.50 R.E.A.L. 250 gr. vs Round Ball Hunting Ballistics

  • Last Post 24 September 2016
onondaga posted this 11 September 2013

.50 R.E.A.L. 250 gr. vs Round Ball Hunting Ballistics I have 2 barrels for my percussion  Lyman Great Plains Rifle, a 1:60 twist for round balls a 1-32 twist for heavier bullets. Both barrels are 32 inches long. I have taken deer with both but never studied the numbers on these. Ballistic Coefficient numbers are needed to run charts and from my Lyman Black Powder Handbook I found that a .495 round ball has a BC of .070 and the Lee Support Center lists a BC of .286 for their 50 caliber, 250 grain R.E.A.L. bullet. The Lyman rifle groups either of these projectiles very respectably with the correct barrel selection for me. Previously I have hunted with 70 grains BP substitute and the R.E.A.L. in the 12 barrel and 85 grains BP substitute and a patched round ball in the 1-60 barrel. Actually, with 50 grains and up with the correct  barrel/bullet does not change accuracy with the Great Plains Rifle. The thing just shoots well and I recently got a Lyman peep sight that has shrunk group size even more. I wanted to check energy levels between the two bullets and compare impact points along my hunting range distances. I jockeyed numbers using online software to find the velocity needed for 1,000 foot pounds at my extreme range with the R.E.A.L. and I wanted to compare this to a hot round ball load for my rifle. I will adjust loads with a chronograph to get the velocities charted. Here are the 2 loads I am targeting for this year with a new powder for me, Alliant Black MZ . The BMZ has my rifle shooting better than ever but I want to know the numbers too. Ballistic Charts: <url=http://s30.photobucket.com/user/rhymeswithwhat/media/cb977e90-9884-4503-a141-1ed194b67504_zpsa4eab96e.jpg.html> <url=http://s30.photobucket.com/user/rhymeswithwhat/media/RBBal_zpsa03b5d61.jpg.html> Gary

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 11 September 2013

good stuff, gary .... starting to make black powder seem interesting ... i always wondered why such a slow twist for round ball ... my most accurate load in my 36 twist 44 mag...remmy 788 ... was round ball ( ok, 30 yards ) ... funny my next accurate was 300 gr lee ... quite a range of twist requirements, you would think ..

naacp ... national association advancement black powder ... ?


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onondaga posted this 11 September 2013

http://www.castbulletassoc.org/forum/view_user.php?id=40>Ken Campbell, Iowa

The original gunsmiths first making patched round ball rifles determined that 1:60 through 1:72 twists gave the best accurcy with patched round balls, There was no science or math to it all, they made the effort to find what works best.

More modern heavier projectiles with longer bearing surfaces than round balls gave birth to mathematical formulas for determining optimal twist rates, but round ball barrel twist rates are a worked out and original  American innovation. The patched round ball is a completely American innovation in ballistics.


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303PV posted this 12 September 2013

Don't think so. What about the ” Hessische Jaegerbuechse" I admire your patriotism, and I don't want to start a p.... contest,but a lot of arms development was German. By the way I am not German. Ezekiel Baker was English as was Greenhill.>.>

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CB posted this 12 September 2013

Trajectory and energy charts doesn't mean much to me. The 'round ball' verses maxi-ball type projectiles is an age old argument.

I remember back in the 1970s the accredited muzzleloader writer Mike Nesbitt did an exhaustive study of the two projectiles. If I remember correctly, Mike shot into animal carcasses for actual wound affect performance. His conclusion was in favor of the 50 caliber round ball, if it was shot at maximum loads, 110 to 120 grains of 2f blackpowder. I knew a hunter back then who used that load with great success.

