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 Relative power of traditional muzzleloaders for big game hunting

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Sparkitoff



Number of posts : 203
Age : 72
Location : NC
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PostSubject: Relative power of traditional muzzleloaders for big game hunting   Relative power of traditional muzzleloaders for big game hunting EmptyJuly 18th 2018, 11:17 am

Fellow smokepole enthusiasts:

I've recently spent quite a bit of time with the Airgun crowd doing some R&D related to hunting with airguns. In part, this was to propose or change legislation in some states regarding the use of airguns for hunting. 

In partaking in this effort I could not help but see a lot of similarities to traditional muzzleloader hunting. 

The airgun crowd is using .30 caliber, .35 caliber, .40 caliber, .45 caliber and .50 caliber rifles for big game hunting. Projectiles vary from 95 grain in .30 caliber to 425 grain in .50 caliber. Velocities run from mid 600 fps to as much as 1200 fps muzzle velocity. In the TDPW research hunt, whitetail deer were taken at 100 yards with a .30 caliber rifle and 110 grain lead conicals. Of the two deer, both were one-shot-kills with short tracking jobs and shoulder to shoulder penetration. There are plenty of examples that are similar. On the Michigan elk "hunt" a bull elk was shot with a .452 conical weighing 350 grains with a MV of close to 900 fps. The shot took both lungs and lodged in the off-side of the animal.  It went less than 50 yards and piled up dead.

We are using similar bore diameters and similar lead projectiles. Most of our MV's are higher than the airguns, often twice as fast. How many times have we read about "inefficiencies" of round balls, traditional muzzleloaders in general and black powder capabilities. 

I found it interesting that the same crowd that cheers on the airgunner in Africa taking game as large as Blue Wildebeest with a 143 grain .357 slug at 800 fps is often quick to lecture on the poor proposition they make traditional muzzleloaders to be under the same circumstances.  There is not much cheering for the use of 38 Special for big game hunting, but the projectile is nearly identical from the 38 special and the air rifle. How can one be "just the ticket" while the other is woefully lacking?

Seeing big game including bull elk, large African plains game and black bears taken with airguns was enlightening. Frankly, it did not make me want to run out and get a big-bore airgun, but it did give me a lot more overall confidence in my traditional muzzleloader choices!

A very popular .50 caliber airgun bullet was 255 grain and traveling 860 fps MV.  It was impressive and effective on the big game.  How can anyone say a .50 cal 240 grain (conical) 300 grain (powerbelt) or even 370 grain (Maxi-ball) at twice the velocity of the airgun would not be effective?

I'm just rambling here, but if you ever have reservations about the capability of your muzzleloader load, just look at what people are doing with airguns! The #1 factor remains to be accuracy. Hitting the right spot is where it all starts.
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FrontierGander
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FrontierGander

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PostSubject: Re: Relative power of traditional muzzleloaders for big game hunting   Relative power of traditional muzzleloaders for big game hunting EmptyJuly 18th 2018, 1:53 pm

:rtup   I enjoyed that! Its crazy. Ahhhh don't shoot em with round balls! Yet that same person will pick up a 35lb recurve and do hunt the same game headslap
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heelerau

heelerau

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PostSubject: Re: Relative power of traditional muzzleloaders for big game hunting   Relative power of traditional muzzleloaders for big game hunting EmptyJuly 18th 2018, 6:13 pm

Plenty of old time information around re hunting big game with black powder. Took the English gunmakers a while to get it sorted.  Large round ball with massive powder charges took the pachyderm and the buff. Took a lot of guts to face dangerous game charging and near dropping at your feet.  Ball guns were preferred by a lot of hunters till the large bore double barrelled breech loaders came into their own.  Sir Samuel White Baker who was a massive bloke used a 2 bore with a 12 dram charge,  nothing stood a second shot, not even him at 24 stone of muscle !! Ball or conical wieghed in at half a pound ! The rifle was affectionately call "Baby".  Round ball at high verlocity delivers enormous knock down. Plenty of you blokes in the US still seem to do ok with Elk, Moose and Bar using large bore patched ball rifles and smoothies.

