Author Topic: Under loading?  (Read 5989 times)

Offline Canute Rex

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Under loading?
« on: July 23, 2009, 04:47:00 PM »
I have been reading all sorts of posts where people tell what they use for powder loads. It gets me wondering whether I am under loading my rifle.

I have a flinter with a 50 caliber Colerain barrel. The maker deliberately made the rifle light for carrying in the woods. The previous owner actually made a brass ramrod to weigh down the muzzle. I shoot a .495 round ball with .025 ticking, lubed with either permatex or Shenandoah Valley Lube. I also have a right shoulder that has been subject to an MRI and some physical therapy in the last year.

(Never, never, try to keep up with the 20 year olds. Let them work at their pace and you at yours.)

When I first got the rifle the previous owner recommended 75 grains of 3F (Goex) and a .015 patch. That beat the snot out of my shoulder. I worked the load down to 65 grains of 2F and the patch up to .025. Switching from .015 to .020 to .025 tightened groups up and changed the sound of the rifle to more of a snap. I'm still not exactly The Deerstalker.

The lower load is much easier on my shoulder, but am I denying myself some degree of accuracy? Everybody else seems to be using 75 grains and up in a 50.

Offline Longknife

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Re: Under loading?
« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2009, 05:00:43 PM »
but am I denying myself some degree of accuracy


Shooting the two loads from a bench will tell you which is the most accurate how ever, when walking in the woods, if you can hit the selected target then thats accuracy!!!!!!!!...Ed

Ed Hamberg

Offline SCLoyalist

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Re: Under loading?
« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2009, 05:46:18 PM »
Canute, you answered your own question about accuracy when you said the lighter load & thicker patch tightened up the groups.   Tighter groups is what you're looking for.

You changed powder charge, powder granulation and patching, so I wouldn't  hazard a guess whether your velocity went up or down.     A range session with a chronograph would tell you a lot, though.     At 50 to 100 yards, 65 gr of 2F  is likely delivering within 50 ft-lbs of energy of what it did with the 75gr/3F load,  but hard data from a chronograph and a little poking into ballistics tables would tell you for sure.

SCL

doug

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Re: Under loading?
« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2009, 06:10:25 PM »
     I would bench the gun with 5 shot groups and see how it performs.  I shoot my .50 with 50 gr of 3F and feel that is quite reasonable out to 50 -75 yards.  Most of the trail walk targets around here are less than 75 yards. 

cheers Doug

Offline hanshi

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Re: Under loading?
« Reply #4 on: July 23, 2009, 07:17:32 PM »
Canute, from your post it sounds like accuracy is not a problem for you.  If you bench the rifle and are satisfied with the results then you are where you want to be.  If you're worried about the power of your load, don't be.  It should still be very deer worthy up to at least 75 yards or more.  I don't claim any special knowledge of prb on deer at long range but have taken a deer at 95 yards with a .44 mag. revolver.  I consider the .44 mag. less reliable than a .50 prb yet feel both would do fine at even than range, in my opinion.
!Jozai Senjo! "always present on the battlefield"
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ottawa

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Re: Under loading?
« Reply #5 on: July 23, 2009, 09:04:48 PM »
you can have the fastest rifle in the world but if your not hitting your target then whats the use ?that's the nice thing about ML you can work up or down what works for you make it fun and enjoyable if it hurts to shoot that's not fun if your not shooting long range then your load works for you then its the right load

Mike R

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Re: Under loading?
« Reply #6 on: July 23, 2009, 09:23:49 PM »
The maker of one of my custom .50s uses a .50 Colerain 44" barrel himself for competition shooting and uses 60 gr fffg powder as his target load--as he does not hunt, he chose an accurate load.  He made a nearly identical .50 for me but I found that I prefer 70-75 gr fffg as a hunting load that is still accurate.  I think your 65 gr ffg is in the ballpark, but you might try 60 fffg.

BrownBear

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Re: Under loading?
« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2009, 09:59:50 PM »
I also have a right shoulder that has been subject to an MRI and some physical therapy in the last year.

When I first got the rifle the previous owner recommended 75 grains of 3F (Goex) and a .015 patch. That beat the snot out of my shoulder. I worked the load down to 65 grains of 2F and the patch up to .025. Switching from .015 to .020 to .025 tightened groups up and changed the sound of the rifle to more of a snap. I'm still not exactly The Deerstalker.

