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Author Topic: 40 cal  (Read 6435 times)
Dphariss
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« Reply #25 on: December 19, 2009, 11:24:11 AM »

Believe it or not, but my Tenn. .40 likes 50 grains of 2F Goex. Yep that's not a typo, FFg Goex.

Not a surprise. Best groups with the 40 picket bullet (so far) have been with 80 gr of FF Swiss. A friends highly accurate 45 uses 55 gr of 1.5f Swiss.
But for squirrels if it will cut a 1" circle at 25 yards you are probably good enough.

Dan
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Daryl
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« Reply #26 on: December 19, 2009, 01:02:31 PM »

Mine likes 2F as well, as does the .45.  One must target the rifle though, to find what load it wants with that particular ball/patch and lube combination. Picking a load arbitrarily and using it will undoubtedly leave one with a load less than optimum. I really shouldn't post this as many of the guys I shoot against do just that. They're tough enough to beat even though they are shooting less than the best load for their rifle.  Were they to develope a good load, they might be unbeatable for someone of my meagre tallents.
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Chapple JR
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« Reply #27 on: December 21, 2009, 10:08:47 AM »

I'm still in the learning process with my 40. Was using 50gr a .395 and .010 patch.  I started having trouble driving the ball down the barrel, so I decided to step up the way I cleaned the bore.  Now it seems I need a .015 patch but it still has a tight group on paper.  Have only had one shot on a doe, I go for headshot and she now has a pierced ear. Was starting to wander if I need to go to a larger cal for deer. and keep the .40 for paper matches.  (tight group@ 100yrds)


                       RICH
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Daryl
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« Reply #28 on: December 21, 2009, 12:12:43 PM »

Rich - a .50 or even .54 will provide you with much satisfaction as a deer hunting rifle, while the .40 is a wonderful 'tool' for trail walks.
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Darkhorse
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« Reply #29 on: December 21, 2009, 12:30:43 PM »

I absolutely enjoy shooting my .40 period. And hunting with it for small and medium sized game. However I don't consider deer to be small game. I would never consider a .40 to be adequate for deer, and I wouldn't be comfortable on antelope given the longer ranges. My personal limit on deer is a .50 and I actually shoot .54's.
I'm not saying a perfect shot won't kill a deer with a .40, I'm saying the marginal shots is the problem. And in deer hunting you never know when the unexpected might happen.
For instance, while making a head shot someone shot a hole in a deer's ear. What if you'd shot off the jaw? Still wouldn't have venison but coyotes would after a lingering death.
Small calibers sometimes force us to shoot at small targets for compensation. Just doesn't make much sense to me.
But that's just my opinion.
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Steve C.
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« Reply #30 on: December 21, 2009, 12:57:13 PM »

I aggree whole heartedly that the .40 is too small for deer, I use a .58 and now a .54  but a deer shot in the jaw, or anywhere else not in a vital area, even with the larger calibers, will not die, so shot placement is still very important even with larger calibers.
   Regards, Steve Chapman
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Steve C.
Dpeck
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« Reply #31 on: December 21, 2009, 01:18:33 PM »

Head shots are really considered a poor choice with any caliber, unless they are looking away where the back of the head can be taken, but even then it may be queastionable.   Deer have been taken with a 40, and as I stated I would likely use one on the permit deer or young ones and off of a stand where 50 yards would be a very long shot.  As to a primary deer rifle for all circumstance hunting a larger bore is better.  My primary deer rifle will be a 58 next year, and I also have a 20 bore smoothie in the works.  May not even use the 40, but it is a possible choice.  While squirrel hunting this year I had a small spike buck almost step on me while I was sitting in my chair.  He might have weighed 125, more likely 100.  While I do not like to shoot small bucks, he would have been tasty.  I took out a forkhorn, with a straight on shot with a 36 C&B revolver.  He went about 50-75 yards and was stretched out when I found him. The ball went in between the shoulder blades and went the whole practically the whole distance of the rib cage.  About the biggest complaint I have with small bores is the blood trail and as mentioned peripheral hits, such as a liver shot where they can go a ways.  Gut shots are bad with any bore.

