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50 RB for bear?

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by Ironhand54, Aug 28, 2017.

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  1. Ironhand54

    Ironhand54 Member

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    I am gearing up for a bear hunt in Northern Michigan. I hope to use a 50 cal flintlock. I hope to find a conical that shoots well but if I can't I will consider RB. My question is will a 50 RB with a heavy charge of Swiss fff be enough? Ranges are 50 yards or less.

    Thanks
    IronHand
     
  2. rodwha

    rodwha Member

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    I this a slow twist rifle? If so look at the shorter 250 grn Lee REAL.

    Under 75 yds it seems a pure lead ball typically mushrooms nicely and is often found on the off side of a broadside deer. I'd imagine a heavy bear may require either a conical as you suggest or a harder than pure ball for penetration.

    I'm not privy to alloys for certain circumstances so I'm not sure what you'd be looking to achieve, but I'd guess something around 10-14 BHN as a bit of expansion sure would be nice as long as it goes clear through the vitals even at an angle. Breaking bones would be nice too.

    I prefer two holes myself.

    Any idea of the average size of these bears?
     
  3. midland man

    midland man Member

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    kinda make me wonder if my 45c flintlock would be big enough with roundball only!
     
  4. Ironhand54

    Ironhand54 Member

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  5. rodwha

    rodwha Member

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    I don't know of any other short for caliber conicals available still. It's worth a try I'd think.

    I'd feel more than comfortable with a pure lead ball with a 250 lb bear. Not so much with a 4-500 pounder.
     
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  6. Panzerschwein

    Panzerschwein member

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    I'd prefer a .58 round ball over a heavy 120+ grain charge, but that's just me.

    I think a .50 is best for deer sized game and down. I'd take at least a .54 for black bears.
     
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  7. RPRNY

    RPRNY Member

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    Most black bear, yes. 300+ lbs bear, I would not feel comfortable with only 180 grs RB.
     
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  8. Patocazador

    Patocazador Member

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    Wait for a quartering away shot and put the round ball low behind the near-side shoulder. It should take out the heart that way.
     
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  9. DD4lifeusmc

    DD4lifeusmc Member

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    you don't always get the shot you want no matter how long you wait.
    Yest I would feel better using a 54 cal
    Bears are pretty tough and if a young one is around even more so
    I would suggest a large caliper handgun as backup and preferably a buddy with a follow up shot if needed.
    I have taken Elk with a 50
     
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  10. Curator

    Curator Member

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    Ironhands54:

    Consider the old times way of handling bear with round ball; load two of them. 2X180=360 grains of lead. Up the powder charge a bit. Out to 50 yards the two balls usually land within a couple of inches of one another. Acts just like getting shot twice! Yup, a bit more recoil but more likely to fly true than a conical with slow twist rifling. Pioneers called this "loading for bear" for a reason.Just make sure that the two balls are in contact with each other at the breech.
     
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  11. rodwha

    rodwha Member

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    I've seen the "argument" over what loaded for bear meant with some feeling the powder charge was upped and some feeling it was an additional ball loaded once a bear became game. I'm in the latter thought on that.
     
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  12. midland man

    midland man Member

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    well I do have a 54c but its a short rifle about 24in barrel so would this with roundball be okay?
     
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  13. rodwha

    rodwha Member

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    Most certainly. You lose a little velocity with a shorter barrel but it's the projectile that makes the bigger difference.

    When you look at the performance of a ball I've noticed that out to about 75 yds most everyone speaks of a nice mushroom and finding the ball just under the hide on the off side. Beyond that, when the velocity has dropped, you notice you get full penetration almost always.

    Therefor the lower velocity will potentially lose some expansion but ensure complete penetration. A .490" or .530" hole isn't exactly small, especially through a heart and even lungs.
     
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  14. Patocazador

    Patocazador Member

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    As the commercials say, "Bigger is better!" That definitely fits in this case.
     
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  15. RPRNY

    RPRNY Member

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    225 grs .54 cal RB is great. No too dissimilar to the 35 Rem which is a tried and true back-East bear cartridge. Black bear of normal proportions (not the 500lbs + Carolina variety) don't die much harder than deer. Both black bear I have shot were with the 30-30 and both died within 30 yards of being shot.

    .54 cal 225 grs and under 100 yards sounds like a good plan.

    https://www.riflemagazine.com/magazine/article.cfm?magid=23&tocid=301
     
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  16. 4v50 Gary

    4v50 Gary Moderator Staff Member

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    What Cooldill suggested. I prefer a bigger ball, like a minie ball. Shot placement is everything though.
     
  17. midland man

    midland man Member

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    so on black bear like we have here in eastern Oklahoma then the 45c would work but if the bear are bigger anywhere else then the 54c would be best??
     
  18. Loyalist Dave

    Loyalist Dave Member

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    As long as this isn't illegal to use a double ball, then that is an excellent idea. Some states specify only a single projectile during muzzle loader season, BUT if you're not doing the hunt during that season, you will be fine. Consider if you would feel comfortable with that weight in a single bullet, and say an 80 grain (3 dram) charge of 2Fg? Well those two projectiles, as mentioned will land near to each other but not together and should be expected to do more than 2x the damage that a single conical at 360 grains would do. Should hammer a black bear. (as Curator mentioned it was called "loaded for bear", and it was a serious technique before Hollywierd made light of it) Shouldn't be a problem in the barrel of a modern made muzzle loader. (In fact in the early days Thompson Center used to publish data for double-ball in .45 caliber as they didn't understand that the .440 round ball was fine for deer as a single projectile).

    LD
     
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  19. Sunray

    Sunray Member

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    "...be big enough with round ball..." They were good enough in the 18th Century. Yogi is not armoured. Mind you, most flinters are rifled for balls, not Minnie balls. The whole issue is covered in its own chapter in the Lyman BP Handbook and Reloading Guide. $23.98 directly from Lyman.
     
  20. big-ugly

    big-ugly Member

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    .50 caliber ball for black bear? Yeah, sure.
    .54 caliber ball for black bear? Heck yeah, even better.

    Use whichever you are more comfortable shooting with and know you can put in the right place. Either will kill a black bear without trouble, assuming you can hit your mark.
     
  21. drobs

    drobs Member

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    Learned something new. Thanks!
     
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