|45 Caliber: Traditional Rifle, Magnum Rifle & Bullet Choices For Hunting.
.45 Caliber Bullets:
(.45 caliber diameter) Forty five caliber bore diameter muzzle-loading rifles are a good choice for hunting Bobcat, Cougar, Coyote, Antelope, Black Bear,
Black-Tailed Deer, Hogs, Javelina, Mule Deer and White-Tailed Deer with proper bullet selection.
Bullet choices for the 45 caliber muzzle-loading rifle are many for the simple fact that there were many 45 caliber muzzle-loading rifles manufactured with varying barrel twist rates; 1 in 20 inches, 1 in 28 inches, 1 in 48 inches and 1 in 66 inches 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.
The accurate velocity range for the 45 caliber muzzle-loading rifle is between 1,400 feet per second to 2,350 feet per second with few exceptions.
Note: If you have one of the new 45 caliber magnums with a 1:28" twist, the saboted dead center 175 grain .357 diameter bullet is the flatest shooting, softest recoiling bullet you can use on white-tailed deer sized game.
.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 muzzle-loading rifle, 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.
Note: When shooting roundball loads out of a .45 caliber muzzleloader I usually prefer a 75 yard zero sight-in, depending on hunting situation.
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 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 muzzle-loading rifles with a barrel twist rate of 1:66".
(45 caliber bullet weight 130 grain.)
.45 Caliber Conical Bullet:
True conical bullets are made of lead as are roundballs for ease of loading in muzzle-loading rifles 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 muzzle-loading rifles. 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.
Note: When shooting conical bullets out of a .45 caliber muzzle-loading rifle I usually prefer a 75 yard zero sight-in, depending on hunting situation.
45 Caliber Buffalo Ball-Et:
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 muzzle-loading rifles with a barrel twist rate of 1:48" - 1:60".
(45 caliber bullet weight 200 grain.)
45 Caliber Thompson Center Maxi-Ball:
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 muzzle-loading rifles with a barrel twist rate of 1:48".
(45 caliber bullet weight 240 grain.)
45 Caliber 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 muzzle-loading rifles with a barrel twist rate of 1:28".
(45 caliber bullet weight 330 grain.)
.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 muzzle-loading rifles 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.
Note: When shooting sabot and bullet combinations out of .45 caliber muzzle-loading rifles I usually prefer a 2 inch high 100 yard zero sight-in for long range hunting situations, normally treestand hunting along field edges.
.45 x .357 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 muzzle-loading rifles 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.
(.357 caliber bullet weight 175 grain.)
.45 x .400 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 muzzle-loading rifles 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.
(.400 caliber bullet weight 200 grain.)
.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 quite easily. If this happens then try partition bullets.
Pistol Bullet Suggestion:
Hornady controlled expansion HP XTP bullets expand to 1.5 times their original diameter over a wide range of velocities. They feature heavier jackets that stand up to higher pressures and velocities that can be encountered with muzzle-loading rifles.
.45 X .357 Diameter, Bullet Weight Range;
1 in 48" twist rate 158 grain bullets,
1 in 28" twist rate 180 grain bullets.
.45 X .400 Diameter, Bullet Weight Range;
1 in 48" twist rate 180 grain bullets,
1 in 28" twist rate 200 grain bullets.
.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.
Nosler excels in this category.