2024 Flint vs Cap thread

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  • 10mm

    Marksman
    Jan 6, 2024
    168
    43
    Greencastle
    I've played with in line bp for deer hunting for a while, but I've gotten a lot of conflicting advice in trying to decide between caplock and flintlock. I'd like to entertain a more realistic frontier hunting experience. For someone trying to dabble into true black powder and not substitutes, what is the best starting option? I'm aware of the issues with cheap locks and I believe I can nap flint well enough to get by if that bears any weight. I appreciate any experience and if there are more questions I'm too ignorant to ask yet, please enlighten me.
     

    natdscott

    User Unknown
    Trainer Supporter
    Jul 20, 2015
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    As long as you are committed to restraining yourself to short range shots...such as you might have more of south of 40 than north of 36...roundball rifles can do okay. I don't personally think it's a good idea on the smaller end, but there have been a lot of deer killed with them.

    But you're not gonna be taking 100+ yard shots with very good performance. The power just isn't there, that aorta WAS at 25....remember that your ballistic coefficient starts with a 0.0xx for roundballs.

    For conicals, you sorta start giving up the "olde east" and "Appalachia" effect rifles, because in those days, round balls were mostly it, and almost all barrels made as such.

    That said, for "frontier" rifles like those of the Hawken brothers, conicals were very much a thing.

    For you, a beginner trying for deer, I'd stick with a caplock and #11 Mags, or Musket caps. Goex 2F is the powder.

    Caplocks are easier to keep dry, and you're gonna have enough to learn about, without throwing in 2 granulations of powder, two measures, pan priming "on the go", and figuring out how to keep your powders, primers, pan, etc. dry in field conditions. That, and relearning how to shoot well with the flash and delay from a flint setup is not a given.

    I'd also suggest you go conical, for now. They are just plain more effective in basically everything involving dying.
     

    10mm

    Marksman
    Jan 6, 2024
    168
    43
    Greencastle
    As long as you are committed to restraining yourself to short range shots...such as you might have more of south of 40 than north of 36...roundball rifles can do okay. I don't personally think it's a good idea on the smaller end, but there have been a lot of deer killed with them.

    But you're not gonna be taking 100+ yard shots with very good performance. The power just isn't there, that aorta WAS at 25....remember that your ballistic coefficient starts with a 0.0xx for roundballs.

    For conicals, you sorta start giving up the "olde east" and "Appalachia" effect rifles, because in those days, round balls were mostly it, and almost all barrels made as such.

    That said, for "frontier" rifles like those of the Hawken brothers, conicals were very much a thing.

    For you, a beginner trying for deer, I'd stick with a caplock and #11 Mags, or Musket caps. Goex 2F is the powder.

    Caplocks are easier to keep dry, and you're gonna have enough to learn about, without throwing in 2 granulations of powder, two measures, pan priming "on the go", and figuring out how to keep your powders, primers, pan, etc. dry in field conditions. That, and relearning how to shoot well with the flash and delay from a flint setup is not a given.

    I'd also suggest you go conical, for now. They are just plain more effective in basically everything involving dying.

    I would say that has continuity with most of my thoughts on the matter. So far as calibers go, should I stick with .50, or is .45 okay etc etc. do I need a 58cal bore for deer or bigger? Most of the cheaper starter rifles in the sub $600 are those calibers. I'm not opposed to spending coin on a good rifle, but I'm interested to know your thoughts on the matter
     

    natdscott

    User Unknown
    Trainer Supporter
    Jul 20, 2015
    2,810
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    If you were intending round ball, then the larger you go, the better.

    If conical, I'd personally stay with .50.

    .40 and .45 are great, if you are okay "rolling your own", and/or accept that you have probably 25% or less of the manufacturer support...and well less, in .40.

    I have killed every ML deer I own--and that's more than a few 10's of them--with .50. Also a coyote or two, and one squirrel (not super recommended).
     

    10mm

    Marksman
    Jan 6, 2024
    168
    43
    Greencastle
    I'll likely stay with conical for the first try then. I have cast 44 mag for years and 10mm about the same, but I don't have any experience with what I assume is straight lead. I also don't have the bullet molds for .45 or larger yet, although I'm certain that is handily remedied.
    Are there any brands I should stay away from on the cheaper end? I was actually looking at some of the traditions kits as I like to pretend to woodwork from time to time and I was a mechanic for a number of years so I'm certain I'd only have a couple of extra pieces when it was all said and done.
    Also, thanks for taking the time.
     

