View Full Version : Conicals or Round balls?

September 20, 2009, 02:56 PM
Howdy Folks, I'm new to Black Powder Shooting since receiving my new "Smoke Pole" this past birthday. My rifle is a Davide Pedersoli copy of the Kentucky Blue Ridge rifle in 50 cal. I have a box of Hornady 50 cal ".490 round balls, a jar of Hodgdon 777 FFG powder with a tin of CCI #11 primers. So my question would be how much powder to use per load, what would have a greater accuracy? Round balls or conical balls? The rifle has a 1 in 48 right hand twist in a 39 inch barrel. The owner's manual indicates a powder quantity of up to 90 grains. But it doesn't talk much about matching powder grains to bullet weights. Hopefully someone out there could shed some light on this for me so that I don't blow myself up.

Thank you,,,,

September 20, 2009, 03:36 PM
Your owner's manual should provide more information than you posted, about loads. However, I would suggest a starting load of 60grns of the T-7, you listed and step up in 5grn incriments till you start to see instability or no difference. I'd start out with PRB as your results will differ from round to conicals. Kind of surprised they listed the max load at 90. Probably trying to occomodate the T-7. Shoot from a good rest in the usual three shot groups and clean between groups. Lots of range time here but you will have a good time.. :)

Be Safe !!!

September 20, 2009, 03:52 PM
1:48 R.O.T in .50 cal will most likely shoot round balls and a short conical like the Hornady Great Plains is a good bullet.You should shoot them @50 yds and be sure that they are not keyholing/ anything but a perfectly round hole means the the bullet is not stabilized and the bullet is flying sideways, not a good thing for accuracy.
As for loads rule of thumb for M/L's is 1 gr. of powder for a given caliber, i.e. 50 cal 50 grs. 45 cal 45 grs. and so forth. Most powder makers have load data available on line and some have it printed on the container.
2ffg is the granulation of choice for most .50 cal rifles,3ffg will work but requires less powder than 2ffg.Never 4ffg down the pipe! that is for priming flash pans on flintlocks.No. 11 magnum percussion caps for fake B/P as it is harder to ignite than regular or real B/P.
Yoy will need patch material for the round balls of at least .10" thickness. No air space between powder charge and projectile, seat bullet/ball firmly on the powder.Wipe bore between shots for safety and accuracy use any commercial B/P preparation or find one of the many homemade concoctions available online. Clean your rifle soon after shooting as all of the propellants will rust your rifle some faster than others.

September 20, 2009, 04:08 PM
I sure appreciate the information you folks are sending this way. But, what is a PRB? And I assume your talking about a shooting bench when you say to shoot from a good rest? Because I haven't been able to hit a 100 yard target four out of ten shots. And that has to be a record somewhere, ha! Also shouldn't there be a weight or grain rating on the Hornady box as to what the round balls weigh? All I see is 50 cal and .490. I'm sorry to ask such dumb questions, but cheep entertainment has to come from somewhere.

September 20, 2009, 04:35 PM
PRB = patched round ball

The .490 patched round ball weighs 174 grains.
With that ball and 80 grains of 777 you have a great hunting load for deer and wild hogs. Hit them in the lungs, get out the knife.

September 20, 2009, 04:36 PM
One more tip. Once you get the correct, satisfactory load(bullet and powder charge) your going to stick with, take your ramrod and put it in your empty barrel. Mark your ramrod where it sticks out the end of your barrel. Then load your rifle making sure load is sitted all the way. DO NOT PUT A CAP ON THE NIPPLE. Re-install your ramrod in your loaded barrel and mark your ramrod. Sooner or later you`ll mis-load, either double charge of powder, no powder or bouble bullet. If you use a range rod, mark both range rod and the rod that comes with your rifle,you`ll have the marked stock ramrod if go affield with your rifle. . You`ll know by your ramrod loaded mark if all is not well. A bullet pulling jag is a handy tool to have. If you shoot enough you`ll surely use it. Your 1x48 twist should be able to shoot RB or conicals

September 20, 2009, 04:56 PM
It looks like there is a lot more to this than I thought. So I will buy a shooting bench, and a ramrod to put marks on for double checking loads. The rod that came with the rifle is too nice looking to carve up. One other question though. Is there a less labor intensive way to clean the barrel? It seems to take lots of scrubbing and scraps of rags to wipe out. I took the wood stock off so I could set the breech end of the barrel in a bucket of hot soapy water. But it still takes about a half an hour to get everything cleaned and put back together. I sure would hate to ruin the gun, it sure is good looking. If I could figure out how to post a picture I would show it to you all.

September 20, 2009, 05:32 PM
The rod that came with the rifle is too nice looking to carve up.

