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Thread: Anyone Else Shooting 58 Caliber or Larger?

  1. #1

    Default Anyone Else Shooting 58 Caliber or Larger?

    I recently acquired a 58 caliber Hawken-style rifle (36" barrel) and am so impressed with the extra oomph of the caliber that I went ahead and bought a shorter 58 cal (26" barrel) for fast handling in close quarters.

    The increased impact over 54 caliber is startling, and by rep anyway, the extra diameter and weight of the ball greatly improves performance on moose. Still not a brown bear rifle in my view, but I'm looking forward to ventillating moose and elk. The round balls weigh roughly twice what a 50 cal ball weighs, and a 275 grain ball at around 1700fps does hit with a bunch more authority.

    Anyone else? Tell me about your rifle and experiences whapping game with it.

  2. #2

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    I shoot roundballs out of my double barrel 12 gauge pedersolli blackpowder shotgun. There’s no rear sight, but I can still keep them on a paper plate at 50 yards. Off the top of my head, I think I am using a .690 480 grain ball. I shot a deer with it a few years ago. The shot was at 25 yards and the ball overpenetrated. It decked the deer.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by springer View Post
    I shoot roundballs out of my double barrel 12 gauge pedersolli blackpowder shotgun. There’s no rear sight, but I can still keep them on a paper plate at 50 yards. Off the top of my head, I think I am using a .690 480 grain ball. I shot a deer with it a few years ago. The shot was at 25 yards and the ball overpenetrated. It decked the deer.
    Sounds like you got that dialed in a lot better than I ever managed with my old Navy Arms double 12. I tried a few RB, but was getting paper plate groups at 25 yards rather than 50.

    How do you like the Pedersoli in general as a scatter gun? I've been debating getting one myself.

  4. #4

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    I love it. The fit and finish is quite good. The only downside of the pedersoli gun is that the weak dollar and strong euro has caused them to become quite expensive.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post
    Sounds like you got that dialed in a lot better than I ever managed with my old Navy Arms double 12. I tried a few RB, but was getting paper plate groups at 25 yards rather than 50.

    How do you like the Pedersoli in general as a scatter gun? I've been debating getting one myself.
    I can only shoot the right barrel accurately.

  6. #6
    Member OffTheRecord's Avatar
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    Default cal.

    I have a Brown Bess (.75 cal) and a .80 blunderbuss but don't hunt with either. The previous owner of the bess did deer hunt with it. Something about cutting a shotgun shell in half and loading it.....

    My favorite is still my good .45 long rifle with round or maxi-ball but I am still a little hesitant to use it here. South-east climate and flintlocks don't mix too well and the relatively low hitting power when you only have one shot at a time. It is accurate and would be more than enough for a deer.

  7. #7
    Member rimfirematt's Avatar
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    I have my T/C Big Boar in .58 but have not shot anything with it yet. It will be moose hunting this fall for sure though. Saw a little spike on Sunday that looked pretty tasty, Hopefully he hangs around.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by OffTheRecord View Post
    I have a Brown Bess (.75 cal) and a .80 blunderbuss but don't hunt with either. The previous owner of the bess did deer hunt with it. Something about cutting a shotgun shell in half and loading it.....

    My favorite is still my good .45 long rifle with round or maxi-ball but I am still a little hesitant to use it here. South-east climate and flintlocks don't mix too well and the relatively low hitting power when you only have one shot at a time. It is accurate and would be more than enough for a deer.
    I've got a friend who's been hunting rainy Kodiak with a flinter for going on 20 years and another that's been doing it for at leas the last 35 years, far as he can recollect. Both know their stuff and almost never misfire at the range. Both claim (and I believe them) they've never had a misfire on a hunt. Has something to do with extra care for carrying in wet weather, changing their priming charge several times a day and keeping the lock dry, something that's actually harder to at the range than on a hunt. Both use cow knees made from oiled leather to cover their locks while hunting.

    They sure have me chomping at the bit to get a flinter. Right now I'm torn between a 45 cal reminiscent of yours so I can use it for both deer and rabbits, and a 69 caliber trade rifle. Then of course, there are those 75 caliber Besses out there!

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by rimfirematt View Post
    I have my T/C Big Boar in .58 but have not shot anything with it yet. It will be moose hunting this fall for sure though. Saw a little spike on Sunday that looked pretty tasty, Hopefully he hangs around.
    Be sure to let us know how it performs on large deer. I'm having so much fun shooting mine, it's a foregone conclusion that one or the other is going on all my hunts this fall.

    What load are you using, BTW?

    My 36" barrel version weighs a full 12 pounds and is pretty muzzle heavy, so it soaks up recoil like crazy. I shoot 120 grains of 2f behind a PRB without discomfort, though I'm settling in on 100 grains as a more accurate load with plenty of punch.

    My 26" gun weighs only 8 pounds, and 120 grains of 2f will flat get your attention every time you light it off. Not painful, mind you, but kinda hard to keep that front foot on the ground if you aren't well braced for the shot. I was shooting a bunch of 80 grain loads earlier this afternoon and those were fine. I might go on back up to 90 or even 100 for hunting, but right now the 80 grain loads are simply great fun.

