View Full Version : question on big game caliber

12-06-2005, 03:11 PM
What would be the most practical big game caliber? Im looking to build an early lancaster. And im wondering what cal would be best for any north americal game? I thought about a 62 but can only find a barrel in smoothboor. Any Ideas would be helpful. Thanx

12-06-2005, 04:26 PM
I wouldn't hesitate to use a .54, with appropriately chosen projectile, on any N. American game, though I would want a back up for the big bears. (Be nice to have some insurance if you were a little off with your aim, peeing on them won't help, hehehe.)
For Deer etc., rb's to 100yds, light .45 (that you cast, naturally) bullets in sabots to 150yds or so. MaxiBalls, MaxiHunters, or REALs will not only work fine on deer, but will do the job on the larger critters. No idea about pronghorns, damn few of them in NH, but I believe that good stalking skills could make up for the limited range of the weapons, and the flatter yours shoots, the better.
I don't personally have any experience with elk, but I do with moose and big black bears. Moose aren't the brightest critters in the woods, and sometimes need more than one shot (not to kill them, that happens if the first one is well placed, but while they're figuring out that they're dead, they can go trotting off into swampy, nasty places that you need a log skidder and a cable winch to get them out of :shock: ) and a bigger, heavier bullet is more convincing. Most bear hunters around here that use m/l's shoot .50's, but to a real western bear hunter, our 300lb+ black bears are on the small side, and I would think that the bigger, heavier bullets are a smarter choice when you're hunting something that could and would eat you. :-o
While there are a lot of really good arguments for the .58, to me it's like comparing .30 and 8mm centerfires - you might be able to shoot bigger bullets in the 8mm, but there are a much greater variety of choices in weight and style available for the .30. This is not to say that you can't go the custom mold route with a .58 - you can and it would make a lot of sense for dangerous game, I just think the .54 is more versatile in general.
There are also a lot of good arguments for the .50 as to its versatility and much greater choice of available projectiles compared to the .54, but for the bigger critters, the added oomph makes more sense to me.
It is my personal feeling that the .54 has an accuracy edge on both .50 and .58, but I'm sure there are lot's of them that are "one holers", I just haven't seen many.
The .62 smoothebore has, in my opinion, a much more limited range due to lack of rifling, but would certainly do the job from a stand if the ranges were short.
Mostly though, it comes down to what you mean by "big game" and what you are actually going to use it for. To get a big .58 with some custom molds while Kodiak dreaming and only use it to hunt Coues deer with is serious overkill. You'd be happy with a .45 for most deer hunting and your shoulder will appreciate the difference, too. But then, too, that's why they make recoil pads, and I know people who love to use the big magnums to hunt woodchucks. Whatever floats your boat - the idea is to have fun.

12-06-2005, 07:30 PM
:Fire: Im looking to hunt elk, caribou, moose and maybe a grizz. Ive been looking for a rifled 62. On another forum a guy gave me a name but I havent looked it up yet. I know the 62 smooth would be limited, But with the right mold and (rifled) I think it could be a real stomper.

12-07-2005, 01:37 PM
Check out "October Country"
Their rifle guns START at .62

12-07-2005, 02:16 PM
Several years ago I went to a rendezvous in nearby Oak Glen, and the folks in attendance were pretty "bushy"--dinner that night was to include a beaver trapped from a farm pond near the camp. Not many city folks, in other words.

I got to talking with a guy that had a large rocklock on his trade blanket that looked like a .75 caliber or so. It seems he made the barrel from a 20mm cannon barrel (OK, 81 caliber.....), and its fast twist didn't get along with PRB's--and his shoulder didn't appreciate conicals of the proper size. Understandable.

Well, context is everything. Recalling The Berry Patch Interlude with the pissed off black bear, that 81 caliber rocklock would have been just fine. Especially if belt fed.

12-07-2005, 04:43 PM
One thing to be aware of with really big bores is how your practical accuracy is destroyed by the flinch you can develop to it's full potential in one or two rounds....

12-07-2005, 05:12 PM
Still havent found a 62 rifled bore. so Im leaning to the 54 and 58. Im looking for a little longer range and plenty of knock down. this is going to be long drawn out process. I want it to be everything Ive imagined. :bigsmyl2:

thnx for the imput please keep it coming.

12-07-2005, 05:45 PM
I am very happy with the T/C semi-custom RB barrel on my 54 caliber Hawken. 285 grains will leave a lasting impression on anything it interfaces with, including its animated gun carriage if the powder amounts start climbing.

12-07-2005, 05:49 PM
Ed Rayl in Gassawy WV will make you a large bore rifled barrel. My freind had one by him in .750 rifled. He took a 350 pound bear with it 1 shot 35 yards. It was neat!! moodyholler

12-07-2005, 06:11 PM

Is Ed the guy that made the 62 cal fullstock rifle that I had? Do you recall the afternoon at the range when I was shooting it at the ram swinger. :grin:

Guys, that 62 with a PRB and 120gr of 2f would make a 60lb steel ram at 100yds dance on the ends of the chains. There was a guy shooting at it with a 300 winny mag and it would only swing when he hit. Moodyholler was watching his reaction when I would touch off that thing and he told me the old boy with the 300 would just shake his head :groner: .

That was a fine rifle, but man it went through powder in a hurry

12-07-2005, 08:52 PM
The .62 I had, had a 1-72 twist. You had to stoke it up to 170 gr. 2f to get it to shoot well. One of the happiest days in my life, when I traded it off.

MT Gianni
12-07-2005, 10:14 PM
Ric, A big tall logger out of Ronan had one I saw when he was living in Missoula and he loved it. Was it John you traded it to? Gianni.

12-08-2005, 12:23 AM
Ric, A big tall logger out of Ronan had one I saw when he was living in Missoula and he loved it. Was it John you traded it to? Gianni.

Gianni, I traded it to a fellow from back in Tennessee. I got a real fine custom five string banjo, mother of pearl Tree of Life inlay all up the neck, made for Richard "Dickie" Betts in Nashville. After a couple years, I had discovered I had zero talent with a banjo. More importantly, my friends also noticed. And they were highly disturbed by my persistance, in trying to learn.

I played so badly, Dutch traded me a 6" M29 S&W, and $600 for it. If I would have kept playing the banjo around him for another week or two, I bet I could have held out for another couple hundred bucks, or another gun. As it is, he traded it a couple weeks ago, to a recording studio, to cut his new CD. So it is well travelled.

No idea where the rifle ever ended up! Mine was a short mountain rifle, coming in at 7.5 #. Killed at both ends!

12-08-2005, 01:25 AM
I bet it did. Im not a flincher, and I know a 62 will really stick it to me. but if the stock is built right the recoil should be managable. :redneck:

MT Gianni
12-08-2005, 08:16 PM
John stands about 6'5" and his gun fit him with about a 32" bbl. It sounds like you got a great deal for yours. Gianni.

12-08-2005, 08:39 PM
Gianni, hear about that guy south of you? His trailer burnt, with over 500 pounds of ammo, with a fair amount in firearms. I imagine that made things pretty interesting for the firefighters, and the neighbors!

12-09-2005, 09:24 PM
:Fire: Im looking to hunt elk, caribou, moose and maybe a grizz. Ive been looking for a rifled 62. On another forum a guy gave me a name but I havent looked it up yet. I know the 62 smooth would be limited, But with the right mold and (rifled) I think it could be a real stomper.


W. E.Rayl
Box 91
Gassaway WV 26624

a call, he should be able to make you a nice 62 cal.