Author Topic: Max loads for a .54 cal Rice bbl.  (Read 17410 times)

sleddman

  • Guest
Max loads for a .54 cal Rice bbl.
« on: September 14, 2011, 05:22:24 AM »
  I am trying to get the best load that safely shoots from my Rice 38" swamped BBl. I am shooting 80 grains of 2f now and have nice results at 50 and 100 yards.  Wondering if I could possible gain a little more distance, say 150 yards with a little more powder charge safely??  Right now im on at 50 yards and drops about 7 to 8 inches at 100 yards.    Does anyone out there practice to 150 yards or should I just stay under 100?

Daryl

  • Guest
Re: Max loads for a .54 cal Rice bbl.
« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2011, 07:48:02 AM »
Assuming it's a decently heavy breech's barrel, I'd have no qualms of shooting up to about 130/140gr. 2F.  I would not use more than about 115/120gr.2F in a 15/16th inch flintlock, .54 by Rice.

More powder SHOULD improve accurcy along with flattening trajectory.  If more powder does not improve accuracy, the patch probably needs to be thicker, ie: a tighter load.  I would use none other than a .535" ball with such a load.

Your 80gr. charge would be hard pressued to exceed 1,400fps.  The heavier charges I mentioned should develope a good 1,850fps which will give you a 130 yard p[oint blank range - where the ball is no more than 3" above nor 3" below the line of the sights.

To shoot accurately at longer range than point blank, one needs to feed the rifle.  Even at 50 & 100yards, the heavier loads should shoot more accurately. Anything over 80gr. is an improvement for longer range shooting.

What does Rice have to say about loads for your barrel.  I'd ask them first.

sleddman

  • Guest
Re: Max loads for a .54 cal Rice bbl.
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2011, 05:39:55 PM »
Giving Rice a call today.  The Bbl. is swamped.  38" / .54 cal. / "C" / 1-66 twist.  Just seems the more I shoot this rifle the better it gets.  Just want to push the load safely to get me a little more distance accurately.  But not trying to blow anything up in the process.

roundball

  • Guest
Re: Max loads for a .54 cal Rice bbl.
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2011, 06:30:21 PM »
Just as another reference, I have a Rice .54cal smoothrifle / 42" B-weight swamped barrel...and I use 90grns Goex 3F as a medium range / woods load for deer hunting...(90grns Goex 3F is essentially 100grns Goex 2F)...very accurate even out of a smoothbore.
 I wouldn't hesitate to use 120grns Goex 2F in it as I've used that much in T/C .54cal x 1:66" barrels in the past.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2011, 06:34:12 PM by roundball »

BrownBear

  • Guest
Re: Max loads for a .54 cal Rice bbl.
« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2011, 06:33:05 PM »
I'm not talking Rice, but my experience reflects yours almost letter for letter.  I've pushed a couple of 15/16" barrels to 120 grains of 2f, but two things were going on.  I was getting twitchy about having such a large charge under my nose in the thinner barrel, and my shoulder was becoming unhappy in such a light rifle.  I've since settled back to 100 grains of 2f, and with the tighter patch you note, it is certainly accurate enough to take advantage of the flatter trajectory.

I pushed a 1" barrel to 140 grains of 2f, but the rifle was much the same weight due to a shorter barrel.  It was distinctly uncomfortable with a curved butt even with a well-fitting cast off stock and good shooting techniques.  I'd want more of an "English sporting" or "Virginia" style with a flatter and wider butt for a steady diet of those loads.  That rifle is currently shooting 120 grains of 2f, and it will get your attention if you get sloppy with your hold.

Assuming it's a decently heavy breech's barrel, I'd have no qualms of shooting up to about 130/140gr. 2F.  I would not use more than about 115/120gr.2F in a 15/16th inch flintlock, .54 by Rice.

More powder SHOULD improve accurcy along with flattening trajectory.  If more powder does not improve accuracy, the patch probably needs to be thicker, ie: a tighter load.  I would use none other than a .535" ball with such a load.

Your 80gr. charge would be hard pressued to exceed 1,400fps.  The heavier charges I mentioned should develope a good 1,850fps which will give you a 130 yard p[oint blank range - where the ball is no more than 3" above nor 3" below the line of the sights.

To shoot accurately at longer range than point blank, one needs to feed the rifle.  Even at 50 & 100yards, the heavier loads should shoot more accurately. Anything over 80gr. is an improvement for longer range shooting.

What does Rice have to say about loads for your barrel.  I'd ask them first.

