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 Is 70 grains enough?

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Overdue Bill



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PostSubject: Is 70 grains enough?   April 12th 2018, 7:23 pm

My old CVA Big Bore Mountain rifle groups quite well if I don't go over 70 grains of pyrodex.  My question--Is this enough to be effective on white tail?  My shots are usually at about 50 yds.  My main concern (second to safety) is wounding game and not killing it. Question
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FrontierGander
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PostSubject: Re: Is 70 grains enough?   April 12th 2018, 7:31 pm

Yes I used 70gr 3fg goex and a round ball on a bull elk last year. Whitetail will be no issue at all. Put it right behind the shoulder.

What thickness of patch are you using?
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Overdue Bill



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PostSubject: Re: Is 70 grains enough?   April 12th 2018, 9:02 pm

Don't really know and don't have a mike.  I use pillow ticking and just make sure that it takes considerable pressure to seat the ball in a clean barrel.
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Old Smoke

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PostSubject: Re: Is 70 grains enough?   April 13th 2018, 3:58 am

My .54 likes 70gr of T7.  Most accurate round ball load for it.  She kills deer on the spot out 75 yards just fine.  Probably a tad further, but I'm not so good with iron sights!
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BrownBear



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PostSubject: Re: Is 70 grains enough?   April 13th 2018, 4:18 am

My wife won't tolerate more than 60 grains of 3f in her beloved 54 caliber.  I even went so far as making her an 80 grain measure and labeling it as 60 grains, but she smelled the rat.

Good news is, it's accurate as a snake bite and she's never needed a second shot on deer. By choice she holds her shots to 50 yards, and in fact we've never recovered a ball from a deer. All broadside shots, but far as I know those balls are still whistling along after complete pass-throughs.

Your 70 grain load sounds like a magnum charge to her!  Very Happy
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Overdue Bill



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PostSubject: Re: Is 70 grains enough?   April 13th 2018, 5:40 am

Thanks fellow front stuffers.  I appreciate the help.
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burlesontom



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PostSubject: Re: Is 70 grains enough?   April 13th 2018, 1:59 pm

Quote :
My wife won't tolerate more than 60 grains of 3f in her beloved 54 caliber.  I even went so far as making her an 80 grain measure and labeling it as 60 grains, but she smelled the rat.

Now thats funny right there. I don't care who you are. What a Face

But yes 70grs of 3F should be plenty. Remember the civil war load was 60grs and a 600gr bullet. And it killed like crazy.

When I shoot 70grs or above I use a ball patch in the bore first with the patched ball over the top of that. It works like a firewall and my ball patches come out looking so good you could almost reuse them. The firewall patch is usually pretty burnt up.
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Overdue Bill



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PostSubject: Re: Is 70 grains enough?   April 13th 2018, 2:16 pm

Yeah, I loved the phony 60 grain measure thing.   Great idea, that extra patch for a firewall.  I never tried that but I do use a pinch of bees nest often.  That works well also.
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burlesontom



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PostSubject: Re: Is 70 grains enough?   April 13th 2018, 8:39 pm

I thought about the bee nest thing per Sam Fadala in the BP shooting manual. But me and wasp don't get along so I tried the patch before the patched ball and it works just dandy for protecting the ball patch. And a 70gr load lets you get 100 shots per pound of powder.

I have read that the indians were noted for using light charges in their guns way back when. It worked for them.
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Old Smoke

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PostSubject: Re: Is 70 grains enough?   April 14th 2018, 5:35 am

@BrownBear wrote:
My wife won't tolerate more than 60 grains of 3f in her beloved 54 caliber.  I even went so far as making her an 80 grain measure and labeling it as 60 grains, but she smelled the rat.

Good news is, it's accurate as a snake bite and she's never needed a second shot on deer. By choice she holds her shots to 50 yards, and in fact we've never recovered a ball from a deer. All broadside shots, but far as I know those balls are still whistling along after complete pass-throughs.

