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Need some advice for hawken type muzzleloader

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by TheOutlawKid, Aug 28, 2020.

  1. TheOutlawKid

    TheOutlawKid Member

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    Ok so im on the fence on if i should get a .50 or .54 cal hawken type muzzleloader. It would be used for all sized game up to black bear. Now i know a .50 could be used but would i be better off with the .54? Would i need a conical for black bear or would roundball suffice? The guns each have a 1:48 twist rate. Id like to hear from some real world experience with both or either caliber .Thanks in advance all!!
     
  2. DocRock

    DocRock Member

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    I have a Hawken type rifle with a slow twist in .50 and while I like the rifle and it is reasonably accurate with RB, I would prefer larger. I also had a Pedersoli Kodiak double in .50 that I sold. Were I to do it again, I'd want to go .54 or .58.

    1:48 is pretty slow and may not stabilize a conical. RB can be perfectly effective. but 220 grs of .54 will offer more certain penetration than 175 grs is my take on the issue.
     
  3. TheOutlawKid

    TheOutlawKid Member

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    Mr.docrock thank you for your input. Is there much of a difference in recoil when it comes to .50 and .54 roundball? Id prefer something that is enjoyabe to shoot
     
  4. TheOutlawKid

    TheOutlawKid Member

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    Oh and the gun im looking at is the Lyman Deerstalker
     
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  5. expat_alaska

    expat_alaska Member

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    Back in the Dark Ages (early 80's) a friend and I in Alaska would hunt cow moose (permit) during ML season with Hawken-type rifles, he with a .54 and I with a .50 (mine was a CVA). We would sit a few feet from each other and he would take the first shot and I the second shot immediately after. We only got one like this in the few years we tried it. We used his cow permit as cows weigh much less than bulls do.

    In this one and only instance, the .54 penetrated quite a bit more and neither ball hit bone (lung/heart shot). I am sure conicals would do better than RB but it depends upon what the barrel rifling twist is, as DocRock stated.

    The recoil is more with the .54 but it's nothing like shooting the .300 Win Mag I used during regular firearm season.

    Good luck to you!

    Regards,

    Jim
     
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  6. WestKentucky

    WestKentucky Member

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    Fine line to walk while making the decision. Bigger is better as a rule, but it seems that .50 essentially became the standard a while back so component availability suffers outside of .50 caliber stuff. If you are one to plan ahead and don’t mind ordering stuff then .54 or .58 makes sense. If your one who will be taking the gun all over creation for hunting other states or other countries, or if you are likely to misplace stuff and need to replace it in a hurry then .50 makes sense because the stuff is everywhere and it’s typically cheap, especially 2 weeks after local hunting seasons close.
     
  7. woodnbow
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    woodnbow Contributing Member

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    The deerstalker looks like it will handle recoil very well and in any case, shooting round ball, recoil should not be much of a factor, certainly not the dealbreaker. As a target arm, they’re about neck and neck, as a hunting arm with roundball the .54 would be (and is) my preference nine times out of ten.
     
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  8. woodnbow
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    woodnbow Contributing Member

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    My old battle buddy and I did this routine on cow elk one year only we shot separate animals. Rowed my drift boat across the Colorado River, loaded both cows into it and rowed back. This was downstream of the Pinball put in... we had two big cows hanging in the dog run by 10:00. Maybe the easiest hunt ever. I shot a .54 round ball, and he shot a .50 Buffalo bullet. Neither was recovered. Both were dead right there, although mine walked away from us perhaps 30 yards.
     
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  9. skeeterfogger

    skeeterfogger Member

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    Personally if I have a 50 and want to go bigger I'd get 58.
     
  10. Old Stumpy

    Old Stumpy Member

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    I would go with a .54 for round ball shooting, with a 1:66 inch twist, which is the most appropriate.
    TC Hawken seems to have adopted the 1:48 twist as a compromise twist with maxi-balls in mind way back when.
    Other makers followed suit.
    But, it isn't the best for RB shooting.
     
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  11. TheOutlawKid

    TheOutlawKid Member

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    So would a conical work best in .54 with a 1:48 twist? Like an REAL bullet?
     
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  12. arcticap

    arcticap Member

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    Look at the No Excuses conicals that are famous for taking big, heavy game animals, and you'll only find 1 bullet for the .54., 5 bullets for the .50. and 3 bullets for the .45. --->>> https://www.muzzleloading-bullets.com
    And check out the No Excuses gallery page of trophy animals.

