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Elk hunting max range.

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There's a little difference between a 400gr bullet, and a 185gr prb.



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The only one I’ve shot with a round ball was a .490 at 50 yards. The ball lodged under the hide on the opposite side. It went through a rib and a lot of shoulder meat but no big bone.

I have a feeling that the rb will penetrate less the further out you get. They don’t expand a whole lot so higher velocity will probably mean more penetration. I still feel confident you could kill an elk at 100 yards if you don’t hit any major bones. What concerns me more than anything is the lack of blood on the ground with only an entrance hole.

This is the whole thought process that has me looking into conicals or something bigger than a .50 rb.
 
The only one I’ve shot with a round ball was a .490 at 50 yards. The ball lodged under the hide on the opposite side. It went through a rib and a lot of shoulder meat but no big bone.

I have a feeling that the rb will penetrate less the further out you get. They don’t expand a whole lot so higher velocity will probably mean more penetration. I still feel confident you could kill an elk at 100 yards if you don’t hit any major bones. What concerns me more than anything is the lack of blood on the ground with only an entrance hole.

This is the whole thought process that has me looking into conicals or something bigger than a .50 rb.
Yes. I am just curious to what others have seen. I am just getting started into ML. I am going to see how Hornady PA conical fly out of my slow twist 50 cal barrel.

Might be looking to add a 54 cal for those larger critters.
 
I’ve taken two elk and a Shiras moose with 54 cal round balls in the 80-95 yard range. One elk ran 50 yards or so turned and ran another 30 and tipped over dead. The other walked off and laid down in the open <100 yards and I walked up to it and put another round in it. First shot placement not so great (high and angled front to back). The moose ate at least four rounds balls with the last one point blank while standing. First shot was a bit high and forward which was the beginning of a stressful tracking job and less than optimal follow up shots. So….with hunting loads and reasonable shot placement I think you’re good out to 100 yards.
 
Max effective range might be different than max ethical range, depending on wind, angle of shot, has animal been excited and running, etc. As ADK Bigfoot said, closer is better. Make the first shot count, before you get all jittery and weak-kneed.;)
 
What has been your experience on max effective range for a ML on elk?
50 and 54 cal with PRB.
I asked myself the same question not too long ago, so I went through the forum reading people's experiences to get a guesstimate on energy needed for elk with PRB, it came out to 600ftlbs on impact regardless of caliber. That makes 54 about a 75yds gun, 50 a 50yds, and 45 about a 35-40yds. Me personally I wouldn't hesitate to take an elk with a hard cast 12bhn+ round ball at 50yds and in with either a 50 or 45
 
Only shot elk with a premium 30 cal CF. Looked like golf balls traversed through the heart/lung region, three times. Still, she walked, albeit slowly, about 40 yards before succumbing to imminent death.
I've shot more WT deer with 355 grain 50 cal pure lead conicals than PRB's, but I have shot them with both. The conical bullet punches through intact better than the PBR when range is involved. A doe turned broadside at 100 yards on a windy day. The stiff breeze blew the PRB into her foreleg bone instead of the heart that I was aiming at. It was obvious the leg bone was shattered fully while she ran across that field into the woodline. No blood to follow from the leg hit on the skiff of snow. Her tracks blended in with the other deer that ran into the woods, as well. Took quite a while and a sincere prayer before I spotted her dead well into the trees hundreds of yards from impact.
The ball flattened out after hitting the leg bone, veered into the chest cavity and pierced what looked like a thin dagger wound into the heart. God's grace it was a kill shot, and that I found her. Never found the bullet. Didn't exit and probably ended up in the paunch as a flat sphere.
If I were to draw a muzzleloader tag for elk, I'll pack my .54. Probably with a heavy conical, too, and try to stay within 100 yards at that.
 
I was gonna sit this one out but…
Stating the obvious, a round ball is the absolute minimum projectile for any given bore diameter….it is the lightest weight, largest frontal area to weight ratio, lowest sectional density projectile…the faster you push it the faster it decelerates in air and in animals…
Small ballistic gains are achieved as calibre increases but .54 cal is sorta the cutoff point for max charges (130grs 225 RB in 70” twist barrels) because recoil gets severe in larger calibers.

I’ve shot about 5 mule deer with max loaded .54 RBs and only one elk with a muzzleloader but witnessed others do it many times…shot placement is critical with RBs…60-75 yds.
Out there at 100yds you’re delivering the equivalent killing payload of a stout 40 S&W handgun load…but at 60- 70 yds a .54 RB in the heart/lungs is deadly…
.50 cal RBs are for squirrel hunting at 30 yds.
 
