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I would like some advice/opinions here. I drew a bull elk tag in Arizona for the muzzleloader season in early November. I have been on this hunt before with others who drew tags but they all carried the scoped unmentionables. I will be using a 58 caliber flintlock. I hear from a lot of people that you need to be ready in case you hit bone like the shoulder on an elk. Obviously a double lung shot will work but you need to be prepared.

My question is the roundball to use. I cast my own out of soft lead. I have read posts from guys who say to use a harder ball cast from wheel weights. Personally I would rather stick to the balls I use now but given I want to be successful I am open minded to other opinions. I could even use the brass balls that Roundball has tested. Just not sure which way to go and would appreciate input. I will be practicing my shooting at least a couple times a week from now until November so I should have everything in order. This is really my only uncertainty.

I might also add that as all of my friends (4 of us drew tags) will be using scoped 50 caliber unmentionables and I am getting a lot of grief. Sure would like to show em. :grin:

Dave
 

gsday

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A 58 will do a good number on an elk.

I say if your comfortable with your cast balls - use em. Confidence and Accuracy!

Obviously don't shoot them on the point of the shoulder.

I hunt with a 62 cal rifle and have killed 2 elk. Both with nice/big/soft lead balls.

Shot one through both shoulder blades.

Momentum is a wonderful thing!

Good luck! We're heading to Colorado this September. Taking my 62 cal and soft roundballs again.

By the way. My hunting partner shoots a 58 with soft lead roundballs for elk too (successfully!).

Greg
 
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Killed an elk with a .54 at about 30 yards. About 45 degrees off right side, entered behind the ribs exited out front of chest on left side. She went down quick. Soft lead I could scratch with a finger nail. Bigger round will even do better.
 
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Thanks guys. Appreciate the advice. I am going to stick to what I am used to which is the soft lead balls. Now it is practice -- practice. :thumbsup:

Dave
 
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Many over play penetration. A soft lead ball if it flattens right out becomes a cutting disc and much bleeding results.
Go get them and forget those playing the numbers game!

B.
 
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My 58 loves 80 grains of Swiss 3F. Over the powder a 20 gauge felt cushion followed by a .562 ball with a .018 patch. The felt cushion is about an 1/8" thick very lightly oiled with Track mink oil as is the patch. I make my own felt cushions out of durofelt. That is my hunting load and stops whitetails dead in their tracks. :grin:

Dave
 

Vaino

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Have shot a few elk w/ a Hornady swaged .535 RB in a .54 and all the elk fell w/in 50 yds. They were all shot behind the shoulder into the lungs.

The powder charge is 120 grs 3f and this much powder is used to achieve a flatter trajectory.....the last elk was killed at a paced off 107 yds and only went 30 yds after the shot.

Never checked the hardness of the Hornady RBs but seeing they're swaged, why would they add anything to harden the RB? One of the RBs was retrieved from just under the skin of the opposite shoulder and was the size of a quarter.....this elk travelled 30 yds after the shot.......Fred
 
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Never got around to whacking an elk myself with a muzzleloader, but I've helped the followup on half a dozen on our place in the Rockies.

Interesting statistics, even if none were 58 caliber.

First year, three guys, two with 50 cals and super-fast conicals. One guy with a 54 cal and RB over 90 grains of 3f. The RB guy got lots of grief from the "modern" guys the day before the hunt. Both 50 cal shooters tried to shoot too far, claimed in the 125-150 yard range, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was over 150. Wounded both their elk, and a lot of followup needed. The 54 cal RB guy HUNTED and got within 70 yards or so and dropped his with a single shot.

A couple of years later, the same three guys came back, this time all of them sporting 54 cals with RBs over charges I don't remember. Three shots, three elk. All HUNTED to well within 100 yards.

Can't do more than speculate about a 58 RB because like I said, I haven't cut elk hair with one. But I'm betting if you find a load your gun likes that gives reasonable trajectory out to 100 yards, it's backstrap time. In my own several 58 calibers, that's probably a minimum charge of about 100 grains of 2f or 90 grains of 3f to put you right on at 75 yards and around 6" low at 100 and 1" high at 50. Up it to 120 grains of 2f, and you're more like 3-4 low at 100 when right on at 75.
 
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I've taken 2 moose with the .58 PRB behind 110grns of 2f with a felt over the powder wad. The furthest was taken at 75 yds, the closest at about 30 yds. Had complete penetration on both. The 30 yarder dropped in her tracks, the 75 yard moose went about 30 yds and left a blood trail a blind man could follow. Can't complain about the performance. A friend of mine took a moose with a .54 PRB over 120 gr of 2f at 40 yds. Broke both shoulders and exited. needless to say the bull dropped where he stood. I don't think you will have any problems dropping an Elk if you stalk to within 80 yds or so.
 
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Yep, that is the next step is to up the charge. Around here in NY my shots at whitetails are generally 60 yards or less. In fact the eight pointer I got this year was 22 yards. I need to get proficient out to 100 / 110 yards to get ready for Arizona so that is what I will be practicing on. I do shoot out to 100 with my current load and blow up the milk jugs regularly but am most comfortable at 60 and under.

I might add to your story Brown Bear that I get all kinds of grief about using a flinter especially during regular rifle season but guess who won the opening day buck contest this year with his 58 flinter pitted against 7mm, 30-06's etc.....Also the same guys abusing me for using a flinter have all failed on Arizona muzzleloader tags using their 50 caliber scoped you know whats. Two misses and one wound with no recovery. Hope to show them up in Arizona this year. :grin:

Thanks for the input.

Dave
 
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+1 for BrownBear, that's good advice he's giving. 120 grains Ffg is what I load if I'm using the .58 (PRB) (and I'm hunting whitetails). The heavier charge gives you the trajectory for a longer shot on an elk you might otherwise have to pass up. And the extra power is nice to have. The recoil is not unpleasant either, and you never notice it when shooting at game.

