Excellent article discussing caliber choice, kinetic energy etc.
The writer,Dave Ehrig seems to conclude that the 54 caliber is optimum. The Green Ballistics Chart on Page 61 supports his conclusion. He also stated that if you continue past the 54 cal...kinetic energy actually drops off.
I liked his comment of: "What would you rather be hit by? A ping pong ball traveling 20 MPH or a locomotive traveling 10 mph??"
Let me start by saying hello, first post here. I am a long time flintlock shooter,builder&hunter.
I have taken many deer with the .50 and .54 most will run 50 to 100yards befor pileing up much like deer taken with archery equipment. A few years ago I built a .62 cal rifle of the five deer shot with this gun only one moved off of the spot they was shot and he only made it thirty yards.
Just my two cents worth ,larger cal. pushed by apropriat(spelling?) ammt. of powder = shorter blood trails
Welcome to the traditional muzzleloading forum. We'll look forward to you sharing your expertise. This forum has attracted a fine group of smokepole shooters, and we're always glad to have a new voice.
Bigger is better, maybe.
The problem is, with bigger bore you need more power and heavier projectile, all increase recoil and noise. If you can shoot it well, OK, if not your better off with a smaller caliber.
The author is a good guy, although I don't always agree with what he says. I agree generally that a 54 is probably the best, considering gun weight and barrel length for a hunting gun, that is toted through the woods. However, a 75 caliber Brown Bess with a 42 inch barrel fired with PRB and 100 grains of powder is packing a heck of a wallop at 100 yards. And kinetic energy is one thing, shock value is another. If you get a pass through alot of that energy just keeps on booking with the ball. A 75 caliber hole produces a lot of shock value.
Now I haven't seen the table yet. There is a huge difference between muzzle energy and 100 yd energy. some calibers lose fully 2/3 of the energy by the 100 yds. mark. In addition, PRB's that start out over the speed of sound decelerate faster than their subsonic counterparts. This is due to air piling up in front of the sonic speed ball. slows it down faster.
Also depends on anticipated range. If I know I am likely to have a 130 yd shot or a less than 75 yd shot, I may use a different caliber gun.
No doubt from me either regarding the ole roundball's kill power!! All my roundball deer kills have been complete pass throughs with very quick kills. Only one ever recovered was from a TN wild boar. Regarding the 50 VS 54 debate...I must say the 54 puts em down a lil quicker based upon my wild boar kill plus about 15 deer taken between a 50 & 54 by me. But a 1/2" hole is still a 1/2" hole~!! lol
Below are pics of the 54 Caliber round ball that processor recovered from my approx 300 lb. TN Wild Boar. I didnt get to talk to processor to see where it was recovered from but all i know is that my PA Mountain Rifle was aimed squarely on the hogs front shoulder with hog quartering towards me at approx 50 yards. It collapsed in its tracks with a few quivers & that was it! Of the 3 hogs I have killed: No.1 with a smokeless Savage 10 ML-II launching a 300 grain Barnes MZ solid copper & No.2 with my White Super 91 .504 In-line thowin a .503 cast 460 grain No Excuse Conical....the "ole roundball" produced the quickest kill. Of course...bullet placement has much to do with it but nevertheless....i was impressed!!
Based on condition of roundball it apparently penetrated thru some heavy bone and/or shield.
I was impressed with the expansion of the ole round ball!!! Over 98% weight retention.
Recovered 54 Caliber .535 Round Ball Beside Original