10 replies [Last post]
Offline
Location: Southern California
Joined: 12/02/2006
Posts: 39
Load confusion

I'm really confused about what the maximum load is for my new Cabela's Sporterized Hawken, .54 cal. percussion. A booklet that Cabela sent with the gun says 90 gr. FFg maximum, or 72 gr. Pyrodex, using 425 gr. conicals. But the Lyman booklet for a nearly identical 54 cal., made by the same Italian company, says the maximum is 110 gr. FFg, with Pyrodex having the same 110 maximum! To make things worse, Hodgdon, which makes Pyrodex, says the maximum for 425 gr. conicals in .54 caliber smokepoles is 120 grains. This is not very helpful!:rotest1 Brick Wall,)

It's not that I'm interested in using the absolute maximum load possible, but it would be nice to know if, say, 100 grains is a moderate load or an excessive load - ya know? I'm hunting elk in September, and I could all the umph I can get, while not overdoing it.

So can anybody weigh in on how to figure out what a reasonable maximum would be for my gun? Thanks Thumbs up

Offline
Location: Southern California
Joined: 12/02/2006
Posts: 39
Load confusion

Well OK! So not much anyone can say about this, I guess. What - nobody shoots 54 cal on this site???

Anyhoo, I got ahold of a Cabela's blackpowder guy, and he said that they intentionally publish low numbers. He said that 110 grains of Pyrodex is probably a realistic maximum, and mentioned that his dad shoots 100 grains. We agreed that 100 grains sounded like a reasonable max. hunting load, just to be safe. Today I went out to the range, and that 100 grain load worked just fine, just in case ANYBODY OUT THERE should happen to shoot 54 cal in the future.... Mr. Cool!

I am - over and out.... Thumbs up

ADKBEAR's picture
Offline
Moderator
Location: Central NY
Joined: 09/16/2003
Posts: 823
Load confusion

DG
First off welcome to the site. Replys are sometimes lighting fast other times may take a couple of weeks. No telling.
The guy from Cabelas is right it is the cover your butt syndrom. The one thing that I found confusing here is the diff listed between FF and Pyrodex? It has always been my understanding that the two can be switched at a 1:1 ratio (ie 100 gr of Pyro = 100 gr of FF)? I do not know much about Pyrodex or Triple 7, I tend to use Black Powder in my front stuffers.
I do have a 54 but it is a Lyman Plains Pistol so I only run 60gr of FFF under a patched round ball in it (it is my second shot in case of bear).
Out of my 50 flint I shoot 100 gr of FF under a patched 49 ball and it is a good charge. You may want to push the load uo esp if you are shooting conicals. This is something that you will have to work out on the bench. I would start out at 90 gr and sight the gun in at 25 yd. I would then move the target to 50yds and fire 3 more at 90 gr. Then start increasing your powder charge 10 gr at a time (unless you are using pellets then sight in with 100 gr and move up 20 gr at a time). Todays guns are built very tough and most of the inlines are made to shoot using a 150 gr charge. So I would not worry about blowing up the gun but the kick to your shoulder may take a little punishment as the charge gos up.
Good luck and let us know how things work out.

Offline
Location: Southern California
Joined: 12/02/2006
Posts: 39
Load confusion
ADKBEAR wrote:
DG
The one thing that I found confusing here is the diff listed between FF and Pyrodex? It has always been my understanding that the two can be switched at a 1:1 ratio (ie 100 gr of Pyro = 100 gr of FF)?
.

I read someplace else that by weight, 90 gr. of FF is equal to 72 gr. of Pyrodex. But since we usually load by volume, 90 gr. is the same charge in either FF or Pyrodex. Why Cabela's wouldn't clarify that in the first case is a mystery, and an example of not being as helpful as they normally are.

Thanks for your comments!

