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Hawkin's .54 cal question(s)

 
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  #1  
Old 12-13-2007, 10:31 AM
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Location: McKinney TX
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Hawkin's .54 cal question(s)

My dad is getting up there in years and decided to send me his firearms as he's not able to hunt any longer. One of them was a complete surprise. It's a percussion cap .54 cal Hawkins muzzle loader. Now I've never been into shooting muzzle loaders but my boys can't wait to take it out. So this is all new to us.

Be kind, this is completely new to us and I'm not looking to get hammered by anyone. I have some questions so we go about this safely and the right way as there was no product material with it, but I'll do a search on line.

It went together lickety split with the two pins to hold the barrel on. It's came with the rod to tamp it down the powder and the bullets so I think it's complete and I'm not missing anything. I've got some shopping to do for all the extras. At the end of the day, I’m not anyone will hunt with it, but I can see my boys having fun at the range with it, but who knows.

Here's my list of questions

What kind or manufacture of black powder do you recommend?
How much powder do I poor down the barrel or is there a device for measuring it...I'm sure there is
What type of bullets should I purchase?
What type of bullet patches do I need...if any??
is there a big difference in percussion caps?
Cleaning supplies...what kind or brand?
Oh yeah and the last question and this is from my youngest who's 16. How much kick should he expect seeing it has no recoil pad?

That should get me started on my shopping list. I know I've probably left out a bunch of stuff, so fill me in if you see I'm missing something.

As always thanks for your support.
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Jeff

Mathew 5:16

Distance is not an issue, but the wind will make it interesting!
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Old 12-13-2007, 11:15 AM
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The first thing one needs to know before answering this question, what is the make and model of the muzzleloader and barrel length. that way we can get an idea of the twist rate, which is very important to know to determine the loading data.
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Old 12-13-2007, 06:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WSmitty01 View Post
The first thing one needs to know before answering this question, what is the make and model of the muzzleloader and barrel length. that way we can get an idea of the twist rate, which is very important to know to determine the loading data.

The rifle is made by Lyman and is called The Plains Rifle. It's a .54 cal percussion with a 33" barrel. Twist rate is unknown. That all the info the box had on it.

Hopefully you can help and thanks
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Jeff

Mathew 5:16

Distance is not an issue, but the wind will make it interesting!
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  #4  
Old 12-14-2007, 10:52 AM
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That should be a 1 in 60" twist, or close to it. This rifle is an excellant shooter with patched roundballs. I shoot a 1 in 66' twist Sante Fe Hawken. My best loads are 90-100 grains FFG or 85-90 grains 777. I would use Hornady's .530 balls (no sprue) with a .12-.15 patch. I use mostly TC lubes but mostly any good quality lube will work, or make your own, plenty of recipes on the I-Net. I remove the barrel and put the end of it in a bucket of hot soapy water with nipple out and use a good cleaning jag to pump the water through the barrel. 777 powder is a LOT easier to clean and you can get more shots between cleaning, but I do like real BP better. You might be able to get a minnie ball to shoot out of that barrel, but I haven't hunted anything that the PRB hasn't killed quickly and cleanly (elk, bear, deer, turkey). There are several web sites that are "traditional" muzzleloader friendly. Just google "traditional muzzleloader" and you'll get more places to help you out than you can imagine. I own and shoot 3 "traditional" style muzzleloaders, some will shoot sabots, others will not, I don't recommend you stuff them down your tube, they are made for faster twist barrels at least 1 in 48". Have fun with that rifle, they are selling for about $500 now. Don't let the in-line guys talk you out of it. You can safely kill out to 200 yards with practice with the PRB. Oh yeah, they don't kick all that much because of theweight of them, my wife would rather shoot the muzzleloaders than her HP rifles, the hardest part is holding up all that weight of gun!
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Old 12-14-2007, 11:17 AM
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Forgot another important rule, put the original ramrod away and purchase a good synthetic one (not fiberglass, too hard on crown). I've broken at least a dozen in the 35 years I've been shooting BP. Propably had to shoot half of them out of the barrel, also seen a few shooters put broken ones through their hands. Better to be safe than sorry, also get a bullet puller for it in case you forget the powder, I just usually pull the nipple and trickle enough in to clear the barrel though! Lots to learn....also NEVER pour BP out of a flask directly into your barrel, there are bunches of measuring devices out there,,,one of the best parts of traditional shooting is making your own equipment, horns, leather goods, patches, knive etc! Have fun and be safe!!!
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  #6  
Old 12-14-2007, 12:21 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: McKinney TX
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WSmitty01 View Post
Forgot another important rule, put the original ramrod away and purchase a good synthetic one (not fiberglass, too hard on crown). I've broken at least a dozen in the 35 years I've been shooting BP. Propably had to shoot half of them out of the barrel, also seen a few shooters put broken ones through their hands. Better to be safe than sorry, also get a bullet puller for it in case you forget the powder, I just usually pull the nipple and trickle enough in to clear the barrel though! Lots to learn....also NEVER pour BP out of a flask directly into your barrel, there are bunches of measuring devices out there,,,one of the best parts of traditional shooting is making your own equipment, horns, leather goods, patches, knive etc! Have fun and be safe!!!
WSmitty,

Many thanks for all your insite and advice. I'll google those sites to gain more knowledge and understanding. Should turn out to be a fun project with my boys.

Thanks again
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Jeff

Mathew 5:16

Distance is not an issue, but the wind will make it interesting!
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  #7  
Old 12-16-2007, 01:23 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 22
More thoughts...

WSMITTY has given you some good advice!

I've used a .54 T/C Renegade (something like 1:28 twist I think) for probably 25 years. Used to use a conical of some type but went to a patched round ball about 10 years ago. I found that about 90 gr of Pyrodex or 80 gr of 777 gave me my best groups. Be sure to try different charges of whatever propellant you have as it can have a remarkable effect on accuracy.

I hunt woods, so don't think I've ever shot at an animal more than 100 yds, but many have fallen. You'll enjoy it at the range also. The recoil is quite mild.
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