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texasmac
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Got one with a muzzle loader
Nov 6th, 2019 at 12:47pm
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Texas firearm deer season opened this past weekend (archery opened last month) & I finally managed to get a nice doe with a .50 cal. muzzle loader using a 177gr round ball and 90grs of some old Goex FFFg.  She was about 70yds away.  So now I can scratch that off my ďbucket listĒ and hang the old ďHawkenísĒ back up on the wall above the fireplace mantel.  My next goal is to shoot one with a handgun.  BTW, I hit her in the right rib cage behind the front shoulder & the bullet exited just in front of the left hip so no meat was destroyed.  I believe the bullet was deflected by the rib bones since she was not standing broad side when I shot. 

One potential problem when using a muzzle loader is, due to all the white smoke from the black powder, I could not tell if I hit her and had no idea what direction she ran afterwards, but got lucky and found her about 75yds deep in the woods from where she was shot.

Another potential problem is even soft pure lead cast bullets will not expand to create a large exit wound.  So unless hit in the head or spine a deer will tend to run a long distance and thereís little or no blood trail to follow.  Although the pure lead round ball shattered a rib bone upon entry it apparently did not expand at all.  The entry and exit holes were the same size.  There was no blood trail to follow and the deer did not bleed out where it laid down and died.  All the blood was pooled in the chest & body cavity when I field dressed it.  I bet back in the days when muzzle loaders were the main firearm there was a lot of injured or dead game left in the woods.

Wayne
  

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calledflyer
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Re: Got one with a muzzle loader
Reply #1 - Nov 6th, 2019 at 1:06pm
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Wayne, congratulations on getting the job done. And, you mentioning the white smoke from black powder made me think that the wounded animals left because they weren't found before they died or escaped continued on long after muzzle loaders were gone from the scene. The lead slugs from early BP cartridge guns were little better in that regard. But, again, congrats, and here's the well-earned attaboy. Smiley
  

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texasmac
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Re: Got one with a muzzle loader
Reply #2 - Nov 6th, 2019 at 1:22pm
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calledflyer wrote on Nov 6th, 2019 at 1:06pm:
Wayne, congratulations on getting the job done. And, you mentioning the white smoke from black powder made me think that the wounded animals left because they weren't found before they died or escaped continued on long after muzzle loaders were gone from the scene. The lead slugs from early BP cartridge guns were little better in that regard. But, again, congrats, and here's the well-earned attaboy. Smiley


Thanks calledflyer.  Being a long time BPCR shooter I considered using my .40-65 to take a deer but hauling the 14lb rifle (with scope) around the woods is not appealing.  I'm well aware of the smoke it creates but the 55 to 65grs of BP won't be quite as bad as 90grs in the muzzle loader.  As far as entry and exit wounds, I image the problem will be similar since the 400gr cast bullet will not likely expand much if at all.

Wayne
  

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texasmac
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Re: Got one with a muzzle loader
Reply #3 - Nov 6th, 2019 at 1:43pm
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And I forgot to include a link to the official deer hunging song for your listening enjoyment.† Grin

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Wayne
  

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Re: Got one with a muzzle loader
Reply #4 - Nov 6th, 2019 at 7:06pm
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Good job Wayne!

I rarely have a blood trail with my 45 Seneca, but I almost always have snow. If possible, an elevated shooting position is a big help in making a low exit hole.
  
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calledflyer
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Re: Got one with a muzzle loader
Reply #5 - Nov 7th, 2019 at 1:47pm
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I think I may have seen some of the guys in that video around here. Of course, out here that 'thirty-point buck', reduced to Western count would only be a fifteen pointer. Common enough for us to see in the hills of Nevada. Roll Eyes
  

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Schuetzenmiester
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Re: Got one with a muzzle loader
Reply #6 - Nov 7th, 2019 at 3:34pm
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My .54 Griz-buster flintlock drops them in their tracks shot through the heart lung zone.  Never had a chance to see if it makes a blood trail or not.  The RB always exits.
  

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Just Jim
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Re: Got one with a muzzle loader
Reply #7 - Nov 7th, 2019 at 4:28pm
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texasmac wrote on Nov 6th, 2019 at 12:47pm:
I bet back in the days when muzzle loaders were the main firearm there was a lot of injured or dead game left in the woods.

Wayne


Yes, I'm sure there was some of that, but most were hunting for sustenance rather than sport, so they learned from an early age how to track and trail.

My last deer was hit right where it should have been with a .30-30 (it was a Winchester sponsored hunt), and it left no blood trail to speak of. When the guide came back to pick me up, he was certain that this little dude from CA had botched the shot.

It was dark, and my flashlight was pooping out, so he left me his and walked off muttering as he left to pick up another hunter. By the time he came back, I had found the buck. He looked at the impact on the deer, then asked me to show him how I trailed it.

I pointed out how there was a TINY drop of blood here and there, how I marked those with trail tape and used that to establish a line of flight. When the sign died, I was forced to walk in ever increasing circles until I found sign again.

Now I'm no Nessmuk, but after we looked at the trail, I got a slap on the back from the guide, and he treated me "right friendly" for the balance of that Texas trip.

Good on 'ya for expending the effort to find your deer!
  
