we shoot mostly patched round ball but I have shot Lee R.E.A.L and Hornady Great planes bullets also.
If I am reloading in the field to start tracking a deer , I just dump powder and put down another conical or patched ball I can get away with that 2-3 times never really needed any more than 2
if I am trying to make nice little groups on paper I clean.
in our youth muzzle loader shoot we shoot from 25 to 100 yards patched round ball. the max powder charge for the kids is 60gr , why 60 because if you double charge your still only at 120 and safe for most all muzzle loaders.
you can get to 100 yards on 60 grains there is drop but it works. learning how to handle that drop and wind without having to have a 200 yard range is also a part of the lighter load and it doesn't hurt cost either
at 25 yards I typically run 30gr of black it is all that is needed to punch targets at 25-35 yards
targets and what you want to hit are generally small in this game so trying to be as accurate and consistent as possible over a shot string of 12-40 rounds is important.
getting back to a clean barrel is the most consistent as there is really no way to measure the amount of fouling and it changes based on the humidity of the day. so I will run patches till the patched jag slides as easily as it did the first damp patch in a clean barrel.
before loading we pop 2 caps down range , find a blade of grass on the range to pop the 3rd cap at to make sure I have good pressure at the muzzle form the cap , telling me I have a clear and open flash channel.
then run a damp patch. listening for a good his from the nipple also telling me that the flash channel is clear as is the nipple. if you pull your patched jag from the muzzle and get a pop you have vacuum and the nipple needs checking it is plugged.
measure and drop powder , from the measure , then a lubed patch and ball spru up. start it with the short starter , run it down using short strokes do not put your hand high or over the end of the ram rod.
patch lube / cleaner you can use many things , saliva works so if you like to chew on dental gauze go right ahead wad up that cheek with patches
we use 1/3 rubbing alcohol , 1/3 hydrogen peroxide 3% , 1/3 Murphy oil soap and this works well or patch lube and cleaner it is some times called Friendship speed Juice other times it may be called moose milk there is much use of common names for things in muzzle loading even when it may be several different actual products in the details as long as they do the same thing.
however when I think Moose Milk I think water soluble cutting and grinding oil and water . I have been using Napa cutting and grinding tool oil part number 765-1526 and run it about 10 parts water to 1 part oil.
I haven't noticed any real performance difference and cost is very similar to the 1:1:1 ratio of peroxide, alcohol and oil soap
my hope is that the moose milk with napa cutting tool oil helps some with corrosion but I wasn't really having any problem with corrosion with a good clean and lube any way. I am mostly trying it to try it.
on Hornady swagged balls there is not spru so load them how they lay.
I typically run a 0.015" patch and a 0.490" round ball but every gun varies in bore size so try different patches till you find one that you can start with out beating up your hand but gives you a good fit into the rifling and seal.
I like to run FFFG black in everything , currently using Shuetzen we did a group buy and purchased a 25 pound bag then broke it down into our saved cans. this is the supplier I use http://www.addictedtoblackpowder.com/product/
check your state laws in WIS we can have 50# per person but with no more than 50 stored in one place. in IL I think they can only have 5# move or store max.
Typically unless you have a very long barrel only around 80 gr to 100gr of black powder can burn in a barrel and the rest of it is smoke out the front. work up a hunting load , loading the same way and increasing powder charge till you hit your book max or loose accuracy then go back to the last place you had accuracy
subs like 777 are a bit different but even with them there is a point where you get very minimal increase in velocity and just more smoke , Ideally we would have a chronograph and find the load and load procedure with the most consistency in velocity. but since none of that was available to the late 20th century and still not a tool everyone has , shooting groups on paper from a good rest will tell us what we want to know withing a decent level of accuracy.
make sure you shoot many distances , patched round balls when they loose steam start dropping very quickly , you may be perfect for a 50 yard shot and inches low at 75 yards
when I am done with a range trip I run several damp patches till they come out nearly clean then go home and cleaning is easy.