Author Topic: .54 Range Question  (Read 1481 times)

Offline Panzerschwein

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.54 Range Question
« on: December 30, 2021, 01:33:14 AM »
Assuming the shooter is fairly skilled and the load accurate, at what range can it be expected to hit a coffee can with a .54 round ball rifle such as a Hawken with traditional sights?

What about a 16” gong?

Offline smylee grouch

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Re: .54 Range Question
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2021, 02:30:28 AM »
With a good load and from a bench or other good rest, 100 yds. should be a chinch.

Offline rich pierce

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Re: .54 Range Question
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2021, 02:31:25 AM »
Off the bench, with practice with that gun, coffee can hits should be quite regular at 100 yards regardless of caliber.  Offhand, another story.
Andover, Vermont

Offline bob in the woods

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Re: .54 Range Question
« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2021, 03:15:34 AM »
Look at the NMLRA 200 yard target.  We shoot that target a lot, and most of the guys score hits in the black regularly . .54 cal is the most common with some shooting .50's and others .62's .
My best bench shooting with my .54 has 5 shots inside 2 1/2 inches   [ blade front with V notch rear sight ]   

Offline Daryl

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Re: .54 Range Question
« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2021, 04:58:56 AM »
Taylor and I both managed 5shot groups at 200 yards, with our open sighted rifles that were just  around 2 1/2"
- from a good rest, hand held forend, but on the sand bagged adjustable rest. This was when we were warming
up for the ALR postal match, some years back. Not many entries.(3, including the fellow who put it on)
That should pretty much stay on the coffee can, but we've not tried that.  Maybe start with a 3 pound can? ;D
Daryl

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

Online alacran

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Re: .54 Range Question
« Reply #5 on: December 30, 2021, 03:37:08 PM »
The New Mexico Mountain Men have been putting on a Rendezvous in the Cibola National Forest for I believe 30 years. One of the main events is the one tie all tie long gong shoot. It works like this, a 6" by 10"- inch gas cylinder is hung on a tree. the shooting starts at 100 yards. Everyone gets one shot. Once two shooters hit the gong, the shooting stops. The line is moved back another 10 yards. The shooting resumes until two shooters hit the gong. The line is moved back another ten yards. This continues until only one shooter hits the gong, which makes him the winner. We have taken this set up to 160 yards.
This used to be done with a much bigger gong. But it took too long, and we would run out of space, due to the terrain.
This is done offhand. Of course, this is only a game and if you have 20 shooters you may not get to shoot till you get to the 130-yard line.
It is a very competitive event and much fun.
Once I won it at 150 yards with a .45 cal. rifle. Mostly most folks shoot .50 or bigger.

Hopefully the forest service will allow the event to continue this coming year. It has been cancelled due to Covid.
A man's rights rest in three boxes: the ballot box, the jury box, and the cartridge box.  Frederick Douglass

Offline Daniel Coats

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Re: .54 Range Question
« Reply #6 on: December 30, 2021, 04:11:25 PM »
Back in the late 1970s I used a .54 GRRW Leman at our local turkey shoots against modern rifles and shotguns. I never won of course but could hit a 300 yard gong and airborne clay pigeons. My eyesight was near perfect and I shot that rifle almost daily. I couldn't hit a cow in the tit with a tin cup now.
Dan

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Offline Bob Roller

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Re: .54 Range Question
« Reply #7 on: December 30, 2021, 04:24:47 PM »
In the first Hawken match on the primitive range at Friendship I used Tom Dawson's replica of the Modena J&S Hawken and we shot 130 yards offhand and I shot a 28 out of a possible 30 and my first shot was an X10.The sights on this rifle were NOT for target shooting and the architecture of the stock is atrocious and recoil is amplified.This was in 1968,I was 32 and well practiced with a 54 caliber rifle.The target was the NMLRA 100 yard target.Hitting a coffee can at 100 yards should be easy.
  I took 3rd place and the winner used a light long rifle that had no noticeable recoil and he was allowed to use this rifle.
Bob Roller

Offline hanshi

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Re: .54 Range Question
« Reply #8 on: December 30, 2021, 10:37:49 PM »
I assume you've reading between the lines of these posts; but I'll be a bit more direct with this.  The accuracy limit of any round ball BP rifle lies with the shooter and not the rifle, per se.  A duffer can shoot a fine custom rifle and miss targets at 50 yards.  A master rifle shot can take an over-the-counter cheapy and nail that can at 200 yards...every time.
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Offline MuskratMike

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Re: .54 Range Question
« Reply #9 on: December 30, 2021, 11:01:16 PM »
Hanshi: You my friend are a man of few words but always find a way to hit the proverbial nail on the head. Well said.
Happy New Year
"Muskrat" Mike
"Muskrat" Mike McGuire
Keep your eyes on the skyline, your flint sharp and powder dry.

