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Thread: 50 or 54 slow twist barrel?

  1. #61
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    Eddie Southgate's Avatar
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    Have several Thompson Center rifles in .50 and .54 a well as my Seneca with .36 and .45 barrels and all shoot patched balls as well as they do any of the conicals .
    Grumpy Old Man With A Gun....... Do Not Touch !!

  2. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by brewer12345 View Post
    There is more out there than round balls. Maxi Balls and great plains bullets provide a LOT more penetration and energy in 50 and 54 cal if it is needed.
    Sam Fadalas book ages ago had a picture of a bison shot through with a 54 ball - dropped it on the spot and the flattened slug lodged against the skin on the off side - dunno just how much more penetration is required ?
    Ifn ya run the ballistics on it there is very little energy difference at 50 yards - (with both safely loaded) the slug gives away about 300FPS to the ball at the muzzle
    This argyment is more about personal preference and how ya hunt than anything else in these larger calibres. (54 and on up)

  3. #63
    Boolit Master brewer12345's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by indian joe View Post
    Sam Fadalas book ages ago had a picture of a bison shot through with a 54 ball - dropped it on the spot and the flattened slug lodged against the skin on the off side - dunno just how much more penetration is required ?
    Ifn ya run the ballistics on it there is very little energy difference at 50 yards - (with both safely loaded) the slug gives away about 300FPS to the ball at the muzzle
    This argyment is more about personal preference and how ya hunt than anything else in these larger calibres. (54 and on up)
    Maybe. With a more stoutly constructed animal (elk, bear) I would opt for the conical. Penetration really starts to matter when you get to these bigger, heavier boned critters. Deer? Heck, you could almost throw your shoe.
    "If you see me running something has gone poorly, and you should probably run too." - any beekeeper

  4. #64
    Boolit Master Good Cheer's Avatar
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    Have yall looked at the 533476 minie mold that Lyman put out?
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Been meaning to try it out patched in some .54's, TC, Lyman and one rebore.

  5. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by brewer12345 View Post
    There is more out there than round balls. Maxi Balls and great plains bullets provide a LOT more penetration and energy in 50 and 54 cal if it is needed.
    this is where i'll depart and go my own way as part of my interest in muzzleloaders is strictly from an 18th century perspective that speaks only of balls - patched or otherwise - loaded into rifled or smooth tubes. the early part of the 19th century that invented cap guns and conicals hold little to no interest for me as a good .54 flintlock rifle can just as easily turn any north american hunt into DRT if need be.

    so it will really come down to the kind of muzzy gun one wants to employ, and for what prime reason. i see it as three main choices - old school 18th century, later school mid 19th century, or that modern inline crap. something for everyone, eh?

  6. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by rfd View Post
    this is where i'll depart and go my own way as part of my interest in muzzleloaders is strictly from an 18th century perspective that speaks only of balls - patched or otherwise - loaded into rifled or smooth tubes. the early part of the 19th century that invented cap guns and conicals hold little to no interest for me as a good .54 flintlock rifle can just as easily turn any north american hunt into DRT if need be.

    so it will really come down to the kind of muzzy gun one wants to employ, and for what prime reason. i see it as three main choices - old school 18th century, later school mid 19th century, or that modern inline crap. something for everyone, eh?
    So donít hold back Rob , how do you really feel ?

  7. #67
    Boolit Master brewer12345's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rfd View Post
    this is where i'll depart and go my own way as part of my interest in muzzleloaders is strictly from an 18th century perspective that speaks only of balls - patched or otherwise - loaded into rifled or smooth tubes. the early part of the 19th century that invented cap guns and conicals hold little to no interest for me as a good .54 flintlock rifle can just as easily turn any north american hunt into DRT if need be.

    so it will really come down to the kind of muzzy gun one wants to employ, and for what prime reason. i see it as three main choices - old school 18th century, later school mid 19th century, or that modern inline crap. something for everyone, eh?
    Absolutely. I have fun with caplocks and no truck at all with inlines. At some point I will try a flinter.
    "If you see me running something has gone poorly, and you should probably run too." - any beekeeper

  8. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by brewer12345 View Post
    ... At some point I will try a flinter.
    drop me a line when yer ready and before you buy.

