Author Topic: 54 caliber round ball velocity  (Read 1019 times)

Offline MuskratMike

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54 caliber round ball velocity
« on: August 21, 2019, 09:10:09 PM »
Finishing up my load development on my new Lowell Haarer .54 caliber rifle and pistol set. The rifle seems to like 75 grains of FFF Goex with a .015 neatsfoot oiled patch, and a .530 Hornady round ball. Yesterday at the range some "serious" shooters were doing some load testing and had a chronograph set up. They asked if I would like to test out my velocity which of course I gladly accepted. At 75 yards (which later turned out to range find as 80 yards) I had for my old aged eyes a very respectable 5 shot group (the orange circle is 6-inches in diameter). The velocity was 1684.5 FPS.
Have any of you out there done the same test on a 54 caliber round ball? If so I would like to hear about it and see your pictures if available. 1684 FPS is what you should get out of a .530 round ball using 92 grains of Goex 2F so I think I am just about where I want to be for hunting out here in the West for Deer, Elk, and Bear.
The "Muskrat" has spoken.

"Muskrat" Mike McGuire
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Offline snapper

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Re: 54 caliber round ball velocity
« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2019, 09:39:48 PM »
You mention two different loads one that the rifle liked, is that the one in the picture?   Or is that one you checked the speed on?

I booked a Spring black bear hunt for May North of Saskatoon.    Thinking either the .54 cal double rifle or 12 bore.

Richard, where in CN are you located?  I cant remember.

Fleener
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Offline hanshi

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Re: 54 caliber round ball velocity
« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2019, 10:57:50 PM »
My .54 is finely accurate with 60 grains of 3F.  IIRC velocity is between 1200 and 1300 fps.  I'd use that load on deer any day.  Another very accurate load was 110 grains of 3F with the same prb.  Velocity was only about 1720 fps but the extreme spread was only 18 fps.  That load did kill deer.
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Offline MuskratMike

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Re: 54 caliber round ball velocity
« Reply #3 on: August 22, 2019, 02:16:20 AM »
Sorry I didn't write on the orange target that these were fired using the 75 grains of Goex 3F, which is what this rifle seems to like. The 92 grains I mentioned is the equivalent volicty you would get if using Goex 2F not 3F. I did not try 2F in my load developments as I have lots and lots of 3F to use up.
If my buffalo hunt doesn't happen I to am going to go spring bear hunting only in Northern Idaho. We will have to compare notes later this spring.
"Muskrat" Mike McGuire
Keep your eyes on the skyline, your flint sharp and powder dry.

Offline bob in the woods

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Re: 54 caliber round ball velocity
« Reply #4 on: August 22, 2019, 02:49:07 AM »
I'm extremely lucky to be able to hunt bears right out back of my house. 4 to 5 kilometres until I hit the next road.
Fall bear season starts Sept 1st.   I have taken black bears with my .54 in the past and will probably use it this year.
.530 ball and 90 gr FFg will be my load.   
BTW-  I shot a black bear last month that had broken into a neighbour's house .  She lives about a kilometre down the road, and called me in a panic.   There's no shortage of bears around here !

Offline snapper

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Re: 54 caliber round ball velocity
« Reply #5 on: August 22, 2019, 02:53:19 AM »
Bob in the Woods.

well, heck, if you were a nice guy, you would of just invited me up for a few weeks to help you with your bear problem.

I am a good listener (at times), able to tell a good story.   Helpful around the place, usually bring good whiskey and hunk of meat with me.

Fleener
My taste are simple:  I am easily satisfied with the best.  Winston Churchill

Offline JPK

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Re: 54 caliber round ball velocity
« Reply #6 on: August 22, 2019, 03:09:30 AM »
I clocked my 54 caliber 32 GREEN MOUNTAIN at 1818 FPS with a m.a.d. of 14.7  and standard deviation of 19.5 FPS useing 110 of Goex ffg and a .535 ball. Group was 1 3/4 at 50 yards from the bench.
A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.

Offline longcruise

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Re: 54 caliber round ball velocity
« Reply #7 on: August 22, 2019, 05:13:08 AM »
I have recorded some pretty large differences in velocity in a .54 by varying patch thickness or using more or less slippery lubes.

