Bullets or Balls ? - The HuntingPA.com Outdoor Community
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-18-2020, 12:16 PM Thread Starter
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Bullets or Balls ?

I an brand new to the Muzzleloader lifestyle. I just purchased a clean, used Thompson Center .50 Cal. Flintlock.
I understand these come with a 1/48 twist rate ( barrel is fully rifled). I need to purchase basically everything to shoot, including balls. I was wondering if anyone here has done any experimenting with conicals , patched bullets, Maxi/Mini balls etc. Also I was wondering the difference between Swiss and Goex powder. Thanks in advance guys.
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-18-2020, 12:54 PM
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Your 1/48" twist is a middle of the road twist, not ideal for either but okay for either? I have no experience with Swiss, always used goex or Elephant powder.
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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-18-2020, 01:05 PM
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With a 1:48 it is your choice. With a TC renegade 1:48 for over 20yrs I shot a variety of conicals. Some people prefer to stay traditional and only use balls. Some even use sabots, tried a few but never found an advantage and very difficult to get down the barrel. I guess about 25 yrs ago I settled on powerbelts. The 245's in the renegade did real well with deer giving a big wound cavity. Previous conicals, maxi-balls, great plains, shot good but seemed like little shock, tremendous penetration, 50 cal exits, excellent blood but sometimes went pretty far. The powerbelts seemed to give more shock putting them down in a shorter distance and apparently expanded well with larger exits. Powerbelts are very accurate, easiest to load, downside is expense. But I'm only a big game hunter, rifle has been setup for many years, I only shoot a few shots a year so expense is irrelevant. Not sure how many deer I've taken, taken bull moose and elk (both no exit), javelina, crow, groundhogs, with powerbelts.

Suggest you try both roundball and not so expensive conicals, until you develop your own taste on how you prefer to do it. If you decide conical then try a few types.

Goex is easier to find and less expensive, Swiss is more refined and more expensive, but goex works just fine for hunting. In the renegade I used Goex in the barrel and initially Goex then Swiss in the pan.

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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-18-2020, 01:55 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks tundragriz ! Do you have to use a wad (felt ?) with the powerbelts ? Any recipe powder wise with them ?
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-18-2020, 03:36 PM
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Just the powerbelt, they slide down very easy because the lead is not engraved by the rifling, slightly underbore, only the thin plastic skirt pushes against the rifling, with pressure the lead expands (obturates) and fills the bore. In the renegade I used 100gr 2F Goex and 4F in the pan. This is another thing, some use 3F for both bore and pan. But 4F ignites and burns faster so if you could actually measure ignition in milliseconds the 4F would burn quicker, again a personal preference, easier to buy only 1 powder. Currently in my Lyman I use Swiss null b in the pan which is the fastest of all but it "might" be more hygroscopic (absorbs moisture) than 4F.

I sold the renegade around 2004 but in my data I am showing with 100gr 2F and a 295 powerbelt, 1475fps, +2"@50 was [email protected] Took a few deer in the 100-125yd range. Don't know what gun you have but the renegade has a short barrel, a longer barrel would up the speed a bit. Powerbelts are soft and their greatest weakness is driving them too fast and getting it to self destruct. The deer will be dead but with no exit probably no blood. Around 1500fps MV is a good speed to get good expansion and good penetration. In heavier versions in my Lyman I get about 1250fps and this is GREAT on large animals, some expansion and really good penetration.

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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-18-2020, 03:48 PM
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dad and I use round balls with lubed patches and Goex powder. 2ff in the barrel and 4ffff in the flash pan. works well for us. We never used the other bullets so I cannot comment on them. good luck on your decision.
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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-18-2020, 03:52 PM Thread Starter
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I'm probably going to start there.
Thanks
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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-18-2020, 03:56 PM Thread Starter
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It's a Thompson Center Hawken in .50 cal.
I'll give those a look when I go to my dealer next week. I understand part of the fun of muzzleloading is cooking up your own load !
Just needed an idea or two of a starting point.
Thanks again for the info.
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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-18-2020, 04:15 PM
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Cherish that T/C, they don't make them like that any more. The older T/C's, Lyman's and even the CVA'S were really good rifles, you got a good one, enjoy!
octagon and flintlock hunter like this.
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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-18-2020, 04:23 PM
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Killed my first ml deer with a nice fancy TC Hawken, got out of the Marines in 80 and the in-laws were muzzleloading. Father in law was tagged out so he lent me his Hawken, killed a doe with it. Hunted mostly out of trees and thought the shorter barrel renegade was better for me, next year wife bought me the Renegade.

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