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I have hunted BP elk in AZ for 43 years. First bull .50 TC PRB. 4 shots. All the rest but 1 were .54 or .58 PRB. The 1 was .50 Hornady conical. I hit her feeding and she didn't flinch continuing to graze! As I brough the gun up for another shot she fell over! All other PRB pretty much not an issue. 2 were running, one with .54 one with.58. This year 50 yd shot .54 PRB, turned around as if nothing happen and was found 50 yds away.

IMHO I would NOT use the .50 PRB. At least go conical with the .50. Can it be done? Yep. But our knowledge Game and Fish rule makers only say it has to be loaded from the muzzle so if yer feeling REAL manly take a crocket out and get an eye shot. Perfectly legal, Ethical? Nope. A .50 will do it but throw in a few factors to make a not so perfect shot and ya might come home with tag soup. Elk have an INCREDIBLE will to live. Bull x2
 
Oh, and since you have a pretty desirable rifle already just go with a CVA, Lyman or TC and yer good. Then sell it and get yer $$ back after the hunt. Several on here for sale now. I'd get one of the TC WMC .54 for sale if it were me.
 
I understand .54 caliber gives some advantage.

I'm not opposed to using 54 caliber necessarily, but I think some people get way too caught up Between 50 and 54.

You put that ball where it needs to go, and it's going to do the job.

but it seems a lot of people in here are under the impression that you need a massive ball to take an elk, that's not correct.
A 50 caliber 180 grain ball is more than sufficient with reasonable range to take elk and does it all the time all over the country.

50 caliber is probably the most common used patch in ball size for hunting Elk. It was used quite often historically during that era as well.

In fact,
.45 ball can be used to take elk and does so quite often, although I would go with a minimum of 50, that's just my preference.

The only state that requires .54 ball is Colorado.

Yes,
.54 has some advantages, but it's not as massive as some people think.

A 180 grain .50 round ball with a 90 or 100 grain charge, is absolutely capable and perfectly fine for taking Elk
I’ve got 50 years of fanatical hunting experience all over Nevada and some other western states….there’s the internet, the old school gun writers, theories and there’s reality in the field.
Hunting with a traditional muzzleloader and roundballs is a limiting challenge…most especially in the western states…with extreme wide expanses of sagebrush and steady winds…120 yds is the extreme range of ethical hunting with RBs…a 50 cal is certainly capable in the hands of a well practiced seasoned shooter/hunter…so many variables to contend with…a slightly larger caliber delivering just that much more at an animal that just moved 12 yds further away could make the difference…if it’s worth doing…it’s definitely worth overdoing…go with a 54 or 58…
 
Lancaster gun. Made 1790-1810. Probably worth 5K give or take 1K.
John Guest was a Lancaster builder.
You're spot on.

I was thinking 1790's as well, but based on the angle of the stock, the wood being Birch, and the styling, I'm starting to wonder if it is 1770s to 1780s, early make of his.

The reason I say this, is because between 1802 and 1809, he was busy fulfilling contracts for Thomas Jefferson when he was president, so all of his builds as far as I'm aware, we're part of this contract and would be stamped with a U.S. government proof.
They were overtaxed and had a hard time fulfilling the contract quotas.

This particular rifle doesn't have any US proof marks on the barrel, which makes sense, because such an ornate rifle wouldn't commonly be part of a U.S. government contract.
 
Couldn't agree more.

I’ve got 50 years of fanatical hunting experience all over Nevada and some other western states….there’s the internet, the old school gun writers, theories and there’s reality in the field.
Hunting with a traditional muzzleloader and roundballs is a limiting challenge…most especially in the western states…with extreme wide expanses of sagebrush and steady winds…120 yds is the extreme range of ethical hunting with RBs…a 50 cal is certainly capable in the hands of a well practiced seasoned shooter/hunter…so many variables to contend with…a slightly larger caliber delivering just that much more at an animal that just moved 12 yds further away could make the difference…if it’s worth doing…it’s definitely worth overdoing…go with a 54 or 58…
How much of that involved .50 prb?

If you go on black powder hunting forums, Elk are arguably taken more with .50 prb then any other caliber.
 
Id rather miss hunting season than ever buying another production gun again.
My Pedosorry was the worse firearm I ever owned.
Its been gone for over 25 years, and Im still mad I bought it.
 
As mentioned multiple times above, shot placement is critical, even more so than caliber. Also important is the velocity that your load generates as that will determine bullet trajectory. Higher velocity gives better penetration and expansion - as long as you are accurate. Most hunters don't have the ability to regularly hit the kill zone of an elk beyond 75 yards. Maybe putting the hunt back in hunting is a more challenging choice, get close - aim small. Shoot the caliber you are most accurate shooting on a consistent basis.
 
John Guest was a Lancaster builder.
You're spot on.

I was thinking 1790's as well, but based on the angle of the stock, the wood being Birch, and the styling, I'm starting to wonder if it is 1770s to 1780s, early make of his.

The reason I say this, is because between 1802 and 1809, he was busy fulfilling contracts for Thomas Jefferson when he was president, so all of his builds as far as I'm aware, we're part of this contract and would be stamped with a U.S. government proof.
They were overtaxed and had a hard time fulfilling the contract quotas.

This particular rifle doesn't have any US proof marks on the barrel, which makes sense, because such an ornate rifle wouldn't commonly be part of a U.S. government contract.
That gun is stocked in maple.
 
That gun is stocked in maple.
Hmm
I was told birch.
What makes you think Maple?

I mean to be clear, Maple, Birch and walnut Was all used in the 1700s, I just read that Maple started to become more popular and common in the early 19th century, but Maple was also used throughout the 1700s.

Of course it could be that Maple specifically became more popular in the early 19th century because of the tiger stripping Maple that became more common place.

