Re: Lyman Plains Rifle .50 caliber questions
First what is your twist and what range hunting will you be doing. If it is a standard slow twist, it will be more accurate with patched round balls. And of course with a given powder charge, a round ball will go faster and keep a fair amount of it's power within 70 yards. Once you get beyond that the advantages of a conical CAN take over.
Traditional wisdom was to use 2fg in calibers over 45 and 3fg in calibers 45 and under. With modern steel, etc. 3fg can certainly be used in a 50 caliber, but use common sense. 3fgt burns hotter and faster with higher pressure thhan 2fg. It may also burn cleaner depending on how tight the projectile is. Always consult your owner's manual and remember that maximum charges are the upper range of what the manufacturer thinks won't blow up the gun. It has little or no bearing on what is most accurate. Generally some where around 80 grains is a good hunting load for nearly any 50 cal. For pete's sake, there is no reason to use 100 grains or more, especially if using 3fg (hotter powder remember?) The other limiting factor is that only so much powder can burn efficiantly within the length of your barrel before the projectile exits. Having more than the optimum charge results in powder being wasteed in muzzle flash and usually in increased fouling in the bore. If you have the 32 inch barrel, somewhere around 90 to 95 grains is the max optimum load anyway.
If you have a fast twist barrel, conicals will work well, but again, there is little reason to use any more powder than you would use with a round ball. Buufalo hunters made one shot kills at 400 yds with 70 or 80 grains of powder and 450 grain bullets. You most likly won't be shooting at buff and certainly not at 400 yds. So remember that a little powder is good, more can be a waste.
Read your manual. Don't rely on anonymous posts about guys using 13 pellets of whoop butt in their guns. Do they have the same gun, are they lying, etc. I shudder about the safety of what some folks must do after reading some posts about charges allegedly used by others in their guns.
Use common sense and always err on the side of caution. You, your gun and your face will last alot longer.
As for buying it at a gun dealer and recccommended projectiles. 1:66 is for patched round balls. If it has deeper round ball rifling, many conicals won't hit a flock of barns, because they can't seal the bore andd prevent blow by. Ask yourself, did he sell me them because they were more expensive and had more profit than round balls? Was it a gun shop, or a muzzleloader shop. Usually a big big difference.
For target shooting with round balls, I'd suggest 50 grains of 2fg and work your way up to 80 grains of 2fg for hunting with a patched round ball. A 490 ball and a .10 patch, maybe a .15 patch. You shouldn't be bruising your hand to start the ball down the muzzle.