.45 caliber RB enough for deer?

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nightwolf1974

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First off, I hunt with my muzzleloaders. Thinking of a .45 cal. ML for deer hunting. Is there anyone who thinks that a .440 patched RB at 1231 ft.lbs of muzzle energy isn't enough for deer size game?

Even a 240 grn. Maxi Ball is only 1485 ft.lbs. of muzzle energy at 100grns. of FF.....

I've never hunted with anything less than a .50cal. using a .490 RB at 1739 ft.lbs. of muzzle energy.
 

Greg Blackburn

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From what I was told, .45 caliber was a very popular deer hunting muzzleloader caliber in WV back in the 1970's and 1980's. I plan to hunt deer with mine this year, assuming I can practice and make time to hunt. I would assume a .45 PRB would do fine with a good heart-liver-lung complex hit.
 

Zonie

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To give an answer in a round about way, I looked up the velocities and energy of a .45 caliber roundball and a .50 caliber roundball in my Lymans BLACK POWDER HANDBOOK and found the .45 ball over 90 grains of 2Fg in a 28" long, 1:48 twist barrel gives a muzzle velocity of 1964 fps & 1097 ft/lbs of energy.
A .50 caliber ball over 90 grains of 2Fg in a 28" long, 1:48 twist barrel gives a muzzle velocity of 1651 fps & 1072 ft/lbs of energy. In the energy department that makes them pretty similar.

Using my Roundball ballistics calculator I poked the velocity and caliber information into it and I find that at 80 yards, the .45 balls energy has dropped to 365 ft/lbs. At 100 yards, the .50 ball's energy has dropped to 393 ft/lbs.

That pretty much supports my old belief that a good range limit for hunting deer with a .45 caliber gun would be around 80 yards max., while the .50 caliber gun range limit should be around 100 yards. By "limit" I don't mean the gun can't kill effectively further out but as the range is extended, the velocity and energy levels of a patched roundball will start dropping off pretty quickly.

Of course, there's a lot more to it than just velocity and energy. The .50 caliber diameter circle has an area of .7854 square inches. The .45 caliber diameter circle has an area of .6362 square inches. That makes the hole the .50 caliber ball would make 24% larger than the .45 diameter hole.

Yes. I know. "Old Zonie is off on another one of his calculating binges.", but it does give some information that might be worth thinking about. :)
 

nbogan

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I've hunted deer for years with a 45 cal and never had a problem. I shoot 50 grains of 3F and rarely does the ball not go all the way through. Actually last years buck was the first time I've ever recovered a ball from a deer. It was stuck in the hide on the far side. Most of the shots are under 50 yards so i'm not hunting long range. If you are comfortable with your rifle and keep good shot placement you will be fine.
 

nightwolf1974

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That pretty much supports my old belief that a good range limit for hunting deer with a .45 caliber gun would be around 80 yards max., while the .50 caliber gun range limit should be around 100 yards. By "limit" I don't mean the gun can't kill effectively further out but as the range is extended, the velocity and energy levels of a patched roundball will start dropping off pretty quickly.
Any deer I've shot (all with muzzleloaders) have been 60yds or less. The very first doe I shot was about 20yds away with a .50cal. New Englander when I was 16.
 

PastorB

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I know for a certain fact that a .440 round ball @ 1400fps (550 ft.lbs. ME) kills deer just dandy. I get that with 40 gr. Goex Fffg, chronographed. I can get just over 2000fps (1100 ft.lbs. ME) in my .45 flintlock, using 90 grains of the same powder. I much prefer the lighter charge, deer are not killed by paper ballistics, but by decent size balls/bullets going through vital organs. Just the opinion of a fella who has has been muzzleloading hunting from 1977 to the present.
 

hanshi

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Most of my deer hunting has been with a couple of .45 rifles and .440" prb. The loads ranged from 60 to around 80 grains, 1600 fps to 1900 fps. The 1600 fps load made my longest deer kill which was a 75 yard shot. One shot from a .440" ball was all it ever took.
 

Sparkitoff

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I have not ever used a .45 muzzleloader for anything. With that said, I'd like to give a direct comparison. I've observed some of the Texas "experiments" that led up to the current air-rifle legislation and rules. They used 45 caliber projectiles of 112, 122 and 128 grains in a particular platform and shot deer at a measured 100-yards. The "experts" from the State doing these "experiments" concluded that was enough "power" for whitetail deer based on one-shot kills with straightforward recovery. You are applying more velocity and could potentially use a heavier projectile. It far surpasses what the "experts" concluded was efficient for deer hunting.
 

MSW

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Ludwig Mies van der Rohe once said "Less is more."

But that was architecture, not turning Bambi into little white packages.

Good shot placement will do that for you, even with the .45. I would take my .54 into the woods, were iI inclined to do Bambi a mischief, but that's my personal preference.

Do what you're comfortable with, and what is readily available: rather a clean shot with a .45 than a close miss with something else.