DP
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Chapple JR
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« Reply #32 on: December 22, 2009, 05:40:55 AM »

  You gentlemen have painted a picture the to be quite frank, has left me sick to my stomach thinking about the possibility of a lingering death from using the .40 as a deer rifle.   I will have to stop using it for deer.  I love to hunt them and see them (as long as it's not on the road) we have a population problem hear, way too many.   
 
   So how are .58s?


                   Thanx Rich
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Darkhorse
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« Reply #33 on: December 22, 2009, 10:54:01 AM »

.50, .54 & .58 are all good calibers for deer. Of course the larger the ball the larger the hole but there is often a tradeoff which is recoil.
In the end I would choose the one which I thought I could shoot the best.
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Dpeck
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« Reply #34 on: December 22, 2009, 11:18:48 AM »

One of the things a gentleman mentioned that shot a few deer with a 40 was that it pays to let them have "time to bleed out"  I think we sometimes forget this with any caliber.  People shoot then matbe relocad and go looking fo rthe deer.  If hit in the liver, this may cause the animal to run a bit further.  Archers are told to wait for at least one half hour before getting on the trail.  The few liver hit deer I ahave seen with a firearm will run a ways and then usually become weak and go down.  Often if tracked right away one finds them with their head up yet.  One I shot with a 45-70 was stretched out and already dead.  A buck I helped track, shot with a 300 mag had his head up but was too weak to move.  A deer hit with a broadhead had to bleed out overnight as it got up again on me after waiting until after supper.  It probably pays with any caliber to wait just a bit before tracking.  I would not pick a 40 as a primary deer rifle, but would a 45 as a lot of deer have been killed with 45's.

DP
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roundball
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« Reply #35 on: December 22, 2009, 12:31:28 PM »

 
So how are .58s?


The .58cal is a caliber which has what I call "serious whompability" L.O.L.
As a general purpose big game caliber its hard to beat...the .570" / 279grn ball carries energy a long way compared to smaller calibers, going through bones, etc...yet with a flatter trajectory than an even larger heavier .62cal.

If where you hunt you're certain you won't need energy at longer ranges, then the .54 or .50cal are excellent deer choices as woods guns...even the .45calif you're truly into short to moderate distances.

But IMO, if you're considering possibly buying another caliber, since you already have the little .40cal, I'd suggest stepping up a couple levels to a .58 or .54 cal and then you've got a broad range of hunting uses covered...
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Daryl
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« Reply #36 on: December 22, 2009, 01:26:17 PM »

RB, DP and others suggestions for a .54 or .58 are good ones - that's a fact.  You can never go too big IF and that is a big "IF", you are able to  handle the increased recoil without flinching.  Even a .75 isn't too big - however, to shoot the big bores well with loads that give them a flat enough trajectory to 'hit' well, requires very stern nerves that most of us lack.  "The bigger the hole in the beast, the better is the benumbing effect of the blow"  - IF there is enough driving force behind it to flatten trajectories & give good penetration.  Shooting very light loads in a big bore is worse than a proper charge in a much smaller bore.  For this reason, my choice would be a .54 - although I've never owned one, which is strange.

 I've had a number of .58's though and can attest to their usefullness for hunting here, in North America. I would not load a .58 lighter than 110gr., even for deer. Yes, less powder will still kill, but, you need to be able to hit, and having to judge range due to an arched trajectory can leave one with poor hits due to misjudged ranges.  This is the reason slugs are very poor choice for hunting. They are slow with loads that don't kick badly.   As well,they greatly increase pressures and are hard on equipment. 