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burlesontom



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PostSubject: Re: Relative power of traditional muzzleloaders for big game hunting   Relative power of traditional muzzleloaders for big game hunting EmptyJuly 19th 2018, 3:07 pm

I've never had any doubts about the killing power of a BP rifle. If I load 90grs of powder behind a 405gr conical in my 54 caliber gun it should give me all the killing power of a 45-70 at least within 100 yards. I used that exact load to kill my first elk and I cannot tell you how impressed I was with the wound and damage that bullet did. Of course it went right through that elk and I would be willing to bet if a second elk had of been behind it it would have went through that animal too.

A BP rifle may not have the range of a modern gun, not even a  30-30 but within reason no one should ever worry about killing power. Most hunt with way more rifle than they need anyway. There is no real reason to use a 30-06 on a whitetail deer. But if it gives you confidence then by all means use it.
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Buck Conner
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Buck Conner

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PostSubject: Re: Relative power of traditional muzzleloaders for big game hunting   Relative power of traditional muzzleloaders for big game hunting EmptyJuly 19th 2018, 3:25 pm

My literature says on my .50 Seneca Dragon Claw 500cc PCP Big Bore Air Rifle this, (and the prices have come down. I paid $750 4-5 months ago and now they are at $700 (look around for better deals). Fun gun to shoot ...

50 cal air rifles are the most powerful and biggest caliber air rifles you can buy. The best 50 caliber air rifles for sale can fire pellets as fast 679 feet per second! The increase in weight of the large 50 cal pellets and amazing speed creates serious amounts of energy. A 225-grain pellet traveling at 679 feet per second creates 230 foot pounds of energy!  With that amount of energy you can hunt deer, feral pigs as well easily dispatch pests and small – medium sized game with human one shot kills. People have reported taking down deer from distances of up to 150 yards using the best 50 cal air rifles! Like any other airgun for sale the best high powered 50 cal pellet rifles do not require any licensing or registration here in the US and make about the same amount of noise as a suppressed 22 caliber firearm, but unlike cheap air guns they are no joke and are certainly not a toy. If you are looking to buy a fun airgun for your kid the best most high power 50 caliber pellet rifles are not the gun for you. These are serious rifles made for adults and responsible teen hunters.

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Mebits



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PostSubject: Re: Relative power of traditional muzzleloaders for big game hunting   Relative power of traditional muzzleloaders for big game hunting EmptyJuly 19th 2018, 3:36 pm

I recently was given a .243, in bad shape. Long story short, I worked on it and I find it's a shooter. But as I think about hunting, and how fast my Pursuit drops a deer at any range under 150yds with a 260gr Harvester atop 110 BH209, and I have to think that the .243 is going to be inferior.

BTW, the one thing the airgunners have going for them is practice (pellets are cheap and the guns don't kick so hard as to wound you), and most of those guys strive for hole in hole accuracy. 

I might add that a month prior to Muzzy Season, I spend as much time as I can with the pellet gun. It really improves my form and accuracy with my .50.
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burlesontom



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PostSubject: Re: Relative power of traditional muzzleloaders for big game hunting   Relative power of traditional muzzleloaders for big game hunting EmptyJuly 19th 2018, 7:19 pm

"50 cal air rifles are the most powerful and biggest caliber air rifles you can buy. The best 50 caliber air rifles for sale can fire pellets as fast 679 feet per second! The increase in weight of the large 50 cal pellets and amazing speed creates serious amounts of energy. A 225-grain pellet traveling at 679 feet per second creates 230 foot pounds of energy!  With that amount of energy you can hunt deer, feral pigs as well easily dispatch pests and small – medium sized game with human one shot kills. People have reported taking down deer from distances of up to 150 yards using the best 50 cal air rifles!"

