How much Gun for Big Game? or How Little!

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GomezMunoz1951

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A .58 caliber Navy Arms Buffalo Hunter Rifle was used by Navy Arms founder, Val Forgett, Sr., to take the African “Big Five” (Elephant, Rhino, Buffalo, Lion, and Leopard). Mr. Forgett was the first man in 100 years to accomplish this and was honored by Safari Club International in 1986 for this.Jun 6, 2006. I forget the load he used but it was something ungodly. I remember reading about it in the back of one of the old catalogs.

I bought one and it is an awesome rifle. It is basically a sporterized Zouave Civil War rifle. It is a strong rifle. I was target shooting with friends and was loading while I was talking (lesson learned, pay attention stupid). I lost track of how much powder I put in the dang thing and slid a 505 grain Minie down the barrel. When I fired it, it knocked me on my ass and I had a black and blue bruise from my shoulder to my elbow and I could not use my right arm. Needless to say I did not shoot anymore that day, but after a few weeks when my shoulder stopped hurting I did do some more shooting and the rifle shot fine...
 
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GomezMunoz1951

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How can a dead bear kill you? Food poisoning maybe? This is not a smart a** question, I'd genuinely like to know, this is not bear country down here in South Texas and I've never had an encouner with one.
I presume because they keep on coming even dead on their feet...er paws. In other words they can be hit with a killer shot but it takes a while for them to go down. Now I am not sure about the smaller bears but I imagine the big ones will tear you a new butthole before they go down.
I have a T-shirt that says, "What doesn't kill you will make you stronger....except for bears, bears will kill you."
 

ugly old guy

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What caliber/"how much gun"?
Depends on the state's hunting regulations.
Here in Idaho, you can use a minimum .45 caliber for whitetail deer, and puma, but need a minimum .50 caliber for mountain goat, big horn sheep,and I think prong horn antelope, even tho they are about the same size as a whitetail.
Bigger game like Elk, Moose, and black bear require a minimum of .50 caliber.

I have a .54 caliber. I've never been much for going "minimum".

Would I shoot a moose with a 12 gauge magnum slug? At under 30 or 40 yards, why not? They are good for Griz and browns at close range.

White Hunters in Africa use the 12 guage with slugs (and 0000 buck) when a client wounds a lion and they have to go into the neck high grass looking for it.
 

Loyalist Dave

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It is about energy, not a accuracy.

A 1.1/4 ounce Federal foster slug at 1520 fps produces 2806 of muzzle energy. [12 ga]

My 12 bore muzzleloader with a 27" barrel will do 1475 with 220 grains of 2F and a 560 grain ball. A longer barrel would be very equal.

I only use 125FF. Plenty of power.

So I think a foster slug is an equal comparison. Maybe not the best........but what is better?

Everyone should be made to shoot them, they would have a whole new appreciation for muzzle loaders.[smooth bore and foster slugs]
I understand that you are using the "energy" measurement when trying to compare, but please don't fall into the "energy" fallacy, when talking black powder muzzleloaders and hunting.

So NO I wouldn't take a 1 oz. Foster slug at 1600 fps after an elk or moose,
But I would take the same weight and velocity Brenneke slug, because they shoot more accurate from my observations... ;)
But back to your point....

So what you really want to know..., would a 16 gauge smoothbore shooting a .662 one ounce lead ball, at 1400 fps be acceptable on an Elk or Moose? 🤔

The answer is yes, as long as it's an accurate load from the gun, and the range is correct for that accuracy.
In fact the 20 gauge fusil was widely used in Canada for moose during the black powder era, and that was a 3/4 ounce ball, likely moving at less than 1400 fps. 🙂👍

LD
 

BS

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I understand that you are using the "energy" measurement when trying to compare, but please don't fall into the "energy" fallacy, when talking black powder muzzleloaders and hunting.

So NO I wouldn't take a 1 oz. Foster slug at 1600 fps after an elk or moose,
But I would take the same weight and velocity Brenneke slug, because they shoot more accurate from my observations... ;)
But back to your point....

So what you really want to know..., would a 16 gauge smoothbore shooting a .662 one ounce lead ball, at 1400 fps be acceptable on an Elk or Moose? 🤔

The answer is yes, as long as it's an accurate load from the gun, and the range is correct for that accuracy.
In fact the 20 gauge fusil was widely used in Canada for moose during the black powder era, and that was a 3/4 ounce ball, likely moving at less than 1400 fps. 🙂👍

LD
Loyalist Dave, The term 'Foster Slug' is just a reference for a type. Just needed a comparison.