Offline Dphariss

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9749
  • Kill a Commie for your Mommy
Re: Max loads for a .54 cal Rice bbl.
« Reply #5 on: September 14, 2011, 08:42:38 PM »
Giving Rice a call today.  The Bbl. is swamped.  38" / .54 cal. / "C" / 1-66 twist.  Just seems the more I shoot this rifle the better it gets.  Just want to push the load safely to get me a little more distance accurately.  But not trying to blow anything up in the process.

100 gr of FFF has always worked well for 54 cal 66 twist barrels.
90 gr of FFF Swiss too. About equal to 100 gr of other powders.
This will shoot flat to 130 yards or so for deer sized animals. IF its zeroed for 110-120 yards
 
Dan
He who dares not offend cannot be honest. Thomas Paine

Nesbitt

  • Guest
Re: Max loads for a .54 cal Rice bbl.
« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2011, 06:04:45 AM »
STARTING...........................................MAX


.32 cal.--15 gr----------------------40 gr 3F powder
.36 cal.--20 gr----------------------45 gr 3F powder
.40 cal.--30 gr----------------------50 gr 3F powder
.45 cal.--40 gr----------------------70 gr 3F powder
.50 cal.--50 gr----------------------80 gr 2F powder
.54 cal.--60 gr----------------------90 gr 2F powder
.58 cal.--70 gr---------------------100 gr 2F powder
.62 cal.--70 gr---------------------100 gr 2F powder

From Rice's website.  Just so you know.  Shoot sharp, Mike

Offline Dphariss

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9749
  • Kill a Commie for your Mommy
Re: Max loads for a .54 cal Rice bbl.
« Reply #7 on: September 15, 2011, 03:53:09 PM »
Somehow the load data does not surprise me.
 ;D

Dan
He who dares not offend cannot be honest. Thomas Paine

Offline Dennis Glazener

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 19350
    • GillespieRifles
Re: Max loads for a .54 cal Rice bbl.
« Reply #8 on: September 15, 2011, 04:48:57 PM »
Quote
I have a Rice .54cal smoothrifle / 42" B-weight swamped barrel...and I use 90grns Goex 3F as a medium range
If this is a normal B profile barrel isn't that very thin breech walls? A normal B profile is 1.00" diameter at the breech and with a .540 bore the walls would be .230".

Dennis
"I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend" - Thomas Jefferson

Offline Frank

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 966
Re: Max loads for a .54 cal Rice bbl.
« Reply #9 on: September 15, 2011, 05:51:21 PM »
STARTING...........................................MAX


.32 cal.--15 gr----------------------40 gr 3F powder
.36 cal.--20 gr----------------------45 gr 3F powder
.40 cal.--30 gr----------------------50 gr 3F powder
.45 cal.--40 gr----------------------70 gr 3F powder
.50 cal.--50 gr----------------------80 gr 2F powder
.54 cal.--60 gr----------------------90 gr 2F powder
.58 cal.--70 gr---------------------100 gr 2F powder
.62 cal.--70 gr---------------------100 gr 2F powder

From Rice's website.  Just so you know.  Shoot sharp, Mike


Welcome to the American Long Rifle Forum Mike. Thought you would have been here years ago.

Daryl

  • Guest
Re: Max loads for a .54 cal Rice bbl.
« Reply #10 on: September 15, 2011, 06:33:28 PM »
Thanks Mike. That settles it.

Leatherbelly

  • Guest
Re: Max loads for a .54 cal Rice bbl.
« Reply #11 on: September 15, 2011, 08:50:24 PM »
   As Dan said. It appears Rice along with most modern rifles, loads and stats, the builder/reloader etc. cover themselves with  lighter loads. In my opinion, the "B" weight in a .54 is too light a barrel profile. Just fine in a fifty though. The "C" weight would be my choice. I think with the larger profile(C), you could safely load a higher maximum then Rice shows.JMHO.

Offline Dphariss

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9749
  • Kill a Commie for your Mommy
Re: Max loads for a .54 cal Rice bbl.
« Reply #12 on: September 15, 2011, 09:33:18 PM »
Quote
I have a Rice .54cal smoothrifle / 42" B-weight swamped barrel...and I use 90grns Goex 3F as a medium range
If this is a normal B profile barrel isn't that very thin breech walls? A normal B profile is 1.00" diameter at the breech and with a .540 bore the walls would be .230".

Dennis


Breech wall is OK IMO. Its the waist that would worry me.
Bore is not the worry its the groove. 540+.022 for .011 grooves and we have .562.
The typical B weight swamp has a 710 waist. .712-.562 = .148 divide by 2 we have .074.
Not much room for dovetails if the maker dovetails it for lugs.
If its grooved deeper its thinner.

