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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I shoot traditional hawken style muzzleloaders. ordered my first one through Gander Mountain Catalogue many moons ago. A .50 cal CVA long rifle. It is a tack driver, shoots lead round balls and from what I am told that is about all it can shoot accurately, 1:60 twist? Love that gun and it has performed well beyond its proposed capability.
Three years ago, I bought a .54 caliber traditions hawken for a steal which is the reason I did it and to hunt Elk legally :shock: (bullet weight) In the .54 I have only used Hornady great plains 425 grain bullets. They don't seem to be as accurate as round lead balls? They did a heck of a job on a small two point last year and seem to be sufficient for hunting they just don't seem to be as consistent. Would anyone know of any other alternatives to the great plains. Everything in the stores is a Sabot thing with the plastic jackets at the base.

Cheddar
 

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You can hunt elk with a .54 round ball. A .530 RB comes in at about 225gr as I recall. If it's accurate I'd use it.
 

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I used buffalo bullets in my T/C .54 cal hawkin. 460 grain bullet. Really smacks elk. Surprisingly I got barnes mz bullets to shoot great in it too. Both over pyrodex. Shot this buck about 15 years ago at 103 yards with the barnes.

Hunting Deer hunting Plant Deer Elk
 

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My Thompson Center Renegade in .54 caliber loves the Thompson Center 430 grain maxi balls over 90 grains of Pyrodex. I can get 4" groups all day long with open sights and that load at 100 yards and that 430 grain lead bulled is deadly on whatever it hits.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I should have stated I have always used black powder. How does things like pyrodex etc. work older style muskets?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
My Hawken is 27 years old and Pyrodex shoots very well out of it. I have never used black powder so I don't know how much difference you would see.
I have only ever used black powder, never tried the other stuff. I wonder if someone with some real knowledge could chime in and explain the pros and cons of each and the performance differences.....

Cheddar
 

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I've shot both. I've shot pyrodex pretty much exclusively for the last 15-20 years. From 209 in-lines, a side lock Hawken with #11 caps, a side lock with musket caps (and pellets even) and my old Ruger 77/50 in-line that uses #11 caps. All worked just fine. Pyrodex is cleaner as you shoot it and easier to clean afterwards. Not to mention the buy it anywhere part.
I've had friends tell me black is more accurate, like I could tell with irons or a one power scope.
 

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I like Pyrodex over black powder just for the principal that you can find it on store shelves when they have it. Just about any store that sells black powder rifles and accessories will have Pyrodex but not any black powder.

When I first started shooting a muzzle loader over 40 years ago I shot a lot of black powder but when Pyrodex came along I made the switch and have been using it for the last 25 or so years with no problems.
 

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I like Pyrodex over black powder just for the principal that you can find it on store shelves when they have it. Just about any store that sells black powder rifles and accessories will have Pyrodex but not any black powder.

When I first started shooting a muzzle loader over 40 years ago I shot a lot of black powder but when Pyrodex came along I made the switch and have been using it for the last 25 or so years with no problems.
Ever get up to the Mountain Men of the Wasatch shoots they did up at Holiday Gun Club back in those days? Good times with my dad at those things. I think shooting pyrodex was a hanging offense.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Ever get up to the Mountain Men of the Wasatch shoots they did up at Holiday Gun Club back in those days? Good times with my dad at those things. I think shooting pyrodex was a hanging offense.
Oh it was....now I dont know if it was just purely speculation and I am inclined to think so nowadays, but back then Pyrodex was the devil and would ruin your barrel and corrode it if not cleaned immediately after use etc. Which is why I have never used it but now my powder is running dry and I am curious. Although I love the smell and feel of the real stuff on a crisp mountain morning.

Cheddar
 

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Ever get up to the Mountain Men of the Wasatch shoots they did up at Holiday Gun Club back in those days? Good times with my dad at those things. I think shooting pyrodex was a hanging offense.
I never did sorry to say. Back then I was a working man and worked every chance I got to stash the money away. Then my ex-wife got it all.
 

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You might look into perhaps making the leap into casting and lubing your own conicals/roundballs. Even if you just started using a deep cast iron pan to melt your lead down from scrap and ladling it into the mould, it may prove to be an interesting and rewarding endeavor.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I think I am defiantely going to get some round balls for the .54. The question is what size. .530, .535 etc. I beleive I use .490 for my .50 so I would suspect .530 for .54. It doesn't seem as though the buffalo bullets are still around.

Cheddar
 

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.54 - patch thickness = RB size. It's not quite that easy but that should get you started. Most shoot a .530 with a patch but the fun part of muzzleloaders is playing around.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I like the idea of the round ball. Kinda makes it more "primitive" if you will. However, I like the idea of a much heavier bullet with better expansion to knock down game. What to do, what to do....

Cheddar
 

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I killed my first couple of deer with a round ball out of my .54 and never did recover the round ball. I had complete penetration on both deer through the lungs and out the other side.

I was getting great accuracy with them and went back to them the first year after I had missed two other deer with the other bullets that I was shooting. This was before I tried the TC maxi balls which I now shoot. I also looked and they no longer manufacture the .54 TC maxi ball which is too bad, it was a great shooting bullet. It is a good thing that I have a mold to make my own out of some scrap lead.

If you do go looking for a .54 maxi ball you need to check your diameter of them. Some on the market are a little bit too big to fit into the bore of a TC rifle. I'll have to mic some of mine and see just what they are.
 
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