Mike Nesbitt also did an in-depth study and testing between the 50 caliber rb and the 54 caliber rb. The 54 round ball had a definite edge over the 50 as far as wound performance on carcasses, even tho trajectories may have been favorable for the 50 caliber rb. He also concluded the larger 58 and 62 calibers in round ball had poor wound performance on the carcasses....Dan

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tturner53 posted this 12 September 2013

More is more. You can't deny the laws of physics. I decided long ago the answer to this argument is what are you shooting, where are you hitting them, and How Far. Larger heavier projectiles shine at longer ranges, a whole 'nother topic.

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onondaga posted this 12 September 2013

http://www.castbulletassoc.org/forum/view_user.php?id=7>Dan Willems:

I've never shot 110-120 grains in any of my ML rifles with a round ball. This also goes beyond Lyman MAX load limit for my rifle. If I had a Savage 10ML, I'd try it although. The Alliant Black MZ yields higher pressure than FF BP also, so I won't go there.

I agree with the round ball having better meat whacking results at close range when the power level is up than the R.E.A.L as cast, but I also have a Forster 1/8 hollowpointer that works fine on the R.E.A.L. bullet and is a pretty good equalizer for the R.E.A.L.  The round ball really poops out of energy fast due to it's B.C. but I still consider my lowly 1800 fps round ball load a 100 yard deer load and have proven that for myself already. It only has 457 foot pounds at 100 yards. Even with the low energy my .999 pure lead round ball will nearly double in diameter and pass through a deer with a broadside vital hit at 100 yards.


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delmarskid1 posted this 13 September 2013

I have to agree that a good hit makes more meat than any ballistic number. The 1000 pound energy number doesn't mean much to a bow hunter. Thanks for doing the work. It is good to see the trajectories at distances. From what I remember reading the jeager rifles didn't use patches. They pounded balls down the bore until they were some what cylindrical. The Baker rifle came later than the patched round ball. Greener was later still. The Brits used split leather patches in there rifle corps. after seeing what patched balls could do.

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tlkeizer posted this 14 September 2013


I have not done a lot of in-depth testing, but I like to shoot traditional loads so mostly stick to round ball in my .58 ML.  I do have a mold for Mine' bullets, and shoot them some.  With 70 grains BP or equivilent Pyrodex they shoot the same place at 50 yards, but the Mine' does pack a bit more whollap on the shoulder and at the recieving end.  The caribou I shot using a round ball at a measured 54 yards by rangefinder had the round ball go completely through, good enough for me.  I will add, though, if I am going for moose I use the Mine' ball.  So far it has performed admirably on paper when I unload the rifle, some year I may actually see what happens when I use it on a moose.  I also try to limit my ML shots to 50 yards or so, a personal challenge to get that close.

I have shot both loads into soaked paper as I can get bound half-inch newspaper flyers from the post office that are excess.  The Mine' ball has a much larger channel and goes 2-3 inches farther through paper than the round ball.  I found the comment on wound channel difference interesting comparing .50, .54., and .58 calibers.  I wonder if the higher velocities due to recoil tolerence causes the difference, or if the larger chunk of lead bores through without opening as much due to the mass of the ball.  I know finding a .58 ML is a lot harder now than 20 or 30 years ago (for me at least, but I don't do a lot of looking preferring to use what I have).

For now I am using my 45-70 that I have written about in searching for a caribou willing to donate itself to my freezer; with that I will go out to a hundred yards or so.


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onondaga posted this 15 September 2013

http://www.castbulletassoc.org/forum/view_user.php?id=6948>tlkeizer The 58 is definitely the way to go on moose with ML.

The bullet path related to velocity is my interest that has perked up again and my chronograph will be returned hopefully midweek. This will give me the chance to see what my actual velocity is and adjust my load to fit my chart projection.

I have some wads ordered also and will check them with the R.E.A.L. bullet and chronograph.


