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  #1  
Old 09-24-2007, 10:46 PM
SFT SFT is offline
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Lyman .54 cal great plains


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Have a new to me Lyman Great plains rifle, .54 cal. I refinished the stock myself and had the barrel re-finshed in plum brown. Now, I prefer Triple 7 and will be shooting round balls with the 1:60 twist rate, so any suggestions as to a starting load and other tips are appreciated.

How can I tell the date of manufacture?
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  #2  
Old 09-25-2007, 02:31 AM
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Date can obtained by calling Lyman with the s/n.

I've never had any luck with T-7.
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Old 09-25-2007, 05:10 AM
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Look up Lymans's website. It will give you some loading data. Loose T-7 is hotter than black powder and needs to be reduces 10 percent over black powder loads.

I'd start with 60 grains and work up with round balls.
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Old 09-25-2007, 12:24 PM
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Bob, I checked Lyman's site thismorning, was going to give the link but they don't have any info on T-7.
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  #5  
Old 09-25-2007, 03:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markkw
Bob, I checked Lyman's site thismorning, was going to give the link but they don't have any info on T-7.
ten % reduction is a good place to start. Also you will want to play around with patch thickness, patch lube, ball dia. They come in either .530 or .535. don't use any petroleum based lubes as it will cake up the bore every other shot. You may want to hand lap or fire lap the barrel. I had lapped my T/C Renegade .54 and It made a world of difference in loading ease and accuracy. I have not done this in my Cabelas Hawken Hunter also in .54. I will fire lap as soon as I can locate the right cast bullets as outlined elsewhere on this site. I much prefer real black powder in both rifles. I don't have a problem finding it here.
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  #6  
Old 09-25-2007, 03:56 PM
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Lyman GPR is a great choice

I was shooting mine yesterday and prefer FFG for the main charge and patched .530" balls. I shoot flintlocks and swear by blackpowder. All the best...
Gil
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  #7  
Old 09-25-2007, 05:34 PM
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I shoot a .54 Lyman Trade rifle and use 80g of FFFg with a .535 round ball. Stick with real black powder, it ignites faster and is far more reliable than any of the wana-bees.
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  #8  
Old 09-27-2007, 05:24 PM
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Though I agree with the statement with the black powder being the number one choice I have tried the 777 in mine and have a lb on the shelf. First I have a .54 GPR, I shoot patched round ball .535 pure lead cast at home. I used 20-1 moose milk soaked .018 ticking patch, during informal matches at my club or rendevous all over. I use a .530 ball and 6-1 moose milk soaked and dried pre cut patches for hunting basically a home made dry lubed patch. This is a tight fit, and I don't mind the extra force it takes to start the ball, my custom made starter has a face that is cut with a .54 ball nosed mill cutter I had made, as it packs the sprue into a nice round ball at seating. Don't know if it helps but it can't hurt. I shoot 60gns of ffg in black powder and 40gns of 777 will hit the same point of impact at 50yds as the black. That 777 is black powder on steroids, my gut feeling is in the near future because of the activities of terrorists, many won't be able to shoot without the likes of 777 being in their bbl. I can remember a few with trade guns back when I first got into it and a few with large bore anything .58 and larger rifles would run a duplex with 20gns of black and 50 or 60 gns or more of a certain wonderful fertilizer that is classed an explosive. I shot a bunch of it and it did not seem all that bad. Buy a large bag at your local feed mill and you may go into a computer. I also know it is getting harder and harder to buy black around here.
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  #9  
Old 09-27-2007, 07:03 PM
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Thanks for the advice. Since I've had such good results with Triple 7 I'm going to stick with it. Kudos to Lyman for sending me not one but two new eschuan (sp?) screws along with a products and loading manual, all for free. Very nice folks to deal with and they were quick to mail everything to me as well.

I've come across two schools of thought when it comes to powder charges. One says to use one grain per number of caliber, IE:- .54 cal, start w/ .54 grains. To me that seems a little low, but I see that it's a good 50 yard load or thereabouts. The loading manual suggests an 80 grain starting load for my .54 using either pyrodex or 777, with the latter giving about 100 fps extra. Max loads are 120 grains, but that seems a bit too much, especially when only pushing a round ball. Also, due to my rifle's 1/60 twist rate, I'm pretty much relegated to round balls until I can get an extra barrel w/ a 1 in 48 or 1 in 32 twist for shooting sabots.

