How fast is a Hawken ball?

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Tom A Hawk

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This is something I have wondered for some time. The .54 Hawken rifle below is my first build - a Kit Carson from TOW. I have taken several bucks with this gun but I have pondered about what velocity I was getting. My standard load has been 125 grains FF, Now, I realize there are some "powder pinchers" here who will jump to explain why this is an unnecessary heavy load in terms of game lethality. And they are right, however I believe the Hawken was intended as a heavy hitter and I enjoy the laser flat trajectory this load gives me at any reasonably hunting distance.

1632186942856.jpeg


Today I was at the range to zero a replacement rear sight and was delighted when a fellow shooter suggested I put a ball through his chronograph. I had a guesstimated number in mind, extrapolated from online tables but now thanks to the chronograph we know for certain. 125 grains of Swiss FF pushes the ball at 1979 FPS.


1632187260548.jpeg


No wonder the balls recovered from game are flat and quarter sized.

1632187198263.jpeg
 

10acres

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I say shoot what works for you. I load my T/C Renegade 54cal with 90 grains of Goex FF. Thats what the previous owner used so I tried it and it shot well enough to go with it.
 

tenngun

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I’ve taken deer at seven yards, most beyond that. Balls velocity curve downward is pretty steep. What is the range your hunting at? Are you getting a payoff at that range?
 

jambuster

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No criticism from me . I'm shooting 110 gr of Graff FFFG in my Lyman GPR 54. Ranges for me would be 30 to 50 yards typically. I might try your loading next time out. Nice job on the build.
 

TFoley

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I guess that shooting a one-shot load of that might be construed as fun, but shooting a series might be somewhat less so. Interesting to see what weight your ball is, so that we can do a muzzle energy calculation to figure out if such a load might be UK compliant. I know a lot of folks with good game-shooting rifles of the muzzleloading variety who feel stymied and aggrieved by the laws hereabouts.
 
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I have a 54 hawken albeit pedersoli and I'm only running 90gr FFG. But I'm open to trying a heavier load for a bit flatter trajectory. What ball and patch size are you running?
 

nkbj

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Choosing the power level you want for your hunting situation and then changing other variables to make that much powder shoot accurately is definitely the way to go.
 

nkbj

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By the way, my flinter .62 TC Hawken goes 1533 with 120 grains of FFg. That's the fastest I ever pushed it.
 

Tom A Hawk

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Here is a chart showing the velocities out to 200 yards with that MV and a round ball...,

View attachment 95021

Up to 100 yards it's still supersonic.

LD
Thanks LD. Thats a great chart.

Yes, supersonic and still plenty of whack. Here's a water jug at 100 yards.


 

pmccoywss

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I used 120gr 2F in my 50 cal for hunting. Only time I shot over a crono it was just under 2100fps.

Standard load was 90gr 2F.

Both loads were developed shooting groups. Started at 70gr and it tightened up at 90, then loosened and tightened again at 120 then started to loosen. Someone told me it would tighten again around 140, but that was more than I needed so I quit at 120. Loads developed shooting groups at 50gr increments, then 2.5gr above and below the final load to confirm.
 

Tom Compton

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.54 GM 1” x 32” twist 1/72. .535 PRB

60 gr Goex FFg for targets 25-50 yds
90 gr ditto targets and hunting to 100 yds
120 gr hunting to 130 yds and any bigger game (elk, moose, bear etc but only hunted elk so far)
As the saying goes your mileage ma vary.
 

Col_Houston

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This is something I have wondered for some time. The .54 Hawken rifle below is my first build - a Kit Carson from TOW. I have taken several bucks with this gun but I have pondered about what velocity I was getting. My standard load has been 125 grains FF, Now, I realize there are some "powder pinchers" here who will jump to explain why this is an unnecessary heavy load in terms of game lethality. And they are right, however I believe the Hawken was intended as a heavy hitter and I enjoy the laser flat trajectory this load gives me at any reasonably hunting distance.

View attachment 94966

Today I was at the range to zero a replacement rear sight and was delighted when a fellow shooter suggested I put a ball through his chronograph. I had a guesstimated number in mind, extrapolated from online tables but now thanks to the chronograph we know for certain. 125 grains of Swiss FF pushes the ball at 1979 FPS.


View attachment 94968

No wonder the balls recovered from game are flat and quarter sized.

View attachment 94967
I’m not a powder pincher by any means, because I’ve several pounds looking for the most accurate load for my Lyman .54 cal GPR. Even with only 65 gr. of 3f Goex behind a round ball, it will still push a ball through both shoulder blades of deer 75-80 yards away. I’m good with that. I can certainly understand needing more power for the bigger game, so what ever works for you, I’m ecstatic with. 😉
 

PastorB

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I like shooting 60 grains of Swiss 3f in my .54 Pedersoli RMH. That load gets 1600fps with a PRB. FFFG Goex needs about 75 grains to get that same velocity. I have gone as high as 90 grains with Swiss, getting about 1900fps, but don't care for the recoil. I shoot playing cards at 100 yards with the 60 grain load, don't need any more accuracy, and deer seem to just up and die. Not being critical of those who use more powder, just saying what works for me. I have found that 60-70 grains of FFFg is about a perfect load for all my guns, from .45 to my 20 gauge trade gun. If I were to hunt larger game, I would up the powder charge, but for deer and such, 60-70 grains seems to be that bees knees.
 

.36Rooster

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What are you guys getting for velocity with 65 grains 2f for a .54? Thats what i shoot. i consider it flat...but then again i shoot traditional archery, and with an arrow that rises and falls 4 feet in 40 yards, a 10" rise and fall is pretty easy shooting . Lol🤣
 

bud in pa

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Somewhere in the foggy past I read an article by someone who found an original Hawken. I wish I could remember the exact load,but it was beyond 120grains.
 

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