    Leadeye

    Grandmaster
    Jan 19, 2009
    36,824
    113
    .
    Can't argue with the above advice, side locks are fun to hunt with, but if you hunt, use something that kills. I've got a TC Hawken that I bought back in the 70s when everybody had to have one. It's been a good reliable gun at woods ranges for years.
     

    Max Volume

    Master
    Site Supporter
    Jul 26, 2008
    2,625
    113
    da region Highland
    I would recommend starting with a caplock and have used a T/C Hawken .50 round ball out to 92 paces and it dropped in it's tracks. I do have flintlocks but have not shot them much.
    When considering ball vs conical remember rifling twist. Slow twist is a ball shooter and fast for conicals.
    My Hawken is 1/48 and have better accuracy with ball. Flinters twist is really slow, like 1/66 which means
    shooting ball. 1/28 or so would be a conical shooter. Remember this when choosing a weapon.
     

    10mm

    Marksman
    Jan 6, 2024
    168
    43
    Greencastle
    The twist rate information is very helpful as I wasn't really even considering that. I will find one with the 1/28 if it can be found. Looks like I have more searching and reading to do.
     

    BigBoxaJunk

    Grandmaster
    Feb 9, 2013
    7,324
    113
    East-ish
    Most of my deer were killed with a patched round ball, and most closer than 30 yards. I've passed on a lot of longer shots over the years, but more often because of being unsure about my ability to hit with iron sites at a distance than worrying about a killing shot.
     

    Michigan Slim

    Master
    Site Supporter
    Jan 19, 2014
    3,428
    113
    Fort Wayne
    A patched round ball out of a .50 will kill cleanly at 100 yards. It will. I have done it several times. My current ML is a Lyman Great Plains with a 1:66 twist. It is a true RB shooter. My previous ML was a TC Renegade. God, I miss that gun. Gave it to my boy when he shot his first deer with it. It had a 1:48 twist. It would shoot conicals OK, RB excellent and sabots like I threw them by hand. I also have a TC Omega that shoots sabots very well. A fast twist rifle. I hate it. To me it's an ugly gun with no history like the others. $300.00 to the first person that comes and gets it.
     

    10mm

    Marksman
    Jan 6, 2024
    168
    43
    Greencastle
    A patched round ball out of a .50 will kill cleanly at 100 yards. It will. I have done it several times. My current ML is a Lyman Great Plains with a 1:66 twist. It is a true RB shooter. My previous ML was a TC Renegade. God, I miss that gun. Gave it to my boy when he shot his first deer with it. It had a 1:48 twist. It would shoot conicals OK, RB excellent and sabots like I threw them by hand. I also have a TC Omega that shoots sabots very well. A fast twist rifle. I hate it. To me it's an ugly gun with no history like the others. $300.00 to the first person that comes and gets it.

    Will it kill with a boiler room shot, or do I need to be more precise than that? Knock on wood, I've never failed to split a heart with a scoped rifle. I'm good enough if the round ball will be accurate enough at that distance. I grew up around the friendship shoot, but I haven't ever taken a real interest in bp until the past couple years.
     

    Michigan Slim

    Master
    Site Supporter
    Jan 19, 2014
    3,428
    113
    Fort Wayne
    Will it kill with a boiler room shot, or do I need to be more precise than that? Knock on wood, I've never failed to split a heart with a scoped rifle. I'm good enough if the round ball will be accurate enough at that distance. I grew up around the friendship shoot, but I haven't ever taken a real interest in bp until the past couple years.
    Put it in the lungs and it is dead. Most likely it will pass all the way through. Out of twenty some deer I've recovered two balls. They flatten and expand some. That surprised me.
     

    natdscott

    User Unknown
    Trainer Supporter
    Jul 20, 2015
    2,810
    113
    .
    Put it in the lungs and it is dead. Most likely it will pass all the way through. Out of twenty some deer I've recovered two balls. They flatten and expand some. That surprised me.

    Well, you can shoot a deer with 9mm ball at 100 yards and kill it, too.

    Most people agree that both are poor advice, for voluntary, intentional shots.

    A little 485 or 490 round ball, by 100 paces, has lost probably 40% of its speed, and 65-70% of its energy. It's subsonic, and less than HALF the recommended energy levels for large whitetail deer.

    It'll also be drifting an inch per mph.....


    Better be real good at windage, or tracking. Probably both.
     

