Dan Dalrymple's website

Fun, light and G-rated pages from Dan's family tree, sailing the Great lakes in old Cal Yachts, burning Ohio firewood, herbal cures, my humble opinions on several '70s Great Lakes sailboats, and muzzle loading ballistic charts .

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Home
Our home page.

Cal Yachts
One of my favorite sailboats. I've owned a Cal 2-27 for over 20 years. I've owned larger, newer boats but the cal 27 remains my favorite sailboats for the Great Lakes especially Lake Erie.

fun sailboats
My humble opinion on several older sailboats that were popular on the Great Lakes during the '70s

Firewood facts
Interesting information on burning firewood as a home heating aid.

Our wood stove
We've backed up our home's heating furnace with a firewood woodstove for over 40 years.

Herbal cures
Our ancestors used many different items to cure their ills. Hundreds of these items, or herbs, as people called them were developed into the medicines that we use today. Note: For information only. We do not sell or promote herbs here.

Muzzle Loading
Muzzle loading ballistic tables from my son and my experiences with Ohio muzzle loading deer hunting.

my Family History
This web page contains a complete Dalrymple family line from Andrew Dalrymple, born in Scotland about 1682, all the way down to my grandson, Brian.

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Note: I created this Muzzle loading website in 1996. Many upgrades to muzzle loading have been introduced since my muzzle loading days. I offer this information as a guide only, never load any weapon beyond it's manufacturer's recommendations.

I do not hunt with muzzle  loaders now since I'm well over 74 years old. I still hunt deer  but now use a Smith and Wesson pistol with a Leopold scope. Its a Model 29 in 44 magnum caliber . This is a legal deer hunting weapon in my area.  It's easier to carry and offers 6 powerful shots. I don't like to use more than one shot (meat damage) but it's good to know that another shot is quickly available if needed.

Ballistics charts for muzzle loader rifles

Muzzle loading is often referred to as "coal burning". Black powder burns dirty and leaves a grimy residue in the barrel. Several black powder substitutes are offered these days. Some are a little cleaner, some are not. Black Powder and genuine black powder substitutes are the ONLY powders to use in a muzzle loading firearm. NEVER substitute any type of modern smokeless powder as these muzzle loading firearms are not designed for the high pressures of modern smokeless powders.

Generally it is the size of the powder granules that determine the use of the powder. The smaller granulations have the fastest burn rate, the larger granulations are slower. FFFFG identifies the smallest granulation, FG is the largest.

FFFFG, "Four F", the fastest burning black powder is primarily used for priming flintlocks.

FFFG, "Triple F" is primarily used in revolvers.

FFG, or "Double F" is primarily used for rifles over 40 and up to 58 caliber.

FG, or "Single F" is pretty much restricted to rifles over 58 caliber.

Never fire a muzzle loading rifle, pistol, or shotgun unless the bullet or shot is completely down against the powder charge. To do otherwise can possibly burst the barrel.

Here are some muzzle load ballistics that I have either chronographed myself or picked up from various locations. They're basic and sometimes were only one shot through the chronograph. There are many factors that will change the speed of a bullet leaving the barrel of a muzzle loader. Among these factors are the weight and type of the powder and bullet, barrel length, barrel twist, temperature, humidity, and more. My son and I will use a friend's chronograph to try to pick the best load for our muzzle loaders. My rifle is a Thompson Center Thunder Hawk and my son's is a Knight Disk rifle, both 50 caliber in-lines.

A decent chronograph sells for under $200 these days. No two muzzle loaders shoot exactly the same. Barrel length and twist both have a tremendous effect on bullet speed and energy (see the ball loads in Chart #1). A chronograph is a "must", if you want to get the best from your muzzle loader.

The following two charts are for 50 caliber muzzle loader rifles. ENERGY is in foot pounds, at muzzle. There may be a typo, so if you see something in here that looks "out of kelter", it probably is... Leave me an e-mail if you see something odd. Never exceed the loads recommended by your gun manufacturer.

Chart #1. . . 50 caliber BALL loads show the tremendous difference in barrel length and twist. Chart is sorted by Energy column, ascending...

