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Old September 19, 2013, 08:21 PM   #1
Bowhunter57
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Low b/p rifle loads?

I've been considering the purchase of another black powder long rifle. Last week I was at a local gun shop and found a Dixie Gun Works .50 cal. percussion Penn. Poor Boy.

I would be using this rifle for deer and possibly varmints. However, I've heard of using low powder charges for squirrels and rabbits. Something like 20gr. or 25gr. of 2F (or similar charges of 3F), that would be both accurate and just enough for small game head shots.

Has anyone used reduced powder charges in this or similar calibers to make the rifle more versatile, in its' use?

Thank you, Bowhunter57
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Old September 19, 2013, 08:41 PM   #2
Old Stony
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I've used 30 gr. of 3f many times in a 50 Ca. and got good accuracy. Most of the rifles will respond well to the lighter loads and they are fun to shoot.
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Old September 20, 2013, 09:42 AM   #3
Pahoo
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Be carful on reduced loads.

Regardless, it's still a .50 and in my early years, I use to hunt squirrels with a TC .50 and reduced load. This exercise helped me work out the kinks, in preparation for deer season. Personally, I would not go less than 30 of 3F. On reduced loads, there is point where you could encounter problems and I never wanted to cross that line. These days, I use my .36 Seneca. ...

Recently saw a .50 that had a barrel ring and really have to question, just how it got there. I have been trying to come up with scenarios and first thought it might be due to reduced load. I am now leaning toward a short-start. ...

Be Safe !!!
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Old September 20, 2013, 09:59 AM   #4
Pahoo
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Min and Max

Bowhunter
You may already be aware of this but the published rule of thumb for rifle loads, is; The caliber for min and 2x for max. So, for a .50, the min is 50grns and the may is 100grns. You are at 20grns and that "might" be a little too low. During our classes, we load 40grns of 777 in a .50 Sidelock. Plenty of bark and bite for all students. .....

By the way, I like your Camp-Name ......

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Old September 20, 2013, 08:40 PM   #5
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I wouldn't go below 45. My wife can shoot a 45-50 gr load in my .50 Renegade all day and not get tired of it, and it's plenty enough for rabbits and squirrels, while also ensuring the ball gets out of the barrel every time.
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Old September 22, 2013, 06:34 AM   #6
Old Stony
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You would have to really load light to ever stick a ball in a barrel from too little pressure, and there is basically no way to ever damage your barrel from a very light load. Black powder is very forgiving in the loads and it's more a situation of getting a good group from your load. I would consider 30 grains of 3f as about as light as I would want to hunt anything with though.
A lot of people don't use over 30 grains shooting 25 yd. targets in competition, so if your rifle will shoot good with that load, don't worry.
In the days of old, I would guess that mountain men used a lot of very light loads to hunt small game, just to conserve powder, which was hard to find when they needed it.
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