Offline
Location: Maui, Hawaii
Joined: 05/03/2006
Posts: 100
Load confusion

I picked up my 50 cal. flintlock 20 years ago. When I got the rifle, there was no published information on maximum load. My friend who got me into blackpowder suggested a starting load of 80 gr. ffg. I then read that in the old days, they would go out over fresh snow and keep increasing the powder charge until you found unburned powder on the snow. This was the maximum load as any additional powder would not be burned. I found that my rifle will burn 120 gr ffg. It may burn more but that is where I stopped.

Now I find that Dixie Gun Works lists a max load for the rifle at 70 gr fffg.

A big issue regarding pressure in my blackpowder books is that it is really critical that the bullet not be short started. It is really important that the bullet be seated against the powder.

Offline
Location: Southern NH
Joined: 09/13/2006
Posts: 380
Pyrodex

Pyrodex and ffg blackpowder are loaded 1:1 by volume. Densities are probably different so you should only load by volume. My understanding is that Triple 7 is loaded at 15% less by volume than Pyrodex or blackpowder. I plan on finding out how Triple 7 works this weekend. I will work up my load in my 700 MLS to 100 grains of Triple 7 max.

Offline
Location: Oklahoma City, OK
Joined: 09/15/2006
Posts: 204
Load confusion

DaGooster
In my Traditions .54 inline I also shoot 425g conicals over about 110g of Goex FFg and a wad.

Offline
Location: Southern California
Joined: 12/02/2006
Posts: 39
Load confusion
Bullbuster wrote:
DaGooster
In my Traditions .54 inline I also shoot 425g conicals over about 110g of Goex FFg and a wad.

OK, I give: how come you use a wad with the conical?

BTW, scored a nice Oregon black bear last week with one shot of the GP conical and 95 grains Pyrodex. He slowly walked about 50 feet uphill, then collapsed. Right in the old boilerplate. Only problem was: he was about 80 yards up a steep, deadfall, blackberry-choked ravine. Rather inconsiderate of him....

Hey - here's another question. Lately my primers don't ignite the first time the hammer comes down on them. Like with this guy: click, nothing happened. He just kept staring at me, so I recocked and the second time, the primer went off. This has happened almost every time lately. I don't believe it's a primer problem, but rather a hammer problem. Anybody have experience with this and what to do about it???

Offline
Location: Southern NH
Joined: 09/13/2006
Posts: 380
hammer time

Not sure of the construction of the Traditions hammer. I cleaned my Rem 700 MLS last night and installed the 209 primer conversion. Had to take the bolt apart and remove the firing pin. Lots of crud and corrosion inside the bolt. I wonder if my hammer would have worked OK if I shot it that way. My Knight is different and the hammer really can't get gunked up.

Offline
Location: Maui, Hawaii
Joined: 05/03/2006
Posts: 100
Load confusion

Dagooster
Sounds to me like your primer is not being completely seated on the nipple.

Offline
Location: Oklahoma City, OK
Joined: 09/15/2006
Posts: 204
Load confusion

DaGooster
When I first started shooting my .54 with the Traditions 425g conical I was getting like 5" 5 shot groups at 100y. Had an oldtimer at the range who shot a sidelock .54 for years tell me to try a wad under the conical. He used them and said aside from helping prevent lost pressure and conical base melting (which I found I was haveing some after picking up a few shot ones) I found my groups tightend way up. Not the case with the Buffalo Ball-ET in 310g I also shoot. Found a wad made the group very inconsistant.

Try taking your bolt apart and giving it a good cleaning. May have gunk in the spring keeping it from makeing good contact. Keep in mind to loosen the set screw or you will strip the back threads on the fireing pin. I say that from experiance. Had to get a new pin because of it.

Congrats on the bear.

Related Forum Threads You Might Like

ThreadThread StarterRepliesLast Updated
Favorite 45-70 load?groovy mike901/25/2011 06:55 am
Hot loads! For slug shooters!trappermike107/30/2007 12:51 pm
New hunter questions - longUtah705/06/2004 04:01 am
for the recordTndeerhunter312/31/2010 11:01 am
advice on .308 loadTaku1002/04/2012 13:38 pm