58 vs 54?

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brewer12345

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I have been having fun playing with 50 and 54 percussion rifles, and I have picked up a 32 that I am looking forward to shooting when time permits. I see that 58s seem to be pretty uncommon, but since I do hunt elk (assuming 58 is overkill for deer based on the damage my 54 did with round ball on a smallish white tail doe) I was wondering if it would be worth keeping an eye out for a 58 round ball rifle. Any 58 shooters around? I assume recoil can be an issue? Hard to find molds, loading supplies, etc. specific to a 58? A TC Big Boar would be up my alley, although I suspect that nice ones are beyond my price range. Does any manufacturer currently make 58s that might be suitable for range/hunting?
 

SDSmlf

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I’ve got a couple 58 round ball guns, percussion and flint. Both Bobby Hoyt 1-60 radius bottom rifling. 80-90 grains of fff Swiss with a denim patch. Perfect setup out to 100 yards.
 

longcruise

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I just got two barrels back from Hoyt that were taken up to 58. I haven't had a 58 for quite a few years and can't wait to get back to playing with them.

Most of my 58 accoutrements are gone to other shooters but looking forward to rebuilding the gear.

I've shot quite a few animals with 50 and 54 balls and think if your 54 did a lot of damage you might have hit her harder than necessary!
 

Spikebuck

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I see that 58s seem to be pretty uncommon, but since I do hunt elk (assuming 58 is overkill for deer based on the damage my 54 did with round ball on a smallish white tail doe) I was wondering if it would be worth keeping an eye out for a 58 round ball rifle. Any 58 shooters around? I assume recoil can be an issue? Hard to find molds, loading supplies, etc. specific to a 58? A TC Big Boar would be up my alley, although I suspect that nice ones are beyond my price range. Does any manufacturer currently make 58s that might be suitable for range/hunting?
You can't really "overkill" anything, so a while a 58 certainly isn't necessary to kill deer sized animals, it's fine to use one...or even a 62.

Everyone has their own ability to handle recoil, but the stock shape and especially the buttplate shape can certainly impact how much of it you feel. I built a fullstock Hawken in .58. and with the load it liked, which was 100 grains of 2F with a tightly patched .575 ball, it definitely had a push which was increased due to the rather narrow and curved buttplate of a Hawken. My .62 early Virginia with a wide and flat buttplate with the same load is mild in comparison.

It's not hard at all to find whatever you need to go with a .58. Many of our fine online muzzleloading supply shops carry anything you would need for them. Track of the Wolf is a good source, but there are many, many others.

I do think that the number of production manufacturers making 58's is more limited than .54 and down calibers. Pedersoli has a few models...The Kodiak double rifle is one although that's a fast twist. Or if you like the look of military rifles, they have the Cook & Brother or the Mississippi.

I know you said roundball, but my Pedersoli Frontier .54 with a 1-66 twist shot patched round ball OR the Hornady Great Plains 425 grain bullet with great accuracy. So does my Pedersoli Rocky Mountain Hawken. That bullet would be great elk medicine. Or you could probably have a .54 rebored by Bobby Hoyt to .58 with proper twist and deep round grooves for roundball. Quite a few options to think about.
 

brewer12345

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Actually, I have a 54 TC Greyhawk that I enjoy shooting a lot. I understand it to be a stainless New Englander. If that is the case, I should be able to buy a New Englander barrel and have it drop in, right? I think that a 54 New Englander bartel would be a great candidate for a Bobby Hoyt bore out to 58 in a 1 in 66 twist. That sound insane to anyone?

As for the damage to the doe, it wasn't extreme but I had never shot anything with a muzzleloader before. Last year I shot a full size mulie doe with a 200 grain 30 caliber cast bullet that did around 1900 FPS out of the barrel and the damage was sufficient that she wasn't going anywhere, but the bullet wasn't large diameter and the shot placement was perfect (quartering toward, blew up the heart and damaged both lungs, half inch diameter exit hole). This year's doe was a yearling white tail. The 530 ball appeared to expand on impact because the entry wound was closer to an inch in diameter and I hit her a bit far back. Clipped a lung, half the liver, a kidney, etc. and exited on the edge of a rear quarter. For a simple round ball, holy cow! Made me understand why 54 round ball is okey dokey for elk.
 

Col. Batguano

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The 58 is largely a military caliber, though in a German Jaeger it would be considered a smallbore. It would also fit for a Plains gun, though that's a mighty big barrel.
 

Howie1968

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ill put my 2 cents in. first of all I love the 54s with big heavy conicals the majority of the time one of my 54s is in my hands. However I mainly hunt giant mature 7 yr old boars. ive failed to get reliable pass throughs on the big ones with patched roundballs. Every big boar ive shot with the 58 .570 roundballs ive gotten pass throughs. I normally kill between 50 100 hogs a year. they are everywhere here in East Texas. ive only shot some tow maxis out of the .58 but the .54 I shoot .425 great plains bullet tc maxiball 430 gr and the no excuse 535 grain conical. I wanted a .54 to give me consistant pass throughs using patched rb on big boars but anything north of 300lbs ill find it in the body. ive pushed the ,54 with patched rb from 70 grains to 120 grains out of my 32 inch green mountain rb barrel.
 

