.40 Caliber - What's the Point?

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Well I knew several men, long before I got interested in flintlocks, who had grown up with .40 caliber, caplock rifles. They had all been WW1 babies, their mommas getting pregnant as their dads enlisted and left for war, they being born in 1918... all three were living and hunting in different parts of Appalachia as teens during the great depression.

The .40 for them was the perfect rifle. It was the cheapest to shoot round ball with, and still have enough umph at 50 yards on a deer, and accurate enough to take the head on a rabbit or a squirrel or a groundhog, or a racoon, or a turkey. They were also very accurate at target shooting events, and in those days there was heavy competition for a small ham, or a side of bacon or some linked sausages.

So..., when I had a chance, I picked up a rather plain Jane version of one in flint.

LD


I WANT TO SHOOT ANYTHING FOR LINKED SAUSAGES!




just sayin.
 

Gordoncourtney

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I though round balls for flintlock and bullets for percussion. Me often making moulds for friends and photo experimental bullets for my .36 ml percussion double I hope to test them one day Most Bp guns seem to have had paper patched bullets over the years it’s an amazing design and it actualy works my friend is really into it. My manual is realy for unmentionable double rifles. But the chart I copied out covers BP. .400 loads equals at home with a ml I guess. As can be seen the 230g bullet can produce 2041 ft lbs of energy proving the .4 bore is well up there with big game rifles of yesterday I always liked a .5 as I live a couple of years in Africa. Better for patched round balls too
Enjoy

Hope this is of interest to you
 

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Gordoncourtney

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I get the idea of .32 or .36 guns for smaller game, I get the .45 for targets and deer, the general purpose .50 and the .54 on up big game thing but what is the need for .40 caliber?

By the way, I own a couple.
Why nothing better. The .400 has got over 2000 ft lbs of energy with BP and when cordite came out it was the most liked rifle in Africa and India taking tiger and elephant Mine is unmentionable at 4000 ft lbs of energy cordite of course now R15 400 g
bullet at 2250 ft sec But its a great big game cartridge in BP and only around 11 tons of pressure in your barrels , don’t forget that

Enjoy ha ha
 

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40 is an excellent target rifle caliber. The little ones are fiddley to load. Accuracy suffers because of this. The larger one kick more, inducing a flinch, and use more lead and powder.
My 40 is just that, an excellent target gun. Enough weight so it doesn’t peter out before 100 yds, like the wee ones, easy on everything else involved - powder, lead, shoulders,…I have tall sights on mine, no prob with mirage during long shooting sessions.
 
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The old National Park Service Popular Study Series monograph "Rifle Making in the Smokey Mountains" notes:

"The calibre of the mountain rifles deserves a word of mention. Strictly speaking, these rifles had no calibre in the ordinary sense of the word. Usually, however, four kinds of rifles were made: one of about .35 calibre (0.35 inch) which was called a squirrel gun; one about .40 calibre (0.40 inch) called a turkey rifle; one about .45 calibre (0.45 inch) called a deer rifle; and one of approximately .50 calibre (0.50 inch) called a bear gun."

It is a bit of an odd caliber--a little too much for small game, and not quite enough for large game unless you are really, really close.
Those primitive mt. rifles were very crude often. Even wooden bullet moulds, and ones carved out of rock, etc. The mt. museum has collections of gun making tools that were collected from farms and properties by a prescient collector back in the 60's or so.
 

Kmcmichael

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I think a differentiation of those using round balls vs those using conicals. I see it as a huge difference. I would gladly shoot a deer at 50 yards all day with a .40 round ball. A heavy conical in.40 is capable of anything in the Western Hemisphere.
 

Rock Home Isle

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I think a differentiation of those using round balls vs those using conicals. I see it as a huge difference. I would gladly shoot a deer at 50 yards all day with a .40 round ball. A heavy conical in.40 is capable of anything in the Western Hemisphere.
I’d be more inclined to use tge .40 calibre on deer sized big game…elk would not be an animal that I’d purposefully hunt with the diminutive .40 calibre.
 

Rock Home Isle

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Built a common .40 Appalachian mountain rifle. It is my overall favorite woods running , and range practice rifle. Love the way the powder can be cut back for small critters , and stoked up for bigger work like coyotes , and such...............oldwood
Yah know…I have never been able to take my 30-06, dump some powder out of the case, and go after squirrels. Muzzleloaders are so amazingly versatile.
 
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I think a differentiation of those using round balls vs those using conicals. I see it as a huge difference. I would gladly shoot a deer at 50 yards all day with a .40 round ball. A heavy conical in.40 is capable of anything in the Western Hemisphere.
Except for those red cape wearing super deer in states with a minimum .45 caliber. :)
 

Josephg

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Man, that looks like the surface of Mars, or moonscape up there!
Does the wind blow all the time?
That's Glasgow MT. No, the wind never stops blowing. We shot a RB match there a couple years ago and we had six inches of drift at fifty yards.
 

smoothshooter

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That's Glasgow MT. No, the wind never stops blowing. We shot a RB match there a couple years ago and we had six inches of drift at fifty yards.

There is a lot of Montana I like, but I don’t think the Glasgow area would work for me to live or work near.
The lack of trees and windy conditions would drive me nuts!
How would you ever get a good zero on a rifle?
 
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