That kind of power would not be considered enough for a decent SD handgun. But I guess its enough for big game? I bet I can use around 30grs of 3F in my 50 caliber rifle and easily beat that power. Would I use a load like that to hunt even our small Tx deer? Nope
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Rifleman1776



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PostSubject: Re: Relative power of traditional muzzleloaders for big game hunting   Relative power of traditional muzzleloaders for big game hunting EmptyJuly 22nd 2018, 7:04 am

The rule for this area of the forum is: "An area for Traditional Patched Round Ballshooters Only! "


This thread discusses almost every aspect of shooting EXCEPT patched round ball shooting. I don't care about your air rifles or .223s. If I did I would go to forums intended to discuss them.
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FrontierGander
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FrontierGander

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PostSubject: Re: Relative power of traditional muzzleloaders for big game hunting   Relative power of traditional muzzleloaders for big game hunting EmptyJuly 22nd 2018, 9:14 am

"How many times have we read about "inefficiencies" of round balls, traditional muzzleloaders in general and black powder capabilities."

I allowed it as it makes a great point of how folks will talk down on a patched round ball, yet pick up an air rifle and go after the same big game. Air rifles were used back in the Lewis & Clark days as well. But this was a real good read!
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heelerau

heelerau

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PostSubject: Re: Relative power of traditional muzzleloaders for big game hunting   Relative power of traditional muzzleloaders for big game hunting EmptyJuly 22nd 2018, 6:18 pm

I think the trick is to recognise the limitations of your rifle and ammunition and work with in those parameters.  
    I have read Col Forsyths' book The Sporting Rifle and its Projectiles. How in the late 19th century hunters in both India and Africa found the conical bullet less effective than round ball. But today most modern rifles shoot conicals including the great double rifles for dangerous game.  
     The round ball had more knockdown at the lower verlocitys generated by black powder, it took the invention of smokeless to make the conicals come into their own.  
     I have also found heavier shot (no. 4) works best for me in my percussion fowling piece  when shooting duck than say smaller shot  (no. 6) that I would use in a modern smokeless breech loader.

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Buck Conner
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Buck Conner

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PostSubject: Re: Relative power of traditional muzzleloaders for big game hunting   Relative power of traditional muzzleloaders for big game hunting EmptyJuly 23rd 2018, 8:50 am

Over the years Africa big game muzzleloaders would pass through our antique firearms collection. Probably better than half of them had repaired broken wrists. I talked to an African retired tracker (man in his mid 80's) in the Gun Library at Cabela's he said "they very seldom used measured loads, they just dumped in what looked good for the animal being taken". 


That explains the repaired broken wrists on these old muzzleloaders. Several of the English writers from the early 1900's wrote the same thing and the loads used. Like you say "trick is to recognise the limitations of your gun".

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heelerau

heelerau

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PostSubject: Re: Relative power of traditional muzzleloaders for big game hunting   Relative power of traditional muzzleloaders for big game hunting EmptyAugust 11th 2018, 8:38 am

Here is a picture of my FBG, its an Isaac Hollis and son, .72, I use 4 1/2 drams of Fg, a waxed felt wad over powder and a 30 thou greased patch. It is like shooting anvils down range, puts steel silhouettes  down with their frames as well !! Is amazingly comfortable recoil wise. This rifle was used on tiger hunts in India, would also be good for elk, bar, and our large rabbits !!P1020761

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Sparkitoff



Number of posts : 203
Age : 72
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PostSubject: Re: Relative power of traditional muzzleloaders for big game hunting   Relative power of traditional muzzleloaders for big game hunting EmptyAugust 11th 2018, 8:54 am

Good looking rifle - does it use musket caps?
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mark1945
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mark1945

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PostSubject: Re: Relative power of traditional muzzleloaders for big game hunting   Relative power of traditional muzzleloaders for big game hunting EmptyAugust 11th 2018, 9:00 am

