This year I am hunting with a TC Mid 70's minty low mileage 54 cal Hawken. It bears Lyman 57 SML sights and again is minty. The past owner (a decade ago) claimed it was a one holer. I believe him, he is a reliable source and speaks truthfully about such things. Can't get a hold of him now so I can't ask him questions.
Sighted it in today for next weekend. Had a heck of a time. I have a 50 that shoots like a BR scoped rifle. But I didn't take it today and have no confidence in it since it has been 5 years since last shooting.I'mm stuck shooting the 54 next weekend.
I started with Pure Lead LEE 54 cal REALs. They hit harder than an RB and are more stable in a 1-48 than a 540 gr Maxi. I loaded them at 70-90 grains and sent them lubed with bore butter. I was in a time crunch so I had little available to me to deviate from the plan. They didn't group and as a matter of fact must have been spiraling out of bore axis as they would land in a circle you could connect the dots on with a pencil, around the bull's eye. After taking a 50 round beating, I quit. I grabbed some round balls, TC .530's. I always use pillow ticking boiled in Emmerts Lube, wrung out and in strips ready to cut. I use this with my 50 and any size RB DOESNT CUT the patch radially when seating at the muzzle. I have to use a knife to cut the patch as is customary.
Today while seating the RB, literally the RB was acting like a perfect paper punch. Id use the short start and tap it and WHAM, a perfect hole cut in patch material and ball started 1/2 inch in the barrel. In shooting, my sights magically lined back up with the bore and I had massive windage adjustments to make but...... windage is right where it should be. I DO HAVE A PROBLEM though.
I believe that the muzzle cutting the patch is leaving the ball too loose. A .530 ball with my .020 patch should take a gorilla to seat it to the powder column. It doesn't a few taps and down it goes. So if you consider the ball being a die, cutting a perfect circle of cloth at the circumference, then there IS NO PATCH on the edge of the bullet OD. The piece of the patch that is cut is a WAD, not a patch that tightens the ball to bore.
What say ye sage wise BP/ML shooters? What can I do to the muzzle to correct? LAP with a brass lap? IS THIS COMMON?? IS THIS A COMMON cause of poor shooting?
I didn't have a chrono so my velocity is unknown. Didn't care, expected to shoot for 30 mins and get dialed in at 50-75 and leave. 6 hours later I left bruised. My windage is on the mark, repeats well. My vertical dispersion is as much as 6 inches. I'll kill the animal inside 70 yards but my confidence is marred and I still have a serious vertical issue. A loose or tight patch would give me just that type of vertical.
Its sure makes loading easy when the patch just cuts itself but it seems to leave much in accuracy.
I'll never shoot another conical or maxi in that gun. I'll stick with RB forever.
My 50 cal at 50, tosses RB at any velocity under 100-grain loadings into 1/2 inch groups. I can't miss with the rifle, period. I expected the same except a BIGGER hole.
Any help or wisdom would be appreciated.