As recoil goes up with ball weight, we shrink from it and reduce the charge thus lose lfattness of trajectory needed for quick shots.  Having the same sight setting for shooting from 25 to 125 yards is a wonderful thing - it is not to be had from the very large bores without tremendous recoil, something most today are not willing to accept.  As I noted, less powder in them will still kill - if you can hit the vital spot and therein lies the 'trick' - to hit well over unknown ranges requires a flat trajectory and for this reason, I'd pick a .54 (or perhaps a .50) for deer only. If I included Elk and Moose, I'd go to a .58 or larger - probably larger, much larger. Grin

I can see using a .54 with as little as 110gr. 2F, 100gr. 2F in a .50 - flat trajectory and enough oomph for deer at any range they are likely to be shot at.  In a .58, I'd consider 120gr. 2F, but would shoot the most accurate load in any gun I chose to hunt with and THAT my friends usually is just about double what many people actually shoot at the range - not all, mind you, but many.  My current .58 is the only one I've had that actually shoots well with less than 140gr. 2F.  I've had Zouaves with 72" twist, a Hawken with Large barrel with 66" twist and a 72" twist H&H underhammer - all demanded 140gr. to shoot well at long range.  My current .58, a 48" twist shoots well to 100 yards with a mere 110gr. 2F and that is probably more than most guys ever shoot in their .58's.  110gr. 2f is about equivalent to 90gr. 3F, but produces less pressure. Although it kicks a tich more, I've never noticed any granulation as giving more fouling.  With the patch/ball combiantions I use, they all seem to shoot cleanly without any change.

 A .54's lighter ball kicks less when driven fast enough for flat shooting and that's why it would be a good choice for deer.  I know it will also handle moose and elk quite well, even beyond normal muzzleloading killing ranges, yet can be loaded with as little as 30gr. for crushing bunny or squirrel heads. A 'dual' purpose gun if ever was one.  I use 30gr. in my 14 bore for bunnies, and 165gr. fo moose - Ureka, another dual purpose gun. It's also my favourite for competition shooting. It's a winner BUT, it kicks appropriately to the charge used.
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Dpeck
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« Reply #37 on: December 23, 2009, 02:29:53 PM »

I would have to concur with Daryl's comments, especially to the point recoil vs power.  Since there is a trend for some to start picking a "light weight" for deer hunting I would tend to favor a 50 as a deer rifle and the bigger ones for big game.  I have a 54 in a Tennessee rifle and have cut back to 90 grains of 2f Swiss due to the design and recoil.  RB uses a Virginia rifle in 58 which is a good design as is earlier designs with a wide butt plate.  My current dream "deer rifle", which is partially constructed, is an English inspired 58 using the 2" wide straight butt of an English design. "Early" longrifles are also a good design in a big bore.   I have also had experience making fowlers which I used for trap shooting and know a little about designing such that I can alleviate recoil sensations.  Even so 110 grains in even a 54 gets your attention where about 80 grains of 3f in a 50 is relatively easy to shoot as is about 60-70 in a 45.  The 50 is a better choice for longer shooting as in over clearings and fields.  Another consideration, especially in the woods hunting is that a larger bore gives a certain advantage in shots that are not picture perfect.  When I mention the use of a 40 as a dual purpose rifle, I consider discipline to be the major factor.  Loading larger bores, from the 45 or 50 on up works as well as a pipsqueak caliber but use a lot of lead.  To be frank its more a matter of aesthetics than being practical as I have shot a lot of squirrels with a 45.  I would only use a 40 for both in the situations I have sometimes run into as this year when deer have seemed to have disappeared, I already have put one in the freezer and squirrel hunting looks like a nice diversion for the day.  In that instance a 40 can be used as effectively as a very lightly loaded big bore. 

