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.40 caliber loads for deer
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Pilgrim
posted
What is your favorite load? I was using 60 gr. of Goex FFF and getting very good results at the range out to 100 yds. This may be a good overall load, just takes some sight adjustment depending on range. What do you use for hunting?


.40 cal. flint Cabin Creek Pa Mtn. Rifle
.54 cal. percussion Lyman GPR
 
Posts: 53 | Location: People's Republik of Maryland | Registered: 26 December 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Booshway
Picture of roundball
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Many different viewpoints on caliber, powder charges, and projectile weight for deer.
Reasons are because of the size of the animal, and the variable conditions while hunting, the main ones being distances and what the deer might be doing in that moment between the sear breaking and the ball arriving...ie: last minute turning that throws a large shoulder or bone in the way, etc.
And is why such discussions have to include parameters such as 25yds max...or 125yds max, etc, or they're really meaningless.
There is just no one size fits all answer.
And yes, even .22s have been used to kill deer...but they certainly are not "deer hunting calibers" to leave the house with not knowing what hunting conditions and distances may be encountered, etc.
And I'm sure some deer have been take with the little .40cal PRB...but year in and year out it's mostly considered a small game rifle unless used for deer under strict limitations of distance and you have good tracking skills as there's usually little to no blood trail.

My personal opinion based on my deer hunting in North Carolina is I don't consider a tiny 92grn .40cal ball to be an all around general purpose deer caliber/load and would never leave the house to "go deer hunting" with one.
I have tested a .40cal x 200grn REAL just last year and took a good buck with it...but that's a far cry from the tiny .395" ball.

Based on my personal deer hunting experiences with PRBs out of .45/.50/.54/.58/.62cals, and using hefty 90-110grn powder charges I also believe the .45cal has distance limitations for constant 100% reliable performance, compared to the larger calibers.
My personal choice order of preference to handle my deer hunting conditions where I hunt in North Carolina:
1-.58cal rifle / 110grns Goex 2F
2-.54cal smoothbore / 90grns Goex 3F
3-.62cal smoothbore / 110grns Goex 2F
4-.50cal rifle / 90grns Goex 3F
5-.45cal rifle / 90grns Goex 3F
6-.40...N/A

Others mileage may vary...hunting conditions and distances are usually the wild cards in all these discussions.


Flintlock Rifles & Smoothbores
Hunt Like The Settlers
 
Posts: 1867 | Location: North Carolina | Registered: 28 January 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Factor
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Most folks proclaim it a small game rifle, however with a 60 grain charge or better it's legal for deer in Maryland. Maryland has never stated maximum ranges for black powder loads for deer hunting, and they allow black powder pistol that use a minimum of 40 grains of powder.

Folks have "stretched" what the round ball can accomplish by using a harder alloy than all-lead. Thus the projectile's deformation is reduced or eliminated, so internal friction within the animal doesn't slow down the projectile as much as it would an all-lead ball. The problem for the shooter is to find a proper ball and patch compound to make it work.

Does this make a .390 ball into a deer slayer? Tough to tell if it helps any caliber of round balls for it has all been guesswork up until now.

Personally, I have achieved pass-through of large deer standing broadside to me at 100 yards with only 70 grains of 3Fg and a .530 ball.

I have a .40 myself, but it's more for target work than deer. I like 60 grains of 3Fg and a .390 patched ball patched with chamois. 100 yards certainly would be pushing the .40 when taking a deer. I personally would work at getting the range to the deer closer in at 50, and broadside, OR use a conical bullet.



LD


It's not what you know, it's what you can prove
 
Posts: 3308 | Location: People's Republic of Maryland | Registered: 10 November 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Factor
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I have a flint Lancaster .40 but have never taken a deer with it. Accuracy wise 60 grains of 3F gives me excellent groups at 100 yds. This is the load I would use for deer in a woodland setting. Another rifle, a .45, has taken a deer at 75yds with complete pass-through of the ball. This is a bit farther than I'd want to shoot with a .40. I do have knowledge of deer being killed at 100yds but would not personally try it myself.


*Young guys should hang out with old guys; old guys know stuff.*
 
Posts: 2717 | Location: Virginia (by way of Georgia) | Registered: 26 January 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Booshway
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I'm certainly no expert.

