Black Powder Loads

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What is best Black Powder Loads to use in your muzzleloader? Well that depends on what kind or rifling you have in your barrel. By this I mean the rate of twist. This depends on the caliber and what projectile the gun was meant for. This will determine what Black Powder Loads to use. Lead round balls or lead conical projectiles.

Patched lead round balls require a longer twist rate than lead conical projectile or sabot held pistol bullets. This is also depending on the caliber of the barrel. A rifle having a smaller caliber like 32 caliber or 36 caliber will have a twist rate of 1 twist in 48 inches of travel. Larger calibers of 50 caliber rifles and up will have a twist rate of 1 twist in 70 inches. You can get barrels with 56 inches to 60 inches of travel to 1 twist, also known as 1 in 56 inches or 1 in 60 inches. this is the first determining factor in finding your black powder loads.

Barrels made for shooting conical or sabot held pistol bullets should have faster twist rates. They can have rates as fast as 1 twist in 28 inches for sabot held bullets. Most of these rifles are of the inline configuration. They look a lot like a modern day cartridge rifles with a ramrod mounted under the barrel.

Reproduction rifles that look like the old style muzzle loaders like the Thomsom Center, Layman, Pedersoli and Traditions guns will range from 1 twist in 48 inches to 1 twist in 70 inches. 1 twist in 48 inches is generally used for patched lead round balls and lead conical projectiles.

Any rifle barrel having a twist rate slower than 1 twist in 48 inches, like 1 twist in 70 inches, should only shoot a patched round lead ball. You can try a short conical projectile but the twist rate will not stabilize the flight of a conical at any long distance. Round balls do not need the faster spine rate to keep them on a stable flight to the target.

1 twist in 48 is for shooting soft lead conical projectiles and patched lead round balls. but for patched lead round balls, this would be considered the fastest rate for a rifle. Some time faster twist rates would be good only for conical and sabot held pistol bullets.

If you have a rifle that will shoot round ball or conical projectiles witch one to should you use. This depends on your target. If you are just going out to the range and shoot paper or cans, I would say patched round ball. But if you are going hunting for anything bigger than say a ground hog, use a conical.

For bigger game like wild pig, deer or black bear, you better be using a conical. For the reason that conical is heavier than a round ball. They hit their targets with a lot more energy. Very important when hunting something that can kill you when pissed off because of a bad hit by a light bullet.

Take a 50 caliber rife. The lead round ball weighs in at 175 grains. The conical maxi-hunter weighs in at 355 grains. With 100 grains of black powder each the muzzle velocity of the round ball is 2,052 feet per second, the conical is only going 1418 feet per second. The muzzle energy for the round ball is 1637 foot pounds, and the conical has 1652 foot pounds behind it. But the round ball will lose its energy faster and will deflect easier than the heavier conical will. The conical will deliver more trauma to your game every time because of its weight advantage.

The only disadvantage of a conical is the extra recoil felt by the shooter. It is a lot more than the round ball. Also with its slower feet per second speed, you will have a larger travel ark to the target than the faster round ball given the same distance.

For the amount of powder needed for good accuracy. This is where testing will come in. Start out at a light load say around 35 grains of black powder for 32 and 36 calibers to 50 grains of black powder for 40 and 45 calibers. Any larger caliber than 45 use 55 grains of black powder to start out with.

Shoot 3 shot groups at 50 yards looking at the tightness of the group. Jump up 10 grains of black powder till you see your groups getting bigger. Then back off by 5 grains to keep your group tight. Shoot now at 100 yards to confirm that you will stay on target with the black powder charge you are using.

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