round balls don't do well

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coupe

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I have been fighting with ball and patch in my 1:48 50 cal hawken, got to a good patch and lube but it does not shoot well at 100 yds. With a .495 ball and a .024 denim patch TOW mink oil lube at 48 yards I get a 2 1/2" grouping, but out at 100 it will spray in an 8" circle. Starting at 60 gr 3f all the way to 95 gr. raises the poi but still has a very good group at 48 but a big spread at 100. This patch n lube did the best at 48, but has no better pattern at 100. I wonder if a .490 would be better, has any one found an improvement with the smaller ball. (my bore is .500 .517 in the lands by slugging the bbl.
coupe
 

FishDFly

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I have been fighting with ball and patch in my 1:48 50 cal hawken, got to a good patch and lube but it does not shoot well at 100 yds. With a .495 ball and a .024 denim patch TOW mink oil lube at 48 yards I get a 2 1/2" grouping, but out at 100 it will spray in an 8" circle. Starting at 60 gr 3f all the way to 95 gr. raises the poi but still has a very good group at 48 but a big spread at 100. This patch n lube did the best at 48, but has no better pattern at 100. I wonder if a .490 would be better, has any one found an improvement with the smaller ball. (my bore is .500 .517 in the lands by slugging the bbl.
coupe


Only way to know is to do it.
 

ElkStalker

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My Renegade likes a .490 ball, .018” pillow ticking patch and 80gr of 3f Goex. A .015” patch had similar results to what you are getting. Now here is where things get interesting. I can only lightly lube one side of the patch with TOW mink oil and the rough side has to be against the ball. When I used more lube and / or lubed both sides of the patch, groups opened up. It likes a spit patch and a dry patch ran between shots because the fowling is pretty great for such a tight patch. I can load a 2nd without a spit patch, but it’s real tight and I didn’t want to deform the ball when seating. But if I clean the barrel with TC’s T-17 solvent and a couple dry patches, I get a flyer on the first shot. Here is my 50yd target. 4 shots. The flyer was a result of cleaning with the T-17 for a new group and I wanted to see if my findings were consistent. They were. The following 3 shots were with a spit patch between shots.
My TC Hawken is proving to like the same right patch, though I haven’t finalized a load. I have only gone up to .015” patch so far in that rifle and get roughly 2” groups at 50. I have a feeling this rifle will want an even tighter patch than the .018” or may prefer a .495” ball with the .018” patch. The .018” ticking patches I’m using are the CVA brand unlubed patches. I’ve read that they actually Mike closer to .022” but I haven’t checked them with my calipers. (Needs new batteries).
 

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ElkStalker

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You may have also lucked out and found a barrel that prefers conicals. Mine is the opposite and finding conicals that shoot well from it has been a real headache.
 

nchawkeye

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It starts with the patches, put a tarp about 15 steps in front of your barrel to catch them...If they are burning through there are several things you can try, easiest is to put some type of wadding (or a patch) between powder and ball...You can also take a strip of patching material, start the ball and then pull it back out with the strip and look for cuts, this indicates a sharp lands that should be smoothed at the muzzle...
 

Rebel jim

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Try a .490 ball , w/.015 patch , lightly grease lubed, and 75 to 80 gr. FFFG. Most 1 in 48 " twist barrels have a narrow sweet spot in powder charge , whereas a 1 in 60" twist , likes 80 gr. FFFG. try it
That's my setup in my CVA FRONTIER .50, except I use 2f.
 
