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Thread: Lyman shooters

  1. #1
    Member H_I_L_L_B_I_L_L_Y's Avatar
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    Default Lyman shooters

    Anybody shooting a lyman Great plains hunter? I was thinking about purchasing one in 54 Cal as my first Blackpowder rifle. Ive been looking online but would rather handle one first. Anybody in Alaska sell these? Thanks Hillbilly

  2. #2

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    I have several of the Great Plains Rifles with the slower twist and have been thinking about picking up the Hunter barrel, which is a simple drop-in. A buddy has one for his Lymans, and both versions are super accurate. I bought one of mine years ago at the little gun shop up on Muldoon. Don't know if they carry them any more. Sportsmans used to carry them too, but with all the fluff they've gone through in the last year, who knows. I'd bet on Great Northern Guns having them.

    A couple of tricks with the Lyman. Their stock nipples are very slightly tight with CCI caps. They just don't seat down all the way, and can cause misfires, especially after the nipple gets a little dirty. Evidently CCI caps are very slightly smaller because Remington caps just drop right on with no hassles. I change out the Lyman nipples with either Knight or TC "hot shot" type nipples and solve the CCI issue completely while getting better performance with Pyrodex or 777. It doesn't hurt with the real black I use most of the time. It's the 6 x .75 metric size rather than the 1/4 x 28 that TC and other American made guns use.

    The other deal with Lymans, they ship with the toughest bore protecting grease on the planet, and you play hell getting it out with standard cleaning. Yet they won't shoot their best till it's gone. Get yourself a can of brake pad cleaner (cheap at auto supply stores) and put a little of that on your cleaning patches. It cuts that grease like butter. Three or four quick patches and it's gone.

    Might as well toss in one more. The most accurate bullet out of my hunting pard's GPH barrel is the Hornady Great Plains - plain lead with no sabot. While you're getting your supplies, pick up a 100-pack of felt over-powder wads to put between the bullet and powder. They really add to the accuracy of any all-lead bullet. And if your gun happens to like the Hornady bullet, look into casting your own bullets. Lyman's Plains Bullet mold is virtually identical, and you can recover the whole cost of the mold in shooting less than 100 bullets.

    There are some other fine tuning things for Lyman's that I can get into if you buy it. Let us know.

  3. #3
    Member rimfirematt's Avatar
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    Sportsmans in Anchorage has a couple, maybe the one is fairbanks does too

  4. #4
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    I second BrownBear on this. It took alot of shooting to work up a good load, Hornady Great Plains bullet definately the best. I tried everything from powerbelts to Maxiballs and maxi hunters. I too figured out the nipple problem, went to knight red hot and haven't had anymore misfires. FFF seems to shoot better than FF in this also. Very accurate gun, you will love it. If nothing else you can order them from Cabelas.

  5. #5

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    Midsouth Shooters Supply often has the lowest Lyman prices on the web. That's a link to the percussion GPH, but they've also got flint versions, the GPR, and the dropin barrels.

    I had an offline request for more info and tips on the Great Plains Rifle. Here are some:

    The rifling on Lyman's rifles is generally really sharp when new, and prone to cutting patches. Figure on 100-200 shots to smooth it down a bit and quit cutting patches, resulting in a vast and sudden improvement in accuracy. You could lap the bore and cut down the break-in period, but shooting is more fun.

    Sharpness of the crown is a particular tendency of the GPR. If you start the ball with a "slap" of the short starter, you're really likely to cut the patch and affect accuracy. I've found that if you're careful to start the ball without any folds in the patching, then push firmly down till the ball starts rather than using a quick slap, you aren't as likely to cut the patch on the crown. As with the bore, shooting 100 or so shots will take care of that crown sharpness. I got the tools and "coned" mine, which basically tapers the rifling away at the muzzle. That sounds pretty radical, but it's straight forward with a hand tool and usually improves accuracy. It also takes away the need to use a short starter. I can push the ball down with thumb pressure, then just use the ramrod to do the seating.

