Author Topic: Starting load suggestions  (Read 4566 times)

Adam

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Starting load suggestions
« on: February 20, 2020, 12:59:01 AM »
Hello all.

Any suggestions for good starting load weights using fff for a .50 cal long rifle?

Thanks in advance



Offline rich pierce

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Re: Starting load suggestions
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2020, 01:09:16 AM »
60 grains.
Andover, Vermont

Offline BJH

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Re: Starting load suggestions
« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2020, 01:40:21 AM »
When working up a load for a new rifle gun using black powder and a round ball, I start with 1 grain per caliber. With a maximum of 1.5 grains of powder per caliber. Unless the manufacturer states otherwise. In plain language, 50 gr. FFg to about 75 gr. FFg. Unless the barrel or gun manufacturer says more is OK. BJH
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Offline MuskratMike

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Re: Starting load suggestions
« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2020, 01:45:19 AM »
What BJH said. Check your patches they will tell you as much as groupings will. go up in 5 grain increments until accuracy starts to fall off, then you have your maximum load. I would also try some 2F if you're not having luck with 3F but love 3F and even shoot it in my .54's.
"Muskrat" Mike McGuire
Keep your eyes on the skyline, your flint sharp and powder dry.

Adam

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Re: Starting load suggestions
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2020, 03:46:49 PM »
Thanks, all!
I'll remember BJH's formula, for sure.  :)
Best.
Adam

Offline Daryl

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Re: Starting load suggestions
« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2020, 09:49:46 PM »
I find BJH's formula to be overly conservative.  2F is fine, but it will take more than 75gr. 2F normally if shooting past 25yards.
I would think 75gr. of 3F would be a good place for shooting to 50yards, but not 2F.
 
My own .50 is just starting to "come into it" at 85gr. 2F GOEX and I know that more will work even better for shooting past 50yards.

Now, we don't know what sort of rifle or make of rifle barrel you have & perhaps that is why the ultra-conservative suggestion.

What do you have for a gun and barrel, Adam?
Daryl

"a gun without hammers is like a spaniel without ears" King George V

Offline MuskratMike

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Re: Starting load suggestions
« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2020, 10:00:52 PM »
I agree with Daryl.
 I shoot 75 grains of 3F in my .54 which equates to approx 92/93 grains of 2F. I happen to like 3F over 2F for many reasons (but that is a whole other topic). Shoot ever increasing loads until you find the one it likes best each with different patch thickness and lube, then switch powders and start over. Building a load can not be done in a few sessions at the bench but is time well spent getting to know your new rifle.
"Muskrat" Mike McGuire
Keep your eyes on the skyline, your flint sharp and powder dry.

Offline Daryl

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Re: Starting load suggestions
« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2020, 10:06:40 PM »
Exactly. Change one thing at a time.  Taking notes is very good so you don't repeat past testing unless it is
to verify previous results.
Daryl

"a gun without hammers is like a spaniel without ears" King George V

Offline MuskratMike

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Re: Starting load suggestions
« Reply #8 on: February 20, 2020, 11:25:01 PM »
You mean everybody doesn't have a loading data notebook in their shooting box? Go figure.
"Muskrat" Mike McGuire
Keep your eyes on the skyline, your flint sharp and powder dry.

Offline BJH

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Re: Starting load suggestions
« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2020, 04:06:57 AM »
I agree my post was conservative, but when a fellow asks for load data, I have to presume that the person might be a bit new. The formula also has been published as 1 to 2 grains per caliber, FFg. As well as the version I posted. Some manufacturers recommend a bit less. Thus my caveat. I know our Canadian contingent likes fairly stout loads, Iím sure they have success that way. And they are experienced shooters. Iíll always try to give conservative advise to new folks. Thatís just my way. BJH
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Offline Daryl

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Re: Starting load suggestions
« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2020, 07:31:15 AM »
That's understandable, BJH.  Ratios were attached to bore size and ball ratios are also given in some old texts.
Dphar has alluded to this as well.
Daryl

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Offline WadePatton

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Re: Starting load suggestions
« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2020, 05:14:50 PM »
Also remember that until you can pick up perfectly re-shootable patches, that you've not got your ball/patch combo sizing proper. Until this is done, there's no hope in getting good targets and working up a load properly.  Also a patch that holds up to your first five powder charges, may blow with more.  Don't waste a lot of time/powder chasing groups when your patches are cut/torn/blown.  Patches gotta be good for groups to be good.  If this is "old news" great.  But sometimes folks forget.
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Offline OldMtnMan

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Re: Starting load suggestions
« Reply #12 on: February 21, 2020, 05:20:24 PM »
Nothing wrong with being conservative to start out. A PRB load is cheap to shoot.