Once you get a big ball moving it is hard to stop. Just not a long range gun.

Hence my motto: "Get Close and Wackem Hard"
 

Loyalist Dave

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Right, you understand, but alas, too many folks do a ..., what word should I use..."wider" comparison. They look at "energy" in modern rifle rounds and look at BP and I think it's a good way to start a discussion, equating what they know of modern ammo to a BP load, it's actually pretty far off, and too many of the guys who shoot modern rounds only look at "energy".

That Taylor link is pretty interesting. Thanks!
When BP hunters use a round ball, there's a different terminal reaction upon impact, than a modern hunter using a spitzer bullet ...even when that modern bullet impacts at the same speed as the round ball.
I've always thought some sort of "inertia rating" would be a better evaluation, and perhaps that's what Taylor's numbers show?

Alas, there is a big difference between the jacketed bullets that Taylor was testing and using, and the soft lead slower moving round ball or even conicals that we often use.

LD
 
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In the summer of 1974, I walked into an extremely old country store in Spotsylvania County, VA. It actually had an ancient cracker barrel for 5cents each and another pickle barrel for a dime - though neither had been used in years. There was an old Iron Stove in the center with a God only knows how old couch and a couple of easy chairs, with the shelves all around it and more front and back in the store. I went there because they still had a small butcher shop run by the owner and you could get country baloney and cheeses sliced to whatever thickness you wanted along with single buns. They got a Kick out of a "Kid" and "Not from around here" who ordered a half inch slice of baloney with a 1/4 inch slice of cheese, bun, mustard and dill pickle along with a Moon Pie and RC Cola for lunch. I was going through it like Jackson in the Valley, so they figured I might be "all right."

I asked about hunting deer in the area and eventually was told the story about one Ole Boy who took one with just his hunting knife during the Depression. Seems Bubba was standing next to a tree along a deer trail. He heard something moving his way, so he carefully peeked around the tree and he spotted a good size doe walking toward him. Seeing how it was the Depression, they guy thought he would save money on cartridges and wait until the deer got close, then Bubba would jump out and deliver the coup de tat with his hunting knife. Well, Bubba jumped and grabbed the Doe around the neck and began to "Stawb her." The Grocery Store owner was nearby and he claimed he heard Bubba yelling in pain and cussing as she drug him back and forth through half the county before she went down for the count.

Now the Ole Boy Grocer was a gifted story teller and he spun the tale well. You could not help but be fascinated as he wove the story. Finally I looked at him with a grin and said, "Y'all are funnin' me, aren't you?" He smiled and looked over to an Old Timer sitting on the couch and said, "Bubba, lift up your shirt." My jaw dropped when I saw the evidence of old scars and stiches ALL OVER his chest and belly. The Doe had gone down, but not before she had kicked the living daylights out of him many, MANY times with her hooves. Once I got over my shock, I asked, "Did she eat good?" Bubba said she was some of the best deer meat he ever had.

Gus
 

R.J.Bruce

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That re
In the summer of 1974, I walked into an extremely old country store in Spotsylvania County, VA. It actually had an ancient cracker barrel for 5cents each and another pickle barrel for a dime - though neither had been used in years. There was an old Iron Stove in the center with a God only knows how old couch and a couple of easy chairs, with the shelves all around it and more front and back in the store. I went there because they still had a small butcher shop run by the owner and you could get country baloney and cheeses sliced to whatever thickness you wanted along with single buns. They got a Kick out of a "Kid" and "Not from around here" who ordered a half inch slice of baloney with a 1/4 inch slice of cheese, bun, mustard and dill pickle along with a Moon Pie and RC Cola for lunch. I was going through it like Jackson in the Valley, so they figured I might be "all right."

I asked about hunting deer in the area and eventually was told the story about one Ole Boy who took one with just his hunting knife during the Depression. Seems Bubba was standing next to a tree along a deer trail. He heard something moving his way, so he carefully peeked around the tree and he spotted a good size doe walking toward him. Seeing how it was the Depression, they guy thought he would save money on cartridges and wait until the deer got close, then Bubba would jump out and deliver the coup de tat with his hunting knife. Well, Bubba jumped and grabbed the Doe around the neck and began to "Stawb her." The Grocery Store owner was nearby and he claimed he heard Bubba yelling in pain and cussing as she drug him back and forth through half the county before she went down for the count.