Online recurve

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Re: .54 Range Question
« Reply #10 on: December 30, 2021, 11:15:40 PM »


Not a 54 just an old 50 at 100

Offline Daryl

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Re: .54 Range Question
« Reply #11 on: December 30, 2021, 11:27:50 PM »
IT happens.   A couple shots to check my load and sights - at 100 meters
after my friend tested his modern .30 cal. rifle. All shots from the bench.






Daryl

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

Offline smylee grouch

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Re: .54 Range Question
« Reply #12 on: December 30, 2021, 11:45:30 PM »
Yep- way back in '97 I got kinda lucky for about 2 hrs. Shooting off the crossed stix at 130 yds. plains Rifle match at the Western National shoot in Arizona. Five shots into 7.5 inch circumference, string measure. Range officer told me that was going to break the record for that match. About 2 hrs. later another fella shot a 7.2 inch score  :'( beating me by .3 inches. Sometimes 2nd place is ok but sometimes 2nd place is like kissing your sister.  :)

Offline Daryl

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Re: .54 Range Question
« Reply #13 on: December 30, 2021, 11:51:19 PM »
Taylor has always said (when he got 1st and 1 got second) that second is the first loser. ::) ;D ;D
Good shooting smyleeG.
Don't have a sister, but never kissed my brother - came close once when he went missing one day and night on a hunting trip in grizzly country, but a hug worked fine
when he showed up at camp the next day.
« Last Edit: December 30, 2021, 11:54:35 PM by Daryl »
Daryl

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Offline Dphariss

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Re: .54 Range Question
« Reply #14 on: January 01, 2022, 07:46:30 AM »
Assuming the shooter is fairly skilled and the load accurate, at what range can it be expected to hit a coffee can with a .54 round ball rifle such as a Hawken with traditional sights?

What about a 16” gong?
16” gong at 200 should be easy if the rifle/load is accurate. However, even at 60 yards even a slight breeze will show on the target. With virtually no wind and a tang sight my 54 flint Hawken will shoot 5 shots into about 6” at 200. HOWEVER even the slightest breeze, anything you can feel on your face and the group will at least double 5 mph and its WAY off.


Crisis is the rallying cry of the tyrant”. James Madison

Offline Robin Henderson

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Re: .54 Range Question
« Reply #15 on: January 01, 2022, 05:42:08 PM »
Put this in your favorites. It's a real eye opener....especially down range a tad.

https://www.ctmuzzleloaders.com/ctml_experiments/rbballistics/web_apps/rb_ballistics.html

Offline Panzerschwein

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Re: .54 Range Question
« Reply #16 on: January 03, 2022, 01:33:58 PM »
Put this in your favorites. It's a real eye opener....especially down range a tad.

https://www.ctmuzzleloaders.com/ctml_experiments/rbballistics/web_apps/rb_ballistics.html

Wow, thank you. Bookmarked.

I knew roundies shed energy quickly, but not quite THAT quickly. About half as much energy at 100 for many loads.

Offline Daryl

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Re: .54 Range Question
« Reply #17 on: January 04, 2022, 01:22:14 AM »
My hunting load in the .69 starts at 2,516fpe and at 100, it's down to 1,098fpe.

A .54 ball starting out t 1,700fps (300+fps faster than the 80gr. shooters) starts at 1,289fpe and at 100yds. is down to 494fpe.

A .45 ball starting out at 1,800fps (70gr. 3F charge) starts with 812fpe and at 100yds., is down to 263fpe.

Of course, we should all know that FPE is a VERY poor representation of anything to do with killing power.
Daryl

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

Offline smylee grouch

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Re: .54 Range Question
« Reply #18 on: January 04, 2022, 04:10:50 AM »
Your right about that Daryl, just a bunch of numbers on paper but you can't tell the geewiz loudenboomers that.  :)

Offline JHeath

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Re: .54 Range Question
« Reply #19 on: January 04, 2022, 06:46:56 AM »
My hunting load in the .69 starts at 2,516fpe and at 100, it's down to 1,098fpe.

