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 Finally, a .54 cal PRB rifle

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Sparkitoff



Number of posts : 192
Age : 72
Location : NC
Registration date : 2018-06-08

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PostSubject: Finally, a .54 cal PRB rifle   Finally, a .54 cal PRB rifle EmptyOctober 15th 2018, 4:51 am

I have been wanting a .54 rifle for PRB shooting. It is to be a hunting rifle and for range fun too.  I have a .54 Flintlock that is set up but wanted a percussion rifle to compliment it. I was given a .50 CVA Hawken with a 1:60 barrel marked '87 and it was very accurate. However, I really didn't want the .50. I happened upon a CVA Hawken barrel in .54 marked '87 and with a 1:60 ROT , 15/16th in the white. While I am not sure, I think it may be the .54 barrel that came in a two-barrel kit. Nonetheless, for $65 I had a .54 that should be capable of accurately sending PRB down range. I cleaned it and then degreased it an threw it in the bluing tank. Once blued I took the components off of the .50 barrel and installed them on the .54.

Today I headed to the range. 87 degrees and a steady L-R wind at 10 MPH.  I set up on the bench and started at 50 yards since I had bore-sighted it at home. I went through several different powders and it definitely showed a preference for Triple 7 FFFg.  That is ok with me since that is the most readily available powder for me (and I can dedicate my Goex supply to the Flintlock). Next I tried to narrow down the patches. I quickly found that a .018 was best because the groups from smaller thickness shrunk noticeable with the .018's no matter what the lube was.  Next I tried different lubes. Again, an obvious preference stood out. 7:1 ballistol/water "dry" patches had consistent groups where the other combos of different lubes nearly always threw one out of a 5-shot group. Last, I had the amount of powder started at 70 grains. I increased by 5 grain increments firing 3-shot groups. At 100 grains the holes were touching on the 50 yard target. I did not try more as this is a pretty heavy load already. Back down to 70 grains, I repeated the process. Again, a clear preference for 100 grain charge. Ok, so my load is 100 grains Triple 7 FFFg/.018 dry patch 7:1/.530 PRB/#11 cap. Honestly, I didn't want it to like that much powder. I use more of it and the gun digs into my shoulder with the sharp toe and heel with that charge. But, that's what she wants so I'm going to give it to her.

Next I moved the CVA adjustable sight. Three shot group fired and then adjusted as necessary. I dialed in 2-inches high at 50 yards and fired a 12 shot "group".  Note: I spit swabbed between each shot, wet side out short strokes up and down barrel and then flip the patch and one long stroke in and out.

Now I moved to 100-yards. I fired one group and moved the sights DOWN as it was hitting around 6" high. The next group showed the proximity of proper elevation  The sights are a little difficult at that range but I could still see the 2-inch red bullseye. I held 6' O'clock because the sight picture was easier that way. That 3-shot group measures 2.5-inches and landed 1.5 inches low.  Next, I held "dead-on" the red bullseye which means it is pretty much blocked out by the front sight. That ended up putting a 3.5-inch group 3.25 inches high.  Last, I tried to hold so I could see the crest of the red bullseye right over the tip of the front sight. That shot landed right where I was aiming, hitting the red bullseye at the 12 O'clock position.

The last thing I did was move back to 50-yards. I thought the downward sight adjustment would affect the 50-yard POI more that it did. The shot landed within the group I previously had at 50-yards, just a little low on the group.

The load is not what I would have chosen to load, but I can't argue with the results. If it needs 100-grains to be happy then so be it. I plan to get out and spend another day at 100-yards before the rifle deer season begins. Finally, a .54 PRB shooter in percussion.
The set trigger was a little too light at a couple ounces. At 100-yard you'd think it would help to have a light trigger, but it was so light it effected the groups negatively. When I got home I cleaned the rifle and adjusted the triggers so that when set, the front trigger will go off at 2.2 pounds.

The target with the rifle is a 12-round group I shot at a steady pace.  The last target is the one where I sorted out the sight picture at 100 yards.

Finally, a .54 cal PRB rifle L1080202

Finally, a .54 cal PRB rifle L1080203

Finally, a .54 cal PRB rifle L1080206
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Buck Conner
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Buck Conner

Male Number of posts : 3305
Age : 79
Location : UT
Registration date : 2015-10-20

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PostSubject: Re: Finally, a .54 cal PRB rifle   Finally, a .54 cal PRB rifle EmptyOctober 24th 2018, 7:33 pm

Hey that looks good, you better get involved with the Postal matches and you still have time for the Oct. Beer Fest match. Join in bud, nice targets.  :rtup

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Buck Conner


Finally, a .54 cal PRB rifle Img2

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Kentucky Colonel

Kentucky Colonel

Male Number of posts : 1771
Age : 110
Location : Luna
Registration date : 2015-10-29

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PostSubject: Re: Finally, a .54 cal PRB rifle   Finally, a .54 cal PRB rifle EmptyOctober 24th 2018, 8:17 pm

That shooting works for me! Nice. 

