Re: New Guy with a Question
I never held much truck with the "hold the ball in your hand and pour the powder over it." Seems too general for me.
I have a CVA Mountain Rifle in .50 caliber, which is similar to yours. The rifling is 1 turn in 66 inches, which is a rifling rate made for round balls. Some lead conical bullets may work in such rifling, particuarly those with short length. You really won't know until you test conical bullets against paper targets from a benchrest.
I rarely shoot conical bullets. Balls work fine for me, since I no longer hunt.
For your rifle, I'd suggest:
Plinking & Practice Load
Goex FFG black powder - 50 grs.
.490 Speer or hand-cast ball (pure lead)
Linen patch -- thickness is typically .010 inch, but this is dictated by ball and bore size.
Lubricant -- Gatofeo No. 1 Lubricant, which is a home-brew mix of canning paraffin, beeswax and mutton tallow. However, Crisco, Bore Butter or any other non-petroleum greases work well. Ensure that you work the grease well into the patch. Heck, even olive oil works. I avoid spit if I'm going to leave the load in the barrel for more than a couple of minutes, as it will cause rusting. I much prefer natural greases or oils. Avoid petroleum products as they create a hard, tarry fouling when mixed with black powder.
Remington No. 11 percussion cap
Goex FFG black powder -- 80 grs.
Same ball, patch thickness, lubricant and cap as above.
My CVA "Start Muzzleloading" pocketbook from 1977 shows 90 grs. of FFG black powder as maximum in CVA rifles. I've gone past that, but accuracy fell off commensurately.
The 50 gr. load is accurate, produces ample smoke and flame, easy on the pocketbook and fun. Over the years I've introduced numerous people to shooting, who had never fired a gun before, with my CVA. They found it fascinating, whereas if I'd tried to get them to fire a handgun or AR15 they would have bristled.
If you can't find black powder, use Hodgdon RS powder. Visit the Hodgdon website for more information.
My CVA Mountain Rifle is a Hawken style rifle similar to yours but has a German silver patchbox, pewter nosecap and a few other niceties. I bought it new about 1980; it's made in USA.
The CVAs later made in Spain were not as finely finished as the USA models, but they're fine for black powder, balls and the occasional conical bullet. You got a good buy for $50.
You don't need sabots, pellets, glowing sights, plastic stocks, jacketed bullets and all that other falderal to put holes in paper or tins cans, or to kill a deer for that matter. A .50-caliber ball, properly placed within 100 yards, will kill deer neatly.
You got a good deal on a fun rifle. Enjoy it. Take care of it. Clean it immediately after firing and it will last for generations. Forsake it, and it may not last one season.
"Therein do I see an ugly cat. Smoke. Fire. Brimstone. A vast desert. Holes in parchment. The ugly cat is much amused." --- The quantrains of Gatodamus (1503-1566)