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Re: Got one with a muzzle loader
Reply #8 - Mar 15th, 2020 at 12:30pm
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Tracking is not a lost art but has certainly diminished. A flashlight with the filter that enhances blood splashes does help. So far I've been lucky in having deer either drop or leave a decent blood trail ... and then I find them piled up a 100 yds away. I tend to waste a bit of meat in breaking the shoulder but it tends to anchor them better.

Not so  sure about losing more animals when muzzleloaders were the only choice. Knowing you only had one shot and being hungry makes one careful about shot placement.  Living with your weapon day to day should make you a better shot.
Something had to work well; the Lewis and Clark expedition consumed 9 lbs of meat/person/day.
Those were not plains rifles either. Of course flintlock and probably medium caliber; not really adequate for Grizzly!
Just my tuppence.
  
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texasmac
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Re: Got one with a muzzle loader
Reply #9 - Mar 15th, 2020 at 1:20pm
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Here's a very good youtube video.  See how the whitetails form a scrape and urinate in the scrape, which is especially clear with the last deer.  You can see the urine pooling under the deer. And around 6:20 into the video a very old deer shows up.

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Wayne
  

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Re: Got one with a muzzle loader
Reply #10 - Mar 15th, 2020 at 2:22pm
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I have shot a handful of deer with a 50 caliber but always with a conical bullet.  When I decided to hunt with a round ball one year I switched to my 58 caliber and shot a small buck at about 90 yards.  He dropped in his tracks but when I walked up to him I had to shoot him in the head to dispatch him.  I think there is a reason why most of the old rifles were 54 and 58 caliber as the 58 caliber ball makes a 50 caliber ball look like a bb!  We now have to hunt with lead free projectiles so my muzzleloader hunting days are probably behind me now.  The part of the story about the smoke reminds me of my first turkey hunt with my muzzleloading 12 ga shotgun.  My buddy called 3 toms in and I let fly at 30 yards killing the big one.  It was just after sun-up and was a cold spring morning with not a drop of wind.  The air stayed smokey for several minutes making me and my buddy ponder what it must have been like in the civil war on such a morning.  I purchased some bismuth shot so that I can still hunt turkeys if I so desire with my muzzleloading double barrel. 
My next venture is to try to kill a deer and/or antelope this fall with a paper patched bullet and blackpowder with my 40-70 SS Hepburn.  Tom
  
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Re: Got one with a muzzle loader
Reply #11 - Mar 18th, 2020 at 7:39pm
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No forensic expert and I donít write for the rags but Iíve shot a few ungulates with soft lead and  black powder. So my freezer and my opinion says soft lead 30-40:1 at decent muzzle or black powder velocity will penetrate through most elk and deer unless it hits big bone. Hit a shoulder with a .610 soft lead ball on a cow elk and youíll find moderately broken and fragmented bone near side and if it stays on course and hits the far side it can either exit or mushroom to like .875Ē on the broad bone. Otherwise the ball or bullet will almost always fully penetrate and exit  leaving more than a good blood trail. The best part of this type of hunting is no bullet fragmentation or blood-shot meat destruction. From what Iíve read buffalo hunters routinely had full penetration hits.  A bled out animal is a better tasting animal.

Hard to say how or why animals that are presumably hit get away but Iíd say itís a couple chapters in the book of hunting. Bad hits, hits at the end of the daylight, tough country to track or traverse, taking shot at extreme range or just donít like the meat only want the rack. My biggest beef are the high tech long range shooters who station and scout on four wheelers. Locate and set up long range optics similar to military sniper ops. Little concern for the animal as shots are evaluated on distance alone. Taking shots across canyons at low light late day with range finding calculating scopes is not hunting , itís sniping. These shooters no nothing about tracks, animal behaviors or traversing hunting ground. That elk in the cross hairs was only a target and at these ranges there are lots of wounding shots.

Rick
  
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Schuetzenmiester
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Re: Got one with a muzzle loader
Reply #12 - Mar 18th, 2020 at 11:45pm
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burntwater wrote on Mar 18th, 2020 at 7:39pm:
Hard to say how or why animals that are presumably hit get away but Iíd say itís a couple chapters in the book of hunting.

Rick

Some just don't know they are dead yet.  350# black bear shot through both lungs and the heart with a .54 RB would not admit it  Undecided
  

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Just Jim
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Re: Got one with a muzzle loader
Reply #13 - Sep 10th, 2020 at 12:12pm
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I want to announce publicly that I am an ignorant fool.

I have lived most of my adult life in the West, and I never had much difficulty tracking or trailing in any terrain I encountered. But this year, my wife and I moved to northern Georgia. We have 25 nice acres in the mountains, and while it is not as game rich as the seller stated, we do have turkey, lots of bear and a few deer.

But what I have learned is that the leaf litter of the mixed Hemlock and deciduous forest is near impossible to see tracks in. I have been having fun with trail cameras, but even when I know for a certainty that game has been on a section of trail in the past 24 hours, I can find no sign of their passage.

It's worrying me sufficiently that I'm considering using a modern rifle this year to improve odds of dropping an animal where I can find him.

So, I appologize for presuming that I knew something about tracking animals. I confess to being fearfully ignorant!  Embarrassed
  
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Re: Got one with a muzzle loader
Reply #14 - Sep 10th, 2020 at 12:29pm
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I used a 45 caliber Lee Target Minie in a converted Westley Richards "Improved Martini". The Target Minie cut a clean hole in the deer coming and going like a wadcutter in a paper target.
  
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