  9. #69
    Boolit Master brewer12345's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rfd View Post
    drop me a line when yer ready and before you buy.
    Will do. The budget is spent for this year, but we will see in the spring.
    "If you see me running something has gone poorly, and you should probably run too." - any beekeeper

  10. #70
    Boolit Master Good Cheer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rfd View Post
    this is where i'll depart and go my own way as part of my interest in muzzleloaders is strictly from an 18th century perspective that speaks only of balls - patched or otherwise - loaded into rifled or smooth tubes. the early part of the 19th century that invented cap guns and conicals hold little to no interest for me as a good .54 flintlock rifle can just as easily turn any north american hunt into DRT if need be.

    so it will really come down to the kind of muzzy gun one wants to employ, and for what prime reason. i see it as three main choices - old school 18th century, later school mid 19th century, or that modern inline crap. something for everyone, eh?
    But but, in North America muzzleloaders were old hat by the 18th century. Why are you using that modern stuff?

  11. #71
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    I too will be getting a Flinter.
    But all my life , people have told me that I was born 100 years too late.
    That puts me into the mid 1800's.
    But I thrive on keeping history alive.
    So why not take a step back and see where we came from.
    The Modern Stuff , it just isn't my thing as far as BP goes.
    But I hate it when people try to use the Modern Technology to try and upgrade the Old Stuff.
    Let the old stuff stand on its own.
    And bring up your skill levels to make the old stuff work the way it use to.
    Yes , Limited in some ways.
    But , it was what it was , so live with it.
    Your Great , Great Grandfather's did.
    Keep the past alive and honor them for giving you the knowledge that you have today.

  12. #72
    Quote Originally Posted by rfd View Post
    THIS is a GPR barrel and patent breech plug ... see the issue with attempting to bore larger than the ante-chamber?



    That's what is commonly, and incorrectly, referred to as a "patent breech". It's only similar to the actually patented Nock's breech. But that's neither here nor there as regards this discussion.

    If the picture is of a Lyman 15/16" barrel that is maxed out at .54 caliber. It's not a candidate for a larger bore.

    What's at discussion are TC barrels with percussion snail breeches. The smallest breech plug used by TC is 11/16" which is .9375. That includes the flinter plugs. Definitely not a problem taking a TC 50 to 54 or a TC 1" ATF barrel to 58. Maybe even 62 depending on the holes drilled in it. You can order up a 62 1" barrel from rice so it's obviously not an issue just based on barrel width.

  13. #73
    Boolit Master brewer12345's Avatar
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    Got the new barrel out to shoot. I pretty much stuck with 50 grains as I was just making sure I was on paper. Shot surprisingly well and didn't even seem to need over powder wads. Based on how easily the balls went down the barrel, I need to try a thicker patch and maybe a 495 ball. Obviously better round ball shooter than the 1 in 48 barrel. Will have fun shooting this thing and dialing in a tight grouping load. I will also try cranking up the charge to see if I can find a good hunting load.
    "If you see me running something has gone poorly, and you should probably run too." - any beekeeper

  14. #74
    Glad it's working out for you. It's just my experience with one GM drop in, but it shoots better with heavier charges.

  15. #75
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    brewer12345, I'm glad you got it worked out. If I could buy a drop in 1" barrel for my Renegade that didn't cost more than the entire rifle, I would.

    Sorry guys, I've been away. I read back through the entire thread, and everyone seems to be skirting the issue. My personal best accuracy is a consistent 5-6" at 100 yards, which was 80 grains FFg Goex, pillow ticking patch lubed with crisco (Frontiermuzzleloadings lube works equally well), and a .532" ball (the size my .530 mold drops). To get this accuracy I have to swab every shot, use target peep sights, and a perfect rest.

