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CVC
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Which Caliber?

I am considering a muzzleloader and wonder what are the pros and cons of the different calibers.

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I have two calibers available

I have two calibers available to me.  A .54 TC Renegade and an extra .50 caliber barrel and a .50 caliber inline.  I haven't seen any inlines larger than the .50.  That and along with if you get one and decide to hunt elk with it here in Colorado it needs to be a minimum .50 but you can hunt deer with a .45.  I do like the .54 a little bit better just for the hole that it punches into an animal but you won't find any sabots for it and will need to shoot round balls or lead conicals where on the .50 you have all available to you to use.   

So if you are planning on getting an inline I would suggest a .50 just for the availably of components for it.

CVC
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Yes, if I get one i will get

Yes, if I get one i will get an inline.  Makes sense what you said abut the .50.  Why do some choose the .45?  Does it shoot faster, flatter or farther?  I am sure I will go with the .50 for the reasons you said.  Just curiouse about the ballistics of the two calibers.

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I never researched the .45

I never researched the .45 since I planned on hunting elk with mine and when I bought my Renegade in .54 the inlines were only a dream. 

As far as accuracy when you are only talking about shots around 150 yards they all do well and if you have to use open sights then the question is really mute.  Even if you are allowed to have a 3x9 scope on one it really wouldn't make that much difference since you are maxed out on the range. 

You also have to look at the trajectory of a muzzle loader when shooting to 150 yards.  They make a .30-30 look like a varmit round and you need to know where it is shooting at all ranges.  Just this last September in Utah on the opening day of the ML hunt I stopped and watched a couple of buck deer fighting.  Then I noticed a huge 7x7 bull elk with a hunter not 50 yards from it.  I didn't want to screw up his hunt so I just watched him and the elk and for some reason he never took a shot at the elk.  That after noon I saw him again and asked him why he didn't shoot the elk?  He said that he was after the deer and that he had taken a shot at one that was broadside at 50 yards and had shot over it.  He couldn't figer out why he missed.  He had borrowed the ML from his uncle and was told that it was sighted in for 150 yards.  I then told him that he needed to hold a couple of feet low to hit that deer at 50 yards if it was sighted in for 150.   

CVC
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Thanks for the reply.  Based

Thanks for the reply.  Based on what you said, I am not sure why someone would opt for the .45 caliber.  As for the hunter, I just have to shake my head.  What a shame to get a shot opportunity and to blow it because you didn't take the time to shoot your gun and know its ballistics.

I had a similar situation in WY when I was bear hunting with my .270 caliber.  I realized that I might get a 50 yard shot, but I had never shot my scoped rifle at 50 - where do I hold?  I thought I recalled from the ballistic table that I should use my 200 hash mark on the reticle. I didn't see a bear so it didn't matter, but it could have cost me a bear. I went to the range when I got home and shot 50 yards.  Lesson learned.

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Stuck With a .50

Critter is on the money as to what caliber to get.  You just can't find a .54 inline these days.  A buddy has a Knight .54 he won at an RMEF dinner 15 or so years ago & I doubt you could get it away from him no matter what you offered, he likes it so much.  Then the inline wave really took over & the .50 was pretty much adopted as the poster boy for modern muzzleloading.  Like Critter, I prefer the extra punch a .54 conical offers.  Barnes does still make their solid copper sabot in .54 I think but my buddy bought a dozen or so boxes of them just in case they go out of production.  They are absolutely the kiss of death on mule deer, antelope & elk.

There are a couple of rifle manufacturers making .45 caliber rifles (White Rifles comes to mind) but these rifles are designed for long range target shooting.  The bullets, typically lead conicals, are very heavy for caliber & therefore very long.  Several states do not allow them for a variety of reasons, Colorado being one; they have a maximum length to diameter regulation.  The reason behind the reg is one of those mysteries of life.

CVC
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Critter and Hal, thanks for

Critter and Hal, thanks for the good information on this subject.  i really do appreciate you taking the time to educate me.

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Just my $.02, but I think you

Just my $.02, but I think you can't go wrong sticking right int he middle with a .50 cal.  You can use it for any game, and considering it is the most widely used caliber, the supplies are very easy to find and get ahold of.

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50 is good...

You could pick up some good conditioned used inlines in .54 and .58.  I would only go with the .50 because everything you need is so readily availible. Not that it is bad... I dropped two deer with my .50 Lyman Mustang this year, but I miss my .58 T/C Firehawk that my son uses now... But the market forces the .50 as a better option. Have fun!

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you should stay with a .50cal

you should stay with a .50cal Certain states like my state of Colorado, We have a limit on caliber size.  If you hunt Elk or moose, a .50cal is MINIMUM for these species. We are also limited to conical bullets and loose powder, open sights.

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50 , 54, 45, 36....

The 50 caliber muzzle loader is the 30 caliber of rifles.  It is most common and has the most options for loads etc.

54 is hard hitting but my old hawken is HEAVY and it is hard to find 54 cal projectiles, patches etc. you can just about forget about sabots.

Same is true of the 45 but it might be worth the extra effort to get the flatter shooting, lighter projectiles to hunt with.

Unless of course you want to use vintage flintlocks.  Then your choices go up including everything from 36 caliber on up to the 75 caliber brown bess....

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