round balls don't do well

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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.
Damn straight.
 

nchawkeye

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One more thing at work here, many store bought muzzleloaders have button rifling, .007-.008 deep...Barrels made for round balls have deeper rifling .012-.015 deep or a little more...This affects whether it will shoot round balls as well....
 
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1/48 was the preferred rifeling on most American guns back in the day. TC called it a compromise rate. How’s come?
Because conicals need fast but fairly shallow to engrave the lead. Ball needs deep to hold the patch.
Big ball, thin patch can easily strip the rifeling. Especially as you go up on the charge
I don’t like conicals in ml unless you have a gun in a style made for those. But that’s just opinion. You may find for your hunting load a conical servers your needs. And a maxi or REAL is a little easier to load.
However I’m with the guys above. Try smaller ball thicker patch. And don’t be afraid to shoot at the low end of your charges, 60 to 70 grain range.
Now I’m more of a dedicated smoothbore shooter these days, but do recall a saying that only accurate rifles are interesting
Try, Maxie’s,real or ball-ets to see how they do
And yes we tend to remember the best target we ever shot when Apollo was smiling on us, not the real life day to day shooting we get
 
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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.
No offense taken.

These targets are from the bench, off sandbags, on a calm day with good light and a Merit Iris. The rifle is a Hawken kit from The Hawken Shop, .54 Rice barrel and Buckhorn sights.

Initial target at 25yds was quite promising, 90gr FF.

The group on cardboard was at 100yds before filing the front sight to correct elevation at 100yds. I checked the group after the second shot and said out loud, " Now don't screw this up", which brought a chuckle from the fellow next to me.

Final photo is again 100yds, 90gr FFF, calm, good light and the Merit Iris. This includes some of the math to determine necessary movement of rear sight to get to center. If I recall, it was .011". An interesting task with a small hammer!

Now to your point. The 25yd target was shot 4-19, the 100yd blank cardboard 4-20 and the 100yd sight adjust 10-28. Between April and October there were many targets, some good and some absolutely horrible. Different loads, powders and patches, wind, lousy light and no Iris. To date, these are the only excellent groups.

Without the Iris, my groups at best would be 2" to 3", offhand much larger. All of this testing from the bench provides confidence, that if the sight picture is good when the gun goes off, the result will be a good shot.

These old eyes have too many blurred sights to choose from! Heck, some days if it were not for gravity, I'd miss the ground!

Frosty
 

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FishDFly

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There can be other variables at work also.

There can be sizeable weight differences in balls if they are swaged. Weigh your balls or change brands or go to cast balls.

Check roundness in your lot of balls to see if they are the same.

Lots to consider.
 

hanshi

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I also wouldn't skip over trying something different, say, smaller ball and thick patch or large ball and thinner patch. Barrels are individuals, just as people are individuals, and both will tell you what they like. At 100 yards the best I've ever been able to shoot are 5-shot groups of about 4" and sometimes 3-3/4" regardless of caliber.
 

waksupi

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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 one inch group at 100 yards is properly identified as a series of fortunate fliers.
 
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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.
It just happened to me today

I fired my Parker-Hale P53 and shot a nice group at 50 (not 1" but a solid cluster) and at 100 I struggled to hit the same sized target

It was probably 10% my powder choice and 90% me.

Some days you just aren't the best

Sun shining on my sights, too much coffee, got up early, in a hurry, fundamentals aren't locked in, can't come to terms that my eyes are getting old, frustration with not hitting anything led to more breakdown in fundamentals, I'm not as good as I thought I was, "shooter's fatigue" sets in after a long string of pouring powder, ramming bullets, swinging the rifle up, etc etc etc

We sometimes have the right load and blame other factors when in fact it is just that we didn't have our A Game that day.
 
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I was having difficulty with accuracy even at 50yd. Took advice from here and sent barrel to Hoyt and had barrel regrooved and now it shoots pretty good. Before at 50yd I had flyers that opened up group to 8in.
 
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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.
Well, then ya have a problem barrel. Shoulda said that in the OP.
No amount of standard considerations of any PRB combo will help with a barrel that has that kind of fubar.
Of course accuracy fails at longer distance, when barrel run out is evident,, but it's not the fault of the load combo is it?
There is a simple fix. Don't use that barrel when longer shooting is expected, use one of your other guns instead,,
 
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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.
LOL…I stopped getting “upset” by naysayers decades ago.
A well tuned/loaded flintlock rifle is very capable of shooting a PLRB 1 MOA at 100 yards. The primary issues(aside from LOTS of practice and familiarity with your rifle/load) are the primitive sights(AKA, consistent sight picture) and …WIND….Which, even at 100 yards, can be difficult to pin down from shot to shot at 100 yards, and make the necessary corrections using the relatively course sights, common on most rifles. Also, any shifts in wind direction need to be corrected for BOTH horizontal and vertical effects. At 100 yards just a 1 MPH change in the wind will push the point of impact 1 inch! Given a windless day or a “confident” wind dope, my 58cal Kibler is quite a consistent 1-2MOA at 100+ yards.
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Beadman

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I'm surprised more people don't use a slower twist for round balls.I realize every barrel can be different.Tighter twists work well for conicals.I still use a montana rifle barrel from the MRBC on my .54 JBMR.35" long barrel.1 in 72" twist with my round balls.Thin silver blade front site.Used to target shoot it a lot at local shoots.
Sort of wish I would of kept the 30" barrel it came with as it had the serial number on the barrel yet,but I did'nt need it so I sold it.
I've had this gun since the early 1980's.Killed tons of deer with it.
Shot very well if I remember correctly at 50 yards.100 yards were a bit wider though but most in the black yet.I spit patch wiped in between shots with long underwear patches.If I did'nt it would throw a flyer now and then.Used .52 or tighter fitting .530 balls with lubed pillow ticking patch with usually 80 grains of FF.
I hav'nt needed to replace any parts on this gun,but showed through my research where the parts could be yet.
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