    10mm

    Marksman
    Jan 6, 2024
    168
    43
    Greencastle
    Does anyone have data on a 50 cal round ball speed at the muzzle? I understand you alter that with the powder charge. If there's a generally accepted speed to shoot for or you just adjust your charge until you get the best accuracy I'd like to know what kind of energy we're dealing with.
     

    natdscott

    User Unknown
    Trainer Supporter
    Jul 20, 2015
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    1,800 fps midline load will be in the 1,000 fps range at 100.

    1,250 lbs at the muzzle, down to nearly 400 lbs at 100.


    ETA: And going "by the numbers", you can go big/heavy/slow with a lot of energy and diameter...or less heavy/smaller/MUCH faster, and rely more on shock and expansion.

    As a reminder, we're usually best to be looking for 750-800+ lbs of energy, at impact. If you want any hydro shock, or believe it is a thing, then 1,800 fps at impact is a sorta accepted minimum.

    I don't think the .50 roundball load does ANY of those things at a distance, unless it were pushed to enormous speeds.

    ****That's why, fu'ther up there, I said "bigger is better" for RB guns.



    My opinion, after decades of killing them with a lot more, and still becoming decent at tracking.
     
    Last edited:

    10mm

    Marksman
    Jan 6, 2024
    168
    43
    Greencastle
    Given that the conical will be considerably heavier, can you still get the 1800 fps or are things significantly different or would it cause severe overpressure trying to reach those with a 300+gr conical or Minnie?
     

    natdscott

    User Unknown
    Trainer Supporter
    Jul 20, 2015
    2,810
    113
    .
    Given that the conical will be considerably heavier, can you still get the 1800 fps or are things significantly different or would it cause severe overpressure trying to reach those with a 300+gr conical or Minnie?

    Absolutely not.

    1,800 fps at 100 yards is strictly smokeless ML territory...and a lot of it, at that.

    To clarify: with BP muzzleloaders like we are discussing, you cannot make any reliance on speed alone, for hydro shock...if it exists. They might get some under 50 yards, but it's gonna be pretty localized, relative to a 2,800 fps rifle.

    The BP-sub loads I used to use really hit about like a 12 ga. 250-300 grain JHP-ish, 385 Great Plains. All the normal loads from 90-115 grains of FF and FFF...well, they span the same velocity range as 12 ga slugs and sabot rounds.

    Makes sense that they kill well at a little longer range, then, doesn't it?




    I am not trying to drag your thread into a "don't hunt Trad" thing. Nor do I think round balls are a bad idea. But, as I said above, I think you have to marry the idea of shooting them like a revolver. 100 yards might be "a thing"...but sure don't do it on a rainy day. :)
     
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    10mm

    Marksman
    Jan 6, 2024
    168
    43
    Greencastle
    Absolutely not.

    1,800 fps at 100 yards is strictly smokeless ML territory...and a lot of it, at that.

    To clarify: with BP muzzleloaders like we are discussing, you cannot make any reliance on speed alone, for hydro shock...if it exists. They might get some under 50 yards, but it's gonna be pretty localized, relative to a 2,800 fps rifle.

    The BP-sub loads I used to use really hit about like a 12 ga. 250-300 grain JHP-ish, 385 Great Plains. All the normal loads from 90-115 grains of FF and FFF...well, they span the same velocity range as 12 ga slugs and sabot rounds.

    Makes sense that they kill well at a little longer range, then, doesn't it?




    I am not trying to drag your thread into a "don't hunt Trad" thing. Nor do I think round balls are a bad idea. But, as I said above, I think you have to marry the idea of shooting them like a revolver. 100 yards might be "a thing"...but sure don't do it on a rainy day. :)

    I see. It's more of a know your limits thing rather than a "can't or shouldn't do it" thing. For the record I'm a 1/3 with a revolver off hand at 75 yards, so I don't think I'll try my first shots at the usual 100. This is all that conflicting info I'm talking about. The nuance is so often missing in online forums so I sincerely appreciate the info.
     

    Michigan Slim

    Master
    Site Supporter
    Jan 19, 2014
    3,428
    113
    Fort Wayne
    Does anyone have data on a 50 cal round ball speed at the muzzle? I understand you alter that with the powder charge. If there's a generally accepted speed to shoot for or you just adjust your charge until you get the best accuracy I'd like to know what kind of energy we're dealing with.
    I adjusted my charges for each rifle to see what my accuracy was. I started at 70 grains and worked up to 110. 80 grains was most accurate in both guns with a RB. Conicals liked 90 grains on my Renegade. My Great Plains wouldn't shoot them well with any charge. Patched round balls only for that one.
     
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