50 vs 54 FlintLock Rifle

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I’ve never used a 50. It might be perfectly effective but I have no personal experience. I merely looked at the balls next to one another, then looked at availability. I just thought, the 54 is obviously bigger and heavier and readily available. Most sporting goods stores around here carry 54 balls. I have 58 and 62 that I really like but I use them more sparingly due to the price and availability of balls on the shelf in stores.
 

Snake Pleskin

54 Cal.
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How many Angels can dance on the head of a pin? When you know that, tells us, because finding that answer is the same as trying to decide between a .50 and.54 cal. If you are hunting or target shooting, for 95% of what you do it will not matter! The .54 is probably better for LARGE animals like Elk or Bear. Other wise, there is absolutely no reason to choose one over the other IMHO. I own both. Some will say all things being equal the .54 might be a bit lighter in weight due to the bore. But is it enough to be relevant? Probably not. : )
 
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Just for S and G it is note worthy that most known early American rifles were less then .54. I’m thinking the Christian Springs walking purchase rifle was .54, so it was a known caliber in the past.
Elk in colonial times outnumbered white tail deer in the east. And if your a farmer/hunter looking to feed your family on a minimum of expended resources an elk is a better choice.
Elk were hunted to extinction in the east without maxies and .54s
Even the smoothies we reach for are .62, but smaller calibers were common for then.
The mountain man’s rifle during the rendezvous period seems to have been closer to a .50 average until very late when .54 took center stage.
Leman rifles tended to have more less then .54 then .54 or bigger
 
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I am in the group that where you put it is more important than what you hit it with
So true. Unless it's a fast running shot, a far shot, or a trophy, I tend to shoot for the head. Less meat is wasted and the kill is quick. Sometimes though, it makes me feel like an assassin.
 
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How many Angels can dance on the head of a pin? When you know that, tells us, because finding that answer is the same as trying to decide between a .50 and.54 cal. If you are hunting or target shooting, for 95% of what you do it will not matter! The .54 is probably better for LARGE animals like Elk or Bear. Other wise, there is absolutely no reason to choose one over the other IMHO. I own both. Some will say all things being equal the .54 might be a bit lighter in weight due to the bore. But is it enough to be relevant? Probably not. : )
How many angels can dance on the head of a pin? It depends on whether they're doing a non-progressive dance like the swing or a progressive dance like the waltz. ;)
 
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All interesting posts. As has been said a 50 will drop a deer as well as a 54. A good shot with a 50 IMO is more important than a poor shot with a 54. A good shot from a hunter with a 20 gauge run of the mill shotgun will drop more birds than poor shots from a hunter with a pricey 12 gauge wonder shotgun. Just simple facts. Ifin I were to order today, I'd go with a 50, I don't make iffy shots when hunting and feel confident what I'd be hunting and the conditions I'd be hunting in, I'd have no problem with the 50. No offense to those of you who prefer the 54 or anything larger.

Sort of reminds me of all of the present day hunting bow brouhaha. Started bow hunting back in 1969 with a Herter 50# recurve, dropped many a deer with it, shooting instinctive, using a Ben Pearson shooting glove. Sometime in the 80's or so when compound bows were the rage, I continued with thee Ol recurve. In the early 90's my top limb separated, I did buy a Golden Eagle compound, but a simple one with wheels just at the ends of the limbs. Continued with no sight, shooting instinctive and using my tried and true shooting glove. Have dropped deer with it, still hunt with it today, no sights, no fancy release. Seems today most hunters are consumed with bows with more wheels than my car, warp speed arrow fps, the latest sight contraption hanging on the bow, state of the art arrow releases, and all other kinds of gadgets hanging on the bow.

Went into a nearby gun/bow shop last fall looking for a new bow string. The owner advised me he didn't have any in stock and advised me I should get rid of that antique and get into the 21st century and get a modern bow that will drop deer. He wanted me to bow once of his newfangled $600-800 bows. Advised him basically without saying it to 'pound sand'. Said all of this to say as has been posted on this thread, shoot what you feel comfortable with, what you like, and what will work for ya. Still have and use the Golden Eagle with my out-of-date shooting glove and no sights. Hit what I aim at.
There is nothing more satisfying than hitting your target using bare bow archery. I still use it today at 68 years of age. I shoot a replica of a Hun horse bow with about a 65lbs pull with my draw length. All it takes is practice and you can shoot much faster with bare bow skill.
 