    To be perfectly clear, 6" at 100 yards is NOT good for a rifle. Not by me, not by any rifle shooters.

    I've made multiple threads before on my adventure on trying to make this rifle shoot, so you can look up specifics if you care. I'll quickly list what I tried.

    .520", .530" (actually .532"ish depending on alloy), .535" (actually .536"ish depending on alloy)

    Alloys- stick on wheel weight, 40/1, 20/1, COWW + 2.5% tin. The .520" balls were Hornady swaged
    My SOWW IS dead soft lead. I own the Lee hardness tester. It is as close to pure lead as you can get.

    Patches- TC prelubed, blue pillow ticking, white twill, blue jeans, duck canvas, cotton T shirt, and two kinds of very thin fabric (possibly bed sheets?)
    All patches were 100% cotton. The super thin patches couldn't even be loaded without tearing. I won't even get into the fallacy of "measuring" a fabric with a calipers. The entire idea of it is ridiculous.

    Wads- 1/8" thick felt (real wool felt), nitro card, crumpled up patch


    Powders- FFg and FFFg Goex, both red and old eynsford. Fg Swiss.
    I tried charges ranging from 30 to 120 grains. For the most part 60 to 90 grains seems to be the sweet spot.

    54 caliber Rifles- TC renegade, TC new englander, TC renegade flintlock. I ran the gauntlet with the percussion guns. The flintlock is brand new to me, but initial impressions are that it is no better.

    54 caliber Handgun- TC scout pistol. Oddly shoots equally well as the rifles, possibly better! I believe it to have a 1:20" twist barrel!


    Conicals- TC maxiball, Hornady great plains, Buffalo ball-et, Accurate 55-430M, Lee REAL 380 grain. I honestly have put very little work into conicals. Just about everything shoots sub 4" at 100 yards. The Lee REAL is a dud, shooting worse than a PRB. I also have the 50 caliber version, and it doesn't shoot good either.


    Now hopefully we are on the same page. Conicals shoot more than twice as accurately than PRB in my TC 1:48 twist rifles. If I put as much time into the conicals as I have the PRB, I fully expect to be shooting in the 2" range at 100 yards. Compare that to 6" for the PRB.

    The real Hawken rifles were 1:48 twist, so don't give me that "compromise twist" excuse. I really doubt they would have become one of the most popular rifles out there if they had an effective range of 75 yards, just barely more than a far more useful smooth bore.

    On top of that, if it WAS the twist rate, why wouldn't lower charges shoot better? I hear with regularity that the 1:66 twists shoot best around 100-120 grain charges. According to the Goex load charts, 110 grains FFg is 1850 fps. A quick check shows a ball RPM of 20,182 for the 1:66 twist. To get that same RPM from a 1:48 twist would take 1346 fps, roughly 65 grains on the Goex chart.

    Does a TC barrel shoot as well as a deeper rifled 1:66 twist at 65 grains of powder? NO! They don't shoot as well period. TC makes good quality barrels, we ruled out twist rate. Almost universally people are getting their best accuracy with very tight fitting combos, of a larger ball and thinner patch. Good Cheer's brother, surprise surprise, a tight fitting combo with a thin patch. I never said they could not be accurate, just that it is difficult to get there.

    The barrels are good quality, with quality/consistent bores from end to end. The crowns are good. If the twist rate was the limiting factor, less powder would be the answer, but it is not!

    What does that leave? rifling depth.

    P.S. before anyone else says anything about pure lead, note I did 90% of my shooting with dead soft lead. I also tried 3 other alloys. Here's the thing. Alloy made no difference. I mean nothing at all! Patch lube had a far larger impact on accuracy. I could take a jar full of a mix of all alloys, and it wouldn't matter in the slightest. If alloy made any difference, it was more likely to be a tiny difference in size than any actual difference in the metal. For reference, COWW+2.5% and 20/1 alloy cast .533" and .537" from my .530" an .535" molds. Pure lead casted .532" and .536" from those molds. 40/1 alloy was somewhere between.
    Last edited by megasupermagnum; 11-11-2019 at 12:31 PM.

