Which Flintlock Deer Rifle

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I'm all done with Chemo, but the aftermath is becoming a real bore. I've been stuck day after day getting blood products and other stuff through the IV to get me out of the hole that the Chemo dug. Honorable #2 Son, Moose, has been carting me around. He's the one that just scored a .32 cal squirrel gun.

We were talking yesterday about deer and flintlocks. First off, a quick question about the .32 cal squirrel gun. It's legal to take deer with this flinter, but is it advisable? I've not had any experience, so I didn't know the answer.

Now for the big question: Moose wanted to know what my thoughts were on a dedicated flintlock deer rifle. My previous experience has been with a .54 TC Hawken caplock. It did the job, and back in the early 80's the common wisdom seemed to be .54 being an optimal bore for deer with patched round ball. We already have 2 Hawken-style caplocks in the family. Probably the next one ought to be a fullstock if practicable.

What are your thoughts on a flintlock deer rifle?
I'm a Georgian. And I live in Alabama. Biggest deer I killed weighed 200lbs DRT, undressed, as I shot him. He was an 11 point deer I thought was an 8 point at 160 yards. I shot him in the backbone. Through a hogwire fence. In the rain/fog of November. With a .30-06.

I would have never dared such a shot with a flintlock. That said, if I were gonna try that shot with a flinter, it would have been a .50 or better. With PRB generic physics is worth more than modern ballistics.
 
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I'm all done with Chemo, but the aftermath is becoming a real bore. I've been stuck day after day getting blood products and other stuff through the IV to get me out of the hole that the Chemo dug. Honorable #2 Son, Moose, has been carting me around. He's the one that just scored a .32 cal squirrel gun.

We were talking yesterday about deer and flintlocks. First off, a quick question about the .32 cal squirrel gun. It's legal to take deer with this flinter, but is it advisable? I've not had any experience, so I didn't know the answer.

Now for the big question: Moose wanted to know what my thoughts were on a dedicated flintlock deer rifle. My previous experience has been with a .54 TC Hawken caplock. It did the job, and back in the early 80's the common wisdom seemed to be .54 being an optimal bore for deer with patched round ball. We already have 2 Hawken-style caplocks in the family. Probably the next one ought to be a fullstock if practicable.

What are your thoughts on a flintlock deer rifle?
All the best for your recovery! Great that you're thinking about Flintlocks, a happy place to be!
 
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In Pa. , .44 cal. or better is legal for deer. Deer here are from 120 lb. to 250 lb's. + A .50 cal. round ball with 80 gr. FFFG will drive a ball diagonally through a 140 lb. buck , from breaking the left front shoulder , to finding the r/b under the hide in the right rear aspect of the rump. That's a lot of bones , and organs to penetrate. I killed 20 + deer , using this longrifle. Used this same custom built longrifle in competition for 12 years , due to its accuracy , and its ability to knock down any steel target , out to 200 yds.. The reason I sold that .50 , was a desire to try other calibers for deer. My hunting buddy , had used a custom built.58 longrifle the same number of years , I had used my .50 , so I jumped to the .62. Years back , Dick Getz told me the .62 was an accurate caliber , and a real power house for any big game. I did a scratch built long rifle with a 38 in. long by 1" straight oct . w/a weight of around 7 3/4 lb.. From the beginning , 90 Gr. of FFG was the most accurate. Killed several Pa. flintlock deer with it , one shot in an open farm field was 175 + yds. . That .62 was my overall favorite deer rifle until my health began to fail about 10 yrs. ago. Now , I use a scratch built long rifle in the reliable .50 round ball. The flint gun weighs in at about 6 3/4 lbs. . I hunt from ladder stands now , where shooting is around 50 Yds. I cobbled up a tang mounted peep sight which allows for seeing the target , and front sight , making the rifle scary good , accurate out to 100 yds, It's Good to know , I might have a fine chance to hit a deer at that distance , once again. That's most of my history about trying different calibers for deer. ..........Oh , one thing , the .62 , with a regular muzzle crown , is near impossible to load w/o a short starter. .................oldwood :thumb:
Good info! Pa. is one of the premier deer hunting states in the Union. You obviously have lots of experience! I shoot modern rifles at 200 yds., and it's a loooong distance! I don't hunt, but can appreciate the detailed comments you've made here. Thanks.
 

ffg

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.45 220gr. maxi with 90gr FFG will reach out to great lengths, and give you devastating results, when I shoot any B.P. rifle I know the load is right by that crack sound of the blast
 
