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What a difference .003" can make

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50 Cal.
Dec 25, 2021
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I got a chance to do some load development this weekend with my Traditions Hawken. Trying various loads of 3F and 2F with .015" precut cotton patches and Hornady .490"swaged round balls. I was getting around 1 1/2" to 2" groups at 50 yards, good enough for deer. Then I switched to a .018" pillow ticking patch with 80 grs. of Shuetzen 2F , 3 shots from a clean bore, with no wiping between shots; all three holes touching. I was amazed to say the least. I had been using the .015" patching because loading was much easier; with the .018" PT patches after 3 shots it was pretty tight and doubt without the steel range rod I would have got it down with the guns wooden rod. Hard to believe .003" made such a difference. I shot a few more and all were under an inch with at least two touching. The .015" will work better on woods walks and popping steel, but the .018" will be my hunting and serious target load. Next is to try it with 70 grs. of 3F since I have more 3 F than 2F. Should be close in velocity. Carry on.

Indeed, in firearms reloading of any type, most often a little bit can make all the difference. I’m glad you got it figured out, Ron.
Yup I've been telling folks for years that shoot cva or traditions, .015 patches are too thin for those barrels. .018 minimum.

The .015" work for quick easy loading for several shots without wiping, but accuracy suffers. The .018" start to get real tight after 3 to 5 shots depending on humidity levels.