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I’m gonna go out on a limb here and maybe make a few people upset. Many people that tell you that they shoot 1 inch groups at 100 yards with a muzzleloader are lying. I’ve been shooting matches for 20+ years. Even the best shooters have a great day when all holes are in the black on an NRA target at 100 yards. I can nail 1 inch or maybe clover leaf rounds at 50 most days but I’ve never gotten better than a four inch group at 100 yards. Some matches I’ll have a phenomenal 100 yard target. The next match I’ll be all over the place. That’s with numerous rifles. Wind, sun, humidity, rain. All those affect the outcome. Sometimes we assume our loads just aren’t right and keep experimenting to no success. Sometimes it’s just that we aren’t that good, our sights aren’t up to par, the sun is shining in the wrong direction and let us not forget the wind. The range where I shoot matches is always windy. My eyes aren’t the best either using iron sights. Focus on getting better groups at 50 before you even consider shooting at 100. If your sights hinder you at 50 then they are gonna kill ya at 100. Keep practicing and working on those loads. Let a better shooter have a go with your rifle at 50 also. See what those results are. Sometimes it’s just not the rifle or the load. Sometimes we just have a bad day or aren’t as great of a shooter as those folks claiming scoped bolt action accuracy at 100 with an iron sighted muzzleloader. Do those phenomenal 10x 100 yard 1inch targets exist? Yes. Can they be duplicated on a regular basis? Probably not.
 
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I got a .50 that just won't shoot balls. Patches really do look good enough to shoot again. Tried tight patches loose patches 5 kinds of lube. 2f-3f from 50-100 grs. 4" groups at 50 are the best I've managed. It'll put that 360gr Lee Minnie in 1/2" at 50 yards and around an inch at 100..... Wish there was someone near here to play with it some and see if they could get it to shoot a ball. It's just a cheapy beater hunting rifle anyways but I would shoot it a lot more if it would shoot a ball decent.
 

FishDFly

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I’m gonna go out on a limb here and maybe make a few people upset. Many people that tell you that they shoot 1 inch groups at 100 yards with a muzzleloader are lying. I’ve been shooting matches for 20+ years. Even the best shooters have a great day when all holes are in the black on an NRA target at 100 yards. I can nail 1 inch or maybe clover leaf rounds at 50 most days but I’ve never gotten better than a four inch group at 100 yards. Some matches I’ll have a phenomenal 100 yard target. The next match I’ll be all over the place. That’s with numerous rifles. Wind, sun, humidity, rain. All those affect the outcome. Sometimes we assume our loads just aren’t right and keep experimenting to no success. Sometimes it’s just that we aren’t that good, our sights aren’t up to par, the sun is shining in the wrong direction and let us not forget the wind. The range where I shoot matches is always windy. My eyes aren’t the best either using iron sights. Focus on getting better groups at 50 before you even consider shooting at 100. If your sights hinder you at 50 then they are gonna kill ya at 100. Keep practicing and working on those loads. Let a better shooter have a go with your rifle at 50 also. See what those results are. Sometimes it’s just not the rifle or the load. Sometimes we just have a bad day or aren’t as great of a shooter as those folks claiming scoped bolt action accuracy at 100 with an iron sighted muzzleloader. Do those phenomenal 10x 100 yard 1inch targets exist? Yes. Can they be duplicated on a regular basis? Probably not.

A rare honest shooter.
 
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I have a .50 cal, 1:48 that won't shoot a PRB worth a hoot but shoots certain conicals just fine. I have a .58 that I was using a very tight patch with. It would cloverleaf at 50-yards and do about an 8-inch group at 100-yards (kind of like you described). I went to a patch .003 less and it shrunk the 100-yard group in half. Same powder, load, ball, lube - just a little thinner patch.
 

Uncle Miltie

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No one-size-fits all load for a roundball. In my Hawken I used a 495 ball, ticking patch and 50 gr. GOEX fffg out to 50 yards. At 100 yards I used 70 gr, which worked very well at that distance.
 
