PA Conicals vs Maxi-balls?

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jmerch87

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Hi all,
My 1:48 TC Hawken (.50 cal) doesn’t seem to shoot PRB particularly well after many patch/lube/powder combinations. Accuracy isn’t horrible but looking for better. Would like to experiment with either the 240 grain Hornady PA Conicals, or the 370 grain TC Maxi-balls next. Anyone have experience with either out of the same rifle/twist, or have reason to believe one would be better than the other? Use for target and deer out to 100 yards. Thanks in advance for any input!
 

NorthFork

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Many moons ago so to speak, I knew a man who swore by the 50 cal ball-ets. I believe a company called Buffalo Ball or something like that made them. The company called them ball-ets. They looked identical to the PA Conicals. He said they were flat out murder on whitetail deer.
 

Grimord

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Out of my T/C High Plains Sporter, with 1:48" twist, the Ballet or PA conical shot very well out to 75 yards which is as far as i will shoot at a deer with open sights. I tried the T/C Maxi-hunters, but was not impressed with the accuracy. The Ballets worked great on the 3 deer I took with them. Impressive expansion, but no recovery of the projectile. a complete pass thru.
 

ohio ramrod

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myself I have never got good results with the T.C. maxi's. I use a hollow base mini I make on deer. Good out to 100 yards.(I don't shoot that far any more, due to the eyes but I used too with good kills)
 

jmerch87

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Speaking of the hollow base conicals, does anyone use a felt wad with these? I know you don’t need to but does it hurt? I hear they can improve accuracy with the flat based ones anyway
 

Sidney Smith

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I used to shoot 370 grain maxi balls out of my percussion TC Renegade. I was getting 3 or 4 inch groups at 100 yards. These days I'm strictly round balls but my son still uses the maxis in his .50 cal Traditions Flintlock. He gets similar groups.
 

ohio ramrod

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I use a leather over powder wad with the hollow based mini's just because the mini's are heavily lubed and the rifle may be loaded for a few days when hunting. The lube can moisten the powder if a wad isn't lubed.
 

William O.

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Hi all,
My 1:48 TC Hawken (.50 cal) doesn’t seem to shoot PRB particularly well after many patch/lube/powder combinations. Accuracy isn’t horrible but looking for better. Would like to experiment with either the 240 grain Hornady PA Conicals, or the 370 grain TC Maxi-balls next. Anyone have experience with either out of the same rifle/twist, or have reason to believe one would be better than the other? Use for target and deer out to 100 yards. Thanks in advance for any input!
Back when Buffalo Bullet company still made the Ball-ets in .54 as well, I found that they gave me better accuracy than the Hornady Great Plains bullet or the Thompson Center offerings. A lubed wad always improved accuracy no matter which bullet I tried but nothing was ever as good as a PRB. I don't know why you haven't been able to work up a good load with your .50 T/C but possibly you haven't shot is enough to really polish the bore enough. I had to put about 100 PRB through my .54 Lyman barrel for it to really settle in. That's typical for Lyman barrels, which are made by Investarms. I still have that barrel but it's now on a custom made cherry stock. What I learned about shooting conicals vs. PRB out of a 1/48 barrel is that both the rate of twist and depth of rifling greatly affect accuracy, more so than you might expect. A bore with shallow rifling is better at stabilizing a conical than deeper grooves, which are better at stabilizing a patched round ball. Then, if the shallow rifling has a rate of twist fast enough to spin the conical and keep it stable until it hits your intended target, and you're in business.
I developed a load for my fast twist .50
 

bore_butter

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i've been shooting nothing but maxi ball 370grn in my .50cal tc hawken since 1975. i only shoot 50yds mainly because that's about all the deer shot you will get in kentucky woods. with a base wad bench shooting you can put them side by side and sometimes in the same hole. i'm not going to leave this bullet. i bought a lyman 370 maxi mold 3 years ago and have been more than satisfied with that bullet mold.
 

jmerch87

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i've been shooting nothing but maxi ball 370grn in my .50cal tc hawken since 1975. i only shoot 50yds mainly because that's about all the deer shot you will get in kentucky woods. with a base wad bench shooting you can put them side by side and sometimes in the same hole. i'm not going to leave this bullet. i bought a lyman 370 maxi mold 3 years ago and have been more than satisfied with that bullet mold.
Wow, what kind of wad do you use?
And may I ask what your powder load is also?
 

bore_butter

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i bought the wads from TOTW called Muzzle Loader Originals 1/8th felt wads in packs of 100 they are pre-lubed
i used to shoot only 90grns fffg but after my shoulder surgery i tuned it back to 75g grns. fffg. the rifle seems to like both and both loads put that paper punch hole in the target. only problem i have is that tree they made the stock from is still alive or my arms are getting shorter. there's not as much room to get my head in the right position hunting in cold weather. i can see why some just shoot round ball because of the mass of lead involved with the 370grn. i only shoot the round ball in my tc seneca .36cal.
 

William O.

