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Least amount of powder

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by badkarmamib, Jun 3, 2020.

  1. badkarmamib

    badkarmamib Member

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    I have a Traditions BuckStalker .50, that I am used to running 100 grains of Pyrodex RS behind a 230 grain lead saboted .45 caliber lead bullet, started by a 209 primer. My recoil-shy son has expressed interest in obtaining this, and I have successfully used 50 grains of powder in the same setup. My question is, how low can I go to start him on it, and are there any concerns regarding black powder in low charges? TIA.
     
  2. Patocazador

    Patocazador Member

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    I don't know the lowest charge you can use in that rifle BUT if it is too low, the bullet and sabot may not exit the barrel. If you loaded another charge and bullet/sabot on top of it, nothing good would happen when it was fired.

    Since you know that 50 grains is safe, I would stick with that loading.
     
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  3. Frulk

    Frulk Member

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    For clarity: are you using loose or tablet Pyrodex in your in-line?

    One way to reduce recoil somewhat is to lighten the projectile. Your rifle twist probably isn’t set up for round ball but you can still shoot a patched 176 grain ball. Lymans Black Powder handbook lists a minimum charge of 50 grains for said projectile for a 28inch barrel. Produces 1348 FPS. I’d have no qualms about about starting out at 40-45 grains understanding that accuracy is not the primary concern but getting your son accustomed to recoil is.

    NOTE: I’ve cleared non-inline barrels were the patched ball was seated without a powder charge under it with nothing more than a few grains of powder under the nipple so 40 grains of powder/Pyrodex is more than sufficient to send the ball down range.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2020
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  4. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    "One grain per caliber" was the muzzleloader equivalent of a "starting load" but that was in the round ball and black powder era.
     
  5. WestKentucky

    WestKentucky Member

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    I have heard that several times and have found it to work quite well. .45, and .50 calibers have not only been pleasant, but have been pretty accurate with the 1 gr per caliber loads. In fact, with the .45 that I was hunting with I rethought my whole setup with it and dropped down to 70 gr instead of 100 and shooting a ball over a greased wad really does well. 50gr should be plenty light for even a youngster unless your gun is on the side of being silly light weight.
     
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  6. Mike OTDP

    Mike OTDP Member

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    1 grain per caliber works fine for a rifle. About half that for pistol.
     
  7. badkarmamib

    badkarmamib Member

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    Okay, thanks all! I am pretty sure that he shot it once before with 50 grains, but we can't remember for sure. It is a light rifle, but he can shoot .223 out of a 6lb rifle, he should be able to handle half-charges in a 5lb BP rifle, or he can wait until he's older than 9. Just wondered if there was a "rule", and 1 grain per caliber is good enough for me, especially since I have tried it before. Again, thanks!
     
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  8. walterelm

    walterelm Member

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    He is 9 yrs old???
     
  9. Catman42

    Catman42 Member

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    if you go to midway on the internet and look at their dead mules and install one of the higher end ones in the butt stock under the butt plate you will greatly reduce the recoil of the rifle with any powder charge. ive used those in a couple of customs ive built for a customer where i felt the gun might recoil too much. they work.
     
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  10. treemaker

    treemaker Member

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    I shot 30grains ffg and patched round ball in a 50cal. CVA mountain rifle and won a lot of club competitions with that load.
     
  11. Catman42

    Catman42 Member

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    i have a friend who did just as you did, good advice and good reply.
     
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  12. arcticap

    arcticap Member

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    MMP makes .50 sabots that fit .40 cal bullets.
    .40 cal bullets are made in weights of 155, 165 and 180 grains.
    They should help to reduce recoil and still be able to allow for some accuracy with the fast twist rifling and lighter powder charge.

    MMP .50 sabots for .40 cal. bullets:--->>> https://mmpsabots.com/store/blue-hph-sabot50-pcs/

    Hornady also makes "Hardballs", hardened round balls that come fitted with a sabot. --->>> https://www.hornady.com/muzzleloading/hard-balls#!/
    The tight fitting sabots should help to not strip the fast twist rifling.

    Patched round balls might work with a fast twist with 30 - 40 grains of powder.
    That's what my kid started out with at 9 years old.
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2020
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  13. 792mauser

    792mauser Member

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    I've used as little as 30gr in my sidelock 50 and a saboted 45lead ball to let noobs into the world of the muzzleloader.

    And in a much remembered and embarrassing episode, I dryballed a patched .495 ball in said rifle. 6-10ish grains packed in through the clean out screw popped the ball out and onto the ground a couple of yards in front.
     
