Traditions .54 cal

Discussion in 'Long Range Hunting & Shooting' started by Joefrazell, Aug 5, 2018.

  1. Joefrazell

    Joefrazell Well-Known Member

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    Hardly lon range but I'm looking for some input from anyone with experience with side lock percussion muzzleloaders. I'm shooting a traditions. 54 cal. Trying to get this ready for hunting elk here next month. What kinda accuracy should I see with a conical? We're not allowed to use sabots in idaho. I'm using hornady grain plains 425 gr with 70 gr. Of pyradex. 70 shoots better then 80 or 90 gr. it's shooting about a 12" group at 100 yards. I've tried a 405 gr powerbelt and it was all over. Shot ok at 70 yards and at 80 wouldn't group at all. I'm shooting off bags prone. Is this typical accuracy and the best it'll do?
     
  2. WildRose

    WildRose Well-Known Member

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    Joe I got a lot of great help with my ML from the ML section here. I can't find anyone that's had good luck with the powerbelts.

    I'm shooting sabots in mine with 3-4" groups at 250 which I consider excellent.
     
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  3. Gregger

    Gregger Active Member

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    I have an old Lyman great plains rifle in .54 cal. I shoot patched round ball on top of 60gr of triple 7 powder, that load is extremely accurate. My rifle didn't shoot Pyrodex very well.
     
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  4. WildRose

    WildRose Well-Known Member

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    The first thing I learned about pyrodex is that it could be extremely finicky and inconsistent.

    My brother when he was doing lot's of muzzle loading with his boy scout troop had quite a few .54 caliber rifles and they shot the hornady great plains bullets with good accuracy over Blackhorn powder.


    https://www.midwayusa.com/product/1...caliber-425-grain-lead-hollow-point-box-of-20
     
  5. Gregger

    Gregger Active Member

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    Real Black powder would be great, cant get it in NY though. Doesn't seem to hard to make, if you were in a pinch ;)
     
  6. tierradelmundo

    tierradelmundo Member

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    Real blackpowder is very easy to get in PA, which can't be too far of a drive for you from NY. I hunted muzzleloaders exclusively for over a decade, and for traditional ignition systems nothing seems to be as consistent as real blackpowder. I have shot a lot of 54 cal conicals from a pair of Lyman deerstalkers, the 425 gr Hornady great plains with 70-90 grains of FFG goex is typically ~2" groups from 60 yards with open sights.

    I don't know the twist of your traditions, but I know they have made some 1:66" guns. Sometimes traditions stamps the twist rate right on the barrel, so I would check for that. If that's the twist you have your only real options are to shoot patched round balls, get a new barrel, or get a new gun. If you're 1:48" or faster you should be able to stabilize any conicals.

    If it's not a twist issue, and especially if the gun is relatively new, the barrel likely needs to be lapped. If you're cutting patches while cleaning the gun it's a sure sign the barrel needs lapped. Get some ultra fine steel wool, wrap a bit around your jag, and get to work.

    You may also consider upgrading your sight system. I recently switched to a rear peep sight and I have been impressed by how much easier it is to aim vs. the standard open sights that come from the factory.
     
  7. ATH

    ATH Well-Known Member

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    You did not share the twist of your rifle. Depending on that, a conical could be a no-go.

    For many years I shot a Traditions 1:48" 50cal. We were allowed sabots so I shot the OLD 240gr Hornady HTP. I could shoot accurately to 200 yards. Then the HTP was discontinued and the XTP was introduced. Same weight, accuracy went to hell. It was right on the borderline of stability apparently.

    Make sure you have appropriate twist to stabilize what you are shooting. The "accuracy" you are getting is terrible. Try a shorter/lighter bullet.

    Regarding the powder, I've never had issues with Pyrodex, other than it is hydroscopic, so don't take your gun in/out doors due to temp changes and frankly I prefer to shoot and reload each day of hunting. But any of the newer subs are NOT reliably to ignite in a sidelock. Been there done that.
     
  8. Gregger

    Gregger Active Member

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    If i dont swab the barrel my accuracy goes to hell after 3 shots. Swab with rubbing alcohol it works great. With these old side locks it could be any number of things causing bad accuracy but it sounds like the main culprit is your twist rate. Try shooting some patched round balls at the same distance and see how accurate they are. You would be surprised how much damage a .54cal ball can do.
     
  9. Joefrazell

    Joefrazell Well-Known Member

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    Sorry guys it's a 48 twist barrel. Seems to shoot round balls pretty good. I'm thinking of getting a cva optima northwest version. Anyone have any input on these guns? Also considering the wolf northwest.
     
  10. Joefrazell

    Joefrazell Well-Known Member

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    Also, I run a patch with bore butter down the bore and then a dry patch between shots or else it's very hard to load. I think I might get a different powder and bullet to try. I'll try a lighter bullet and would you guys try triple 7 or actual coax black powder?
     
  11. Jud96

    Jud96 Well-Known Member

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    I shoot a Lyman Great Plains flintlock on paper shoots, walk through woods courses, and during PA’s muzzleloader season. I’ve only ever shot a soft lead .530 round ball cast from a Lyman mould, .015 pillow ticking patches, and 90gr of Goex 3F black powder. When I’m hunting I use a patch lube made of beeswax and coconut oil mix which stays soft in the cold temps. During matches I just use spit patches.

    I’ve never grouped the rifle past 50yds because of the type of areas I hunt and the matches I shoot, but it will shoot under 2” with my traditional style load. That rifle and load has cut a few playing cards in half and pulled off quite a few tough shots in the woods shoots though haha
     
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  12. Gregger

    Gregger Active Member

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    I would try the Goex 3f with the bullets you are shooting now before switching to a smaller one.
     
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  13. ATH

    ATH Well-Known Member

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    If you are not running a wet patch between every shot, do so. Even hunting I ran a spit patch between reloads.

    I still recommend you at least try a shorter/lighter bullet. Diameter fit can also dramatically affect accuracy. In my experience, I went through a lot more bullets looking for optimal accuracy in a ML than I do in a centerfire.

    Finally, I would NOT recommend 777 in a sidelock if you plan to shoot below freezing and use percussion caps for ignition. Never had any issues with Pyrodex, but below freezing with 777, I routinely experienced misfires.
     
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  14. Joefrazell

    Joefrazell Well-Known Member

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    Your talking about just the round ball right? As far as using patches? I always use a wet patch with a rnd ball but didn't think you could with a conical?