Author Topic: 36 or 40 cal  (Read 18067 times)

stone knife

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36 or 40 cal
« on: April 16, 2011, 12:53:24 PM »
For squirrels and woodchucks and just to mess around shooting paper. Which one would be the better cal.

Dave K

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Re: 36 or 40 cal
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2011, 04:01:14 PM »
The answer is: the other cal. that you didn't buy.  Seriously, I am not sure there is the perfect cal. for every game, every game animal or every shot. There is always wind to consider, flat shooting, angle of shot, etc. There just is no perfect answer. I have both cal.s. Usually, I will take the 36 cal.  For one reason the 36 has an "A" weight barrel, it sure makes for a nice slender gun and a joy to carry. My 40 has a "B" weight barrel. You can buy an "A" weight 40cal. but IMHO, they get awful easy and fragile to bending, even getting shipped to you before you even see it. But, the additional barrel weight of the 40 with a "B" weight barrel, does hold real nice off hand. Also, here is Ohio, a 38cal. or larger is legal for deer. So, the 40 can be my back up gun, should I need a spare gun in deer camp. Did this help any? :-\

roundball

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Re: 36 or 40 cal
« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2011, 04:28:19 PM »
For squirrels and woodchucks and just to mess around shooting paper. Which one would be the better cal.

If money is no object get either one.....if it was me however, I'd opt for the .40cal on the basis of where to spend my limited funds to get the biggest bang for the buck, no pun intended...the .40cal would have a little more versatility for me.

I had to make a similar decision last year.....after getting a .58cal Virginia made for deer hunting, I wanted to have a smaller caliber Virginia made for my go-to gun for year round weekend shooting, more economical, etc.
I like the .40cal a lot (.40cal GM drop-in Flint barrel on a T/C Hawken) but had to decide between a .40 and a .45cal for the Virginia build...could have gone either way but went with the .45cal as I thought it would be more versatile in terms of other possibilities...

northmn

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Re: 36 or 40 cal
« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2011, 06:01:29 PM »
The 36 is the only caliber I have had no experience with directly.  I have seen them used effectively at matches and so forth.  I switched from a 32 to a 40 as I felt the 40 carried out at longer ranges better for match shooting.  Also the difference in cost of using one is not all that great and the difference even less between a 36 and 40. All small bores are cheap to shoot. In Minnesota the 40 is minimum for deer so I opted for the 40 (considering that I have other rifles to use it is not a really solid reason not to go for 36)  I have shot small game with a 40 and it can be loaded down such that it does not blow them up any worse than the 32 did with accurate loads.  All of the smaller bores have limitations as I decided after using the 40 for a couple of seasons at matches that I was going back to the 45.  For non match shooting I think you could take a white marble and a black marble and put them into a hat and close your eyes and pick one out and let fate decide which one you would want as they are that close for their use and performance.

DP

Offline Roger Fisher

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Re: 36 or 40 cal
« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2011, 08:06:38 PM »
Although we see plenty of .40s at the matches around here my thoughts go to some of the shots we have to take and feel you give up an edge in the matches i.e split the ball - cut the string - cut the feather - and knock over that ol ram or bear out there at 200 yds...     My ol .45 being fairly heavy is a good all around piece be it offhand, X stix, staff, prone or even chunk so I lean towards the larger calibers for those reasons (plus bucking the wind) ;D

Daryl

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Re: 36 or 40 cal
« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2011, 08:30:50 PM »
Small game and targets, the .40 would be better for all the reasons Roger & others noted. For knocking over a target at 200 yards, I'd be wanting something a lot bigger than a .45.

Offline Roger Fisher

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Re: 36 or 40 cal
« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2011, 10:35:19 PM »
Small game and targets, the .40 would be better for all the reasons Roger & others noted. For knocking over a target at 200 yards, I'd be wanting something a lot bigger than a .45.
Come to think of it I haven't run into a 200 yd ram or bear silohuette for a few years otherwise I kinda go with what I've got ;D

Deer rifle is a .54 Jaeger in flint for deer 'hunting'.  Happily, not many grizzlies nor moosies round here.  Well okay there are one or two down the street ::)

BTW I did get stuck to the 'rear' of one at the store check out the other day.  Jeez, what a sight..   ::)

stone knife

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Re: 36 or 40 cal
« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2011, 11:46:49 PM »
Is a 40 too much for squirrels? I like to eat them and it would be nice to have a little left ;D

westerner

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Re: 36 or 40 cal
« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2011, 12:15:05 AM »
I have a little experience with the .38, in the wind.  Did good up to about 50 yards. At 100 it was a real guessing game. 

The rifle shoots plenty good enough for head shots on squirrels, if my eyes were thirty years younger.