DP
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olgreenhead
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« Reply #38 on: December 23, 2009, 07:59:02 PM »

Gee and i wanted was a squirrel load, not deer or moose  Cry
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Dave K
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« Reply #39 on: December 23, 2009, 08:25:14 PM »

Mine is 35gr. of 3F Swiss for these critters. Early season when You can get much closer, I use 30gr.
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Daryl
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« Reply #40 on: December 23, 2009, 09:53:28 PM »

sorry - got carried away - as usual.
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Dpeck
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« Reply #41 on: December 24, 2009, 06:09:00 AM »

Gee and i wanted was a squirrel load, not deer or moose  Cry

We go carried away.  Muzzle loaders in general offer a kind of ease dual use only found in centerfires if you cast bullets, and often are willing to change sights.  I had once read that the 99 Savage in 358 was popular in Alaska as it could be used with pistol bullets for small game and full house for bear.  We can do that without the need of a loading press or an inventory of different bullets.  One individual a while back talked of shooting squirrels with a reduced load in his 54.  If head shot it will work very well, Daryl about shooting very reduced loads in a very large bore for rabbits.  About like throwing rocks.  I think a lot depends on whether you have a "dedicated" squirrel rifle like my 25 or want to use a deer rifle to hunt small game.  The American Hunter Magazine just had an article listing their recommended squirrel rifles, all 22's and all very accurate bolt actions.  While a 40 can be used "dual purpose"  in my opinion it can also be a dedicated small game rifle where one might want to shoot a little larger game as well.  Such as calling coyotes.  Load development would depend upon ball patch combination and powder charge.  I have used 400 ball in my 40 which were a tight fit, but seemed to shoot best.  Out in the field for a squirrel load it may be a bit tight to suit your uses.  The use of 2f by a couple of contributors I think is worth pursuing.  Especially 2f Swiss.  Getting that final edge of accuracy is as important for squirrels as for targets as their heads are not all that big.  What I love about them is that they are to me a true rifleman's sport.  I do not find the brain to be a delicacy so I head shoot them.  I suppose a very reduced load would work for a body shot, but I suspect a lot get nailed with a shotgun.

DP
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hanshi
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« Reply #42 on: December 24, 2009, 03:04:05 PM »

FWIW I have yet to use my .40 on squirrels but have used my .45s.  The small calibers make more sense as dedicated squirrel rifles than even the .40; though the .40 gives you power for the larger small game & varmints.  As a mostly woodland hunter my shots tend to be close.  My dedicated deer rifle is a .45 with which I've taken numerous deer.  While I've taken even more with various .50s, one shot is all I've ever needed with either.  From experience I know the .45 works at 75 yards and the .50 works well past 100.  These distances are unusual, however.

Bigger is better as there's no such thing a "degrees of dead".  But what ABOUT the .40?  I've taken lots of deer with various .357 revolvers with 4" & 6" barrels.  All were one shot kills and the deer all dropped within a few feet, with one exception when I hit too far back.  The .40 beats the .357 hands down so I would think it would make an "okay" deer rifle (say 30-40grns 3f squirrels & 60 for deer).  I always shoot for both lungs and it doesn't take a lot when you do that. 

For some time I've been planning my "dream" deer rifle; early Lancaster in .54 and that caliber is a deer gathering machine.  So is the excellent .50 but the .54 really does whomp 'um with less recoil than the .58.  I can't argue with what's been said so far as it's more a matter of one's particular hunting conditions and experiences.  The .40 is a great all around IMO.  Merry Christmas and  prosperous new year to you all. Smiley
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Dpeck
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« Reply #43 on: December 26, 2009, 02:21:26 PM »