    A moderately heavy .50 conical can compensate for being the smaller of the 2 calibers.
    In case of a marginal shot due to poor angle, bone or deflection, you would need to deliver enough lead to anchor the animal, by the bullet plowing through it if necessary.
    If hunting bears in southern Texas, the .50 with a conical should have knockdown power to spare if you do your part.
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2020
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  13. arcticap

    arcticap Member

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    Notice that the sampler pack of the 420 grain conicals above come in 5 different diameters.
    That allows a person to first try and then to order the size with the precise fit for their bore.
    In the reviews for the 420 grain conical, a Hawken owner mentioned how well they shot from his gun at 80 yards. --->>> https://www.muzzleloading-bullets.com/product/50-caliber-sizing-pack/
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2020
  14. brewer12345

    brewer12345 Member

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    If you mostly plan to hunt deer, it probably doesn't matter except that 50 cal stuff is easier to come by. If you want to hunt bear, elk, moose, etc., I would either expect to either exclusively use conicals or pick a 54.
     
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  15. DocRock

    DocRock Member

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    This is a good point. A 370 grs Maxiball in .50 will do for bear and elk.
     
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  16. TheOutlawKid

    TheOutlawKid Member

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    No bears here in south texas...planning on moving north come within a year. Someplace north west.
     
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  17. TheOutlawKid

    TheOutlawKid Member

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    ...but i want to have a muzzleloader that can do it all ya know? I also have been invited to hunt in alaska with some family and friends...they got plenty o'black bear
     
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  18. Fyrstyk

    Fyrstyk Member

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    Being "Old School" I would go with the .54 roundball with at least a 1:60" twist rate deep grooved barrel. The 1:48 in twist of most of the Hawken reproductions is shallow grooved to accommodate round ball use and conicals. They will shoot Patched roundballs ok if the powder charge is kept down. Once you boost to a heavy charge the accuracy goes out the window. Conicals will shoot well once you find one that the barrel likes, but recoil will be substantial with heavy hunting loads, and the barrel will require a good scrubbing to get the lead out of the grooves.
     
  19. Bill M.

    Bill M. Member

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    I have a .50 T C Hawken (1/48) and I shoot a modern conical in it. (I hope Zonnie cannot hear me over here). Either plastic sabot or the newer bullets with the plastic skirt. They are accurate, easy to load, and stay down on the powder. I have never shot a bear with a muzzleloader. I would not want to shoot any bullet bigger than the .50 with 90 grains and the heavy sabot. I was still showing bruises almost 2 weeks after my 10 rounds of sighting and testing off a bench. Next time there will be a sandbag between me and the gun.
     
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  20. robhof

    robhof Member

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    I have both the 50, and the 54, with 48 twist, the REAL bullet in both is the absolutely best way to go, easier to load than either a PRB or other conical options, especially if cast with soft lead, I've used both with deer and they both do a great job. The 48 twist stabilizes the REAL bullet great , I've taken shots with both at 100 yds+. The 48 twist is a balance, handles PRB's well(not as good as 66 or 72) and conicals good(but not as good as the 36 or 32 twist). Of the many conicals I've tried the REAL works best in the 48 twist. For Ky. deer the 54 is almost overkill, but I wouldn't hesitate to use it on a elk or bear.
     
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  21. troy fairweather

    troy fairweather Member

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    If your going to use maxi/ real bullets the 50 is plenty round ball is go bigger. The larger cal will be lighter to.

    I'd look at the planes rifle to.
     
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  22. TheOutlawKid

    TheOutlawKid Member

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    Mr.robhof would you say a .54 with 1:48 twist and an REAL bullet would make a good deer and bear rifle?
     
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  23. Armored farmer

    Armored farmer Member

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    Imho a .54 Lyman Great Plains is the premier half stock big bore rifle that is in production.
     
  24. Old Stumpy

    Old Stumpy Member

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    The original TC Maxi-Ball bullet molds (I own .50 and .54 TC molds) dropped dead soft lead bullets that could be inserted into the bore with slight finger pressure as far as the first driving band, which was larger.
    A slight tap with your short starter rifling-engraved this last band and ramming it home was very easy.
    I believe that the large mass of these dead soft bullets combined with the burning characteristics of BP caused the base of the bullet to obturate enough to ensure the good accuracy that they exhibited at 100 yards with the aforementioned 1:48" twist.

    As far as power is concerned, I once drove a .54 Maxi-Ball completely through a section of an old steel light standard, using 150 grains of FFg in a TC Renegade.
    I certainly would not recommend such a heavy load, but it does give you an idea of what the efficiency of these high mass projectiles is.
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2020
  25. MCFLYFYTER

    MCFLYFYTER Member

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    I have a 50 TC Hawken that has shot Powerballs (I think that's what they are called, they are the green skirted bullets) under an inch at 100. Kinda hard to beat with BP. I think it was the hollow point with the plugged tips, but I love those bullets. Can shoot three easily without swabbing.
     
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