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Pigslayer posted this 15 September 2013

303PV wrote: Don't think so. What about the ” Hessische Jaegerbuechse" I admire your patriotism, and I don't want to start a p.... contest,but a lot of arms development was German. By the way I am not German. Ezekiel Baker was English as was Greenhill.>.>

I believe that you are correct concerning the invention of the “roundball” itself & not meaning to simply disagree with Gary. But . . . after re-reading Garys post I find that he did not state that the ” roundball” was a American invention but that “twist rates” were in fact an American Invention. so . . . Touche' on that one. What is fact though is that although the Pennsylvania long rifle does have beginnings with the Jaeger rifle, the colonial gunsmiths developed a truly different form of rifle. Yes, of “American Design” inherently. The Jaeger, although a fine rifle was heavy, thick & of very large caliber. Lead was expensive in the colonial days and the .70 cal. Jaeger roundballs equaled out to 15 roundballs per pound, where a .45 cal. we're 55 roundballs per pound. The Pennsylvania long rifle was one with slimmed down locks, barrels & stocks. The longer barrel gave the required volume of space in which to burn a sufficient amount of powder to drive the smaller ball at a greater velocity then the Jaeger could drive the larger ball. The lighter ball proved more accurate at longer ranges than did the heavy ball traveling at slower velocities . The end result of this American invention was a fine handling, well balanced, hard hitting, and even more accurate long range rifle than the Jaeger. The above information was gathered from various sources but mostly from the book ” The Art of Building the Pennsylvania Longriflle" After buying & adamantly studying this wonderful and informative book I was able to build my first flintlock rifle . . . an Issac Haines .50 cal.. A very accurate one at that. Then came my second . . . A .45 caliber. Again a very accurate weapon. Tennessee Mountain design. One of these days I'll finish the .40 cal. That I have on my bench


If someone else had of done to me what I did to myself . . . I'd have killed him. Humility is an asset. Heh - heh.

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curator posted this 10 October 2013

Original German “Jaeger” rifles had various twist rates due to the lack of understanding of what resulted in stabilization of the projectile. The German approach was to reduce problems with fouling, accuracy was an unintended consequence. Most Jaeger rifles were loaded with a ball slightly larger than groove diameter. They were loaded with a mallet and a patch was not part of the process. The Americans developed the slightly under-size ball with a thick fabric patch to load the rifle easily. We can still do this today. I routinely load .515 round balls in my .50 caliber T/C New Englander with excellent results and accuracy. No need for patching, although a wipe between loadings does enhance accuracy.

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303PV posted this 10 October 2013

"Jäger rifles (late 18th century) By the late 18th century, these rifles had evolved to being shorter than earlier hunting weapons and were generally shorter than the typical military musket, with no provision for bayonets. The shorter weapons were easier to load and more practical in skirmish combat. However, there was some loss of accuracy and the shorter barrels used the powder charges less efficiently. German Jäger rifles typically had a length around 45 inches (1,100 mm), with a 30-inch (760 mm) barrel, and weighed around 9 lb (4.1 kg). Frequently there was a scrolled brass trigger guard to provide a better grip and a raised cheek-rest for support when aiming. Most rifles had a butt-trap or patch box about six inches long for storing greased linen patches and tools. The patch box lids were generally brass and were hinged at the rear. Most of these rifles were the personal property of the soldier and would vary substantially in design and decoration. The Jäger rifle concept was adopted by other nations including Britain which imported German Jäger rifles for use by skirmishers and marksmen. Many of these were Hanoverian and when Britain standardized with its Pattern 1776 rifles, it was essentially a copy of a Jäger style from Hanover. Hessian mercenary troops who fought for the British in the US Revolution included Jäger rifle units."


Don't get upset please this is my last contribution on this subject

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rodwha posted this 07 November 2014

I just purchased a used 250 grn .50 cal REAL mold, and was looking to see if I could find the BC value for the projectile and found this thread.

I'm uncertain as to the BC value listed though as a fellow on another forum, through testing, found the 320 grn REAL .50 cal conical to have a BC of .189.