Bullet Type Grains Powder Type Grains FPS Energy Notes
Ball 180g Pyrodex RS 60g 1331 704 #1
Ball 180g Black powder FFg 60g 1399 778 #1
Ball 180g Pyrodex pellets 100g 1455 842 #2
Ball 180g Black powder FFg 70g 1471 860 #1
Ball 180g Pyrodex pellets 150g 1553 959 #2
Ball 180g Pyrodex RS 70g 1635 1063 #1
Ball 180g Black powder FFFg 60g 1611 1036 #5-6
Ball 180g Pyrodex RS 80g 1726 1185 #1
Ball 180g Black powder FFFg 70g 1725 1188 #5-6
Ball 180g Black powder FFFg 80g 1854 1372 #5-6
Ball 180g Pyrodex RS 100g 1863 1380 #1
NOTES for above chart:
  • #1 . My TC ThunderHawk thru chronograph. 24 inch barrel, 1 in 38" twist using #11 primers.
  • #2 . My son's Knight Disk rifle using Pyrodex pellets & #209 shotgun primers thru same chronograph. Also 24 inch barrel but with a 1 in 28" twist.
  • #5 . 43 inch barrel with 1 in 66" twist, black powder FFFg
  • #6 . Never use FFFg powder in a rifle unless the manufacturer specifies it.

Balls cannot compete with conicals and saboted conicals in speed and energy in today's high twist, short barrels. They simply are not heavy enough to allow large powder loads to burn completely in the barrel. Balls require a long, low twist barrel. Note the tremendous difference that the 43 inch barrel (note #5) makes in the above chart. The balls in the above chart are all the same size and weight. Two of these ball loads (the weakest and the hottest were left in the next chart for comparison.

Chart #2. Random 50 cal. ballistics sorted by foot pounds of Energy.

Bullet Type Grains Powder Type Grains FPS Energy Notes
Ball 180g Pyrodex RS 60g 1331 704 #1 #7
Lyman sabot 335g Black powder FFg 70g 1240 1144 #3
Lyman sabot 335g Pyrodex RS 70g 1240 1144 #3
Lyman sabot 335g Black powder FFg 80g 1295 1248 #3
Lyman sabot 335g Pyrodex RS 80g 1340 1336 #3
Lyman sabot 335g Black powder FFg 90g 1350 1356 #3
Ball 180g Pyrodex RS 100g 1863 1380 #1 #7
HPFB 490g Pyrodex RS sel 90g 1142 1420 #4
Knight RedHot 250g Pyrodex RS 90g 1657 1525 #1
Lyman sabot 335g Pyrodex RS 90g 1441 1545 #3
Bullet Type Grains Powder Type Grains FPS Energy Notes
Buffalo Sabot 302g Pyrodex RS Sel 100g 1524 1558 #4
Buffalo HTBT 380g Pyrodex RS Sel 110g 1370 1584 #4
Knight RedHot 250g Note #8 100g 1714 1632 #1 #8
TC Maxi 275g Pyrodex RS Sel 110g 1661 1686 #4
Knight RedHot 250g Pyrodex RS 100g 1777 1754 #1
RemPremier sabot 289g Pyrodex RS 120g 1667 1784 #2
Knight RedHot 250g Pyrodex Pellets 150g 1796 1791 #2
TC Maxi 350g Pyrodex RS Sel 100g 1525 1808 #1
Buffalo Ball 350g Pyrodex RS 100g 1550 1868 #4
Buffalo HPHB 385g Pyrodex RS Sel 110g 1478 1868 #4
HPFB 410g Pyrodex RS Sel 110g 1438 1883 #4
Conical 370g Pyrodex RS Sel 100g 1525 1912 #4
Buffalo Maxi 350g Pyrodex RS 100g 1577 1934 #1
TC Maxi 460g Pyrodex RS Sel 110g 1416 2049 #4
Knight RedHot 300g Pyrodex pellets 150g 1846 2271 #2
Rem Premier sabot 289g Pyrodex pellets 150g 1909 2340 #2
Bullet Type Grains Powder Type Grains FPS Energy Notes
NOTES:
  • #1 . My TC ThunderHawk thru chronograph. 24 inch barrel, 1 in 38" twist using #11 primers.
  • #2 . My son's Knight Disk rifle using Pyrodex pellets & #209 shotgun primers thru same chronograph. Also 24 inch barrel but with a 1 in 28" twist.
  • #3 . Suggested loading data from back of Lyman 335 grain hollowpoint sabot package. Copyright, Lyman Products Corp, Middletown CT.
  • #4 . origin unknown.
  • #5 . 43 inch barrel with 1 in 66" twist, black powder FFFg
  • #6 . Never use FFFg powder in a rifle unless the manufacturer specifies it.
  • #7 . The 180g ball loads show the immense difference that powders, barrel length and twist make.
  • #8 . Just for fun... A single 50g Pyrodex pellet followed by 50g Pyrodex RS powder fired from my TC ThunderHawk. I thought that the pellet would aid the #11 cap in igniting the powder mixture but it didn't seem to help. For some reason, it was slower than 100 grams of RS.