Your 70 grain load sounds like a magnum charge to her!  Very Happy
Ha!   I initially tried shooting it with 100 grs, which was fine if you didn't mind the stiff recoil and 8" groups at 100 yards!  

70 grs is plenty and accurate for my needs.
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BrownBear



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PostSubject: Re: Is 70 grains enough?   April 14th 2018, 6:05 am

@Old Smoke wrote:
Ha!   I initially tried shooting it with 100 grs, which was fine if you didn't mind the stiff recoil and 8" groups at 100 yards!  

70 grs is plenty and accurate for my needs.

Yeah. It depends a lot on the rifle and the twist rate of the barrel.  In my experience accuracy is in the largest part due to rifling depth. With shallow rifling like on most TC's (except their limited production Round Ball barrels), accuracy can go south if you try to push a ball with the wrong patch too fast.  Lotta folks get their nickers up tight in their crack over TC's "compromise" 1:48 twist, but they're spoofing themselves.  The compromise is that shallow rifling.  Original Hawken rifles were all 1:48 twist, as were a whole lot of other makes. 

But they all had deeper rifling. Slow twists are all the rage today, but they're modern fashion rather than historic fact.  In my experience (and I have several of them) many slow twist barrels don't like light powder charges, while up around 1:48 they're accurate over a whole range of powder charges from very light to heavy.  My 62 cal Leman has around a 1:80 twist, but I don't recall the zact number. Sad to say it's a very light rifle with a tiny butt stock, and if you drop below 100 grains of 2f, you can't hit a dinner plate at 75 yards.  Get it up over 120 grains (and 140 grains is best), and it will drop balls into 3" or smaller groups at 100 yards.  You got not only the recoil, but that tiny hooked butt to test your enthusiasm for small groups.
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Overdue Bill



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PostSubject: Re: Is 70 grains enough?   April 14th 2018, 8:11 am

Thanks Brown Bear--When I get time and a decent day I'm going out and do a lot more experimenting.  I've used this rifle for many years and gotten quite a few white tails with it but it just seems like it's grouping has changed some over the years.  It couldn't be possible that I'm changing some now that I'm in my eighties.   Yeah, as you probably know, my old CVA is a 1:66 twist.  I only have two muzzleloaders, both CVA's so I don't really know much about how deep or shallow rifling affects the groups.  I enjoy reading posts from you folks that really have a bunch of experience with different set-ups.   Thanks again.
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BrownBear



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PostSubject: Re: Is 70 grains enough?   April 14th 2018, 11:06 am

You know, one of the biggest reasons for accuracy changes (even bigger than old eyes like mine and yours!) is nipple erosion.  If you haven't changed nipples in a few years you might try that. Lots cheaper than new glasses!
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Overdue Bill



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PostSubject: Re: Is 70 grains enough?   April 14th 2018, 1:12 pm

Thanks again BrownBear.
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Buck Conner
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PostSubject: Re: Is 70 grains enough?   April 16th 2018, 7:51 am

I have used 70gr 3fg Goex and a round ball on deer, antelope and elk for years, step it up for larger game. Haven't had any issues with this load.

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Overdue Bill



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PostSubject: Re: Is 70 grains enough?   April 16th 2018, 9:28 am

Thanks Buck.  That seems to be the general consensus.   I have received a bunch of responses and no one thinks 70 grains is to little.
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Mad Irish Jack ODonnell

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PostSubject: Re: Is 70 grains enough?   June 20th 2018, 2:52 pm

