Expected accuracy with BP cartridge?

Modern Muzzleloading Forum

Help Support Modern Muzzleloading Forum:

Joined
Jan 25, 2023
Messages
86
Reaction score
116
I got myself an 1876 Centennial in 45-60 last year (Uberti). I just played with it a little before setting it aside for some muzzleloaders I was adding to the fold.
Time to show it some love again.

This will be the first gun I have loaded BP cartridges for. And I've already tried some out.

First I loaded and shot some smokeless loads.
This was the first eight shots at 50yds off the bench using 305gr coated bullets from Bear Creek. Ignore the 400gr, that was wrong.
Dec 4, 2022 4 more.jpg

Then I tried to load some BP up. Got the drop tube and everything.
60gr of 2F, thin overshot card, 1/8" lubed felt wad, MBC 300gr black powder bullet. Slightly compressed. If I recall, fps was pretty close. Maybe 100fps difference from the 4895.
This was 4 shots
60gr G2F 55wt 1255 13 Dec13.jpg

And another 4 shot group with some stringing.
60gr Goex2F 1197 47 Dec 13.jpg

Not near as well as I got with the smokeless. And the stringing has me confused. Same bench, same hold, same rests...

I was thinking of trying some 3F next. And then I'll go to the Bear Creek bullets for the next change, even though they are a bit harder and made for smokeless. Maybe this particular rifle really likes one bullet over the next. Although eventually I'll be casting and already have the mould closest to the original bullet profile. By that time I want to be shooting just BP.

So what kind of accuracy should I expect from BP compared to smokeless out of the same rifle?
I don't want to be chasing my tail here.
 

anonymouscowherd

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 29, 2022
Messages
213
Reaction score
454
I'd change one factor at a time, use the bullet you were using in the smokeless loads, and then duplicate velocity as best you can.

Also, what order are they shot in for the BP loads? How fouled is the bore getting? Are you cleaning between groups?
 
Joined
Jan 25, 2023
Messages
86
Reaction score
116
Thanks for the reply anonymous.

Yes, one thing at a time. First the powder, then if that doesn't change the bullet. Which like I said is a harder bullet meant for smokeless. That's why it's my second thing to change.

Fortunately velocity was close... but you didn't say how to get it closer and maintain the 60 grains factor I'd like to keep. How would you adjust the BP to get it closer to the smokeless velocity? Crimp? Wad? It's already within 100fps.

Ah... swabbing... Something I never considered with a lever action.
Good call.

That falls back on my title. Expected accuracy...

I'm not sure why I expected a BP cartridge to be able to shoot half a dozen shots accurately only using lube and not swabbing. I don't expect that out of my muzzleloaders. But some guys who squirrel hunt with ML's might say different. On the sister forum there are guys saying they shoot 30 shots without swabbing... but they aren't saying or showing the accuracy they are getting. I'm assuming it is good enough for whatever they are doing. Maybe shooting steel at 15yds for all I know.

Maybe I'll try swabbing next time. I hate to push fouling back into the receiver, but if that's the only way to tighten thing up, then I'll know.

Thanks again. You definitely gave me something to consider.

Like don't shoot black powder when I'm dropping bullets into one ragged hole with smokeless 😂
 

45-70

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 8, 2019
Messages
1,547
Reaction score
1,342
if you are shooting black use grease bullet with lube not a coated bullet
 

X-ring

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 25, 2015
Messages
207
Reaction score
332
Thanks for the reply anonymous.

Yes, one thing at a time. First the powder, then if that doesn't change the bullet. Which like I said is a harder bullet meant for smokeless. That's why it's my second thing to change.

Fortunately velocity was close... but you didn't say how to get it closer and maintain the 60 grains factor I'd like to keep. How would you adjust the BP to get it closer to the smokeless velocity? Crimp? Wad? It's already within 100fps.

Ah... swabbing... Something I never considered with a lever action.
Good call.

That falls back on my title. Expected accuracy...

I'm not sure why I expected a BP cartridge to be able to shoot half a dozen shots accurately only using lube and not swabbing. I don't expect that out of my muzzleloaders. But some guys who squirrel hunt with ML's might say different. On the sister forum there are guys saying they shoot 30 shots without swabbing... but they aren't saying or showing the accuracy they are getting. I'm assuming it is good enough for whatever they are doing. Maybe shooting steel at 15yds for all I know.

Maybe I'll try swabbing next time. I hate to push fouling back into the receiver, but if that's the only way to tighten thing up, then I'll know.

Thanks again. You definitely gave me something to consider.

Like don't shoot black powder when I'm dropping bullets into one ragged hole with smokeless 😂
3F will give you more velocity and more recoil. If you want top accuracy you'll have to swab between shots......but that isn't feasable with a lever action because you'll be shoving BP fouling into the action. The different grades and brands of black powder leave more or less fouling and give different velocities. Different bullets are more or less accurate depending on what your rifle likes. You might want to try a "lube cookie" between the O.P. wad and base of the bullet to keep the fouling soft. Vertical stringing is generally due to velocity variations.....in your case probably due to fouling buildup. Don't forget............old eyes and iron sights are limiting factors too. You can't really compare M/L accuracy because the patched ball "kind of" cleans the BP fouling out of the grooves each time you load................but that's a whole different can of worms. X
 

anonymouscowherd

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 29, 2022
Messages
213
Reaction score
454
Other things to look at are the COAL, bullet seating depth (are you going off ogive or nose?) etc.

Personally since it shoots smokeless so well I'd focus on that, and have BP available as a interesting historic/original thing to play with on occasion when best accuracy isn't as critical.

Also since you have access to the breech you may consider a pull-thru cleaning snake instead of running a rod down the bore and pushing stuff back into the action...
 
Joined
Jan 25, 2023
Messages
86
Reaction score
116
Thanks guys.

Good point on keeping some BP loaded just for fun and not being worried about accuracy as much.

And duh. I probably have a dozen bore snakes and it didn't cross my mind to use one for swabbing between shots. Great idea. I'll do that before I do anything. Maybe that will tighten things up to where I'm happier with things. I'll get a dedicated one for .45 BP.

I go by OAL.
 
Top