View Full Version : Black powder newbie needs advice!

August 18, 2004, 07:04 AM
Went to Cabelas in Kansas City today, my 17 year old son found a 54 cal. Hunter Carbine rifle back in the Bargan Cave for $214. He just had to have it for some reason, promised to pay me back even!
Problem is that since it was a return there was no owners manual, and I've never owned anything like it before.
How much powder? What kind of bullet works best for general plinking, and any other advice would be real helpful.
Here is a pic of the gun from the Cabelas website. I will give them a call tomorrow and see if I can get a manual.


August 18, 2004, 10:21 AM
The "standard" hunting load for .54 cal would typically be 110 grains of FFF or FF (I use FFF) and a patched round ball. This is 110 grains by VOLUME, not weight. Grains have two measurements, just like ounces; Volume and weight. A 64 oz quart of milk does not weigh 64 oz, and 110 grains of FFF does not weigh 110 grains. You can go a lot higher, but you don't gain much. For plinking loads, you could drop waaaay down to the 50 grain range. Anywhere that sells black powder or BP substitutes will also have a simple brass powder measure to measure it with.

August 28, 2004, 08:23 PM
That rifle is made by Investarms. It will be very similar to the Lyman Deerstalker. You can download a copy of Lymans manual here:


August 28, 2004, 09:18 PM
Got a full set of manuals & instruction books from Cabelas in the mail the other day.
Dropped by the gunshop last weekend to see if they had any .54 cal bullets, they didn't. Shop owners son-in-law said he "Had some stuff" at home and he'd bring in for me.
My Son went to pick it up today, not many bullets but there was a powder flask, bullet seater, 1lb can of Goex FFFg black powder, bullet lube and bore cleaner.
No charge. Can't beat a deal like that!

August 28, 2004, 11:03 PM

Welcome to black powder shooting. I have an Investarm .54 Cal and really like it. I suggest you get two books...both by Sam Fadala.

The first is "The Complete Blackpowder Handbook" 4th Edition I believe is the latest. Everything you need to know about black powder is in this book.

The second (and probably the best) is "Black Powder Handbook & Loading Manual" 2nd Edition. Here you will find all kinds of load data. This is the most complete listing of load data combs I have seen in one place. This book lists 51 different load combinations (projectile & powder) with 9 different charge volume (40gr to 120gr in 10gr increments) data lines for the .54 cal rifle. This gives you a starting (and safety) point, but you need to see what works best for you.

I personally shoot a 90 grain (Goex FFg) powder load and a 230gr .535 round ball with a .015 lubed patch. My rifle seems to group best with this combination.