Don't carve or groove it. It WILL break in that spot if you do. Mark it with a permanent marker. Don't use petroleum based lubes in the bore. It makes an easy job tough. Hot water and dishwashing soap is all you need. Breech in a bucket of soapy water and a few passes with a tight fitting patch on a jag will clean it right up.

September 20, 2009, 05:44 PM
Thank you again for all of the information. Once I get all of this figured out I think shooting this rifle will be quite a bit more enjoyable. Especially when I can hit the target more often than not. Buy the way, what kind of accuracy should one expect from a black powder rifle of this kind. At 100 yards?

September 20, 2009, 05:45 PM
Hoppes has a 4 piece aluminum cleaning rod with their inexpensive BP cleaning kit which may work better than a wood ramrod since it has a swivel handle.
Some rod accessories may need an adaptor to fit. Use a muzzle protector along with metal rods.

Obtaining accuracy with patched round balls [PRB's] is not an exact science. The thickness of the patch, the diameter of the balls and type and amount of powder need to be experimented with.
Start with the lowest charges at about 50 yards and then increase the powder charge in 5 -10 grain increments until the best groups are obtained.
Then move the target out to 75 yards and see how well the groups hold together before moving out to 100.
Only increase the powder charge the amount necessary to keep the groups together at the longer ranges.
High velocity hunting loads won't usually be as accurate as moderate velocity target loads which are intended for accuracy rather than for being lethal.
777 powder usually only requires light compression when ramming the PRB home for more consistent velocity.
When shooting PRB's, not many guns will shoot it's best groups at 100 yards.
If a person can hit a paper plate at 100 yards with consistency then I consider that to be very good, especially if shooting offhand.
Many carbines can only shoot groups twice that size at 100 yards, and some not even that well.
Longer barrels are usually more accurate and have a more precise sighting plane. The load, cleaning regimen between shots and even the patch lube and barrel temperature can play a role with obtaining good accruacy with some guns.
Muzzle loaders are pretty well known for producing shots that are flyers, even if it's not the shooter's fault.
That's just the nature of shooting PRB's and muzzle loading in general. :)

September 20, 2009, 06:04 PM

I have the same rifle as you in.36 cal, Pedersoli used a deep cut rifling in most if not all of the barrels.It took me 8-12 good scrubbing to get the rust colored rouge they use as a bore protectant.So even after you clean for a while and oil you will get a rust color on your patches it's not rust.
Also it was mentioned not to use petrolem based oils on your M/L's this very good advice.I use olive oil and works very well,plant or animal oils are best.

September 20, 2009, 06:09 PM
I wouldn't be surprised if the rust color is the result of the hot chemical blue that they perform on the entire barrel of some of their guns including inside the bore. It takes a while for all of the excess bluing to come off.

September 20, 2009, 06:11 PM
Again I thank you folks for the much appreciated information. And for refraining from the "If a trained Monkey can do it" comments. I will pass on the results of the next shooting session after I put together the rest of the equipment I need and put all of this information to good practice. And I do mean practice. Thank you agian.

September 20, 2009, 06:45 PM
Also, FYI 777 powder is more powerful than the other substitute powders.
Equivalent loads of 777 to black powder are 15% less by volume, i.e. ~85 grains of 777 by volume equals 100 grains of black powder.

September 20, 2009, 08:02 PM
Another problem with 777 is inconsistant ignition , in some b/p guns, which is why someone recommended the mag caps. If you can get the real b/p or any of the other subs, like Pyrodex or Pioneer, you,ll find more consistant shots. Many competition shooters will only use the real stuff and I've found it gives the best groups in my flinter and Ruger Old Army.

September 20, 2009, 10:26 PM
I would highly recommend at the very least Lyman's book on blackpowder. Read it front to back. Nobody should get all their info from a message board. ;)

September 21, 2009, 07:17 AM
Nobody should get all their info from a message board.

Amen! Particularly when discussing reloading and powders. I enjoy reloading but I stay away from the reloading sections of the boards I read regular.

September 21, 2009, 08:53 PM
Hammockj, most important is to enjoy your learning/shooting experience. After many years of bp shooting, I still enjoy every minute I`m around fellow shooters picking up their tips.;)

September 22, 2009, 02:01 PM
Back in my front stuffer days I built a short barreled CVA 50 cal. 1-48 twist.
I wanted to shoot PRB but could not with 4 different types of patching, 2 different powders and who knows how many different loads get that rifle to stay on an 8.5x11 sheet of paper at 50 yards.
While walking thru WallyWorld I spotted a box of TC Maxi Hunters in the lightest weight (which escapes me right now). Any powder and any reasonable load between 50 to 100 grs would cut clover leafs at 50 yards. The thing I liked best was; using the same sight picture for each shot at 50 yds I could move the impact 1" higher by adding 10 grs of powder to the original load.