I picked up a cheap Traditions flintlock and I'm working on getting it sighted in. I was told by the gun store to use 90-100 gr. of FF powder, and I'm using patched round balls. It did come with some saboted bullets, though. I may try them later. The twist is 1:48.
It didn't seem to be very accurate though, we had a hard time hitting a plate at 35 yards or so. Am I using a proper powder charge for the round balls?
That seems a tad heavy for a starting load. Usually a good rule of thumb is to start with a load roughly equal to the caliber, that is to say in a .50 caliber start with about 50 grains of powder. You may well find that the lighter load is more accurate than the heavier load. 90-100 sounds like a hunting load, particularly if using whatever saboted bullets came with it.
That being said, the inability to hit a plate at 35 yards seems radically inaccurate. What diameter ball and what patch thickness are you using?
I'm not sure what the diameter of the ball is; I'll have to check when I get home.
We are sighting it in for deer hunting, so we would prefer a more stout load.
I just ordered a bunch of 300 gr. Hornady XTC saboted bullets; I'll see what I can get done with them.
Does anyone have a good recommended load for this bullet? I want good accuracy but adequate velocity for deer.
Sorry. I guess I'm not quite on the same sheet of music here. Are you looking for suggestions for a round ball load or suggestions on a conical bullet load? The most accurate charge is likely to be different for each type of projectile. Bullets typically like a heavier load than round ball.
I've got my brothers hawken sighted in using XTPs, don't recall the weight, in 50 cal. using 93 grains of 2f, and it groups about 3 inches at 100m with that load. I think it's 1 in 48" also, but it's also a caplock. You are using 4f priming powder? If you've got a slow lock time, that could effect group size, if you're like me and habitually flinch with flintlocks that would open the group size also.
Don't know what else to recommend off the top of my head. I don't know of any reason it shouldn't group better than it is. You'll probably just have to put in more trigger time and get it grouped and sighted.
a couple of issues here first..
personally..i would ditch the sabots..
you have a flinty..it just aint right..not to shoot lead round balls.
check with the ball diameter and patch thickness.
you can change these around to effect accuracy.
the other thing..
since the twist is a 48.
drop the charge down to 60 grains or powder and increase 5 grains at time.
i would use pioner or clean shot if i could.
several 48 twist rifles shot wonderfully with 60-80gr.
i have killed deer at 50 yards with 60gr of charge and the bullet zips right thru.
The only reason I have a flintlock is because PA regulations force us to use a flinlock for late muzzleloading season, so it's not really a matter of 'tradition' for me to use a patch and ball. I just want to use the most effective tool for the job.
We'll see how these saboted loads work; I just have to get something worked up before Friday, my son turns 12 on that day and he'll be using it to hunt with.
One other thing to consider (if there ain't enough already) is lock time. It will drastically effect accuracy.
You said you are using FF but not what kind of powder. I prefer Goex. Its "real" BP and is very fast.
I also like Goex FFFF for the pan. It ignites with even a minimal spark.
The early colonists would stick a quill into the ignition hole before they dropped their charge. They would charge and load the rifle and ram everything home, then remove the quill. After that charge the pan and you're good to go. The reason for this little exercise is to provide a clear path for the hot gasses to reach the main charge. (I use a straightened out paper clip)
On the same note, one should only charge the pan about 3/4 full and before you shoot turn the gun to the right and tap the stock opposite the lock. That will make the pan-charge sit in the pan AWAY from the hole. If the powder is blocking the hole you have, in effect made a fuse and it will adversely effect lock time.
You don't want to wait for the fuse to burn; you want the hot gasses to set off the main charge as soon as possible.
Oh, and PS, I would stick with the sabots. It may not be original but it should work fine with that twist rate. YMMV
I am using Goex FF and FFFF for powder.
Thanks for the tips!
a round ball IS AS effective...as anything else out there..
the furthest i have had any deer go after being hit in the boiler room with a RB is about 17-18 yards..
its an oddity..something that looks so puny that can pack quite a bunch of carnage. the numbers of E and V just dont give it justice.
easy and fast to load..and cheap to shoot and usually less recoil.
i have shot numerous types of powder and prefer GOEX over pyrodex..
really good ignition with GOEX..
like rogerball stated..
watch for marks on the striker for lock timing and position.
the gun will have a sweet spot for ignition which will effect your accuracy..
i love my old school BP rifles..
My son and I chucked a lot of roundballs downrange last week, just to get him used to seemingly uncontrolled explosions in his face. I got the 300gr. Hornadys with sabots yesterday. We're going out tonight to sight it in for his first PA deer hunt two days from now.
The saboted bullets take more powder (generally) than roundballs for accuracy? What is a good ballpark powder charge to start at?
DDiggler, i think you got the spirit. You just got to find the "right" load for your gun. Each is different. As stated above start somewhere in the middle and start shooting groups and increasing the load till the groups get small and then start to get big again, then go back; round balls or conicals, it don't matter. (Personally i use RB, like Muddy. but ymmv) BTW your smallest effective change in load is 10 grains, so don't bother with 5 grain increments, just a waste of time. And you probably will not have to go above 110g.
I am triing to get down to PA next week for Flinty season. In January, its about the only game in town left!
And, ahem, Muddydog, not to be difficult, but one small point of order, I meant "lock time": The time duration from the moment the sear releases to the time the ball exits the barrell. Typically the shorter the time, the better.
But your point on the timing (more indexing, i guess) of the hammer to the frizzen is well taken. I know my flints get loose in the clamp sometimes and need re-indexing. They also get shorter with use.
Did you know the mountain men used a lead ball to hold the flint in the clamp? Yep, just hammer it flat and voila, flint wrap. I just use shoe leather.
edited for spelen
i couldnt think of the correct word regarding the that "sweet spot" on the frizzen.
my grandfather was a gunsmith who specialized in antique firearms..ranging from flints to early 1900's stuff.
he was a stickler about getting the strike right for ignition. most accuracy issues come from shooters that arent used to any delay...
probably not as commonplace back then due to the fact most people get broken in by centerfire guns before ever shooting BP rifles.
sorry about the misconception..it was a long day..and its been a long time since my brain has had to think about that..LoL.
i shoot the least recoiling loads out there, if i can..
60 grains of BP and a round ball..is a sweet load for me..almost like shooting a .32 squirrel gun.
i hunt thick timber so distance is never an issue and i kill 90% of my deer within 25 yards, most of them within 10 yards.
I too would vote for a 60 gr. starting load.