The lower load is much easier on my shoulder, but am I denying myself some degree of accuracy? Everybody else seems to be using 75 grains and up in a 50.

I have no qualms about your current load for deer, but I'm wondering how you're shouldering the rifle, if 75 grains of 3f is beating up your shoulder, even in a light rifle with a troublesome shoulder.  Are you nestling the rifle but into the "pocket of your shoulder, or sliding out your arm a little past the hump of muscle in your shoulder?  If it's a hooked butt, it belongs out on your arm a little rather than in the pocket.  

I'm asking because my wife has a light 54 caliber that was beating the snot out of her with 80 grains of 3f, the load that happened to shoot best at hunting velocities.  I got to watching her, and with her usual 40 grain plinking load she got into the habit of nestling it into her shoulder pocket, right where her collar bone joined the shoulder joint. That was fine with zero recoil, but not with a hunting load.

I had her experiment with moving the gun out her arm a bit, and no more recoil issues.  It took her awhile to get used to it, but she's never had a problem with that 80 grain loading since.  BTW- Moving it out onto your arm comes natural with a stock having a little cast-off, but takes concentration to learn the habit with a straight stock.
« Last Edit: July 23, 2009, 10:00:57 PM by BrownBear »

Offline Canute Rex

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Re: Under loading?
« Reply #8 on: July 23, 2009, 11:19:07 PM »
"it sounds like accuracy is not a problem for you"

Hahahahahahahahaaaa!!!!! Good one, Flintr.

Not much of a problem, except when I shank one off the edge of the paper. Some days I'm pretty good and other days I can't hit a cathedral from inside.

I reduced the charge from 75 grains of 3F to 60 grains of 3F, then 60 grains of 2F, and then up to 65 grains of 2F.  It was hard to tell if all that did anything for or against me. Then I went up a couple of patch thicknesses to the .025, with my groups getting smaller. The step from .020 to .025 made a noticeable difference in the "snap" of the report.

The Colerain barrel has .016 deep rifling, so a .532 groove to groove dimension. A .495 ball with .025 patch gets me to .545, so finally there is some real compression.

It sounds as if 65 grains in a 50 cal. is not way out of line for target shooting. I know that for paper the idea is to use the least powder that still gets you consistent results.

65 grains is reasonable for my shoulder, but I'll try moving the butt out on my arm a little and see how that goes. I actually made and use a leather butt pad that laces on to the stock.

Thanks for all the helpful responses.

Offline Dphariss

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Re: Under loading?
« Reply #9 on: July 23, 2009, 11:40:05 PM »
I have been reading all sorts of posts where people tell what they use for powder loads. It gets me wondering whether I am under loading my rifle.

I have a flinter with a 50 caliber Colerain barrel. The maker deliberately made the rifle light for carrying in the woods. The previous owner actually made a brass ramrod to weigh down the muzzle. I shoot a .495 round ball with .025 ticking, lubed with either permatex or Shenandoah Valley Lube. I also have a right shoulder that has been subject to an MRI and some physical therapy in the last year.

(Never, never, try to keep up with the 20 year olds. Let them work at their pace and you at yours.)

When I first got the rifle the previous owner recommended 75 grains of 3F (Goex) and a .015 patch. That beat the snot out of my shoulder. I worked the load down to 65 grains of 2F and the patch up to .025. Switching from .015 to .020 to .025 tightened groups up and changed the sound of the rifle to more of a snap. I'm still not exactly The Deerstalker.

The lower load is much easier on my shoulder, but am I denying myself some degree of accuracy? Everybody else seems to be using 75 grains and up in a 50.
75 gr of FFFG Swiss is a good starting load for 50 cals.

There are two reasons for increasing a load.
Accuracy.
Some rifles like upwards of 1/2 ball weight of powder or more.
Trajectory is the next reason.
Velocities in the 1750-1850 range with 45-54 calibers will shoot point blank for big game hunting to 120-140 yards. About as far as one should shoot with these calibers.
So if the rifle shoots well enough there is no reason to increase the powder charge unless you want a +- 3-4" trajectory to 120-140 yards. Recoil in a rifle of 9-10 pounds in 50 caliber should not be a factor.
Some factory made MLs are just too light.
HOWEVER. It needs to be noted that the typical 19th century crescent buttplate is not intended to be fired from the shoulder as a shotgun buttstock would be. They were meant to be shot "off the arm" like a Schuetzen plate. Shooting a crescent using the "shoulder pocket" can cause real problems.

