Elephant Hunt with Muzzle Loader

Quinn Kloppers

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Hi all you muzzle loader fans,

I have a client that is coming to hunt elephant with a muzzle loader in April, I have absolutely no clue when it comes to muzzle loaders, could someone please help me with some info on calibers velocities and energy. Something I could compare to the conventional heavy caliber rifle ie. 375H&H, 458lott and say the 500Jeff.

Look forward to your feedback.
 

bandit

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Hi

I have been shooting BP for a while, but still I am no expert. Keep it within 50 meters. If I were to hunt an ele with muzzle loader I would take nothing less than the 72 cal double from Pedersoli, but that is just me !! The .72 caliber muzzleloader fires a .715, 550 grain, round ball at a velocity from 1,500-1,700 fps. The 36 and 45 calibres are really seen as small in use (I shoot a 45 cal Hawken rifle). I do like the 58 calibre because it does infact pack a lot more punch than the 36,45 and 50, but its trajectory is not as flat as say a 54 cal. The BP advantage ofcourse is the size and the weight of the lead it is throwing, however sometimes slow when compared to smokeless rounds. Then there is the subject of type of bullets used, sabots or the standard lead ones (conicals, round balls, maxies or minies). Sabots are smaller cal, sometimes jacketed bullets in a plastic cup.
To compare it to your list, BP may seem to come short on the ballistic power side. Although the BP figures will be much lower than their smokeless counterparts you will find that BP arms are still effective in practice. In good hands many calibres will perform very well.
 

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Quinn,
I have a hunter booked in July for a buffalo hunt with a .500 B.P.E.

My initial queries centered around getting adequate penetration from the projectiles commonly used in these types of firearms, which ofcourse on buffalo is not as demanding as it would be for Elephant.

This particular hunter is using Linotype bullets and we have agreed to trial by limiting initial shots to angleing behind one shoulder aiming for the off shoulder in order to acheive a double-lung shot, or full frontals into the hollow where the neck meets the chest.

I don't know if you could apply any of this to hunting of Elephant( if there ARE any "soft" spots on an Elephant that would acheive a quick kill), but again I would question the penetration qualities of the bullets being used.

The energy figuers are quite anemic when compared with modern cartridge cases such as the Lott, allthough it has certainly been done in the past.

I hope your client can take a reasonable perspective on the subject of back-up in this instance.
 

enysse

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I have not researched the topic, but have shot a lot of muzzleloaders, depends if the person is using black powder or smokeless powder? Whether they are using conicals or sabots...because I can't see using lead balls. And I'm not sure a muzzleloader bullet could take a brain shot on a elephant and be effective everytime. I know a few people personally that have killed a elephant with a bow and arrow and they picked there shots and aimed for the the heart. So I'm thinking the heart or double lung shot would be the only ethical shot with a muzzleloader.
 

Quinn Kloppers

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Thanks guys,

The client is having his double Muzzle Loader custom build, he will be using 330gr Barns banded solids...with smokeless powder. But when it comes to velocity and energy....I would still love to know! He also told me he will bring his 500 nitro double as a second weapon...So that's great!
 

enysse

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I guess, if he told you what velocity he attained, then we could compare it something like a 375 H&H? Because then we could calculate the Kinetic Energy.

But after reading your post I'm feeling his gun will be alright. Smokeless powder achieves pretty good velocity compared to blackpowder and the 330 grain Barnes Solid is a good bullet. Sounds like a custom gun and a lot of time and effort was put into the project.
 

sestoppelman

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A projectile does not care what propels it. Its velocity squared times bullet weight divided by 450240 for muzzle energy regardless whether black or smokeless.
 

enysse

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I agree sestoppelman, but smokeless powder does create a higher velocity, especially if he adds enough, compared to blackpowder.
 

sestoppelman

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Well lets get one thing clear. When we reference "smokeless" powder, we are talking IMR, Hodgdons etc as we would use in our .300 mags. So if someone is using smokeless powder in a gun built for black powder or equivalent, trouble may ensue. Now if we are talking black powder substitutes like Pyrodex and others, velocities run about the same as black powder sometimes less. Depending on bore size and projectile weight, a black powder firearm can muster up tremendous energy by virture usually of weight of projectile and charge. If using something like a .54 or .58 cal one can only expect so much velocity in a barrel that can be hand carried. Its kind of hard to compare black powder to modern smokeless loads in their normal respective launching pads.
 

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You are right, I was talking about Hodgden, IMR and etc. that you can load in a modern rifle. I have seen guys build guns around it, my father in law has huge problem with it, it's not my cup of tea either. There is a muzzleloader company in Michigan, that builds muzzleloaders that you can load something like 250+ of Pyrodex and whatnot in it, and from the data...it shoots kinda like a 30-06 in tragedy. I think it's called Ultimate Muzzleloader...but I don't keep all that data in my mind. There are a lot of different guns out there...it's hard to keep up with them.

To me if you are going to hunt with a muzzleloader it should not use smokeless gun powder like a rifle uses...that's my two cents.
 

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Gentlemen, IMO, the traditional muzzleloader has no place where elephant is the target! Now I suppose a double could be built that would take smokeless powder pressures, but one must remember the smokeless powder is a progressive burning powder, and maintains high pressures all the way to the muzzle of the barrel.

With that in mind I would think the barrels would have to be quite heavy. However the barrel could be much shorter that the traditional muzzleloader reducing the over all weight of the rifle if fast burning powders like IMR 4895 used with the bronze solids made to be used with the heat proof plastic sabot, and limit the shots to heart/lung shot as the front leg if moved forward uncovering the heart/lung area to allow the best penetration possible with the slow, and lighter bullets used for bore size in a muzzleloader.

