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Thread: .45 vs. .50

  1. #1
    Boolit Master histed's Avatar
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    .45 vs. .50

    I have the itch to build another rifle. I'm retiring soon and I'll have the time. Keep thinking .45 because A) I like hunting groundhogs with a flinter and B) it's still legal for whitetails in PA. Is there any reason I should go .50 instead? I will be shooting patched round balls and I already have a .54 percussion for early season.
    All government without the consent of the governed is the very definition of slavery - Jonathan Swift
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  2. #2
    Boolit Master



    wgr's Avatar
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    the 50 will do anything the 45 will only better jmo.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master

    rfd's Avatar
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    i think a 45 is fine for the little critters, and even a .40 would do fine for thin skinned medium game like deer with good shot placement and if ya really know yer gun. however, i think a 50 is just better insurance ... particularly as we get wiser, er, i mean long in the tooth, er, i mean older, dag nabbit. i think. where am i? what day is it? is it time for my meds? gosh i love "retirement".

  4. #4
    Boolit Master histed's Avatar
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    I'm readin' ya, rfd. Where am I at, what am I doin', why am I here? Seems to be more "stuff" for the 50, but the 45 uses less lead and powder. Still, big holes bleed faster...I don't know. Whishy one day, washy the next.
    All government without the consent of the governed is the very definition of slavery - Jonathan Swift
    You have enemies? Good, it means you've done something with your life - Winston Churchill

  5. #5
    Boolit Master

    rfd's Avatar
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    personally, i like a 54 with a tad smaller 526 patched ball as a good all 'round trad ml. don't take more than 50 grains of 3f to take care of business upwards of deer at reasonable distances - add a touch more powder if going longer anyhoo, to compliment the 54 i bought a very nice 36 and bobby hoyt reamed it to a 40 and that caliber is tack driver with 35 grains of 3f, and along with a 20ga smoothbore i believe i have all bases covered with that trifecta. life sure is good.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master Jedman's Avatar
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    histed, Go with your gut feeling. obviously you have built a rifle before and have probably shot all of the big bores and have a feeling what they will do.
    If you like the 45, I say go with it ! I have killed at least 6 deer with a 45 round ball and used with discretion it does a good job. No round ball gun gives you a lot more range or advantage, it's all in getting close and aiming close.

    Jedman

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    I really like .45 RB in BP. JMHO, but as you already have a .54, I think the difference down to a .50 is not really all that much. Never done it, but I really like the idea of hunting those whistle pigs with a .45 flinter. Wish I had thought of that all those years I lived in VA (have a .45 Hawken). Shot plenty of them (ate them too), but never used BP. Argh!

  8. #8
    Boolit Master

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    45 is better than a 40, 50 is better than a 45, 54 is better than a 50...………. You do your job and there is no reason a 45 will let you down for what you want.
    Aim small, miss small!

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    Given that you already have a 54 for if ya need to get serious - I would go 45 - more fun for less hassle - but make it a proper ball gun with a slow twist so ya can make that ball really sizzle.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master

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    I like my.45 flinter! and my .50, and and my .32, and my .58, and my .69 etc. If you feel like it build it!
    If God didn't want man to eat animals, he wouldn't have made them out of MEAT!

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  11. #11
    Boolit Master
    rancher1913's Avatar
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    your retiring you said, why not build one of each.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master



