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Thread: patched round ball

  1. #1
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    Default patched round ball

    Am thinking about using my .54 Lyman Trade rifle and a patched round ball for black bear this spring.
    Anyone here use this type of setup?
    If so what were the results?
    Recovery distance and blood trail?

    I have killed with 425grn lead conicals but nothing with a round ball.

    Baiting so shots will be close.

    Thanks
    Jason

  2. #2

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    No experience with blackbear and ML's, but plenty with deer. I'm shooting a GPR 54 cal rather than a Trade Rifle, but I've recovered exactly one RB launched by 90 grains of either Goex 3f or Pyrodex P. That one struck the buck face-on in the white throat patch, later lasered at 56 yards. Completely shattered the spine and stopped against the hide in back. The neck was just hanging by threads of meat on each side and the ball was expanded to around an inch. Come to think of it, my wife has never recovered a ball from her 54 cal Deerstalker shooting 80 grains of 3f or P. My brother-in-law has better than ten straight years of one-shot elk kills with RB's in his 54 and the same charge. I'd have a lot of faith in what you're planning to use.

  3. #3
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    Default rb

    my son killed a large black a few years ago with a 50 cal flintlock with a patched round ball. 1 shot complete penetration, bear went only 10 yards.

  4. #4
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    I harvested a black bear a couple seasons back with a 54 cal flintlock. I used a .530 round ball with 85 grains 2FG. The bear was about 30 yards away. The ball went all the way through the bear. The bear ran about 25 yards and piled up. I was really satisfied with how the round ball performed.

  5. #5
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    I have shot 134 big game animals with a traditional muzzleloader. This includes 84 Deer (Sitka blacktail, Columbia blacktail, and Whitetail), 11 Black bear, 33 Caribou, 3 Moose, 2 Mountain Goat, and 1 Wolf. I have recovered 20 roundballs out of the 134 big game animals harvested, 14.9%, therefore 114 shots passed through. My average shot length has been 55.8 yards, (Min. 3 yds Max.174 yds(slope distance very steep)). Velocity of approx.1600 fps at muzzle. I tend to hold for a pass through lung shot. Recovery distances are very short. If I recover a round ball it is usually because the animal was walking straight at me when I shot and I recover the ball in the rear ham. Several years ago I shot a medium size bull moose at nearly 100 yards as it was paced off. I hit the bull in the shoulder blade directly in the fin on the scapula, the ball passed through, broke 2 vertebra, passed through the other shoulder blade coming to rest against the hide on the far side.

    I use a Hornady .530 round ball, .017 pillow ticking, and 90 grains of FFg. Been using that for years. My opinion is that is all you need with the right shot placement.

    With that load I have harvested 11 black bear, the shots average 29 yards, I have recovered 1 roundball. Recovery distances have not been over 30 yards....

  6. #6
    Member jdb3's Avatar
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    My God, that sound like someone I know!!! Welcome to the board jb. Jim

  7. #7
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    Default .54 round - works on bison!

    I never did get a shot at a black bear with my muzzle loaders. (All traditional side lock - usually flintlock). It wasn't for lack of trying.
    Have killed lots of deer. And did take two Montana buffalo. The first one was a large bull - one shot, a little over 100 yards quartered through the rear most rib stopped in the brisket flattened out to about the size of a quarter.
    The next day got a cow - through the lungs and needed a second to put her off her feet. The lung shot went through ribs coming and going and stopped just under the hide.
    Round balls kill all out of proportion to the ballistics that show up on paper. I know of plenty of kills with .54 round balls and about the charges I have seen recommended here. I favor something a little hotter like 110 grains of FFG black. Never used the fake stuff but living on Kodiak is likely going to force me into it sooner or later. I have this dream of building a double barrel .75 caliber rifle for brown bear. I don't care much for the commercial made "Kodiak" doubles - not very well made, not well regulated. Just another one of the projects that are added to the pile that's no doubt longer than I have years left!
    Hope this helps
    Ron

  8. #8

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    Good point on the extra oomph for larger bodies, Ron. That's fractionally hotter than the load I've zeroed in on (90 grains of 3f Goex and RB) for my 54's for accuracy reasons, but it's only been tested as a "deer" load. It's a little warmer than many folks use for deer, but not "max" by any means.

    I started using it following the example of an elk hunter on our place in the Southwest, however. He has taken four with single shots now (though all shots were 50 yards or less), while his regular hunting companions each have taken a similar # of elk using 50 cal and an assortment of conicals, and are yet to manage a single one-shot kill. He's really got them talking to themselves, because on paper their loads are a lot hotter and a lot more "suitable" for elk.

    On a personal note, I still owe you photos and info on my rifle that you built. Take my failure as as sign that things are busy on this end of the Tustamina run!

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