What powder charge to use in my Leman

Help Support Frontier Muzzle Loading:

Whitedog

Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2019
Messages
17
Could anyone please tell me what ffg powder charge should be used in my old Leman rifle? It’s .40 cal and has one twist in its 47” long barrel.
I’ve fired it in the past but with a minimum of powder loaded. I just poured the powder over the .375 ball in my palm until it was covered. I don’t know how much it was. Very little.
Thanks!
FredE0A1FD50-B92A-4CD8-8EA7-CA40D8605C99.jpegA52DF4FE-59C4-4176-A5C8-F6F991D261DB.jpeg73412B4F-BF18-42D8-9C62-7831FA578426.jpeg3697DAE5-993B-4A43-A1E8-D15C6D8919CA.jpeg66E5209C-0BC2-49E3-B82E-5E443D1672EB.jpeg
 
Last edited:

newtire

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 21, 2016
Messages
119
I have an early Turner Kirkland .40 cal and it likes 30-35 gr. 3f with a .375-.380" ball and a .010 -.015" patch. You might even use as much as a .395" ball as some guys on here have done. The results seem to be all over the place. Your rifling looks pretty deep so I'd go with a thicker patch.
 

Whitedog

Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2019
Messages
17
Thank you. I’ve tried a 375 ball with pillow ticking and a 380 ball with cotton teeshirt and they seat easy.
I’ll get a powder measure and try 35 and then 40 grains to see what happens. Thanks!
That pronounced rifling visible at the muzzle is just where it’s flared open for easier loading like originals. The rifling isn’t so pronounced in the bore.
 
Last edited:

newtire

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 21, 2016
Messages
119
.

The old rule of thumb was: "use the same amount of black powder as the caliber to be safe"

.
That rule of thumb works fine for some but not with others. I seem to get best accuracy with the larger bores I have with about 1-1/2 times as someone already mentioned but that .40 I have liked smallish charges. Try yours out and see but don't be surprised if it doesn't follow the rules.
 

Billy-by-gosh

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 11, 2019
Messages
85
A lot of good suggestions have already been given. I can only say that slow twist round ball barrels in the 1800s were often given a recommendation to use the rule of 3/7. That ratio meant using three grains of black powder for every seven grains of bullet weight. If your lead RB weighs 93 grains, use 39.86 grains of powder. I don't recall the original source I read this from many years ago, but the idea was referred to as the Green River rule for powder.
Work up and down from that point to find the best grouping, and best of luck with that awesome original shooter!
 

Whitedog

Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2019
Messages
17
An old man had given me this rifle almost 40 years ago. He told me he found it as a young man maybe 30 years before in an old outhouse on an abandoned homestead while he was out trapping. I believe he trapped in Missouri. His widow, after he died, told me he had found it in a shed in old Mexico.
Who knows now. Both have passed on.
It must’ve been used for small eastern game and deer.
 
Last edited:

Billy-by-gosh

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 11, 2019
Messages
85
You know, fifty-five years ago when I got started in BP shooting, it was not uncommon to see original rifles being used for hunting & target shooting.
Today the practice is very rarely seen.
Thank you for sharing the photos,details, and history you have for this fine original Leman rifle. LOVE IT!!!

An old man had given me this rifle almost 40 years ago. He told me he found it as a young man maybe 30 years before in an old outhouse on an abandoned homestead while he was out trapping. I believe he trapped in Missouri. His widow, after he died, told me he had found it in a shed in old Mexico.
Who knows now. Both have passed on.
It must’ve been used for small eastern game and deer.
 

Renegadehunter

Well-Known Member
FML Supporter
Joined
Oct 12, 2018
Messages
298
Thank you. I’ve tried a 375 ball with pillow ticking and a 380 ball with cotton teeshirt and they seat easy.
I’ll get a powder measure and try 35 and then 40 grains to see what happens. Thanks!
That pronounced rifling visible at the muzzle is just where it’s flared open for easier loading like originals. The rifling isn’t so pronounced in the bore.
I've always gotten better accuracy from patched RB with a pretty firm fitting combo. Above you said that they "seat easy". If it goes down the bore pretty easy, and accuracy isn't real great, then try something tighter. Perhaps the 380 ball with the pillow ticking. T-shirt is pretty thin I'll bet, have to wonder how well it is holding up. Recovering fired patches will tell the story.
 

Whitedog

Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2019
Messages
17
Yep, when the weather improves with the coming spring, I’ll take the rifle down and try a pillow ticking patch with a .380 ball. When I tried to load a .385 ball with a ticking patch, it wouldn’t go down.
I’ve got a plan to effectively scrape away the rough corrosion from the lands and grooves within the bore. Then I should be able to get some accuracy out of my rifle.
At 66, I’m not into muzzleloading anymore and so after cleaning the bore and finding an accurate load for the rifle, I’ll either put it back on the wall or just sell it.
I once had an original Joseph Fleeger Percussion rifle with a mint bore that shot dead on center at 100 yards with a .375 ball with a silk patch. Sadly I sold it over 40 years ago.
 
Last edited:

Whitedog

Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2019
Messages
17
I don’t use fffg because the ffg does just fine in the pan as well as in the load.
 

Whitedog

Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2019
Messages
17
Here are the cuts in the barrel near the muzzle that were originally open and that I had peened back closed again about 22 years ago.
They appeared to have been done with a sword. Maybe the rifle had been a trophy taken from an Indian?
 

Attachments

Billy-by-gosh

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 11, 2019
Messages
85
Wow, this historic rifle gets more interesting as we go! Sword cuts on the exterior of the barrel would definitely seem to involve military interaction. Lemans (epecially flinters) were a known trade item for Native use. That 47 inch barrel length might also indicate that possibility. I might say the bore size is a bit small for trading to Indians, less common than the .58 to .62 bores in that regard.
I suppose it could remotely be possible to have been used in the Civil War as well, but whatever the cause it holds a teriffic story. Oh, if these relics could only speak exactly what they have done and seen!
 

Latest posts

Top