Effective Range of a .54 Cal Muzzleloader with Round Balls?

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Crash
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Effective Range of a .54 Cal Muzzleloader with Round Balls?

#1

Post by Crash » Tue Nov 12, 2019 2:06 pm

What's the effective range on whitetail deer of a .54 cal muzzleloader (Lyman GPR) using .530 balls (about 225 grains). The powder charge will be enough 777 ffg to give me a muzzle velocity of around 1800 fps. I think that should do the job on our Central Texas whitetails out to about 100 yards, but don't know for sure.

Opinions?

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Re: Effective Range of a .54 Cal Muzzleloader with Round Balls?

#2

Post by philip964 » Tue Nov 12, 2019 3:36 pm

I shot round ammunition through a muzzle loader rifle one time.

I think the target was maybe 50 feet.

I missed the target completely.

Just saying, I would have starved to death.

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AndyC
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Re: Effective Range of a .54 Cal Muzzleloader with Round Balls?

#3

Post by AndyC » Tue Nov 12, 2019 3:42 pm

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Re: Effective Range of a .54 Cal Muzzleloader with Round Balls?

#4

Post by mrvmax » Tue Nov 12, 2019 3:58 pm

I’d be comfortable at 100 yards max simply due to the ability to hit that far out with round ball.

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Re: Effective Range of a .54 Cal Muzzleloader with Round Balls?

#5

Post by DocV » Tue Nov 12, 2019 4:31 pm

100 yard accuracy was about all I could get out of my 50 cal Hawkins. Most other folks are
better depending on the wind.
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Re: Effective Range of a .54 Cal Muzzleloader with Round Balls?

#6

Post by crazy2medic » Tue Nov 12, 2019 6:15 pm

There is a reason armies using muzzleloaders lined up abreast of each other and fired in volley! The inherent inaccuracies of their firearm!
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Re: Effective Range of a .54 Cal Muzzleloader with Round Balls?

#7

Post by cirus » Tue Nov 12, 2019 7:54 pm

I've also got a Lyman GPR in .54 with a 1:60 twist for patched round ball. As far as effective killing range I don't know. As far as accuracy I think it would be good out past 100 yards with the right charge and the proper patch. I use .530 balls and a .010 patch for easy loading but if I want better accuracy I'd go to a .015 patch for better seal and contact with the rifling .


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Re: Effective Range of a .54 Cal Muzzleloader with Round Balls?

#8

Post by flechero » Tue Nov 12, 2019 8:34 pm

The effective range on most muzzleloaders is based on your ability to shoot them accurately, not the projectile's energy curve.

IMO hunting with a muzzleloader is an experience and not an exercise in long range shooting. They are primitive weapons and range is appropriately shorter. Spend some time at the range getting to know your range and enjoy it!


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Re: Effective Range of a .54 Cal Muzzleloader with Round Balls?

#9

Post by Crash » Tue Nov 12, 2019 8:35 pm

cirus wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 7:54 pm
I've also got a Lyman GPR in .54 with a 1:60 twist for patched round ball. As far as effective killing range I don't know. As far as accuracy I think it would be good out past 100 yards with the right charge and the proper patch. I use .530 balls and a .010 patch for easy loading but if I want better accuracy I'd go to a .015 patch for better seal and contact with the rifling .
Cirus,

Mine is the same as yours and I use the .530 balls and a .015 patch. Some info I have states a max charge of 120 grains of 777 ffg with that ball and a .020 patch for a muzzle velocity of around 2000 fps.

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Re: Effective Range of a .54 Cal Muzzleloader with Round Balls?

#10

Post by cirus » Tue Nov 12, 2019 8:49 pm

Crash wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 8:35 pm
cirus wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 7:54 pm
I've also got a Lyman GPR in .54 with a 1:60 twist for patched round ball. As far as effective killing range I don't know. As far as accuracy I think it would be good out past 100 yards with the right charge and the proper patch. I use .530 balls and a .010 patch for easy loading but if I want better accuracy I'd go to a .015 patch for better seal and contact with the rifling .
Cirus,

Mine is the same as yours and I use the .530 balls and a .015 patch. Some info I have states a max charge of 120 grains of 777 ffg with that ball and a .020 patch for a muzzle velocity of around 2000 fps.

Crash
I bet that .020 patch would be tough to get down the barrel. A .015 is pretty tough with a dirty barrel.

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Re: Effective Range of a .54 Cal Muzzleloader with Round Balls?

#11

Post by The Annoyed Man » Wed Nov 13, 2019 6:54 pm

Round balls? Why not just use Minié balls? Civil War confederate guerrilla sniper Jack Hinson made hits on union soldiers up to 1000 yards out, using a muzzle loading rifle custom built for that kind of shooting, loaded with Minié balls. Admittedly, he typically fired down onto troop transports from high up on bluffs lining the river, which would have had the effect of reducing his bullet drop over the range; but those would be hard shots even with a modern centerfire today. It seems to me that shooting that kind of bullet would at least increase your hit probability, and maybe even extend your range a little bit.

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Re: Effective Range of a .54 Cal Muzzleloader with Round Balls?

#12

Post by Crash » Wed Nov 13, 2019 7:52 pm

The Annoyed Man wrote:
Wed Nov 13, 2019 6:54 pm
Round balls? Why not just use Minié balls? Civil War confederate guerrilla sniper Jack Hinson made hits on union soldiers up to 1000 yards out, using a muzzle loading rifle custom built for that kind of shooting, loaded with Minié balls. Admittedly, he typically fired down onto troop transports from high up on bluffs lining the river, which would have had the effect of reducing his bullet drop over the range; but those would be hard shots even with a modern centerfire today. It seems to me that shooting that kind of bullet would at least increase your hit probability, and maybe even extend your range a little bit.

