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Q:
MUZZLELOADER CALIBERS? What is your favorite ML caliber: .50, .54, or .58? I have an opportunity to buy a nice .58 Caliber musket style rifle at a very good price. My son is encouraging me to take advantage of this deal, but I am reluctant on the .58 caliber since it seems to be less popular than the .50 and .54 calibers. Is this a big deal? What say you?

Question by WA Mtnhunter. Uploaded on May 10, 2010

Answers (15)

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from WVOtter wrote 3 years 49 weeks ago

Your goal (ie. hunting and what size game, or for recreational target shooting) would be a big consideration. I think anything bigger than an average whitetail and you start to want to go >.50 cal., especially if the rifle twist rate dictates patch and ball vs. conicals. In my experience, finding supplies, both for shooting and maintanance, is easiest for the .50 and gets harder as you go up. But, that's not to say .58 is all that hard to locate, just maybe not at a general store, and that may have a lot to do with my location and what game is being commonly hunting with blackpowder. But I think the bottom line is that if it's a good deal and you like the rifle, .58 is not so far out in left field that you would regret it.

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from lovetohunt wrote 3 years 49 weeks ago

My TC is a .50cal. I have never used the .54 or .58 so I have to say the .50 is my favorite. Supplies for the .50 are as easy to find as .30-06 ammo. But like WV said, if its a good deal go for it. You can always sell it or trade it later if you don't like it.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from MLH wrote 3 years 49 weeks ago

Musket as in smoothbore? Personally, I'd do it only if I wanted to start casting my own. Would be interesting to see what accuracy you could get out of it.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sterling A wrote 3 years 49 weeks ago

stay way form the large cals 50 is aboout thebiggest you wast to get

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Elmer Fudd wrote 3 years 49 weeks ago

.45 is considered a squirrel rifle practically, so .58 is reasonable. I think your concern should maybe more in the line of "has this rifle been maintained properly?" which is a big problem for the muzzleloader aftermarket.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sourdough Dave wrote 3 years 49 weeks ago

Somewhere down the road I'd like to get a .58 smoothbore. Using shot the .58 is a 24 ga and would be a fun small game gun. With a.570 patched roundball You could expect bang-flop knock downs on any species of deer out to 60 yds.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from WVOtter wrote 3 years 49 weeks ago

Is this a "musket style rifle" as in an Enfield or Springfield reproduction? Most smoothbore muskets I'm used to are .69 Brown Bess's and such, but I'm faaaaaar from a pro on what is out there. Or is it actually a sidelock .58 hawken vs. an inline .58? I don't know that it changes many of the above statements, but I'm curious now given the different angles of perspectives.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from jamesti wrote 3 years 48 weeks ago

i would go for it. you should be able to get anything you need for it and it would be fun to shoot.
otter, good looking dog.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Del in KS wrote 3 years 48 weeks ago

If you like the gun and the bore is not pitted I say go for it. My guess is you are talking rifled musket like the Springfield used in the civil was. The 58 is fairly common and will do the job on just about anything. It's a big bullet but you can eat right up to the bullet hole because velocity is pretty low.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Del in KS wrote 3 years 48 weeks ago

BTW my ER Shaw rifle came today and is very nice. Fits me very well , action is lapped, bolt cycles like it's on ball bearings.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 3 years 48 weeks ago

I believe it is either a reproduction Enfield 2-barrel band rifled musket or a Zouve 2 band rifle in .58 caliber. The guy who has it is into Civil, er excuse me, War of Northern Aggression reenactments.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Beekeeper wrote 3 years 48 weeks ago

WMH,

Be careful of the re-enactor rifles. Most of these guns get shot with only blank BP charges and often go the weekend without being cleaned. Some of these fellows are jam up in maintenance other just want something that goes Boom! If he is a North South Skermish Association member the gun has probably been well cared for as they are target shooters who wear the period correct uniforms.

My favorite caliber is .54 for traditional muzzleloading. But... I did build a traditional flint style Hawken in .58 caliber. I bought 3 such barrels from Jerry Cunningham at Orion when he went under for $30 each. I currently am working on a percussion Hawken in .58 using one of those barrels.

The .58 is a trade off between mass and velocity. At woods ranges a .58 roundball hits like a bowling ball and will kill deer and feral hogs slap dead! The Minie' balls carry well down range and also pack some authority when thay get home. Typical charges for the Minie' balls in such rifle as you describe are 60-65 grains of 2fg for about 950 fps.

One of Dan'l Boon's favorite rifes was .60 caliber and he used it on buffalo and elk in KY and beyond.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sterling A wrote 3 years 48 weeks ago

probably the best muzzeloader i have ever owned is tompson center's 50 omega. instead of a bolt it has a drop action and uses a 12 gage firing cap with shockwave bullets the 150 grn i have shot a 5 in. pattern at 150 yds offhand and i'm not the best shot in the world. and the 150 grn recoil is no more than a 243. i have also shot the 250 grn bullet and that kicks like a mule and had a 10 in. pattern about 6in. lower at 150 yds. but i typicly use a 200 grn on deer big enugh to take down a large buck and light enugh to make those long shots.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 3 years 48 weeks ago

Bee, et al

Thanks for the advice. I may try to inspect it this weekend. I shot my son's hawken .58 on Sunday. Might be time to set up the range out back!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 3 years 48 weeks ago

Del

That is exactly what it is. I have not inspected it yet, but I think it is an Enfield 2 band reproduction rifled musket very similar to the Springfield.

