View Full Version : Attention Roundball Shooters.

September 10, 2001, 09:01 AM
I believe patch and ball to be very effective muzzleloading projectile for taking game. I have been very happy with their performance on the deer I have taken with them. As I see it the advantages of patch and ball are: The are very accurate, inexpensive, offer a multitude of combinations of ball diameter and patch thickness, and do a great job on game. Disadvantages would be: limited range, and they usually require more effort in working up a good load (ball diameter / patch thickness).

In a nutshell, I wouldn’t recommend using anything less than a .45 on deer and would say a .54 round ball was needed for elk. In the range department I’d say 75 yards would be the limit for the average shooter, and up to 100 yards for the expert, and with the “perfect” shot. For hunting, I want a load (patch/ball/powder and maybe a wad) that can be shot from a clean or fouled barrel and be loaded at least 3 times before a cleaning is needed. I also believe that heavier charges of powder should be used to help make up for the lighter projectile.

I’d like to hear everyone’s opinion on patch and balls for hunting. Do you use them? Why or why not? What is the minimum caliber you would use on deer? On elk? What type of performance have you gotten with them when used to take game? How about their effective range? How accurate are they? And any other personal opinions or experience.

The reason I ask is I’m planning on posting an article on my website about using patch and balls for hunting, and while I know what I think and feel about them, I also know when you ask 10 hunters about their pet caliber/load you will get 10 different answers, and 10 different reasons why their answer is correct. So in this article I want to include all advantages and disadvantages to their use, and know you will have some different opinions than mine. I do this so the reader can decide if shooting patch and ball is right for them.


September 10, 2001, 02:42 PM
I don't use them much, except for target shooting. I get great accuracy out to 50yds. After that, I can't hit paper for some reason. I use cast conicals as I can cast them for the same price as round ball (next to nothing). If I shoot patched roundball, I have to buy pillow ticking and cut and grease patches-that takes time and money :) Also, a tight fitting roundball is just too slow to load. I can start and seat a conical much faster,do it for many more consecutive shots, and I get accuracy that is equal or better at greater ranges.

September 10, 2001, 06:07 PM
Poodleshooter doesn't know what he's talking about ;)
I've been working up a roundball load for my .54 T/C Renagade. The maxi-balls that I've tried keyhole like crazy for the whole range of usable powder volumes (yes, they're .54 caliber maxi-balls).
I bought a small stack of pre-lubed patched several years ago so I don't have to worry about cutting up cloth.
One problem I have though, is every 5th shot or so is way off. Maybe I'm getting air bubbles in some of my balls.

I've been impressed with the roundball performance when shooting at old textbooks. Centerfire rifle bullets don't make a very big exit hole but a .54 roundball over 60grns of FFg tears a huge chunk out of it making me think that it will kill a deer quick.

This will be the first year that I try black powder on deer.

September 11, 2001, 11:36 AM
I am shooting a Lyman 50 cal which has a 1:60 twist barrel.

Using 60 grains of FFG I get 2 inch groups at 50 yards, about 5 at 100. I limist my range when hunting to 100 yards.

All deer have died just as quickly as well placed 30 cal high power shots I taken.


September 11, 2001, 12:29 PM
Do you have any rifling left in that Renegade, MS? I've heard that helps maxiball accuracy :p

September 18, 2001, 09:53 PM
I've got a 50cal hawken, 1:48 twist. My preferred projectiles are 385 gr Hornady Maxi's or the Hornady 180 gr .490 balls with patch.

I can get between 1500 and 1700 fps out of either of these projectiles quite easily.. probably a bit higher if I push it (which I have no reason to do).

I have not yet hunted with this rifle (just got it in May), but I will be using the Maxi's for hunting. Using some ballistics software, I made the following plots:
http://euclid.dsl.wisc.edu/~abe/personal/guns/50ball1.pdf and http://euclid.dsl.wisc.edu/~abe/personal/guns/50maxi1.pdf

While I'd trust the ball to do the job to a certain point, look at how soon it looses its energy!!!! They have essentially the same trajectory, etc, but the maxi is that much more potent (according to the numbers, anyway)

September 19, 2001, 12:15 AM
There was a similar thread a couple of months ago, on the subject of round ball/black bear. If yer going after a little deer, a round ball might do. (As far as using a pistol for hunting deer, I believe that 500 ft/lb is the minimum in most areas) The Pyrodex Tables referred to (By BigG) is at: http://www.pyrodex.com .

My response was:

According to the Pyrodex tables, you're going to be pushing a (.45 cal) 75gr round ball 1785fps, with (if my math is correct, blame it on Bill Gates if it aint) 530 ft/lb muzzle energy. MUCH better results are to be had with conical bullets, as follows:

285gr HP @ 1550fps for 1518 ft/lb
325gr Solid @ 1500fps for 1622 ft/lb
320gr Maxi @ 1612fps for 1845 ft/lb

As you can see, the round balls are great for hunting small game, but the BP rifle SHINES with heavy conicals, pushing them darn near as fast with TREMENDOUS gains in the energy department. If I were going after even a small black bear, I'd be hitting him with as much punch as I could. I've shot all of these with my .50 caliber rifle, it is AMAZING what kind of damage those big heavy bullets can do (completely through a railroad tie, and several thicknesses of 2x12's)

Geeze, it's after midnight, sure hope my math is right up there. I'm sure that you can put your quarry down with a conical, I dont think that 530 ft/lb's with a round ball is gonna hurt him as bad as you'd like. Would you go after him with a .45 auto? That's comparable.