I'm sighting in my TC Thunder Hawk and picking my load for the 1997 whitetail season, I tried 350 grain Buffalo Maxi type bullets and 100 grains of Pyrodex RX Select for an approximate speed of 1550 fps at the muzzle which results in 1868 ft lbs of energy at the muzzle. I was pleased with the speed and energy with this load but not happy with the 100 yard groups. I then switched to a Lyman Shocker 335 grain sabot (same powder charge) and shot much tighter groups but didn't have the chronograph with me. I liked the Shockers better than the Buffalos but shot all my Shockers and couldn't purchase more. I am now shooting the 250 grain Knight Red Hots, an all copper saboted bullet. I'm getting good groups at 1777 fps at the muzzle for a total of 1754 ft. lbs. of energy. (see Chart #2)

My son wants to shoot heavy loads. He bought the Knight after reading the review on the Knight Disk rifle in NRA's American Hunter magazine. The Knight did not do well shooting the balls. The rifle, with it's 1 in 28" twist, was not designed to shoot balls. It is supposedly designed to shoot sabots using a heavy load of Pyrodex pellets.

We started with 250 grain sabots and three Pyrodex pellets for a total of 150 grains of powder. This load was reviewed in the NRA magazine's article. After looking at the poor energy delivered by the Knight using this load (see Chart #2), we decided to try some heavier bullets when using three Pyrodex pellets. In all fairness, the accuracy of the Knight shooting the 250g sabots was fantastic but I felt that he wasn't getting enough muzzle energy. (see Chart #2). The 250g bullet was leaving the barrel too quickly and too much of the 150g pellet load was burning outside the barrel. (see 150g Pyrodex pellets and 250g sabot in Chart #2). So we tried 300 grain Knight Red Hots and got more energy. (see Chart #2, 300g Knight and 150g Pyrodex pellets).

The best load we finally came up with for the Knight Disk rifle was a 289 grain Remington Premier saboted bullet with three 50g Pyrodex pellets for a total of 150 grains of powder. This load gave great groups and 1909 fps at muzzle producing 2340 foot pounds of energy. (see Chart #2)

We broke the trigger mechanicism on the Knight while sighting it in. Two pins in the mechanicism broke to the point that the gun wouldn't fire. The Knight had this same problem in the NRA magazine's review with the walnut stock but Knight presumably corrected this with the synthetic stock. Anyhow, we had a local gunsmith temporarily repair the trigger in order to use the rifle for the arriving whitetail season. We contacted Knight, told them about the broken trigger, they are shipping a complete new assembly.

After logging to this webpage and reading the above paragraph, Scott left me an e-mail. Quote... Dad-- Web page looks great. I have only one suggestion. You've got to give it (the Knight) SOME credit as it does shoot the "fastest, most accurate & powerful load" that you've charted! . He's right, the Knight Disk rifle is throwing tight groups with 289 grain sabots and 3 Pyrodex pellets.

Don't forget that the muzzle energy produced by most muzzle loading rifles will drop from half to a third at 100 yards. In other words, a rifle that has 1000 ft. lbs. of energy at the muzzle will only have 300 to 500 ft. lbs. at 100 yards. My son likes the heavier loads for this reason. Myself, being almost 60 years old, will settle for lighter loads. They are easier on my shoulders.

Looking over those ballistic charts shows me that Pyrodex, volume per volume, is hotter than Black Powder in loads of 80 grains and up. Pyrodex also smells a lot better while cleaning your rifle. I'm allowed to clean my rifle inside the house, now that I've switched to Pyrodex. Pyrodex is a registered US trademark, property of Hodgdon Powder Company, Shawnee Mission, Kansas.

The next three charts show how an equal volume of black powder and Pyrodex compare. Note: the Pyrodex seems hotter in heavier loads.

Note 3, Chart #2.

BULLET 50 caliber, 335 grain HP Sabot, Black Powder FFg/Pyrodex RS = 70 grains by volume.

70 grains Black powder Pyrodex
Ft. per Sec. 1240 same bullet, same volume Pyrodex 1240
FootPounds Energy 1144 same bullet, same volume Pyrodex 1144

BULLET 50 caliber, 335 grain HP Sabot, Black Powder FFg/Pyrodex RS = 80 grains by volume.