  16. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by Good Cheer View Post
    But but, in North America muzzleloaders were old hat by the 18th century. Why are you using that modern stuff?
    what modern stuff? i built and use a kibler colonial .54 flintlock rifle, circa 1760-1770. that good 'nuff?


  17. #77
    Boolit Master brewer12345's Avatar
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    mega, you have a lot more time and patience than I do, that is for sure. I thought it was really telling with both my TCs that it was relatively easy to find a good, accurate (defined as my eyes are the limiting factor) load with conicals in both of them, while round ball, not so much. The 50 I ended up giving up on and the 54 showed good accuracy but only with a near max load of Black MZ. I used 110 grains and a 54 round ball on my doe this year, no way does it require that much powder to take down a deer at 50 yards. It just turned out that is what it took to get accuracy. With the slow twist green mountain barrel, the 50 already showed better round ball accuracy than I was ever able to get with the stock 1 in 48 barrel. Why? Who knows. The proof of the pudding is in the eating.
    "If you see me running something has gone poorly, and you should probably run too." - any beekeeper

  18. #78
    Boolit Master Good Cheer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rfd View Post
    what modern stuff? i built and use a kibler colonial .54 flintlock rifle, circa 1760-1770. that good 'nuff?

    It sure is and beautiful too!

  19. #79
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    Quote Originally Posted by megasupermagnum View Post
    brewer12345, I'm glad you got it worked out. If I could buy a drop in 1" barrel for my Renegade that didn't cost more than the entire rifle, I would.

    Sorry guys, I've been away. I read back through the entire thread, and everyone seems to be skirting the issue. My personal best accuracy is a consistent 5-6" at 100 yards, which was 80 grains FFg Goex, pillow ticking patch lubed with crisco (Frontiermuzzleloadings lube works equally well), and a .532" ball (the size my .530 mold drops). To get this accuracy I have to swab every shot, use target peep sights, and a perfect rest.

    To be perfectly clear, 6" at 100 yards is NOT good for a rifle. Not by me, not by any rifle shooters.

    I've made multiple threads before on my adventure on trying to make this rifle shoot, so you can look up specifics if you care. I'll quickly list what I tried.

    .520", .530" (actually .532"ish depending on alloy), .535" (actually .536"ish depending on alloy)

    Alloys- stick on wheel weight, 40/1, 20/1, COWW + 2.5% tin. The .520" balls were Hornady swaged
    My SOWW IS dead soft lead. I own the Lee hardness tester. It is as close to pure lead as you can get.

    Patches- TC prelubed, blue pillow ticking, white twill, blue jeans, duck canvas, cotton T shirt, and two kinds of very thin fabric (possibly bed sheets?)
    All patches were 100% cotton. The super thin patches couldn't even be loaded without tearing. I won't even get into the fallacy of "measuring" a fabric with a calipers. The entire idea of it is ridiculous.

    Wads- 1/8" thick felt (real wool felt), nitro card, crumpled up patch


    Powders- FFg and FFFg Goex, both red and old eynsford. Fg Swiss.
    I tried charges ranging from 30 to 120 grains. For the most part 60 to 90 grains seems to be the sweet spot.

    54 caliber Rifles- TC renegade, TC new englander, TC renegade flintlock. I ran the gauntlet with the percussion guns. The flintlock is brand new to me, but initial impressions are that it is no better.

    54 caliber Handgun- TC scout pistol. Oddly shoots equally well as the rifles, possibly better! I believe it to have a 1:20" twist barrel!


    Conicals- TC maxiball, Hornady great plains, Buffalo ball-et, Accurate 55-430M, Lee REAL 380 grain. I honestly have put very little work into conicals. Just about everything shoots sub 4" at 100 yards. The Lee REAL is a dud, shooting worse than a PRB. I also have the 50 caliber version, and it doesn't shoot good either.