I think it is a very good idea that the client is bringing his 500NE double along, and it needs to be close at hand! And with the PH having permission to back up the client if need be to avoid the ele reaching the party, or escaping across boundaries.

There is no accounting for what people want to try, but again IMO, this is a fool's errand! I shoot a 58Cal double muzzleloader, and a whitetail deer hit in the heart/lung area with it at under 40 yards will simply walk a few feet then lie down and die. I have serious doubt that can be said of a 15,000 lb elephant shot with the same rifle!

GOOD LUCK, and keep your rifle handy!
 

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Let me see if I understand this...
He's having a gun built to shoot smokeless, with modern solids, at an elephant.
First question is why? Surely this isn't a legit muzzleloader/blackpowder gun by any stretch.
It's a modern cartridge rifle without the case. Shoot a .375 or the .500.
This has long been a pet peeve of mine. If you want to hunt with a scope sighted, bolt action, stainless steel gun, do it during the regular rifle season, and please do not try to call it "primitive".
 

enysse

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Bump to the top.
 

A.Sharpe

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If the gun is a custom modern muzzle loader. It uses smokeless powder. Bad Bull muzzle loaders build a rifle that is equaling .375 HH in energy and trajectory. I in no way consider this a primitive weapon. But, because they are muzzle loading are accepted by law as primitive at least here in NC. With that in mind. If built right a .50 cal could be made to match the .50 BMG round in energy and trajectory. I have owned a single shot .50 BMG and would never consider shooting it without some type of muzzle break.
I would really like to know the cost of a custom double that uses smokeless powder. I have a Pedersoli .58 double. But would love a .458 that uses smokeless powder.
 

sestoppelman

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If the gun is a custom modern muzzle loader. It uses smokeless powder. Bad Bull muzzle loaders build a rifle that is equaling .375 HH in energy and trajectory. I in no way consider this a primitive weapon. But, because they are muzzle loading are accepted by law as primitive at least here in NC. With that in mind. If built right a .50 cal could be made to match the .50 BMG round in energy and trajectory. I have owned a single shot .50 BMG and would never consider shooting it without some type of muzzle break.
I would really like to know the cost of a custom double that uses smokeless powder. I have a Pedersoli .58 double. But would love a .458 that uses smokeless powder.
This whole idea of a muzzleloader using smokeless powder escapes me completely. Whats the point? Its why we have cartridge guns for the last 150 or so years. I am no ballistics expert but it seems unlikely that .50BMG velocities could be achieved without a case to contain the powder. Just pouring a huge quantity of powder down the bore and stuffing a big bullet on top of it doesnt seem like the way go if one wants lots of velocity. Highly inefficient. Seems like a bad idea all around to me. Sort of like one step forward and 3 steps backwards. Just my HO.
 

A.Sharpe

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I agree with you. I love BP and primitive weapons. Here in the states a muzzleloader isn't considered by law as a weapon. Where as a rifle with a cased cartridge has to be mailed from one FFL dealer to another . Muzzleloaders can be mailed without any paperwork. Also a person who has a felony conviction cannot own a gun. But they can own a muzzleloader.(it's not considered a weapon.) So let's say a guy get's convicted of felony drunk driving, or some non violent crime that is a felony. With a smokeless powder muzzleloader he can still hunt every animal in North America and still be legal. Also during primitive weapons season or in states that only allow Bow's, muzzleloaders and shotguns. You have quite the advantage with a muzzleloader that shoot's like a .30-06 .(I don't condone this)
I probably went overboard with .50 BMG . My point being that a well made smokeless muzzleloader should have no problem meeting ME or ballistics of the 375 HH mag or even the 458 win mag. I could see how a cased round has an advantage at longer ranges, because of case neck-down and bullet depth in that case . At ranges of 100-150 yards where velocity and energy are the main factors , I don't believe the case to be that major a factor. This is just my opinion.
Ses , you and I have the same beliefs. If you are going to shoot smokeless powder you are defeating the whole purpose. I don't think it's right for those guy's with the smokeless powder gun's to be allowed to hunt during primitive weapons season.
Back to the point. Smokeless powder muzzleloader should be able to take pretty much any game animal.
Example,
Bad Bull .45 cal muzzleloader 275 gr bullet , 3100 FPS at the muzzle, 6080 ft lbs energy.
375 H&H mag 300gr bullet 2530 FPS at the muzzle , 4264 Ft, Lbs. energy
.458 Win Mag. 500gr bullet 2140 FPS at the muzzle, 5084 Ft ,Lbs energy

Now what kind of results could you expect out of a custom built .50 or .54. I'd say it depends on what your willing to spend to have the rifle built.
 

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With smokeless powder and the right gun maker....anything is possible.
 

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I'm kinda like sestoppelman , I really don't see the point. At the price of a Bad Bull you could buy a Winchester model 70 in .375 and .458 and have plenty of ammo money left over. Guess it's to each his own.
 

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"I don't think it's right for those guy's with the smokeless powder gun's to be allowed to hunt during primitive weapons season."

Having hunted smokeless muzzleloaders, I respectfully disagree with that premise. For example, I could say, I don't think it's right for a guy to use ANY compound bow during archery season. It defeats the purpose Make it so he has to pull back 80 lbs to shoot. How would that go over in large African game hunting or ANY North American hunting. Do you think we should ban anything with a letoff? Hog
 

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I would think in most states, to hunt with MZ/BP one must use either black or black substitute. I know in my home state of WA it is so. That energy figure you quote is actually about 5900 ft/lbs. Still thats huge power. But again, why? Just because something is possible doesnt mean its desirable or practical. Why not just use a cartridge gun either bolt or double? Much more sensible and practical. BTW, some states do treat MZ guns as "firearms" and require FFL transfer. ATF may not require it but some states do.
 
 

 

 

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