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Passthroughs By A Ball

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rodwha

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From when I was first becoming interested in hunting with a patched ball it seemed that what I read of others experiences was that a common medium game caliber (.45-.54) would typically expand and create a nice sound with the ball often found just under the hide out to about 75 yds, but that after that the ball tended to not expand and was typically found to give a complete pass through. Some have claimed otherwise with one feeling it takes a heavy animal such as a buffalo to trap one.

So I’d like to get a better idea of what people tend to experience along with powder charge if possible.
 

longcruise

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From when I was first becoming interested in hunting with a patched ball it seemed that what I read of others experiences was that a common medium game caliber (.45-.54) would typically expand and create a nice sound with the ball often found just under the hide out to about 75 yds, but that after that the ball tended to not expand and was typically found to give a complete pass through. Some have claimed otherwise with one feeling it takes a heavy animal such as a buffalo to trap one.

So I’d like to get a better idea of what people tend to experience along with powder charge if possible.
I've found that to be generally true. Velocity is a variable that can't be accurately predicted by powder charge and the resistant met on impact varies depending on what the ball encounters.
 

Cowboy

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Yes, a lot of variables have to be taken into account my friend. What kind of resistance did the ball encounter? Did it hit bone or clean shot through vital organs? Range, velocity, and energy? Caliber versus size of animal?

Wether a pass through or just under the hide on the other side? One thing is for sure. There isn’t any denying the killing power a round ball is capable of.

Sort of reminds me of some historical accounts of mountain men would retrieve the ball from the killed animal and chew the lead back into a round ball again to be reused over and over again.

Respectfully, Cowboy
 

Grimord

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In my 30+ years of hunting deer with a muzzle loader, (50-58 caliber) I have only recovered one ball and that one traveled almost the full length of the deer. As stated in earlier posts, it depends on the powder charge, range, angle of the shot, and where the ball enters and what it hits inside the animal. I take most of my shots within 75 yards due to failing eyesight not being able to see the iron sights so well. I shoot mostly broadside shots or slightly quartering shots.
 

Walkingeagle

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Also the hardness of the lead used. Home cast balls are often not pure, but salvaged from wheelweights, range scrap, etc. Even the smallest amount of tin will affect the hardness.
Walk
 

Walkingeagle

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Exactly my experience as well Eric. The only consistent pass through I’ve experienced was with a .50 on deer and bear back when I was casting with old wheel weight lead many years ago. Since switching to pure lead, pass throughs are very much variable dependant.
Walk
 

Loyalist Dave

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I have taken deer from 15 feet away to 110 yards away.

The only time my .530 all-lead round ball, launched with 70 grains of 3Fg, didn't pass through the animal was a) the sound of the shot was "odd", without quite the usual BANG (I suspect a contaminated load), and the ball stopped just inside the hide on the far side of the animal. b) When I fired a shoulder shot at the deer, instead of a broadside shot to take out the lungs as I normally have done in previous hunts.

Now the deer down where I am normally don't very often go over 100 lbs. Fellows that I know up in PA report, however, deer about 50% heavier up there, so 140 lbs. to 150 lbs. The heavier the deer the thicker the bones and the thicker the animal, so I'd suppose I'd get less pass-through results. ;)

I like pass through when going for lungs. Two holes are better than 1, and easier to track IF the deer doesn't lay down very close to where hit. I don't like to shoot the heart. It's tasty, and I like to pressure cook the heart. 😋

LD
 

nhmoose

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The only ball I have recovered was with my .40 cal on an 11 point 190 pound buck. It was flattened out just under the skin on off side it had gone through 1 shoulder blade. Shot was at 10 yards.