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I use both calibers but prefer my .54 because it is shooter and easier to carry in the rainforest , Deer , Red and Fallow , I have shot don't notice the difference for me it is just a personal preference .
By the way there is no such thing as knockdown power , any rifle powerful enough to knock down an Elk would have so much recoil that the shooter would get knocked down too .
Newtonian physics , His third law states that for every action ( force) in nature there is an equal and opposite reaction .
I once shot a very large Holstein cow in the brain with a .22rf target load and the cow flipped over onto her back , this was the most dramatic reaction to a being shot by any animal I have ever killed and was the result of a nervous reaction ( spasm )not knockdown power .
 
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I like most folks have both. Both will kill the same on a white tail. If I was struggling between the two, I would go with the .54cal. You never know if one day you might go on an Elk or Bear hunt and at that time you would probably wish you had the larger caliber. I have squirrel hunted with a .50 but never with a .54. I will draw the line on small game!
 

337

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Not much difference between the two.
I would probably pick the.54 you may want to hunt bigger game in the future.
 
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When I bought my first muzzleloader, several decades ago, I got a .45. It was used and cheap. My buddies dad had a .54. I asked him why he needed a .54 when my .45 seemed to work fine on our local whitetails. He would just say .54 is better for moose and still good for deer, he wanted to be ready in case he got the opportunity. I don't know if he ever went on a moose hunt, but he was prepared. I deer hunt with a .54
 
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I have both - and either one is more than adequate for the game you are hunting. Unless you intend to cast your own bullets, I would go with the .50 cal for no other reason than bullet availability.
 

Crow Choker

40 Cal
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The weight issue isn't a problem. The weight diff between the 50/54 is of no consequence. Cast all of my own balls/bullets for my variety of black powder arms and alot of bullets for a variety of smokeless handguns/rifles. Reload probably 95% of all I shoot except 22LR. Have enough soft lead (and hard lead) to last me for a long long time, same with black powder and percussion caps for arms that take em. Will never hunt anything bigger than a whitetail. I will though need to buy RB mold for the needed caliber when the time comes.
 

Texan138

32 Cal
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Use a 54 myself, but don't think there is to much difference on deer size game. But I like having a little extra.
 

Boone-

Pilgrim
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I have both! Hawkin, flint 50, Lyman trade flint 54 and Hawkin cap 54.
I've been using these rifles for over 25 years. The 54 is my go to because it just suits me however, all my rifles will shoot 2 in groups at 100 yes. It took years of shooting, seasoning, VERY knowledgeable friends and acquaintances to get to such a consistent point.
I've shot more deer than I can remember, never had a well placed shot go far.
The 50 & 54 with a 295 gr. Powerbelt bullet ( just lead hp) is the most efficient killer of everything I've ever used.
Every rifle determines its own attitude of how much powder it likes and gr of projectile... the 54 with 85-90 gr. 3F matched with the 295 gr. projectile is the flatness, hardest hitting I've come across and works across every 54 my friends and I use.
A well seasoned barrel is the most consistent factor in all of them.
But that 50 cal will drive tacks all day long so I love it too.
The best shooting rifles I've ever seen though are the 40-45 cal.
In the end, u can build either but if u don't take the time to season, build and experiment with different load outs, u won't have a shooter either way...
The 54 is bound for Canada in 2 yes. Finally going to go after a Moose! I'm confident in the 54.! But I will still wish it was my father's Hawkin 50. Maybe the next trip.
 

ryoung14

45 Cal.
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For roundball with a slow twist barrel, choose 54. The ball ia big enough and heavy enough to get the job done. And it'll be accurate and not picky about load either...at least mine isn't.

For conicals with a fast twist barrel, choose 50. With heavy enough slug, it'll kill anything. But plan on spending some time at the range finding the load and bullet it likes.
 

smokepolehall

Scout .45 Trad. .50 T/C Hawken .45 /Renegade .54
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I will answer your ? with a ? What do you really want ! I have owned n shot .32-.40-.45-.50-.54 n a .58. I have killed a few tick toters in my years. Now this is me n what i grab 90 % of the time is one of my .45's. You will hear well the weight of it is more because of the smaller bore. Good point but not a win. Just get a lighter barrel or shorter, or both . Thats me now you decide what you want or shoot someone else's to see how it works for you. I have gotten some years on me n i dislike hard recoil while hunting or just shooting
 

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