80 grains Black powder Pyrodex
Ft. per Sec. 1295 same bullet, same volume Pyrodex 1340
FootPounds Energy 1248 same bullet, same volume Pyrodex 1336

BULLET 50 caliber, 335 grain HP Sabot, Black PowderFFg/Pyrodex RS = 90 grains by volume.

90 grains Black powder Pyrodex
Ft. per Sec. 1350 same bullet, same volume Pyrodex 1441
FootPounds Energy 1356 same bullet, same volume Pyrodex 1545

.

Here's a couple loads for the 45 caliber fans.

BULLET 45 caliber, 285 grain HP maxistyle, Black Powder* = 85 grains FFg

Muzzle 50 yds. 100 yds. 150 yds. 200 yds.
Ft. per Sec. 1550 13631209 1094 1013
FootPounds Energy 1520 1175 925 757 649
Traj: 100 yds zero -0.75 2.0 0.0 -7.7 -23.0

BULLET 45 caliber, 325 grain RN maxistyle, Black Powder* = 85 grains FFg

Muzzle 50 yds. 100 yds. 150 yds. 200 yds.
Ft. per Sec. 1500 1363 1244 1147 1072
FootPounds Energy 1624 1341 1117 950 830
Traj: 100 yds zero -0.8 1.8 0.0 -7.7 -21.9

Here are some more 50 caliber ballistics. The trajectory charts are interesting. These are black powder loads.

BULLET 50 caliber, 385 grain HP maxistyle, Black Powder* = 90 grains FFg

Muzzle 50 yds. 100 yds. 150 yds. 200 yds.
Ft. per Sec. 1400 1230 1103 1015 951
FootPounds Energy 1675 1292 1039 881 772
Traj: 100 yds zero -0.75 2.5 0.0 -9.6 -27.5

BULLET 50 caliber, 410 grain RN maxistyle, Black Powder* = 90 grains FFg

Muzzle 50 yds. 100 yds. 150 yds. 200 yds.
Ft. per Sec. 1400 1273 1168 1086 1023
FootPounds Energy 1784 1475 1241 1073 953
Traj: 100 yds zero -0.8 2.3 0.0 -8.7 -24.6

BULLET 54 caliber, 425 grain HP maxistyle, Black Powder* = 105 grains FFg

Muzzle 50 yds. 100 yds. 150 yds. 200 yds.
Ft. per Sec. 1400 1244 1123 1036 972
FootPounds Energy 1849 1459 1189 1013 892
Traj: 100 yds zero -0.75 2.4 0.0 -9.3 -26.6

BULLET 58 caliber, 525 grain HP maxistyle, Black Powder* = 90 grains FFg

Muzzle 50 yds. 100 yds. 150 yds. 200 yds.
Ft. per Sec. 1275 1160 1074 1009 958
FootPounds Energy 1895 1566 1344 1186 1069
Traj: 100 yds zero -0.8 2.8 0.0 -10.3 -29.1

WARNING. While the loading data on this page is believed safe, it is your responsibility to use correct powder and charge. Always make sure your bullet is firmly seated on the powder charge If the bullet is not firmly seated on the powder charge, a hazardous air-gap may develop. Read your powder and muzzle loader instructions. Do not use smokeless powder. You must be familiar with the basic rules for using, storing and loading with black powder. Always follow the safety rules and warnings supplied with your firearm. Never use a greater powder charge or bullet than is recommended in your firearm manual. Static electricity or a glowing ember, in your barrel, can cause a flashback! Never load your firearm from a large powder container. Always use a single-load container.

I have access to a chronograph and have tested several loads. Some of these charts used the formula, ENERGY=(wt*V^2)/450130.33 /I to convert bullet speed and weight to bullet energy in ft. lbs. Abbreviations: HP=hollow point, RN=round nose, BT=boat tail, FpS=feet per second, FtLbs=foot pounds of energy. Note: * An equivalent VOLUME of RS Pyrodex (registered trade mark) may be used instead of FFg black powder. Note: When making this switch, measure by volume only, not by weight.

I skin and process our venison myself. My wife and I can our venison in 2 quart canning jars. This is easy, fast and the canned meat is tender and delicious. The canned meat does not require valuable freezer space. If you would like our canning recipe just send me an email below.

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This page was last updated on May 21st, 2010.