What surprised me when I started reaading this forum was how popular the 40 had become.  I think I built the first 40 and used it for the local Rondy's I used to attend.  It wasn't all that bad of a match gun but mine was a little "fussy" as compared to the 45's and 50's as far as getting fine accuracy.  Yet some really like them for chunk shooting so accuracy is not an issue.  Mine shot but I didn't seem to find that "right" combo one likes off of things like X sticks.  Tried a pile of loads and both 400 and 395 ball.  Think I just needed to play a little more but did not think of 2f in that small of gun.  3F was the powder of choice locally for targets as it was felt to foul less.  As I now have a 40 cal barrel on order I should work on loads again.  My old 40 is a good bang around gun as it has a repaired wrist.  Still I think they are a better gun for targets and small game than some of the smaller bores as the 40 holds up better at longer ranges.  Being legal for deer it could be used in a pinch, but as stated I would not use one as a primary deer rifle.  Like Hanshi we tend to want to go bigger even though experience has taught us that a smaller cal works OK.  Mostly the big ones help in tracking and may give an edge in marginal hits that can occur in close range woods shot easier than one thinks.

DP
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hanshi
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« Reply #44 on: December 26, 2009, 02:53:58 PM »

Speaking of which, way back when I recall the .40 being very common and available.  This was when DGW listed more .40s than just about anything else in their longrifles.  This is what inspired me to get a .45; I considered it a cannon.  Ever since then I've used .45s for everything from squirrels up to deer with great results.  I played around with the .58 in the 60s & 70s but liked the .45 better.   

Then the .40 kind of "died out", or at least you rarely found one unless you built it or had it built.  I guess it just lost favor.  Now, it has reemerged and is becoming quite common again.  I think my personal .40 will make a splendid small game/varmint rifle.  I also won't hesitate using it for deer when legal.  Still, if I go out for deer I'll likely carry the tried & true .45.  I honestly don't see any real need for anything bigger.

Where I now hunt bears are common.  I trust .45s there, too, but folks tell me you need to break shoulder bones, especially if he's close.  There's also the "possibility" for elk.  I already have a percussion .54 but I just like flints.  Before I make any commitments on one, though, I will work with my .62 smoothie.  Might not need anything else.  I'm convinced the .40, along with the .45, is one of the two best all around calibers extant.

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Daryl
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« Reply #45 on: December 26, 2009, 04:12:57 PM »

My .40 barrel loves 2F (or 3F) with LHV lubed patches.  This slippery lube requires 65gr. 3F or 75gr. 2f to shoot well. Anything less, is useless for making small groups at 50yds. plus. The barrel has a 48" twist, quite normal for that size.
My .45 GM barrel with 60" twist also likes 2f as well as 3F - there being a 10gr. spread with it as well, when using slippery lubes - 70gr. of 3F, 80gr. 2F. Neither load 'fouls' the bore, loading being identical - no wiping at any time same as in the .40.
Spit or water based 'lubes' will shoot well with less powder - interesting, I expect due to them being less slippery and building up the correct 'pressure' with softer loads.

Chronographing, I found the velocity of both 2F and 3F to be virtually identical for their respective accuracy loads.
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Dphariss
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« Reply #46 on: December 26, 2009, 05:28:46 PM »

Some friends are using water soluble oil, mixed as for machine toll use. Soaking the patches then setting them to dry.
The results in a dry somewhat oily feeling patch with more friction. Requires wiping but when the conditions are right it makes some very small groups.
I had to buy some for a project I was doing and will likely make some up for the over the chunk matches at Cody
Dan
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Dpeck
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« Reply #47 on: December 26, 2009, 05:32:05 PM »

The two opinions I have just read concerning lubes remind me of those that claim that bores can become to slick after shooting a while and need roughing up a bit.  Intersting concept, whcih I think may have merit as I have seen "shot in barrels"  require a different load.

DP
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Dan
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« Reply #48 on: December 26, 2009, 10:45:23 PM »

  You gentlemen have painted a picture the to be quite frank, has left me sick to my stomach thinking about the possibility of a lingering death from using the .40 as a deer rifle.   I will have to stop using it for deer.  I love to hunt them and see them (as long as it's not on the road) we have a population problem hear, way too many.   
 
   So how are .58s?


