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LME

45 Cal.
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My observation, it's the .50. I wonder if the movie Jeremiah Johnson had Johnson finding the frozen Hatchet Jack's gun to be a .54 caliber that might have changed things a bit. Then I need to remind myself that according to anti- gunners Hollywood has no impact on how people view firearms. 🙄
I believe a .50 cal. is more popular because finding them is easier to find than '54 cal. balls?
 
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I believe currently the .50 to be the most dominant on the market. But, not too many years ago smaller calibers were popular. With us modern ml'ers, I believe the .45 was the most widely used. Back to about 1930, from what I have read, the .36 was the 'go to' size in the east, dunno about western travelers. The widespread use of .54 and .58 Hawkens in the moutains is, IMHO, widely exaggerated.
 

Rock Home Isle

58 Cal.
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Back in the day, the .50 calibre was very popular because it was a legal calibre to hunt big game in every state, and minimum calibre for elk. The guys that didn’t hunt were buying .50’s, so that if they ever needed to sell the gun, it could be easily sold around hunting season.
 
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We see a lot of .54 and .45 back in the day. I THINK that the fact you got two shots to an ounce of lead was a factor in .54, and a .58 was two dozen shot to a pound, and .45 was four dozen
72, a dozen shots, .58 two dozen, .45 four, .36 eight
 

Stykbow

45 Cal.
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45’s seemed most common here. My first was a 50 and I can remember guys asking me why I got one in such a big caliber.🙂 The 50 seems to rule nowadays.
 
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Urban Coyote

32 Cal.
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I've personally knew two accomplished muzzleloading gun builders, both hunters and competitive shooters, and their favorites? One said .45 and .54 for game larger than deer the other in solid for the .50 all around.
 
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Seem to see more .50's for sale these days in used guns. Have no clue as to numbers actually produced over the last 40 years. Somebody surely has the numbers. As mentioned earlier, many states had/have minimum caliber requirements for primitive weapon seasons. Here, it was .40 for a long time.
 

Bushfire

🇦🇺 Australia
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I think for roundball guns the best/most versatile is 54. Relatively flat trajectory, recoil that nearly all if not all can learn to manage, big enough for big game and can be used on smaller game too.

It should be the most popular for a hunting gun if you regularly hunt elk sized game as well as smaller deer, but the 50 is a good calibre particularly if you're using fast twist guns.

I love them all, though I don't own anything smaller than a 50. I have one 50, three 54s and soon two 62s (smoothies).
 

Snake Pleskin

54 Cal.
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I think the 50 makes a well balance firearm. it has enough "ummmph" to get the job done on most animals, except maybe large bear, and it generally shoots well in most rifles etc and is not over kill for most applications. You can use less powder, less lead, and still get the result you need. (IMHO)
 
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My observation, it's the .50. I wonder if the movie Jeremiah Johnson had Johnson finding the frozen Hatchet Jack's gun to be a .54 caliber that might have changed things a bit. Then I need to remind myself that according to anti- gunners Hollywood has no impact on how people view firearms. 🙄
It's all application. I started off shooting a .45, 100 years ago. I've owned and shot everything from .25 to.75 and I like them all. My 2 favorite calibers are .40 and .58. The .40 for accuracy and the .58 for the "big ball" advantage during woods walks. I like the .54 in the smoothbore.
 

smoothshooter

50 Cal.
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My observation, it's the .50. I wonder if the movie Jeremiah Johnson had Johnson finding the frozen Hatchet Jack's gun to be a .54 caliber that might have changed things a bit. Then I need to remind myself that according to anti- gunners Hollywood has no impact on how people view firearms. 🙄

Pre-1900, there was not as much standardization of calibers as there is now.
There were lots of calibers in use ( .48/.47/.49/.50/.52, etc. ).
 
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I think the .50 is probably the most popular. I have three. One because I wanted a nice one and the other two because they were good deals I thought. I like all my guns though and rotate their use not shooting one more than the others. .62 cal smoothies down to .32 cal. There's 4 handguns thrown into the crowd also.
 

DixieTexian

Pilgrim
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I wish I could find a graph like this with just data from the last 200 years, but this should tell you all you need to know about why the most popular calibers have increased in size over the last 100 years.
Estimated-US-Deer-Population-1450-to-2016-Year-2000-to-2016-estimated-from-combined.png
 

DixieTexian

Pilgrim
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Also, as disposable incomes have increased, people are more likely to think they may one day be able to afford to make an Elk or larger game trip one day, so they are more likely to buy something like a .54 for their first muzzleloader.
 
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I believe.50 is the most popular around these parts but I favor the smaller bores like .36 to .40.
If I were to have only one it would probably be a .45
 

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