hunting with a .32 blackpowder rifle?


May 2, 2011, 06:38 PM
hello everybody! i am curious, who here has a .32 muzzleloader? what kind of game can you bag with it? obviously rabbits, squirrels, and other rodents would be easily taken, but what else can you hunt with it? would this work for turkeys? here in north California we have plenty of turkeys, so what would be a good load for turkeys? what kind of ballistics can this get? i have heard rumor that .32 muzzleloading rifles are similar in energy to a .22 LR, but that might just be a myth. does anyone know where you can find a decent .32 ball mold and something to cast conicals as well? thanks in advance! ~Levi

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May 2, 2011, 07:06 PM
i think you have heard right about the FT.BLS energy of a .32 cal B.P.RB......

most turkey hunting here is done with a shotgun.....

mostly the small caliber rifles were used as you stated,...for rabbits, squirrels, rodents, though i guess you could kill a turkey with a head shot .......

i have seen a ballistics chart on the .32 but am unable to find it ....i'm sure if you googled you could find some useful info.

good luck:)


May 2, 2011, 07:45 PM
.32 prb over about 40 grains of 3fg in a long rifle should be pretty accurate at 25 yards, accurate enough for a head shot, anyway. Don't try a body shot.

Carl N. Brown
May 2, 2011, 07:48 PM
.32 ML rifle. That is what I would call a rabbit or squirrel gun.

May 2, 2011, 08:07 PM
A .32 would work if your state allows turkey hunting with a rifle.
I would consider using a conical like the .32 TC Maxihunter.
Learn the bird's anatomy and the proper shot placement with a rifle.
Hens are only legal to hunt here in the fall, with only toms hunted in the spring.
Below are turkey shot placement diagrams for archery/rifle:

More shot placement pointers at the link below:

A broadside shot can be good if you can hit the point where the wing butt connects to the bird's body. This is a relatively high position on the body. It will break a wing or the backbone, or pierce the heart or lungs.

May 2, 2011, 08:49 PM
.32 is a fine small game rifle. My Grandpa owned one the biggest part of his life. He used it to feed his family including my Daddy. God! No telling how many squirrels and rabbits and coons and groundhogs and what not that thing has killed. I got to shoot it a few times when I was youngster. When Grandpa passed on Daddy got it and when he passed on my younger sister got it. It hang's on the wall in her bedroom in Alabama and NOBODY touches that rifle except her. It's willed to my nephew (her son) when she passes....

May 2, 2011, 09:28 PM
wow Arcticap! that is cool! i remember a few years ago when i got up about 5:00 AM, right as it started to get light out. i got my cup of coffee and casually walked out the front door half asleep to go find a nice place to sit, take a big swig of coffee, and all the sudden when i lower the mug from my face i realize that i walked into a flock of wild turkeys that thought my front yard was the perfect place to hold a little gathering at 5:00 AM. nearly spat out my coffee! it took me a minute to realize what the heck was going on, it was kind of alarming! they seemed to not be all that scared when i approached them given they did not book it when i opened the door, but it was really cool!

May 2, 2011, 09:42 PM
I have a Marathon Arms 32 in-line that looks just like a single shot 22RF. Darn accurate. we use a 38 colt case for a powder measure and a patched .310 swaged ball. I can put 5 in a quarter sized group at 20 yds. It even has grooves for a 22rf scope. I should have bought more than one when I had the chance.

I also have two 32 cal pistols. An in-line and a modern flintlock. Looks like a Browning semi 22 RF target model with a frizzenBoth shoot far better than I can.

May 2, 2011, 10:22 PM
I use a .36 caliber Kentucky rifle with a .350 patched ball to hunt small game. I like the slightly heavier ball of the .36. My rifle is a 1:47" seven groove percussion gun. I have a friend who shoots a .32 flintlock and we call it his mouse gun, it's not any louder than a .22 and the bullet doesn't weigh much more. You may not be able to shoot a longer bullet accurately unless you get a rifle with a faster twist rate than a ball rifle. .32 and .36 long rifles will normally have a 47 or 48 inch twist and are almost always ball rifles. You will have to find the right patch thickness for your rifle, it will run from .010 inches to .015 inches. Use good ticking and you won't be sorry.

Oh, and the small bore .32 shoots better with light loads. I mean light like 10 or 15 grains, the guys I know are good shots and they tell me as you pass 15 grains you see your accuracy drop. A .36 does better with 30 to 35 and you can load up to 70. I have never had much luck with maxi balls in the .36, the twist isn't fast enough even though they say 48 inches is on the edge of the twist rate for bullets instead of balls. You will find most people shooting .32 and .36 will be shooting balls. Because they are small game guns your target is small and you might not get the accuracy you need with a conical bullet.

