45 Caliber: Traditional Rifle, Magnum Rifle & Bullet Choices For Hunting.
.45 Caliber Magnum Muzzleloading Rifle:
The .45 caliber magnum muzzleloading rifle descended from the .45 caliber long rifle or longrifle. The Pennsylvania rifle, Kentucky rifle, and Tennessee rifle were all variants of the long rifle. The long rifle developed on the American frontier in the period beginning in the 1740s, 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 main reason for the longer barrel was it gave the black powder more time to burn, increasing the muzzle velocity and aided the accuracy by having a much longer sight radius.
Westward Expansion And Shorter Stronger Rifles:
Westward expansion saw the long barreled .45 caliber longrifle to hard to carry on horse back so a shorter rifle was needed. Jake and Sam Hawken in St. Louis saw the need for a much different muzzleloading rifle and their rifles were half stocked, 28 inch to 36 inch octagon barreled rifles with a twist rate of 1 in 48 inches. These rifles were much shorter and muzzle velocity would have dropped except the Hawken rifle was built with a much heavier barrel that would handle larger inefficient powder charges so the process of creating magnum muzzleloaders began in 1820.
In the 1980's muzzleloader seasons began to heavily emerge in the United States, muzzleloader manufacturers realized that the public would want an even shorter lighter weight muzzleloader. Barrels are now shortened once again and for the .45 caliber muzzleloader the velocity loss is just to great for it to generate enough projectile energy for hunting use and this all but made the once very popular .45 caliber muzzleloader obsolete.
It is at this time in history that a .45 caliber muzzleloader could be bought with a barrel length as short as 20 inches and with a rifling twist rate of 1 in 20 inches to 1 in 66 inches. Some are suitable for deer hunting at short to medium range and others are short range only.
Replica .45 Caliber Muzzleloading Rifle:
While there have been many so called replicas to the traditional .45 caliber muzzleloading rifle it is worth noting at best they do come close to replicating its appearance except for barrel length. The true success of the original traditional .45 caliber muzzleloading rifle rested entirely with its barrel length of 48 inches or longer for top velocity for maximum effectiveness.
Note: A true traditional late 1700's 48 inch barreled .45 caliber muzzleloader drove a slightly under bore size 130 grain roundball to a velocity of 2,200 - 2,400 feet per second.
Modern Magnum .45 Caliber Muzzleloading Rifle:
The modern magnum .45 caliber muzzleloading rifle will be of a inline, modern primer design and will be loaded from the muzzle end of the barrel with the use of a black powder substitute for a reliable propellant charge such as triple seven, pyrodex or blackhorn 209 and is typically limited to a maximum safe charge of 150 grains of pelletized substitute powder of which, full potential of this powder charge can not be realized in a rifle barrel that is shorter than 26 inches long.
A further statement is needed here on loose powder charges of granular powders, because of the difference in burn times of these powders only 100 - 120 grains of granular powder are needed for efficient velocity increase after that the powder is usually wasted as it will not be fully burned in the barrel. These rifles work best with a scope mounted usually 1.8 to 2.0 inches above the bore-line and will have a Maximum Point Blank Range of two hundred yards when set up correctly with a 1 in 28 inch twist barrel.
Long Range Status Has Returned To The .45 Caliber Muzzleloader:
Since the mid 1700's the .45 caliber muzzleloading rifle has slowly evolved into what may be seen in the 21st century as the ultimate deer hunting muzzleloading caliber offering a flat trajectory out to 200 yards with plenty of bullet energy out to 300 yards. The reason for this is, out of a 27 inch, 1 in 28 inch rifling twist rate .45 caliber magnum muzzleloading rifle you can equal the longrifles velocity with a similar weighted projectile, however with all the advancements made with bullets the projectile has a much higher ballistic profile do to weight and shape, energy is considerably higher for these projectiles fired from a magnum muzzleloader with a 1 in 28 inch rifling twist rate.
The Below Ballistics Derived From Equal Powder Charges: