Author Topic: Light 20 gauge roundball loads for whitetail?  (Read 886 times)

Offline Skychief

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Light 20 gauge roundball loads for whitetail?
« on: October 09, 2018, 03:07:09 AM »
For good sized Midwestern whitetail, how small of a powder charge will get the job done out to 75 yards or so, in your experience or opinion?

Imagine, for the sake of the question, the smoothbore used will have a 42" barrel.

Thanks and best regards, Skychief

Offline smylee grouch

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Re: Light 20 gauge roundball loads for whitetail?
« Reply #1 on: October 09, 2018, 03:37:37 AM »
I use 110 gr. 1&1/2 swiss in my 20 bore rifle. flattens the trajectory, bucks the wind and is the most accurate load for my rifle.

Offline snapper

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Re: Light 20 gauge roundball loads for whitetail?
« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2018, 04:47:51 AM »
70 grains will certainly do the job if the rifle likes it.

Think of a  45-70,  they shoot a 500 grain plus bullet.  Most only will only get 60 some grains of powder in the case with the bullet seated, and it has enough energy to shoot a buffalo at several hundred yards.

I plan on using 85 grains with my 12 bore rifle, 580 grain rb on deer this year.  Why 85? because the rifle likes it, and it is dead on at 75 yards with that load.

Fleener
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Offline Shovelbuck

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Re: Light 20 gauge roundball loads for whitetail?
« Reply #3 on: October 09, 2018, 05:01:26 AM »
I shoot 65 grains of FFF in my 42 inch barreled smooth bore. First deer I ever shot with it was 75 yards. Dropped in it's tracks.

Offline Hungry Horse

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Re: Light 20 gauge roundball loads for whitetail?
« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2018, 06:02:54 PM »
I have to ask why you are looking for a small powder charge in such a big bore weapon? If it a recoil issue, jack up the charge, and eliminate the patch, and or wad, in the load. If it for some other reason I donít know what to tell you. The patchless load is pretty accurate, and is the fastest reload Iíve ever seen.

  Hungry Horse

Offline Skychief

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Re: Light 20 gauge roundball loads for whitetail?
« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2018, 11:46:14 PM »
One reason I'm asking Hungry Horse, I'm reading 'the encyclopedia of the fur trade'.  In it, I'm seeing the majority of the North West guns weighed about 6 pounds.  Many listed were 5 1/2 pounds.

Made me wonder if we are using larger charges than the natives did when using these guns for killing deer.  So, my question became how light of a charge will predictably kill whitetail out to 75 yards or so using a 20 gauge smoothy.

Hard to fathom their using 110 grain loads in such light guns.  Seems it would be hard on both the gun and its user.

A .600" or so ball starts out big and heavy.  I wonder if we are fooling ourselves regarding how much velocity is needed to kill deer with these, assuming the ball is placed where need be.

Any thoughts?

Best regards, Skychief.

Offline rich pierce

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Re: Light 20 gauge roundball loads for whitetail?
« Reply #6 on: October 10, 2018, 01:22:33 AM »
Biggest challenges are trajectory and accuracy. If you find a light load that is accurate to 75 yards and you can manage the trajectory, it will kill deer.  There are period references indicating Native Americans often fired light loads and could be identified by the light report.

Sunday after a shoot, I fired a 25 grain squib load as my last shot at a gong at 125 yards. Just held high and ďtinkedĒ it. Canít say it rang.

St. Louis, Missouri

Offline Pukka Bundook

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Re: Light 20 gauge roundball loads for whitetail?
« Reply #7 on: October 10, 2018, 01:47:53 AM »
Rich,

Maybe you just went home before the ball got there!

Offline bob in the woods

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Re: Light 20 gauge roundball loads for whitetail?
« Reply #8 on: October 10, 2018, 02:35:51 AM »
Too bad you can't chronograph your loads.  That would tell you a lot in terms of capability/lethality. That said, my friend used 50 gr FFg with a patched ball and lost his deer.  He found it the next day after the coyotes were finished with it. Penetration was less than spectacular so there was no exit hole. He suspects that he hit a shoulder and holed one lung , perhaps.  He now has standardized on 70 gr of FFg and is happy with the results.  Trajectory isn't usually an issue here because of the thick woods and short distances. I prefer enough power to achieve a pass through , and there is the factor that bear season overlaps deer season. Last Fall, I shot a nice black bear on opening morning of deer season.

Offline smylee grouch

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Re: Light 20 gauge roundball loads for whitetail?
« Reply #9 on: October 10, 2018, 03:07:58 AM »
Hi Bob, the bear you shot in deer season-did you use the 20 bore or 10 bore and what powder charge and ball size do you use in both of those guns?

Offline Hungry Horse

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Re: Light 20 gauge roundball loads for whitetail?
« Reply #10 on: October 10, 2018, 03:50:59 AM »
Skychief;

  The historic  evidence for patching a ball when shooting a smoothbore is fairly slim. While there are references to natives shooting round balls held in with a blanket wad. Other references to military paper cartridges used instead of a patched ball are also numerous. These loads almost always use an undersized ball, and a fairly heavy charge. Recoil from an undersized unpatched ball is quite manageable, and quite accurate until the velocity bleeds off. This makes the gun quite lethal on big, or dangerous game out to about a hundred yards.

  Hungry Horse

Offline bob in the woods

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Re: Light 20 gauge roundball loads for whitetail?
« Reply #11 on: October 10, 2018, 04:53:41 AM »
If I remember correctly, last Fall's bear was taken with my 20 bore , 100 gr FFg, and a .600 ball in a paper cartridge
I was actually going out for deer , had canoed across my beaver pond, and found the bear asleep on the dam. I paddled up within about 10 feet of him before he wised up, which is when I shot. Dressed him out, put him in the canoe, and was home for breakfast. I've shot 3 or 4 bears with a 20 bore and they work well. That said, I still prefer my 10 bore just because I really like the gun. I never feel under gunned when I'm carrying it. My load is usually 120 gr FFg in a paper cartridge along with a .715  ball.  That is the same load I use on deer.  Sometimes I'll up the charge to 140 gr if I'm out specifically for moose or if an extremely large bear has been hanging around. We had one here top 500# last year.
I have never recovered a ball using that gun, unless I dug it out of the ground [ Shot one bear from a tree stand some years ago ]   As mentioned, all big game hunting with these guns is done with paper cartridges. They are accurate, quick to reload, and easy to carry.

Offline smylee grouch

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Re: Light 20 gauge roundball loads for whitetail?
« Reply #12 on: October 10, 2018, 05:01:35 AM »
Thanks for the info Bob. I have used a 20 bore rifle for the last 5 bear and a 58 cal. before that. Both worked well but the 20 just puts them down so much faster and will pass through more often all things equal.

Offline bob in the woods

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Re: Light 20 gauge roundball loads for whitetail?
« Reply #13 on: October 10, 2018, 05:23:56 AM »
The older I get, the more that 20 bore grows on me  :)   I'm using a Chamber's  cherry stocked officer's fusil and it is a delight . It has a round tapered 40 in barrel, 1 1/4 inch at the breach.  The Chamber's English round faced lock is sure fire.
I originally built the gun for partridge, since the 10 bore and my shooting had given dozens of them a college education ref repeat misses  :-[  The 20 handles much faster and I'm getting better at hitting those speedsters. 

Offline Daryl

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Re: Light 20 gauge roundball loads for whitetail?
« Reply #14 on: October 10, 2018, 10:09:48 PM »
My 20 bore flint SB uses 82gr. (3 drams) for patched round ball shooting on the trail, as well as with 1 1/8oz shot for shooting clay birds. For feathered birds, switch out 7 1/2's for lead 6's.
If I were to go hunting with it, I would be using no less than 110gr. 2F, with the patched .595" ball in .020" ticking patches. The 82gr. charge would work, but 110gr. is more accurate.
My max range for this gun is 50yards for deer as at that range, I can still hold them into 6" - no better for 5 shots, always a flyer or two opens the group to 6".  A tree stand or blind hunting is requisite, for me.
Yes, I hit the 110yard gong now and then, even the bunny rabbit at 94 yards, but it would not be ethical to hunt deer to those longer ranges with my 20 bore. I have rifles for that.
My range finder is always with me when hunting.
« Last Edit: October 10, 2018, 10:10:48 PM by Daryl »
Daryl

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Offline hanshi

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Re: Light 20 gauge roundball loads for whitetail?
« Reply #15 on: October 11, 2018, 12:35:47 AM »
My 20ga isn't a featherweight but isn't heavy either; kinda moderate.  My load is a .600" lead ball patched and lubed over 70 grains of 3F.  I like this load because of the accuracy it gives - 3" 3 shot groups at 50 yards.  The last deer I killed was with that load and a running shot as well.  I've seen other deer drop in their tracks that quick, but not a great many.
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Offline bob in the woods

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Re: Light 20 gauge roundball loads for whitetail?
« Reply #16 on: October 11, 2018, 12:57:28 AM »
Daryl, your 20 bore is fed a slightly smaller ball, and 10 more gr of FFg than mine, but I don't consider that to be much a difference for hunting. We are both getting the accuracy we need. Like you , I consider my 20 and my 10 for that matter, to be 50 yard guns when hunting deer.  { max for bear too, but I have always been closer ]    I'm comfortable stretching that distance to 100 yards or so when hunting moose.  That is where the 10 really shines.

