No announcement yet.


  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Effectiveness

    I have to pass this along for folks wondering about the abilities of a traditional muzzleloader with plain old lead bullets.

    My hunting pardner popped a nice 3-point at a measured 55 yards on Kodiak today using his 50 cal with 90 grains Pyrodex P and a Maxiball. Hit it head-on just off center in the brisket. The Maxi passed through the top of the heart, clipped both lungs, shattered the liver, passed through the stomach and intestines, entered the front of the right ham, passed all the way through that while missing the bone, then lodged under the hide. It staggered back when hit, then traveled about 15 feet before piling up.

    No wonder I haven't recovered any! Conservative estimate is that the Maxi passed through 4 feet of animal before stopping. No major bones after the brisket, but judging by the state of the liver, it had lots of jeewhiz going for it.

    I'd have no qualms using this combo on lots bigger game.
    Last edited by BrownBear; 11-09-2006, 22:24. Reason: typo
    "Lay in the weeds and wait, and when you get your chance to say something, say something good."
    Merle Haggard

  • #2
    Big Lead and more powder

    My experience is with patched round balls only. My own hunting rifle is a full stock side lock percussion that pushes out a .690 PRB at 1530 MV when stuffed on 180grains of Goex FFg. Of 4 moose that I have killed, each was hit by a single shot while the animal was exactly broadside to me. The ball passed through the lungs and out the far side. Rib/ribs had no effect. They have only traveled 90,25,25 and 25 yards before laying down for the big nap. Yardage was about 90 yards for the first one and an average of 50 yards for the rest. A Grizz with a skull of 21 5/16 I put down at 70 yards with the first ball breaking the near shoulder and klipping the far shoulder before coming to rest against the inside of the hide. The second shot at 50 yards went through both lungs just like the moose and the Grizz was dead in about 1 minute. The 500 grain ball that I recovered from the hide had lost about 18 grains of soft lead and had deformed to about .710" from .690.
    OK? where am I going with this?
    1. We owe it to our intended victims to shoot the largest ball by the most powder that we can shoot well and make good shots.
    2. PRB's will kill anything that breaths. And do it well.
    By the way I'm going to stir the pot here and make a statement that will surely raise a few hackles.
    IMO no Caliber less then .530 (.54) should be allowed to hunt AK Big game, except maybe the puppy deer down on the coast. And elongated bullets and conicals and sabots don't count if they don't make the .54 Cal. cutoff.
    Ya know what they say about opinions, aand that's mine
    Anyway hope ya'll having a fine winter.


    • #3
      You'll have to take your stir stick to the board of game, but I don't think it would go further than you testimony. ADF&G staff are satisfied with the current situation, and the change would eliminate almost all of the current ML hunters in the special primitive weapon seasons- taking about that much support for the seasons along with it. The fact that I agree with you on 54 cal for game larger than deer doesn't change the political reality, or the fact that we need more supporters and not less.

      I haven't tried hunting with a 69 or a 72, but have shot them. Your terminal performance pretty well reflects that of the users I know. They're impressive performers but in short supply at reasonable prices, so I haven't had one made up yet.

      With my 54 and PRB I've taken four elk, one moose and a truck full of puppy deer. All were one shot kills on broadside shots. I finally recovered my first PRB last weekend- that one from a 30 yard shot on a 158 pound buck. It was steeply uphill and quartered toward me. The shot entered low in the right shoulder, broke that, clipped two ribs, one lung, the liver and then took out almost three inches of spine. It stopped under the hide and was flattened to the size of a quarter and 1/4" thick at the middle, with retained weight of 203 grains from a starting weight of around 230.

      My hunting pard took a buck a little bigger (didn't get a weight) with his 58- a high shoulder shot that took both shoulders and the bottom of the spine. His ball split in half, with one part stopping on the spine and the other passing on through. Range was about 80 yards. That's the closest he's ever come to recovering a ball from game.

