I got asked what my favorite BP rifle was

Discussion in 'muzzle loaders' started by grumpyvette, Mar 22, 2012.

  1. grumpyvette

    grumpyvette Administrator Staff Member

    I built a 62 cal 42" barrel custom hawken or trade rifle kit, I forget which, one first and a near clone later in a 58 caliber ,at about the same time , with the same hawken design and 42" barrel.
    but either one will throw a 58-62 cal patched ball into a 2"-2.5" 100 yard group most of the time from a bench rest and Im sure its old eyes keeping the groups that large, and its effective on deer hogs and the one stupid elk that wondered out in front of it at 80 yards
    Ive generally used a 58 cal hawken with patched round balls over 95-110 grains of 2f black powder, for hunting, as the 62 calibers just a bit less accurate. but I used to own a 1864 Springfield 58 caliber replica that I found to be most accurate with a 505 grain mini over 65 grains of 3f black powder, now that might not sound like much power but a soft lead 505 grain mini punched a BIG hole in a deer and in most cases expands to the size of a 50 cent coin
    I load a 110 grains of 1F or 2f a cosmetic cotton ball as a powder gasket then a well lubed greased patch and round ball firmly seated
    that round ball looked like a 50 cent piece ,on that elk found against the far side hide and it leaves a impressive hole
    I don,t know if they are still available, its got a 1 1/8" barrel and its like carrying a truck axle heavy, but its damn effective , makes you appreciate how tough the mountain men must have been and why most carried a hatchet, and a large knife as a secondary weapon
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    when I ordered my kit a friend also ordered a similar kit, which I built for him at the time, he sold his when he got divorced and regretted doing that till the day he died (heart attack at 60)

    the pressure differs with the bore size, expansion ratio and projectile weight plus the powder and type and granulation
    Ive owned and shot at least a dozen or more BP rifles and most of my friends are well into them also

    as a general rule using round balls AND PATCHES ONLY Ive found these to be about ball park loads to get both accuracy and high velocity

    45 cal-60-70 grains 3f or 2f
    50cal 70-80 grains 3f or 2f
    54 cal 85-95 grains 3f-or 2f
    58 cal 80-95 grains 2f or 1f
    62 cal 95-110 grains 1f

    obviously youll want to experiment as patch, lube twist and rifle groove depth effect results
    your never going to get extremely high velocity but don,t be overly concerned the rifles are still deadly with proper shot placement and these loads

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    BTW I have yet to see the BP rifle that does not increase the accuracy and shot to shot consistency by inserting a cosmetic cotton ball you can get at any drug store between the powder charge and a really soaking dripping wet with lube, patch around the ball, keeping the bore surface well lubed and fairly free of burnt black powder residue helps consistency and accuracy and the cotton ball helps prevent the lube from contaminating the powder charge, just be sure to mark your ram rod because the ball,patch and cotton ball must be firmly compressed over the powder charge
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 6, 2018
  2. grumpyvette

    grumpyvette Administrator Staff Member

    I have no idea why the vast majority of hunters are so sure the only decent combination in a black powder rifle needs to be the best in high velocity and inline design,selecting muzzle loaders that are 50 caliber exclusive of the other options.
    while theres some fine rifles available in that type Ive never regretted purchasing a 58 caliber hawken kit and building a rifle, and Ive also got a 58 caliber TC big bore, both are fully able to kill deer and elk very effectively out past 150 yards or so, with a good load, and both shoot round balls very accurately (2" off a bench rest at 100 yards) or 500 grain minis in fairly decent groups 3"-3.5"
    check your local gun store and pawn shops for used hawken style rifles, the better brands like BROWNING (54 cal)and some Thompson center rifles (54 and 58 cal)are usually available fairly cheap and make good hunting rifles

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    Ive always been into the older traditional muzzle loaders of the mountain man hawken type , mostly in 58-62 caliber
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    http://www.trackofthewolf.com/List/Item.aspx/617/1

    http://www.trackofthewolf.com/List/Item.aspx/615/1

    http://www.midwayusa.com/Product/255271 ... steel-blue

    http://www.trackofthewolf.com/

    http://www.chuckhawks.com/58_muzzleloaders.htm

    https://www.muzzle-loaders.com/traditions-1842-springfield-musket-rifled-69-cal-r184205.html

    a quality barrel on a correctly loaded hawken in my experience can almost always hold a 4"-5" or smaller group off the bench rest at even 150 yards making it easily capable of killing game even with the patched round ball, keep in mind your 58 cal ballistics easily match or exceed a 45/70.
    a properly loaded 600 grain maxi may not be a high velocity load but it punches effectively and usually exits from most angles in my experience on deer and hogs
    obviously you need to know how to correctly load,size projectiles, and lube a rifle bullet or patch and be consistent, to maximize accuracy, a maxi ball must be carefully fitted and made from soft lead so the black powder pressure bumps it up expanding it just a bit as its fired and its critical that its properly lubed, the cotton ball and extra lube mentioned earlier in the thread helps seal and accuracy, youll quickly find that some projectiles are far more accurate in your particular rifle than others, not all projectiles are equally accurate in all barrels or twist rates, and even changing the powder charge or lube effects results.
    it will take you some time and experimentation at the range but don,t assume that because one mini-or-maxi is, or is not accurate all others will be similar

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    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 30, 2018
  3. Grumpy

    Grumpy The Grumpy Grease Monkey mechanical engineer. Staff Member

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