.45 or .50?


Futo Inu
September 15, 2003, 06:25 PM
This question is not so much strictly a "blackpowder" question as it is a "muzzleloader" question, regardless of propellant. Which caliber muzzleloader would you get if only getting one, and getting it only to hunt whitetails during muzzleloader season within the game regs, most likely with smokeless or pyrodex? And exactly what diameter is a "saboted 50" bullet? If it's saboted, it must be smaller than .50, no? Seems that the .50 is much more popular, and available in more models, but I'd think you'd get better external and terminal ballistics from a .45.....

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September 15, 2003, 07:03 PM
My vote is a .50. A saboted .50 slug is about .44 caliber, to me it looks a lot like a .44 magnum 240 gr slug.

Futo Inu
September 16, 2003, 01:53 PM

Now who's gonna get this one?


September 16, 2003, 07:50 PM
Depending on which sabots you’re using will dictate which size bullets you will use in a 50 cal.

The green ones are for 44 cal and the black ones are for 45cal.There are several diameters of 45 cal and 44 cal and you should use whatever the manufacture reccomends.They generally have a pretty good Idea what shoots through their guns.

Knight for instance uses a slightly smaller diameter bullet in their sabots.

Then there are the power belt sabots. They are generally sized the same as the caliber of the round.50 cal = 50 cal 45=45 ECT.

Lots of long range hunters are taking advantage of the new 45 cal inlines.45 cal is plenty enough for medium size game but If I was going after elk I would want a 50 cal or larger.

Futo Inu
September 16, 2003, 08:15 PM
But instead of using a saboted bullet in a .50, wouldn't you get better external ballistic performance by just getting a .45 from the get-go? Having to do with more solid contact between the rifling and a metal bullet, as opposed to rifling contacting a plastic sabot? More spin and therefore more accuracy potential, esp. with long, heavy bullets? Just wonderin...

September 16, 2003, 10:04 PM
In theory your argument has reasoning but anyone that has shot sabots can tell you generally the accuracy is far above what you can get from conical or patched round balls.

The 45 sabots generally use a 357 bullet.Ok on medium thin skinned game like white tail and antelope.

Futo Inu
September 18, 2003, 08:06 PM
OK. Yes, better than round or conical, but not better than rifling-directly-contacting-a-long-and-modern-shaped-bullet, is it? Why not get the best of both worlds and use a .45 cal bullet in a .45 cal gun??? No sabots, no primitive bullets. Yes, it goes against the primitive idea, but that's what I'm talking about here - getting the best possible performance within the barely-limiting confines of game regs, which require only a muzzle load and not much else. :confused:

4v50 Gary
September 18, 2003, 09:57 PM
50 for me. Bigger is better and it carries farther.

Futo Inu
September 18, 2003, 10:31 PM
But 4v50 Gary, please answer my question:

HOW can a .429 (or whathaveyou) slug in a .50 sabot get carried further than a (same weight and shape) .45 bullet (Not in a sabot) which is directly contacting the rifling and therefore getting the most spin and good length of time in the bbl to take advantage of the whole powder charge - doesn't make sense to me. Thanks. Or do they just NOT MAKE .45 cal, modern, aerodyamic bullets or something? What gives?

September 18, 2003, 11:24 PM

When the sabot type bullet is fired out of a barrel the sabot expands to make a seal, thus imparting spin to the projectile. If you ever get to find a discarded sabot sleeve you will see rifling marks on it.

The primary reason that we use sabot type bullets is that this is the only way we can use relatively hard copper or alloy jacketed bullets in a muzzle loader. It would be extremely hard to push a full diameter copper jacketed bullet down the barrel. Even the bullets such as the CVA powebelts are made slightly under diameter with a larger diameter plastic base plug to make contact with the rifling. Using the smaller diameter bullets will allow us to use a smaller, lighter bullet which equals more velocity. It also allows use to take advantage of modern designed bullets which surpass the performance of standard soft lead bullets in certain situations. A soft lead slug will also start to strip and severe leading will result with higher velocities. If you have ever had to drive a stuck jacketed bullet or even a hard cast lead bullet out of a barrel you will definitely see what I am talking about. Muzzle loading bullets are made out of relatively pure soft lead.