All other big game was pass throughs including two moose with a 54 cal. RB
 
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Some pass throughs especially the on lung, heart shots and some recovered balls on the opposite side as said just under the hide. With rifles from .50 cal .54 cal. and the .62 these deer were shot at ranges of 15 yards to 90 yards, all the recovered balls were flattened to probably half their original size. I shoot the purest lead I can and believe a lot has to do with angle of shot and definitely if the ball hits bone. It is amazing what a shoulder shot or a forward rib will do to the ball. I once made a shot with the .54 mountain rifle at about 50 yards shooting for the heart area clipped the front leg breaking he bone above the joint deflected the ball a bit towards the forward rib cage took out two ribs destroyed the heart and stopped under the hide opposite side flattened the ball size of a quarter. Deer went maybe 40 yards still. On another a 8 point again with the .54 heart shot on the deer as he was walking past at around 40 yards perfect heart shot as the deer ran after the shot I could see blood pumping out both sides as I reloaded the rifle he made a arc around me as he ran again about 40 yards blood everywhere. So soft lead proper load of BP for the rifle angle of shot, size of the deer and impact area in my opinion has a lot to do with recovered balls.
 

Greg Blackburn

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My hunter mentor told me "deer are smaller but more numerous towards the south but get bigger but less numerous to the north."

He also aimed for the front shoulder figuring "I want to break big bones to make them go down."

He also taught me to load the heaviest bullet possible, hence the affinity for the Hornady Great Plains Bullet. He did not have any interest in anything other than .50, he was a very pragmatic guy.
 

Sidney Smith

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Ive only killed 2 deer with my muzzle loaders so far and both were shot with the same powder charge and weight at about the same distance. Both were comeye pass throughs.
 

Old Hawkeye

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I want pass through wound channels as two holes are better than one in every circumstance. Expansion is irrelevant, as a 45 to 54 cal bullet is "pre-expanded" as they say. A large diameter heavy bullet with a wide flat nose @ moderate velocity will create a wound channel much larger than it's diameter even if it doesn't expand & my experience is it will destroy less meat than high velocity CF rounds. Shot a deer with a 54 cal 535 grain conical that also went through a 4" diameter cottonwood after it went through the deer! Needless to say, I have never recovered one of those bullets.
 

Sparkitoff

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I've only used patched ball in .54 caliber and with 80 grains of powder and a .530 Hornady swaged ball. I've shot a few dozen animals including TX Whitetail Deer, Pronghorn Antelope, Elk and Feral Hog. I've had an equal mix of pass-through and under-the-hide on opposite side. The range varied from 35 - 137 yards (my longest shot). There was no definitive difference with regard to range, the ratio of pass-through or not stayed the same. I've use a .62 ball (no patch) over 80 grain powder and killed deer and hogs and all were exits, but none were over 50-yards.
 

Loyalist Dave

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He also aimed for the front shoulder figuring "I want to break big bones to make them go down."
RIGHT!

A while back a person commenting to our forum had spent one or two seasons using nothing but the "quartering toward the hunter - shoulder shot". He wanted to see if there was a consistent results pattern. He found that YES, when hit in that manner the deer tended to always drop literally in their tracks. Which is why last January, I tried such a shot, and yes the deer folded where she was standing. Well, my sample is only one, but I shall be adding it to any hunting options in the future.

For anybody wondering what my mediocre description of the shot means, I was taught it's aiming thus:

DEER QUARTERING.jpg


LD
 

Walkingeagle

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RIGHT!

A while back a person commenting to our forum had spent one or two seasons using nothing but the "quartering toward the hunter - shoulder shot". He wanted to see if there was a consistent results pattern. He found that YES, when hit in that manner the deer tended to always drop literally in their tracks. Which is why last January, I tried such a shot, and yes the deer folded where she was standing. Well, my sample is only one, but I shall be adding it to any hunting options in the future.

For anybody wondering what my mediocre description of the shot means, I was taught it's aiming thus:

View attachment 47178

LD
Did that shot on my elk this year. Short story, didn’t hit it there due to the sudden turn (to leave) of the bull at the same moment as trigger squeeze, but it died. Just not right there.
Walk
 
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