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Okay ballistic gurus... here's one for you.

I'm shooting my Thompson Center 50 cal hawken in a competition... the rules of the range only allow for 20 grains of powder behind a patched round ball.

I'm shooting a .490 ball with a .015 patch, and I'm able to get a group of 3 balls in the size of a nickel... 3 out of six shots... the other three are wild as the old west... (one missed by 6", the other only about 3")

I can't increase the powder charge, and I swabbed between shots, so it isn't a fowling issue. (not to mention two of the 3 dead on shots were back to back)...

Sure there's some human error, there always is, but these were all done from a solid bench rest from a shooter with 30 years of experience.

Without upping the powder charge, what other ideas do you have to bring the group in? I've tried felt wads, I've tried a few grains of Malt 'O Meal... nothing... (of course, the patches look fine after the shot, so they aren't getting burned through, so I'm not surprised that the wads and cereal didn't help)

I think if I could find a .016 patch, that'd be the ticket, but yeah, good luck with that.

Ideas? Dallan?
 

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I'd suggest trying different patch sizes and different lubes. Another important thing with lead balls is that you should be a little more gentle on top of being consistent with how you ram it home, and taking into account if there is a sprue (nub left over from traditional casting). You might also look into a .495 caliber ball and take the super tight route. Your rifle may need to be a really tight fit, perhaps not. It is dependent on the gun itself.

Patch sizes between .1 and .18 lubed with anything from olive oil, animal fats, or even spit.

Any supplies that may seem daunting to get a hold of... I'll just leave this right here.
http://www.trackofthewolf.com/index.aspx
 

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you could weigh the balls and only shoot the same weight balls together, also put the spur of the ball on top when loading them.
 
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