                          Joe.  :)

roundball

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Re: 36 or 40 cal
« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2011, 12:42:44 AM »
Is a 40 too much for squirrels? I like to eat them and it would be nice to have a little left ;D

Depends on how frugal you are...a ball through the head makes no difference what caliber it is, and IMO, most of the meat on squirrels are the hams...so in that case a front body shot is not out of the question either.
Also consider where you'll be hunting...my little .40cal is the proverbial tack-driver, but where I squirrel hunt occasionally is within a few hundred yards of a few houses out on a country road...don't want to be shooting up in the air so I carry a .28ga and #5s instead 

Daryl

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Re: 36 or 40 cal
« Reply #10 on: April 17, 2011, 12:43:30 AM »
Even a .32 will just about vapourize a squirrel if other than head shots so- head shots only and a .40 or .45 will do just fine.  Just about any calibre that gives a descent trajectory will work.  The larger the ball, the greater the potential for better accuracy, but also the greater the potential for recoil to hurt that accuracy.  Most find recoil to be a moot point to .50 cal.

xring2245

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Re: 36 or 40 cal
« Reply #11 on: April 17, 2011, 03:18:50 AM »
I have a flintlock in every popular caliber except .58.  I hunt squirrels with both a .32 and .36.  They are both good, accurate rifles.  I also hunt woodchucks.  I use nothing smaller than a .45 and usually a .50.  I reserve my .40 for local shoots where it does well.

To summarize, both a .36 and a .40 would do well with squirrels, but you will need something bigger than those for woodchucks.  This is only my opinion, but it is based on experience.

James

Offline Collector

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Re: 36 or 40 cal
« Reply #12 on: April 17, 2011, 05:40:05 AM »
Does anybody, here,  actually use a .40 RB, as their sole/primary firearm choice for Whitetail deer hunting, or is it unreliable and underpowered for soft skinned game of that size?  I've been considering stepping down (from .550 & .652) to a .40 RB rifle, for a mix of target, small game and deer with one rifle.  I've subscribed to the bigger is better (bore size- ;)) for a long time and am exploring a different line of thought in that regard.  I was actually considering an 'A' weight swamped profile in .40, so this thread has been both timely and interesting to follow.     

zimmerstutzen

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Re: 36 or 40 cal
« Reply #13 on: April 17, 2011, 05:50:08 AM »
It is amazing how tough some animals are and how fragile others are.   A 40 may be light for wood chucks under alot of circumstances. (I shoot em with my Ruger Old Army)  the difference between a 36 and a 40 is relatively small.  The 40 holds a very very slight edge iin carrying energy further down range and in bucking wind.  Given the wind nomally encountered in some areas during day light hours, even the 40 may be too light for target shooting beyond 50 yards.  I have seen a guy shoot an excellent 100 yd group on a windy day with a 32.  But that was highly unusual.  

The Pa Game Commission specifies that a 44 cal or larger is required for deer hunting with a muzzleloader.  40 cal and under for small game.

alsask

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Re: 36 or 40 cal
« Reply #14 on: April 17, 2011, 06:07:27 AM »
Does anybody, here,  actually use a .40 RB, as their sole/primary firearm choice for Whitetail deer hunting, or is it unreliable and underpowered for soft skinned game of that size?  I've been considering stepping down (from .550 & .652) to a .40 RB rifle, for a mix of target, small game and deer with one rifle.  I've subscribed to the bigger is better (bore size- ;)) for a long time and am exploring a different line of thought in that regard.  I was actually considering an 'A' weight swamped profile in .40, so this thread has been both timely and interesting to follow.     

A friend of mine has taken 2 deer and a moose with a .45 patched roundball.  All one shot kills.  I realize that there is a bit of a step up in performance with the .45 over the .40 but distance and shot placement seem to be the deciding factor no matter what rifle a fellow chooses.  At home here .44 dia. is the minimum legaly allowed for big game muzzleloaders.

roundball

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Re: 36 or 40 cal
« Reply #15 on: April 17, 2011, 06:21:12 AM »
Does anybody, here,  actually use a .40 RB, as their sole/primary firearm choice for Whitetail deer hunting, or is it unreliable and underpowered for soft skinned game of that size?  I've been considering stepping down (from .550 & .652) to a .40 RB rifle, for a mix of target, small game and deer with one rifle.  I've subscribed to the bigger is better (bore size- ;)) for a long time and am exploring a different line of thought in that regard.  I was actually considering an 'A' weight swamped profile in .40, so this thread has been both timely and interesting to follow.     