Offline coupe

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Re: Starting load suggestions
« Reply #13 on: February 24, 2020, 09:44:27 PM »
I have gained knowledge from shooting and more from this forum. When I first shot sidelocks I had a t/c hawken and pushed the RB to hard. I just didn't think 50 or 60 gr. of 3f would be enough to kill a deer much past 25 yds. so I tried to make it shoot with 90. No patch would hold up so I went to the poly patch and .500 rb, hard to load but very accurate. We all know the results of the polypatch if not watched closely. With the newly aquired cva 50 I am starting with 60 grs. goex and the same pillow tick that worked well in my 54. I was thinking of lubing with caster oil or mink I see both are regarded well by many members. I just need more input from the members who hunt with 60 or 70 grs out to 100 yds., If all works well tomorrow I will try to make a range day and start the testing. (cast .490 then .495 ball to start) 3 diff. thickness patches.(.18-.20-.22) 

Offline Daryl

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Re: Starting load suggestions
« Reply #14 on: February 25, 2020, 04:02:53 AM »
I would not use castor oil as a lube. When it burns, it leaves a black-gummy deposit. I'd not want that in my bore.
What I have used that works well, is Track's Mink Oil, or Neetsfoot Oil.  Neither of those leave a deposit and with a
snug patch, shoot quite cleanly, allowing subsequent loading without having to wipe or swab out the bore. For me,
a hunting load in a .50, would be 100gr. to 110gr. of 2F, or 85/90gr. 3F IF that load shot as well as the 2F load.
My .TC .50 shot best with 80/85gr. 2F, a .495" ball and .022" denim patch.
Daryl

"a gun without hammers is like a spaniel without ears" King George V

Offline WadePatton

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Re: Starting load suggestions
« Reply #15 on: February 25, 2020, 05:49:23 PM »
I would not use castor oil as a lube. When it burns, it leaves a black-gummy deposit. I'd not want that in my bore.
What I have used that works well, is Track's Mink Oil, or Neetsfoot Oil.  Neither of those leave a deposit and with a
snug patch, shoot quite cleanly, allowing subsequent loading without having to wipe or swab out the bore. For me,
a hunting load in a .50, would be 100gr. to 110gr. of 2F, or 85/90gr. 3F IF that load shot as well as the 2F load.
My .TC .50 shot best with 80/85gr. 2F, a .495" ball and .022" denim patch.

A fellow should use the de-gummed castor oil made use in engines (as found on ebay) if he was so inclined to use castor oil on his patches.  The "full flavor" stuff certainly not.   I was never so inclined.
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Offline Daryl

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Re: Starting load suggestions
« Reply #16 on: February 25, 2020, 09:05:22 PM »
Could be the de-gummed version would be OK, Wade, but the only castor oil I have experience with, is that sold for model (aeroplane) engines.  It leaves the brown, varnish-like,
sometimes gummy residue just from the heat of the engine.
Daryl

"a gun without hammers is like a spaniel without ears" King George V

Offline coupe

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Re: Starting load suggestions
« Reply #17 on: February 26, 2020, 10:25:21 PM »
Hey Daryl, I used a safe for human consumption castor oil. I found no varnish like left in the bore just soft fouling, but I have pure liquid mink oil that I will try next round. Also I started with 70 gr 3f , all I have, and 490 with .022 patch not great so I did 80 gr. slightly better. Next was .495 at 70 gr. 3-4" group, 80gr. and 3 in 2-1/2"  tried 90gr. and it dropped like a stone to the bottom of the 9" black target, went back to 80gr. and back to 2 1/2 - 3" group. All at 50 yds. Thanks for the advice on the 495 and .018 patch, at first thought it might be to tight but no torn or blown patches I could use them again they were that good. I will try some .023 in mink to see how they load and shoot.
Wade you were also correct the de-gummed caster does ok but must try the mink oil too to see if it loads as easily as the caster oil which loads very nice even with the tight 495 and .018 pillow ticking in the .503 bore.

