Pedersoli .54 cal American Jaeger conical bullets?

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DocCasualty

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I built this flintlock from a kit 15 - 20 years ago. Fun smokepole and accurate with PRB over 80 gr fffg @ 50 yds. I decided to see what it did @100 yds and I don’t even know where it’s flying. Further research leads me to believe it’s fast twist of 1:24 is really made for Pedersoli’s .54 cal 420 gr conical bullet, especially at distance. Thing is, other than purchasing from Pedersoli in Italy at nearly $2 per Maxi ball including shipping, I can’t seem to find a domestic source. Anybody know of a source? I tried another .54 Maxi bullet (think it’s Hornady) but it’s not even starting at the muzzle and it mics too wide. Alternately has anybody had success with another commercially available bullet?

My interest in this is for hunting. Granted most shots will likely be under 50 yds but would like options. Might not have been the wisest choice of rifles but I have it and would like to expand options if possible. I have not tried varying powder charges but an not convinced that would solve this. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

A poster on another site suggested casting my own which I might consider, though it would be helpful to know a specific mold that somebody has had success with this rifle.

152E47C4-6690-4803-AB32-B8A5CD1ABFC5.jpeg
 
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You could look into these. I've seen good reviews of them. About 1/4 of the cost of the Pedersoli's if those are $2 each!


You might need to slug the barrel to get the exact diameter for a bullet fit?
 

DocCasualty

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You could look into these. I've seen good reviews of them. About 1/4 of the cost of the Pedersoli's if those are $2 each!


You might need to slug the barrel to get the exact diameter for a bullet fit?
Appreciate that. One of the reviews at the link uses them in his dp Jaeger, so that’s encouraging. 535 gr; that’s a heavy bullet!
 
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535 gr; that’s a heavy bullet!
Yeah...I used to shoot 435 gr Hornady GP bullets out of my .54 Hawken with 90 grs of T7 behind hit. Let me tell you, that was enough of a whallop from the curved rather thin buttplate to rattle my teeth a bit! One of the reasons I've gone all patched roundball...less cost...less recoil....same results. But then, all my barrels are slow twist and your gun has a pretty fast twist.

Other option, if you can find the mold, is the Lee REAL bullets. They have lighter weight options in .54. The Lee site shows no stock, but retailers might have them. I've discovered that it does take greater care in your molding process, lead temperature, etc. to get quality conicals vs round balls. Those darned bearing bands have been my nemesis in molding conicals. ToTW also sells a .54 Minie...instock..$13.99 for 25 and you'd need to lube them. Bullets and Ball-ets for muzzle loading guns - Track of the Wolf
 
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You may want to look at Lee’s Improved Minie mold. Mine if I remember correctly cast about a 420 grain slug. Worked good in a couple of fast twist 54s I have, plus the1-48 twist barrels. Depending on actual bore size of each gun, found I had to knurl or paper patch for best fit. They cast right at .540” diameter.
 
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Loyalist Dave

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Other option, if you can find the mold, is the Lee REAL bullets. They have lighter weight options in .54. The Lee site shows no stock, but retailers might have them.

The Pedersoli rifles are square rifled, so you may indeed have good results with a LEE REAL bullet. I'd try 300 grains.

.54 300 Grain REAL Double Cavity

LD
 
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I'll pose a quick question. How accurate is it at 50 yards with PRB? What is reasonably accurate? I'm not trying to be a smart a$$ just trying to get information. If it is grouping at 50 it shouldn't be horrible different at 100 except for the increase due to distance. I've not used bullets in my 50s except for a TC maximal way back in the 1970 and that was only for a few shots.
 

DocCasualty

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I'll pose a quick question. How accurate is it at 50 yards with PRB? What is reasonably accurate? I'm not trying to be a smart a$$ just trying to get information. If it is grouping at 50 it shouldn't be horrible different at 100 except for the increase due to distance. I've not used bullets in my 50s except for a TC maximal way back in 1970 and that was only for a few shots.
I’ll try to find a target if I saved one but similar to above at 50 yds. 3” max by recollection. @100 yds I couldn’t find a hit on stacked targets. I’m going by memory as this was 2 yrs ago and I’ve been in and out of commission and didn’t hunt last fall, and put this project off.

I googled this and talked to a couple guys at the LGS and the consensus was this fast twist in a short barrel was not stabilizing a PRB out to distance. I guess that makes sense but don’t know. I’m all ears to any opinions. Mostly how I have used it over the time I’ve had it has been under 50yds, so this came as a surprise to me.
 
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I would try using less powder. With the fast twist, the ball might be “stripping” the rifling. Also a tighter ball/ball combo could be a help. I prefer lower powder charges. More comfortable. Where I hunt, 50 yards would be a long shot due to wood’s density.
 

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I'll pose a quick question. How accurate is it at 50 yards with PRB? What is reasonably accurate? I'm not trying to be a smart a$$ just trying to get information. If it is grouping at 50 it shouldn't be horrible different at 100 except for the increase due to distance.

AH well there's the rub. Sometimes things just don't work that way. In 2003 I had a new Pedersoli Frontier, that I got from Cabela's as a "Blue Ridge Hunter", and tried it at 50 yards. About a 3" group with round ball, and I wasn't that pleased, but I could work on the load, or so I thought. Then I tried maxi-hunters from TC and at 50 yards the group was much tighter, and at 100 yards it was less than 3". However, the metal butt plate was hard on my shoulder with the load I was using was pretty stout, as I was going to Canada for moose.

After I got back, I switched back to round ball, and returned to my normal load. The load I used in my other .50 caliber rifles. The group was a little better at 50 yards than it had been. Tried it at 100 yards and the group was a disaster. Discovered I was cutting patches. I hadn't examined them before as it shot "reasonable" at 50 and even better with the maxi-hunters at 50 and 100 yards. The Maxi-hunters of course didn't have a patch, so a little barrel polishing and things cured right up for the round balls.

Then depending on the load one uses, things can go awry when you double the range. IF your group is strung vertically, top-to-bottom instead of left-to-right, that's often indications of velocity variation. Round ball loses velocity fast, so..., IF you have a wide difference in velocity load to load, at 100 yards you may see a lot more than 2x the size of the group. Possibly enough to give you poor results on target or large game.

LD
 

DocCasualty

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I would try using less powder. With the fast twist, the ball might be “stripping” the rifling. Also a tighter ball/ball combo could be a help. I prefer lower powder charges. More comfortable. Where I hunt, 50 yards would be a long shot due to wood’s density.
I am going to try a lower charge with ball when I can spend some time at the range. I initially just went with middle of the road charge and elevation was spot on at 50 yds so I didn’t bother changing it. I like your logic and will lower the charge and see how that works. Appreciate your thoughts!

Today was the first day for deer muzzleloading season here. I got out late afternoon but didn’t see anything. I’m hunting by a bog and other than one natural shooting lane, 50yds would be my max shot distance too at this spot.
 
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