Now the Ole Boy Grocer was a gifted story teller and he spun the tale well. You could not help but be fascinated as he wove the story. Finally I looked at him with a grin and said, "Y'all are funnin' me, aren't you?" He smiled and looked over to an Old Timer sitting on the couch and said, "Bubba, lift up your shirt." My jaw dropped when I saw the evidence of old scars and stiches ALL OVER his chest and belly. The Doe had gone down, but not before she had kicked the living daylights out of him many, MANY times with her hooves. Once I got over my shock, I asked, "Did she eat good?" Bubba said she was some of the best deer meat he ever had.

Gus
That reminds me of the idiots that tried to lasso an elk off of three wheelers back in the 80's in Washington state. They not only got all of the S$$T kicked out of themselves by the ****** off female, but when the game wardens found out they got fined up the Yahoo. The Fish & Game guys went in and found the worn out female with the rope burns on her neck, put a collar on her, tracked her, and when she died several weeks later due to being so stressed by the ordeal, the three idiots got cited for hunting out of season, and wanton destruction of a game animal. Plus, they lost the three wheelers through confiscation.
 

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I've killed game with a variety of calilbers over the years, but I agree with former statements concerning using larger calibers. A guy might do just fine with a .45 for larger game, but for me anymore, I would be using my .62 with a rifled barrel. A larger caliber isn't going to do much more damage, but is going to guarantee further penetration due to the increased weight of the ball. Lots of game is taken with smaller calibers, but a guy should use something that is more likely to be effective if his shot is slightly off from where he wants it to hit too.....
Exaftly, I'm shooting a .45 bullet 275gr at 2600fps so I'm not concerned about what I can & cant knock down out to 500-600yds. Truthfully, one simply can not fathom the enormity of a kodiac grizzly bear. No TV snows are going to come remotely close to seeing one up close & personal. I got to see a whole kodiac grizz mounted standing up 9' tall to the head, front paws even higher. Massive doesnt quite say enough & angry or hungry, theres not bein armed heavy enough IMHO
 

R.J.Bruce

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Exaftly, I'm shooting a .45 bullet 275gr at 2600fps so I'm not concerned about what I can & cant knock down out to 500-600yds. Truthfully, one simply can not fathom the enormity of a kodiac grizzly bear. No TV snows are going to come remotely close to seeing one up close & personal. I got to see a whole kodiac grizz mounted standing up 9' tall to the head, front paws even higher. Massive doesnt quite say enough & angry or hungry, theres not bein armed heavy enough IMHO
When you see those standing mounts of grizzly bears, brown bears, and polar bears in the Eddie Bauer store in Anchorage, or in the concourse of the Anchorage airport; it reminds you of just how insignificant a 5"9", 165 pound human man is against such tremendously large animals.

A small yearling grizzly bear weighs 350-450 pounds, and compared to a human, has off the charts strength. Fully grown apex predator bears are as fast as an Arabian race horse for short distances, and fear nothing. Every year in Alaska they manage to defeat man's best efforts to keep them out of their dwellings, and their food supplies.
 

oldwood

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Back in the early 1980's , a young fellow's dad had me build him a late Lancaster .50 cal. long rifle , using r/b w/80 gr. FFFG. Dad taught son the basics of Pa. deer hunting , and turned him loose. The son ended up after university in Colorado Springs. The son , every season , sends me a photo of the elk he shoots w/ the .50 long rifle built for him , years ago. Personally , .50 has been one of my favorites for Pa. deer , but one time I lost a deer due to poor judgment. We found the wasted deer the following day , spoiled. I was so disturbed by my mistake , by the following season I had built a rifled .62 cal. long gun . Used 90 gr. FFG for the accuracy load. That rifle was an amazing killer. If you could get a body hit on a Pa. deer, it could be chased down easily. As a bonus , the .62 was very accurate. Had a deer come off a drive into an open field one day near dark. I had a life time of shooting experience and knew what my.62 could do and again attempted something stupid. I tooka good rest and touched the shot off at the walking broadside cervid. There where other deer walking with her , and they ran away . Since the shot was long , I attempted to step off the distance. At 180 steps , I quit stepping , though I had a witness , figuring nobody would believe what just transpired , anyway. I looked for the deer , and couldn't locate the body. Just as dark was setting in , a young driver announced there was a dead deer laying in a hole not 30 yds. from where the hunting party stood. The .62 went through her neck. The big ball went a little ahead of the spot chosen for the hit. That rifle got too heavy for me to carry when I reached 70 yrs. old , so it was sold to an elk hunter going to Colorado. It is said things go full circle in time , I'm back to a light early Valentine Fondersmith Lancaster rifle in tried and true , .50 Cal. w/ a cobbled up tang peep sight. I can still go deer hunting w/ this rifle from a ladder tree stand. Happiness again............................oldwood
 

