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caribou with a muzzleloader

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  • caribou with a muzzleloader

    Come on, someone must have chased those tundra critters with their black powder rifle....? Any stories to share?

    I made up my mind to take my .50 cal flintlock on my caribou float hunt in late August. I've waffled back and forth on the decision for awhile but am not determined to go through with it. OK, OK, so my wife will be along with her .270, but that's besides the point Admittedly, since moving to Alaska several years ago the flintlock hasn't seen much action. In the lower 48 I used it a lot for deer. Time to bring it back in action and introduce it to the tundra. I think the only addition to my current setup is a small dry bag to keep my possibles bag inside. Haven't decided if I'll go with Maxi-balls or REAL bullets, they shoot equally well out of my gun. Stay tuned for an update in 6 months.


  • #2
    Jeff, I have been hunting Alaska (mostly) and other places almost exclusively with a traditional muzzleloader since 1986. I have shot 140 big game animals with a traditional muzzleloader. This includes 89 Deer (Sitka blacktail, Columbia blacktail, Mule deer, and Whitetail), 11 Black bear, 33 Caribou, 3 Moose, 2 Mountain Goat, 1 muskox, and 1 Wolf. I have recovered 20 roundballs out of the 140 big game animals harvested, 14.29%, therefore 120 shots passed through. My average shot length has been 55.8 yards, (Min. 3 yds Max.174 yds(slope distance very steep)). I primarly use .54 and .58 cal (.530 and .570 roundballs), .017 pillowticking on top of 90 grains of FFg Goex. 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. In thirty years of hunting I have lost three animals I have hit, two deer, one cow caribou. They still haunt me. In all instances I did not follow my own rules and took marginal shots. These were poor choices I made not the projectile's fault. I believe in the proper shot placement, the discipline to wait for that shot, and the restraint not to take a marginal shot. As long as you never compromise these three rules the round ball will do its job.


    • #3
      Thanks BP, that is a lifetime of experience you've tallied! I have no doubts about the patched round balls capabilities. Even when shooting the bigger, heavier conicals I still limit myself to 75 yards. Not that the projectile / gun won't perform well past 75 yards, it's more about my limitations with open sights, etc. On this upcoming hunt, I'm going with Maxi-balls or REAL bullets as that's what I've been casting the past several years and have worked up for my rifle.


      • #4
        I've only shot one bou with a flinter- 50 cal, RB on top of 80 grains of 3f Goex at 50-55 yards. He kinda sagged, walked around in a tight circle and flopped over. The ball is still out there somewhere, waiting for the archeologists to find in a few centuries. Clean pass through on double lung shot, and it was a good sized bull.
        "Lay in the weeds and wait, and when you get your chance to say something, say something good."
        Merle Haggard


        • #5
          Hey Jim. who is that ugly guy next to that great muskox? Hope to see you soon. Jim


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