Most Popular Caliber

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new2bp

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Having recently gotten my first BP rifle, a .54, and looking around for bullets I can say that there is a LOT more variety for .50 and more dealers - even heavily BP oriented places - carry more .50 stuff than the other calibers.
 

Bushfire

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Having recently gotten my first BP rifle, a .54, and looking around for bullets I can say that there is a LOT more variety for .50 and more dealers - even heavily BP oriented places - carry more .50 stuff than the other calibers.
Wat twist is your rifle? Most (but not all) 54's will be slow twist. If so you'll want a short conical if not using round ball.
 

ltdann

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I've got "one or two" .50's but for some reason, I just like the way the .54 shoots. There's no difference in accuracy, or handling....just can't put my finger on it, but I'd go .54 every time.
 

Nobody85

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Nowadays the .50 rules the day in available supplies. It’s the gun most people start with. This isn’t a relatively new thing. It’s been the go to for a good many years, but I’ve seen a lot of kit guns from the 1970s bored in .45. I don’t know when the .50 took charge of popularity but it has. My favorite rifle is my .36, but I definitely have a couple .50s hiding in the back of the closet…
 

Old Hawkeye

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I think the companies marketing BP stuff have kinda standardize every thing to 50 cal because of the In-line craze that dominates sales. Nearly ALL in-lines are 50 cal & the traditional rifle makers are producing rifles in the caliber that balls, bullets, sabots, etc, etc, are being mass produced & readily available so the buyer can see it all of the shelf right in front of him when he buys the rifle. Name me one walk in store that people across the country can go into & find 32, 36, 40, 45, 54, or 58 cal stuff, let alone the bigger bore items. Just the nature of things. What ever people think here is the most "most popular caliber" is meaningless in the grand scheme of things. It's about SALES!
 

Bushfire

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I think the companies marketing BP stuff have kinda standardize every thing to 50 cal because of the In-line craze that dominates sales. Nearly ALL in-lines are 50 cal & the traditional rifle makers are producing rifles in the caliber that balls, bullets, sabots, etc, etc, are being mass produced & readily available so the buyer can see it all of the shelf right in front of him when he buys the rifle. Name me one walk in store that people across the country can go into & find 32, 36, 40, 45, 54, or 58 cal stuff, let alone the bigger bore items. Just the nature of things. What ever people think here is the most "most popular caliber" is meaningless in the grand scheme of things. It's about SALES!
I think you've answered the thread title.
 

DixieTexian

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The 50 and bigger bores became more popular as deer populations recovered more and more from near extinction 100 years ago or so. When there wasn't anything large for most folks to hunt, there was no real need for bigger calibers.
 

TDM

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Well, my first was a .50 many years ago. I wanted a .36 but never got one. Now I just keep getting .50s. At this stage of life I can't justify getting all the trappings for another caliber. However, I do have .36 & .44 revolvers, so a change isn't totally out of the question.
 
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I would say .50 is the most popular in my area. But most, 98% of everything I see locally is geared towards in-lines. Traditional gear is all but non existing.
 

Snake Pleskin

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Some one Help me understand? For decades I was told, read, heard, that a RB rifle needs a slow twist like 1-60 or 1-66 to be a good shooter. Now, I am hearing that 1-48 is good? Well? Which is it?
 

leadhoarder

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Many of the original rifles were 1:48 or close to it and most of them probably never seen anything other than a PRB. They shoot just fine.

Here is my hypothesis about what happened. I think that the slower twist allows you to use a higher powder charge to get more muzzle velocity but a high velocity in a 1:48 gets you a higher rpm. That higher rpm can lead to inaccuracy if the ball is mishapen or has voids. I think the slower twists allow for a higher muzzle velocity without increasing rpm too much. However if you look at a chart a PRB slows down so quickly that extra powder being burnt really does not equate to that big of an increase in down range performance.

Just my thoughts on the subject.
 

Snake Pleskin

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Many of the original rifles were 1:48 or close to it and most of them probably never seen anything other than a PRB. They shoot just fine.

Here is my hypothesis about what happened. I think that the slower twist allows you to use a higher powder charge to get more muzzle velocity but a high velocity in a 1:48 gets you a higher rpm. That higher rpm can lead to inaccuracy if the ball is mishapen or has voids. I think the slower twists allow for a higher muzzle velocity without increasing rpm too much. However if you look at a chart a PRB slows down so quickly that extra powder being burnt really does not equate to that big of an increase in down range performance.

Just my thoughts on the subject.
I have never understood the need for "heavy" powder charges. The .58 Zouave I used to shoot Minies, took 50-60 gr and that was the std. load, from the civil War till today! It would shoot just fine! My .50 and .54 RB rifles get 65-70 gr max and also shoot fine. In BP I do not think you get a lot of benefit of burning heavier charges. More flash, smoke, noise and recoil but not performance (IMHO)
 
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