Offline D. Taylor Sapergia

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Re: Light 20 gauge roundball loads for whitetail?
« Reply #17 on: October 11, 2018, 07:38:34 PM »
With any gun be it rifle smoothbore or even a bow, for deer hunting, consider that you must be able to hit, offhand, a 10" paper plate every time at whatever range you choose.  If you can do it at 60 yards but not every time at 70, then 60 yards is your maximum range, just for example.
For moose, your target can be a beach ball, so your range will be further, but your charge must be sufficient to completely penetrate the critter, ideally.  With the round ball, it is my experience that upon contact, the ball pierces the skin and pulls a plug of hair into the hole, effectively plugging it so that there is almost no blood trail.  An exit wound is almost crucial.  As an example, I shot a moose with a Brown Bess musket having a .75" bore using a .735" patched ball and 100 grains of powder.  The range was paced off at 100 paces.  The ball smashed the near side leg bone, a rib, perforated the scapula, both lungs, the offside rib, and the leg bone on the offside, stopping on the hide without exiting.  The moose had been bedded when I came upon it, and when I shot there was a blast of snow from the offside shoulder.  This indicated to me that the ball stretched that hide significantly, yet did not perforate it.  Upon impact the moose staggered and dropped it's head.  It walked slowly about twelve yards, and fell onto it's side.  There was a significant amount of blood in the snow from it's mouth and nostrils but not a drop from the entrance hole.  This is just to illustrate the importance of a pass through shot on a less than mortal shot placement.
Obviously, the same requirement pertains to deer, but the ballistics' needs are less dramatic.  My own Chambers 20 gauge smoothbore likes 86 gr. FFg GOEX, a .609" pure lead ball from a .600" Lee mould, and a .020" patch lubed with TOW's mink oil.  My effective extreme range for deer, as described above, is 85 yards.  I emphatically submit that each of us needs to discover their own maximum effective range, and adhere to it religiously.
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Offline rfd

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Re: Light 20 gauge roundball loads for whitetail?
« Reply #18 on: October 11, 2018, 08:52:50 PM »
out to 75 yards, the question is more about *consistent* accuracy and not about killing effectiveness of a 20ga ball. 

regardless of the 20ga load, the answer will be the results of one's personal accuracy testing.
Molon Labe ~ NRA Patriot Life ~ NRA RSO ~ Black Powder Gang ~ TMA ~ Buffalo Rifles

Offline smylee grouch

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Re: Light 20 gauge roundball loads for whitetail?
« Reply #19 on: October 11, 2018, 10:48:25 PM »
As is in any hunting, shot placement is really every thing. Being able to place your shot in the right spot every time at what ever yardage is your max effective range just like Taylor noted which is one reason to develop the best shooting load your rifle is capable of and using that load often so you can place that shot where it will work the best. JMHO

Offline Skychief

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Re: Light 20 gauge roundball loads for whitetail?
« Reply #20 on: October 11, 2018, 11:57:24 PM »
No disagreement here on the  need to shoot accurately and within one's accurate range.

I should have asked the question as...large, broadside whitetail, 75 yards or closer, perfectly centered lung shot with a twenty gauge roundball.  How small of a powder charge might one expect to humanely, quickly take said whitetail down?

Best regards, Skychief

Offline rfd

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Re: Light 20 gauge roundball loads for whitetail?
« Reply #21 on: October 12, 2018, 12:25:01 AM »
No disagreement here on the  need to shoot accurately and within one's accurate range.

I should have asked the question as...large, broadside whitetail, 75 yards or closer, perfectly centered lung shot with a twenty gauge roundball.  How small of a powder charge might one expect to humanely, quickly take said whitetail down?

Best regards, Skychief

20 yards - 40 grains of swiss 3f

75 yards - 70 grains of swiss 3f

see the problem?  distance.

you don't need to ask, you need to test some stuff out.

Molon Labe ~ NRA Patriot Life ~ NRA RSO ~ Black Powder Gang ~ TMA ~ Buffalo Rifles

Offline Dobyns

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Re: Light 20 gauge roundball loads for whitetail?
« Reply #22 on: October 12, 2018, 12:32:43 AM »
from a 20 year old magazine article, .610" RB muzzle velocity from 30" rifle barrel with Goex ffg

50gr 1103fps
80gr 1381fps
100gr 1520fps
120gr 1637fps
160gr 1793fps

I'm thinking a smoothbore would yield slightly lower velocity, and roundballs shed velocity far more quickly than conicals.  What I would do is take my gun to the range and see what kind of groups I got at 50 yards minimum with powder charges starting at 60gr and working up.  If you can't shoot a decent group with tolerable recoil, there is no point in shooting further.

Offline rfd

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Re: Light 20 gauge roundball loads for whitetail?
« Reply #23 on: October 12, 2018, 12:35:59 AM »
talk is interesting but cheap.

there is NO substitute for personal testing.
Molon Labe ~ NRA Patriot Life ~ NRA RSO ~ Black Powder Gang ~ TMA ~ Buffalo Rifles

Offline smylee grouch

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Re: Light 20 gauge roundball loads for whitetail?
« Reply #24 on: October 12, 2018, 12:43:54 AM »
The way the question is asked makes it hard to give a "right" answer because we don't know the velocity and energy of "the light load at 75 yds." There are many so called experts who claim you need 600 to 900 ft. lbs. of energy to kill deer. IF you used that premise how much powder do you need to use to get that amount of energy at that yardage? Would the required amount be an accurate load in the gun. One reply said 65 gr. was ok but another said 50 was not enough. You might need to do some chronograph work like Bob suggested to find the info you need.