.45 round ball enough for deer?


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Grunt
December 19, 2012, 03:57 AM
I still have my very first front stuffer, an unknown brand .45 Hawken rifle and I still enjoy shooting it from time to time. That being said though, I am often finding myself wondering if it would be enough gun for deer? I'm not talking little swamp deer here, I'm talking grain fed critters here in ND where they can get pretty large. I have taken a doe once years ago with a .58 minie ball out of my '53 Enfield and that was a pretty fast kill but I wonder if the .45 round ball would be enough to make a clean kill? I've been thinking of adding a .50 or .54 TC Hawken rifle, and maybe even make it a rock lock this time to boot but that's something to look at buying later on.

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eastbank
December 19, 2012, 05:39 AM
i killed one deer with a .45 and i shot it threw the lungs(a little high) and had a time finding it. i went to .54 and a .58 and have never looked back. the .45 and .50 may shoot flatter,but at 75-100yds the larger calibures are flat enough. eastbank.

StrawHat
December 19, 2012, 07:11 AM
While I have used a 45 PRB for deer, it is still a small bore for the job. Especially with the common rifling pitches available. Like many others, I have found the larger bores, 54, 58, to give better results.

mykeal
December 19, 2012, 08:08 AM
There's no doubt .50, .54 and .58 are better suited to the job, but as to whether or not a .45 is adequate - that depends entirely on the size of the prey, the range and last but most important, that old bugaboo, shot placement.

In other words, a .45 is 'more adequate' for smaller deer (does, button bucks, etc.) at closer ranges and a shooter that's more accurate.

Curator
December 19, 2012, 08:34 AM
.45 caliber round ball with a 70 grain load is plenty for our tiny South Florida white tails. Out to about 75 yards it is as good as any other projectile. It is a bit light for big wild hogs but can do the job with good shot placement.

345 DeSoto
December 19, 2012, 08:41 AM
Marksmanship, marksmanship, marksmanship...

kbbailey
December 19, 2012, 08:44 AM
It is shot placement more than bore size.

I shot a big ol' 169inch whitetail buck 7 times with my .54 before he finally drowned in a flooded river. I have him over my mantle now, but it is a long story.

Loyalist Dave
December 19, 2012, 09:12 AM
the range and last but most important, that old bugaboo, shot placement.

Yes it's the load too. For example a 60 grain load is the minimum here in Maryland, and at 50 yards with a .440 patched round ball, no worries, but at 100 yards with that round ball, I'd opt for 80 - 90 grains of 3Fg..., IF as Mykeal mentions, I can place the ball where it needs to go at that range.

The largest deer that I ever shot I got two Saturdays ago..., with a .54 at 60 yards, but he went 100 yards before he dropped, and it was a through and through lung shot. No blood either, which was odd. On the other hand I have had deer drop where shot or go less than 30 yards with the same load hit in the same spot at a longer range.

Some folks with the .440 RB use bullet alloy round ball instead of all lead, and a heavy charge, to get a through and through shot, not worrying about deformation as much as penetration. It is, after all, a .44 hole even without "mushrooming".

Now in your case a TC .45 should have a 1:48 twist, and a .45 caliber maxi-ball should up the mass of your lead-launching if you are worried or going out toward 100 yards. Lyman (http://www.lymanproducts.com/lyman/bullet-casting/select-mould-blackpowder.php), offers a mold as it seems they are no longer sold as pre-cast projectiles. They are not cheap molds, but it will solve your problem and with normal care will last generations. You are very close to doubling the lead you are shooting by going to a conical.

LD

303tom
December 19, 2012, 09:36 AM
Here is what I use in my Hawken`s rifle with 85grs. of FFF.............
http://www.midwayusa.com/product/890304/thompson-center-super-45-xr-sabot-40-caliber-with-180-grain-hornady-xtp-bullet-pack-of-30

arcticap
December 19, 2012, 09:54 AM
The .45 caliber inline rifles have also become more popular for long range deer hunting using sabots with .40 caliber bullets that weigh about 200 grains. One would think that 200 grains would be rather light for larger deer but evidently they have enough sectional density to penetrate.
Knight has new Bloodline bullets that are pure brass which makes them even longer for their weight, that are made weighing 185 & 200 grains, and being brass they don't expand much at all which would slow them down when they enter the deer.
Another .45 saboted bullet is the all copper 175 grain Knight Red Hot Bullet that's made by Barnes.
And yet another popular saboted bullet for the .45's are the .40 Hornady XTP bullets weighing 180 & 200 grains.
Of course they are being pushed at high velocity with heavy powder charges from a fast twist inline barrel. However these saboted bullets may even stabilize from a medium twist rifle, one never knows unless they try them to compare their accuracy against the heavier lead conicals.
The heavy lead conicals are reliable game getters, but at least there's some options to consider for hunting large Dakota deer since .40 bullets should be considerably more lethal than a 133 grain .440 round ball.

http://www.knightrifles.com/bloodline-bullets/

http://www.knightrifles.com/red-hot-bullets/

http://www.hornady.com/store/.400-10mm/

alsask
December 19, 2012, 07:05 PM
A friend of mine has taken 2 Whitetail and a Moose with a .45 patched roundball. I don't remember the range but all three were one shot kills. Personaly I feel bigger is better with the round ball but many deer have be taken with the .45.