Good luck with your hunt :)
 

Sidney Smith

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It's all in where you hit them. So far I've managed to kill 2 deer with my Flintlock. It's a .54 caliber. First deer I shot ran about 150 yards before dropping. Second deer dropped in its tracks.both were shot at about the same distance. Difference was I hit the first deer a little high and it had to bleed out. Don't remember exactly where I hit the second deer but it didn't move. I did have to give deer no.2 a coup de grace shot though because it was still alive when I got to it.
 

oldwood

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Greg......Pick your shot placement. Stay out of the liver and guts. Accidentally shot deer through the liver once. Luckily , that day had an expert snow/blood tracker w/me. Had 6" fresh powder snow. The deer bleeding tiny nearly invisible specs of blood which fell deep into the powder snow. It was with 3 other deer , so the tracker sent me off w/the three that split off from the proposed target deer. I ruled out the three split offs due to me pushing them up a steep mountain. Went back to the target deer and my hunting buddy tracker had found a tiny speckle of blood in the powder snow , blew on the snow in the palm of his hand to melt it. His palm was slightly pink.......Blood. We chased the tracks for another three tenths mile , and I finished the kill process. All this was w/ a 50 cal. patched r/b , and my fault I couldn't discern which end of the deer was the heart /lung area. Shot placement is everything. After this adventure , I went to a 62 cal Jaeger rifle. Can truely say , on deer w/.62 , shot placement was slightly less important. Shot placement is everything.............oldwood
 

Eterry

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Deer aren't hard to kill, if hit properly. My neighbor has a huge row- crop farm and kills over a dozen deer every year with a nuisance permit. He uses a 22 WMR exclusively.
A .440 PRB in the lungs will cleanly take a deer. A .750 PRB in the guts will be a losing proposition with lots of follow up. The Devil is in the Details.
 

bradly_tx

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First off, I hunt with my muzzleloaders. Thinking of a .45 cal. ML for deer hunting. Is there anyone who thinks that a .440 patched RB at 1231 ft.lbs of muzzle energy isn't enough for deer size game?

Even a 240 grn. Maxi Ball is only 1485 ft.lbs. of muzzle energy at 100grns. of FF.....

I've never hunted with anything less than a .50cal. using a .490 RB at 1739 ft.lbs. of muzzle energy.
First off, I hunt with my muzzleloaders. Thinking of a .45 cal. ML for deer hunting. Is there anyone who thinks that a .440 patched RB at 1231 ft.lbs of muzzle energy isn't enough for deer size game?

Even a 240 grn. Maxi Ball is only 1485 ft.lbs. of muzzle energy at 100grns. of FF.....

I've never hunted with anything less than a .50cal. using a .490 RB at 1739 ft.lbs. of muzzle energy.
.45 caliber RB enough for deer?
YEP!
And most anything else.
 

firestick

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Last deer I killed with my 45 I gave to my son was shot at about 45yds. Nice whitetail doe on a cold morning New Years day a couple years ago. She ran about 60 yds in a mad dash and collapsed mid stride. Blew a hole through both sides right through the lungs. Stick my little finger in the entrance hole and my thumb through the exit. Broke a rib on the way out. Hunk of lung in the exit hole. Never thought I ever needed more gun that that for deer.
 

Art Caputo

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In my experience the 45 is surely capable of taking whitetail with good shot placement out to 75 yards or so. My experience has been that deer, even with good shots to the vitals, can react differently for a variety of factors. Over the years I have noted that the larger bores will result in a more dramatic knock down and killing effect on deer at a proportionally higher frequency then is reflected by the energy values assigned to the various calibers. There is also a greater margin of error should shot placement or angle present a problem. A few decades ago I ran into a formula developed by John Bell, noted for a vast number of elephants culled in the late 19th century. Using solid projectiles, he noted that energy values did not reflect the “knock-out” characteristics of different bore sizes and developed a formula to better reflect his observations. A 280 caliber driven at high velocity could generate the same energy as a 45 cal driven at lower velocity. Relying on these energy figures alone could get a hunter killed with dangerous game. Taylor’s formula places more emphasis on the projectiles diameter and weight. In the absence of “hydrostatic shock due to the lower velocities of the weapons used, tissue/bone destruction played a greater role in killing effectiveness. Seeing similarities to muzzleloaders using the lead round ball, I tried applying Taylor’s formula to my muzzleloaders, and found them to be more reflective of the results I was observing. His formula is:

[Velocity(FPS) X diameter(inches) X bullet weight(grains) ] divided by 7000(constant) = Taylor Knick Out Value(TKO).
Example for 50cal at 100 yards: [1000FPS X .490” X 177gr ] / 7000 = 12.4 TKO Note: I like a minimum TKO of 10 for whitetail.

The chart below, using my loads for 45,50, and 58 calibers show comparisons at the muzzle and 100 yards, my typical max shooting range. I have included elevation and wind drift values at 100 yards. Note the more pronounced difference of the TKO value compared to FPE in diameter/weight of the round ball. Velocities for all calibers are very close at 1000FPS each due to the combination a the higher BC for a greater diameter ball and the fact that the smaller the ball, the faster they loose velocity. The 54 cal is not included, but it does fall a bout halfway between the 50 and 58 cal.
Perhaps all this is overkill and subject to debate, but I have found Taylor’s formula to present a better reflection of the killing of the various calibers with shots to the vital area. I have seen larger caliber balls will almost always expand, fully penetrate, and produce good blood trails, when the frequent bang-flop didn’t occur. Note in the chart that the 100 yard ballistics of the 58(and 62) cal in terms of drop and wind drift is note much different the faster 45/50 calibers. While the 58 can be driven faster, recoil is excessive, and without much advantage for 100 yard whitetail hunting.

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