Your load looks good to go.
Mike Lee

Offline Herb

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Re: 54 caliber round ball velocity
« Reply #8 on: August 22, 2019, 07:08:24 AM »
Back in 2008 I tested Goex 3F against Goex 2F for velocity and accuracy.  Used my Douglas barreled .54 Hawken I built, .530 Hornady balls and an adjustable powder measure.  I now know this was not a fair test and would use individual weight-calibrated measures for each weight of each powder.  And I can shoot better with iron sights on this Hawken than some of these groups.  Nonetheless, here are the velocity comparisons.
This is my rifle with a 4X scope duct-taped onto a wooded scope base.

One set of targets, 80 to 120 grains of 2F at top and matching targets of 3F below.  I don't know why the big groups, not my holding.  (You can hold down Control and hit + to enlarge to read). 50 yards bench rest.

80 and 90 grains of Goex 3F

80, 90 and 100 Goex 2F.

80 to 110 grains of Goex 2F, by adjustable powder measure.

Herb

Offline Herb

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Re: 54 caliber round ball velocity
« Reply #9 on: August 22, 2019, 07:51:25 AM »
The 2F velocities are low.  I'll have to check my chronograph book, this might be Minden, LA powder, and if so, that was of lower velocity in the beginning.  So I checked some modern loads.  These  are with weight-calibrated measures for 100 grains of Goex 2F and Goex 3F and OE 3F.  50 yards bench rest.  This rifle is the same one in the scoped tests.

My .54 Bridger Hawken before I finished coloring the stock.

Top targets are 100 grains of Goex 3F and 100 grains of Olde Eynsford 3F (which I do not like).  Bottom two targets are with a .58 flint Hawken I built.

I probably have some 80 and 90 grain tests with other Hawkens I built recently, will check later.

Herb

Offline Dphariss

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Re: 54 caliber round ball velocity
« Reply #10 on: August 22, 2019, 03:43:22 PM »
Accuracy.
Generally speaking..
Slick lubes need more powder.
Most RB rifles shoot best with a "heavy" load. Back when I started shooting 70 gr of FFF was very common for 45 calibers. I shoot 90-100 in 54s and 70-90 in 50s. FFF GOEX usually needs 100 in Douglas barrels.
Most modern RB barrels are twisted too slow. 48 is perfect for barrels to at least 54 and probably to 62.
High friction loads. Water soluble oil mixed 1:7 oil-water, then allow the water to evaporate, or teflon will usually shoot best. But require wiping every shot. As a friend said at one of out "turkey" matches, shot off a "plank rest". you don't have to wipe every shot. You only have to wipe every shot to win. High friction increases "load inertia" and will usually lower the standard velocity variation. A heavy load also increases load inertia.
Low velocity loads are not the best for hunting unless you are shooting at pistol distances.
My cupped breech Don King FL Hawken, 38" .535" ticking patch, Neatsfoot Oil lube, 90 gr of FFF Swiss makes 1900 fps.
This load will shoot into about 6-8" at 200 with no wind. Slight breeze, anything you can feel, blows the group.
Watching people try to shoot a "turkey" match with light loads has convinced me that you need a pretty stout charge for best accuracy. But people gripe if you shoot "too much powder" at matches.
Jim McLemore told me my heavy 50 cal barrel (his gain twist) would shoot into the same hole at 100 with 120 gr of FFF and a teflon patch. I usually shoot a .500 ball in this rifle and dried WS oil 100 ge FFF Swiss. It shoots well. Best 10 shot string was just under 4.25" at 60 yards. And I had a puff of wind put one out 2" down wind.

Duct taped scope mounts will not hold the scope well enough. Gotta be bolted down.
Holes can be plugged later with screws and am "asterisk" star pattern engraved over them.

