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Location: Southern California
Joined: 12/02/2006
Posts: 39
Maximum safe load

I have a modern version of a Hawken, .54 cal., Cabela's sporterized model, made in Italy. It has a chrome-lined bore and some other little modifications. The manufacturer's literature said 90 grains MAXIMUM of black powder, while places like Hornady list loads for 54 cal up to 120 grains, and the latest Barnes manual talks about 140 and 150 grain loads! My gun's manufacturer says NEVER exceed the 90 grain limit, which seems really out of line. Now I know that maybe Hornady and Barnes are based on other rifles or whatever, but still - there's a huge difference between 150 grains, 120 grains, and a 90 grain MAXIMUM.

By the way, I've owned it for 2 years and shoot 90 grains of Pyrodex RS out of it. It shoots fine, but for elk hunting, I'm wondering if I should try heavier loads. Anybody able to help me with this confusion? Thanks

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Grand Slam Challenge Winner!Moderator
Location: Western Colorado
Joined: 03/26/2009
Posts: 3915
Maximum safe load

Maximum loads will vary a lot from rifle to rifle and need to be worked up to. I have a .54 Thompsom Renagade that I shot with 110 grains of Pyrodex under a 430 gr maxi ball. It kicked like all get out and accuracy wasn't that good. I dropped it down to 90 grains and with the same bullet sighted in at 100 yards I am good from 50 yards to 150 yards into a 6 inch circle. I could never get that 110 grains of powder to do that. So what I would do if I was you is get the bullet that you want to shoot and work it up from the 90 grains. I think that the recoil will stop you from going too far over the 110 grains. As far a how much powder is really too much, I once heard that you could pack a barrel full of black powder and set it off with out trouble, but then I have never had the urge to try it either.

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Location: Upper Peninsula of Michigan
Joined: 01/13/2007
Posts: 368
Maximum safe load

Who!! Who!! BAD IDEA! The manufacture tells you that 90 gr. of black power is maximum for a reason. The metalurgy of the barrel is probably not up to withstanding the presure of higher loads. You might get away with fireing a few loads but the stress on the metal of the barrel tends to be cumulative, ie: it stresses the metal. As for filling a bbl with black powder, if you put a bullet over it you now have a pipe bomb!.

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Location: Muskoka Ontario
Joined: 09/04/2007
Posts: 351
Maximum safe load

Is that 90 grns of FF or FFF black powder. because I think that is how ML are rated. 90 grns of FFF is equivalent to about 120 grns of FF BP. Now pyrodex is a difrent story I have never used it so I'm not familier with the conversion, and diferent for 777.
I would go back and read the manual and find out if it is for Black powder or oneof the subsatutes.
My 2 cents
F.K.

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Location: Southern California
Joined: 12/02/2006
Posts: 39
Maximum safe load

Yeah, I shoot black powder 2Fs or Pyrodex RS with Great Plains 425s. Prefer Pyrodex because it's cleaner. The sources I've seen said you can substitute RS for 2F black powder grain for grain, so I shoot 90 gr. with either.

90 grains seems pretty accurate, but I just know I'm giving up a lot of velocity and energy compared to 100 or 110, and that's why I'm asking about those higher loads. I figure I can use all the punch available on elk, assuming it's safe. But now the Old Professor's got me thinking that's not such a good idea. Guess I better just focus on accuracy and shots within 75 yards, in which case 90 grains will be more than enough. Thumbs up

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Location: Boncarbo,CO
Joined: 12/01/2008
Posts: 87
Maximum safe load

that animal cant tell the difference between 90gr VS 110. Especially when the bullet is so big like the one you are shooting.

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Location: Southern California
Joined: 12/02/2006
Posts: 39
Maximum safe load

Thanks for confirming my thoughts. And you got a cool forum name; maybe we're related??? lol

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