I know that deer have been taken with a .40cal ball...just like deer have been taken with a .22cal LR.
But my personal opinion is that the .40cal is not "a deer rifle"...no more than anyone says a .22cal LR is a deer rifle...they are both fun shooting/plinking, small game/relatively close range, calibers.

I have an excellent .40cal but it has never left the house to go deer hunting, not knowing the variety of unknown distances, low light conditions, unseen angles that bring large bone into play, or the deer taking a step at the moment the sear breaks bringing a large bone into play, etc, that are all a common part of deer hunting...too much risk that the result will be a wounded animal that'll die off in the bush somewhere.

Other's mileage may very...

dannybb55

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Re: 36 or 40 cal
« Reply #16 on: April 17, 2011, 02:12:29 PM »
Didn't we go over all of this about a year ago?
 Back in 82 a friend of mine in Burlington, NC had a little muzzleloading shop called The Patch and Ball. He took me to the range with the Shop Rifle: a plain maple stocked lady with a large Siler flint lock and a 1 x 42 inch Douglas barrel in 40 calibre. No buttplate, just a trigger and iron guard. She was a tack driver and had been passed around amongst the club on the Haw River for a few years, and had taken plenty of deer. I seem to remember that the retail parts to build her were under 150 bucks and George wanted 1000 bucks for her. I bought a trade in he had instead for $135 with a 45 cal Douglas and restocked her. I still regret not buying that rifle. 40 is a sweet bore, I can see why so many surviving NC rifle are 40 and under.
       Danny

Offline Kermit

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Re: 36 or 40 cal
« Reply #17 on: April 17, 2011, 08:44:31 PM »
Saying "deer" is a little like saying "Kentucky lonngrifle."

Where I live--island in Puget Sound--deer are small Columbia blacktails. When I was in high school, lord a long time ago, a friend got his first deer, a spike, and it was about the size of a German shepherd dog. He was the butt of jokes for a while.

We have a .40 minimum for ML hunting for deer, and the islands and Puget Sound shore areas are restricted to "shotgun." Some years back a friend built a .40 flint smoothrifle specifically to hunt the local deer. Served him well.

Deer and the hunting of them varies so much, that I believe there is no one-caliber-fits-all for deer hunting. One needs to know the animals and the environment you plan to hunt in order to make an informed decision. I would not hesitate to hunt the local critters with my .40 that's in the works, but I can't--it's rifled.
"Anything worth doing is worth doing slowly." Mae West

northmn

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Re: 36 or 40 cal
« Reply #18 on: April 17, 2011, 09:21:10 PM »
I remember seeing a picture of a doe shot with a 44 cap and ball Remington.   Looking at where the hunter lived and the size of the deer in comparison to the size of the revolver I suspect the deer weighed under 100 pounds or close to it.  In some areas a 170 pound buck is a monster, in the midwest it is likely a forkhorn or basket rack.  I have carried my 40 in the deer woods when I wanted to hunt both squirrels and deer.  I was expecting to shoot a "permit deer" which would be a spike buck or yearling doe.  A 40 should be adequate on a careful shot on a deer that size.  The 40 does not blow up squirrels any more than a smaller caliber if loaded lighter.  The smaller "squirrel rifles" tend to require hotter loads to shoot accurately.  My little 25 seems to need over 20 grains of 3f behind its 24 grain ball to really shoot.  While it is small enough not to really vaporize them on a body hit, its no toy either.  A 32 and larger will tear things up.  I shot a few squirrels with a 45 and found it also satisfactory with head shots, whcih lead me to think I might have been happier staying with a 45 when I target shot.  At longer ranges, ball weight does start to matter.

DP

Offline hanshi

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Re: 36 or 40 cal
« Reply #19 on: April 17, 2011, 10:43:48 PM »
I've killed a fair number of deer with a .45 prb at ranges up to 75 yards.  I have found the .45 to be more than adequate for whitetail deer.  Where legal, the .40 prb would be adequate for whitetail deer on broadside (more or less) shots under 75 yards.  I can't honestly recommend it, however, as a dedicated deer rifle. 

But for a small game/varmint/occasional deer rifle it is a good choice.  If I were to hunt squirrels, rabbits and turkeys to the exclusion of other game then the .32 would get the nod.  If I upped that to include chucks/coyotes/fox/coons/etc, then the 36 makes a nice rifle. 

I have a .32 and on squirrels it does no more damage than a .22LR HP on body shots.  The .36 & .40 should be restricted to head shots or upper body shots.  As mentioned previously there is little to eat from the ribcage to the head.
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fdf

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Re: 36 or 40 cal
« Reply #20 on: April 18, 2011, 12:00:02 AM »
stone knife

You asked which would be the better caliber choice for  squirrels, woodchucks and to just mess around shoooting paper.