    Funny thing with that 26" barrel. My hunting pards have all commented on how loud it is, though it doesn't seem so to me. It was kinda fun today recovering the lead from our shooting, using the setup I describe over in the handloading section. Those guys had these little mashed up lumps of lead on the screen when they cleaned their buckets, and I had these big honkers about half the size of a walnut. I think that now I've got a couple of customers just hunting for their own 58 to land on.

  10. #10
    Member rimfirematt's Avatar
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    Despite what Ive read about the 1:48 twist that my gun has it shoots patched roundballs with 100 grains of 2f powder very well. Im also using the Hornady (525 grains I believe!) conicals with 100 grains of 2f powder as well. Those shoot good too, but, I havent tried them beyond 50 yards. The powder I use is Pyrodex. I have shot Goex but it doesnt seem to make a difference in accuracy one way or another. I also put a musket cap nipple on it.

  11. #11
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    Default 62 cal

    I have a 62 cal ( 20 ga. ) fowler that I used for deer and small game back home but I haven't been able to find any black powder here in Fairbanks. Thumped the deer pretty well though, dropped em in their tracks.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by rimfirematt View Post
    Despite what Ive read about the 1:48 twist that my gun has it shoots patched roundballs with 100 grains of 2f powder very well. Im also using the Hornady (525 grains I believe!) conicals with 100 grains of 2f powder as well. Those shoot good too, but, I havent tried them beyond 50 yards. The powder I use is Pyrodex. I have shot Goex but it doesnt seem to make a difference in accuracy one way or another. I also put a musket cap nipple on it.
    The slow twist in mine, especially the short one (1:66) is my only regret. I really want to try the conicals just cuzz. I'm betting that they really penetrate on game!

    I've tried both Pyrodex RS and Goex 2f in mine. I don't see any difference either, except that there's a lot more fouling with the Goex. My long barrel has such a smooth bore that's not an issue. But the short barrel fouls bad enough with the Goex that I have to swab between shots with spit patches or seating effort really goes up.

    I'm curious why you changed to the musket caps. My short one came with a musket nipple, but since I didn't have any of those caps on hand I switched back to a #11 nipple. I went 30 shots yesterday without a misfire or slow ignition, so I may leave it rather than keeping two types of caps.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by thunder chicken1 View Post
    I have a 62 cal ( 20 ga. ) fowler that I used for deer and small game back home but I haven't been able to find any black powder here in Fairbanks. Thumped the deer pretty well though, dropped em in their tracks.
    Sounds like a terrific gun! There's black available at GNG in Anchorage, but that doesn't do you any good unless you drive down there. There's also an outfit called Nor'west Company in Two Rivers that supplies it. I haven't dealt with them, but folks report excellent service, and evidently they have arrangements for shipping BP around Alaska. With all the upland game hunting you have around Fairbanks, I'd sure get that fowler running again. It would be really a fine thing to take a moose or bou with it too!

  14. #14
    Member OffTheRecord's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post
    I've got a friend who's been hunting rainy Kodiak with a flinter for going on 20 years and another that's been doing it for at leas the last 35 years, far as he can recollect. Both know their stuff and almost never misfire at the range. Both claim (and I believe them) they've never had a misfire on a hunt. Has something to do with extra care for carrying in wet weather, changing their priming charge several times a day and keeping the lock dry, something that's actually harder to at the range than on a hunt. Both use cow knees made from oiled leather to cover their locks while hunting.

    They sure have me chomping at the bit to get a flinter. Right now I'm torn between a 45 cal reminiscent of yours so I can use it for both deer and rabbits, and a 69 caliber trade rifle. Then of course, there are those 75 caliber Besses out there!
    I have one but I have never heard it called a "cow knee" before.

    My favorite rifle started as a Cabella's Blue Ridge or something and I have been very pleased with it. Set triggers are nice. I had to re-brown it right away and I switched to an extended buckhorn rear sight. I am pleased with how much it resembles the Greaver's rifle from the battle of King's Mountain and have aquired similar brass and German silver inlay for it (but I hate doing wood work). I recently bought a maxi-ball mold but haven't had a chance to try these on the range yet.

    Have you taken a look at these: http://www.middlesexvillagetrading.com/MCT.SHTML ?

    Some day we have to get together and shoot sometime.

  15. #15

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    Yeah, cow's knee is the traditional name, because that's the part of the hide that was originally used. They tend to be longer than the lock covers you see for sale today, but you can find the longer versions, too. I just checked, but can't seem to locate a source. Coincidentally or not, both the flint shooters I mentioned use the long version. Not sure if that means they are more effective in our weather, or if they've had them so many years that the long versions were the only thing available 20-30 years ago.

    Your rifle sounds great! I didn't know the Blue Ridge was eve available in 58, but I'll keep my eyes open. Odds are pretty good that it's a 1:48" twist barrel since the gun is made by Pedersoli, so it should stabilize Maxis just fine. Mine are both slow twist barrels, so I'm RB only till I get one with a faster twist. I can't imagine what a 58 cal Maxi must weight!

