Some hunting Q's for you experienced guys

Share your tales (tall or otherwise) of hunting adventures.

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supersubes
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Some hunting Q's for you experienced guys

Post by supersubes » Fri May 20, 2011 11:11 am

Hello all, I'm new to the forum here and BPCR in general. I thought I'd make my introduction here and knock out some questions.

I picked up my first Shiloh about two years ago and stumbled into accuracy almost right off the bat. Since this is a hunting forum and I have zero experience taking a BPCR to the field, I am interested in the finer points of using these rifles.

1. My normal load uses a 530gr BACO postel over a .060 walters wad and 66 gr. of swiss 1.5f. I use 1/20 alloy, starline brass, SPG lube, and a 215M primer. It produces 1150 fps (28" barrel) with low velocity spreads and good accuracy. Because this loads seems to work always (and in my fathers rifle), I want to stick with it for hunting. Any reason why I can't/shouldnt do that? It will be used on wild pig, maybe deer, and african plains game.

2. How do you take care of the bore in the event that you are away from camp for an extended period while hunting? I am in the planning stages of an africa hunt, and I want to know how to prepare in case ive fired but continue to hunt for the remainder of the day. It seems that in africa, we could be out all day to take advantage of targets of opportunity. Several shots may be fired hours apart over the course of the day.

3. Any BPCR hunting specific knowledge you have gained through experience would be appreciated.

In case anybody is wondering, my experience is tactical precision shooting. Ive been handloading for 15 years or so. I just cant see hunting my my precision rifles. Not because of the weight( i have handy ones too), but because i want more stalking and shorter ranges. I really enjoy the nostalgia of these rifles and I think it would be a more rewarding experience if I hunted with one.

Thanks for reading,

Aaron

Brent
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Re: Some hunting Q's for you experienced guys

Post by Brent » Fri May 20, 2011 11:39 am

Aaron,
I like your ideas - mostly. But I would ditch the Postell however. There are lots of good hunting bullets with flat or very blunt round noses. The Postell, however, is a target rifle. Not optimal in my opinion.

Wiping in the field - esp on a hunt where you might be shooting multiple times in a long day - a wiping rod cannot be beat. You can always order up a Gemmer Sharps with a wiping rod mounted like a muzzleloader's ram rod. But pricey and heavy. :( Lately, I have taken to something like that with an original Ballard Pacific. A bit lighter, but not much cheaper.

But when I was in Africa and when I hunt in the West on pack in hunts or day-long hunts on foot, I have used a number of different wiping set ups.

1. A takedown .22 cleaning rod fitted with a .45 cal brush
2. A plastic tubing that is fairly stiff and fitted with a brass insert that is crosspinned and into which the .45 brush can be fitted. The plastic tube can be coiled and fit into the back pocket of a vest like "Surveyor's Vest" sold by Filsons (front pocket is perfect for holding extra cartridges).
3. A plastic coated cable with a brass fitting that lets the brush screw in - made by Arnie Sietz (sorry if I butchered that last name; aka beltfed)
4. One I have imagined but not used for Africa would be a set of hollow shooting sticks (everyone shoots off of standing-length cross-sticks) which would be fitted to allow a full length cleaning rod.


Tips? Two that I can think of off the cuff. One, sit down with your PH and discuss your rifle's trajectory IN DETAIL. If they haven't actually seen one of these before, they just don't get it. Tell them you will need to estimate yardage to ridiculous precision in YARDS (if that's your unit of measure).
My PH said, the first night, "he's at 200!"
"Yards or meters?" I asked.
"What does it matter?" was the answer.

After this was over, I pulled out a trajectory card I had made up and showed him how low my bullet would strike if I shot with a 200 yds hold on a 200m animal. He sobered up right quick.

Two. Make up a couple of dummy rounds for your rifle. Once your PH sees you can shoot and kill things with it, he will want you to show it off to everyone and anyone. Which can at times mean passing it around a lodge with a bunch of strange, drunk hunters who think it is really cool. THEN someone say's, " What is the cartridge like?" and one or more of those end up getting passed around. The net result being that your beer will get warm while you are in semipanic mode waiting for the rifle to meet the cartridge in the lap of that old, drunk, grumpy, local guy back in the darkest corner of the bar. This can be disconcerting :)

Here is a story on my Africa trip http://bpcr.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=753
Just straddling the hard line between "the arrogance of dogmatism and the despair of skepticism"

ole pizen slinger
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Re: Some hunting Q's for you experienced guys