      Pure lead PRB's certainly are stone killers when they land in the right spot. Most of my hunting pards use 50's, and even for deer they have gone almost exclusively to conicals of one sort or another. The 50 cal PRB's do fine on deer with good shots, but most of them want a little more margin for error I think.

      Anyone else with reports on terminal performance and effectiveness?
      "Lay in the weeds and wait, and when you get your chance to say something, say something good."
      Merle Haggard


      • #4
        I have to agree. I'm sorry but the sight of the TV personalities using fancy inlines with scopes and trying to take animals at extended ranges really bothers me. The lowly round ball will take anything out there and do it cleanly. This is from years of experience. I started in the early 1970's with black powder and have killed or seen killed hundreds of head with these rifles. Jim


        • #5
          I have to tip my hat to ADF&G for their stand against scopes in primitive weapon seasons. If political pressure mounts for scopes, we should be prepared to get behind the department bigtime. Scopeless is easier to build a case before the board, especially with staff support, than raising the caliber minimum above 50. The department's whole point is "primitive" rather than simply muzzleloader in order to restrict the effective range of hunters and provide more hunting opportunities. Pretty sound reasoning for keeping the scopes off.

          I've played with inlines a fair bit out of simple gun curiosity. Without the scopes they offer zero advantage over traditional styles, simply because sighting errors overwhelm trajectory advantages past 100 yards, and much closer for most hunters. I refuse to use one even with open sights during the primitive season out of personal conviction.

          But I do play with them during regular seasons out of curiosity and to test claims about ballistics comparable to some cartridge guns. They certainly are more like a "caseless" centerfire when the scope is added, at least in trajectory and sighting precision. And for that reason, they belong in the regular season in my mind. Call a scoped inline a "slow fire single shot" and I'd have no problem, because I also hunt a lot with Ruger #1 single shots. The only differences I see out to 200 yards are slower repeat shots and a heck of a lot more gun cleaning afterward.

          On the performance end, sabot pistol bullets act like pistol bullets out of anything else launching them at the same velocity. I've killed enough game with handguns and with rifles in 444 and a .429 wildcat based on the 45-70 case to have a strong background in what pistol bullet trajectories and terminal ballistics to expect, and inlines with the same bullets in sabots are no different.

          It's clear that traditional style muzzleloaders are being overwhelmed by inlines and it will only get worse, with declining market share to traditional styles and fewer traditional shooters for political support. We can keep up the "spirit" of primitive and probably the support of most hunters by prohibiting scopes in primitive seasons, but I think the minute you try to eliminate inlines completely from primitive season, we'll lose the vast bulk of current support for primitive seasons and prohibition of scopes.

          As a matter of fact, I've been able to convert inline shooters to traditional styles simply by pointing out what a hassle it is to dismount their scopes for the primitive season, and that they can get an entry level sidelock for less than most pay for their scopes. They leave the scopes on the inlines at that point and restrict them to the regular season, meanwhile having a lot more fun with the sidelocks and taking some pride in using them during the primitive season. In my mind, making things easier and showing them how to have fun is the quickest way to build support rather trying to force them to do it with another nasty brawl.
          "Lay in the weeds and wait, and when you get your chance to say something, say something good."
          Merle Haggard


          • #6

            While I own and persue the art of muzzle loading, I have never tried to take an animal in Alaska with my muzzleloader. I feel it is more than up to the job though. It well shoot a Ritz cracker to pieces @ 80 yds with a .535 PRB and 80 grns. of pyrodex P. This should be more than adaquate for up to caribou size animals (for larger animals just add more powder). My sidelock 54 cal Hawkin style rifle is both beautiful and traditional, it's unfortunatly no longer made.


            • #7
              can't we all just get along?

              you gotta love muzzleloader debate!