Based on your question,  shooting deer falls out of the discussion, it was not asked nor is relevant.

I would think woodchucks have more tenacity for life than a squirrel does since a wood chuck weighs more than a squirrel.  If a 36 will handle a wood chuck you have your answer, if a 36 is marginal for a woodchuck, then a 40 is your answer.  A 36 caliber ball weights about 63 to 64 grains and a 40 weighs 87 to 90 grains depending on the mold.  How much energy is required to do the job

Paper shooting, if it's just messing around, it's a 36 with no wind, if it's more serious paper work, and wind, it's the 40.

fdf

 
 
 
 

Daryl

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Re: 36 or 40 cal
« Reply #21 on: April 18, 2011, 01:56:35 AM »
In the West, when deer hunting, be prepared to meet a bear.

In the East (far east) "my spaniels have flushed a panther when I expected guinee fowl and I have almost trodden on the tail of a tigre while stocking the spotted buck."

I consider a .45 to be barebones minimum for deer.

While hunting deer with his fiance`, my best friend and his love were confronted by a jaw popping grizzy at about 10 feet distance - He said he looked straight level into the bear's eyes - Keith was armed with a round ball loaded .45 TC "Hawken" - last time he hunted with that little rifle and always carried his .75 (by Taylor) afterwards.  His words - "Daryl, that TC felt so tiny and useless in my hands - I was sure glad when he turned and walked away".   At that time, some 24 years ago, I'd never seen a grizzly while hunting in the same area, yet Tara saw one almost every "date" they went on - over a dozen.  I have seen only 6 or 7 since that time, where they've had a grizzly walk across their driveway just before Tara left for work for the day shift- about 7:45AM- a good 3 hours after sun-up.

Always carry 'enough' gun.

northmn

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Re: 36 or 40 cal
« Reply #22 on: April 18, 2011, 02:12:19 AM »
Location may make a difference.  In the case of meeting a large bear I would suggest that a 36 would be about as effective as a 40, neither of which would give much comfort.  While I ahve not felt undergunned using the 25 on small game the opportunity to get a coyote is always there.  I really think at the ranges I would be apt to see one a 36 would work.  I was going to build a 36 just for interest when I was gathering parts for a ML.  I got a good buy on a 40 A weight barrel and went that route instead.  My decision was based on the availability of the barrel and not caliber.  One thing interesting about muzzleloaders is that we do not tend to nit pick so much on calibers.  The 32,36,40, 45,50,54,58 have been standards for about as long as I have been shooting and building them.  Once I remember someone begging for a 48, the 52 was tried in a Hawken once, but there have been no real inroads to the basic calibers and they pretty much have been accepted for general usage.  My little 25 is a specialty barrel with some justification, but ML calibers seem to have a certain overlap that pretty much keeps folks satisfied. 

DP

Mike R

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Re: 36 or 40 cal
« Reply #23 on: April 18, 2011, 04:08:50 PM »
stone knife

You asked which would be the better caliber choice for  squirrels, woodchucks and to just mess around shoooting paper.

Based on your question,  shooting deer falls out of the discussion, it was not asked nor is relevant.

I would think woodchucks have more tenacity for life than a squirrel does since a wood chuck weighs more than a squirrel.  If a 36 will handle a wood chuck you have your answer, if a 36 is marginal for a woodchuck, then a 40 is your answer.  A 36 caliber ball weights about 63 to 64 grains and a 40 weighs 87 to 90 grains depending on the mold.  How much energy is required to do the job

Paper shooting, if it's just messing around, it's a 36 with no wind, if it's more serious paper work, and wind, it's the 40.

fdf

 
 
 
 


This is a sane answer to the original question--I don't know why we get off on deer and bear and such when someone asks about small game.   I have shot .32s, .36s and .40s and hunt alot for squirrel and when I lived in PA I hunted groundhogs alot.  I 'd choose the .40 for a combined squirrel-woodchuck rifle.    The .40 here in Lousyanna is illegal for hunting small or large game.  So I gave mine to my son in Arkansas.  .40s can be very accurate and buck the wind better than smaller bores.  If I already had a .36 [I sold mine years ago] I'd use it.  But the .40 is a better 'hog' gun.  Right now I use a .32 for squirrels.  If we had groundpigs around here I'd use my .45.  The .40 is a good compromise for your stated usage.




roundball

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Re: 36 or 40 cal
« Reply #24 on: April 18, 2011, 05:26:47 PM »

I don't know why we get off on deer and bear and such when someone asks about small game.


Because partway through the thread, someone asked a somewhat related question specifically about the .40cal for deer...then there were a few replies to that question.