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  14. damoc

    damoc Member

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    Something I did for a plinking load for my sons when trying to get them to shoot a .50 muzzeloader was 40 grains and .454 ball double patched very mild to shoot and has been very reliable. I would not go much below 40 I would be worried about it getting poor ignition and not having enough powder in the chamber to do the job of getting it out the barrel.
     
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  15. Loyalist Dave

    Loyalist Dave Member

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    As others have noted, 50 grains is fine.
    I'd suggest that your 100 grain load, unless you're reaching past 150 yards, or it's the only really accurate load for that rifle, is a bit stout.
    I use a soft lead, 224 grain .530 ball, and 70 grains, and it goes through moderate sized white tails at 110 yards. Your bullet, is smaller in diameter, but longer as it's not a sphere. I'd look at 80 grains as a hunting load, and I'd look at loose pyrodex and a measure instead of the "pills" for propellant. IF you're using a modern lead bullet in your sabot, then most definitely you can back off on the powder and still get excellent results, as modern bullet alloy is harder than what I use, and so at impact isn't going to deform and thus will not increase friction as it passes through the game animal.

    LD
     
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  16. OrangePwrx9

    OrangePwrx9 Member

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    My favorite plinking load in a TC Greyhawk was always 30 gr. Pyrodex P behind a PRB. Fouling was minimal; could shoot it all afternoon without swabbing. Accurate too.
     
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  17. AJumbo

    AJumbo Member

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    My .54 caliber squirrel load was 35 gr of 3F or Pyrodex P under a 230 gr patched round ball. Accurate, thrifty, and subsonic!
     
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  18. Snidely70431

    Snidely70431 Member

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    The Buckstalker has a quick Release Breech plug. If the charge is too low and the projectile does not exit the barrel, you just remove the QRBP and push the projectile out of the barrel. It is not a problem.

    I have used loads that chronographed at less than 600 fps when I was testing loads for prb in fast twist inlines.
     
  19. dave951

    dave951 Member

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    50-60gr 3f REAL black and patched round ball and he'll be fine. It's also a completely competent load for hunting within 75yds. You don't need gobs of powder to kill a deer as the PRB loses velocity fast. Better to teach the kid marksmanship at an early age while he still has the eyes and coordination for it.
     
  20. Pistolero_Libre

    Pistolero_Libre Member

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    A couple of thoughts... The real question is what is your son going to use that rifle to do - poke holes in targets, or harvest live game? Once that question is definitively answered, the rest will follow.
    As an example... For my youngsters I loaded a .50 Hawken with 20gr FFg Goex under a .490 patched round ball. It was a hoot to shoot and clean enough that we could easy go 30 or 40 shots without significant fouling buildup.
    Same story for my Traditions inline .50. I don't shoot sabots but rather shoot 285 grain minnies through it. The kids found it very shootable at 25 grains and quite accurate at 50 yards.
    NONE of the above loads are sane or recommended for harvesting live game. For that, the in-line gets 90gr FFg and the Hawken gets 70gr FFFg - in both rifles these loads represent the crossover point between down-range killing energy and accuracy/shootability.

    I have only shot sabots a few times. Around here our shots on deer are short - the Hawken is subject to a self-imposed range limit of 50 yards on whitetails while the in-line will stretch to 75 yards if needed (but it's never been needed). So far my longest shot with a m/l rifle on deer has been 50 yards when an impudent little spike buck literally stood on top of my 50 yard range marker. Needless to say I had no excuses for a missed shot since I knew with exactitude the range to my target! :rofl:

    I would suggest you consider shooting non-sabot loads to ease the loading process and reduce the need for a whistle-clean bore. Doing so will likely result in more shooting being done with greater pleasure and lower cost.
    Oh, I cast my own .490 round ball and Minnies using a Lee mould and pure lead reclaimed from spent .177 airgun pellets. Works a charm and the deer never seem to argue with it!

    If you are starting a recoil-shy son, I would clearly step away from sabots entirely and, using minnies, drop the powder charge as low as you can go. In the above posts you've seen mention of 25-30 grains of powder - this is a good place to start. As a child I started shooting waaaay too much gun waaay to early and have been battling the resulting flinch reflex my entire life. It's no fun. Start 'em early, but start 'em light.
     
  21. Flintlock Snob

    Flintlock Snob Member

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    you can shoot it down around 35 grns. Dont expect much accuracy, but it wont knock the youngster silly and it will hit paper. Start him at 25yds so he sees the results. It does not take much powder to push a bullet out of the barrel. Standard procedure on a cap lock gun that has been dry balled is to remove the nipple, pour a little powder in the drum put the nipple back on and cap and fire it. Blows the bullet out every time.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2020
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