                   Thanx Rich

Rich, for what it's worth, I've got a little different opinion about what is or isn't appropriate for game afield.  You seem to have taken the thread as contrary to recommending a .40 for deer, but I'm not reading it the same way.  I don't argue that larger calibers are not suitable by any means, but experience has shown me that reliance upon numbers found on paper are a poor litmus in determination of suitability for what one uses to hunt.  No comment rendered here on the legality as prescribed by different states either.

As previously mentioned, muzzle loaders offer flexibility for hunting.  They may be loaded down or up as the shooter deems appropriate.  To the point of what is used, inclusive of caliber and load, one must first be able to put the ball where it will result in a decisive kill.  In context of the original post that started this discussion, there are two eventualities here.  One is that you smack a squirrel with far more oomph than necessary and in such manner there is little left but red mist.  The other limits the shooter to precise placement and doing little if any damage to the edible portions by way of a head shot.  Apologies to those who eat tongue and brains.  In any case, if a head shot is successfully made, it matters not what caliber or charge is used, only that it be accurate enough to enable such placement.

I find little difference between head shooting squirrels and taking the necessary steps to down larger game with a round ball.  First requirement is placement and that requires one to know the gun, load it appropriately and use it within one's limitations.  Secondly, there is a requirement that the ball perform within certain parameters, ie. be reasonably predictable in the terminal phase.  That means that it tracks more or less in a straight path thru the animal and neither over or under expands.  Barring deflection by heavy bone, round balls do a fair job of the former if they don't deform erratically.  Brittle alloys or very high velocities can contribute to such errant travels.  Lastly, the ball needs enough momentum to reach the vital organs and hopefully exit on the off side if the shooter's intent is to ventilate the cardiopulmonary system completely.

In very brief summary of round ball ballistics...they suck....as compared to conicals.  Round balls do not begin their journey with a great deal of energy, and will shed that quickly.  Regardless of that they are quite lethal and they tend to penetrate far better than most of the unwashed masses would imagine. 

There was discussion earlier in this thread that compared the .357 mag to a .40 cal round ball.  In my opinion, it is an apples and oranges comparison on the face of it, but if one looks into the issue a little deeper, maybe not.  Sectional Density is a measure of mass to cross sectional area and is used in the calculus of exterior ballistics and terminal ballistics, in the latter case as a comparative measure of a bullet's ability to penetrate.   A 158 grain .357 slug has a sectional density of .177, and a .40 caliber round ball is about .102.  For comparison, a .22 short bullet is about .105.  None of these numbers are impressive on the face of it, but where it gets interesting is what happens when they strike a game animal.

Bullets usually expand or in some cases fragment when they penetrate flesh and bone, and when this occurs it very rapidly degrades sectional density.  Bullets expand in relation to their hardness and impact velocity:  Hard = less expansion, while high velocity tends to increase it.  It is a world of nearly infinite variables and difficult to pin down precisely, thus we look for something that is reasonably predictable. 

In the end, it is up to the shooter to decide what will or won't work for any given circumstance.  A previous poster said the .357 was good for deer.  In the hands of a competent shooter, I agree.  So is buckshot when used within its limitations, and the shot size is smaller than .40 caliber in all buckshot.  I've seen #3 buck (~.25 caliber) pass thru and thru on mature hogs more often than not.  I've killed over 60 hogs with CB shorts, with one exception, all one shot kills.  So, is the .40 caliber round ball adequate for deer?  Yes, if you can put it where it needs to go.  That means knowing your rifle, your quarry and yourself.  If you aren't up to speed in any of those departments, get a larger caliber.  Or, you can learn what you need to know to address perceived shortcomings.  One thing is certain however, one can wound and lose a deer with very large caliber muzzle loaders, just like the small bores.  Happens every year this time because a lot of folks just think a larger bore relieves them of the need for holding up their end of the bargain.  Ain't so.

Dan
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Daryl
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« Reply #49 on: December 27, 2009, 12:42:17 PM »

Good treatise, Dan.
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