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Location: Santa Claus, IN
Joined: 08/10/2009
Posts: 1
New to forum

As the subject states, I am new here as well as new to muzzleloaders. I haven't hunted in over 35 years. I have also lost the sight in my "gun eye" (left). I would like to add at least target shooting to my retirement activities. I have seen that most modern muzzleloaders are in the .45 to .54 caliber range, though some as small as .36 are available. I have seen on History channel that the muzzleloaders used in the formation of our country were .55. Does anyone have a history of various muzzleloader caliber, and why the larger size?

saskie's picture
Location: West Carleton, Ottawa, Canada
Joined: 12/23/2002
Posts: 1264
New to forum

First of all - Welcome to BGH forums.

That's an interesting question...I would suspect it would be that those same weapons were also used (and possibly originally designed for) military or at least protection applications, but were pressed into service out of neccessity as hunting rifles.

I know there's one or two traditional m/l emthusiasts here who certainly will know more about it than I do.

C'mon in, pull up a chair and chat for a while

Location: Sequim, WA
Joined: 07/29/2009
Posts: 21
New to forum

Not sure why they chose those calibers. Prior to the Civil War, most muzzleloaders were smoothbore. I have an 1843 springfield and it is .69 cal. The ones during the American Revolution seem to be in the .72 cal. Most of the rifles made were individually crafted, not sure about the barrels though. I would imagine that nowadays it is all about standardization. I'm curious too, now.

Location: Muskoka Ontario
Joined: 09/04/2007
Posts: 345
New to forum

I Can only gess but I would say the larger calibers were due to knock down power. Using black powder and patched round ball 50 cal R.B.= 227grns at 1600 fps looses momentum preaty fast at 100 yrds.
My 2 cents F.K.

Location: Minnesota
Joined: 11/26/2007
Posts: 74
New to forum

There are a number of options out there for this info. A quick Google search should provide some results. Also, the History Channel did a wonderful job on their series "Tales of the Gun". I would check that out. tons of fascinating stuff on that show, though it hasn't run for some time. Aside from that, the library would be a great resource. i know in the Minneapokis metro area, you can research all the books you want from the your home computer, then head to the library to just get them.

I do enjoy this topic, so let's keep this up to the top.

Location: Bavaria, Germany
Joined: 10/06/2007
Posts: 264
New to forum

In the era of smoothbore muskets the .75 was the most common cal. (Prussia, France, GB, Austria). The french were the first who reduced the cal. from .75 to .69.in order to use less powder. This cal. was common until the upcoming of rifled muskets. Then.58 rised up together with .54.

In the civil branch rifles were always more common and here the .45 cal. and after moving into the West the .54.