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Rifle, 50 vs 54

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by skeeterfogger, Apr 27, 2019.

  1. skeeterfogger

    skeeterfogger Member

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    Never had a 54 but do have 50. What, if any, advantage is there shooting a projectile that is 0.04 larger? Just curious.
     
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  2. troy fairweather

    troy fairweather Member

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    what rifle and what are you shooting with it. i using round ball the 54 packs more punch.
     
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  3. skeeterfogger

    skeeterfogger Member

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    No rifle particularly. Just was wondering if that extra punch was really that much more given the slight diameter and weight difference. My thinkink should I add another rifle is to go 58 since I have a 50.
     
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  4. LRDGCO

    LRDGCO member

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    Weight of projectile.

    With BP, one reaches the point of diminishing returns with adding more powder. So the only way to increase terminal energy is weight of projectile. A .54 cal round ball will weigh 50 grains more than a .50 cal ball (188 vs 238 in pure lead).

    But if you have a fast twist .50 that will stabilize conicals or sabot rounds, there's nothing that you should dare hunt with a .50 cal that you would if only you had a .54.

    A .58 should give you Minie ball capabilities. That's Stegasaurus ready.
     
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  5. skeeterfogger

    skeeterfogger Member

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    Yeah, I have one in 1:28 so it is kind of defeatist to even be concerned about 50, 54 or 58. Guess no new toy.
     
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  6. midland man

    midland man Member

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    I hunted years with 50c but two years ago I wanted something different so I changed totally over to 45c and I love it as I still kill deer just as dead and with less powder and lead! and I only use roundballs!
     
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  7. mcb

    mcb Member

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    I started with a 58 cal T/C Big-Boar and never looked back. 555gr Maxi-Hunters were brutal at Max charge, killing on one end and maiming on the other. 300gr 45 bullets in sabots turn it into a gentleman's rifle when I need/want it. Patch and round ball for mild and affordablea plinking.
     
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  8. Armored farmer

    Armored farmer Member

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    Gunbroker is loaded with nice BP rifles that will ship to your door. I have a dozen on my watch list now. Keep an on them you will find one that is just right.
    My old rifle happens to be a .54. The difference between a .50 and a .54 would be insignificant, imho.
     
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  9. robhof

    robhof Member

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    I've got 45, 50 and 54 so I'm covered for anything except squirrel. Do most shooting with the 45, cheaper, using less powder and lead per shot.
     
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  10. skeeterfogger

    skeeterfogger Member

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    I've used 45 with shot for squirrels.
     
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  11. AlexanderA
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    AlexanderA Member

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    Historical background: .54 was the traditional rifle caliber for the U.S. military (.69 for muskets) until it standardized on .58 for both rifles and muskets in 1855. .50-70 (and later .45-70) was adopted as a cartridge standard after the Civil War.
     
  12. Iggy

    Iggy Member

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    A 54 will take down Elk, Moose, and an Angus bull slick as a whistle.. I wouldn't try it with a 50. Forty, 45, and 50 are hell for stout on deer, antelope, coyotes, and prairie dogs..
    I'm a firm believer in respecting the critter. "Use enough gun!"
     
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  13. Malachi Leviticus Blue

    Malachi Leviticus Blue Member

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    There are a lot of factors to consider, but if sticking to a comparison of patched round balls, then .54 packs a significantly bigger punch than .50.
    For those of you thinking that going from .50 to .54 doesn't sound like much difference, just remember a little bit of your basic High School geometry and physics.

    Start with a .490 (175 gr) pure lead round ball and move up to a .530 (225 gr) pure lead round ball.
    That's a 50 grain increase as LRDGCO eluded to above.
    If that still doesn't sound like much difference, realize that's also a 29% increase in weight.
    Expressed as a 29% increase in weight should get most folks to recognize that going from .50 to .54 is a truly significant increase in Thor's Hammer.
     
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  14. skeeterfogger

    skeeterfogger Member

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    Gee wiz I was only curious, LOL. Guess the underlying question is, if you have a 50 and wanted to move up would it make more or less sense to move up to 58?
     
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  15. arcticap

    arcticap Member

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    Moving up to a .54 would make sense for elk, and a .58 for buffalo.
    What would you want to use for moose, woodland caribou, musk ox or polar bear?
    Many people shoot for fun, others for serious hunting.
    There will be more wallop on both ends of which ever caliber gun that you moved up to, unless only shooting target loads.
    There's .54 loads that could provide plenty of punishment for a shooter's shoulder.
    .58 conicals can be used to hunt African game.
    It depends on what kind of gun, projectiles and loads a person wants to both give and receive punishment with.
    If a person doesn't believe that a gun can punish a shooter, then think about how people have gotten a detached retina by shooting one.
    There was one poster here who separated his shoulder with a hot .45 PRB loaded to the max. with 777. ;)
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2019
  16. AlexanderA
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    AlexanderA Member

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    Then these calibers must be overkill for the man-sized targets they were designed for? (To say nothing about the earlier .75 (Brown Bess) and .69 (Charleville) musket calibers.) My God! They must have been thinking of utterly destroying their enemies, and not just killing them.
     