That Mark VII looks pretty slick!

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from WVOtter wrote 3 years 49 weeks ago

Your goal (ie. hunting and what size game, or for recreational target shooting) would be a big consideration. I think anything bigger than an average whitetail and you start to want to go >.50 cal., especially if the rifle twist rate dictates patch and ball vs. conicals. In my experience, finding supplies, both for shooting and maintanance, is easiest for the .50 and gets harder as you go up. But, that's not to say .58 is all that hard to locate, just maybe not at a general store, and that may have a lot to do with my location and what game is being commonly hunting with blackpowder. But I think the bottom line is that if it's a good deal and you like the rifle, .58 is not so far out in left field that you would regret it.

+5 Good Comment? | | Report
from MLH wrote 3 years 49 weeks ago

Musket as in smoothbore? Personally, I'd do it only if I wanted to start casting my own. Would be interesting to see what accuracy you could get out of it.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from lovetohunt wrote 3 years 49 weeks ago

My TC is a .50cal. I have never used the .54 or .58 so I have to say the .50 is my favorite. Supplies for the .50 are as easy to find as .30-06 ammo. But like WV said, if its a good deal go for it. You can always sell it or trade it later if you don't like it.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 3 years 48 weeks ago

I believe it is either a reproduction Enfield 2-barrel band rifled musket or a Zouve 2 band rifle in .58 caliber. The guy who has it is into Civil, er excuse me, War of Northern Aggression reenactments.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Del in KS wrote 3 years 48 weeks ago

If you like the gun and the bore is not pitted I say go for it. My guess is you are talking rifled musket like the Springfield used in the civil was. The 58 is fairly common and will do the job on just about anything. It's a big bullet but you can eat right up to the bullet hole because velocity is pretty low.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Del in KS wrote 3 years 48 weeks ago

BTW my ER Shaw rifle came today and is very nice. Fits me very well , action is lapped, bolt cycles like it's on ball bearings.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from jamesti wrote 3 years 48 weeks ago

i would go for it. you should be able to get anything you need for it and it would be fun to shoot.
otter, good looking dog.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Elmer Fudd wrote 3 years 49 weeks ago

.45 is considered a squirrel rifle practically, so .58 is reasonable. I think your concern should maybe more in the line of "has this rifle been maintained properly?" which is a big problem for the muzzleloader aftermarket.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from WVOtter wrote 3 years 49 weeks ago

Is this a "musket style rifle" as in an Enfield or Springfield reproduction? Most smoothbore muskets I'm used to are .69 Brown Bess's and such, but I'm faaaaaar from a pro on what is out there. Or is it actually a sidelock .58 hawken vs. an inline .58? I don't know that it changes many of the above statements, but I'm curious now given the different angles of perspectives.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sourdough Dave wrote 3 years 49 weeks ago

Somewhere down the road I'd like to get a .58 smoothbore. Using shot the .58 is a 24 ga and would be a fun small game gun. With a.570 patched roundball You could expect bang-flop knock downs on any species of deer out to 60 yds.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Beekeeper wrote 3 years 48 weeks ago

WMH,

Be careful of the re-enactor rifles. Most of these guns get shot with only blank BP charges and often go the weekend without being cleaned. Some of these fellows are jam up in maintenance other just want something that goes Boom! If he is a North South Skermish Association member the gun has probably been well cared for as they are target shooters who wear the period correct uniforms.

My favorite caliber is .54 for traditional muzzleloading. But... I did build a traditional flint style Hawken in .58 caliber. I bought 3 such barrels from Jerry Cunningham at Orion when he went under for $30 each. I currently am working on a percussion Hawken in .58 using one of those barrels.

The .58 is a trade off between mass and velocity. At woods ranges a .58 roundball hits like a bowling ball and will kill deer and feral hogs slap dead! The Minie' balls carry well down range and also pack some authority when thay get home. Typical charges for the Minie' balls in such rifle as you describe are 60-65 grains of 2fg for about 950 fps.

One of Dan'l Boon's favorite rifes was .60 caliber and he used it on buffalo and elk in KY and beyond.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sterling A wrote 3 years 48 weeks ago

probably the best muzzeloader i have ever owned is tompson center's 50 omega. instead of a bolt it has a drop action and uses a 12 gage firing cap with shockwave bullets the 150 grn i have shot a 5 in. pattern at 150 yds offhand and i'm not the best shot in the world. and the 150 grn recoil is no more than a 243. i have also shot the 250 grn bullet and that kicks like a mule and had a 10 in. pattern about 6in. lower at 150 yds. but i typicly use a 200 grn on deer big enugh to take down a large buck and light enugh to make those long shots.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 3 years 48 weeks ago

Bee, et al

Thanks for the advice. I may try to inspect it this weekend. I shot my son's hawken .58 on Sunday. Might be time to set up the range out back!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 3 years 48 weeks ago

Del

That is exactly what it is. I have not inspected it yet, but I think it is an Enfield 2 band reproduction rifled musket very similar to the Springfield.

That Mark VII looks pretty slick!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sterling A wrote 3 years 49 weeks ago

stay way form the large cals 50 is aboout thebiggest you wast to get

0 Good Comment? | | Report

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