Muzzleloader shooting distance

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TFoley

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At the Battle of Inkerman in 1854, the 'thin grey line' of the British 1st Division opened fired on the advancing Russians at 1200 yards with volley fire. And continued as the Russians advanced shooting massed volley fire every 200 yards until the opposition got close enough for individual aimed fire to be used. By that time there were almost 8000 Russian dead and 15,000 injured.

True, the British were shooting their spiffy new .602 calibre Pritchett bullets - like a smooth-sided Minié bullet - but still with the comparatively low charge of just under 70gr.

An observer noted that the 'new ball was passing through as many as three ranks of oncoming Russians at a time, laying them down like the Avenging Angel...'
 

GANGGREEN

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That's how I feel. I really do think that there was a time when I may have been capable of those shots and may have even taken them under absolutely perfect conditions, but those days are past, at least with open sights and no "aids" of any sort.


Idaho Ron is the one to ask!

Some men , gifted men can do it, or young men with good eyes.
I was such a man once. Not anymore.
 

tenngun

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I know Levine writing in 1847 recommended for HBC employees working in Canada to get a smoothbore, as at sixty yards it ‘would hold as good as a rifle’ and hunting was rare beyond that range
 

Loyalist Dave

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Many fine English rifles had a standing rear sight with folding leaves for distances past 100 yards.
I've seen and handled many Express rifles with folding rear sights up to 500 yards.... that's much too far for me and most hunters, but they were there.
True and Germans had adjustable sights from the 1750's onwards, But Forsyth did not. He simply lined up the sights and then shot what he aimed at and he didn't want to fool with range estimates.

LD
 

Tom A Hawk

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54 Hawken
120gr charge is nearly 2000fps
225gr RB with BC 0.08
At 150yds the ball is traveling at 1000fps with 500ft-lbs. energy.
I believe I’ve read that many original Hawken’s were sighted in at 130yds.
Many of us would not attempt so such an animal, but I believe if placed in the lungs - it would kill.
Thats pretty much my load. Here is a water jug at 100 yards.

 

Tanker

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Thanks for all the great info. I may try to do some experimenting with mine to see if I can do a little longer range shooting.
 

Frontier's

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Can't comment on moose. But if he was using conicals, yes no problem. My limit is 150 yards for elk with a 54cal patched round ball.
I was watching a hunting show. The guy was using a Hawken rifle with Minie balls. Never said the caliber but guessing about a 54 cal. Can't tell the make but it looks just like my pedersoli. Mine is flint his was percussion. During the show he said I need to get the Moose within 150yds to shoot it. That's seems pretty far to me. So I wonder would it be possible to shoot that rifle that far and still have enough energy to kill a Moose. What everyone thought on this? It very well could be possible. I shoot mine a max at 100 yds but I am going for whitetail with round balls.
 

longcruise

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Idaho Ron is the one to ask!

Some men , gifted men can do it, or young men with good eyes.
I was such a man once. Not anymore.
I too was once that man. I was 29 when I killed my first ml elk with a tc 50 and 370 grain maxi ball on 70 grains of ff at 131 yards. Offhand shot that i had complete confidence in. Double lung.

That's how practice and good eyes work. The eyes are 75 now and my max accuracy distance is about the same. :ghostly:
 

Dray Calhoun

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Moose have been and continue to be taken with .22 LR by poachers. Close range of course. People sell ML short on their potential. My brother thought they were only accurate to 75 yards max. I showed him that my .54 with 1-66 twist could group under 4 inches at 125 yards with plenty of power. The key is placement. Personally, I wouldn’t go for a deer at anything greater than 75 yards because of MY limitations, not my rifle’s.
 

GoodRabbitPilgrim

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Thanks for the info. Attached in the photo the far left bullet is what the bullet looked like he used.
True minis have a hollow base, and aren't as readily available from what I've seen as a hunting conical.
 

tom_in_vt

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Due to my own abilities, I would never attempt to shoot a moose with a buckhorn sighted muzzleloader at 150 yards. I know that moose can take some serious energy to drop. Chasing a barely visible blood trail into a swamp does not sounds like a fun time to me. I wouldn’t even consider it. I’d say 50 yards or less, but that’s just me.
 

Kansas Jake

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One thing not mentioned by current comments is the shot was taken in war where a wound or maiming was almost as effective as a clean kill. If I were a soldier in the Murphy situation and knew my rifle and was allowed, I would attempt the shot. A hit would involve some luck but probability increases for one who knows their rifle.
 

Art Caputo

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I think a limiting factor back then(besides having the equipment, conditions, and skill level) was range estimation. Given the “rainbow trajectories”, a few yards of ranging error could be the difference between a hit and a miss on game once distances exceed 150 yards. And this doesn’t account for wind adjustments. I agree with Forsyth. I’d say that over 90% my muzzleloader shots on game have been 70 yards or less with a few just beyond 100 yards.
 

Cvkotvkse

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Last night on the History Channel, they showed someone duplicating the alleged Timothy Murphy shot at Saratoga. The marksman used a flintlock long rifle (don't remember if they said the caliber) and hit a 55 gallon oil drum at 330 yards. It took him a couple of shots to dial it in but he did it!
Murphy didn't hit Gen. Fraser with his first shot, either. It missed him and hit a horse behind him. Murphy's second shot with his double-barrelled rifle pretty much center-,punched him...
 

Bergmann

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Last night on the History Channel, they showed someone duplicating the alleged Timothy Murphy shot at Saratoga. The marksman used a flintlock long rifle (don't remember if they said the caliber) and hit a 55 gallon oil drum at 330 yards. It took him a couple of shots to dial it in but he did it!
To a good marksman, which Murphy was, a 300 yard shot with a round ball isn't that much of a problem! I'm sure Murphy wasn't worried about a "clean kill either! He wasn't shooting for food and I don't imagine he cared if his enemy suffered! A good size ball ( Can't find mention of what cal. Murphy was shooting ) carries enough energy at that range to kill, if properly hit, or at least incapacitate a human! Murphy actually used his rifle for survival, so he KNEW its capabilities, and of his own.
 

Bergmann

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Murphy didn't hit Gen. Fraser with his first shot, either. It missed him and hit a horse behind him. Murphy's second shot with his double-barrelled rifle pretty much center-,punched him...
Is the caliber of his rifle known? I've checked a few sources and don't find it mentioned. He probably wasn't holding his tongue right for that first shot. lol
 
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