.015 cotton Patch; .530 rb; 75 gr Goex FFg. Been using it since I patterned charge in 1994 when I built this rifle, an early Lancaster with a 44" Colerain swamped barrel. Performance: -.5" at 25 yds;  on at 50 yds: +1.5 +/- at 100 yds and -2" +/- at 150yds. On a full body Hessian target at 250 yds POA 1' above head (or top of Hessian headware) I'm a heart shot in the chest area +/- 3". One foot over the head ware, gives a head shot with the same +/- 3".  Aim at the forehead, he won't make babies if he lives LOL. Our reenactment group (ROC- Rangers of the Ohio Company based in Washington,PA) used documentation records for the basis of our qualifying for skirmishers and rear guards/support (snipping shooters). Documentation was taken from archives at the Green County (PA) Historical Society Letter and Records Archives of the Ohio Trade Company of VA. The Company hired help to the military and others when they had no current work for their signed charges (workers) which were classified as per their unique skill sets (laborers, teamsters, scouts, hunters surveyors, etc). All were hired as to needs and fees pad to the company and individual pay usually given at days end. Could be powder, ball, cloth, all manor of hard goods, etc, that were agreed upon when the contract was signed for their hiring. Our qualifying fun was all done around early November 2000. Rifles at 125 and 250 yards; Smoothbores at 65 and 125 yards, To many ML lovers haven't shot their guns more than 100 yards, if that, ever. It's no different than shooting in a scoped, modern, high power rifle. It does take a bit more time to Get 'er Done. But the reward of knowing what you can and can't do with it is priceless. Also much, much fun. I've used 70 grains in the some loads in shorter barrel guns with the same results. Hunting, I only every recovered 5 balls.
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Buck Conner
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PostSubject: Re: Is 70 grains enough?   June 20th 2018, 4:53 pm

Can you even find anything more open than 65-70 yards Jack with all the vegetation. Use to stay in West Mifflin and hunt a family friends farm, not very open for anything much over 70 yards, same with over around State College (family farm) - 1,500 acres with a third under plow the rest thick woodland.

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PostSubject: Re: Is 70 grains enough?   June 20th 2018, 7:21 pm

My granddaughter killed her first deer with a PRB and 50 gr. of 3F. So 70 is enough. That's what I use in my .50s. I use 65 gr. of 3F in my two .45s.

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PostSubject: Re: Is 70 grains enough?   June 22nd 2018, 8:01 am

@FrontierGander wrote:
Yes I used 70gr 3fg goex and a round ball on a bull elk last year. Whitetail will be no issue at all. Put it right behind the shoulder.

What  thickness of patch are you using?

I use the same on most game animals, but jack it up 10 grains for bear and buffalo, also use the 3FFF for priming (use only one horn).  :rtup

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PostSubject: Re: Is 70 grains enough?   June 22nd 2018, 2:42 pm

Not to beat a dead horse, but I can't resist chiming in. 

We have a forum member whose skills I think highly of. He has won several BP state championships and he builds his own. He likely does not know how much I listen to him. 

He believes (and he convinced me) that on white tail you do not need more than 40 grains and you do not need a .50 calibre or higher. When he first told me, I objected. It seemed too puny. I said something along the lines of, "I want to make certain I drop him as soon as possible.

He said, "Then practice. It is shot placement that drops a deer, not calibre or a lot of grains of powder. And, use the same grains when you hunt as you do when you are practicing at the range shooting paper."

He said a lot more, but that is the core of it. As a result of his words and my thinking about them, I have decided that the next rifle I build/acquire will be a .40 calibre- and swamped! (I am thinking of winning a few matches at the range) I have played with shooting at the range with 40 grains (.50 calibre) thanks to him. It does perform fine at the range.

Now, as I am not the marksman that he is, I do hunt with a hotter load and practice with the same. I use 90 grains (factory rec for my .50 Hawken) in the woods. (Now, I will say that he hunts these tiny Florida deer. He probably could use a spit-ball. Laughing)

Now, I have not asked him about elk... I wonder... In theory, it is all about shot placement... But, I want a cannon if I meet a bear... or, a pissed off big boar... or, one of Buck's ex-wives... then I want a grenade LaughingLaughingLaughing

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Buck Conner
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PostSubject: Re: Is 70 grains enough?   June 22nd 2018, 3:37 pm

KC I have killed at least two dozen mulies with a .36 caliber patched round with 55 grains of 3FFF Goez without any issues (legal as a state governrnent hunter - illegal as a sportsman). 

