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Old August 19, 2002, 04:55 PM   #1
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50 Cal. Round Ball Enough for Deer?

Do you think that a well placed shot at a whitetail with 70 grain of FF behind a round ball is adequate under 100 yds. or should a sabot or miniball be used?

I took a miniball last year but only for deer. Otherwise I shoot round ball at the range. I like the accuracy of the round ball in my Hawken.
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Old August 19, 2002, 05:18 PM   #2
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That is exactly what I shoot with for deer. I use 70 or 75 gr FF on a patched round ball. It works just fine on shots out to 100 yards. I won one of Texas' black powder hunt packages last year. We could shoot white tail and any ferrel animals. There were a lot of ferrel goats running the ridges. The last day of the hunt I stalked into the goats again and shot a big niced horned specimin at about 125 yards with my Hawken pushing a .495 round ball with 75 grains of FF. The ball went through the meat of his right front leg, through his rib cage, his heart, out the other side of his rib cage ( a little bigger hole now) and through the meat of his left front leg. He took 2 wobbly steps and collapsed. A well placed shot with that load is plenty.
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Old August 19, 2002, 09:15 PM   #3
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Just remember that Blackpowder balls bleed energy fast.

Great for practice, but 100 yards is Max range for deer.
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Old August 21, 2002, 10:18 PM   #4
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That's true, they have the ballistic coefficent of a Mack Truck. Depending on the twist of the barrel ( 1 in 66, 1 in 48 etc) a given gun will stabilize a round ball or a conical better. Some barrels have wide flat lands and grooves others have deep cut rifling. I find the wide/flat models prefer mini-balls. If you try to push a conical projectile down a 1 in 66 twist barrel too fast, you will find in short order that you are skipping lands. Your otherwise superior ballistic projectile now tumbles exhibiting the ballistic coefficient somewhere in the range of a basset hound sticking his head out of a moving car window. Some have short barrels in the 20 some odd inch range while others have 42" barrels. IMO it is best to decide what the max distance you are thinking of shooting a deer, "learn" your gun,work up a projectile type and load for that projectile, shoot that distance for practice and see what kind of penetration you can get compared to, say, a 50 yard shot. I agree with Zorro, but watch over-simplifying. Nothing like trying it out before-hand. Now is the time to start getting ready for deer season.
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Old August 22, 2002, 09:34 AM   #5
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The early rifles used in the East were smaller caliber. The .50 was developed the Grizzlies out past the Mississippi.
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Old August 24, 2002, 05:17 PM   #6
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BigG, very true.. .45cal was considered a big gun for hunting in the east. There were many .40 cal guns that killed everything on the east coast. Unfortunately some states set a minimum caliber that is , I believe, always larger than .40. One of my favorite smoke poles is a Lancaster county .45 cal 42" barrel flintlock. I would trust this gun to take deer sized quarry at 150 yards or less with a round ball at any time, with it's non adjustable open sights. ( 3 carefully hand filed notches for 50, 100, and 150 yards) It's one in sixty-six twist stabilizes a round ball beautifully. I love the sound of the crack it makes when I load it up heavy in the 65gr FF area!
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Old August 25, 2002, 03:44 PM   #7
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I prefer the 240 GR. XTP Hornady bullets with the sabots myself. Round balls might work just fine but I knew some guys that were making their own round laed balls and they were having a hard time killing deer. I suppose they may have not been making the right stuff. I heard them say they lost several deer using those round lead balls. They went to using factory hollow point bullets and sabots and started killing more deer on the spot. I have killed four deer with the 240 GR. XTP bullets and those deer fell dead in their tracks.
I don't doubt that the right round balls would kill deer too. Just like rifles each man has his own opinion on what bullets is the best. That is what is so great about this great country, you have several choices of what to use.
Good luck and I look forward to black powder season.
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Old October 13, 2012, 03:08 PM   #8
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I use a CVA 50Cal. Hawken,I shoot 110 grains of pyrodex with a round ball and have taken whitetail bucks some large well over 200lbs. at 150 yards and beyond and they dropped like a sack of potatoes 50 Cal. and round ball are plenty to take whitetails as for guys making their own round balls and deer getting away, I call B/S! A Hawken 50Cal with round ball and 110 grains of pyrodex compairs with a 30-06 for knock down at 150 yards.

Renegade & Hawken, 50 caliber
Powder Round ball loads (.490", 175 grains):
50 FFg 1357 FPS - 761 ft/lbs
60 FFg 1434 FPS - 850 ft/lbs
70 FFg 1643 FPS - 1115 ft/lbs
80 FFg 1838 FPS - 1396 ft/lbs 1271 FPS - 1328 ft/lbs
90 FFg 1950 FPS - 1571 ft/lbs 1344 FPS - 1484 ft/lbs
100 FFg 2052 FPS - 1739 ft/lbs 1418 FPS - 1652 ft/lbs
110 FFg 2135 FPS - 1883 ft/lbs

Last edited by kandyman_5x; October 13, 2012 at 03:23 PM.
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Old October 13, 2012, 05:52 PM   #9
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Crank it up a bit !!!

The listed shot-string is acceptable. I always try to find my optimum target load and hunting optimum load. My hunting load is seldom as accurate as my target load but it get the job done. I might suggest you increas your powder load for hunting. ....

Just remember that Blackpowder balls bleed energy fast.
Great for practice, but 100 yards is Max range for deer
So very true !!

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Old October 13, 2012, 06:58 PM   #10
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Agree with Pahoo.

Out of my Hawkens shooting a patched rb my hunting load is 90 grns American Pioneer powder.

Target loads are 60-70grns.

If you're using Triple7 powder then 70-75grns. of powder would be about right for a hunting load. It's about 15% hotter then other powders. Shooting anything else, I'd raise it to around 90 grns.
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Old October 14, 2012, 07:54 AM   #11
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More than adequate. Many of my deer have been taken with a .45 cal. roundball and 65 grain charges of real black powder.
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