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I use T/C Bonded 250 grain Shockwaves and I'm looking to switch.  I've shot several deer with it and have had complete pass through's with the exit wound no bigger than the entry.  I use two pellets (100 grains) of Shockey's Gold Sticks.  All the deer have run father than they should have except one, who's run was stopped by going headlong into a tree.  Poor blood trails on all.  Deer ranged from 100 to 180 lbs and shots have been mixed between perfect broadside lung & heart shots, one a little to far back nicking paunch, and one "oops" that resulted in a rump shot (luckily caught the femoral).

What do you recommend for knocking a deer over dead at under 100 yards with only 100 grains of black powder equivalent?  Ideally I think I'd have a pass-through like I do now but with large exit wounds and easy blood trails.

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I used to shoot T/c .54 Maxi Balls over 110grns of FFG in my Hawken, but it was really overkill.  Those things just hammered deer and it wasn't unusual to find lung tissue out the other side.   The recoil was pretty stout too.  Then I switched to patched round balls over 90grns and found that anything inside of 50 long paces also got flattened.  I didn't get as many full pass-throughs, but the ball expanded significantly and transferred all of that energy to the deer.

I know everybody likes to shoot inlines with sabot rounds these days, but I say "if it ain't broke, don't fix it".

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I shoot round balls out of my .50 caliber Southern mountain rifle I built. 85 grains of FFg and I only had one ball stay in a deer. That deer was hit a little far back when I was aiming for a quartering away shot. The ball hit the ham in the near rear leg, passed through all the guts and lungs and was stopped under the hide after it broke the off shoulder. The ball expanded to around .60 caliber. Never found a need for more bullet because I never shot an in-line. Shoot the OS Minie out of my Zouave with 60 grains of FFg and like the SM rifle have never found a bullet in the deer and have always got complete pass through.

Don't know what to tell you about in-lines except the guys I know that shoot them all went to a cast bullet of around 400 grains that sits in a sabot. They all got tired of the mixed results they got with sabot pistol bullets. The cast 400 grainer has a lot of punch on both ends but for these guys it's worth it because they get the results they are looking for, total pass through.

Virgil

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I load a light load so my 80 pound son can comfortably shoot our CVA in line.  I use 245gr powerbelt hollow points with 80gr pyrodex.  He killed a deer at about 80 yards with it last season, a 350 pound wild sow at 30 yards last spring, and a big doe at 100 yards the early season this year.  All good chest hits and pass throughs, but I will admit none left a good blood trail, they just did not go far.
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I shoot round balls out of my .50 caliber Southern mountain rifle I built. 85 grains of FFg and I only had one ball stay in a deer.

Has me thinking I might need higher antimony round balls.  On the other hand, the ones I'm using still work pretty darn good.

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In my caplock I do the same as Briarscratch. In my flinter I use a .498 round ball, both are 50 cal.  I use 100 grs. of 2F BP in each.  Both rifles are very effective in killing deer
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TC Hawkins and New Englander.

90 grains FFG, followed by a pre-lubed wad, followed by a 320 grain maxiball.

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.490 round ball patched with pillow ticking over 90 gr of FF.  

In the 45, it's a .440 ball over 60 gr of FFF.  Pass throughs, plenty accurate out to 100 yards.

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I shoot round balls out of my .50 caliber Southern mountain rifle I built. 85 grains of FFg and I only had one ball stay in a deer.

Has me thinking I might need higher antimony round balls.  On the other hand, the ones I'm using still work pretty darn good.

I shoot .490 pure lead w/Ox Yoke patch out of that .50 caliber SM rifle. Never tried a "hardball" load but didn't see the need. All of these pass through were on big IL deer going 180-200+ pounds and shot at between 50 and 100+ yards.

Virgil

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drummer's stump
I have killed a fair number of deer with patched round ball, both 45 and 50 cal, most only went 50 or 60 yards . I started out with a TC Hawken, then moved to a Lyman Great Plains rifle. I shot the LGP ok, but not anywhere near as good as the custom I picked up off the Smurf. It is has opened my eyes to what a quality rifle can do with a round ball, off bags at 100 yards, it will shoot under 4"( probably better than that with a different shooter), at 50 its scary. The key to muzzleloader accuracy is twist rate. Anything under 1/60, should shoot bullets, and above 1/60 should shoot round balls. The TC Hawken comes with a 1/48 twist, which is meant to shoot both, but often shoots both poorly. Green Mountain makes a drop in barrel for both ball, and bullet. Most in-lines use a 1/28 twist rate
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]Then I switched to patched round balls over 90grns and found that anything inside of 50 long paces also got flattened.  I didn't get as many full pass-throughs, but the ball expanded significantly and transferred all of that energy to the deer.

My experience with 10 or so whitetails is that a .50 patch round ball driven by 70-100g of FFg will flatten a deer if the shot is even marginally in the right place.  Most go down on the spot, and I've never had one go more than 50 yards.  Almost all have been still by the time I could reload my gun.

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I have probably killed 20 + deer over the years with a Hawken rifle and will echo what most of the others have said. A plain old chunk of lead, round or conical, put in a decent spot does as good a job as you could ask for.....

Just checked the forecast for Saturdays WI opener, could be snow on the ground (good), temp in the morning 9 with a high of 19 (no good!).

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