It's all about shot placement. Hell I have seen guys wound whitetails with a .72 caliber slug (shooting an animal in the butt usually doesn't do much for putting them on the ground plus wipes out some good meat).

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PostSubject: Re: Is 70 grains enough?   June 30th 2018, 8:28 am

I'm late in my reply and you've received plenty of intelligent responses.  However, I do believe there is power is being reassured and repetitiveness speaks volumes.  I used 70 grains in both 50 and 54 caliber with PRB and conicals. It worked well on TX sized whitetail deer and a few other critters up to 200 pounds. One day I accidentally set my new powder measure to 80 grains. When I realized it I checked it against the old measure and it was indeed 80 grains comparatively. I did not notice any additional recoil but I did have a very accurate day at the range. I tried out the two loads and discovered 80 grains was a little more accurate in the 54 caliber in particular.  I chronographed both 70 and 80 grain loads and found that in the 50 caliber with the same projectile I only gained 70 fps with the 10 additional grains of powder. With the 54 caliber I gained 100 fps.  Also interesting was that in 54 caliber I use Triple 7 FFFg in the caplocks and Goex FFFg in the flintlock.  Both gained 100 fps with 80 grains of powder compared to 70 grains. I then tried 90 grains of powder but did not get any advantages. So in my experience 1) 70 grains is charge capable of taking deer sized game and more (depending on range) with a PRB or conical in 50 or 54 caliber 2) There is a point where an additional 10 grains of powder will make a noticeable difference in velocity and/or accuracy 3) There is also a point of diminishing return where more powder will not gain significant velocity or accuracy. I hope this is useful information.
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PostSubject: Re: Is 70 grains enough?   June 30th 2018, 2:27 pm

You're right in your testing. After a point more powder does not give noticeably more power. Just more recoil. My bud has one of the Pedersoli 53 caliber Plains rifles that does indeed need .520 balls. That rifle has a 1" barrel and is allowed 120grs of 2F powder. Since that is what it is rated for thats what he shot for years. And he always had trouble with blown and torn patches.

He got into BP a couple of years before I did. Then I gave it a try and liked it. At least I liked it after I learned how to load my gun and read patches. It took me years to get him to try less than a full 120grs of powder. Now he will shoot as low as 80grs of powder but thinks its some kind of witchcraft not using 120grs.

The one deer I killed with a BP rifle was loaded with 75grs of powder and a RB. The one elk I killed I used 90grs of powder and a Lee Minnie ball. Trust me 90grs was not needed to kill that elk. I think that bullet would have went through two elk if they had of been lined up.

IIRC in the early part of America when just the east was settled many hunters killed their game with 38, 40 and 44 caliber guns. It was all that was needed for the ranges they hunted. And they knew how to hunt. And they didn't just have deer back in the 18th century. There were still elk and bison in the eastern woods. And always bear. Lots of bear. I just read a book on Daniel Boone and it made mention that those early hunters would eat deer. But they much preferred bear and hogs. And they killed them all with small bore rifles, round balls and small powder charges.
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Mad Irish Jack ODonnell

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PostSubject: Re: Is 70 grains enough?   July 3rd 2018, 1:50 pm

Buck,
    Our Commander at the time, in the 1990's,when we qualified, was the owner of an Arabian Horse breeding operation in the time off as a Sr Pilot for US Air. His farm was 300+/- Acres and he gave the back 15 acres to the Rangers for our tactical's. We had our closed events and invited groups from a 5 state area for weekend tactical events. A good method of idea exchange and story swapping. McDonald Sportsman's (1000 yards) and  Clairton Sportsmans' Clubs (300 yds) are the LOOOnng range clubs close by ( 7 and 15 miles respective).
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