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  17. skeeterfogger

    skeeterfogger Member

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    Getting shot by any caliber sucks. When I was a kid the neighbor kid thought it would be fun to smack a 209 primer with a hammer on concrete. Before I could run for cover the primer cup struck me in side of my knee. That was enough to put me on the ground and quarter way up a down from my knee was useless numb for several minutes. Anything bigger and with more power would have ruined my knee for life.
    Anyway I think the reason for 60+ calibers was to be able to use shot as well as ball. Can't shoot much shot, especially buck out of 58 and down in comparison. I'm sure that even the reason in battle situation was of course big enough to hit them anywhere and they can't shoot back.
     
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  18. expat_alaska

    expat_alaska Member

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    Just my experience: In the early 80's in Alaska, my hunting buddy and I would hunt moose with BP rifles. I had a CVA Hawken .50 and he had a .54 (I don't recall who made it but it was similar to a Hawken). We hunted as a team a few paces from each other using patched round ball with a fairly stout load of BP (Goex I believe) for his and Pyrodex R for mine. He would shoot first with the .54 for a lung/heart shot and I would follow with the .50 for the coup-de-gras. The .54 did not drop the 1,000# animal immediately, and the .50 was usually a neck/head shot as soon as possible. After the fun was over, the meat work began and rifle cleaning after that.

    Regards,

    Jim
     
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  19. skeeterfogger

    skeeterfogger Member

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    Was always fan of twist rifle for that quick access to 2nd shot. But alas they like hens teeth and mazaratti price if you find one.
    Doesn't matter anymore. Cost of hunting here is now kill happy blood lust. A sane hunter here just doesn't hunt anymore.
     
  20. david58

    david58 Member

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    There is a significant difference in thump moving up to .54. For some reason, it seems to be a sweet spot of diameter and velocity, fine for deer and adequate for elk. IMHO, .50 prb is not ok for elk, though I have had friends that hunted with a double ball load in .50. Now THAT load will teach you about Newton and actions and reactions! If I were to have one caliber, it would be .54 if I hunted, or .40 if I only hunted deer and such (though in NM we must use only .45 and larger, but I can't ever seem to get a tag....).
     
  21. skeeterfogger

    skeeterfogger Member

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    Well at least you get a chance at tags. Here it has turned into blood money kill happy. We have state grasslands but it is a pay and hope for draw. Plus 99% of it you can't use any off road unless you are disabled and that requires a permit. So you are stuck walking in and if you get anything, carry it out. Most is also archery only with some muzzleloader or shotgun for hogs. Lumber company land you have to request tags from them. I believe that has turned into the good ole boy system. I'll do a weekend hunt if it's a decent area and price but refuse to pay to kill feral hogs. Honestly their are too many that actually put them on the land then get suckers to pay that blood money to kill them. If was really a problem the govt would make them allow people to thin them out. Most of the time they leave them lay. Most are not fit to eat. Other than that I stick with fishing for most part and perforate paper at the range.
     
  22. arcticap

    arcticap Member

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    I just picked up this anodized aluminum TC .54 Maxiball mold which I figure weighs 430 grains since the weight isn't marked on the mold and that was the Maxiball weight that TC sold at retail.
    I wouldn't want to shoot this slug in my .54.
    A person could probably shoot through 2 deer with it and kill a 3rd if they were all standing side by side.
    I'll stick with the lighter weight bullets and sabots.

    P1280765a.JPG P1280766a.JPG P1280767a.JPG
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2019
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  23. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    Interesting that .69" is kind of a fat 16 gauge - a .665" lead ball is one ounce - and .54" is about a half ounce - .525" with room for a thick patch.
     
  24. skeeterfogger

    skeeterfogger Member

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    I think in the time prb was the go to for average joe. The mini and maxi was more military for max damage, like hit one take out 2 or 3. I can see how a hunter might use heavier for big game if they were using a percieved low caliber for the game.
    60+ clal musket were that large to accommodate using shot for versatility.
     
  25. woodnbow
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    woodnbow Contributing Member

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    I’ve got a few of the maxi balls laying around here somewhere. I thought at one time that they were necessary for big bull elk but over time and with experience, I’ve come to believe that they are equal to, not more than, the patched round ball within 100 yards or so. And as noted, the recoil with 100gr. Powder charges is memorable during practice sessions.
     
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