              I picked up a Lyman GPH 50cal. for $330 (new), marked down from $550. Why? because Sportsmans Warehouse (Fargo, ND) couldn't sale traditionals. When I came in there looking for a new T/C Hawken barrel, I was looked at like an oddity. They couldn't believe that someone still wanted to shoot a percussion rifle. For $50 more, I was able to buy a new muzzleloader over just a barrel. The salesman said he just flat couldn't sale traditionals anymore. He was purging what he had left and wasn't ordering anymore.

              I try to hunt the muzzleloader/shotgun deer season in Ohio every year. In so doing, this consists of the yearly stop at "Fur, Fin, and Feather" in Ashland, Oh. This place is a hub for the locals. It is packed and pretty much stocked with in-lines exclusively. (Luckily the gear isn't solely in-line specific).

              In-lines are easy, effective, accurate, and most of all.... legal for muzzleloading. This appeals to the masses and its here to stay. This will definitely (and has already) put a damper on quality gunmakers making traditional percussion/flintlock arms. However, I think that the quality of the percussion/flintlock guns will only get better. Cheap guns and cheap tooling will be reserved for the in-liners. For those that will take the time to produce percussion/flintlock guns, the quality will be there.

              I have no issues with in-liners or those that shoot them (although I prefer traditional percussion M/L's). Some folks look at those that shoot percussion as not being "primitive" enough. I do agree with the scope argument though (eventhough I just outfitted an omega with one).

              My opinion on the matter is this..... Who cares? People are getting out and enjoying the outdoors. They are taking advantage of extended time in the field. As long as you are loading the weapon down the barrel, and using iron sights/peep sights/beads, then enjoy yourself. Learn the weapon, the limitations, and it's effects on the game that is being pursued.

              The market is primarily centered around one thing.... whitetail deer. It's amazing how many people don't believe you can take bear, moose, elk, etc effectively with a blackpowder weapon. Because all they see, hear, and read is whitetail based. How did frontiersman take these animals with PRB's and "inferior" powder? The market and the masses don't give a crap about "traditionalism", all they want is another chance to bag the biggun', or fill the freezer. Isn't that what we are all trying to do.

              Seriously, am I wrong in my line of thinking????? I'm not trying to stir the s%&t crock, just wanting some opinions.
              "The rich... who are content to buy what they have not the skill to get by their own excellence, these are the real enemies of game".... Theodore Roosevelt's A Principle of the Hunt


              • #8
                I have no problems with inlines in primitive weapon seasons, so long as they don't have a scope on them. The point of the primitive weapon seasons where scopes are forbidden is to restrict hunters' range, and with the scopes gone inlines hold no advantage over traditional sidelock models.

                It occurred to me a while back that many of the folk using inlines are the same ones who shoot very little outside the regular hunting season, usually doing little more than firing a few rounds from the bench before opening day. Whether true or not, they perceive conventional sidelocks and loose powder loads as way too much trouble and work.

                I'm pretty open minded about inlines other than that. The way I read it, inlines have added hundreds of thousands of supporters to the ranks of muzzleloading hunters. That can't be a bad thing when it comes time for elections, as well as for meetings of game boards.

                The more I think about it, the less tollerant I am going to be of anyone who tries to drive a wedge between hunters-- no matter which side of the line they stand on. We need more hunters and not less, and too often the folks holding the wedge have something to sell.
                "Lay in the weeds and wait, and when you get your chance to say something, say something good."
                Merle Haggard


                • #9
                  the real harm to the sport

                  as echoed on here and by a lot of us...

                  The real harm is in the marketing of in-lines.... not the in-lines themselves. The manufacturers (my beloved T/C included) are trying to market their weapons as "rifle" like. Giving people false impressions of the realistic range of these guns.

                  "magnum" three-pellet charges.... what a joke. 100 loose grains of 777 has more fps. than three 50 grain pellets with the same projectile. As for 777, they are measured in "blackpowder equivalents". Meaning a 50 grain pellet is equivalent to 50 grains of blackpowder, but only about 30 grains of 777 loose. I believe pyrodex is the same way.