243winxb
December 19, 2012, 07:51 PM
.440 ball-127 gr-90gr Goex -2F-1760 fps average. Or a 220gr Maxi-110gr Goex 2F-1689 fps average. Groups at 100 yds-3" to 5" T/C Hawken Flint lock. Kills paper well, dont know about deer.

avan47
December 19, 2012, 11:00 PM
I have killed deer with both 45s and 54s. I couldn't see any difference. As far as shot placement goes, It's critical no matter the caliber. 45s do not shoot flatter than 54s. As round balls go, larger diameter means higher ballistic coefficient. It takes more powder and more recoil to get a 54 moving as fast as a 45, but given the same velocity, the 54 will shoot flatter.

rondog
December 20, 2012, 12:12 AM
Lord only knows how many deer were taken by our forebears with .45 round balls, and who knows what other calibers in frontstuffers.

dagger dog
December 20, 2012, 06:09 PM
Most 45 cal round balls are shot from longrifles with barrels 36-40"s, which means the sight radius is longer and they tend to be easier to shoot well.

As 345 DeSoto has pointed out,one shot kills are possible if you can put that .440" round ball where it count's, heart, spine,brain, they won't go very far before they pile up.

Have you checked the twist on your Hawken if it's fast enough you may be able to
shoot Maxi balls and gain the weight advantage.

Check Track of The Wolf, you may be able to get a replacement barrel in a larger caliber.

raa-7
December 21, 2012, 12:18 PM
Most 45 cal round balls are shot from longrifles with barrels 36-40"s, which means the sight radius is longer and they tend to be easier to shoot well.

As 345 DeSoto has pointed out,one shot kills are possible if you can put that .440" round ball where it count's, heart, spine,brain, they won't go very far before they pile up.

Have you checked the twist on your Hawken if it's fast enough you may be able to
shoot Maxi balls and gain the weight advantage.

Check Track of The Wolf, you may be able to get a replacement barrel in a larger caliber.
What is the optimum twist rate to shoot the maxi ball say,out of a .54 barrel ? the reason I ask is that I would like to get a good deer rifle in .54

Loyalist Dave
December 21, 2012, 01:01 PM
Most folks shoot a 1:48 when they shoot the maxi-ball or maxi-hunter. I don't know if that is "optimum" or simply a default postion because so many factory made BP rifles used the 1:48 twist rate.

Now IF I was going to select a Thompson Center .54 conical, it would be the Maxi-Hunter, not the maxi-ball. I have had better success with the Maxi-hunter than the maxi-ball, and even better than that with Lee REAL conicals.

I recommended the Lyman maxi-ball mold as the fellow had a TC product, and a TC bullet might work well.

I was remiss in not mentioning this option for his .45..., and it's waaay cheaper...Lee Double Mold 200 grain conical, plus round ball in .45 (http://www.trackofthewolf.com/Categories/PartDetail.aspx/1201/LEE-90405). Sorry bout that. :o

LD

arcticap
December 21, 2012, 09:38 PM
What is the optimum twist rate to shoot the maxi ball say,out of a .54 barrel ? the reason I ask is that I would like to get a good deer rifle in .54

Generally the faster twist the better
Green Mountain makes TC .54 long range hunter replacement barrels with a 1 in 28" twist in 1 inch and 15/16ths diameter.
That's the same twist rate of many .54 inline rifles that folks can load with various bore size conicals too.

http://www.gmriflebarrel.com/hawkenrenegadestylerifles/1inchlongrangehunter

http://www.gmriflebarrel.com/hawkenrenegadestylerifles/1inchlongrangehunter

MutinousDoug
December 21, 2012, 10:17 PM
I've taken a couple of elk with a .54 conical and a few more with a .50 RB. Neither will reliably produce an exit wound on that animal, even just through both ribs and lungs, so don't count on a blood trail.
One year I shot a small deer end to end with the .54 conical and got an exit wound that barked the tree behind it. Broke his shoulder, most of the ribs and the hip on one side. Pretty much ruined half that deer for meat, so I now go with RB and wait for a decent shot with the .50 RB gun. (that .54 Renegade is just too heavy for an old guy like me to drag around the woods where I hunt.)
A .45 RB from a rifle will kill any North American mule or whitetail deer.
HTH

hang fire
December 22, 2012, 09:28 PM
If a .45 caliber RB in a properly charged rifle with BP is not adequate for deer, it is the critter behind the trigger at fault, not the rifle or ball. I have killed several deer with a .45 ball in a rocklock rifle, and never used over 60 grains of 3f BP

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