General discussion > Black Powder Shooting

54 cal smoothbore accuracy/whats the best they can do

(1/17) > >>

hello all,just started messing around with a new 54 cal 44"getz smoothie an was wondering,how much accuracy can i expect before i drive my self nuts trying to get results for match shooting/hunting.I went out to the range one time an managed three different combination with three different ball sizes/three different patch thickness/three different loads,an a three shot 2" group was the best i could muster upwith them all.Can anybody get a 1" group at 50 yrds with there 54 cal smoothies.It seem's like the barrel likes hotter loads  more then low loads  for accuracy.85 grains of 3f was best so far.I wondered if anybody out there shoots 90 or 100 gr loads with better results.If anybody can steer me with this i would appreciate it........sonny

Its a smoothbore, they always throw fliers that enlarge the group. Expecting 1" groups is unrealistic. It might do one this small now and then but it will not shoot this small on command.
I have a GM 50 smooth rifle barrel that will often do 3 shots pretty small 2-3" at 50 yards but if you shot 5 shots the group will invariably got out to 4" or more.
If smoothbores shot as good as rifles they would never have made rifles.
It does shoot better with a small ball (.480) and a heavy patch than with a thin patch and a 490-495. Likes a lot more powder the the rifled barrel does. At least in the testing I have done so far.


Here's my 2 cents.  Smoothbores may be most accurate at a charge range where a rifle can handle a broader range both lighter and heavier.  One thread pretty much was unanimous that smaller ball and thicker patching works better.  On a rifle I have seen the opposite.  Also I think you may need to sort ball a little closer as you do not have the spinning action to make up for irregularities.  A rifle places the center of gravity to the center of the ball.  I have seen some pretty wrinkled ball shoot well because of that.  One may not win bench rest with them but plenty good for offhand practice.  Theoretically a perfect ball will shoot as well out of a smoothbore as a rifle.  However molds are off round by a small tolerance and air voids form in casting.  Weigh a few ball and they do vary. Who knows maybe taking a trick from the BPC and punching a small dimple in a mold so one loads the ball all the same might work better.  If it does not that would not surprise me either.  Dan is correct about one thing, rifles exist for a reason.  Smooth rifles were made and were good for point of deer, moose or even squirrel at whatever range.  I believe it was Taylor who used a smooth 10 bore rifle on elephant around WWII due to ammunition shortages and found it plenty accurate.  Satisfaction depends a lot on whether you are hunting game at closer ranges or field mice at 100 yards.  As to target shooting smoothbores will not match a rifle on bullseyes at longer ranges.



--- Quote from: sonny on July 26, 2008, 04:07:04 AM ---Can anybody get a 1" group at 50 yrds with there 54 cal smoothies.

--- End quote ---

Based on my experience with a GM .54cal Flint barrel, which has rifle sights so I guess its actually called a 'smooth rifle', is that consistently expecting 1" groups at 50yyds is a pretty tall order for a smoothbore.

I think my GM .54cal is outstanding in that it'll basically shoot cloverleafs at 50yds and having used it to fill deer tags, and on doves, crows, and skeet its one of the last barrels I'd ever get rid of.
With Hornady .530's and a .015" patch my 90grn Goex 3F hunting load I'd occasionally get a burned patch.
I tried an Oxyoke wad over powder to protect the patch but the wad caused flyers.
So I switched to a .018" pillow ticking patch so I wouldn't need a wad but it was way too tight with the .530's.

Then I dropped back to Hornady .520's with the .018" P/T and it shoots practially like a rifle to the 50yds I zeroed it with 70/80/90grns Goex 3F...usually most of the shots in the group are touching each other's edges, and very probably a better marksman would tighten up that group some more.

Bill of the 45th:
I have to agree with the others above.  Heavy patch and a smaller ball, and one of the thick waxy lubes.  .520 ball over 80 to 90 grains of FFG powder, and a very thick denim patch.  To get better data try shooting 5 shot strings, and 4 or 5 of them before you change anything, then change only one component, and try only wiping between groups, as the fouling may help with the patch seal.  If your patch is tight enough , there will be minimum fouling.   Also though it's a rifle, I've found that FFFG with a lighter charge shoots better in my .54.  At .60 grains I get better accuracy, than with 75 to 90 grains.  So that's something else you might try.  This is the fun part of finding a sweet spot load, otherwise you'd be using one of them in thingy things and using two or three pellets, and plastic shoes with a pistol bullet, and complaining that your accuracy is only 8 inches at 50 yards, but you're getting almost 2800 feet per second out of a bullet designed to travel at 1200 FPS.  ;D



[0] Message Index

[#] Next page

Go to full version