Twist Rates and Bullets?

Apr 17, 2020
211
178
Hey there, I'm curious if anyone has advice on twist rates for traditional muzzle loaders. I know that patched round balls and minie bullets tend to like different twists more, but is there a twist that works well for both? Essentially if I could chose to shoot one better, it would be minie bullets, since that is what I would hunt with, but I would also like to be able to shoot round balls just for fun and target practice.
 

wvbuckbuster

Handloader
Nov 5, 2015
1,392
452
The 1-48 twist was sold as being a do all twist. Have seen maxi ball type slugs group well out of this twist and round ball so so. I believe it's a matter of ball, patch lube combination. For best results go with a slow 1-56 to 1-70 twist for patched round ball and fast twist for conical. Not much help but just my experience. Dan.
 

Darkhorse

Handloader
Mar 14, 2014
747
18
The roundball is a deadly projectile, it's all I hunt with. So don't count it out of your consideration.
I have a 4" gong of heat treated steel. I shot it at 60 yards with my .40 caliber loaded with a .395 ball and 60 grains of 3fg powder. It actually made a small crater in my gong that you could feel with your finger. I've shot that gong a good bit and that 's the first time it's been cratered.
I don't want to be shot with a roundball.
 

Joec7651

Handloader
Apr 7, 2019
564
257
Minnie balls will stabilize and can be very accurate from barrels with slow round ball twist rates. This is due to the lions share of the weight being in the nose of a mb. I have 2 .54 cal round ball rifles that shoot MB’s well and RB’s extremely well. Both have 36” custom cut rifled barrels, one has a 1:72 twist rate and the other 1:79. The 1:72 barrel was made by Howard Kelly, who builds Doc White’s personal barrels…………..and the 1:79 by Joe Williams may he Rest In Peace. At 100 yards with 120 grains Olde Eynsford 3f they will both hold a 1-1.5” group with a RB at 2000+ fps. With MB the groups run 2-3”. Mind you this is with peep sights on both rifles. If you’ve never had the pleasure of shooting a fine cut rifled muzzleloader barrel, treat yourself just once. I promise you’ll be glad you did.

I only hunt and compete with round balls. I find them, traditional, nostalgic, accurate, and VERY effective. A 230gr .54 caliber round ball will effectively kill any animal walking North America.
 
Apr 17, 2020
211
178
Minnie balls will stabilize and can be very accurate from barrels with slow round ball twist rates. This is due to the lions share of the weight being in the nose of a mb. I have 2 .54 cal round ball rifles that shoot MB’s well and RB’s extremely well. Both have 36” custom cut rifled barrels, one has a 1:72 twist rate and the other 1:79. The 1:72 barrel was made by Howard Kelly, who builds Doc White’s personal barrels…………..and the 1:79 by Joe Williams may he Rest In Peace. At 100 yards with 120 grains Olde Eynsford 3f they will both hold a 1-1.5” group with a RB at 2000+ fps. With MB the groups run 2-3”. Mind you this is with peep sights on both rifles. If you’ve never had the pleasure of shooting a fine cut rifled muzzleloader barrel, treat yourself just once. I promise you’ll be glad you did.

I only hunt and compete with round balls. I find them, traditional, nostalgic, accurate, and VERY effective. A 230gr .54 caliber round ball will effectively kill any animal walking North America.
What barrels would you most highly suggest and where would I buy one? It sounds like you know what to get for a good ML.
 

bdbrown66

Handloader
May 16, 2016
713
105
Are you building a ML from scratch, or one of the kits from Traditions, CVA, etc.? Or are you looking to buy an already-built gun of some kind?
 