The Annoyed Man,

You're right, of course, but I just like the idea of shooting a patched round ball.

Crash


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Re: Effective Range of a .54 Cal Muzzleloader with Round Balls?

#13

Post by Crash » Wed Nov 13, 2019 7:54 pm

cirus wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 8:49 pm
Crash wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 8:35 pm
cirus wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 7:54 pm
I've also got a Lyman GPR in .54 with a 1:60 twist for patched round ball. As far as effective killing range I don't know. As far as accuracy I think it would be good out past 100 yards with the right charge and the proper patch. I use .530 balls and a .010 patch for easy loading but if I want better accuracy I'd go to a .015 patch for better seal and contact with the rifling .
Cirus,

Mine is the same as yours and I use the .530 balls and a .015 patch. Some info I have states a max charge of 120 grains of 777 ffg with that ball and a .020 patch for a muzzle velocity of around 2000 fps.

Crash
I bet that .020 patch would be tough to get down the barrel. A .015 is pretty tough with a dirty barrel.
Cirus,

I normally use a .015 patch, but .020 was what was listed in the tables I quoted.

Crash

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Re: Effective Range of a .54 Cal Muzzleloader with Round Balls?

#14

Post by The Annoyed Man » Wed Nov 13, 2019 10:15 pm

Crash wrote:
Wed Nov 13, 2019 7:52 pm
The Annoyed Man wrote:
Wed Nov 13, 2019 6:54 pm
Round balls? Why not just use Minié balls? Civil War confederate guerrilla sniper Jack Hinson made hits on union soldiers up to 1000 yards out, using a muzzle loading rifle custom built for that kind of shooting, loaded with Minié balls. Admittedly, he typically fired down onto troop transports from high up on bluffs lining the river, which would have had the effect of reducing his bullet drop over the range; but those would be hard shots even with a modern centerfire today. It seems to me that shooting that kind of bullet would at least increase your hit probability, and maybe even extend your range a little bit.

The Annoyed Man,

You're right, of course, but I just like the idea of shooting a patched round ball.

Crash
Fair enough. I wondered if it was an enthusiast thing or not when I was typing the above. I guess if you’re trying to be as original as possible, round ball would be called for. It occurs to me that back in the 18th to mid 19th century, an awful lot of hunting with a muzzle loader was probably done in thick woods where the shooting distances would have been short enough that it might not have mattered much for hunting purposes.
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Re: Effective Range of a .54 Cal Muzzleloader with Round Balls?

#15

Post by ScottDLS » Wed Nov 13, 2019 10:40 pm

The Annoyed Man wrote:
Wed Nov 13, 2019 10:15 pm
Crash wrote:
Wed Nov 13, 2019 7:52 pm
The Annoyed Man wrote:
Wed Nov 13, 2019 6:54 pm
Round balls? Why not just use Minié balls? Civil War confederate guerrilla sniper Jack Hinson made hits on union soldiers up to 1000 yards out, using a muzzle loading rifle custom built for that kind of shooting, loaded with Minié balls. Admittedly, he typically fired down onto troop transports from high up on bluffs lining the river, which would have had the effect of reducing his bullet drop over the range; but those would be hard shots even with a modern centerfire today. It seems to me that shooting that kind of bullet would at least increase your hit probability, and maybe even extend your range a little bit.

The Annoyed Man,

You're right, of course, but I just like the idea of shooting a patched round ball.

Crash
Fair enough. I wondered if it was an enthusiast thing or not when I was typing the above. I guess if you’re trying to be as original as possible, round ball would be called for. It occurs to me that back in the 18th to mid 19th century, an awful lot of hunting with a muzzle loader was probably done in thick woods where the shooting distances would have been short enough that it might not have mattered much for hunting purposes.
When I was I High School I used to do Civil War re-enactments with my HS history teacher (USMC Vietnam Vet) and our local (Charlotte, NC) historical society. I had a replica Civil War era .54 cal rifled Enfield, which was historically correct for Federal troops of that era (yeah we were Union....in NC :shock: ...funny thing is the historical society guys who re-enacted as Confederate really welcomed us. See in NC in 1979 they had a really hard time finding someone to be Union :biggrinjester: ). Anyway, I digress. We used to roll our own “cartridges” out of thick brown mailing paper with black powder inside. This was as “period” correct as you could get. So we wrapped the black powder charge FFF grain if I remember correctly which you could buy buy the pound if you were 16 or older. Of course for re-enactments you didn’t put the paper “wad” from the cartridge in...you just bit off the top and poured the loose powder down the barrel. And you weren’t allowed to have the ramrod on your rifle. Now later I decided to take said rifle out and shoot some round balls out of it. I took some of my “cartridges” from re-enactments which were about 1.5“ by .5” around...don’t know how many grains of FFF that was but it was what we were to,d was standard load for the Blues. Anyway shooting some metal canisters and wooden pallets, I compared to shooting same with my Mini-14 .223... The Enfield was really underpowered. It didn’t even penetrate the pallets at 50’. I can’t help thinking my powder charge was light or the ball ammo was too small. Plate mail and chain mail armor was made obsolete by smooth bore muskets by the 17th century...so I can’t help think was doing something wrong. :???:
4/13/1996 Completed CHL Class, 4/16/1996 Fingerprints, Affidavits, and Application Mailed, 10/4/1996 Received CHL, renewed 1998, 2002, 2006, 2011, 2016...). "ATF... Uhhh...heh...heh....Alcohol, tobacco, and GUNS!! Cool!!!!"

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