Are you certain of the BC value? .286 sounds quite high for such a short bullet that's not that aerodynamic compared to modern spitzer bullets.

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onondaga posted this 07 November 2014


Lee Support Center lists a BC of .286 for their 50 caliber, 250 grain R.E.A.L. bullet. It is their bullet mold and design with the BC they specify, I believe them. Call them if you have doubts.


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Dirtybore posted this 18 June 2016

Why are you shooting a muzzleloader? I love shooting the guns that grandpa used and therefor I use much the same guns he did including black powder and patched round balls.

I've taken 9 deer using a .530 round ball backed up by 90 gr of FFg, GOEX black powder. That combination will put that round ball clear through a deer, stem to stern or stern to stem. It's a long story but I've done it both ways. The longest shot was 100 yds with a rest. all others were much loser. Only 2 of the 9 deer had to have a second shot.

The .54 cal rifles are excellent hunting rifles. so far, I've taken deer with two, a Sharon Gun Barrel half stock Hawken with a 32” barrel and 1 in 72 twist. the second is the Lyman Great Plains rifle with a 32” barrel and 1 in 60 twist.

My hunting partner took 3 deer and an elk with that same load combination.

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onondaga posted this 19 June 2016


"Why are you shooting a muzzleloader?"

They are my first love in marksmanship. I started casting roundballs for my first muzzleloading flintlock at age 7 in 1957.  They are what a rifle feels like to me. Sure, I have lots of every other kind of rifle, but I learned the basics for the first time with a flintlock as a small boy, and they are special to me.


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Gene posted this 22 September 2016

They are fun to shoot, especially the flintlocks and I mostly shoot PRB's.  However, I do not enjoy the cleanup.......

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onondaga posted this 22 September 2016

Gene wrote: They are fun to shoot, especially the flintlocks and I mostly shoot PRB's.  However, I do not enjoy the cleanup....... I guess I didn't influence you enough to try Alliant Black MZ. I use it in my Flintlock for the main charge and  my prime pan gets .3 gr real 4FBP. I get 100% ignition except about about once or twice in 100 the spark doesn't hit the prime. I use cut agate or my own knapped flints from local Onondaga Flint. Both are terrific sparkers.

BMZ is easily 20 times easier to clean up after than BP and BMZ leaves only a very slight fowling that does not attract moisture and is a dry lubricant. I generally shoot 30 shots with the REAL at the range per trip and don't clean or swab between shots. I just easily clean/lube at home only.

  For RBs, I run a clean patch once between shots and use a snug fitting sweat-cloth patch on a jag just down and up once. I tried without swabbing to see how far I could go. At 5 shots I can feel I need to push a ball harder and at 10 it is barely loadable and needs a swab.  That sounds impossible if you have only shot BP, but it  is true for BMZ.


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Gene posted this 23 September 2016

Do you use 5 to 10 grains of BP as a primer behind the BMZ ?

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onondaga posted this 23 September 2016


No I don't use any powder duplexing. I shoot 75 gr volume of BMZ with a 0.3 gr pan prime in a flintlock. I contacted Alliant and they said my setup is good and BMZ can be used, dependably, the same as 2FBP in any muzzle loading application or as a propellant in replica load BP cartridges.

I have also chronographed my loads to check if Alliant's claim that BMZ has the lowest ES of velocity of any muzzle loading propellant. My tests showed single digit ES under 5 in 3 ten shot strings. That is terrific velocity consistency.

I believe BMZ ignites every bit as well as real black powder. I also use it in 3 traditional percussion rifles with standard #11 caps and have excellent ignition with no problems. I don't have any inline ML rifles but several friends have tried BMZ and love it in their inline ML rifles. The stuff is silly clean to shoot, has no Sulfur to kick up my asthma, it has a new Citrus chemistry and smokes just like BP. For me, it has obsoleted all other ML propellants and it is cheap too. Locally $17.00/lb.


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