R.J.Bruce

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When I had that .62 caliber longrifle made back in the early 90's I was not expecting it to be as pleasant to shoot as my .45 & .50 caliber rifles. Nor, for some silly reason was I expecting it to be as accurate. I was surprised that it took only 75 grains of fffg black powder to achieve silver dollar size groups at 100 yards. For some reason I thought that, even with a 1:48" twist, the Getz barrel was going to require powder charges above 100 grains. Not so. It was very accurate at 75 grains of fffg, and I never looked for a more accurate load. I mean, with my lousy eyesight, silver dollar size 5-shot groups at 100 yards, offhand (every once in a while), were MORE than sufficient for hunting at 50 yards (my personal limit).
 

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No bear expert here, but:
One of the part time neighbors was working on his cabin and I stopped to say Hi. We got to talking about deer hunting and he said how he use to hunt deer on Kodiak. I looked at his back side and he gave me a ? look. I said I was looking for the part that the bear bit off. He says: "You must be thinking of my father." My turn to look? He continues: "He is the only F&G confirmed knife defense against a brown bear."

As to the tread subject: I only have a .54 Renegade and that is what I'll use to hunt with. I have the TC Maxi-Ball, Maxi-Hunter, and round ball molds for it. I also have a Lee RB mold. I'm thinking I'll stick with the Maxi-Ball for hunting Moose...and maybe Bison if I ever get lucky enough for a tag.

I'm always picking up more information from the nice folks on here, so maybe I'll try something else in the future.
 

Nameless Hunter

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Exaftly, I'm shooting a .45 bullet 275gr at 2600fps so I'm not concerned about what I can & cant knock down out to 500-600yds. Truthfully, one simply can not fathom the enormity of a kodiac grizzly bear. No TV snows are going to come remotely close to seeing one up close & personal. I got to see a whole kodiac grizz mounted standing up 9' tall to the head, front paws even higher. Massive doesnt quite say enough & angry or hungry, theres not bein armed heavy enough IMHO
This one was shot by my brother's pa-in-law near Unalakleet years ago, supposedly at under 20 yards on the 2nd shot.
I would want someone with a BIG backup gun.
Just ignore the guy hamming it up in front... 😛
1623446520127.jpeg
 

nhmoose

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How can a dead bear kill you? Food poisoning maybe? This is not a smart a** question, I'd genuinely like to know, this is not bear country down here in South Texas and I've never had an encouner with one.
He is actually saying you think the bear is dead but it is not. That has cost many in hospital time and funeral costs for their family. Does that help?
 

BS

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I did some syphering with my new .69 cal rifle. using 125FF it shoots a 480 gr RB at 1300 fps.
I made up this chart:
69-1300x3w.jpg

What it shows Is what I have always thought.......Get Closer!
A 150-175 grains if FF should do 1500 fps.
1300 Kicks less than a 20 ga slug.
Basically you gain 25 yards for 200 fps.
 

bud in pa

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In an issue of Muzzleloader Magazine, an article about Forsyth rifling, Ross Seyfried wrote that his Purdy .66 hit (Roosevelt) elk as hard as anything he had shot them with including his 340 Weatherby Mag. His load was 1oz roundball at 1300fps, IIRC.
I remember reading that story. At first he worried that his gun wouldn't be enough. As I remember the elk was crossing the creek, at the shot the way the elk reacted Seyfreid worried that he wouldn't make it out of the creek. He also stated that this was one of the biggest elk he had ever seen. He owned the elk hunting ranch that he hunted on.
 

Dibbuk

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My opinion only:

I have muzzleloaders from .30 to .58 cal. However the most accurate rifle for me is a .50 cal., so that is the one I would pick.
 

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