A while back I picked up a .454" Round Ball mold. I've been trying to create a useful load for my Ruger New Vaquero and Marlin 1894CB. Incrementally I've been working up trying to find "the load" but haven't manage it yet.
My latest attempt was with 6 grains of Red Dot under the 147 grain ball. The accuracy and the velocity deviation are improving.
The Point of Impact (POI) with the Marlin is slightly higher than with my usual 300 grain 1300 fps load. It would make a decent Grouse and garden vermin load with a little more pressure to seal the chamber to prevent the gas blowing back through the bolt and sooting the cases. To remedy that I'd probably have to ramp up the velocity quite a bit more. Right now this load is averaging 953 fps which makes for a reasonably quiet and rimfire like recoil - pushing it faster would no doubt increase the report which is contrary to my preferences for the load... I may try it anyway.
Out of the Ruger New Vaquero the Red Dot/ Round Ball load average 730 fps. The accuracy was OK, a bit over 2" at 25 yards but it printed a full 8" lower than point of aim.
The 25 yard Round Ball group is below the target on the cardboard. The group in the bullseye is a 255 grain Lee cast bullet pushed to 925 fps by SR4756 - it shoots Point of Aim.
At 25 feet the Round Ball load still printed well below the 255 grain load.
25 foot group
After my testing was done I decided to have a little fun and shoot the Ruger at 100 yards. Aiming about 12" high the "group" (loose sense of the word but still "minute of zombie.") measured just beyond the span of my hand, stringing mostly horizontally so I expect it was mostly the result of pilot error and the RNV is capable of better. The delay between the muzzle blast and the dirt splash/thud was enjoyable. Boom.... thud! Grin. I "bonged the 100 yard gong" 3 out of five times while shooting offhand (two handed).
Next time I may see if I can knock down a 200 yard ram... ;^)