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Author Topic: .54 cal. Load Data  (Read 4446 times)
54Bucks
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« on: March 11, 2010, 06:51:42 PM »

 Same set-up as the previous .45 cal. info. Chrony F-1 @15 ft. from muzzle. Consistant loading practices thruout testing  Sunny-60*-calm
 The flintlock used for these numbers has a 44" Colerain swamped Cwt. barrel 1:56
.530 cast balls,.018 ticking patch,Hoppes #9 plus

                  SWISS                                                     GOEX
               FF               FFF                                     FF           FFF
60gr.     1337           1481                                 1224        1350
70gr.     1496           1635                                 1343        1473
80gr.     1611           1714                                 1510        1577
90gr.     1727           1843                                 1580        1699
100gr.   1828           1983                                 1637        1780


 I will post .50 cal. data. But it will be a short while before the one I want to test is finished.
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Ben I. Voss
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« Reply #1 on: March 11, 2010, 07:16:55 PM »

Dang, I need to get a chronograph!!  Thanks for sharing.
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wvmtnman
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« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2010, 08:05:58 PM »

Interesting data.  I have always heard that you need around 1650 fps to adequately take down a whitetail deer.  This past season I shot a 3 or 4 year old buck with a .54.  I was using 85 gr of ffg and a .530 roundball.  It was about a 90 yard shot through the lungs.  It ran over 100 yards before falling over.  I will find a new load for next season.
                                                                                  Brian
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B. Lakatos
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« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2010, 08:19:19 PM »

Interesting data.  I have always heard that you need around 1650 fps to adequately take down a whitetail deer.  This past season I shot a 3 or 4 year old buck with a .54.  I was using 85 gr of ffg and a .530 roundball.  It was about a 90 yard shot through the lungs.  It ran over 100 yards before falling over.  I will find a new load for next season.
                                                                                  Brian

That 100 yard run really surprises me.  I use 90 grains of Goex 3f in my 54, and I've never had a deer go 100 feet, much less 100 yards.  I'm just not sure that extra MV is going to translate into much extra whap at 90 yards.  If I'm looking for more than I'm getting with that load in 54 cal, I switch to one of my 58's.  Results are definitely quicker, but they're not dropping in their tracks even then.

I'm betting you just got a tough deer, or it was a high lung shot versus a low one.  I'm betting too, that you can shoot a couple dozen more deer with that same load combo, and not one of them will come anywhere close to that 100 yard record run.
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Dr. Tim-Boone
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« Reply #4 on: March 11, 2010, 09:45:08 PM »

My experience with whitetails and my.54 is much the same as BrownBear.  I doubt that increasing the charge will make that much difference.  With .80 grains fffg I shot a deer at 10 yards that ran nearly 100 yards. Shot another at a little over 100 yards and it ran about 10 feet....  both were shot thru & thru,,,,,,,,,course the first one had powder burns on his side!!
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Black Jaque Janaviac
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« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2010, 09:51:23 AM »

When I first started muzzle loading I was using a Lyman GPR.  I had lots of 100+ yard runs.  Didn't seem to matter whether the shot was 10 yards or 100 yards.  All shots were pass-throughs.  Only ones that didn't run far were ones in which the liver was hit. 

Then I switched to Swiss powder, a flintlock w/ 42" bbl, and about the same time my lead supply (telephone cable sheathing)dwindled and I restocked with plumbers lead. 

Since then the 100 yard dashes have been greatly minimized.  I've also been recovering almost 1/2 of the balls as they aren't passing through nearly so often. 

I realize this experiment is anecdotal and not anywhere close to scientific.  But was it the barrel lenght?  The Swiss powder?  Or the lead source?

I know the muzzle velocity is greater with the Swiss and the longer barrel, however, the impact velocities can't be that different. 
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Daryl
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« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2010, 10:20:18 AM »

150 fps at the muzzle ( difference between GOEX and Swiss) won't make much difference at 100 yards, probably not enough to make any difference at all on game.  What it does do, is to lessen drop, make the gun shoot flatter and probably make the gun more accurate at the longer ranges.
As to recipe's of "X" fps or fpe needed for deer, "X" for moose and elk, etc, ----- hog-crap!  I don't believe it.