However I have read several accounts of David Crockett hunting black bear with a .40 caliber. I think probably, he shot most of them out of a tree, and so it was at close range and he had time for precise shot placement.
So, certainly a .40 is capable of taking deer within its limitations. However it wouldn't be my first choice for a deer rifle.

Here is my very simplified system for determining deer killing power. Set up a 2x6 board and shoot your .40 rd ball through it at different ranges with different powder charges. If the ball can penetrate completely through 1 1/2 inches of pine then I think it has sufficient power to take a deer at that range.


Know what you believe in. Fight for your beliefs. Never compromise away your rights.
 
Posts: 595 | Location: Cherokee Land, Tenasi | Registered: 06 January 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Booshway
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There are plenty of opinions on this, I can only relate my firsthand experience.

65 grains of 3f Goex under a .395 roundball in a .015 cotton patch will knock 'em dead every time you do your part.

Great little deer caliber at 50 yards or less.

Spot
 
Posts: 846 | Location: NW Arkansas | Registered: 11 June 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Factor
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Yes indeed, every caliber and every load has a limit at some point. Big Grin I remember on this forum when Mark Baker mentioned in an article in Muzzleloader that he used (iirc) a .50 caliber rifle with 50 grains of powder. Eeker Many folks found huge fault with this, but at the same time Mr. Baker never mentioned at what range he took his deer. Roll Eyes So without additional information, proclaiming such as either "good to go" or "irresponsible" really can't be done. There are many factors involved.

LD


It's not what you know, it's what you can prove
 
Posts: 3308 | Location: People's Republic of Maryland | Registered: 10 November 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Factor
Picture of Hanshi
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A good rule of thumb might be to simply go with what's legal and be realistic with the particulars.


*Young guys should hang out with old guys; old guys know stuff.*
 
Posts: 2717 | Location: Virginia (by way of Georgia) | Registered: 26 January 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Booshway
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I have a .40 and I wouldn't use it for deer. Here in PA I can't use a .40 for deer anyhow. I am not saying somebody else shouldn't. As stated here you have to know the limits of what you are using. And that applies to a flinter or modern. Dave I was going to say,I don't know how you can fault a man for using 50 grains with a .50. But knowing what I do now I can see it happening.And you are right,range wasn't told per your post. But I will end with this--Most men use a much bigger knife and firearm than needed to do the job.


I never have been much for drinking the kool-aid.It's not in my nature.
 
Posts: 336 | Location: Central Pennsyltucky | Registered: 12 January 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Booshway
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My 40 lancaster shot well with 60 grains for deer and 30 for squirrels. I will say that the deer I killed with it didnt leave any blood on the ground and the ball didnt pass through but bulged under the off side hide. The shots ranged from 40-60 yards. Keep them close with a .40
 
Posts: 456 | Location: SC | Registered: 03 May 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Pilgrim
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A .40 bullet gun shooting 200 + grain cast bullets either muzzle loaded or cartridge (like a .40-65) or .30 cal 150 gr saboted round in a "modern" ML would be fine.

I've shot 3 deer with a .40 flinter. On two, I saw similar results to those who did not get an exit and ball located under the hide. Only one I was satisfied with was a 65 yard shot to the base of the neck using a .395 and 75gr FFg. Others left little if any blood trail and required help of others to locate.

No More .40 RBs on deer or larger for me. I now use a .50 or .54 flinter both using 90-100 gr FFg.

If .40 was only one available, I would try to get a REAL or even use a cast bullet for a .41 mag.

I don't trust game and fish depts to choose adequate equipment. IE the .22 Hornet is legal in Texas and can work well with head shots but..... In my opinion it is like most other gvt agencies staffed with folks well educated in theory and little first hand knowledge of the issues. Many times they are listening to marketing folks trying to get more of their products approved.

Just my experienced and cynical $0.02.
TC

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Rocklock,
 
Posts: 84 | Location: Cedar Valley, Travis Co., TX | Registered: 24 December 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Factor
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A .22 Hornet is, indeed, a rather pathetic round for deer; though in the hands of a good shot who knows the rounds shortcomings, it works quite well. My Hornet is a super accurate Kimber and accounted for three deer. I put the .40 prb in the same class with the Hornet. It's not for everyone but there certainly those who can make it sing.


*Young guys should hang out with old guys; old guys know stuff.*
 
Posts: 2717 | Location: Virginia (by way of Georgia) | Registered: 26 January 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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