Shot Loads for .50 Smoothbore

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Nuthatch

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I just picked up a .50 smoothbore from a forum member and am learning about shot loading. I’ve read the “less powder more lead…” mantra, which makes some sense to me. As I work up a load, I’m curious about having some rough ideas about max loads since the one book I have on the subject only deals with solid projectiles and not shot. Are the two comparable? I’m other words, as far as safety is concerned, if I have load info for a 490 gr conical with 100 gr powder, can that safely be translated over to 490 gr of shot & wads with 100 gr powder? Or are shot & bullets two completely different beasts?

I don’t think I want 100 gr powder behind any lump of shot — seems likely to blow the pattern. But, for the sake of keeping things safe, how comparable are loads between bullets and shot? What are some hard limits I should observe?
 

ohio ramrod

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A shot load would have significantly less pressure than a patched round ball..You are correct that a heavy powder charge would not give good patterns.A fifty caliber smooth bore would fit between a 410 and twenty eight gauge. I suggest you try aload equivalant to a 3 inch 410 shell. They list "dram" equivant powder charge (1 dram equals 27.5 grainFF) and shot weight.
 

Britsmoothy

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Most want as high a velocity one can get from a conical, hence the goodly powder charge.
With shot there is an optimum limit with black powder muzzleloaders, a slightly higher optimum for black powder shotgun cartridge and even higher optimum for smokeless cartridges. Mostly due to volumes of gas produced and the lack of choke or choke present etc etc.

Your optimum is around 1000fps.
It being a .50 does not limit the shot so don't compare it to other cartridge guns of similar size. However, it being a .50 means a good amount of pressure will develope well, this is good. It means it will be efficient.
Me, I would tip 3/4oz of shot on top of 50gn and see how it goes.

If you are worrying don't!
Your just about to be amazed and wonder why you didn't get one earlier!
 

Nuthatch

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@Britsmoothy
Here’s the load you suggested at 20 yards. 390 gr #8 shot over 50 gr 2F. Thin OP card & leather OS. Both soaked in oil. I’d say it’s a winner!
The same rifle cloverleafed PRB at 50 yards (benchrested). Too bad I filed too much off the front sight…

My dilemma now is trying to figure out if I even need my .50 rifle anymore.

Thanks, all!5A923E87-F757-4203-AB41-002A805FAA44.jpeg
 

smoothshooter

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Would like to see what ball groups you get at 75 and 100 yards. Shot patterns out to 35 or 40 yards too. But you may have to bump up the load some to get decent density at the longer distances.
 

Britsmoothy

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@Britsmoothy
Here’s the load you suggested at 20 yards. 390 gr #8 shot over 50 gr 2F. Thin OP card & leather OS. Both soaked in oil. I’d say it’s a winner!
The same rifle cloverleafed PRB at 50 yards (benchrested). Too bad I filed too much off the front sight…

My dilemma now is trying to figure out if I even need my .50 rifle anymore.

Thanks, all!View attachment 96119
That is promising.
I hope I've not mislead you though.

Use two to three thin cards on the powder. Or alternatively a single card, then a wet thin leather and another card forming a lubricated cookie etc.
Just put a thin card on the shot.
👍
 

Nuthatch

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Would like to see what ball groups you get at 75 and 100 yards. Shot patterns out to 35 or 40 yards too. But you may have to bump up the load some to get decent density at the longer distances.
Me too. But now I need a new sight. Will probably be another month before I get out to the range again. Got some deer to chase before the season closes.
 

Nuthatch

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That is promising.
I hope I've not mislead you though.

Use two to three thin cards on the powder. Or alternatively a single card, then a wet thin leather and another card forming a lubricated cookie etc.
Just put a thin card on the shot.
👍
I tried a few different cards & such. The only arrangement that didn’t work so well was having a thicker felt wad on the powder. Having the thicker wad material on top of the shot seemed to do fine, whatever it was I put on it. Took felt, leather and cork (cut about 1/16-1/8” thick and then punched to 1/2” discs, soaked in oil).
The next time I go out, I plan to take some bismuth #6, some paper cups and see just how far I can stretch it. But at 20-25 yards, I’m happy. It’s farther than I’ll take a shot at a Turkey with my stick bow.
 

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