 40 yards is 120 feet. Some years ago, I witnessed a moose absorb a .535" RB, propelled by 100gr. Pyrodex from a 28" bl. fired from 170 yards away - and impact velocity approximately 880fps from an initial 1,700fps estimated.  The foot pounds of energy was perhaps 400.  Both of these figures are wayyy below what the gun rag experts say is minimal for deer, ie: 1,000 foot pouinds energy for deer, 1,50 foot pounds energy for moose or elk - well, this particular 900 pound deer took off running like a thoroubred out of the starting gate and dropped dead mid stride a second or two later - 40 yards from where it was hit.  The ball holed a rib going in, both lungs and heart and was underneath the hide on the off side.  The hole through the lungs was about 1" in diameter, and 1/2" through the heart.  I've seen this same 'short' run a number of times when moose are shot with round balls - either down at the spot, a few feet or perhaps up to 50 yards. Round balls kill quickly.

Ungulates sometimes run when hit - whether they are hit with a .270, or a round ball. What I have noticed, is that if you want a moose or elk to run a lot further, use a conical.
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Dphariss
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« Reply #7 on: March 12, 2010, 10:22:02 AM »

Interesting data.  I have always heard that you need around 1650 fps to adequately take down a whitetail deer.  This past season I shot a 3 or 4 year old buck with a .54.  I was using 85 gr of ffg and a .530 roundball.  It was about a 90 yard shot through the lungs.  It ran over 100 yards before falling over.  I will find a new load for next season.
                                                                                  Brian


You need 1650 or better in a 54 to give flat trajectory.
One cannot shoot one deer and make a conclusion concerning stopping power.
I shot a whitetail doe at about 35 yards through and through right under the shoulder blades just behind the joint. 54 caliber 100 gr of FFF.
This deer reacted to the shot by running 200 yards across a hay field at full speed. Note her feet only touched the ground about 10-11 times and she landed on her side dead and slid on the snow. This only took a few seconds at the speed she was traveling
I shot a Mule Deer doe at 40 yards with a 44-90-400 Sharps with a soft FP bullet, ran 100 yards plus, prefect lung shot.
My son shot a WT doe a few years back with a 6.5x55 at about 80 yards and she piled up in her tracks. Lung shot.
A friend shot a doe at 120 with a 45 RB and she piled up on the spot, ball broke a rib on both sides and he figured it shocked the spine.
I shot a Mule Deer doe at about the about 40 yars with a .662 RB launched at about 1650.
End on shot at the base of the throat, the deer had walked toward me and finally saw me but did not know what I was seated on the prairie, the top of the heart was totally destroyed. Massive wound channel. Massive blood trail. Deer ran 55 yards anyway.





I have seen the same result with a plethora of calibers PRB, modern HV (308. 30-06, 7mm mag etc) and BPCRs used by myself or others. Deer are very difficult to "stop". If you feel the need to stop the deer you must break major bones (and this may not work either). The only *sure* way is to shock or strike the spine or brain.  Using a round ball over 62 caliber will help but its still not a sure thing.
Whitetails are often at a high state of alert and may be running on adrenalin when shot. The Mule deer I shot with the 44 had run about 40 yards after I neck shot a buck. If the deer has been recently spooked it may run 4 times as far as otherwise.
The average deer in Montana regardless species, will run 40 yards after being shot. Some will drop in their tracks some will run 200 yards. You cannot determine in advance which will occur.
Thinking you can add more powder, or shoot some magic bullet and stop a deer every shot is just not going to happen based on my experience.
Sir William Drummond Stewart, using a 20 bore Manton reported that a deer was harder to stop than an elk as I recall.
I have no doubt that some people have had different experiences. But when hunting from the ground using chest shots far more deer will run off after a fatal shot than will drop. Its just how things work. Rifles that will do reasonably reliable one shot stops on deer (25-06 with a 87 gr bullet) often are too destructive for the hunter killing for the table.

Dan
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hanshi
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« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2010, 01:09:41 PM »

I'm in the same camp with Daryl and Dphariss.  One can't make a blanket theory based on one deer.  I've had deer run 50 yards and then have had them drop DRT when hit with the same caliber, load and conditions.  As a rule any deer will run a bit regardless what it is hit with.