Love those 72's I have a Pedersoli Kodiak Safari double in 72 have to agree recoil is not that bad at all. Relative power of traditional muzzleloaders for big game hunting 58_kod10

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CVA 50 cal Mountain Rifle         Pedersoli Quigley 45/70          Pedratti  45/90  sharps                             
CVA 50 cal Mountain Pistol        Pedersoli Quigley 45/120        Lyman Great Plains 54 cal Flintlock
2 CVA 45 cal  Kentucky Rifles    Pedersoli Kodiak Safari 72 cal  Pietta 1858 Remington New Army 44 cal
Cabelas 58 cal Hawken             Colt Navy 36 cal                     Pietta 1863 Remington pocket rev 31 cal
Pedersoli Kodiak 58 cal             CVA 58 Cal. Mountain Rifle      Classic Arms Co 44 Cal New Orleans Ace
CVA 45 Cal Derringer               TC Renegade 54cal                 Navy Arms Co. Pietta 12 gauge double
Pedersoli 12 gauge double        Traditions Crockett 32 cal        2 Traditions Mountain Rifles 50 cal
Pietta 1851 Conf Navy 44
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heelerau

heelerau

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PostSubject: Re: Relative power of traditional muzzleloaders for big game hunting   Relative power of traditional muzzleloaders for big game hunting EmptyAugust 11th 2018, 6:04 pm

Sparkitoff, it uses musket caps, it has a new platinum cone, that is a capbox on the but. Late edit, a target I shot today 50yds off the bench charge 4 1/2 drams of FFg ( normally Fg) found it put the first shot pretty well where I was aiming instead of ver low when I use Fg. Doubt I will get much better from the old girl, as she has been set up for short range jungle work, ie India and tiger huntingRelative power of traditional muzzleloaders for big game hunting <a href=Relative power of traditional muzzleloaders for big game hunting 44125218881_6f6aae1946_zP8180057 by Gordon Hazel, on Flickr" />

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Last edited by heelerau on August 19th 2018, 12:13 am; edited 1 time in total
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Mad Irish Jack ODonnell

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PostSubject: Re: Relative power of traditional muzzleloaders for big game hunting   Relative power of traditional muzzleloaders for big game hunting EmptyAugust 15th 2018, 9:01 pm

40 years hunting with a flinter, and 53 whitetails (17 buck) I only recovered 5 roundballs. 4 Were in the animal and one was sticking out the skin but held on by a rolled over edge of flattened out rb. I did get 1 with the Brown Bess, One with a Tulle, 1 with each Lehigh. the rest were with the Hawkens  and most with my Early Lancasters. PA has an early ML (ANY type) season in mid Oct and a late 2week+ late Flintlock ONLY season from Dec 26 until the 3rd Saturday after that, unless the 26th is Monday. Then the 2nd Saturday. We have extra doe permits available. You can harvest a buck and two doe. Flintlock users who haven't taken a buck in the buck season can use the regular tag for either a buck or doe in the flintlock only season. Plus you can harvest 2 doe with the proper tags. I more time than not, will hunt the regular buck season with my flinter.
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Buck Conner
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Buck Conner

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PostSubject: Re: Relative power of traditional muzzleloaders for big game hunting   Relative power of traditional muzzleloaders for big game hunting EmptyAugust 16th 2018, 9:08 am

A group of old friends (buckskinners from the 60's) have hunted with traditional muzzleloader since the early 70's. If you draw permits for muzzleloading season fine, if not we hunt the late season (January) in Colorado less pressure and fewer hunters (the modern guys don't like wading in snow, sometimes up to your man parts). tongue

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Sparkitoff



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PostSubject: Re: Relative power of traditional muzzleloaders for big game hunting   Relative power of traditional muzzleloaders for big game hunting EmptyAugust 16th 2018, 10:00 am

Just yesterday a company showed up at the ranch I was at to "field test" a new "high-powered" air rifle. Here are the ballistics they reported:

Grain      Material                FPS       Energy (ft. lbs.) at the muzzle
180                                     1100       484
200         Lead                     1055      495
250         Lead                     1000      555
275         Lead                     945        545
300         Lead                     930        576
330         Lead                     935        641
350         Lead                     875        595
550         Lead                     760        700

The representative shot a Red Stag with the 350 grain projectile at just over 50 yards.  The animal hobbled 6 or 8 steps and swayed. He shot again and it went right down. Both shots went through both lungs.

Relative power of traditional muzzleloaders for big game hunting Red_deer_1

Relative power of traditional muzzleloaders for big game hunting Red_deer_2

Look at the energy figures.  With our traditional gear we can easily reach those Foot Pounds at the animal and further. The irony is from those who put down a PRB or traditional muzzleloader as "marginally effective" and then get all excited and tout the "virtues and effectiveness of high-powered air rifles".
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RLSMITH



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PostSubject: Re: Relative power of traditional muzzleloaders for big game hunting   Relative power of traditional muzzleloaders for big game hunting EmptyAugust 16th 2018, 1:02 pm

This whole thread reminds me of people saying you can kill elk or bear more effectively with a bow than a 54 cal using a round ball all of there so called expertise is bull
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OldMtnMan

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PostSubject: Re: Relative power of traditional muzzleloaders for big game hunting   Relative power of traditional muzzleloaders for big game hunting EmptyAugust 16th 2018, 1:43 pm

@RLSMITH wrote:
This whole thread reminds me of people saying you can kill elk or bear more effectively with a bow than a 54 cal using a round ball all of there so called expertise is bull
You're uninformed. Cape Buffalo and Elephant have been taken with a bow.

Try it with your .54 PRB and get back to us.

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RLSMITH



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PostSubject: Re: Relative power of traditional muzzleloaders for big game hunting   Relative power of traditional muzzleloaders for big game hunting EmptyAugust 16th 2018, 2:09 pm

”You're uninformed. Cape Buffalo and Elephant have been taken with a bow.
I was talking about animals here in USA and was referring to people talking about round ball but excuse the hell out of me for even saying anything
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OldMtnMan

OldMtnMan

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PostSubject: Re: Relative power of traditional muzzleloaders for big game hunting   Relative power of traditional muzzleloaders for big game hunting EmptyAugust 16th 2018, 2:13 pm

Just making a point that bear and elk are not hard to kill with a bow if it can kill the big 5 in Africa.

I thought you'd see my point. A PRB has limits. A bow doesn't seem to have the same limits.

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FrontierGander
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PostSubject: Re: Relative power of traditional muzzleloaders for big game hunting   Relative power of traditional muzzleloaders for big game hunting EmptyAugust 16th 2018, 3:38 pm

If you can shoot an elk with a bow, thats short range and even a .50cal ball will do the job on bear and elk. African game, You are using something around a 400 to 600 grain cutting edge, not our little light weight 100-125gr broadheads.
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Sparkitoff



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PostSubject: Re: Relative power of traditional muzzleloaders for big game hunting   Relative power of traditional muzzleloaders for big game hunting EmptyAugust 16th 2018, 4:12 pm

We're getting way off topic here....but....one big reason African large game is not hunted with PRB (especially in calibers starting with a 5 or 6) is that the Countries have a minimum Joules rating for "dangerous game" and for "large game". This varies and most countries have the regulations but not all. A PRB will typically not make the ME (Joules) requirement for Cape Buffalo, Elephant, Hippo, etc.
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OldMtnMan

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PostSubject: Re: Relative power of traditional muzzleloaders for big game hunting   Relative power of traditional muzzleloaders for big game hunting EmptyAugust 16th 2018, 4:30 pm

Yet, you can use a bow. They must think a bow is more effective than a PRB. Sort of the point I was making.

Listen, nobody loves hunting with a PRB more than me. However, I know it's limits.

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Last edited by OldMtnMan on August 16th 2018, 4:34 pm; edited 1 time in total
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