View Full Version : Hunting with .50 cal round ball

September 20, 2002, 02:13 PM
Almost named the thread "Hunting with balls" but thought the better of it. This perhaps belongs over in the Hunting forum but not sure if the gents here frequent that one as well and my question is specific to blackpowder so here it goes: With a .50 cal (.490) ball as a projectile what would you guys and gals consider the minimum velocity OR powder charge for whitetail? We generally don't get them too huge around here. Come muzzleloader season, I have an inline that I can really load up but I would prefer to use the new flintlock which I believe will only handle round ball loads due to twist rate.

September 20, 2002, 03:33 PM
I'd consider 70 grains to be adequate in my rifle, but a longer barrel could do 50 or 60. Most states list a minimum powder charge for deer hunting purposes. Chronograph your loads if you can. My rifle runs a round ball over 90grs of Pyrodex up to a little over 1800fps! Lots of deer fell to roundballs before the minie came about.

September 20, 2002, 03:37 PM
well my flintlock has a 44" barrel :eek: so i suppose that qualifies as a longer barrel, heaven help anyone who totes a longer one, been using 65gr of 4F Goex Black Powder so i guess i'm good

Jimmy Mac
September 20, 2002, 09:21 PM
I hope you did not really mean 65 grains of 4F. Never use FFFF in the barrel.

No matter what the inline crowd may tell you the ball is a good hunting projectile.

Every .50 ball I ever recovered from a deer was expanded almost the size of a quarter. Most shoot through leaving a massive would.

Unlike a JHP the soft lead ball always expands.

September 21, 2002, 05:49 AM
oops yeah I meant 2f

September 23, 2002, 10:12 PM
I agree with what was said above. When I hunt with a 50 cal smokepole, I hunt with 70-75 grains of 2F in my 50 cal Hawken. The only thing I do different is I generally us a .495 ball. I find .490 works fine, but I get a little better accuracy in my gun with .495 balls. There is nothing wrong with round balls.

Ed Dixon
September 26, 2002, 01:16 AM
I've seen a lot of recommended hunting loads of 90+ grains, but my best accuracy comes at around 70 gr. and I had an older gentleman tell me he'd taken many deer with just that amount of FF. I can go up to 80 with not much noticeable difference, but above that things start to get a little erratic.

October 3, 2002, 09:44 PM
70 grains of black powder behind a round ball is a nice balanced load in a .50 caliber muzzleloader. Adequate for deer at reasonable ranges.

It also has a sort of mathematical symetry to it:

a pound of black powder contains 7000 grains = 100 x 70 grain charges
.490/.495 round balls come 100 to the box
patches usually come in bags of 100
#11 percussion caps are sold in tins of 100

Everything runs out at the same time. Neat.

October 4, 2002, 06:01 AM
Flinters "don't need no stinking" caps. :D

But then can't really regulate when the flint will be used up or when the 4F will run out. :eek:

October 4, 2002, 07:57 AM
An old timer told me to find the most accurate load..If you're any kind of a hunter you will get close enough to be able to pick your shotl.

Aim for the heart... no matter the range.. don't hold over ...

If he's in range you'll get him, if he's outta range you will under shoot him..
That way you don't leave a wounded critter out there.

I always figgered that was good advice

A round ball will do the job if you do yours.

October 4, 2002, 07:59 AM
Yup,,, Them caplocks ain't never gonna catch on anyway... :D

October 4, 2002, 11:21 AM
Hey BluRidgDav:
Blackpowder and pyrodex are loaded in grains of volume, not grains of weight. So, even though your pound of BP has 7000 grains of weight to it, it may have more or less grains of volume.
Besides, you gotta save some caps for just plain snapping!

October 4, 2002, 05:01 PM
A pound of something weighs 7000 grains, no matter what it's made of;
black powder, pyrodex, lead, hamburger, cheese, whatever . . . . .
The conversision factor between the two systems of measure is 7000-to-1.

Now, most people do use a "powder measure" when they charge their muzzleloaders. (Who wants to carry a delicate scale out in the woods?) These "measures" were originally set up for BLACK POWDER. So that, when you filled up a 70 grain volume measure, it gave you 70 grains in weight. A slight variation will occur with different granular sizes; 4F will weigh more, Cannon powder will weigh less. But for 2F & 3F, it'll be pretty accurate.

But, Pyrodex is a completely different chemical, (actually a smokeless powder with "smoke" producing agents added), and therefore doesn't have the same density as black powder. Pyrodex is less dense, or "lighter". Because there were all those old black powder measures out there, the gun-powder manufacturing companies fiddled around with some different filler-chemicals, and bonding agents, etc. until they got Pyrodex to "measure out" in volume, an equal energy level of propellant, as black powder.

So, if you use Pyrodex, (I can't imagine why, HA-HA!), a pound of it will still weigh/contain 7000 grains. But when you use a black powder measure, it'll throw a lighter weight charge, and you'll have some Pyrodex left over, when you run out of caps & balls.

Besides, to paraphase Iggy, "That Pyrodex ain't never gonna catch on, anyway."
Hence the title of this forum; BLACK POWDER and Cowboy Action Shooting.

October 4, 2002, 05:20 PM
black powder is certainly cheaper, around here anyway

October 5, 2002, 04:13 PM
I'm using 70 grains of FFg in my T/C Hawken for deer. But I haven't actually got it a deer with it yet because I haven't had the chance to get out in the woods during blackpowder season :(

Snake Jenkins
October 10, 2002, 05:38 PM
In my .50 southern mountain rifle (flintlock;) ) I use 65 grains of ffg pushing a .490 round ball wrapped in pillow ticking and have never been dissapointed in how it transforms a deer into steaks and gravy.
By the way Goex is the best powder out there INHO:cool:


October 13, 2002, 10:10 PM
Have used a .490 ball and .015 patch over 70 grains of FFG.
Seems to be most accurate (on paper) for me.
Other muzzleloaders use the same as talored to their rifles.
Just practise, practise, and more practise.