Finally got a .54 rifle, eh? Don't care for .50, huh? This made me chuckle. 

For years, I tried to keep one calibre across all my muzzleloaders. A .50 will kill just about anything in North America, I reasoned. And, if everything is .50 calibre? I will never get my tools and/or ball sizes confused. Same thing applied to powder. Black and (usually) 3F Goex for me. (Splurge when you can buy Swiss.)

Then I got my first flinter. Suddenly, I was playing with 4F and 2F. Then I acquired a special rifle that happened to be in .58 and that really broke the dam. 

Now, I have .45, .50, .54, & .58. and I just started playing with 777. (Hey, I am still in shock about that turn of events!) 

I wonder (now) what took me so long. I hope you did not wait too long for your new rifle, but I am sure you will have fun. Happy for you. Very Happy

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"One of the sanest, surest, and most generous joys of life comes from being happy 
over the good fortune of others." 
― Robert Heinlein


Florida Muzzleloaders Association 
Central Florida Muzzleloaders 
Green River Rifle Works Collectors Association
NMLRA
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Sparkitoff



Number of posts : 192
Age : 72
Location : NC
Registration date : 2018-06-08

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PostSubject: Re: Finally, a .54 cal PRB rifle   Finally, a .54 cal PRB rifle EmptyOctober 24th 2018, 9:39 pm

Actually, I have a .54 rolling block for conicals and a .54 flintlock, but I wanted a .54 caplock for PRB's to kind of go along with the other two. My son has a .50 that uses conicals and I have a .62 smoothbore caplock too!
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Buck Conner
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Buck Conner

Male Number of posts : 3305
Age : 79
Location : UT
Registration date : 2015-10-20

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PostSubject: Re: Finally, a .54 cal PRB rifle   Finally, a .54 cal PRB rifle EmptyOctober 25th 2018, 12:43 am

The best caliber I found by accident was a .36 caliber in a Poor Boy with Bill Large barrel 36 inches, Ron Long Lock in flintlock with his triggers and breech plug mounted it a tight tiger strip stock. That gun won three of the Colorado State Muzzle Loading Championships back to back.

This gun was a muley killer like you wouldn't believe, here's what happened. 

One season (we hunted on our farm as usual being private), had seven guys with me (we all hunted, camped and just hung together doing our primitive stuff). They are all excellent shots so I don't know why this happened. 

We are hunting on our 300 acres with permission to hunt the neighbors 10,000 if needed. I think why this happened was I knew right where a herd of a dozen mule deer had been bedded down for a week. Everyone had their favorite spot, tried to tell them what I knew, they knew better. As we started up the hill into several small canyons I told them if you hear me shoot one of you come to me. They laughed because I had the .36 caliber (illegal in Colorado for deer), it's light and with 55 grains of Goex it cracks like a .22 Hornet and goes deep in the wound channel flattening out like dime. I drop down behind some rocks and can kneel on my knees and see where these deer are bedded down. It wasn't long with the others moving around that the bedded deer are up looking. Game-on I pick out a nice 4 point buck - Bang  (one down). Reload they didn't run off still here, BANG down goes another one. The wind in working with me and I shoot two more BANG BANG and haven't left my position. 

The deer moved off as some of my friends come working up the side of the canyon to me. They are making all the usual wise cracks about me missing, then I point right below me and the see downed animals. Three of them and four deer, I stand up and wake to another friend to come over from his position. The four guys tagged and then started cleaning them and I took off follow where i saw what was left of the herd. To make this story end now I killed eight deer by noon and filled everyone's tag. See the picture of the hides hang on my rail fence at the house.

Finally, a .54 cal PRB rifle Pic-4
One of several streams in this area reason for all the game.



Finally, a .54 cal PRB rifle Deerhides
Hides hanging on the fence after a morning hunt, thanks to the "Mighty 36".

Two still hanging in the barn having their hides removed, then salt and put the hides on the fence.

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Buck Conner


Finally, a .54 cal PRB rifle Img2

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bronko22000



Male Number of posts : 49
Age : 65
Location : NE Pennsylvania
Registration date : 2016-03-22

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PostSubject: Re: Finally, a .54 cal PRB rifle   Finally, a .54 cal PRB rifle EmptyNovember 10th 2018, 1:17 am

Looks like you got yourself a shoot there Sparky.  Not quite as good as my .54 GM barreled Hawken but pretty darn close.  I sure wish you would have bought that one.  You would have really liked it.  But I still think ya done good with that CVA.
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