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Thread: Thompson Center Omega - Mold recommendation?

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy
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    Thompson Center Omega - Mold recommendation?

    My next door neighbor just bought a TC Omega (thumbhole). It's a 50 caliber but I don't know anything about black powder bullet casting and was hoping that someone could recommend a good mold for this rifle. If I understand correctly you cast them just like regular rifle bullets but you use pure lead instead of wheel weights or other alloy?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Have a good one,
    Dave

  2. #2
    Boolit Buddy Underclocked's Avatar
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    Pure lead or pure lead with an annealed gas check. There is a severe shortage of ready-made GOOD moulds for the .50 caliber muzzleloaders. One you might try is the Lyman Great Plains mould.

    We NEED a group buy on a good bullet mould for the .50s - something like

    http://aycu15.webshots.com/image/116...8118242_rs.jpg

    would be mahvelous (IMHO) as it could be sized downward to fit the variety of bore diameters one encounters in the muzzleloader world.

    Bull Shop is casting some very nice conicals for BP and his 400 or 460 grain .504 sized down to fit that Omega's bore might be a good choice. http://home.mchsi.com/~rltsr/bullshop.jpg

  3. #3
    Boolit Master versifier's Avatar
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    The Omega is designed to use with sabots. You can buy sabots in bulk from T/C and fill them with your own .44 boolits.
    You could try some MaxiBalls or REALs in it, you never know, it might shoot them acceptably well.
    Never in my life have I heard of using a gaschecked boolit in a muzzle loader - can't imagine starting it with anything lighter than a framing hammer, which might tend to deform the nose a bit. You could I suppose fit a sized and gc'd boolit into a sabot, but why waste the gas check when it serves no useful purpose? Or is this a new fad I have missed hearing about?
    Born OK the first time.

  4. #4
    Boolit Buddy Underclocked's Avatar
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    Must be. True, the Omega was intended as a sabot gun but not everyone that owns an Omega wants to shoot plastic - and some states where the Omega is allowed also do NOT allow the use of sabots during muzzleloader season. I was suggesting slip fit conicals- no short starter required. John Moseley of Georgia made these and sent them to me for testing. These are the very FIRST three shots fired using those bullets.



    I think the benefit of the gas check might be there, although I didn't pull any off to see how the bullets did without them. Bore riding slip-fit conicals can be shot from a number of muzzleloaders with great results. TCs tend to have varying bore size as well as internal quality (particularly the QLA section) so some will shoot the bore riders well while others will not. The 400 grainers I suggested that are made by Bull Shop would seem a good first try at shooting conicals since the TC has a 1:28 twist and would probably do better on the lighter side of Dan's produce.

    Mose has been fighting cancer for quite some time now so he isn't producing the bullets for others. I believe Rattus also makes such a bullet and has had very good results.

    You are now caught up on one fad.

  5. #5
    Boolit Buddy
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    Ahhh, I didn't know it was intended for sabots . . .so would the recommended approach be to get some form of .44 Cal black powder mold and a bunch of sabots then? Can you recommend a good .44 mold? (I'm guessing I don't want a 44 magnum pistol mold. ) If I go the sabot route then I don't have to worry about lube either correct?

    Have a good one,
    Dave

  6. #6
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    Rick Hodges's Avatar
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    I own and hunt with a TC Omega. It does very well with sabot and handgun bullets. Most seem to feel that .45 cal bullets and sabots have an accuracy edge over the .44.

    I have tried both .44 cal and .45 cal Hornady 300 gr. XTP's with thier corresponding sabots and do find the .45 more accurate. However no deer would ever know the difference out to 150 yds. or so.

    Your mileage may vary!