I believe that as long as a ball can make it through the deer's vitals then it is dead whether or not the deer realizes it.  I absolutely do not believe in foot pound/velocity theories for game.  At woods ranges higher velocity is wasted.  Only if you have to "reach out" there is the extra speed beneficial.  A .54 ball is Thor's Hammer!
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Jerry V Lape
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« Reply #9 on: March 12, 2010, 01:46:57 PM »

Deer are individuals too.  Some are just more determined than others. Half a century ago I knocked a small doe down at 100yds with a ,35 Remington.  She collapsed at the shot.   Walked most of way to her before  she got up and went almost a mile with a high lung shot and still required a second shot to bring her down.  Prior to my shot, she had been fired at several times by another hunter but not hit.  Maybe the extra adrenaline made the difference.  She did seem to know where my camp was, dropped for keeps about 35yds from the tent.  Wish I knew how to train elk to be so considerate.   
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Black Jaque Janaviac
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« Reply #10 on: March 12, 2010, 02:39:53 PM »

Getting BACK to the thread. . . How many shots did you fire to determine the velocity at each charge weight?

In other words did you shoot 5 shots with 60 grains of FFg and take the average?  Then shoot 5 shots at 70 grains FFg and so forth?

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54Bucks
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« Reply #11 on: March 12, 2010, 04:50:01 PM »

 No I didn't average each load. I made a few random 3-shot load tests again and found  that the velocities tested again fell between the average spread listed with the .45 cal. load data
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Darkhorse
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« Reply #12 on: March 16, 2010, 12:20:19 PM »

This observation is based on 34 years of hunting deer with a .54 ML, some years exclusively hunting with the ML, and with deer limits rising to 12 per year.
All this is to say that I'm not baseing my opinion on 1,2 or 3 deer.
So, many years ago I cast all my own projectiles out of the softest lead I could find. If I couldn't score a deep scratch with my thumbnail I didn't use that lead for round balls but it was good for pistol bullets. Most deer I shot didn't go very far and a lot of damage was done by the soft lead expanding.
Now fast forward to when someone didn't return my casting equiptment and I started buying swaged round balls. Over a few years I noticed a pattern developing; deer were running farther with good shots and there wasn't as much internal damage being done. This really got my attention when a doe ran over a 100 yards shot through the heart.
Upon examination there were identical entry and exit holes indicating little expansion. But on the inside there was very little damage done almost as if the internal organs had been pushed aside instead of torn.
So take it FWIW but I think the hardness of the projectile plays a large part in this equation but is often overlooked in the quest for speed.
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Dphariss
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« Reply #13 on: March 16, 2010, 01:37:59 PM »

This observation is based on 34 years of hunting deer with a .54 ML, some years exclusively hunting with the ML, and with deer limits rising to 12 per year.
All this is to say that I'm not baseing my opinion on 1,2 or 3 deer.
So, many years ago I cast all my own projectiles out of the softest lead I could find. If I couldn't score a deep scratch with my thumbnail I didn't use that lead for round balls but it was good for pistol bullets. Most deer I shot didn't go very far and a lot of damage was done by the soft lead expanding.
Now fast forward to when someone didn't return my casting equiptment and I started buying swaged round balls. Over a few years I noticed a pattern developing; deer were running farther with good shots and there wasn't as much internal damage being done. This really got my attention when a doe ran over a 100 yards shot through the heart.
Upon examination there were identical entry and exit holes indicating little expansion. But on the inside there was very little damage done almost as if the internal organs had been pushed aside instead of torn.
So take it FWIW but I think the hardness of the projectile plays a large part in this equation but is often overlooked in the quest for speed.