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Try a .490 ball , w/.015 patch , lightly grease lubed, and 75 to 80 gr. FFFG. Most 1 in 48 " twist barrels have a narrow sweet spot in powder charge , whereas a 1 in 60" twist , likes 80 gr. FFFG. try it
My suggestion also. If that 'hawken' is a TC it should like the larger ball with a thinner patch. Try going from thick denim (which I used to use but abandoned) to about a .015" ticking. This is primarily a round ball game, keep working at it.
 

coupe

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got to say that I've tried .015, .018, .024, .025 pillow tick, linen, denim, dry patch, totw mink oil, lamb tallow, 2f loads 55gr. to 95 gr. 3f the same loads. spit patch .495 ball, .500 ball with thin patches. with over powder wad and with out, the patches could be used again if I wanted to. A thing not helping is bbl. runout, front sight has to be left of center, half way between the flat edge and bbl center line to make the tight group at the 48 to 50 yd. target.
Now my 54 is a good shooter stays in the black (4-5" group) at 100 yds. It is a 1:60 bbl so it is better with the ball-n-patch. This is my 3d 50 cal 1:48 and I have never had such a rotten ball shooter with that twist, I guess I threw this out to clear my mind with your advice that I am doing things on track and I may have a slug shooter. Casted maxiballs lubed only the bottom groove and will try them soon.
Thanks for listening. As an add on it is a traditions bbl.
coupe
 

LME

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I’m gonna go out on a limb here and maybe make a few people upset. Many people that tell you that they shoot 1 inch groups at 100 yards with a muzzleloader are lying. I’ve been shooting matches for 20+ years. Even the best shooters have a great day when all holes are in the black on an NRA target at 100 yards. I can nail 1 inch or maybe clover leaf rounds at 50 most days but I’ve never gotten better than a four inch group at 100 yards. Some matches I’ll have a phenomenal 100 yard target. The next match I’ll be all over the place. That’s with numerous rifles. Wind, sun, humidity, rain. All those affect the outcome. Sometimes we assume our loads just aren’t right and keep experimenting to no success. Sometimes it’s just that we aren’t that good, our sights aren’t up to par, the sun is shining in the wrong direction and let us not forget the wind. The range where I shoot matches is always windy. My eyes aren’t the best either using iron sights. Focus on getting better groups at 50 before you even consider shooting at 100. If your sights hinder you at 50 then they are gonna kill ya at 100. Keep practicing and working on those loads. Let a better shooter have a go with your rifle at 50 also. See what those results are. Sometimes it’s just not the rifle or the load. Sometimes we just have a bad day or aren’t as great of a shooter as those folks claiming scoped bolt action accuracy at 100 with an iron sighted muzzleloader. Do those phenomenal 10x 100 yard 1inch targets exist? Yes. Can they be duplicated on a regular basis? Probably not.
I have watched some average rifle shooters with scopes mounted on modern rifles get out shot with a plain M.L. rifle with iron sights. Shooting tight groups takes a different approach than just plinking. Idaho Lewis understands what it takes to be accurate and could teach people how but they would almost have to have no expeiemce shooting at all? You can teach a woman with no experience easier than a man with a little? I have personally never seen one inch groups at a hundred yards shot with a M.L. rifle with iron sights but have seen one ragged hole shot at that range. These were thee shot groups. I am sure if more than that was shot the groups would open up a little?
 

bubba.50

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I have watched some average rifle shooters with scopes mounted on modern rifles get out shot with a plain M.L. rifle with iron sights. Shooting tight groups takes a different approach than just plinking. Idaho Lewis understands what it takes to be accurate and could teach people how but they would almost have to have no expeiemce shooting at all? You can teach a woman with no experience easier than a man with a little? I have personally never seen one inch groups at a hundred yards shot with a M.L. rifle with iron sights but have seen one ragged hole shot at that range. These were thee shot groups. I am sure if more than that was shot the groups would open up a little?

Yep. Back in my good eyesight days I could frequently shoot 3-shot cloverleafs at 75 yards from a good rest. But average was probably more like 2 or 3 inches. Never tried at 100 yards because where I hunted shots were usually 50 yards or even less so I didn't see the need.
 

bubba.50

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And my hunting load was a bore-buttered maxi-ball over a 90 grain measure of pyrodex. Notice I said 'measure' not weight because pyro is lighter by volume.
 
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