My last experience with rifle muzzleloaders was with a Lyman Trade rifle, which I sold a year or so ago due to the stock not being made for us lefty's. 90 grains of pyrodex was plenty hot as was the Goex I later purchased for it and my cap and ball revolvers. The 1:48 twist in that made for a 4 inch or less spread using sabots at 100 yards, and about the same for patched balls.

My current left handed GPR is an older model and has some slight surface pitting in the exterior of the barrel, but the bore is clean and sharp; no pitting. After refinishing the stock myself due to someone elses effort which turned the color to a near red, I've had the barrel, rib and buttplate browned. I tried to color case harden the toe plate myself but it only made it dark black .

What kind of accuracy is possible w/ patched balls and the slow twist? Would it be a waste of money to even try conicals or powerbelt bullets? I think sabots are out of the question, what do y'all think?
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  #10  
Old 10-12-2007, 08:41 PM
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My .54 gp likes tc maxi hunters pushed with about 100 gr of 777 3fg.It wont shoot em slow,got to be a pretty hot load.It also shoots rb well with 60 to 80 gr of 777.I know it sounds odd but a friend has had the same rifle for 20 years told me to try it,probably more finicky than rb,but makes the rifle more versatile.A 435 gr chunk of lead at about 1600 fps is big medicine.Take care
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  #11  
Old 10-13-2007, 10:46 AM
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Talking

My GP likes 80gr volume GOEX FFG, Hornady .530 ball, Wonderlube 1000 patches and musket caps and about 50 lbs compression to a mark on my rod. I clean after every shot with alcohol so I don't get any carbon buildup This combination has accounted for 4 deer and 2 elk. One ball went through both sholder blades of a 500 lb (about) elk and all balls penetrated through and through all animals. This load will keep my balls in a 1" hole at 60 yds as long as I do my part.

I've tried more and less FFG and all that did was open up the group. I've tried several other black powders and most of the different brands of .54 cal sabots or bulls and none would even come close to that 80 gr FFG load, so I quit wasting money, traded off the extra "junk stuff", bought 6 boxes of bullets and 10 cans of GOEX (all that was available at that time in my area). But that was twenty some years ago...and...

I think I will try Triple 7 now as it seems to be the most talked about in todays world.

I've also taken many ground squirrels, some dumb coyotes and bobcats, a friends butcher hefer, a couple pigs, one great grey owl bothering my rabbits and chickens and one goose bothering the grand kids. The load is like the energizer bunny...it just keeps going and going and....

Enjoy
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  #12  
Old 10-13-2007, 06:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bearfat
My .54 gp likes tc maxi hunters pushed with about 100 gr of 777 3fg.It wont shoot em slow,got to be a pretty hot load.It also shoots rb well with 60 to 80 gr of 777.I know it sounds odd but a friend has had the same rifle for 20 years told me to try it,probably more finicky than rb,but makes the rifle more versatile.A 435 gr chunk of lead at about 1600 fps is big medicine.Take care
What is the twist rate of your GP rifle? My previous one had a 1:48, which shot sabots and balls with about the same accurancy, a little better one the sabots. It wouldn't shoot maxi-balls or any conical worth beans though. My current rifle has the 1:60 twist, so I'm thinking of starting off the round ball shooting using 55 grains of FFFg Triple 7 and a .005 lubed patch, and working up towards 80 grains from there.

Should I even try the maxi-balls again with such a slow twist rate? I already know that sabots aren't on the list, but driven fast enough will the maxi's stabilize?