Shooting & Loading Opinions Galore !!!
I knew nothing when I started shooting & collecting antique firearms as a young history buff.
Six plus decades of active study & collecting, competing & hunting with a wide variety of primarily original English & European flint & percussion firearms developed by the worlds master gunmakers who set world records for long range accuracy,, they taught the world about any successes in accuracy we achieve today.
Early master English & European gunmakers who immigrated to America's colonies taught most of our early gunakers how to build.

*The vast majority of the large bore rifled long guns i've owned & competed that were developed to shoot patched round balls usually feature rifling with one turn in length of the barrel & the rifling depth has varied from .012 to .018 deep.
The above large bore rifles generally had 2-3 leaf rear sights & required powder charges of approximately 80 gr of 2F to provide exceptional long range accuracy.
Everyone has their favorite style & period firearm. I tended to gravitate mostly to big bore Jaegers & English & French sporting rifle & pistols because of their quality workmanship, light weight & unbeatable accuracy if I loaded properly & did my part.

Rifling depth is usually deeper in all earlier vintage PRB firearms, I suspect to utilize the thicker fabrics mfg of that era or use of buckskin as patching material.
I have recovered original flint & percussion era round ball firearms that were still loaded with buckskin used as patching.

* Early firearms that were designed to primarily shoot projectiles generally featured much shallower depth rifling with a faster twist.
The rifling depth & rate of twist on Whitworth & belted ball rifles I've owned & shot are exceptions.
** Powder charges:
Almost without exception all of the above 'original' rifles including the Whitworth were designed to require much less of a powder charge to obtain suburb long range accuracy.
Most of the original larger bore Hawken rifles I've observed & fired have had rifling around .012 deep & featured one in 48" twist rifling.
CHALLENGE;
During the 60s-80s while having a muzzleloading storefront I taught muzzleloading to improve accuracy & hopefully increase sales in my area..
Many newer shooters during these years were using huge powder charges with their .45 & .50 cal. rifles in the area of 120 grains & getting poor accuracy. Maybe due to watching the big bang overloads used in frontier movies ?
At the range I would have them fire their overcharged rifles over approximately 40 feet of white butcher paper. the unburned powder, poor hits on the target & shredded patches demonstrated how much powder they were wasting.

At that point most were open to learning how to determine proper powder charges & the right patched round ball combo to insure better accuracy.
None of the above info is new to those who have also learned from the history of the worlds master gun builders.
Relic shooter,, at 81 I'm now a relic :)
 
I have shot as far as 125 yards: killing elk, white & mule deer, antelope, buffalo and several elk at this distance in 70 years with cartridge guns but mostly with traditional muzzleloading guns.

Have used anything from .308 cal. to 60 cal. smoothbores and .50 cal. rifled guns in percussion & flintlock ignitions.

.
 
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Shooting & Loading Opinions Galore !!!
I knew nothing when I started shooting & collecting antique firearms as a young history buff.
Six plus decades of active study & collecting, competing & hunting with a wide variety of primarily original English & European flint & percussion firearms developed by the worlds master gunmakers who set world records for long range accuracy,, they taught the world about any successes in accuracy we achieve today.
Early master English & European gunmakers who immigrated to America's colonies taught most of our early gunakers how to build.

*The vast majority of the large bore rifled long guns i've owned & competed that were developed to shoot patched round balls usually feature rifling with one turn in length of the barrel & the rifling depth has varied from .012 to .018 deep.
The above large bore rifles generally had 2-3 leaf rear sights & required powder charges of approximately 80 gr of 2F to provide exceptional long range accuracy.
Everyone has their favorite style & period firearm. I tended to gravitate mostly to big bore Jaegers & English & French sporting rifle & pistols because of their quality workmanship, light weight & unbeatable accuracy if I loaded properly & did my part.

Rifling depth is usually deeper in all earlier vintage PRB firearms, I suspect to utilize the thicker fabrics mfg of that era or use of buckskin as patching material.
I have recovered original flint & percussion era round ball firearms that were still loaded with buckskin used as patching.

* Early firearms that were designed to primarily shoot projectiles generally featured much shallower depth rifling with a faster twist.
The rifling depth & rate of twist on Whitworth & belted ball rifles I've owned & shot are exceptions.
** Powder charges:
Almost without exception all of the above 'original' rifles including the Whitworth were designed to require much less of a powder charge to obtain suburb long range accuracy.
Relic shooter,, at 81 I'm now a relic :)
Me too "
Relic shooter,, at 81 I'm now a relic
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"Me too" - A Relic Shooter,, at 83 I'm now a relic
1702237474285.png
:doh:
 
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