Building Load For Conical in TC Hawken

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Hey everyone, I've searched through the archives and have not yet seen any info on this. But I'm half blind so i may have missed it.

I have always used patched round balls in my TC Hawken. However, i have recently seen so much information regarding conicals that I figured I want to try some.

My question is this: How should I go about finding the right pyrodex amount to put behind one? I have found that 80 grains of select in ideal for this rifle shooting a PRB. Should I reduce that for say something like the Great Plains bullet, or keep it there and increase by 5?
 
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Hey everyone, I've searched through the archives and have not yet seen any info on this. But I'm half blind so i may have missed it.

I have always used patched round balls in my TC Hawken. However, i have recently seen so much information regarding conicals that I figured I want to try some.

My question is this: How should I go about finding the right pyrodex amount to put behind one? I have found that 80 grains of select in ideal for this rifle shooting a PRB. Should I reduce that for say something like the Great Plains bullet, or keep it there and increase by 5?
If it was me I’d start at 70 grains and go from there. I always include a .54 caliber wool wad under the bullet. It protects the base of the bullet from hot blackpowder gasses, prevents leading and most of the time gives better accuracy. at the worst it does nothing for accuracy but it’s never hurt. The sweet spot for my .50 Renegade is 80 grains of Swiss 2f which would be close in velocity to the same charge of Pyrodex RS Select.
 
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I start off low (say 65gr), and work my way up 5 grains at a time, keeping note of the results. At some point the point of impact will stabilize and stay more or less the same for the next 15-20 grains or so, then your group will start opening up because you're overdriving your conical.

As an example, my TC New Englander likes 70-85 grains of FFFg Goex with a 320gr LEE REAL soft lead slug. Between 70-85 grains of powder, the point of impact at 50 yards is virtually identical, in a 2" group. Back it down to 65 grains and I get an inch or two of drop. Push it past 90 grains and that group opens up to 4". I hunt with 75 grains, which is more than enough to go completely through a buck with a chest cavity shot at 50 yards.
 
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If it was me I’d start at 70 grains and go from there. I always include a .54 caliber wool wad under the bullet. It protects the base of the bullet from hot blackpowder gasses, prevents leading and most of the time gives better accuracy. at the worst it does nothing for accuracy but it’s never hurt. The sweet spot for my .50 Renegade is 80 grains of Swiss 2f which would be close in velocity to the same charge of Pyrodex RS Select.
Good tip on the wadding. Makes total sense to me.
 

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Hey everyone, I've searched through the archives and have not yet seen any info on this. But I'm half blind so i may have missed it.

I have always used patched round balls in my TC Hawken. However, i have recently seen so much information regarding conicals that I figured I want to try some.

My question is this: How should I go about finding the right pyrodex amount to put behind one? I have found that 80 grains of select in ideal for this rifle shooting a PRB. Should I reduce that for say something like the Great Plains bullet, or keep it there and increase by 5?
 

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PastorB

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Less powder is more using conicals. Don't rely on T/C's published data, it is very "generous", velocity wise. 60 or 70 grains is plenty behind a conical, unless you just love recoil. I once drove a .54 cal. 425 gr. Great Plains Bullet lengthwise through a large buck using 70 grains of powder. In thru the chest, and out thru the hindquarters. Seemed powerful enough. I really prefer prb's. However, when I do use a conical, it is of the shorter and lighter variety. Just one old guy's opinion and experience.
 

OldSmoky1967

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Hey everyone, I've searched through the archives and have not yet seen any info on this. But I'm half blind so i may have missed it.

I have always used patched round balls in my TC Hawken. However, i have recently seen so much information regarding conicals that I figured I want to try some.

My question is this: How should I go about finding the right pyrodex amount to put behind one? I have found that 80 grains of select in ideal for this rifle shooting a PRB. Should I reduce that for say something like the Great Plains bullet, or keep it there and increase by 5?
I got a LEE Minie ball mold on ebay and could not be happier. Mine is a real tack driver with 70 Grains of FFG Shutzen. The energy at 100Yards is quite satisfying and can put 'em through the same hole at 50yards.
 
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First, get rid of that Pyrodex and replace it with actual black powder. You don't say what caliber you have, but I'd go with fffg. My theory of conicals is 45-70, 50-70 and 54-70. In these times of black powder shortages, I am using ten grains of black powder topped by my main charge or Triple 7. I've never been a fan of Pyrodex or any other black powder substitutes in side-hammer guns. Too many hang-fires and misfires.