Stony Broke

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I have an Investarms Hawken in .58, and it seems to like the round ball loads. I have never gotten around to hunting with it yet...but it's coming one day. If you were to find one of these, it would make a great elk rifle for you at a fair price.
 

Woodnbow

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I've got a TC High plains sporter barrel in Bobby Hoyts shop right now, it's going from. 50 to .58 caliber with a round ball twist. I have one other hoyt barrel, a .54 in a TC hawken. I'm very pleased with it but excited to be shooting the .58 caliber again!
 

Howie1968

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I have an Investarms Hawken in .58, and it seems to like the round ball loads. I have never gotten around to hunting with it yet...but it's coming one day. If you were to find one of these, it would make a great elk rifle for you at a fair price.
ive got the same rifle, 90 gr 2F .018 patch .570 rb kills them dead and passes through
 

Grimord

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I've had two barrels re-bored by Bobby Hoyt to .58 with round ball rifling. A John Browning Mountain Rifle that was a 50 cal and a T/C Renegade 50 cal flint. both were given a 1:66 deep radius grooved rifling, and both shoot great. I limit my shots to 75 yards or less with iron sights due to ageing eyes. Components for the .58 are readily available from the Black Powder supply companies. I hunt with the .58 for deer, for in the areas I hunt the cover is dense, a 50 yard shot is a long one, I like to put the deer down in its shadow so I don't have to track it in the thick stuff. It is too easy to lose a deer in that stuff. The .58 round ball puts them down with authority with good shot placement. Since switching to the .58 from a .54 I have noted more "drop in their tracks" kills.
 

TerryK

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I hunt whitetail here in PA, and I have always used a 54. Never saw any reason to go with a 58. I did think if I had a pig 54, I would have Mr. Hoyt bore one out to 58. I think that would be the only reason for me.
 

mooman76

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I have had a 58 quite awhile. Have hunted but didn't get anything with it. I would consider recoil compared to a 54 to be negligible. I've shot it with conicals too. I don't think it's that hard to get components for it. Sure there is less than a 50 but still available with a little looking.
 

Sparkitoff

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If you are wanting to find .570 ball in "the store" they are sometimes available at Bass Pro or Cabelas and maybe others. I have always found .490 and .530 balls at those stores and always Hornady brand. When I do see .570 it is also Hornady. If you are going to cast your own, buy on-line or have some other source the availability of appropriate balls for .58 caliber won't matter. Of course if you have a lack of stores around you might not get .54 any easier than .58. With a .58 you will pay more for balls or conicals and use more lead if you make your own. I have used .54 and .58 quite a bit. On deer, elk and exotics I have not found a lacking in the .54 PRB. One of my favorite rifles in the Zouave. That .58 is more accurate with a heavy, slow conical. There is a lot of penetration and thump with a wide, heavy, slow conical. If you start to compare .54 and .58 conicals the difference becomes less pronounced with the most available stuff. .54's in the 535 grain range are available on-line. Some .58 "minnies" weigh less, some nearly the same (mine are 555 grain) and a few heavier. I fell in love with a rifle that is .58 and would buy it in a second funds permitting. The caliber doesn't really matter - its the rifle I want. On the other hand, to date I am a .54 shooter. I chose convenience of store-bought RB and consistency over several rifles ( I have four .54"s). When I wanted a "bigger" rifle specifically for elk, bear and large exotics similar to elk size I got a .62. That's as big a ball as I want to handle.
 

Tom A Hawk

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I'm a round ball shooter and when contemplating a full stock flint Hawken build I was undecided whether to make it .54 or .58. I had a .54 percussion rifle from a previous build and have taken several deer with it with no complaint on ballistic performance. Still, the .58 seemed appealing. However, deer are the large game animal available to me and I recalled reading many years ago that the .54 caliber round ball afforded an optimum balance between velocity, energy and bullet trajectory. I shoot what most here would consider to be a heavy powder charge - 125 Grains FF, .530 ball in my Hawkens. With Swiss powder this load shoots extremely flat out to about 125 yards. Basically, no sighting adjustment is required. So, the new Hawken was made .54 and I've been delighted with its performance. Took a doe with it last Friday and it was an instant drop.

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ebutch

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I'm a round ball shooter and when contemplating a full stock flint Hawken build I was undecided whether to make it .54 or .58. I had a .54 percussion rifle from a previous build and have taken several deer with it with no complaint on ballistic performance. Still, the .58 seemed appealing. However, deer are the large game animal available to me and I recalled reading many years ago that the .54 caliber round ball afforded an optimum balance between velocity, energy and bullet trajectory. I shoot what most here would consider to be a heavy powder charge - 125 Grains FF, .530 ball in my Hawkens. With Swiss powder this load shoots extremely flat out to about 125 yards. Basically, no sighting adjustment is required. So, the new Hawken was made .54 and I've been delighted with its performance. Took a doe with it last Friday and it was an instant drop.

View attachment 20431
Is that a kit you built that full hawken stock? Or is that made from scratch? Good looking rifle!
 

excess650

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I have .45, .50, .54, .58, and .62. My .58 weighs 7-1/4# and the .62 7-1/2#, both have 2'' wide buttplates and minimal drop in the stock, so felt recoil is negligible. The key here is the lack of drop in the stock and wide buttplates because both are pretty lightweight. I load 80-100gr fffg in the .58 and 100-120gr fffg in the .62.
 
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