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Good info! Pa. is one of the premier deer hunting states in the Union. You obviously have lots of experience! I shoot modern rifles at 200 yds., and it's a loooong distance! I don't hunt, but can appreciate the detailed comments you've made here. Thanks.
Gee Art at 200 yards the bullet in a un-mentionable is just starting to fly correctly. I shoot long distance with those type rifles really do not get to excited until past the 500 yard mark, Best shot I ever seen on a animal was Wyoming 2019 seen four come in off a ridge at first they were close to seven hundred yards, since I had allready filled my tag the day before (a 250 yard shot off hand) told my buddy about the goats, we put a sneak on them closed the distance to 600 yards since there was no more cover he set up, I ranged the antelope boom dead goat. Just saying. 😉
 

ryoung14

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Inside me is a bumbling idiot that makes himself known at the worst times. That plus wanting the deer down within yards of where shot has made me a big fan of the 54. My land is only about 50 acres and I do what I can to avoid tracking on the neighbor's land.

Having just finished chemo, you're probably not as spry as you once were. May I suggest the short barrelled (24") Lyman Deerstalker made by Investarms. It's handy, easy to carry, accurate and powerful in 54. Lyman guns are getting hard to find, but Investarms makes a version of the same rifle. Muzzle-loaders.com carries them.
 
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Greenswlde and Snydly, long story short. I was squirrel hunting, hunkered down with my 1400 fps Benjamin when 2 deer came fighting out of the brush near me. I thought something was odd. One of them acted strange with blood shot eyes and a raging different attitude. The little one quit and ran. The crazy one turned, maybe 20 yds away, tongue out and looked at me weird. I aimed for his head. He spun wildly and dropped in his tracks. He served to feed a poor family nearbye. I hunt only for others less fortunate than i.
 

flconch53

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For the .32 calibre & deer…use a Maxi-Ball. A .32 calibre shooting a Maxi-Ball would be fine for deer sized big game. Limit your distances to under 50 yrds…molds are readily available.

For flintlocks and deer sized big game, if you wish to use a .40 calibre, I’d recommend, again, that you use some sort of a Conical Bullet. From .45 calibre and above, a PRB is fine.

My personal GOTO is a .54 calibre, but that is because I use primarily one rifle to hunt with…and I like to hunt elk.
The only probelm with that is the rifling. As a rule rifling for a patched round ball and a maxi may not be interchangeable. It depends on the gun. I would buy a few and try them but wouldn't be surprised if it didn't group.
 

Rock Home Isle

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The only probelm with that is the rifling. As a rule rifling for a patched round ball and a maxi may not be interchangeable. It depends on the gun. I would buy a few and try them but wouldn't be surprised if it didn't group.
I agree completely. I have a .32 calibre Pedersoli Blue Ridge that groups Maxi-Balls inside 2” at 50 yrds, my dad’s .32 calibre Blue Ridge has a hard time keeping them on a pie plate at the same distance. But if the regulations allows a .32 calibre for deer sized big game…I’d suggest going with a Maxi-Ball…
 

shaman

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Thanks all for the suggestions. I think Moose was asking about the 32 cal hoping there'd be a good reason not to go that route. My guess is he wants a second flintlock just for deer hunting. He hasn't even shot the squirrel gun yet and already he's hooked enough to want a second flinter.

Let me go back in time to the early 1980s. That's when I started muzzleloading and deer hunting. The idea of using a front-stuffer on deer was a fairly new thing. I had a buddy who hunted one of the first Ohio ML seasons, and his rifle was a .45 cal TC Hawken purchased in the early 70s. Fast forward to the early 80s. By then the fashion had gone to either a 50 cal or .54 cal for whitetail, and I was agonizing over the choice. Somebody opined that the .54 was better in a roundball whitetail gun, because it put significantly more lead into the deer. This is all patched roundball, so I figure we're talking about a 50 yard maximum range.

Shortly after this, everyone started talking inlines, and conicals and the fashion became .50 cal.

My questions are as follows: To what extent were these changes based in reality and how much was just . . .well, fashion? Have any of y'all actually made any sort of comparison?
 
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Think velocity and mass of projectile, Never done any purposeful testing but the mass x velocity tells me bigger balls matter. MY TAXIDERMIST HAS A BOX OF ITEMS TOOK OUT OF DEER HEADS AND THE MAJORITY OF THEM ARE 22 CAL RIFLE BULLETS. If for nothing else you need to respet the animal your hunting, and put every effort into a clean kill, There in is my take on the big bores and knowing your limits on range.
 
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I'm all done with Chemo, but the aftermath is becoming a real bore. I've been stuck day after day getting blood products and other stuff through the IV to get me out of the hole that the Chemo dug. Honorable #2 Son, Moose, has been carting me around. He's the one that just scored a .32 cal squirrel gun.