I chronographed the load some years back, velocity was around 1600 fps. I'm hazy on the foot-pounds of energy.

Of course now, we have to wait until November for pictures. :grin:
 

Idaho Ron

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Britsmoothy said:
Many over play penetration.

B.


Says a guy that hasn't shot an elk. Anybody that has helped follow up on a "right through the boiler room" shot can tell you on elk you need all the penetration you can get. I have shot close to 20 head of elk. Cows, bulls, calves. A calf is not too hard to knock over. They are about the size of a good sized mule deer. An Adult cow that has some wear on her teeth is a tough critter. A BIG bull is a very tough critter. I have shot all the ones I have killed with conicals. PRB's will do it, I have seen pictures. I have never been on a hunt where using a PRB went well. The 58 should have the steam to get r done. I pounded an adult cow a couple years ago. The conical hit the point of the shoulder, crushed the shoulder and I found the bullet in the flank. SHe still stayed on her feet for 20 yards. Don't underestimate elk. about the time you do you will be wandering around in the dark trying to find one. Ron
 
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I took a friend and his son out one year when they got drawn for cow. This was a regular firearm hunt, and the dad was armed with a Ruger No. 1 in 375 H&H Mag., basically an elephant gun. He shot one at 30 yards through the ribcage, which broke the shoulder on the far side. That old cow kept going, mostly downhill, for close to a half mile. We even found pieces of lung as we were following the blood trail. It passed through both lungs.

The moral of the story is that it doesn't matter how much power you are shooting. Elk sometimes are going to go a long ways even after a good hit with a lot of energy. This one, I think, had been shot at and missed by someone just a few minutes before my friend saw it, so it was full of adrenalin.
 
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The bull I killed last year had me in a panic. Nothing should take multiple 165 grain boat tail through the chest without showing any reaction :shocked2:

Between that bull and my 2013 cow that ran 70+ yards hit hart & lung with out a drop of blood, then dropped dead on a hillside of knee deep sage, but could not be seen until I was within 5 yards.....

I come away with this,

don't take a shot unless you feel sure you can/will make a good hit.

No blood, running like normal, seeming to be unaffected are all signs of a well hit elk

If you are proficient with your rifle & felt the shot was good enough to pull the trigger...Then you killed an elk, disregard thoughts or people that tell you other wise.

Plan on spending the next 8 hours slowly looking for you elk. 90%of the time Hurrying is the wrong thing to do.

Mark your back trail as you track, sometimes when I have lost the trace I have looked back at my marks (often toilet paper) and I find a pattern that I did not recognize until I looked at the bigger picture.

Dead elk smell different then live, even 10 min. dead (I think it is the full relaxing of all the muscles. The stomach lets out gas even with a good chest hit) :idunno: I don't know what to tell you other then I have often KNOWN my elk was dead & near by smell well before I see it.

Gosh I'm long winded about tracking game :yakyak:

In short, that 58 will kill an elk dead right there! But the elk might not admit it until 700 yards later :idunno:
 
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58 caliber said:
Thanks guys. Appreciate the advice. I am going to stick to what I am used to which is the soft lead balls. Now it is practice -- practice. :thumbsup:Dave
That is exactly what you should do! I wish you good luck and want to hear about the look on those other guy's faces when you bag your trophy elk. :thumbsup:
 
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I have only seen two elk that were obviously dead immediately after the hit. One was a young elk I hit in the neck and broke the spine. The other was a 7X7 bull my son hit broadside with an S-10 pickup at about 55 mph. There was considerable deformation of the projectile in both instances .
 
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Gosh I'm long winded about tracking game

Hmmmm! Long winded on the subject of dead elk breaking wind. :confused: :haha: :rotf:

Good advice on follow up after the shot. Especially this:

No blood, running like normal, seeming to be unaffected are all signs of a well hit elk

I had a bull that was double lunged stand around and looking to figure out what the sound of the shot was. I thought "jeez, how could I have missed that shot?". He had not spotted me so I got behind a thick little spruce tree and started to reload. I peeked around the tree a few times while loading and he was still standing in the same spot looking around and scanning his surroundings. It must have taken me at least 30 seconds or more to reload but when finished, I stepped out from behind the spruce and raised the rifle to my shoulder. The bull saw me and turned toward the black timber on each side of the tiny meadow he was standing in and then started to walk toward it, head held high and taking those mincing steps they do when alerted. Then he fell over dead! :shocked2: If that bull had took off at a dead run at the hit he would have covered a lot of ground and all of it in thick tangled blown down black timber a'la 10,000 feet!
 
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marmotslayer said:
Gosh I'm long winded about tracking game

Hmmmm! Long winded on the subject of dead elk breaking wind. :confused: :haha: :rotf:

Good advice on follow up after the shot. Especially this:

No blood, running like normal, seeming to be unaffected are all signs of a well hit elk

I had a bull that was double lunged stand around and looking to figure out what the sound of the shot was. I thought "jeez, how could I have missed that shot?". He had not spotted me so I got behind a thick little spruce tree and started to reload. I peeked around the tree a few times while loading and he was still standing in the same spot looking around and scanning his surroundings. It must have taken me at least 30 seconds or more to reload but when finished, I stepped out from behind the spruce and raised the rifle to my shoulder. The bull saw me and turned toward the black timber on each side of the tiny meadow he was standing in and then started to walk toward it, head held high and taking those mincing steps they do when alerted. Then he fell over dead! :shocked2: If that bull had took off at a dead run at the hit he would have covered a lot of ground and all of it in thick tangled blown down black timber a'la 10,000 feet!

Did the ball/bullet exit?
 

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