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.45" Caliber Muzzleloading Rifles:
Written by: Kim Lockhart, Copyright.
The .45" Caliber Rifled Muzzleloader:
Around 1740 the .45" caliber longrifle appeared and its destinctive feature was a barrel with a slow twist rate of about 1 in 66 inches and length of approximately 48 inches which increased roundball velocity to 2,200 - 2,400 feet per second when maximum charged with black powder. The true success of the original .45" caliber longrifle muzzle-loading rifle, rested entirely with the barrel length of 48 inches.
The .45" caliber muzzleloader is by far the most popular of all muzzleloader calibers as it was well known for its light recoil, accuracy and flat trajectory. The 45 caliber muzzleloader originated in the United States to which it has a very rich history as it was used to help settle the United States east of the missouri river. It saw extensive use between the years of 1740 to about 1850 as it was used in the French and Indian War, American Indian Wars, American Revolutionary War and the War of 1812.
Muzzleloader caliber selections were based on economics as the United States of America was settled and occupied, such as how many roundball shots do you get with 1 pound of lead, .45" caliber you get 52, another reason for its popularity.
The settlers of western Virginia, Tennessee, and North Carolina gained a reputation for hardy independence and rifle marksmanship as a way of life, by the 1750s it was common to see frontiersmen with great skill provide tens of thousands of deer hides for the British leather industry.
(.45" caliber) Forty five caliber bore diameter muzzle-loaded rifles are a very good choice for Antelope, Black Bear, Black-Tailed Deer, Hogs, Javelina, Mule Deer & White-Tailed Deer in the above muzzle-loading rifle configuration.
Primitive Weapons Seasons:
In the 1980's special primitive weapons seasons began to heavily emerge in the United States, many state's residents wanted to participate but found that carrying a long barreled muzzle-loaded rifle was a lot of hard work and so muzzleloader manufacturers realized that the public would want shorter lighter weight muzzleloaders so barrels are now shortened and for the .45" caliber muzzle-loading rifle the velocity loss is just to great for it to generate enough projectile energy for hunting use at the longer ranges it use to, so handily.
The barrel shortening process is a double edged sword in this case, first by cutting the barrel back to 28" you have an immediate velocity loss of 500 feet per second which reduces the bullet energy, second if you use the same charge of powder, you have just now created the next problem, exiting gasses at the muzzle end of the barrel, which have a direct effect on accuracy, you now have to reduce powder charges to gain back the accuracy.
Solving these issues with the .45" caliber muzzle-loaded rifle has been an ongoing process for several years, with the powder issue being tackled by many of todays powder manufacturers and the most successful for most users would be Hodgdons Triple Seven powder in granulated form so that the user can tweak his or her own load for their imparticular use. For the new .45" caliber muzzle-loading magnum rifle owner, Western Powders Blackhorn 209 is a great advance in shorter muzzle-loaded rifle barrel velocity increases which also lowers the amount of gas pressure against the back of the projectile as it is exiting the bore of the rifle, excellent powder for a new generation of .45" caliber muzzle-loaded rifles.
Bullet selection is another way to gain better performance in shorter muzzle-loading rifles and Del Ramseys MMP sabots give rifled muzzleloader users a huge assortment of projectile options, Del continues to improve his product line at Magnum Muzzleloader Products, .45" caliber blue sabots that Del offers allow the use of all lead bullets such as wad-cutters that are .358" diameter so users have a much cheaper practice bullet to use for their muzzleloaders.
It is nice to know that so many have worked so hard on restoring the reputation of the .45" caliber muzzle-loading rifle, America's first deer caliber. After testing 1 new CVA Accura .45 caliber rifled muzzleloader with 2 breach plugs one plug is for granular powder and the other for pelletized powder. It is more than evident to me accuracy from the Bergara barrel is superb, velocity has returned to normal for the .45 caliber muzzle-loaded rifle, which is between 2,000 to 2,400 feet per second depending on projectile weight selection, it will shoot 330 grain lead conicals at a lower velocity rate into 1 ragged hole at 100 yards and it will shoot a whole lot of different saboted bullets the exact same way. Muzzle-loading has changed in many ways, it is however, a much safer sporting adventure for all.
.45" Caliber Rifled Muzzleloader Bullet And Barrel Guide:
Top accuracy can only be achieved over a certain velocity range for the .45 caliber muzzle-loading rifle, it is between 2,400 feet per second with the use of light-weight projectiles to 1,400 feet per second with the use of heavier projectiles, this is with few exceptions.
