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Discussion Starter #1
??? I have never shot round balls in my TC Hawken (28"barrel) until last year I took a ball from a friend with pre lubed patches 90 grains of ffg powder and musket caps. I shot 1 time at 25 yards and hit a 2-3 inch target I will be hunting white tail from 90-250 lbs later this year but I want to get started early on what to expect accuracy, kill distance loads etcc All replies appreciated. Gun is around 20 years old but in great shape.

Thanks in advance
Jim
 

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If its a .50, use a .490 ball, if its a .54 go with a .530...75-100grs of Goex FFF or FF is plenty for deer, with open sights you don't need to be shooting much past 100 yards anyway...

You can either buy pre cut, lubed patches or just go to WalMart and buy a yard of red pillow ticking...It must be cotton so it doesn't burn through...While you are there, pick up a tub of SnoSeal...This is a bees wax mixture to water proof your boots...I used this stuff for a patch lube for about 25 years...

All you do is cut about a 1 1/2 inch strip of ticking, lay on newspaper, take a putty knife and apply SnoSeal on both sides of ticking...Roll up and pop in the microwave for about 15-20 seconds...It's then ready to use...You can either cut out square patches or simple cut the patch at the muzzle or loading block...Good Luck and Enjoy....
 

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If 45 cal you can use 60-70 grains of FFFg if 50/54 cal you can use 70-90 grains of FFg. Don't need more than that!
 

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I have killed 5 deer and several hogs with the .50 TC Hawken. A very good deer killling rifle, I must say.
I used either 80 or 90 grains of Goex ffg black powder and the .490 round ball. I never could tell much difference between the two powder loads. In all cases, I made lung shots, got a complete pass through, and never had an animal make more than 50 yards. Great blood trail, too, although you hardly need it.
I buy pillow ticking and Old Zip patch lube from Dixie Gun Works.
If that musket cap is working for you, fine. If it puts a little too much fire in your face, you can also get a regular percussion cap nipple from Dixie and shoot regular caps. I used regular number 11 caps and never had a misfire.
Good luck! Put that round ball right behind the shoulder and you will be a happy hunter.

One trick which I found invaluable was to put some white paint on the front sight. I got some glossy white oil paint. I cleaned off the front sight with lighter fluid. On the very back of the front sight, right at the top, I put a single dot, maybe 1/10 inch high, on the sight. Do this so that the part of the sight that you put in the V is white.
In the woods, the deer is dark, the rear sight is black. If the front sight is black, there is no contrast. You nestle that white bead in the V and you have great contrast, the bullet goes where that white dot is. Especially helpful in the dark woods.
 

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Dusty, the .50 round ball will knock pigs dead. I shot pigs that were 150 pounds or smaller. I made the classic lung shot, never had one go more than 50 yards. Between the Hawken and my Tennessee Mtn Rifle, I have killed 6 wild hogs with the .490 round ball. It is really good to avoid the shoulder, because the shoulder is much more substantial than the deer shoulder, meaning, it might slow the bullet down too much, and you would mess up some very good meat with a shoulder shot, whereas, the meat on a deer shoulder is tough, just a few pounds of burger there.

Jgreg: I was getting 3 inch groups at 100 yards with my TC Hawken. The farthest shot I ever took was 80 yards. I had decided not to take a shot over 100, I just didn't think I would be that accurate with iron sights at that range. Plus, the round ball slows down rapidly, much more so than an elongated slug, and past 100 has lost quite a bit of energy.
This was no drawback where I hunted, in the thick forests and swamps of central Georgia, as the average shot distance was 45 yards, this even when I hunted so often with a 30-06 with a scope.
The round ball is an unbelievably efficient killer. I was getting much better kills with it, than with a 30-06. On paper, the 30-06 has twice the power of the round ball, why the round ball works better I don't know. Fortunately, the wild game doesn't read those ballistic charts.

You can read some interesting info on the round ball in use by Civil War troopers, the smart ones much preferred it to the elongated slugs they were issued, and they would set their issued ammo aside to go into battle with their revolvers loaded with the round ball. If a .45 round ball and 30 grains of powder will turn out the lights on a tough cavalry trooper, imagine a .50 round ball with 80 grains of powder!
Go over to the cap and ball forum, and read "Proper care and use of the cap and ball revolver" by Gatofeo, for the info on the round ball in the Civil War.
 

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Simon...A pure lead ball, with a large frontal area will almost always flatten out to about .75 caliber...Any deer shot through the lungs won't be living very long...I shoot a .54 with 80grs FFF...I've shot these guns since 1975 and I can still remember my 1st shot...I honestly think I have done this before......Learning flintlocks sure came to me easily...
 

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Yes, flintlock, I have done it before, too.
I built a flintlock from a Dixie kit in 1978.
I live in a log cabin that I built from scratch, with a stone fireplace that I made with rocks that I got from the creek, it looks just like 1773.
Life was better 200 years ago, much simpler.
 

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More energy only helps if you can disspate it in the animal. A 30-06 at close range will take most of its energy out the far side with it, the "pencil through" shot. A larger-caliber lead slug will dump it in the animal. A 30-06 is a great round but their are much better choices at close range including a larger caliber lead slug or ball.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for the replies please keep them coming. I will start on Friday after Thanksgiving to start sighting in. Should I start at 25 yards? Do you all have an idea what kind of ballistics the round ball is doing from 25yds, 50, 75 to 100.? I will not shoot past 100 yds cannot see well enough for open sights. Thanks in advance for all tips and shared knowledge.

I just got back from Mississippi my friend killed a 200lb white tail/9point/18.75 inch spread with the TC contender muzzleloader loaded with 150 grains triple seven and the powerbelt 300 grain platinum bullet. The deer was quartering away it ran about 150 yds we found the carcass the next day coyotes had eaten almost everything but the horns.
 

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"The deer was quartering away it ran about 150 yds we found the carcass the next day coyotes had eaten almost everything but the horns."

That is a shame. Y'all boys need to learn how to blood trail a deer. No problem in the dark, you can do it fine with flashlights.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
No blood what so ever. My friend has bone cancer this was first deer he was even able to shoot at in 3 years I have 2 ruptured disc. We could not even go back to the woods until next day due to our health from one good day/health wise. 2 more friends joined in next morning and 1 of them found the deer on a known deer trail. Looking forward to first deer myself in about 3 years if I can hunt. I appreciate all replies I hope my hawken will throw/chunk those round balls like you all had posted above and will allow me to recover from recoil if everything goes well.

Jim
 

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Did you mark the location where the deer was standing when hit, and did you go there, and get down on your hands and knees to look for blood?
 
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