Offline Daryl

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Re: Starting load suggestions
« Reply #18 on: February 27, 2020, 09:02:30 AM »
coupe, I am glad you had some success with the patches. I've shot groups a number of times with re-lubed re-claimed patches and they shot just fine.
These 5-shot groups at 50yards are with reclaimed and re-lubricated patches.


« Last Edit: March 04, 2020, 10:57:01 PM by Daryl »
Daryl

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Offline coupe

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Re: Starting load suggestions
« Reply #19 on: March 08, 2020, 11:48:40 PM »
Daryl, I went to the range and shot 495 balls .018 pillow tick and castor lube, no varnish but saw a dramatic increase of soft black almost grease like fouling. I wiped after each shot and after 15 still saw a lot of this stiff goo, so I switched to the mink oil lube and after 3 shots the goo was gone the cleaning patches were like carbon ash covered not goo covered. So pure mink oil on the patches will get another round to repeat the outcome. I'm glad you mentioned this I didn't shoot enough of the castor lube to really asses what I had going. On another note, the 495 ball and pillow ticking patch all tho harder to start shot very well, much better than the 490. I need to sight in 2" high at 50 then get to 100 yds. I believe this CVA will shoot well. Thanks again!
coupe

Offline Daryl

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Re: Starting load suggestions
« Reply #20 on: March 09, 2020, 05:39:51 AM »
Way to go coupe.  That gummy black stuff is burned caster oil. Without actually getting out there and experimenting,
 we just don't know where we are. Well done on the ball/patch combo as well. Yesterday when Taylor and I were
shooting the last 2 rifles he's built, we also used .005" undersized balls with .018" denim patching, which is 8oz weight.
  Spit lubed, no wiping and no fouling buildup. Taylor went down to collect the target and announced upon his return that
"the patches are all good".
Daryl

"a gun without hammers is like a spaniel without ears" King George V

Offline WadePatton

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Re: Starting load suggestions
« Reply #21 on: March 09, 2020, 05:02:05 PM »
Good deal on getting your patch and ball size and lube worked out--now you can tweak powder charges and see if you can tighten things up.
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Offline coupe

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Re: Starting load suggestions
« Reply #22 on: March 10, 2020, 01:52:23 AM »
Thanks guys, worked on it today 85 gr. of 3f cut 3 touching. Then found another gremlin, the front blade was loose on it's base which added to the wide pattern. I actually had to silver solder it in place to stop the movement. First shots were my fault kinda all over in 4" circle. I slowed my roll and the 3 touching happened, 3 more right next to them. I filed the front blade down 1/64" to bring it up for 2" high at 50 yds. Well next time maybe if I do my part I"ll have something to be proud of.
Thanks for all the help. 

Stony

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Re: Starting load suggestions
« Reply #23 on: March 10, 2020, 12:17:51 PM »
Seems like a lot of guys tend to prefer a lot more powder than I do. I do normally start with the the 1 gr. per caliber theory, but usually end up a little more or less than that. It seems to make for a good starting point. I have never understood some guys shooting target that used 80 grains or even more to punch holes in paper...unless their gun just wouldn't group with less. I have been using a .50 caliber for match shoots for the past couple of years, with 50 grains and it does quite well. I've watched some guys over the years using down to 30 grains in the same caliber and shot some fantastic groups.
I do a lot of hunting with muzzleloaders and a .50 Hawken that I have does nicely on feral hogs and deer using a prb and 70 grains of 3f. I have a .62 caliber English sporting rifle that has done just as good with the same 70 grains.

Offline Darkhorse

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Re: Starting load suggestions
« Reply #24 on: March 10, 2020, 07:53:16 PM »
I agree with what Stony said. Not all rifles require such heavy charges to deliver fine accuracy. I shoot 30 grains of 3f in my .40 at 25 and 50 yards, and my rifle has delivered numerous groups that were just ragged holes. I do use 60 grains for turkey hunting though because I never really know when a long shot will be required.
In my .54 I find that 60 grains 3f is most accurate at 50 yards. The last few years I've gradually reduced my deer load from 85 grains of 3f down to 70 grains. I can assure you that 70 grains of 3f pushing a .530 patched round ball will shoot completely through a whitetail deer at 70 yards.
I no longer shoot my flintlocks beyond 50 yards so I'm not concerned about what they will do at 100 yards. I used to though and maybe if I lived in a western state I would do all my shooting at 100 yards. But down here in the deep south it's a stretch sometimes to find a spot where you can get a good shot off beyond 50.
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