    Good Luck--Rick

  7. #7
    Boolit Master versifier's Avatar
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    dmftoy1,
    You do want a .44mag pistol mould. I'm not sure if the bulk sabots are available in .45/.50 as they were for .54, but someone else probably makes them. Do you have a source, Rick, or are you just buying the packaged ones with bullets? It doesn't make much difference what alloy you use, though I wouldn't go with anything as hard as lino - ww or pure whichever you've got on hand. You might have to run the boolits through a push-through sizer for them to start easily in the sabots - depends on your bore size. No lube needed, though they will size easier with some. The bores can vary quite a bit as Underclocked pointed out.
    Bullshop has a lot of designs all under one roof that you would have a hard time locating elsewhere. Maybe order a sampler of several different styles. I have the same attitude towards m/l's that I do towards cartridge arms - try as many different boolits/bullets as you can find as only your barrel can tell you what it likes best.

    Underclocked,
    I'm fascinated. I'm not too old to learn a new trick or two, and that is an impressive group, but I admit that I am still dubious. I take it the gc is sized to the bore and the driving bands to the groove? Were they designed especially for the higher pressure m/l's like Whites and Savages? Maybe the gc's make for a more stable boolit at the slightly higher pressures/velocities? (That's the part I have trouble with as I have always been taught/believed that a m/l shooting big, slow boolits would make something like that unnecessary.) How does your rifle shoot conventional slugs of comparable length, any keyholing or other stability problems? Is there a noticable difference in accuracy between them? I am wondering if it is the inherent accuracy of your rifle that gives the great results, or if the gc's make such a difference? (Some m/l's will shoot rocks accurately, other pattern like shotguns regardless of the load. )
    Last edited by versifier; 03-12-2007 at 11:19 AM.
    Born OK the first time.

  8. #8
    Boolit Buddy Underclocked's Avatar
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    No... sizing of the bullet is uniform at land-to-land diameter. That particular rifle shoots any well made, heavier conical with great accuracy - but I was very impressed with John's bullets. Notice the load used was 80 grains of Pyrodex P - I would call that a medium power load.

    The gas check seems to yield a more consistent seal even with lesser charges. The check also provides a bit of scraping action on the way out as evidenced by almost zero fouling above the powder column. I normally use a dry overpowder wad in my loads but the check eliminates all need for a wad.

    Rattus is posting on this forum as well and could tell you much more about the actual process used in making the Mose-style conical. He learned directly from Mose so should have the full procedure.

    The great advantage of the slip-fit conicals, beyond some impressive accuracy and downrange energy, is the ease of loading. Whether gas-checked or not, a correctly sized conical will make you wonder why you ever bothered straining to get a projectile down a bore.

    And we still need a group-buy on a good conical mould.

  9. #9
    Boolit Buddy Underclocked's Avatar
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    dmftoy1, if you want to cast a bullet for use in sabots - I would not look into bullet moulds for muzzleloaders. The best performance from a sabot should come from bullets that are mostly straight-walled such as those intended for paper patch use. Some people have good luck shooting the Maxi-Ball bullets inside sabots but I think you would want a bullet design that would not interfere with a clean release of the bullet from the sabot. Lube grooves or crimp grooves could do nothing positive for accuracy inside a sabot. You might take a look at http://www.prbullet.com/ to get some idea of bullet styles that perform very well when used with sabots.

  10. #10
    Boolit Buddy
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    Thanks guys! I guess I've got alot of learning to do. (seems like a neverending task)

    Have a good one,
    Dave

  11. #11
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    Versifer,

    I can get bulk sabots from TC, Hornady and MMP for the .45/50. (I use TC and MMP HPH-24's) I also have .44/50 sabots from Knight.

    The only sabot that I could find for my .54 was the Hornady .44/54. that experiment didn't work very well and I'm back to using Lee 380gr. R.E.A.L. or TC maxi hunters in the Scout. I tried to use the sabot to flatten trajectory but that rifle just likes the big conicals and honest to goodness Goex 3f black powder.

    I'm almost ashamed to admit that I really like the Omega and have religated the TC Scout and Lyman Plains .54's to the backup role.