This was a sighter target I left up and put the score "turkeys" over to give a group after the match. 60 yards plank rest. Probably about 12 shots total. 2 sighters and 10 for record. Barrel sights with shaders. Can't do that today but they are supposed to fix it in October (the eye). 1 1/4" x 44 McLemore 50 cal. barrel.
A good RB barrel should be able to do this. But swamped barrels are less accurate generally.
Dan





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Offline Herb

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Re: 54 caliber round ball velocity
« Reply #11 on: August 23, 2019, 04:03:48 PM »
The Goex 2F powder in my scoped rifle test was from Minden, LA.  It was quite a bit slower in velocity than previous powder from Moosic, PA, but did improve.
Herb

Offline Sharpsman

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Re: 54 caliber round ball velocity
« Reply #12 on: August 23, 2019, 10:05:21 PM »
The Goex 2F powder in my scoped rifle test was from Minden, LA.  It was quite a bit slower in velocity than previous powder from Moosic, PA, but did improve.

There's a 'term' for that but I can't use it here! It's perfect for description of the photo!!
"There ain't no freedom...without gunpowder!"

Online Craig Wilcox

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Re: 54 caliber round ball velocity
« Reply #13 on: August 26, 2019, 05:28:30 PM »
Herb, that's not a "scope sight".  It is a "aluminum, brass and glass" rear sight.
Love the innovation, but you are right about the duct tape.  I don't think even the Gorilla stuff would hold for more than one or two shots.
I am partial to peep and open sights, since that is what I learned on.  So one of my rifles (.50 cal) has threaded holes for that, with headless screws filling the holes when not used.  Oddly, the rear peep is just tall enough to see over the slotted, HC, rear sight.  Works well!
Craig Wilcox
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Offline Dphariss

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Re: 54 caliber round ball velocity
« Reply #14 on: September 02, 2019, 06:54:28 AM »
Accuracy.
Generally speaking..
Slick lubes need more powder.
Most RB rifles shoot best with a "heavy" load. Back when I started shooting 70 gr of FFF was very common for 45 calibers. I shoot 90-100 in 54s and 70-90 in 50s. FFF GOEX usually needs 100 in Douglas barrels.
Most modern RB barrels are twisted too slow. 48 is perfect for barrels to at least 54 and probably to 62.
High friction loads. Water soluble oil mixed 1:7 oil-water, then allow the water to evaporate, or teflon will usually shoot best. But require wiping every shot. As a friend said at one of out "turkey" matches, shot off a "plank rest". you don't have to wipe every shot. You only have to wipe every shot to win. High friction increases "load inertia" and will usually lower the standard velocity variation. A heavy load also increases load inertia.
Low velocity loads are not the best for hunting unless you are shooting at pistol distances.
My cupped breech Don King FL Hawken, 38" .535" ticking patch, Neatsfoot Oil lube, 90 gr of FFF Swiss makes 1900 fps.
This load will shoot into about 6-8" at 200 with no wind. Slight breeze, anything you can feel, blows the group.
Watching people try to shoot a "turkey" match with light loads has convinced me that you need a pretty stout charge for best accuracy. But people gripe if you shoot "too much powder" at matches.
Jim McLemore told me my heavy 50 cal barrel (his gain twist) would shoot into the same hole at 100 with 120 gr of FFF and a teflon patch. I usually shoot a .500 ball in this rifle and dried WS oil 100 ge FFF Swiss. It shoots well. Best 10 shot string was just under 4.25" at 60 yards. And I had a puff of wind put one out 2" down wind.

Duct taped scope mounts will not hold the scope well enough. Gotta be bolted down.
Holes can be plugged later with screws and am "asterisk" star pattern engraved over them.

This was a sighter target I left up and put the score "turkeys" over to give a group after the match. 60 yards plank rest. Probably about 12 shots total. 2 sighters and 10 for record. Barrel sights with shaders. Can't do that today but they are supposed to fix it in October (the eye). 1 1/4" x 44 McLemore 50 cal. barrel.
A good RB barrel should be able to do this. But swamped barrels are less accurate generally.
Dan





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Interesting. Wonder how the Honda link got there. Never been to that site????
No, sir, I don't give 'em $#*!, I just tell the truth and they think it's $#*!. Harry S Truman

Offline Daryl

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Re: 54 caliber round ball velocity
« Reply #15 on: September 02, 2019, 08:47:11 PM »
The imgg site puts that in with multiple picture posts, Dan. Does it to me as well. I usually see it in the
preview, so I delete that link before posting - usually.
Daryl

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