We were talking yesterday about deer and flintlocks. First off, a quick question about the .32 cal squirrel gun. It's legal to take deer with this flinter, but is it advisable? I've not had any experience, so I didn't know the answer.

Now for the big question: Moose wanted to know what my thoughts were on a dedicated flintlock deer rifle. My previous experience has been with a .54 TC Hawken caplock. It did the job, and back in the early 80's the common wisdom seemed to be .54 being an optimal bore for deer with patched round ball. We already have 2 Hawken-style caplocks in the family. Probably the next one ought to be a fullstock if practicable.

What are your thoughts on a flintlock deer rifle?
First thing, I'd check your state's hunting regulations. They might spec a minimum caliber. Then consider terrain, cover, size of your deer, and how you intend to hunt. I like the .54 .
Robert Ruark said use enough gun. I believe Elmer Keith said something similar.
 

shaman

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First thing, I'd check your state's hunting regulations. They might spec a minimum caliber. Then consider terrain, cover, size of your deer, and how you intend to hunt. I like the .54 .
Robert Ruark said use enough gun. I believe Elmer Keith said something similar.
KY allows any sized muzzleloader.
 
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Somewhere around 1916 , my dear old Dad was 'bout 9 or 10 yrs. old. He and his , one yr.younger , brother , my uncle went down to my great ,great Grandma's log house at the lower end of the upper Moshannon swamp , in Clearfield Co. , Pa. Grandma , convinced the two grandsons , even though only October , to go up on the first flat of the Ice Mtn. , 'bout a half mile from her house , and git her a deer. Grandma produced a single shot .22 , and gave them a little ammo to burn up , never thinking it would come to anything. Dad said , he and brother , were picking their way through the Laurel above Moshannon Crick , and a doe stood up near them. They shot for her head , and she went a little ways circling around the boys , they shot her again . After a total of 5 shots , she collapsed, dead. Grandma was greatly pleased , and the two kids had killed their first deer. (This is an old true story handed down from my Dad , and my Uncle)................I always wondered what my Great Uncle Dewey , the local Deputy Game Warden said , when he found what the three miscreants had perpetrated? Due to the hard times , in the back woods then , he probably took a little of the meat , if any , and nothing was said , except for a warning issued to Grandma and her minions..........................oldwood
 

hanshi

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Whitetail deer are very easy to kill. Back when I hunted I killed lots of them with a couple of .357 revolvers and a nice .22 Hornet. So we're talking about projectiles moving from about 1200 fps to about 2600 fps. All were taken with one shot. But I've used muzzleloaders since the 1960s and exclusively up until about 6 years ago when I called it quits. A .45 took most of them but a few .50s got in their fair share. I would never aim for the head regardless of range, and I would not use anything under .45; except for instances when all I had available was a .40. I don't like to wound any game.
 
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We were talking yesterday about deer and flintlocks. First off, a quick question about the .32 cal squirrel gun. It's legal to take deer with this flinter, but is it advisable? I've not had any experience, so I didn't know the answer.

Now for the big question: Moose wanted to know what my thoughts were on a dedicated flintlock deer rifle. My previous experience has been with a .54 TC Hawken caplock. It did the job, and back in the early 80's the common wisdom seemed to be .54 being an optimal bore for deer with patched round ball. We already have 2 Hawken-style caplocks in the family. Probably the next one ought to be a fullstock if practicable.

What are your thoughts on a flintlock deer rifle?
About the .32, I have a friend from Kentucky who is a .32 flintlock rifle aficionado along with being a good hobby builder and an excellent shot. Kentucky has no caliber restrictions on muzzle loaders so after some taunts about his "pipsqueak gun" from a few of his fellow workers who used the modern unmentionable stuff he decided to show em a thing or two. Armed with his trusty squirrel gun, he set up near a well-used trail where he had seen a lot of does previously. His intent was to hopefully take a smallish doe and put a quietus on his coworker's ribbings. As it turned out the doe never showed but out of nowhere comes this mature Kentucky 9 pointer that stopped broadside of him at 40 yards...sights aligned on the chest....CRACK goes the 32....The buck bolts, stumbles and falls within sight. Meat was made. I forgot to mention he was using a patched ball.

Now, do I recommend a 32 for deer, absolutely not! I'm pretty sure my friend wouldn't either. As for me and my experience with killing deer with a flintlock, real black powder, and patched ball I'd go with at least a 45 and up and the closer the better. Most of the ones I've taken have been with a 54. Put the ball in the "boiler room" and they won't go far.
 
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