Once upon a time I shot a mule deer buck through the lungs at 140 steps (I step pretty close to a yard when I mean to) with a 50 caliber Rb. The deer made about 40 yards. Not much in the way of damage. Just a hole through and through. I have shot MD buck at 30-40 yards with a 54 with 120 gr of FFFG GOI. Deer ran about 50 odd yards. Pretty big holes through the lungs, about the size of a silver dollar, like they were cut with a large arch punch.
I shot a similar MD buck with a 38-40 Colt Lightning Magazine Rifle 37 gr. FFFg under a 180 gr cast. Not real soft or too hard. Bullet made minimal wound channels in the lungs, diameter a little bigger than a pencil. Deer piled up in about 40 yards though it gave no indication of being shot. I have seen MB bucks shot with 7mm mag with lung tissue hanging out the exit wound run 200 or so. 
I have seen an Antelope buck that was grazing in the herd when shot run 50+ with a hole large enough to take out 3 ribs on the exit side.
I knocked a cow elk down with a 54 RB by breaking the humerus. Ball then made a large hole in the aorta. Cow went down at the shot at about 80 yards, then got back up as I was putting the patch and ball to the muzzle and ran about 50 yards.
My son shot a WT doe at about 80 yards with the 6.5x55 and she piled up on the spot with a heart shot. Heart shot deer usually panic run. This one dropped like dynamited.
I shot one at 300 yards two years ago the bullet breaking the humerus then messed up the lungs, passed through the heart sack but only bruised the top of the heart and exited. Deer ran about 100 yards and went butt over tea kettle as she passed from sight. A buck was hanging around her and I waited a few minutes for him to leave on the off chance the doe might be better off than I thought and I did not want her getting back up if the buck spooked. After walking about 300 yards I found her head still up and I then head shot her.
The same season, same rifle, I shot a doe IN HER BED though awake with her head up at about 180 yards, breaking the humerus and taking out the heart. She got up and ran about 30 yards and piled up.
Based on my experience I do not believe the wound channel is a deciding factor. Yes, a large wound channel will usually result in shorter travel. But this is not always the case. Nor will a conical bullet even a blunt one at BP velocities make a great deal of difference. I shot a few deer with a 40-70 BN sharps with a soft FP PP bullet under 300 grains. It seemed to be a good stopper. But I also shot an antelope with it with more typical results. So? I DO know that a SOFT (1:40) FP bullet in the BP loaded 40-70/40-90/45-70 works better than a RN or semi-pointed at 1:20 alloy.

Sometimes the deer falls dead, sometimes it runs off, I have not been able to determine before hand what will occur regardless of the firearm or bullet used.
This is the .662 ball that killed the doe previously mentioned. Note it has hair imprints of the ball. I cannot imagine any 45-50-54 BP arm making a would channel larger than this ball did RIGHT in the vitals, the heart, yet the deer ran as far or farther than other deer shot through the lungs with far less effective projectiles.



There is no constant here. Its a "your mileage may vary" thing. I get the idea that deer in some areas are easier to drop than others (?) but how would one tell?
I hear what I assume are perfectly valid accounts of deer falling to the shot more often than not with loads and shot placement very similar if not identical to what I have experience with yet MY deer tend to run off.
Is it genetic? I know that a lot of hunters in the east have the opportunity to shoot more deer than I do so the experience level certainly appears the be adequate.
My point is that if the deer did not fall over with the RB its extremely unlikely that some other projectile from the same rifle is going the change this. But one would have to shoot the same deer to "prove" anything. So "proof" is nebulous.
I EXPECT the deer to run off after being shot. Its the norm where I hunt.
Dan
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Daryl
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« Reply #14 on: March 16, 2010, 09:37:17 PM »

I've shot a number of MD around here and the only two that dropped in his tracks - 1st one actually did a side flip, was a 1 1/2 year old, shot with amodern gun. Spined in the neck behind the head & DOWN.  Second was a high shoulder shot with another modern gun, fragile bullet @ 30-35yards - down!  All others were side lung shots with a variety of guns and ran 20 to 40 yards.  I've never shot a deer with a ML, only moose. With a big ball, the moose usually only walk 20 yards or less. With a .54 or smaller, usually take off as if scalded - but odd time, one will drip in his tracks as happened a few years back with one of the guys using a light charge in his .50.

You just never know what the reaction will be unless you yank the rug out with something like double shoulders, the spine or brain shot. Buddy polaxed one last fall - hit only one lung, then out the side in front of the hind leg off side. The deer, a young MD, dropped at the shot - 210gr. Nosler .338Winmag, long shot - about 35 yards!
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