Black Powder Loads
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
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
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.
Go back to Black Powder
Shooter home page, just click link.