    Lyman ramrods are going to break sooner or later. Extend the life by making a series of short, 6" or so, seating strokes rather than one long one. But it is still going to break sooner or later. But I HATE those plastic unbreakable replacements, though. They're floppy when you try to use them in a hurry, and they have a bad tendency to slide out of the pipes when you're carrying the rifle. Best is to get a range rod and use that for all your seating except on hunts, and to go ahead and order a replacement wooden ramrod or two.

    The little bolt or screw between the two triggers for adjusting the set trigger is too short! It isn't going to do a darned bit of good. Tighten it all the way down, and it still doesn't hit what it's supposed to. Yet there's not a perfect one out there. Take the bolt out and go to the screw bins at your favorite True Value or Ace and open the metric bolt box. I can't remember the right size, so start trying nuts on the screw to find the right size and pitch. Now locate the same size bolt in bins, but longer. It's going to be about 1/4" too long, but buy it and a spare. Now go home and screw that back into the trigger housing and keep turning it in till you get the trigger setting you want. Not how much extra is still sticking up above the trigger plate. Use a cutoff wheel on a dremel to shorten the screw almost that much, then dress the threads with a needle file and reinstall.

    Better yet, spend and extra $40 beyond the price of the rifle and get an R. E. Davis Deerslayer trigger. I know, I know, it says they're for TC's. but in fact they're almost a perfect fit for the GPR and GPH. I've only had to shave off a tiny bit of wood for a perfect fit into a GPR, and some have dropped right in. Best thing is, the front trigger is super without even bothering to use the set trigger. Almost as good as a Lyman trigger that's been set. Gor ahead and set the Davis trigger, and holy cow! Is it ever good. Best of all, the front and rear triggers are completely different shapes, so there's almost no tendency to forget and use the wrong trigger at the wrong moment.

    And here's another "TC Funny" about the GPR. TC's Tang sight is a perfect fit for the Lyman with no drilling required, but you have to drill and tap to put it on a TC! This really stretches the range capabilities of a GPR/GPH, but the stock front sight is too high at .500. You need to get it down to .290 and .250 is better. You can file down the stock sight, but for low light I'm happier using a fiberoptic replacement. Trouble is, they're all 3/8" base rather than metric, and therefore a little too large. No problem actually, because you can stone them down.

    I can (and often do) go on and on. But I'll stop with one more. If you want to put a sling on your GPR/GPH, measure the diameter of the front ramrod pipe, then get that size of Uncle Mike's clamp-on sling swivel base intended for rifles with tubular magazines. Clamp that on, then trade in the bottom end of a standard rifle sling for the one from a slip-on shotgun sling, the kind with a loop down there rather than a stud. You can slip that over the butt of your GPR/GPH and sinch it up right behind the back of that fancy trigger guard. I generally take off the sling for hunting, but add it when I need both hands free to cross rough terrain or when it's time to head out with a deer added to your burden.

  6. #6
    Member H_I_L_L_B_I_L_L_Y's Avatar
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    Default Wow

    Thanks brownbear for all the info. You can go on and on im taking notes. Thanks to everyone for all the info. Im sold. Now i need to look at the funds and locate one. I think im going to buy a 54 cal percussion. I havnt hunted with a muzzleloader since i was 14. Im sure lots of improvments have been made. Hillbilly

  7. #7

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    Well Gary when you get to be your age alot is bound to change.

    Have fun with the new toy.
    "The road goes on forever and the party never ends"

  8. #8
    Member H_I_L_L_B_I_L_L_Y's Avatar
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    Talking Andy

    havnt heard from you in months. No hello or how you doing but you call me old. Thanks gary

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by H_I_L_L_B_I_L_L_Y View Post
    Thanks brownbear for all the info. You can go on and on im taking notes. Thanks to everyone for all the info. Im sold. Now i need to look at the funds and locate one. I think im going to buy a 54 cal percussion. I havnt hunted with a muzzleloader since i was 14. Im sure lots of improvments have been made. Hillbilly
    That's my choice in the Lyman, too. You'll appreciate how well it balances for shooting with the extra steel removed from the barrel. I greatly prefer it to my 50 cal.