    I've looked pretty hard at those Middlesex Village guns, but backed off cuzz their righty flinters and I'm a lefty. I have no qualms about shooting a righty cap gun, but I've had flint chards blow back into my face with righty flinters.

    As great as this state is, it's too bad we're scattered to tarnation and travel is so expensive. There are half a dozen of us within a mile of my house that shoot together pretty often, then hunt together- usually in smaller groups, but it's pretty easy to find a shooting pard for a quick trip. Our wives are going to ban us from getting together though. We keep egging each other on and spending more and more money, and I think they've figured it out. The originals in the group had 50's, then I got my 54. Now all but one has a 54. One guy got a 58, and now I have two, so more are going to follow, for sure. One is building a 63, but just wait till I get my hands on a 69 or a 75!!!!

  16. #16

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    I have a TC Big Boar with a plan to shoot an elk with it using the 525 gr. Hornaday Great Plains bullet. The shot never developed on the elk.

    I did shoot a smallish whitetail with a round ball at about 20 yrds. He just layed down and died, but the rb flattened out and did not exit. That kinda surprised me.

    Those 525 gr. GP bullets get your attention with 90-100 gr. Pyrodex!

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by CowboyEngr View Post
    I have a TC Big Boar with a plan to shoot an elk with it using the 525 gr. Hornaday Great Plains bullet. The shot never developed on the elk.

    I did shoot a smallish whitetail with a round ball at about 20 yrds. He just layed down and died, but the rb flattened out and did not exit. That kinda surprised me.

    Those 525 gr. GP bullets get your attention with 90-100 gr. Pyrodex!
    On the RB and whitetail, I'm kinda surprised the ball didn't exit, but not all that surprised, if I'm making any sense. What was the path of the ball through the deer? I've had much the same performance with my 54 cal on deer when I was passing through a lot of meat or I hit a bigger bone. Got through-and-through penetration on a broadside lung shot and recovered a quarter-size flattened RB on a 50 yard neck shot. I haven't recovered balls from two elk and a moose with a 54, but all those were broadside lung shots at less than 30 yards.

    My hunting pard with a 58 has never recovered a ball, but he's only taking broadside lung shots.

    Another hunting pard is using the Hornady Great Plains in his 54, and wow. Talk about penetration! I helped him dress and skin a nice buck he whacked face-on in the brisket at about 50 yards. We recovered the bullet out of the left ham!!! The nose had expanded a little, but it just kept on trucking through close to 4 feet of blacktail.

    On second thought, considering the recoil maybe I should be just as happy that neither of my guns is likely to handle conicals. One of my 54's is very light, and with a stiff charge behind a heavy conical, there's no way to keep the forend in your hand while keeping your fingers out of the way of the sights. That sucker will hop up out of your hand every time you pull the trigger. Ouch. Ouch ouch ouch. Sure a delight to carry, but I've backed its loads way off.

  18. #18

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    BrownBear,
    The shot on that whitetail was broadside through the lungs. It might have hit a rib (been a few years back), but I just supposed it would be through and through. Kinda surprising. It was a swaged round ball, so I'm sure it was pretty soft. I've heard all kinds of penetration ideas on round balls, but I'm sure a lot of it depends on the hardness of the lead.

    I've never killed anything with the Great Plains bullet, but I always thought it would penetrate just as you described. I'm pretty sure it would be my pick on anything big and within 100 yds.

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by CowboyEngr View Post
    BrownBear,
    The shot on that whitetail was broadside through the lungs. It might have hit a rib (been a few years back), but I just supposed it would be through and through. Kinda surprising. It was a swaged round ball, so I'm sure it was pretty soft. I've heard all kinds of penetration ideas on round balls, but I'm sure a lot of it depends on the hardness of the lead.

    I've never killed anything with the Great Plains bullet, but I always thought it would penetrate just as you described. I'm pretty sure it would be my pick on anything big and within 100 yds.
    Kinda makes me wonder if due to high velocities at close range, the ball simply expanded so much it didn't push on through. I've seen that with hot loads in a 50 cal. The same load failed to penetrate on a lung shot inside 25 yards, but would sail on through at 50 or more, even when ribs were hit.

    My pard with the 58 uses 80 grains of 2f and if I recall correctly, he claims that he gets better penetration on deer with it than he ever did at 120 grains. Kinda makes sense in a backwards sort of way. Like the logic on The Red Green Show on TV, if you're familiar with it.

    I know a couple of serious BP moose hunters who use RBs (one shoots a 54 and the other shoots a 62), and they both cast their hunting balls out of wheelweights rather than pure lead, specifically to limit or eliminate expansion at high velocities. Hard to argue with their results.

  20. #20

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    I'm sure you are right about the close range, velocity, and pure lead ball. It was either a Hornady or Speer pure lead, swaged ball. The recovered ball was mashed out to about the size of a quarter. That's pretty good for a 100# whitetail, but could be a disaster on anything bigger.

    I'm sure cast wheel weight would do better in penetration.

    I must say, it gave me a new appreciation for the mountain men that defended their lives from grizzly bears with a one shot round ball! Of course, more than one turned into bear poop, I guess. I suppose you guys in Alaska probably still think of that once in a while?

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