A .54 ball starting out t 1,700fps (300+fps faster than the 80gr. shooters) starts at 1,289fpe and at 100yds. is down to 494fpe.

A .45 ball starting out at 1,800fps (70gr. 3F charge) starts with 812fpe and at 100yds., is down to 263fpe.

Of course, we should all know that FPE is a VERY poor representation of anything to do with killing power.

I just read a *very authoritative* article explaining that .54 ball is "inappropriate" for deer beyond 50 yds, and that shots must be limited to within that distance.

Based on 800fpe.

And I thought 50yds? You can hit them with a smoothbore at that distance. Why did rifles exist at all?

Jim Bridger's rifle weighed 12 or 14lbs, Kit Carson's was slightly lighter. Those poor ignorant guys were hauling all that around just for 50yd shots on deer. Who knew?

Offline Jeff Murray

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Re: .54 Range Question
« Reply #20 on: January 04, 2022, 09:07:27 AM »
Well, I guess its a good thing that elk aren't as tough as deer.  All the elk steaks I have enjoyed over the years were taken with a 50 caliber flintlock.  Not all magazine "wizards" are created equal.

Offline Daryl

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Re: .54 Range Question
« Reply #21 on: January 04, 2022, 11:28:50 AM »
Well, I guess its a good thing that elk aren't as tough as deer.  All the elk steaks I have enjoyed over the years were taken with a 50 caliber flintlock.  Not all magazine "wizards" are created equal.

Well put Jeff. Could say that not all "authoritative" writers actually meet that description.
Witness a bull elk 'taken" at 170 lasered yards, with a .54 TC Hawkens, using a .020" patch and 100gr. Pyrodex. Yeah - I now, don't mention the powder. We've warned that fellow many times.
One shot, BTW - Moose dropped mid-strike 40yards from where he was hit.
So, guess moose aren't as tough as deer, either.
Daryl

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

Online alacran

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Re: .54 Range Question
« Reply #22 on: January 04, 2022, 03:20:23 PM »
First off, one must ignore everything written in magazines about round ball performance. Round balls kill by putting holes in organs.
All PRB requires is enough speed to penetrate into the chest cavity, or through the skull.
A man's rights rest in three boxes: the ballot box, the jury box, and the cartridge box.  Frederick Douglass

Offline Dphariss

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Re: .54 Range Question
« Reply #23 on: January 04, 2022, 05:51:54 PM »
First off, one must ignore everything written in magazines about round ball performance. Round balls kill by putting holes in organs.
All PRB requires is enough speed to penetrate into the chest cavity, or through the skull.
Exactly.
The ball must provide sufficient penetration. And be of sufficient diameter to have the weight necessary for that penetration. For the common deer sized animals 40 cal is likely the best practical minimum. But I would rather use a 50 cal. I have one shot killed a large Elk at more than 50 yards with a 54. But magazine writers often write $#@*, make pronouncements about things they know nothing about. Most likely trying to help some advertiser sell some marvelous "comical" ML bullet of some sort. Francis Parkman in "The Oregon Trail" tells of his guide killing two Buffalo at 175 yards with 2 shots using his own and Parkman's rifle. The rifles were surely the typical plains rifle of the 1840s.
Energy is really just a number.
Its even less relevant for any firearm using BP or other low velocity firearms.
I know people who years ago killed a lot of deer with a 22 LR. With chest shots too (they just run a ways and fall over I was told). My Grandfather killed WT buck many years ago with what was surely a BP 22 short or perhaps Lesmoke, chest shot. And have a report that a 25 Stevens RF was a "great deer poacher". Having shot one I can tell you its not much power wise.
Sorry for the brass suppository stuff but its where the data is.
Shot placement trumps energy every time so long as penetration is sufficient. Don't matter its is a 150 pound deer or a 10000 pound Elephant.
Crisis is the rallying cry of the tyrant”. James Madison

Online recurve

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Re: .54 Range Question
« Reply #24 on: January 06, 2022, 08:23:23 PM »
Maybe we should ask Timothy Murphy  his shot was (some say)   with a .54?