View Full Version : .50 or .54

February 21, 2009, 03:53 PM
I'm interested in a Lyman percussion Great Plain rifle but I'm not sure which caliber .50 or .54 which one have an advantage over the other one. Thanks.

February 21, 2009, 04:33 PM
Get the .54 these babies are amazing! You will also be able to take elk size game out to 150+ yards with comon round ball.

February 21, 2009, 04:41 PM
Well, it kind of depends on what you want it to do. If you plan on hunting with it, then like the Gander said; go with the .54. In this application, remember that mass kills. If you just intend to punch paper, then stick with the .50. Don't get me wrong, many a deer have been taken with a .50 and at fairly good ranges but a lot of them shot conicals or sabots and again, mass kills. Know a lot of Buckskinners that will only hunt with PRB and BP and they all eventually settled on the .54.

Be Safe !!!

February 21, 2009, 05:18 PM
Go .54

In my opinion the only advantage the .50 has is it is easier to find projectiles. Even using inexpensive round balls, the 54 is DEADLY

February 21, 2009, 06:23 PM
I own the .50 cal in a percussion cap and a .54 cal in a flintlock. If I were to have to do all over, I would have both in a .54 cal. I also have the Lyman .54 cal Plains pistol. I shoot the .50 with the Scouts, but I prefer the .54 for doing everything from punching holes in paper to hunting.

The best part is that here locally one can buy .530 balls cheaper than .490. Seems the popularity of the .54 cal hasn't caught on. But since I cast my own, it makes little difference to me.

Maybe I just like throwing as much lead at the target as I can.:D:D:D

Did I say, "Bigger was better?"

February 21, 2009, 06:24 PM
I will only use it for target shooting but Lyman have two Great Plains one with a 1:60 barrel (good for round balls) and the other one the "Hunter" with a 1.32 barrel (good for conical and sabots) which one is a better choice for target shooting?

.300 Weatherby Mag
February 21, 2009, 06:41 PM

February 21, 2009, 07:00 PM
Go with the 60 inch twist for target shooting as you will be using round balls. Or you should be using round balls. Much cheaper to shoot in quantity, plus every muzzleloader shoot I was ever at was round ball only except for certain bench matches.

February 21, 2009, 07:24 PM
I have a GPR flintlock. It came with a .50 cal. barrel. Remarkably accurate.
Last year I picked up a .54 cal Green Mt. smoothbore barrel for it from Track of the Wolf. With a tightly patched RB, the thing is deadly. And I can use it for Upland hunting as a 28 ga.

February 21, 2009, 07:27 PM
I have been shooting my Great plains .54 since '86. Takes a deer or two every year. I started with .58's , went to a .50 t/c (made in the '70's when they still had beautiful wood) . the .50 was ok but I always felt undergunned. Bought a Great Plains for $125 new and never looked back. I also have the Plains pistol in .54 . Don't really need it but carry it anyway. the .54 will do all that you need. balls are a little harder to find than .50 caliber. learn to cast your own and shoot for nearly free. I use 72 gr of 2ffg and get complete pass thru out to 100 yds. they are down by the time the smoke clears. The lyman is a terrific rifle and will serve you well.

February 21, 2009, 07:59 PM
Well Okay !!!
Now you are talking and have to somewhat modify what I said. I have a Penn. Hunter in .50 and 1:66 with a Lyman peep sight and have nothing that shoots better. I installed a double set trigger and all it does is punch paper. Really surprises my buddies are to how well it shoots. Go with the .50 and get a hunter later as you wish ..

Be Safe !!!

February 21, 2009, 08:29 PM
If all you ever plan to do is shoot the round ball, then by all means take the .50 with the 1.60 twist. Sounds like that is what you are favoring.

The .54 you are looking at can be used for targets, but it is geared to hunting. There is no reason it cannot be used for targets as well.

I do not know how much target shooting you are planning on doing. The reason I prefer the .54 over the .50 is simply versatility. I can use it to shoot targets and I can hunt with it. The .54 cal I use most often has 1.48 twist so it can shoot balls or conicals accurate enough..

So it is just a matter of preference and the big-a-bang.

February 21, 2009, 10:05 PM
Thanks guys. :)

Hawg Haggen
February 21, 2009, 11:19 PM
I'll kick in another vote for the .54. A .50 is ok but a .54 is much mo better. Once you find your round ball load a conical won't touch it out to 100 yds. Much beyond that and the conical has the advantage.

Old Time Hunter
February 21, 2009, 11:48 PM
I went a few years ago with a Lyman Great Plains Hunter (1-32) in .50 caliber since the majority of our primary hunting group had 50's also. Now all of 'em do. We cast our own and use Lee'd R.E.A.L. mould, 30-1, no patch needed with that bullet and loaded in front of 95 grains of FFg it comes out at almost 1900 fps with the chrono set at 15'. For a 385 grain projectile, that'll deliver a mighty wallop. Never tried a .54, but do have a .58.

By the way, the game I have taken with it couldn't tell the difference, they all went down.

Fingers McGee
February 22, 2009, 12:15 AM
Quote: Hawg Haggan
I'll kick in another vote for the .54. A .50 is ok but a .54 is much mo better. Once you find your round ball load a conical won't touch it out to 100 yds. Much beyond that and the conical has the advantage.

+1. I had a .50 flint longrifle and a .50 Hawken that worked pretty good. Then I got hold of a Pedersoli Tryon Rifle in .54. Weren't no comparison. The .54 was far and away the best rifle of the three.


February 22, 2009, 01:32 AM
I have to give another vote for the .54 cal..Like others have mentioned the .54 is a heavy hitter even with a round ball..
I just recently upgraded my two well used TC Renegades to Green Mountain .54 cal,1 in 70 twist 32" barrels and could not be any happier with the results.In fact I converted one of the Renegades to a fancy maple Hawken fullstock and absolutely love that rifle.Best money Ive spent in years.

February 22, 2009, 01:56 AM
and when in a pinch.......you can use a 50 in a 54 with a thick patch!!

February 22, 2009, 05:40 AM
I've had 3 45s 2 50s and one 54.
From what I have seen you can get great accuracy with any barrel with the right load.
Longer barrels give more velocity due to the ability to burn more powder.
Twist rates shooter either conical or round well but usually not both equally well.

February 22, 2009, 11:39 AM
Love my .54cal Great Plains Rifle! One ragged hole at 70yds from the bench and turkey neck accurate in the field. ;)

Hawg Haggen
February 22, 2009, 11:54 AM
turkey neck accurate in the field

Don't get much better than that.:cool:

February 22, 2009, 06:22 PM
Nope and it's always a good day when you amaze yourself! :D