Bullet choices for the .45 caliber rifled muzzleloader are many for the simple fact that there were many .45 caliber rifled muzzleloaders manufactured with varying barrel twist rates such as; 1 in 20",
1 in 22", 1 in 24", 1 in 28", 1 in 30", 1 in 32", 1 in 48", 1 in 60",
1 in 66" and 1 in 70" just to name a few.
1:20" twist barrels shoot long heavy bullets fine at velocities below 1650 fps with sabots and under 1400 fps with conicals.
1:28" twist barrels shoot many weights of bullets fine either sabots and conicals over the entire velocity range.
1:48" twist barrels shoot patched roundball fine up to about 1800 fps and under 1750 fps with conicals.
1:66" twist barrels shoot shoot patched roundball over the entire velocity range quite accurately.
.45" Caliber Roundball:
Lead round ball or roundball is one of the original muzzleloader projectiles and still the mainstay of traditional black powder shooting. Roundballs are a short range projectile with the right twist rate in a 45 caliber muzzleloader, generally (1:66"), an average, well constructed gun in the hands of a skilled shooter will have big-game killing energy and accuracy out to about 100 yards at a maximum velocity of 2,200 feet per second.
Hornady Swaged Lead Roundball:
Swaged roundball are formed in a press under pressure this assures that there are no air pockets or other deformities in the ball. Swaged lead roundballs when patched properly will have quite exceptional accuracy. I prefer using Hornady, I have always had excellent penetration with their .445 diameter roundball hardball with most being double lung pass through shots out to 100 yards on White-Tailed Deer. This bullet is designed for extreme accuracy with 45 caliber muzzleloaders with a barrel twist rate of 1:60" 1:66" 1:70"..45" Caliber Conical Bullet:
True conical bullets are made of lead as are roundballs for ease of loading in muzzleloaders as they must conform to the rifling in the bore when being loaded. Conical bullets were the first step in gaining long distance accuracy in muzzleloaders. Today there are so many designs of conical bullets a person could easily be confused as to what may or may not work in their muzzleloader. There is a limiting factor as to how fast you can push pure lead conical bullets down a barrel. If you have a high quality barrel, you can use good conicals up to about 1800 fps with little or no leading in the bore.
The ball-et conical bullet is a short bullet with a rounded nose much like a roundball. The ball-et is actually a half ball and half bullet but has more energy than a round ball, easier to load than a sabot and has a higher velocity with much less recoil than a traditional conical. The ball-et requires no patch because it is prelubed with an all natural lubricant. This bullet is designed for very good accuracy with 45 caliber muzzleloaders with a barrel twist rate of 1:48" - 1:60".
T/C’s Original Maxi-Ball® has been used extensively by target shooters and hunters. Its reputation as an exceptionally accurate bullet which is easily loaded in the field. The wide lubricating grooves allow generous amounts of lube, the key to easy and consistent loading. Prelubed Maxi-Balls® are lubricated with Natural Lube 1000 Plus Bore Butter eliminating the need to wipe the bore or clean between repeated shots. This bullet is designed for extreme accuracy with 45 caliber muzzleloaders with a barrel twist rate of 1:48".
Precision Rifle Ultimate 1 Semi Spitzer Solid:
The UL1 SS Solid is the best all round big game bullet when a conical bullet is called for. This bullet offers the maximum penetration of any pure lead conical design. The profile allows for shots from any angle while still resulting in total penetration. This is one of my favorite bullets when hunting thick cover. This bullet is designed for extreme accuracy with 45 caliber rifled muzzleloaders with various twist rates as the bullet is offered in various weights to match your rifles twist rate..45" Caliber Sabot And Bullet:
Sabots are a plastic cup that holds or contains a bullet within, the relatively soft plastic sabot grips the bullet and rifling and or is attached to a bullet to create a gas seal and seperates from the bullet once exiting the bore down range. The sabot offers muzzleloaders a chance to experiment with a much wider bullet selection for better down range trajectories. Maximum velocity when using sabots is usually limited to the amount of stress the sabot can handle while still remaining accurate, this is right around 2,350 feet per second. In 45 caliber bore diameter muzzleloaders there are two sizes that the shooter may choose to use.
.45 X .357 Diameter, Bullet Weight Range 110 Grains - 195 Grains.
.45 X .400 Diameter, Bullet Weight Range 140 Grains - 220 Grains.