    And you'll appreciate the extra wallop of the 54 cal, whether using RBs or conicals. I've recovered exactly one RB from game. Surprisingly that was from a good sized buck. I lasered it after the shot at 57 yards. It was facing me and I had a good rest, so I popped it in the white throat patch on the neck right up under the chin. Dropped like it had been electrocuted. While skinning it later, the head basically fell off and I found the ball under the hide on the back of the neck. It had obliterated the spine completely along with most of the meat around the wound without blood-shooting the lower neck. It had expanded to the size of a quarter or a little bigger and was pretty well flattened. Yet it retained over 90% of its weight! Holy cow. Or holy big buck! Whatever the case, it was a real eye opener.

    My 54 is real proud of 90 grains of 3f Goex or Pyrodex P under a round ball patched with .018 pillow ticking. You can go a little higher in terms of pressure, but I quit there because more powder didn't improve accuracy or noticeably flatten trajectory any more. I sighted mine in right on at 75 yards, which puts it an inch high at 50 and 2-3" low at 100. I'd have no qualms about claiming it's a 100 yard gun for broadside lung shots on moose if I had a rest for best shooting.

  10. #10
    Member H_I_L_L_B_I_L_L_Y's Avatar
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    Default Brownbear

    Im going to check sportsmans in fairbanks tomorrow. Ill probably have to order it because i want a lefty. Sounds like a good load to start with. What load/patch do you use for shooting hornady Great plains? Thanks Hillbilly

  11. #11

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    No patch required with the Great Plains bullet, but some rifles shoot better with a lubed felt "button wad" between the bullet and powder. I'd try it without, and if the groups don't live up to expectations, then add it. They're cheap.

    It's a tossup for me between 80 grains of Goex 3f or Pyrodex P on the one hand, or 100 grains of Goex 2f or Pyrodex RS or Select on the other. My rifle prefers the 3f or Pyrodex P, but I know of folks who do better with the 2f or RS. You can go higher according to the various manuals, but hotter loads get real "eye opening" on the back end in a hurry. I'd explore the heavier loads to see if they improve accuracy over these load levels, but you'll pay in recoil as you go up.

    Speaking of which, there's a way to hold those crescent buttplates that you need to use. If you shoot them with the trigger arm low they rest more or less on your collar bone like a conventional rifle, HOLY COW! That can hurt.

    Instead, feel with your shoulder with other hand and raise your arm a little higher till you feel a little pocket form out on your arm a little past the shoulder joint. That's where you rest a hooked buttplate. It's actually a little on your arm rather than the shoulder and right against bone. Done that way, you can shoot a crescent buttplate all day long with no pain. Don't forget! Or you'll be remembering right after the very first time you light off a stiff load in your new rifle.

  12. #12
    Member aknewbie's Avatar
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    Hey Brown Bear,
    How is that 54 Deerstalker you bought for your wife? From what I remember you were pretty fond of that. Do you prefer the GPR because of the longer barrel, or the more traditional aspect of it? I am pretty interested in a 54 and the Deerstalker sparked my interest for carrying in the thick stuff.

  13. #13

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    The Deerslayer is tops for close quick shooting due to balance more like a good shotgun and a really decent single trigger. It's challenging for longer distance offhand shots specifically because of those two traits though. I've got no problems hitting at longer ranges with a rest, but it gets dicey offhand. Another big problem is my wife. She loves it, and I almost never get to shoot it! She shoots it well, and she just won't take a longer shot without a rest using any rifle, so it's perfect for her. She's never gotten along with crescent butts, so that's another plus for her.

    It's got a couple of other things going for it too, though they're minor. It comes equipped with sling swivel studs, and I mounted a TC Hunter Peep sight on it (direct screw-on fit with no drilling and tapping). That really fine-tunes its accuracy potential and low light capabilities.

    If I didn't already have a couple of shorter 58 calibers, there would be two of those Deerslayer 54's in the house. If I find a good used one at the right price, there still will be. Even new, it's a lot of rifle for the money. But for my needs, the GPR is more versatile. Kinda makes me wonder if the Lyman Trade Rifle might be the perfect compromise. Hmmmmm.

  14. #14
    Member H_I_L_L_B_I_L_L_Y's Avatar
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    Smile GPH

    I ordered a Great plains hunter,percussion,lefty from midsouth. Nobody was even close on price plus shipping. I called all sportsmans and several other places and no luck. I can understand because i was looking for a lefty. I hope this weather holds out a little longer or ill be shooting at 10 below. Thanks for all the help fellas. Hillbilly

  15. #15

    Default 54 cal

    It's a tossup for me between 80 grains of Goex 3f or Pyrodex P on the one hand, or 100 grains of Goex 2f or Pyrodex RS or Select on the other. My rifle prefers the 3f or Pyrodex P, but I know of folks who do better with the 2f or RS. You can go higher according to the various manuals, but hotter loads get real "eye opening" on the back end in a hurry. I'd explore the heavier loads to see if they improve accuracy over these load levels, but you'll pay in recoil as you go up.

    That's the load my J.Browning Mountain Rifle likes 80grns Pyro P with a .535 and .010 lubed patch. The Lyman book says it'll hold 110 grns but accuracy suffers and you get a lot more muzzle flash and recoil.
    Pyro P seems to reduce the lock time/lag associated with slower powders.
    " Americans will never need the 2nd Amendment, until the government tries to take it away."

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  16. #16

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    Yeah. I've explored the upper end of the load chart with my 50 and 54 Lymans and RBs. They shot them fine, but no better than in that 80-90 grain 3f range. And when you look at the ballistic charts, any gain in MV at max is pretty well lost by 100 yards with no real flattening of the trajectory. Since I'm always shooting inside 100, it just didn't make sense to burn the extra powder.

    There's a small bonus for max with conicals past 100, and if I was shooting out there I'd be using both conicals and max charges. But dang. Put a max charge behind a heavy conical, and you're not going to be shooting 40-50 rounds per range session, twice or three times a week. Ouch. I put 20 like that through my 54 one day, and it took the steam right out of me. Yet I can shoot conicals over 80-90 grains all day. And I'm an all day kind of shooter! Even if I was hunting with conicals, I'd be shooting RBs most of the time at the range. Move on to the conicals for a few days of shooting before a hunt, but shoot the RBs for the other 11 months a year. Okay, so I'm a wimp!

  17. #17
    Member H_I_L_L_B_I_L_L_Y's Avatar
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    Default Brownbear

    Im sure ill start with the so called wimp loads too.

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    Member Alaska Bush Hunter's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Breowning JB Mountain Rifle

    Spend a few more $100 and find you a good used Browning JB Mountain Rifle in 54 or 50 cal......made in USA and very good quality.

  19. #19
    Member H_I_L_L_B_I_L_L_Y's Avatar
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    Default Alaska Bush Hunter

    I checked out a few pics of that rifle. they are beautiful and i would be afraid to scratch one up. I couldnt find any info like twist rate. The GPH is my first blackpowder rifle so Ill see if i like it before a get a pricey one. hillbilly

  20. #20
    Member alaska bush man's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Twist

    If you keep your Conicals on the light side.......310gr they will stabalize......Buf. Bullet Ballet is what I use and 90gr FFF2F with the new 777 No 11 Mag Cap. in the 1:66.
    Alaska

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