Apr 17, 2020
211
178
I've gone all over the place. I would really love to build from scratch, but being realistic, I think I will find I should probably get a kit first. Once I get a good shop set up, I will likely build from scratch, but I have a feeling I will want a ML before that happens. I had also considered buying from a good builder, but I don't know if I can shell out two and a half thousand, which is what I have seen them go for through Track of the Wolf.
 

bdbrown66

Handloader
May 16, 2016
713
105
I guess I should have said, are you wanting to go thru the building process, or are you just looking to buy something you can hunt with, etc.? If the latter, there are always good used rifles available, if you look hard enough. The TC Hawken and similar rifles have killed a pile of deer over the last 40 years, but the purists won't think much of you for having one. All depends on what your intentions are.
 
Apr 17, 2020
211
178
I'd say after doing my research I have become a bit snobbish, and want something as authentic as I can manage with my budget, so I probably wouldn't want to get a TC, I'd much rather get a high quality kit I think. I have looked at Jim Chambers and Track of the Wolf for kits, I like that the Chambers rifles have swamped barrels, I'm not very sure about the availability of barrels right now though. I might have to wait awhile depending on where I go. I hope that might change by the time I can actually buy one.
 

wvbuckbuster

Handloader
Nov 5, 2015
1,392
452
I'd say after doing my research I have become a bit snobbish, and want something as authentic as I can manage with my budget, so I probably wouldn't want to get a TC, I'd much rather get a high quality kit I think. I have looked at Jim Chambers and Track of the Wolf for kits, I like that the Chambers rifles have swamped barrels, I'm not very sure about the availability of barrels right now though. I might have to wait awhile depending on where I go. I hope that might change by the time I can actually buy one.
Check out Jim Kibler's kits. Quality parts and easier to assemble. Dan.
 

Joec7651

Handloader
Apr 7, 2019
564
257
What barrels would you most highly suggest and where would I buy one? It sounds like you know what to get for a good ML.
Im sorry for the delay in a response to your question. I took A different job and things have been hectic.

As for quality muzzleloader barrels, there are many very good products to choose from but for price and quality I’d recommend The Gun Works. They will build a barrel to your exact specifications. Twist rate, length, distance between the flats, and even the depth that you want the rifling cut to. In .54 caliber they can rifle it with a fast twist and shallow lands and grooves for conical bullets. For round balls, a slow twist and deeper cut rifling would be the ticket. Their barrels will shoot much better than I’m able to.

I have a German silver sight blade on the front, with a Lyman 57 peep sight in the back. It will shoot round balls into 1 1/4“ at 100 yards pretty easily. They clean easily, the bore has a great finish, and doesn’t seem to show a tendency to rust easily. You still have to clean them of course.
 
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Darkhorse

Handloader
Mar 14, 2014
747
18
Don't overlook barrels by Rice and Colerain just to name a couple. I have built rifles with both and find both to be very accurate barrels. Some consider the Rice to be superior to the Colerain but I think it depends on what your after. True the Rice has a finer finish both inside and out and requires less time and effort to prepare for the build but I can't see where they are any more accurate than the Colerain. This group was shot with my .54 and a Colerain barrel. Both will outshoot me any day.
CCI06272017-0002-657x1024.jpg

Plus the Colerain is sold at a price point a good bit under the Rice.
I am unfamiliar with the barrels mentioned by Joec7651 but they sound interesting, I'm going to check them out.
 

wvbuckbuster

Handloader
Nov 5, 2015
1,392
452
Don't overlook barrels by Rice and Colerain just to name a couple. I have built rifles with both and find both to be very accurate barrels. Some consider the Rice to be superior to the Colerain but I think it depends on what your after. True the Rice has a finer finish both inside and out and requires less time and effort to prepare for the build but I can't see where they are any more accurate than the Colerain. This group was shot with my .54 and a Colerain barrel. Both will outshoot me any day.
CCI06272017-0002-657x1024.jpg

Plus the Colerain is sold at a price point a good bit under the Rice.
I am unfamiliar with the barrels mentioned by Joec7651 but they sound interesting, I'm going to check them out.
Fine shooting. Dan.
 
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