                  Coining terms like "magnum" and "rifle-like" are misleading and used solely for marketing purposes. This leads to the overall perception that these weapons are - in fact - superior (not falling into the primitive category). The only difference, IMO, is the ignition source. Everything else is marketing hype. Cleaning can be an added advantage by removing the breach plug, but with cleaner burning powders and actually finding the right load for your gun,,,, to cut down on unburnt powder residue... The cleaning argument falls into personal preference as well.

                  Why would you need the new Omega calibrated scope. for distances from 150-250 yards if they were "magnums"? I don't feel that anyone with an inline (unscoped mind you) has a distinct advantage over me in the muzzleloader season.
                  "The rich... who are content to buy what they have not the skill to get by their own excellence, these are the real enemies of game".... Theodore Roosevelt's A Principle of the Hunt


                  • #10

                    Look at this. Savage now makes an inline muzzleloader which fires a charges of smokless powder, combine that with a saboted bullet and bingo a muzzle loading magnum. The sights are its only limitation to range versus a traditional muzzle loader.


                    • #11
                      your right Brav01

                      your right!... I stand corrected. I spaced the smokeless powder side of the issue, thanks for bringing it up.

                      The smokeless powder side of the sport is the wave of the future. Savage had the coconuts to step out and take the chance. The others set back and watched to see if the lawsuits and regulations were going to favor Savage or discontinue their smokeless M/L production. Time has favored Savage, and the others will follow suit within a year or two (pure speculation, I haven't read up on this issue).

                      You can use pellets, B/P, or smokeless in the Savage. I personally feel that M/L season should be reserved for B/P only. Leaving the savage as a great all season gun. Too much of an advantage in smokeless mode for a regular M/L season. How would you inforce this? Not sure you can.

                      "sir, may I see your hunting license, and by the way, fire your gun for me"
                      "The rich... who are content to buy what they have not the skill to get by their own excellence, these are the real enemies of game".... Theodore Roosevelt's A Principle of the Hunt


                      • #12

                        Good post, akndres. Great bou in your profile by the way. Great top mass.
                        Proud to be an American!


                        • #13

                          Thanks for the complement fullkurl.... he was pretty nice....I've never seen one with that much palmation on his tops. I was fortunate to get him...he'll be stripped for the mount though, would have wanted the mount in velvet, but time didn't allow for that..

                          I wish I could have gotten him as close as the one in the avatar... he was a poke at close to 500 yards... moving away from me.
                          "The rich... who are content to buy what they have not the skill to get by their own excellence, these are the real enemies of game".... Theodore Roosevelt's A Principle of the Hunt


                          • #14
                            I have to jump back in here. When you start talking about the smokeless rifles from Savage. Have you read the report by Toby Bridges? He was the most ardent supporter of the new Savage. Well he had a major malfunction and blew it to bits. I'll bet there has not been much press about that. If memory serves, he said he was rethinking his belief in the project. Jim


                            • #15
                              I hadn't heard that. If you have a site or source I would definitely be interested in reading about it. However, I do think they will only refine the smokeless process to make it more tempermental to novice loaders. It just seems to be the way the whole hunting industry is going. Bigger, better, faster, longer, easier, etc.

                              If Bill Jordan or Jim Shockey starts using Savage smokeless powder M/L's in their videos and t.v. shows, Savage would be backlogged for months trying to keep up with demand. All of the mainstream marketing giants are on the T/C bandwagon now. Encores or Omegas for almost everything. They are great guns don't get me wrong, but if they were sponsored by Savage and using smokeless powder the masses would follow. I think T/C and others will go to smokeless in the near future, then the floodgates will open.

                              When this occurs the F&G departments across the country will have to look at the laws all over again.
                              "The rich... who are content to buy what they have not the skill to get by their own excellence, these are the real enemies of game".... Theodore Roosevelt's A Principle of the Hunt


                              Footer Adsense