Dan
He who dares not offend cannot be honest. Thomas Paine

roundball

  • Guest
Re: Max loads for a .54 cal Rice bbl.
« Reply #13 on: September 15, 2011, 11:01:42 PM »
Quote
I have a Rice .54cal smoothrifle / 42" B-weight swamped barrel...and I use 90grns Goex 3F as a medium range
If this is a normal B profile barrel isn't that very thin breech walls? A normal B profile is 1.00" diameter at the breech and with a .540 bore the walls would be .230".

Dennis

Beats me...it's a standard  barrel listing on their website...I don't try to second guess L.C. Rice...LOL

NOTE: You did notice I said smoothrifle, right?  (no grooves)
« Last Edit: September 15, 2011, 11:04:10 PM by roundball »

Offline Dennis Glazener

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 19350
    • GillespieRifles
Re: Max loads for a .54 cal Rice bbl.
« Reply #14 on: September 16, 2011, 02:36:59 AM »
Quote
Beats me...it's a standard  barrel listing on their website...I don't try to second guess L.C. Rice...LOL

NOTE: You did notice I said smoothrifle, right?  (no grooves)
Yes I saw the smoothrifle and wondered about that too. I wasn't aware that Liston was offering any smooth bores except in the English sporting barrel which is only 31". Guess I had better check with them. I have been wanting a 16 bore smooth.

If Rice made it I am sure its safe.
Dennis
"I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend" - Thomas Jefferson

sleddman

  • Guest
Re: Max loads for a .54 cal Rice bbl.
« Reply #15 on: September 16, 2011, 02:38:29 AM »
The barrel profile is a "C".  Thanks for all the info guys. Going out and shoot it as soon as the wind here settles down.

roundball

  • Guest
Re: Max loads for a .54 cal Rice bbl.
« Reply #16 on: September 16, 2011, 03:40:34 AM »
Quote
Beats me...it's a standard  barrel listing on their website...I don't try to second guess L.C. Rice...LOL

NOTE: You did notice I said smoothrifle, right?  (no grooves)
Yes I saw the smoothrifle and wondered about that too. I wasn't aware that Liston was offering any smooth bores except in the English sporting barrel which is only 31". Guess I had better check with them. I have been wanting a 16 bore smooth.

If Rice made it I am sure its safe.
Dennis


To hold down costs...I had a Virginia built with a pair of matching / interchangeable Rice barrels...both 42" B-weight swamped, one a .45cal, the other a .54cal smoothbore

Nesbitt

  • Guest
Re: Max loads for a .54 cal Rice bbl.
« Reply #17 on: September 16, 2011, 03:55:48 AM »
Frank, Thanks for the welcome.  And I probably would have been here years ago but I don't seem to "travel" much through these electronic campfires.
And Dennis, You said if Rice made it, it must be good or something to that general effect.  I agree most completely, Sir.  Shoot sharp, Mike

Leatherbelly

  • Guest
Re: Max loads for a .54 cal Rice bbl.
« Reply #18 on: September 16, 2011, 07:57:18 AM »
 Sleddman,
   No problem taking the charge up to 120 gr of 2f with your barrel. 90-100 would be just fine.Find what's comfortable to handle for recoil and all's good.

sleddman

  • Guest
Re: Max loads for a .54 cal Rice bbl.
« Reply #19 on: September 16, 2011, 04:04:31 PM »
Thanks all.   Will bring it up slow, starting around 90 gr 2f.  May have to file a little more off the front sight as well. So far the gun is a real nice shooter. Hope to get a little more out of it. I think the additional powder charge will do the trick. If this brings the ball drop up a little at 100 yards than I could get a better target at about 120 or 130 yards. I would be real happy  ;D .   Will let you know.

Daryl

  • Guest
Re: Max loads for a .54 cal Rice bbl.
« Reply #20 on: September 16, 2011, 04:48:04 PM »
Giving Rice a call today.  The Bbl. is swamped.  38" / .54 cal. / "C" / 1-66 twist.  Just seems the more I shoot this rifle the better it gets.  Just want to push the load safely to get me a little more distance accurately.  But not trying to blow anything up in the process.

100 gr of FFF has always worked well for 54 cal 66 twist barrels.
90 gr of FFF Swiss too. About equal to 100 gr of other powders.
This will shoot flat to 130 yards or so for deer sized animals. IF its zeroed for 110-120 yards
 
Dan

Dan's experience with flat shooting hunting loads in the .54 need to be addressed and given the attention they deserve.  It is a favourite hunting calibre of his and since he hunts in the open spaces of Montana, his shots tend to be long. Having a long point blank range of 130yards is very important for his type of hunting.  People who have only hunted mainly tight bush for deer do not have this experience and for them 100yards is twice as long as a normal hunting shot. He likes 3F in the .54 while others, including myself prefer 2F.  