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    Good morning
    You can always thick patch a caliber .50 with a .45 ball. Hard to seat a .50 in a caliber .45 barrel. When all we had was a rifled .58 it was used for everything. Thick patches make muzzleloaders very adaptable. Today factories churn out those plastic Thangs when everyone could be rolling their own with canvas and leather scraps. 3 layers of old flannel changes ball diameter real fast.
    We live in east central ILLinois when up north. Huge corn crunchers. We could easily hunt them and everything else with our Caliber .54 just by thick patching a smaller ball. A .45 ball thick patched may not win any matches but have not yet met a ground hog or racoon that knew the difference. We hunt river bottoms and edges where most shots are under 40 yards. most 25 yds and less.
    Use our .36 also for those 4 legged pests, wabbits and thick patch a caliber.32 or .30 for tree rats.
    Our exception is the smoothbores for shot hunting (crows are fun) and maybe a pig or corn cruncher. But I am still playing with a Brown Bess (old Navy Arms) seeing how small of a diameter it will get down to and still hit smaller cans at 30 yards. Below caliber .50 it is near counter productive but still fun.
    Always figured if our M60A1 tank mounted 105mm main gun could fire a 37mm sabot projectile why not a muzzleloader.
    Mike in Peru... Short !
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  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    I'd go 45. First because I always liked that caliber. Second, I have 54's and I really like that caliber for deer and up. I've had several 50's and never thought there was a thing wrong with them. Just a matter of taste...and I understand wishy/washy....all too well!
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  14. #14
    Boolit Master Hanshi's Avatar
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    Okay, .45 is my favorite caliber in a flintlock. I have available .45, .50, .54 and .a .62 smoothbore and have killed untold numbers of deer with with the four. Most fell to various .45s and .50s. On paper the .50 looks better than a .45. But in the real world it's not so cut & dried. The last deer I killed with a .45 left a gruesome, red trail that Ray Charles could follow. And the deer killed with a .45 never ran any farther than the kills with .50s. Only one shot was ever needed for all four and the .45 deer either dropped DRT or fell within sight or hearing. I did take a couple of deer at around 100 yards but also took one at 75yds with a .45. I like my .50 a lot but normally bypass it and go to the .62 smoothbore more and more often. I've taken deer, bobcats and squirrels with .45s. You already have a .54; so the logical step would be to a .45 and NOT a .50.
    Young guys should hang out with old guys; old guys know stuff.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    a larger ball will not make up for sloppy shooting. .45 uses less lead and powder which means more shooting for less cost.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    I did 2nd would go for a .45

    The only reason I have a .50 right now is it was the only faster twist gun I could find for under $500

    One of these days will have a fast twist .45 barrel made for it. Might even go for a .40

    Yes, I hunted mule deer with a .45 ky. Round ball. Had to get closer but it was more fun that way.

    Sent from my SM-P580 using Tapatalk

  17. #17
    Boolit Master histed's Avatar
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    Thanks one and all. I have started gathering up parts and pieces and am pretty sure it'll be .45. The plan is to go with either Durs Egg or Siler locks (I'm a southpaw) and make the rifle interchangeable percussion/flint with a 42" barrel. Next question will be Poor Boy or Lancaster style. Brown iron reflects less light, but he Golden Age is real eye candy.
    All government without the consent of the governed is the very definition of slavery - Jonathan Swift
    You have enemies? Good, it means you've done something with your life - Winston Churchill

  18. #18
    Boolit Master

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    Have you given any thought to a swamped barrel?
    ..

  19. #19
    Boolit Master Drm50's Avatar
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    I'm not a big ML nut. I have 2 TC Hawkin Rifles, 45 & 50. Both these rifles are early production and
    at the time round balls were the thing. I only use these rifles for Ohio ML deer season. I like the 45
    better than the 50. I only shoot Balls, both rifles are good shooters and I have killed deer with both. If you are into history you will find that the big game in the east was shot out almost to
    Extinction with MLs of small caliber. 50s didn't come into style until they were needed for Buffalo
    & Grizz. I do dabble in original MLs that are signed by the old smiths of this area. A 40 is the biggest I've ever come across and most were smaller.

  20. #20
    Boolit Man 509thsfs's Avatar
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    I like my .45 and have a 2nd on the bench now waiting to be done. Used a .50 and .54 for yrs and taken a lot of deer with them. Never had a .45 so built one with the intent of using it for the PA early muzzleloading season, figuring shots would be closer with all the leaves on the trees as opposed to the late flintlock season in Jan. Took a deer at 60yds. Blew up a rib going in, blew up the heart, and took a rib out on exit. Actually surprised me how easy it blew right thru. Liked it so much decided to build another. Still use my .50 and .54 for late season, but don't feel under gunned with that .45 for deer at 50-60 yds. And the Bedford is a delight to carry as opposed to my .54 early Lanc
    MSgt, USAF (Ret)
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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
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