Precision Rifle Sabot And Dead Center Bullet:
The long ogive combined with the boat-tail base increases the ballistic coefficient which in turn decreases bullet drop. Higher ballistic coefficient equals higher downrange velocities which means higher downrange energy. To that end, the dead center bullet is designed for shoot-thru performance. The end result is greater blood trails for easier game recovery. The long ogive combined with the boat-tail base make for a very easy loading bullet as well. This bullet is designed for extreme accuracy with 45 caliber muzzleloaders with a barrel twist rate of 1:28", very flat trajectory 2" high at 100 yards, 2" low at 200 yards when bullet speeds reach 2,300 feet per second, remaining bullet energy at 200 yards is 1,300 foot pounds.
Hornady Sabot And SST ML Bullet:
Hornady SST ML bullets with their polymer-tip, produce extreme long range accuracy and flat trajectory. Controlled expansion and deep penetration translates into great performance on deer sized game animals. This low drag saboted bullet is a great bullet for open and brushy country. This bullet is designed for extreme accuracy with 45 caliber muzzleloaders with a barrel twist rate of 1:28", very flat trajectory 2" high at 100 yards, 4" low at 200 yards when bullet speeds reach 2,200 feet per second, remaining bullet energy at 200 yards is 1,285 foot pounds..45" Caliber Sabot And Pistol Bullet:
Jacketed pistol bullets expand to deliver energy and stay together when heavy resistance such as bone is encountered. The disadvantage is they are designed to expand at pistol velocities, around 1,500 fps. Most muzzleloaders can push these bullets over 2,200 fps, and the result of over-expansion and loss of penetration can happen.
.45" Caliber Sabot x .357" Diameter Bullet:
125 Grain XPB Barnes Pistol Bullet.
135 Grain GD HP-SB Speer Pistol Bullet.
140 Grain XPB Barnes Pistol Bullet.
140 Grain HP-XTP Hornady Pistol Bullet.
140 Grain JHC Sierra Pistol Bullet.
140 Grain JHP Speer Pistol Bullet.
146 Grain JHP-HWC Speer Pistol Bullet.
158 Grain GD HP Speer Pistol Bullet.
158 Grain HP-XTP Hornady Pistol Bullet.
158 Grain JHP Nosler Pistol Bullet.
158 Grain FP-XTP Hornady Pistol Bullet.
158 Grain JSP Sierra Pistol Bullet.
158 Grain JHC Sierra Pistol Bullet.
170 Grain GD SP Speer Pistol Bullet.
180 Grain HP Nosler Pistol Bullet.
180 Grain HP-XTP Hornady Pistol Bullet.
.45" Caliber Sabot x .358" Diameter All Lead Bullet:
158 Grain SWC Hornady Lead Pistol Bullet.
158 Grain SWC-HP Hornady Lead Pistol Bullet.
158 Grain LRN Hornady Lead Pistol Bullet.
.45" Caliber Sabot x .400" Diameter Bullet:
135 Grain JHP Nosler Pistol Bullet.
140 Grain XPB Barnes Pistol Bullet.
150 Grain JHP Nosler Pistol Bullet.
150 Grain JHP Sierra Pistol Bullet.
155 Grain HP-XTP Hornady Pistol Bullet.
155 Grain GD JHP Speer Pistol Bullet.
155 Grain XPB Barnes Pistol Bullet.
165 Grain GD HP Speer Pistol Bullet.
165 Grain JHP Sierra Pistol Bullet.
180 Grain HP XTP Hornady Pistol Bullet.
180 Grain JHP Sierra Pistol Bullet.
180 Grain JHP Speer Pistol Bullet.
180 Grain GD JHP Speer Pistol Bullet.
200 Grain HP XTP Hornady Pistol Bullet..45" Caliber Sabot And Partition Bullet:
Partition bullets are a copper jacketed, lead core bullet that has a separate front and back section. The front section of the bullet mushrooms like any other jacketed bullet, upon encountering hard resistance, it will stop expanding at the partition and the remaining core of the bullet will continue to penetrate deeper..45" Caliber Sabot Based Bullet:
PowerBelt Bullets are made of pure lead and will expand uniformly on impact, they will shoot accurately in slower twist rifles as well. PowerBelt Bullets offer several varieties of bullet weights and styles for users of the .45 caliber muzzle-loading rifle. Upon my testing of the copper washed aero-tip bullet for a new CVA Accura rifle I find that the best weight is 275 grains as this bullet can be launched with a charge of 2 triple seven pellets, this will give you well over a half ton of bullet energy at 100 yards, loaded with 3 triple seven pellets, this will give you well over a half ton of bullet energy at 250 yards. This type of performance makes it quite easy for users to make adjustments for their style of hunting or hunting situation, briar patches or field edges this bullet gets the job done.
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