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Old December 19, 2011, 12:43 PM   #1
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Triple 7 loads for .50 cal Round Ball

I have been trying to find a recommended loads for Triple 7. I have a CVA sidelock percussion with a 1/48 twist. It is a Plainsman I built from a kit. I have only had it out to the range 3 times, I bought it 10 years ago and put it together 5 years ago. I started low to sight it in. It groups well on the mid range at 25 yards but shoots about 6 inches low. I am using 55 grains for triple 7 and a speer .490 round ball over a pre-lubed patch. At this point should I look to increase the charge or change the sights. The rear sight is fixed buckhorn.
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Old December 19, 2011, 01:38 PM   #2
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Your grouping well but 6"'s low @ 25yds.

A few more questions:

Do you know where you're hitting @ 50, 75, 100 yds.?

If your rifle is pre factory bore sighted @ say 75yds, the ball still may be on the rise @ 25yds.

More then likely, you will have to do some site adjustment but this is something that may be of interest if you ever start shooting longer distance.

See where you're hitting @ these longer distances and adjust your sites according.

What is going to be your final 'site in ' distance?

Also, are you just going to target shoot or are you going to deer hunt with your rifle?
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Old December 19, 2011, 01:57 PM   #3
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There's different options for sighting it in.
For starters, 25 yards probably isn't the best distance for sighting it in, but 50 yards would be better.
Also, muzzle loaders often have more than one sweet spot. Rifles often have both an accurate target load and a hunting load for higher velocity shooting. The 55 grain powder charge is closer to the target load which could be adequate for sighting in at 50 yards.
If you shot several different loads at 50 yards loaded with 55 through 85 grains of powder, then you could see if there was much of any change in impact at 50 yards between the loads. From that point it's easy enough to deal with firing at longer distances by using Kentucky windage when aiming.
To raise the point of impact, folks usually simply file the front sight down just a very little bit at a time and closely observe the impact of the loading as it "walks up" the target.
Of course fixed sights will never be perfect for every load at every distance. But generally if a gun is sighted in for one inch high at 50 yards, then it may be about 5 inches low or so at 100 yards.
However that doesn't mean that the windage will be the same at every distance either.
Installing either a new adjustable rear sight or both a matched front and rear sight set is a personal choice.
If only installing a new rear sight, there's a chance that the front sight will not work with it properly due to it not being the correct or optimum height.
That's what may have happened when the rear buckhorn sight was installed.
It's a desirable sight for hunting and faster target aquisition, but it needs to match up with the height of the front sight for it to sight in properly.
So it's important to sight in with an accurate load that groups well at 50 yards.
Then when shooting at 75 or 100 yards, the powder charge can be increased just enough to maintain good accuracy and a similar flat trajectory for the longer distance.
Sometimes one of the sights will need to be drifted to adjust the windage, as well as making the height adjustment of the front sight for elevation.
Make sure that you are comfortable enough with the sight picture provided by the buckhorn rear sight to be consistent with it. The same advice applies to the powder charge that will be used for final sighting in at 50 yards.
A moderate powder charge often works best for sighting in at 50 yards since heavy hunting charges can sometimes be erratic, and the point of impact doesn't change all that much with heavier hunting loads. All of the loads should be shooting relatively flat at 50 yards anyway.

Last edited by arcticap; December 20, 2011 at 03:01 AM.
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Old December 19, 2011, 06:33 PM   #4
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Paul- I'd stick with the 55 grains of 777 for target shooting @ either
25 or 50 meters. Make a slight sight adjustment. If you hunt, up the
load to 80 grains.

I shoot a Jonathon Browning Mountain Rifle in .50 that is similar to
yours. Good luck.

.02 David
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Old December 20, 2011, 01:28 PM   #5
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Thanks for these responses. I had no idea what the trajectory was for round ball. So I will move out to 50 yds, 75 etc and see where I am before I mess with the sights. I may want to try hunting with this gun next season and according to your responses I will have to increase the charge to make the round effective for a kill. In New England you rarely get a shot at greater than 50 yards. This gun is fun to shoot with the current target load and I may get my wife to try it.
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Old December 31, 2011, 12:31 AM   #6
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I went to the range today and worked my way up. At 75 yards with 100 grains of Triple 7 I put one in the 9 ring on a 22 bullseye target, all I had with me. Two in the 6 ring to the left and directly below center, and one low on the paper but just outside the 6 ring. I need to be more consistent with the patches and seating the ball. I am marring the ball. I made a concave impression on my ball starter tonight bet that will make a difference. I am flinching slightly still. Not quite used to the delay between the cap exploding and the ignition of the main charge. But this is fun. I think I will be ready for deer next year. Thanks for all of your help. Maybe next time I will go out to 100 yards and see how it goes.
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