May 2, 2011, 10:39 PM
well i definitely want the most accuracy i can possibly get. I'm a good shot, and i want loads that will be good for shooting penny sized targets from a reasonable distance. like Eley accuracy. because who does not like one hole groups? so how would i get that kind of accuracy from a 1 in 48" twist barrel? i know that good ammunition that is uniform as possible is a good place to start. but what kind? i would like to have some conical bullets, but i HATE keyholes with the white hot intensity of a billion suns. the only thing i hate more is paying good money for ammo or a mold that produces ammo that is unusable due to the twist rate. also, if i do use conical bullets i would like waddcutters. i can't find a mold though. i simply love how they pack one deadly wallop and deliver the hydrolic shock needed for small game. i have used flat tipped pellets for hunting before, i used them on starlings. even at about 500 FPS when the pellet hits it's mark the bird drops dead instantly in the cleanest way possible. it is a really good hunting round if you ask me. i always use it for small game.

May 2, 2011, 10:43 PM
40 grains 3f- .310 rb = 1800 to 2000 fps depending on barrel length with a 100 gr maxiball you can get about 700 ft lbs of energy at the muzzle

May 3, 2011, 12:21 AM
2000 FPS is absolutely beautiful. people say muzzleloaders are outdated, but even 1800 is still really good. that's more than a .22 LR energy. i really like that! thanks for the info!

May 3, 2011, 06:51 AM
I use a 32 flintlock and a patched round ball. A .310 round ball weighs about 45 grains so it is not a heavy weight by any stretch of the imagination. I use 3F GOEX and have settled on a 30 grain load. Is it one hole accurate? Don't know as I shoot offhand or sitting and can not hold that well with a flintlock. It is accurate enough for squirrel, rabbits, groundhog and such. I have even taken a couple of raccoons with it but do not recommend it for anything much bigger than a dog, definately not a deer.

My barrel is cut with a 66 inch twist, not sure what a 48 twist would allow you to do.

May 3, 2011, 08:43 AM
This past winter I picked up a new in box, walnut stocked TC Firehawk in .32 caliber. Rare gun in that caliber from what I understand - they only made it for one year (?). I've yet to shoot it - but this thread is got me Jonesing to mount a scope on it and get it out to the range.

May 3, 2011, 04:25 PM
For years I've owned and hunted with "Crockett" Traditions .32. Don't underestimate the game taking capability of this little bore. I use a prb and 30 grns of Goex 3F for nearly 1800fps. This load, while not maximum, is still very accurate at 50 yards. The pure lead round ball expands dramatically in game. The .32 is quite adequate for turkey, woodchucks and all lesser game. I know of one hunter who has great success using it to kill wild hogs with head shots. Using 35 to 40 grains of 3F will give you a fearsome load for game. In my experience the warmer loads give better accuracy. I would go higher but the 30 grain load kills anything I shoot with it.

May 6, 2011, 08:03 AM
One of the reasons that I truly enjoy squirrel hunting is a .32 CVA Squirrel Rifle. I use .310 prb over 24gr 3f. I have only shot squirrels and targets with the rifle, but I'm certain that I could ruin a turkey's day.

....after all 30-30 = .30 dia bullet, 30 gr black powder.

Dave Markowitz
May 7, 2011, 07:14 PM
....after all 30-30 = .30 dia bullet, 30 gr black powder.

If you're referring to .30-30 WCF, it was never factory loaded with black powder. Along with the .25-35 WCF, it was one of the first two American sporting cartridges loaded with smokeless powder.

May 7, 2011, 10:55 PM
Hey Guys,

I don't have anything to add to this thread at all, you guys have done a great job of saying it all.

But I did want to say, I am so very proud to be a member here, to have such experiance, knowledge and dedication directed at each and every post, no matter how minor the question may be. It is truely an honor to be among such dedicated and serious sportsman !!!


ElvinWarrior... aka... David, "EW"

May 8, 2011, 09:04 AM
All of this knowledge and dedication huh? Must be speaking of people like Mr. MyKeal and Old Fuff and BlueHawk and Articap and Scrat. Maybe Mr. Roswell if he were still around under that name..(!!)...

May 8, 2011, 10:30 AM
I stand corrected.....
30-30 = .30 dia bullet, 30 grains smokeless powder.

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