    My state allows the use of the Omega and it is very easy to load, shoot, maintain, and is deadly with a point blank range of 150 yds. + shooting 300 gr. XTP's at 1750 fps.

    Rick

  12. #12
    Boolit Master versifier's Avatar
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    I laid in a supply of T/C .45/.54's before they stopped making them, but found four bags of .44/.54 BreakAways at a show last fall. I haven't tried them yet. I cast 250g Lyman .44 SWC's for my friends' .50cals and they work great. Very accurate, right up there with the commercial bullet/sabot combinations. Deer don't know the difference, at least there are no comments from the freezer. I shoot Lee 220g HP's out of my .54, cast of pure and sized to .452. I have yet to take a deer with it, but have shot a lot of nice groups with it at ranges from 25-100yds. I haven't noticed any difference in accuracy between smooth-sided bullets and regular boolits with the lube grooves, but I haven't dug out the calipers. On a good day I can keep the groups in 2"@100, rb's are a little more accurate, (MOA if I am careful) but all the combos I have tried in my GM are well within "minute of deer". If I wanted to get really picky and properly bench rest the rifle, I could probably find measurable differences, but as is it is more than accurate enough for the job at hand, and more accurate than many centerfire rifles shot at our club. (Don't they hate it when the old smokepole shoots groups 1/2 or 1/3 the size of what their big $ deer rifles with all the bells and whistles can print. )
    Born OK the first time.

  13. #13
    Boolit Buddy Underclocked's Avatar
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    "(Don't they hate it when the old smokepole shoots groups 1/2 or 1/3 the size of what their big $ deer rifles with all the bells and whistles can print. )"

    I love it when that happens!

    And I'll gladly concede to your knowledge of what works well enough in a sabot because I've not shot enough of those things to count. Guess it's odd that someone that likes inlines doesn't enjoy stuffing PLASTIC down a gun barrel - but oh well. The basis for my suggestion was mainly reading other people's experiences and choices in projectile. But then, most of them aren't casters.

    The only rifle I've got that gets a diet of sabots is my G2 Contender in .45. I tried conicals but just wasn't man enough. Have since put a Simms pad on it and may have to try getting punched out again. Aside from the bleeding, that little rifle is just plain fun.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master versifier's Avatar
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    I get more opportunities to find out what works and what doesn't as I do all of the centerfire loading and the boolit casting for the guys I shoot and hunt with. I also did a lot of work on m/l's and barrels in the 80's. Most of my friends have now gone to inlines, but there are still some diehard traditionalists around.

    When I saw the inlines shooting such nice groups, I had to try some sabot loads in my Renegade/GM. They were every bit as accurate as the MaxiBalls I had been shooting for 20 years, had a flatter trajectory, and were easier on my shoulder. Like I said, I'm not to old to learn a new trick or two, so I switched to them. (Primarily I have a m/l to hunt with, and sabots are so much easier to deal with in the field than gooey Maxi's or p&b's.) I do end up shooting everyone else's m/l's a lot, though, which has the added advantage of my not having to clean them after I get done working up loads for them.

    I have tried at least a dozen different .44 & .45 boolits in .50 & .54 cal m/l's and regardless of profile they seem to do equally well on the range as far as group sizes go. I usually cast them out of pure lead (I have a lot of it), and stick to the HP's and SWC's for hunting as they perform better and kill cleaner than RN designs.

    Jacketed pistol bullets are no more or less accurate, nor do they perform any better in game. The only real difference is that they cost so much more and I can't see wasting the money on them.

    If I were more into target shooting with it, I would be using strictly prb's (1 in 66 twist) and would spring for some fancier target sights than the T/C peep it wears now, because the barrel is certainly up to it accuracy wise. While it might be argued that I don't need that degree of accuracy for deer hunting, knowing what it is capable of only adds to my confidence. And that's no bad thing. Unless I miss....
    Born OK the first time.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check