Black powder basics

10/18/17 @ 6:10 PM
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GillpillZ
GillpillZ
USER since 12/7/10
I got a thompson center hawken .54 cal a couple years ago for free. I havent really thought about shooting it because i have no idea what i need to shoot it or clean it. Im looking for what kind of powder /how much to use. cleaning supplies. or any tips about hunting with them. Ill be hunting from my bow stand. The 270 wsm is a little over kill at 20 yards.
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Displaying 1 to 5 of 5 Posts
10/28/17 @ 6:05 AM
muskrat30
muskrat30
USER since 10/14/01

 Yes, make sure there is no charge currently in it.


  I would use 777 powder 1st off, Pyrodex as the next option.

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10/19/17 @ 6:19 AM
lazyfishr
lazyfishr
USER since 5/29/06

It should also be mentioned, you need to know with 100% certainty that there is no charge currently in the barrel.  This is best accomplished by a gunsmith.  

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10/19/17 @ 6:00 AM
lazyfishr
lazyfishr
USER since 5/29/06

Looks like your Hawkins likely has a 1:48 barrel twist.  If it's different let us know.  That twist rate is a compromise between faster twist for sabots/conicals and the slower twist for round balls.  With enough tinkering you would be able to develop loads for both that shoot good, but being new to this, I would save that for later. 

Since you said you will be shooting 20 yards, I would concentrate on developing a round ball load.  Main reasoning being there are so many less variables in bullet choice and they are likely easier to find.  A round ball load in your twist will require a lighter powder charge, but at less than 50 yards, and even further, will be plenty. I would start at 50 grains and work up from there.  

Other than that, the other advice you got is good. Only thing I would add is to keep your barrel clean while shooting and develop a pattern at the range. Black powder, and even the substitutes are dirty stuff.  I used ffg and swab my barrel after every other shot.  A fouled barrel makes loading difficult and accuracy poor.  It's a fun hobby, and if you know someone that can help you at a range it will increase your learning curve greatly. 

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10/18/17 @ 6:40 PM
percheye1
percheye1
USER since 6/24/01

I have had good luck with loose 777 I prefer the FFF powder over the FF. Another clean choice is Blackhorn 209.   In a sidelock you are probably only going to shoot 90 gr max of the 777. You may find 30 gr pellets that will work for you or get 50 and 30. I really have never had an issue measuring powder and find I can dial in better.

 On my sidelocks (hawkins) I still use the hot water cleaning methode and coat the barrell with bore butter.

I would guess the primer is a no. 11 or a musket cap.

Of course you need .54 cal bullets. I have found powerbelts to shoot great but not hold together on deer. In the .54 you are getting more limited choices as they have become less popular than the .50 cal

If you can find a friend to show you the ins and outs. Most important always make sure the bullet is seated.

If you are in the Mukwonago area I would be happy to help you out.

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