That 100gr. 3f load he suggests is likely equivalent in speed to 115gr. of 2F, maybe 120gr.  If Lyman's old published ballistics hold true today as far as trends go, that 115gr. to 120gr. 2f developes less pressure than the 100gr. 3F load produces, even though the velocities are similar.
« Last Edit: September 16, 2011, 04:49:06 PM by Daryl »

Mike R

  • Guest
Re: Max loads for a .54 cal Rice bbl.
« Reply #21 on: September 19, 2011, 04:29:30 PM »
I don't know what the max load should be, but I seek the most accurate loads with reasonable powder charges.  In my 44" Rice swamped barrel .54 I have recently settled on 85 gr fffg, after trying a variety of ffg and fffg loads.  This should equate ~ to 100gr ffg+/-.   This load is what I would use for hunting at 50-75 yd ranges--the max my old eyes can see accurately these days...this load was developed for a .530 ball and tight patch. 

Offline Dphariss

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9749
  • Kill a Commie for your Mommy
Re: Max loads for a .54 cal Rice bbl.
« Reply #22 on: September 19, 2011, 05:15:29 PM »
Giving Rice a call today.  The Bbl. is swamped.  38" / .54 cal. / "C" / 1-66 twist.  Just seems the more I shoot this rifle the better it gets.  Just want to push the load safely to get me a little more distance accurately.  But not trying to blow anything up in the process.

100 gr of FFF has always worked well for 54 cal 66 twist barrels.
90 gr of FFF Swiss too. About equal to 100 gr of other powders.
This will shoot flat to 130 yards or so for deer sized animals. IF its zeroed for 110-120 yards
 


Dan's experience with flat shooting hunting loads in the .54 need to be addressed and given the attention they deserve.  It is a favourite hunting calibre of his and since he hunts in the open spaces of Montana, his shots tend to be long. Having a long point blank range of 130yards is very important for his type of hunting.  People who have only hunted mainly tight bush for deer do not have this experience and for them 100yards is twice as long as a normal hunting shot. He likes 3F in the .54 while others, including myself prefer 2F.  

That 100gr. 3f load he suggests is likely equivalent in speed to 115gr. of 2F, maybe 120gr.  If Lyman's old published ballistics hold true today as far as trends go, that 115gr. to 120gr. 2f developes less pressure than the 100gr. 3F load produces, even though the velocities are similar.


There are several things that take place in using FF over FFF. The slower powder may very well act as a wad behind the ball thus protecting the patch.  This is apparent in BPCRs that have far more energetic ignition. But since the RB tends to leak gas this might not be the case ?
There is SO MUCH we do not know about internal BP ballisitics.
I have a 50 caliber match rifle in processing right now and will try FF Swiss in it. Likely heavy charges, very heavy compared to what most here would use.
Where one uses the rifle and what its used for can effect the powder charge requirements true.
It does not take 100 grains of powder to kill a deer. But it does to make a flat trajectory.
And in many 54s it is a very accurate load as well. Some rifles just will not shoot light loads well.
Dan
He who dares not offend cannot be honest. Thomas Paine

Dew

  • Guest
Re: Max loads for a .54 cal Rice bbl.
« Reply #23 on: September 22, 2011, 06:29:53 AM »
FWIW ,I talked to Rice today on the phone and asked him what would be the max. safe load for my .58 d weight 38" inch barrel and he said 120 FF which is what iv'e been using just because it shoots flatter and its accurate at 100yrds. Last time I shot I got about 1" 1/2 group from a bench. I also asked him about a c weight 38" in a .54 and he said 110 grns. FF would be max. He said the barrels would hold these loads but he also warned about short starting saying the barrels would burst and split if this happened. I'm sure that it wouldn't take that big of a charge to blow a barrel if it was short started. We are all human and we all need to be carful! Dew

sleddman

  • Guest
Re: Max loads for a .54 cal Rice bbl.
« Reply #24 on: September 22, 2011, 06:10:45 PM »
After reading and talking to a few people I went out and shot the old girl.  I went to 90 gr. FF.  After seeing the results I feel for me it is just fine.  At 50 yards it is about 1 and a half to two inches high. At 100 yards it drops right in there at 6 " below point of aim. At 130 she drops in at about 8 " below point of aim.  This puts the point of aim for those long shots right at the deers back and will drop right into the vitals.   Just didn't feel the need for the extra boost past the 90 grain load.  Happy with the results. Thanks for all the help.