Any suggestions, comments, warnings or wit is appreciated;
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  #13  
Old 10-13-2007, 08:51 PM
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SFT,my gp has a standard 1 in 60 ball twist barrel.Lyman does sell a 1 in 32 twist for conicals or at least they used to.With balls at 50 yds it will shoot the center of a target,the holes overlappiing.My only issue with balls is poor trajectory caused by the horrible bc,Conicals perform much better past 100 yds.My conical loads shoot very similar to my 45-70 loads.+4@100,zero @ 150,-10 @200 with a tko value in the high 50,s.Thats overkill for deer but I shoot it for the Trajectory.Recoil is very stout,a heavy carhartt type jacket helps alot.That friend of mine That I spoke of in my previous relpy who has owned a .54 gp for over 20 years told me that with enough experimenting a gp would probably shoot big lead.I,m not sure why but my rifle will shoot a tc maxi hunter wiht a heavy charge.That bullet is fairly short.not much more length than diameter.Try it,I think it will work for you.Bearfat
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  #14  
Old 10-13-2007, 11:21 PM
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Thanks, I will try some conicals and maxi-balls after all.
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  #15  
Old 10-19-2007, 10:40 AM
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--The buckskinners of old had a neat way of determining a powder charge for a muzzleloader. They'd lay a round ball for their new rifle out on a flat table and slowly trickle powder onto the top of the ball. The powder piled up in a cone until it just coverd the ball. The principle worked with any size round ball.
--With a .530 diameter ball, it works out to just about 90 grains by volume.
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Old 10-19-2007, 12:56 PM
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That's interesting, I will see how that works. Thank's for that bit of info, you learn something new everyday.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. C
--The buckskinners of old had a neat way of determining a powder charge for a muzzleloader. They'd lay a round ball for their new rifle out on a flat table and slowly trickle powder onto the top of the ball. The powder piled up in a cone until it just coverd the ball. The principle worked with any size round ball.
--With a .530 diameter ball, it works out to just about 90 grains by volume.
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  #17  
Old 10-20-2007, 12:54 AM
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Upon recommendation from Lyman, I switched to black powder and it did prove more accurante than pyrodex. I worked up a load of 100 grains of black powder and it did a nice job this past week on a NY white tail buck. The entrance hole on the hide was about the size of the ball, while under the hide it expanded to about the size of a half dollar. I was very pleased with the results with the buck going 15 yards from a 40 yard shot.
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  #18  
Old 10-20-2007, 11:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fkapusta
Upon recommendation from Lyman, I switched to black powder and it did prove more accurante than pyrodex. I worked up a load of 100 grains of black powder and it did a nice job this past week on a NY white tail buck. The entrance hole on the hide was about the size of the ball, while under the hide it expanded to about the size of a half dollar. I was very pleased with the results with the buck going 15 yards from a 40 yard shot.
I won't use pyrodex anymore, with the exception of the pistol pellets when I'm too lazy to use loose powder in my cap and ball revolvers.

I used a charge of 90 grains of Goex in my previous Lyman trade rifle, which was extremelly accurate using ball or sabots, but it had a 1:48 twist rate, while my present one (left handed this time) has a 1:60 twist.

I've done some further research and it seems that this will stabilize round balls very well, but is questionable when it comes to sabots. However, due to the large bearing surface, maxi-balls and conicals should be accurate with the right powder charge. There seems to be a bit of controversy as to the killing power of the latter, all depending on the shape of the tip; round, semi-wadcutter, hollowpoint, etc.

Anyone every had problems with maxi-balls or conicals not putting down game decisively?
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  #19  
Old 10-23-2007, 09:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SFT
Have a new to me Lyman Great plains rifle, .54 cal. I refinished the stock myself and had the barrel re-finshed in plum brown. Now, I prefer Triple 7 and will be shooting round balls with the 1:60 twist rate, so any suggestions as to a starting load and other tips are appreciated.

How can I tell the date of manufacture?
--It's good to hear others useing a .54cal. It's a shame there's not more rifles out there. But the .54 is my pick and between my CVA and my T/C they keep the freezer stocked. My rifles have the 1:48 twist and as a rule, 70 grains FFFG with a ball will print pretty much the same place as 100 grains FFFG with a 348 grain Powerbelt at 100 yards.
--I've used the T-7, but found it not to like damp weather and was more picky to load changes. Can't help it, I'm fond of Black Powder
--Lyman should be able to answer the last question.
--Keep shootin'.
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