the smooth bore is a bit more versatile, as far as load and seasons. In general though, accuracy for deer hunting is probably about 75 yds for the smoothie and 25 to 50 yards further for a flint round ball gun. Of course it depends on the caliber/ga. An old Brown Bess throwing a 75 caliber round ball is pretty deadly for a good distance, provided you can figure out how to aim. A smooth bore is often 95% as accurate as a rifle out to 50 yds. then things start to open up. This is also partly because of the generally lousy sights found on smooth bores.
There are such things as "smooth rifles." They look every bit like a rifle but have smooth bores. The front and rear sights are like a rifle. Many smooth bore guns such as fusils, trade guns and fowlers have no rear sight. Just like the modern bird gun. There are some guys who are darn good with their trade guns and can hold up with the rifle shooters out to 75 yds., even lacking the rear sights. (I am definitely not one of them)
I have a 24 ga flint smooth bore, which happens to work out to 58 caliber. It can shoot shot, buck, or a patched round ball. I use it for squirrels with shot and sometimes for deer with round ball, where I don't expect long rifle shots, ie. in the brush, narrow ravines, etc..
Zimmer, I was shooting roundballs through my 24 gauge fowler this morning. This was only my second session with roundballs, and was shooting 50 yards. I could cover the six shots with a LARGE paper plate, which didn't thrill me a great deal, but I do want to carry it during the early muzzy season.
What roundball charge do you favor? I've tried 65, 75, and 85 grains of FFFg, and don't see much variation as far as grouping, but see variation vertically which I expected.
I'm not especially comfortable with the single front sight, but I'm sure that will take more range time. Trying to center that small front sight in the middle of the breech tang takes some doing with old eyes.
I do appreciate the weight difference between the fowler and my .54 cal. rifle. I've never weighed the two pieces, but feel there is a pound or more less weight with the fowler, and that will be appreciated at the end of the day!
Sighting helps if the tang screw is turned so the slot is in line with the barrel. Maybe just psychological but it seems to help the eye center over the tang. A few guys will use a white mark to draw a line centered on the tang for that purpose. No different than a dab of paint on a front sight. My 24 ga is a North Star and the trigger pull is only about 1 pound. The tuned lock goes off faster than any of my flint rifles. And yes it is much lighter than the rifles. Takes a bit of practice to sight them.
Berks if you try the white line trick, mess with the placement and thickness you need with 2 strips of masking tape and white out. You will probably want to taper the line to a sharp point out away from your eye toward the front sight.
The masking tape will allow you to be very precise in location and width and the whiteout will just wipe right off as you fine tune what works.
Nothing worse than a fat wiggly "straight" line in the wrong spot.