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Back when Buffalo Bullet company still made the Ball-ets in .54 as well, I found that they gave me better accuracy than the Hornady Great Plains bullet or the Thompson Center offerings. A lubed wad always improved accuracy no matter which bullet I tried but nothing was ever as good as a PRB. I don't know why you haven't been able to work up a good load with your .50 T/C but possibly you haven't shot is enough to really polish the bore enough. I had to put about 100 PRB through my .54 Lyman barrel for it to really settle in. That's typical for Lyman barrels, which are made by Investarms. I still have that barrel but it's now on a custom made cherry stock. What I learned about shooting conicals vs. PRB out of a 1/48 barrel is that both the rate of twist and depth of rifling greatly affect accuracy, more so than you might expect. A bore with shallow rifling is better at stabilizing a conical than deeper grooves, which are better at stabilizing a patched round ball. Then, if the shallow rifling has a rate of twist fast enough to spin the conical and keep it stable until it hits your intended target, and you're in business.
I developed a load for my fast twist .50
Hmm, wondering why the rest of my post didn't make it on here.
Anyway, I developed a load combination for my .50 fast twist rifle, a Great Plains Hunter barrel that was fitted to a Cabelas stock. The rifling was shallow compared to the GPR barrel. No matter what lead conical I tried, accuracy improved with the addition of a lubed fiber wad. I was using Wonder Wads but there are other sources of fiber wads. Anyway, while the Great Plains and T/C bullets gave decent accuracy, it wasn't what I would go hunting with. I then tried the Lee REAL bullets of varying weights. Accuracy got better the lower the weight of the bullet. The 220 grain REAL bullet, fiber wad and 95 grains of 3f Goex would group inside one inch at 75 yards and I think it would go end to end through a bull elk. However, recoil was stout, if not brutal. If you really need to shoot a lead conical then you've got plenty of options and a bit of work finding an accurate load combination but it may result in something you don't want to practice with. My personal limitations using open sights and desire for humanly taking game make 80 yards the farthest point at which I'll take a shot, so roundball is all I shoot.
 

jmerch87

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Hmm, wondering why the rest of my post didn't make it on here.
Anyway, I developed a load combination for my .50 fast twist rifle, a Great Plains Hunter barrel that was fitted to a Cabelas stock. The rifling was shallow compared to the GPR barrel. No matter what lead conical I tried, accuracy improved with the addition of a lubed fiber wad. I was using Wonder Wads but there are other sources of fiber wads. Anyway, while the Great Plains and T/C bullets gave decent accuracy, it wasn't what I would go hunting with. I then tried the Lee REAL bullets of varying weights. Accuracy got better the lower the weight of the bullet. The 220 grain REAL bullet, fiber wad and 95 grains of 3f Goex would group inside one inch at 75 yards and I think it would go end to end through a bull elk. However, recoil was stout, if not brutal. If you really need to shoot a lead conical then you've got plenty of options and a bit of work finding an accurate load combination but it may result in something you don't want to practice with. My personal limitations using open sights and desire for humanly taking game make 80 yards the farthest point at which I'll take a shot, so roundball is all I shoot.
Thanks for the info! Are you able to order the REAL bullets or do have to cast them yourself with a mold?
 

PastorB

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I've used both in a a super cheap ($59.97 new) CVA Bobcat with a woodstock I purchased 25+ years ago. They both shot great, cloverleafs at 50 yards, and just about the same point of impact. Short barrel little rifle, 26" with a 1:48 twist. I use 60 grains of Pyrodex P or Goex FFFg, gets about 1200fps (slightly higher with Ball-et) with either bullet. Killed 9 bucks with 9 shots with it, and I loan it out to kids for youth season with equal success. Best 60 bucks I ever spent.
 

William O.

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Thanks for the info! Are you able to order the REAL bullets or do have to cast them yourself with a mold?
Usually you have to cast them yourself but there may be a source for them that I'm not aware of. I know that the 220 grain mold is discontinued but there should be used ones available. If it's .50 you're shooting, I would first determine the measurements of both the lands and grooves so that you can start with an appropriate diameter conical. If the bullet is undersized then nothing but paper patching it is going to get it to go where you want it. Then again, a terribly oversize bullet will be a P.I.the.A. as well.
I hope this helps. Keep in mind that something that works in my rifle doesn't guarantee it's going to be as good in the exact same model and caliber. It does increase the probabilities but there are always exceptions.
 

jmerch87

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Update: So I gave the 370gr maxi balls a try yesterday and was getting decent groups at 50 yards. Accuracy wasn’t spectacular, but acceptable, and a bit better than my roundball loads. Then I followed a great tip from Idaho Lewis on YouTube and removed the lube from the top groove of the maxi balls and shot a few. Wow what a difference! Shooting the maxis with only the bottom groove lubed gave me a 1.5” group at 50 yards. With open sights that’s plenty sufficient for my hunting needs! I’ll most likely be sticking with this bullet. I was using 80gr FFg over a felt wad. I may try upping the powder just to see if things tighten up anymore but man am I pleased with the (single lubed groove) maxi ball. Will still give the PA Conicals a try as I bought some of those too but I can’t imagine them touching the maxi balls performance.617687C4-D21A-4915-8579-98B7A8BE358D.jpeg
 
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