factor in getting consistent results for long shot strings without major cleaning along the way.
     
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  12. Armored farmer

    Armored farmer Member

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    I used to make patches from old shirts, and all kinds of material.
    I had some very serious competitive shooters convince me to take my calipers to Joanna fabric shop and buy a couple yards of pocket drill (heavy cotton material to make pockets). I brought it home and washed it 2x. Now I have plenty of tough patch material that is consistent, and much cheaper than 'store bought'.
     
  13. Dog Soldier

    Dog Soldier member

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    You must consider the combustion factors of the flint lock. The "Rock Rifle" depending on the flash hole or vent liner can lose 10% to 20% more or less of its energy. The gas is jetted out the flash port.
    Try running the same load used in your flint lock through a closed percussion rifle. You will see a difference. In order to attain the same ballistics in your flint you must add additional powder. For example a percussion load may be 100 grs. It may take 110 grs in your flint lock to achieve the same ballistics.
    I expect your 35 grs load is actually around 30 grs in that rifle.:)
     
  14. Dog Soldier

    Dog Soldier member

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    Very good post. I buy the cotton drill at Walmart. The perfect seal and firewall are the key to an accurate load. I prefer the Hoppe's black powder solvent as a patch lube. It can keep your rifle running all day.:thumbup:
     
  15. Patocazador

    Patocazador Member

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    There's a formula that is supposed to give the most efficient load for for burning the powder during a shot. For hunting purposes I always start with that calculated load from the formula and work up or down from there until I get an accurate hunting load.
    The formula is: pi (3.1416) x radius squared x length of barrel x 11.5 = grains of powder
    If this formula were applied to a .50 cal. barrel that is 36" long, it would be: 3.1416 x 0.25 x 0.25 x 36 x 11.5 = 81.28 grains of powder.

    This is NOT the most accurate load, it is just the amount of powder that will be efficiently burned in a barrel that size. Target shooting with steps up and/or down from this number should give an accurate load for hunting.
     
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  16. Panzerschwein

    Panzerschwein member

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    Thanks! I just got done rubbing some oil into the stock and it really brought out the grain. This is my first flintlock rifle, actually first BP rifle ever, and it is fun leaning how to run a rock lock!
     
  17. Panzerschwein

    Panzerschwein member

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    Yep I looked it up and it does appear the .50 cal GPR has a 1-60" twist as do the .54s that I have. This was one factor in me choosing the GPR over some other brands like Pedersoli as most of the less expensive traditional rifles come with 1:48" twist or even faster. I'm a "roundballman" as it were, and from my research it appears the slower twist is most ideal.
     
  18. BCRider

    BCRider Member

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    I've seen the "red spots" that are associated with the ideal charge on a few occasions. Seems to almost come and go with the weather as well as the charge amount.

    I know that different patches can really affect how the guns shoot. I've seen that myself. And from the posts here and in thinking about it more myself I will need to try a few other materials and thicknesses to nail it down.

    I'm not worried about hunting since I'm purely a sport shooter. So if 30 grains is able to get a reasonable muzzle velocity to hit the more distant targets that's really all I'm concerned about.

    What surprised me and prompted this thread was how BOTH guns with patch and ball fits that are so wildly different with one being quite loose and the other quite firm were both printing such tidy small groups with minimal "starting loads" and how both opened up rapidly with rising charge weights.

    If it turns out that there's another sweet spot for accuracy up around 50 to 80 grains I'd like to know about it. But if I can get the velocity I need to reach the longer distances from the 30 grain charges I'll be fine with that. It'll save me powder.
     
  19. zimmerstutzen

    zimmerstutzen Member

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    It was once said that every gun has a single magic charge patch ball combination. I say that is crap. A gun may have several sweet loads that depend on powder, type of patch and ball diameter. There are those who say most guns have two sweet loads, one for target with modest powder and then a hunter load. Seems you may have found once of those. Could be you need a thicker patch, or a thinner patch. Or maybe a flannel patch. I had guns that shot great with cotton flannel patches. No need for those tight weave drill patches if other patching works. You probably just need to try other combinations. It is necessary to seal the bore against blow by, but a load should not be so tight that you bruise your hand starting the ball. If the grooves are deep, flannel may help make the patch ball combo. deep rifling with a tight drill patch often causes tough starting because the ball needs to be swaged into the rifling.
     
  20. desidog

    desidog Member

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    I'm a user of old boxer shorts as my patch. Bacon grease is also a good lube... and a good excuse to make bacon!

    In my GPR 50 rock lock, I do 4 throws from a 22 grain spout; but for my H+A 45 under-hammer, I do 3 throws from the same spout for best accuracy.

    30 grains seems very anemic. IIRC, my GPP has a sub chamber and I managed to pooch it by loading 15 grains into it; with ball fully rammed, there was still too much air to ignite pyrodex. I had to buy a ball puller for that one.
     
  21. Armored farmer

    Armored farmer Member

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    Yes sir, I use that too. I'm out of mink oil right now.
     
  22. Dog Soldier

    Dog Soldier member

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    Out of Mink oil? That is to bad. Your minks will start "Squeaking".:D
     
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  23. Armored farmer

    Armored farmer Member

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    Sometimes I can't remember whether I've dumped one load of powder let alone keeping track of 4!
     
  24. Armored farmer

    Armored farmer Member

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    Don't fret, I'll squirt some hoppes on 'em.
     
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  25. Panzerschwein

    Panzerschwein member

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    While we're on the subject, do yall think a .530" ball with a .018" pre cut "piller tickin" patch would be good for a .54 Lyman GPR? I was using .010" wonder patches the other day and maybe they were blowing through? I couldn't find a patch.
     
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