I'm just going off of what the historians claim in the literature.
 
I agree with most of the replies. Going after Elk with a PRB a .54 is in order. If you must use a .50, I'd use a heavy conical from a barrel with the right twi Even though this topic has nothing to do with caliber karma it appears a caliber debate has started.

I don't have a problem using larger roundball, I may go that route.
however....

Here's the problem I have with most of these replies. those that are saying .54 caliber, most have hunted with nothing but 54 or 58 caliber, and haven't shot elk with a 50.

And yet, those that have hunted with a .50 caliber for years, have come on here and said the these comments are nonsense and they have successfully hunted with .50 caliber for years.

It would appear that a lot of comments aren't based on first-hand knowledge and experience, it's just based on one-sided speculation.

Why do I disagree with some of these claims that you need at least a .54 caliber?

Because some basic research will show you, that the most common sized round ball used for taking Elk is a .50 caliber.

It was used often in the 1700s in that size, and if you go on black powder forums dedicated for hunting bigger games such as Elk, you will have tons of threads of experienced hunters using .50 caliber and telling people that a .50 will do just fine.

Whether you use an a 54, 58, or a 50, you're still going to try to get a shot within a 100 yards, so regardless you're still going to be well within range for a round ball to reach vitals and do what needs to be done if your aim is true..

If your aim is not true, then it doesn't matter if you have the larger bore anyway, because you still have a high chance of not getting a good kill shot, regardless.

Let's put this into perspective...would a 45ACP at point blank range drop an elk?

Of course it would, and a .50 round ball at a 100 yards still has enough energy on target, that it is equal to shooting an elk at point blank range with a hot 45ACP+ load....

"A roundball at 100 yards is still cooking along at 1000 fps and has over 400 ft-lbs of kinetic energy. And it makes a hole at least 0.50" in diameter, guaranteed! Not enough energy? A broadhead arrow has a little over 50 ft-lbs and does a dandy job of killing deer. It ain't the energy, it is the amount and type of flesh you destroy."
-cast bullet.com

The difference between the .50 prb and .54 at a 100 yards, is 100 ft pounds.

Not a significant enough amount to matter energy wise, and both easily penetrate to vitals. While the .54 is a little larger and cause more hemorrhaging to degree, both will easily destroy enough tissue in the vitals.

Elk isnt wearing body armor over their vitals

I find it interesting that people seem to think a .50 caliber can't get the job done well, and yet a Broadhead arrow does the the job just fine in the right spot, and we're sitting here having people argue that a .50 caliber ball with healthy 100 grain charge and still 400 ft pounds of energy at a 100 yards isn't going to be able to do the job?

It should be noted,
some people seem to think faster is always better, but that's not true. you just need enough speed that is necessary to reach vital's, just like with handgun caliber ballistics, if you get too fast, you can reach a point where the speed causes consistency problems because the projectile breaks apart or has integrity issues, so you need to find good balance between speed and weight of the projectile.

Faster is not always better, if you get too fast a ball can mushroom too quick, affecting its ability to reach deep enough.

I'm a retired police officer and have been participating in some ballistic caliber studies, and it's been noted that certain types of bullets going at fast rates of speed have worse problems with the desired effects because they break apart on impact whereas a heavy slower bullet such as a 45 ACP, stays whole and consistent when hitting the target because it doesn't cause problems with integrity.

When it comes to round ball, a .50 round ball is absolutely sufficient when hit in the right spot on an elk, and that applies to any caliber of rifle by the way, to get the job done.
I don't care if you're using a 30-06, if you don't put the bullet where it needs to go in a vital area, you're going to have problems.

Elk in fact are taken all the time with 45 caliber projectiles, 45 caliber round ball takes big bull elks all the time.

The reality is, the difference between a .54 and a .50 is not so much, that it's going to make or break an elk killshot.

It Kind of reminds me of people who have never had experience in grizzly country, and yet if you inquire about caliber's, everyone will tell you you need a 454 casual or a Smith and Wesson 500, when in reality, you could use hardcast in a 357 magnum which is going to allow quicker follow-up shots with enough power to get the job done, and it's plenty sufficient if you hit where needed.

Which is actually funny, because you'll hear people say a 357 is not powerful enough, and then recommend 10mm, and yet a 10mm will never perform better than a hot 357 with bear loads on power.

In fact, 45's with bear load is one of the most popular sold and carried calibers in Alaska.

A 45 ACP with a hard cast projectile can penetrate 33 inches, and doesn't have any problem reaching deep enough to hit vitals.

I bet you money most people would think it doesn't have enough power, but that's also because we've built the grizzly into such a legendary status of an animal, that I think some people get a little too carried away with what you actually need to get the job done.

Here is a great example of a .50 caliber round patched ball hunt, and toward the end of the video you can see a healthy distance taken on a cow elk, and it has no problem getting the job done....

 
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Hmm
I was told birch.
What makes you think Maple?

I mean to be clear, Maple, Birch and walnut Was all used in the 1700s, I just read that Maple started to become more popular and common in the early 19th century, but Maple was also used throughout the 1700s.

Of course it could be that Maple specifically became more popular in the early 19th century because of the tiger stripping Maple that became more common place.

I'm just going off of what the historians claim in the literature.
Ol ComfortablyNumb knows what he's talking about. He's old, grumpy, rubs folks the wrong way, but is nonetheless a very accomplished builder and rifle historian. His real name is in his signature, you can check out some of his work on his website.
 
Ol ComfortablyNumb knows what he's talking about. He's old, grumpy, rubs folks the wrong way, but is nonetheless a very accomplished builder and rifle historian. His real name is in his signature, you can check out some of his work on his website.
I don't question if he's right, I wanted to know why he thought it was maple and what characteristics stuck out to him.
 
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