Even round ball shooters use the sabot type principle in their shooting. The patch acts as a barrier to provide a secure fit of the round ball as well as to help protect and impart spin to the ball.

Futo Inu
September 19, 2003, 12:23 AM
Rdlg, thank you for the detailed explanation, except that I don't understand WHY it's extremely hard to push a jacketed bullet down the barrel? If using a sabot is better, then why don't regular metallic cartridge rifles use sabots? What's the difference? Thanks again. I mean, if you're saying that there's just not enough powder / power from the muzzle-loaded charge, and the bullet might get stuck, then why not make a .40 cal muzzleloader? Surely this is better than a sabot in a .45 - if it's not, then why don't regular rifles just use sabots?

September 19, 2003, 05:01 AM
A jacketed bullet would have to be undersized to load it from the muzzle, and unlikely to expand enough at firing to take the grooves. A plastic sabot overcomes this problem.
I have never lost a deer I hit with a plain old .440 round ball. several in the 100 yard range.. A lot of them just dropped in their tracks. If I wanted to hunt big stuff, I have a mold for a 245 grain REAL conical. My favorite rifle has a 1in56 twist, and it will stabilize the conicals if I load 110 grains of BP. Can someone sell me on the idea that saboted bullets will do better?:rolleyes:

September 19, 2003, 10:09 AM
What the difference is between modern firearms and Muzzle loaders is you have to ram the "bullet" down the barrel on ML not on modern. The copper jacketed bullets to fit snug would be VERY hard if not impossible to hand ram. You can use them in modern because you don't ram them, just load the casing in the rifle. Lead is much softer so you can ram the correct sized bullet down the barrel. The plastic sabot will give some and hold the jacketed bullet tight and therefore let you fire an undersized bullet. PS they do make 30'06 sabots loaded with .22 cal bullets.

Futo Inu
September 19, 2003, 10:54 AM
Ohh, ok - thanks for the explanation. Now it makes sense.

September 19, 2003, 03:18 PM
Shotgunners routinely use sabot type ammo in their rifled bore shotguns as well.

Good Shooting

September 19, 2003, 04:11 PM
Yes, better than round or conical, but not better than rifling-directly-contacting-a-long-and-modern-shaped-bullet, is it? It is really weird, but if you stand behind a black powder shooter with the sun angle just right you can see the bullet go through the air.

If you draw a circle on a piece of paper then draw several smaller circles inside it and intersecting its circumference that is what the bullet path looks like from the rear. The diameters of the circles vary. :what:

September 21, 2003, 03:13 PM
I'll take a .50 at a minimum (my Omega is a .50 only because they don't make 'em in .54) Saboted bullets are fine for whitetails inside 125 yards, but longer ranges demand heavier bullets for retained energy, at least at MZ velocities.

September 28, 2003, 04:17 PM
at the risk of a huge arguement or lengthy discussion, I believe there is nothing more accurate than a tightly patched round ball out of a ml. I belong to a blackpowder club , there are many shooters there(some state champs) that shoot very small groups out of their rifles(not me) I hear all kinds of claims from the makers of saboted bullets and in-line manufacturers about their products. I have always had good luck with the .50 cal roundball on deer. I shoot squirrels with the same rifle, lower velocity load of course. peace,

September 28, 2003, 10:30 PM

But at what ranges are they shooting at?

I'd venture to say a good conical would be more accurate at extended ranges (100 meters plus). The heavier streamlined bullet should also offer increased stability at longer ranges.

Good SHooting

September 29, 2003, 09:45 AM
actually conical groups open up much more than roundball (100 yds and below) conicals do offer more retained energy at distances and less trajectory . These shooters competitively shoot aggregates of 25, 50, and 100 yds. Offhand scores of 48xxx are quite common for these dudes. I'm sure there are many longtime blackpowder shooters who can do this. I don't want to knock in-lines or hunters who use them, or divide the muzzle-loading community. I just want to let folks know that the roundball has and is being used on game up to the size of elk with effectivness. peace

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