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

Offline Roger Fisher

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Re: Under loading?
« Reply #10 on: July 24, 2009, 01:57:00 AM »
Last few days I outfitted a new shooter-rifle-shootin box and all the goodies. 

She is a 50 cal straight octagon 39 1/2 in long with .490 ball, .018 tight weave patching and spit she is on with just 55 goex 3 f at 50 yds.  I believe the barrel is a Getz.  Don't recall..... Rifle used by me many moons ago. ;)

Offline hanshi

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Re: Under loading?
« Reply #11 on: July 24, 2009, 02:49:57 AM »
Canute, I'm with you on the good day/bad day thing.  I never miss the paper I just "choose" alternate targets  ;D.  That extra "snap" you talk about is most likely signaling an increase in velocity so your load of .495 ball & .025 patch is good if it works for you in loading it.  While not necessarily relevant at this time, The Early Virginia style rifle is very easy on the shoulder even with the stiffest loads.  The butt plate is straight and wide making it great for bad shoulders.  I have one (bad shoulder and EV rifle) so know first hand.  The advice about crescent, thin butt plates is right on, too. 
!Jozai Senjo! "always present on the battlefield"
Young guys should hang out with old guys; old guys know stuff.

Leatherbelly

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Re: Under loading?
« Reply #12 on: July 24, 2009, 03:52:54 AM »
 Canute,
  I like 2F in rifles. Your load seems right on the money. Try 75gr. of 2f for hunting. A little more recoil but you won't notice it shooting at game.
  About your patch lube,Permatex. How are you applying it to your patch? I've got some and would like to try it on my own pre-cut patches. Mines the creamy stuff that smells like oranges. Thanks.

Offline Eric Laird

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Re: Under loading?
« Reply #13 on: July 24, 2009, 04:12:59 AM »
Canute,
I'm shooting a Colerain 44" .50. My load (hunting, target, plinking, whatever) is a .490 rd ball, .022 patch and 65gr GOEX 3f. The last three deer I've taken were taken with this rifle - all broadside, all through and through penetration and all three deer fell over. Closest shot was about 30 yds, longest about 85 yards. If I were out west where I could expect longer shots I would consider myself handicapped by trajectory, but where I hunt that 85 yard shot was about the longest I can expect. If you're getting satisfactory accuracy, then the next thing you need to consider is where you'll hunt and whether the trajectory will be an issue.
I  know there are all the arguments about terminal effects, but three dead deer falling where they stood is a result I can accept.
Eric
Eric Laird

northmn

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Re: Under loading?
« Reply #14 on: July 24, 2009, 05:46:54 PM »
A lot of shooters I knew used 50 grains of 3f for closer shots in their 50's.  I used it in mine with very good results.  As to deer hunting with the load.  It has limitations, but will hit as hard or harder at 50 yards than most heavy 50 loads will at 100.  As eith any load use within its limitations.  Smoothbore shooters use very modest powder charges for thier 20 gauges.

DP

Offline Canute Rex

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Re: Under loading?
« Reply #15 on: July 24, 2009, 06:09:01 PM »
I'm a paper puncher, not a hunter, so I'm more interested in consistency than knockdown power.

Leatherbelly: I use the non-pumice creamy Permatex, so you have the right stuff. I apply a dab about the size of a small pea in the center of a precut patch, fold it in half to spread it, and then unfold it and into the loading block it goes. Easy ramming, easy cleaning. Smells nice and hey, you can also clean your hands with it after shooting.

Speaking of easy ramming, I didn't notice any difference in ramming force between the .020 and .025 patches, just that snap and the groups tightening a bit. I figure it has just .006 compression either side.

My rifle is an Isaac Haines style with a broad, flat buttplate, so it is as good as it can get for something with a brass plate on the end. That leather buttpad with a half an inch of closed cell foam in it does wonders.

I'll do an experiment with reducing the charge to 60 grains and see how that does with the .025 patch. I'll be saving on powder and Ibuprofen.

Thanks again to all for the input.