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Noz
January 20, 2010, 10:23 AM
A friend, who is an accomplished rifleman, has a question we need answered. When firing his "Hawken" style 50 cal cap lock rifle at anything less than 100 yards he can shoot 2"-3" with a patched roundball. The same bullet, patch and powder charge loaded in a "speed loader" (plastic) and allowed to set for a few days opens the group at 50 yards to 8"-10". This obviously causes difficulties while hunting. At the end of this years deer season, in which he missed two deer, he fired his speed loader reload and all of the remaining speed loaders he had. He had approximately a 10" group. He reloaded from his powder horn and put the next three in the center of the bull.
As an experiment he loaded a fresh charge and put the rifle up for a couple of days. When fired the "stale" charge missed the bull by 7".

Any idea what is going on?

madcratebuilder
January 20, 2010, 10:52 AM
I've never used a speed loader so I can't really offer advice, but that does sound unusual. I can't see how storage in the speed loader would effect the powder, but that's what it looks like. Clean ball, dry patch and the speed loader stored indoors?

Pahoo
January 20, 2010, 11:27 AM
WOW!!! .. :eek:
Have never encountered this problem and I do use speed-loaders. I usually carry six in my field pack as well as enough loose material for an additional six. Prior to going into the field, I do a dress rehearsal with the speed loaders to confirm my groups, much like you are doing. To date, I have not seen this problems although I do anticipate a larger spread. I really have no idea what is at play here but I would pay attention to what changes are taking place in the patch and then the propellant. What is your propellant and is it loose or pellelts? Guessing you are using loose powder. I'd say do some switching and see what results you get. Will have to work on this one myself and wish I could be more help. Can see where this would be nerve racking!! .. :mad:


Be Safe !!!

Wild Bill Bucks
January 20, 2010, 11:29 AM
Around here, the humidity stays so high, that almost any storage of loads in a speed loader, for more than 1 day, will make a difference in point of impact.

Most guys around here, will load a fresh load in the rifle, and a fresh load in the speed loaders, every morning before a hunt, and empty the powder into another container to be used for practice at the range, and reload again every morning.

This keeps the powder as fresh as it can be through the day, and eliminates problems during the hunt. The remaining powder will be used at the range, where it really is no big deal, like it is when your hunting.

kwhi43@kc.rr.com
January 20, 2010, 12:06 PM
What kind of lube is he using on the patch? That's what drying out.

starbuck125
January 20, 2010, 05:24 PM
What kind of powder is he using?, where"s it stored & how?Also how long has he had the powder? i"ve had powder " die" on me before & had to get more before the season.After that there was no problem. I just used the old powder to practice with in my pistols.Serval things could be causing it to go bad.

MacGille
January 20, 2010, 07:49 PM
I'm guessing that he is having issues with powder absorbing moisture, or lube drying out. I rather suspect the lube. I use a mixture of 2 parts beeswax to 3 parts crisco and 1 part parafin. If it is too hot, I reduce the amount of crisco and add beeswax. Too cold, add crisco remove wax.

The lube will harden, but the powder burn will melt it. I have never had a problem since I stopped using store bought lubes and made my own.

Noz
January 20, 2010, 08:14 PM
I called him this evening and gave him a synopsis of what your rreplies are and he told me that the same thing is happening with another gun that he shoots only saboted jacketed bullets?

horseman308
January 20, 2010, 10:52 PM
Is your friend using real black powder or Pyrodex/other synthetic? If he's using real black, I'd be curious to find out how well-sealed his speed loaders are. Also, with the charge he left in the rifle over night, did he bring the rifle inside or leave outside, say in a car or garage? If it's very cold where you are, then the change in temperature and humidity between inside and outside can cause the powder to absorb more moisture than you'd expect once he brings it inside to warm up. That would go for the speed-loaders, too.

As others have said, I'd also suspect the lube of drying out, but if that happens with saboted slugs also, then look at the powder in relationship to temp/humidity.

arcticap
January 21, 2010, 12:52 AM
At the end of this years deer season, in which he missed two deer, he fired his speed loader reload and all of the remaining speed loaders he had. He had approximately a 10" group. He reloaded from his powder horn and put the next three in the center of the bull.

he told me that the same thing is happening with another gun that he shoots only saboted jacketed bullets?

I don't believe that it's the powder or the speed loader.
I think that it's classic cold barrel syndrome.
The barrel is cold so it won't shoot as well.
When people get too used to shooting with a barrel that's all warmed up, then they wonder why the barrel won't shoot groups when the barrel transitions from being cold to getting hotter.

It could also be due in part to the barrel being too clean. Some barrels will only shoot well when they are fouled.
It's more of a temperature and/or barrel related phenomenon than attributable to humidity, powder or a plastic speed loader.

Barrels will even shoot differently in the summer verses the winter.
Plus muzzle loaders always have other hidden variables such as powder compression that can affect each shot.
But I really believe that the most common is temperature variation and the amount of the bore's fouling.
As the barrel warms up, all kinds of trajectory changes occur with many different kinds of rifles.
The barrel harmonics and how the stock exerts pressure on the barrel changes.
The wax in a patch lube can be affected by barrel temperature.
Bullets are known to "walk" all over the place when some barrels are warming up and getting refouled after being cleaned.

That's why shooting groups just isn't the same as when shooting deer when only the first shot counts the most from a cold clean barrel.
Maybe he should work up a new load for shooting from a cold, clean barrel.

Parabuteo
February 1, 2010, 10:08 PM
I think arcticap has it right, sounds like first shot from a clean barrel vs a shot from a fouled barrel.

madcratebuilder
February 2, 2010, 10:17 AM
At the end of this years deer season, in which he missed two deer, he fired his speed loader reload and all of the remaining speed loaders he had. He had approximately a 10" group. He reloaded from his powder horn and put the next three in the center of the bull.

I think that eliminates the cold barrel and clean barrel theory, I think, I may be wrong. It's got to be the powder or lube. The moisture content of the powder changing after loading or loaded into the speed loader:confused: If that's the case why is the powder in the horn not effected? Are the patched used in the speed loader lubed?

Fingers McGee
February 2, 2010, 02:41 PM
More & more it sounds like moisture;

Grasping at straws here & thinking aloud -

Pouring from a can/powder horn to a speed loader allows the powder to absorb moisture when pouring; then setting up in the speed loader; then pouring from the speed loader to the barrel gives more air time than just pouring from the powder horn/can into the barrel. I can't really see where that would cause much difference unless it was in a pouring rain; but I guess it's possible.

How long is/was the load in the speed loader? What kind of speedloader is it?

Is the load and powder the same when loading from the speedloader and powder horn? Are the speed loaders being loaded from the powder horn, or a can?

Is the loading procedure the same when using a powder horn & speed loader? Same pouring technique; same short starter technique; same ramming technique; with same ramrod?