Guage size for rabbits?
Is a 20 guage Blackpowder shotgun adequate for rabbits? What would the load recipe be?
I know my modern 20 puts them down just not sure if BP propultion in shotgunns is comprable to smokeless
not quite comparable, but it'll do just fine. Pattern is most important.
There is some reading you should do, if you havent. I'll dig them up and post for ya on muzzleloading shotguns.
As for loads, you'll have to work them up. If the gun itself has no marks it'll need to be proofed if it's an oldy.
Generally the load goes powder, over powder (I use 1/8 nitros), cushion wad, shot, then over shot or two over shots. You'll need to measure your barrel diameter to make sure the wads are the right size.
For powder to shot the standard is equal powder to equal shot. My dad has a 1 oz shot dipper that is also his powder measurer. it works for him. I measure my loads out, only because I can and the measurer is cheap (4o bucks for an electric model).
You may find that a 60 40 load of shot to powder to be a better load then 50 50. Play with it, pattern it and see what you get. Something to be aware of. If you go up in shot and remain the same in powder you still increase pressure in the tubes. Same thing if you go up in powder and stay the same in shot. Be careful here dont get to crazy without proofing it. Really most powder burners shoot better with a much lowder powder to shot ration then even 60/40. It is however a good place to start 50 50 and go from there.
Some good places to ask about your gun in particular would be dixie or track of the wolf. They have some good conversion tables in there catalogs, if you're not familiar with Drams, you will be soon. I still have to use the table and have one printed out. If you're in fairbanks I can get you copies of what I have......Though it's not much in that regards.
A couple of things I have printed off that may be of value to you.....
These should get you started. Is your gun choked? is it a single or double? Percussion or flinter? Just curious what you have, or have found....
Thanks for the info!
I currently dont own one yet sadly. Im eyballing one of the cabelas shotguns (double, pedersoli) for my future purchase.
Im not really aware of any others besides pedersoli. I have been keeping an eye on the auction sites but am not having much luck turning up any navy arms, CVA or any cheap pedersoli's.
I cant seem to find a double kit either.
I do want a double barrel, percussion, 20 gauge and keep the weight under 7 pounds. Gun will mostly be used rabbit hunting in brush behind the beagle.
My double 10 is also a pedersoli from dixie gun works.
If you do by any pedersoli or navy arms your max loads will be stamped on the barrels. Mine shoots so far the best patterns with a bit less powder and a hair less shot then max loads.
The difference between a dixie pedersoli and a cabelas is.
comes with screw in chokes.
screw ins can be nice but also can lead to wads crushing when loading leaving a poor gas sealing meaning blown patterns on the patterning board. For turkey hunting it's no big deal, you can pull them, load, then screw the chokes back in. Afterall you're not going to be shooting at another bird very fast. You may try felt wads if you do go with the cabelas.
navy arms were also pedersolis
I have an auction site (if I can find it) that seems to have quite a few of them though usually 12's not 20's. Something to consider. A traditional style shotgun is usually one guage less in loads compared to a modern shotgun. So a my 10 ga double pedersoli load wise is closer to a modern 12 guage....
Found a 12 if you're interested on a quick search.....
You may also post a want add or get on the forums and ask about hwere to find a double 20. I know you can find flint lock 20's fairly easy, maybe easier then percussions, but you'll pay for them handsomely.
try googling "the muzzleloading forums".
I did see a single barrel fowler in 20 ga there and also found a 20ga on auction arms again a fowler, but no doubles...............yet.
Oh check out the 20 guage canoe gun on mlf's classifieds page 5 or so....purdy wood, needs some furniture polish and some hand rubbing to really get'r shining but man alive that is one purdy gun, and a flinter to boot!
Experiences with my SxS black powder 12 gauge
I have a Cabelas side by side percussion 12 gauge made by Pedersoli. I think (am not positive) the max recommended powder charge is 89 grains. I know it is stamped on the barrel. I also know the gun does not shoot the best patterns with the max grain charge, it does kick quite a bit though One of the best things I like about the black powder shotguns, regardless of gauge, is that you can change powder charges, lead charges, wad combinations to give you different patterns and such. So for rabbits, the 12 gauge would work well, I'd just reduce the powder charge or lead amount to match the game. Same concept with a 20 as well. The screw in chokes are nice, but I found when using the full choke, I'd have to remove the choke, load the gun with the wads, then screw the choke back in. Only time I used the full choke was for turkey, thus I was only shooting it 1x / day (if I was lucky). The modified and improved chokes were open enough that the wads were no problem during loading.
I'm looking to sell my SxS 12 as it doesn't get used these days, pm me if interested.
I shot a 12 Navy Arms for many years, and still regret letting it go when the steel shot requirement finally settled in up here. Used it mostly for rabbits, but quite a bit for ducks too.
Overall, I'd prefer the 20 for rabbits if I was buying today. Full 12 gauge loads were way too much, and I finally settled on a load of 7/8 ounces of shot over 60 grains of 3f. Basically a 20 gauge load. If I was shooting something so light, I might as well of had a lighter gun.
When I buy again, I'm going for two. I'll get a 20 and a 10. The 12 is a nice compromise if you're going to own only one, but why buy one when you can have two?!
Well thanks to shearej Im now the proud owner of a pedersoli double 12 guage. I was looking at the pedersoli 20, and the specs between the 12 and 20 were pretty nill. The 12 was only a 1/2 inch longer and 1/2 pound heavier. And I got a more than fair price for the gun wich was about in mint condition.
Also the 12 guage ways about the same as my stoeger uplander in 20 even though it is about 2.5 inches longer. Balance and swing seems real fluid.
I havent shot the 12 yet, but I think it will be a nice addition to the rabbit hunting arsenal.
Of course, now I'll tell you the rest of the story.......
With white rabbits on white snow and clouds of white smoke, the second shot is sometimes a little hard to get off. Not so bad with a wind or a crossing rabbit, but you'll be waiting for the smoke to clear on straight away shots or if you miss a sitting rabbit. I got an elbow in the ribs more than once when friends were within sight and I missed.
Gosh; I'd be terribly tempted to build a blunderbuss for this most dangerous game! Shoot rocks and nuts and bolts! I couldn't have more fun than comparing 5/16" nuts to 1/4" bolts!!!
That 20 gauge will do the job just fine, really. Yeah, the BP can do every bit as good as the smokeless with experimentation, and it is a lot more fun so far as I am concerned. The smaller the shotgun, the greater the challenge, but if you shoot a 20 anyway, you won't have much trouble.
There's different ways of loading and wadding to play around with that will make a difference, and you can spend quite a bit of time on that if you want, or just go after the rabbits.
Like they say, the worst day in the field is better than the best day at work!
Good luck and have fun.
Well I came across a good deal on a 12 guage pedersoli. It was only an inch longer and 1/2 pound heavier so for the money I saved I figured Id live with the added bulk over the 20.
And I can attest that 70 grains of #6 and 70 grains of powder puts them dangerous rabbits right on their backs!