Aside from all that, if you want to work up a most accurate load, get a good bench rest and start with sixty grains, working up in five grain increments. Don't touch your sight adjustments just yet, you are only looking at group size. Use the set trigger. You'll probably end up somewhere around 65 to 85 grains with most conicals. Stay away from sabots. Paper patching can be fun, but it's a whole 'nother rabbit hole to go down... and if you ask Alice, she'll tell you that isn't always a good idea.

Once you have established your load, you can take it off the bench rest and start shooting off-hand. Your impact point will change noticeably. Start at fifty yards. You want your impact point a bit high at that range. Then move out to 100 yards. Your group will be larger, but should be pretty close to a zero. If you are younger than I am, you might want to try for a 200 yard shot, but honestly, I don't think I have ever met a shooter capable ot hitting a kill zone reliably at that range with a side-hammer gun. Not saying that there are none, just that I have never met one that I know of. Have met a few who SAID they could do it... even out to 300 yards.... with iron sights. To do that, reliably, you need a scoped inline and/or a pair of shooting sticks... at least that's what I would need.
 
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I remember long ago some shooters recommending that hollow base bullets have the base packed with lube. Never did that but maybe someone here will have some firsthand knowledge.

If it's not for hunting, you might want to start low around 45 grains in the search for accuracy. I shot alongside some musket competitors a few times (not with, I don't shoot musket) and they seemed to favor light loads for accuracy. My own experience with accuracy told me to wipe between shots.

Only killed a couple animals with bullets. Fifty cal TC Hawken and 370 maxi. So, one was an elk at 131 yards with 70 grains of goex ff. Broke a rib going in, through both lungs, between the ribs and stopped under the skin. Dead elk. So you figure out what that might to you.
 
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I remember long ago some shooters recommending that hollow base bullets have the base packed with lube. Never did that but maybe someone here will have some firsthand knowledge.

If it's not for hunting, you might want to start low around 45 grains in the search for accuracy. I shot alongside some musket competitors a few times (not with, I don't shoot musket) and they seemed to favor light loads for accuracy. My own experience with accuracy told me to wipe between shots.

Only killed a couple animals with bullets. Fifty cal TC Hawken and 370 maxi. So, one was an elk at 131 yards with 70 grains of goex ff. Broke a rib going in, through both lungs, between the ribs and stopped under the skin. Dead elk. So you figure out what that might to you.
I have tried packing lube in the base. I was in a “if lube is good, more lube is more gooder“ phase. My results weren’t promising so I went back to a wad of raw wool under the bullet. A piece about the size of a golf ball seems to work well with the hollow base bullets.
 
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I've never tried putting stuff behind a conical bullet, though I have tried it in a smoothbore with round balls, and of course with percussion revolvers. I am at that age where a minor increase in accuracy is pretty much useless to me as my eyes are not as sharp, nor is a 66-year-old neuro-muscular system good for all that much. Does it contribute greatly to better accuracy or is it something that only a really good shooter would notice?
 

OldSmoky1967

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I have tried packing lube in the base. I was in a “if lube is good, more lube is more gooder“ phase. My results weren’t promising so I went back to a wad of raw wool under the bullet. A piece about the size of a golf ball seems to work well with the hollow base bullets.
The main thing affecting accuracy with a Minie style hollow base bullet is it needs to be only very very slightly undersized so it can expand and grip the rifling when fired. No wad should be used if the bullet is correctly sized.
 
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I've never tried putting stuff behind a conical bullet, though I have tried it in a smoothbore with round balls, and of course with percussion revolvers. I am at that age where a minor increase in accuracy is pretty much useless to me as my eyes are not as sharp, nor is a 66-year-old neuro-muscular system good for all that much. Does it contribute greatly to better accuracy or is it something that only a really good shooter would notice?
The main thing affecting accuracy with a Minie style hollow base bullet is it needs to be only very very slightly undersized so it can expand and grip the rifling when fired. No wad should be used if the bullet is correctly sized.
Dale brings up an important point. Available inherent accuracy is often much different from actual, realized results. An individual shooter, using stock TC style sights and shooting at 100 yards, may or may not be able to see a repeatable difference between using a wad or ball of wool or whatever under a conical and shooting the same bullet seated bare over the charge. It’s up to us to try what makes sense to us and evaluate the results for ourselves. For my part I have seen no downside and plenty of upside but I seldom shoot hollow based bullets and never shoot minies.
 
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