    Now hopefully we are on the same page. Conicals shoot more than twice as accurately than PRB in my TC 1:48 twist rifles. If I put as much time into the conicals as I have the PRB, I fully expect to be shooting in the 2" range at 100 yards. Compare that to 6" for the PRB.

    The real Hawken rifles were 1:48 twist, so don't give me that "compromise twist" excuse. I really doubt they would have become one of the most popular rifles out there if they had an effective range of 75 yards, just barely more than a far more useful smooth bore.

    On top of that, if it WAS the twist rate, why wouldn't lower charges shoot better? I hear with regularity that the 1:66 twists shoot best around 100-120 grain charges. According to the Goex load charts, 110 grains FFg is 1850 fps. A quick check shows a ball RPM of 20,182 for the 1:66 twist. To get that same RPM from a 1:48 twist would take 1346 fps, roughly 65 grains on the Goex chart.

    Does a TC barrel shoot as well as a deeper rifled 1:66 twist at 65 grains of powder? NO! They don't shoot as well period. TC makes good quality barrels, we ruled out twist rate. Almost universally people are getting their best accuracy with very tight fitting combos, of a larger ball and thinner patch. Good Cheer's brother, surprise surprise, a tight fitting combo with a thin patch. I never said they could not be accurate, just that it is difficult to get there.

    The barrels are good quality, with quality/consistent bores from end to end. The crowns are good. If the twist rate was the limiting factor, less powder would be the answer, but it is not!

    What does that leave? rifling depth.

    P.S. before anyone else says anything about pure lead, note I did 90% of my shooting with dead soft lead. I also tried 3 other alloys. Here's the thing. Alloy made no difference. I mean nothing at all! Patch lube had a far larger impact on accuracy. I could take a jar full of a mix of all alloys, and it wouldn't matter in the slightest. If alloy made any difference, it was more likely to be a tiny difference in size than any actual difference in the metal. For reference, COWW+2.5% and 20/1 alloy cast .533" and .537" from my .530" an .535" molds. Pure lead casted .532" and .536" from those molds. 40/1 alloy was somewhere between.
    Well I admire your stubbornness anyway!!!

    Hawken ..............Go spend a few hours in the museum of the fur trade in Chadron Nebraska -- check out the rifles the REAL mountain men carried into grizzly bear country - the Hawken brand is conspicious by its absence - as is caplock ignition

    Rant all you like 1:48 is a compromise twist for round ball - far from ideal --ok some barrel makers may be able to make one that shoots ok - by compromising something else in the design such as using deeper groove rifling - but whatever they do the 1:48 will be more finickity to load accurate with patched round ball than a slower twist (1:66 to 1:72)

    deeper groove rifling (say 14thou) in a slow twist will be more finickity to load accurate than a shallower rifling (8-10thou)

    patches ----put all of these in the workshop rag bag ---TC prelubed, blue jeans, duck canvas, cotton T shirt, and two kinds of very thin fabric (possibly bed sheets?)

    lube ? If you have to swab every shot to get accuracy you have missed something along the way

    Click image for larger version. 

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    heres ten shots fired in competition from the sitting position (no backrests - elbows on knees - no barrel support) at 100yards on the NLMRA target - 50 cal CVA pennslyvania flinter - 1:66 twist - shallowish rifling (for a ML barrel) - 75 grains GOEX 5FA - calico patch - moose milk lube - no spotting scopes allowed at this match and I am a poor reader of wind and this is a tricky range - the 8 shot main group was fired holding dead on centre - when I finally saw where I was hitting I held off left about 5inches for the last 2 (the pair touching in the 9 ring - overcompensated a little!) no cleaning between shots - I never clean between shots in a ML comp - this is not a tight load 490 ball and a calico patch - load it down with yr fingertips on the ramrod. That rifle would shoot accurate with any charge from 40 grains to 80 . We tested 5FA as about 5% quicker than FFFg - and it was half the price at the time in bulk bags (mid 1990's)
    I am as stubborn as you for sure - I post the target to show I am not also full of BS - been there done some of it.

  20. #80
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    joe - well stated, well said.

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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