Post by ole pizen slinger » Fri May 20, 2011 11:49 am

The old government bullet design, like Lyman's 457125, is probably one of the best hunting bullets available for BP rifles. I know of several guys who use it both here and in Africa with excellent results. Biggest problem I see you having is with follow up shots. BP fouling sometimes makes followup cartridges difficult to chamber. Be sure you have this problem solved before you hunt--especially if you're going after dangerous game in Africa. Have fun and good luck.
ole pizen slinger
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Darryl
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Re: Some hunting Q's for you experienced guys

Post by Darryl » Fri May 20, 2011 2:25 pm

SuperSubes:

Welcome to your new addiction.
My shooting resume sounds a lot like yours (extensive shooting with precision stuff prior to discovering these wonderful hunting tools). I shot Benchrest and solid bottom.
Something makes me want to say that your skill sets in reloading for those helped you hit accuracy right off the bat in this discipline - despite there being differences. It did for me, once I got over the concept of not needing to worry about how much black powder I was stuffing in the case - as long as it fit in the case, it could be fired without consequences.

Sounds like Brent covered the bases really well.
I entirely agree on keeping the postell for paper and switch to either a flatnose design or blunt roundnose for hunting.
Brent's been to Africa and I have not, therefore I cannot speak on what works over there. I do plan on going to Africa within the next 10 years and I'll be using one of these great sporting rifles for the job.

There is some great wisdom to receive from these guys that have been there and USED EXCLUSIVELY THESE RIFLES TO TAKE GAME THERE WITH BLACK AND LEAD. You are in a great forum to discuss this.

My here is my 2 cents on cleaning in the field:
I made some cheap rod cases out of PVC that I picked up at Home Depot, and a piece of that black bungee strap to keep it from falling out of the case. (I'll try to take a picture and post it - I used the K.I.S.S approach and it works great). Paint the thing black with spraypaint and you've got a rod that stays clean and does'nt get damaged. I don't use nostalgic cleaning rods - just my Deweys because I have about 9 of them from my smokeless guns and ended up dedicated one to each of my BPCRs.
Next, I took some small facial cream containers that my wife was done using, cleaned them out and I stuff about 50 wet patches in one, and 50 dry patches in another. Now there's no need to take any solvent bottles into the field.

The rod case is not something you can lug around, but you could certainly leave it in vehicle you use to get about in. I've actually thought about taking my rod case idea and making a combination shooting stick / rod case. That way, I'd have my long shooting sticks and rod hand with me everywhere.

Brent
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Re: Some hunting Q's for you experienced guys

Post by Brent » Fri May 20, 2011 2:30 pm

Darryl,
Good point about patches. I forgot about that!

I carry patches soaked in Hoppes #9. I put them in a round tin. I have several different tins that once held mints or air rifle pellets.

Brent
Just straddling the hard line between "the arrogance of dogmatism and the despair of skepticism"

Brent
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Re: Some hunting Q's for you experienced guys

Post by Brent » Fri May 20, 2011 5:40 pm

I feel the bore snakes would be messy, but I've never used one.

Also, they can't poke the snow/mud out of your barrel - something that is occasionally handy.
Just straddling the hard line between "the arrogance of dogmatism and the despair of skepticism"

supersubes
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Re: Some hunting Q's for you experienced guys

Post by supersubes » Fri May 20, 2011 5:53 pm

Thank you all for the detailed responses, that is exactly the kind of info I was looking for.

Brent, you said the "G" word! Every time I see one of those rifles I am in awe. I absolutely love those rifles. When funds and a propper builder present themselves, I'll own one. While on the subject, who does that kind of work?

When you were going through customs Brent, did you have any issues with the BP ammo. I imagine it wouldn't come up but i have heard that customs in South Africa wants the ammo to be in the manufacturer's original box. I also read about muzzleloader hunters having issues with loose black powder.


Darryl, I saw your hunting bullet in your other thread. I was thinking I would most likely order from Brooks for a flat nose mould. Can you tell me what kind of clearance you have between the nose of the bullet and the lands? Bullet jump? I'm sure Steve can guide me, but i was just curious.

Ill investigate the cleaning rod solution further. I'm going to do a pig hunt here soon, and then at regular intervals to sort out my gear before Africa.

Another question for the gallery. How do you all carry your rifles while hunting? As in chamber empty, or loaded on half cock?

Thanks again guys,
Aaron

Brent
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Re: Some hunting Q's for you experienced guys

Post by Brent » Fri May 20, 2011 6:09 pm

Aaron,
I have never had trouble flying with bp loaded cartridges. After some significant research and using a few guys that have inside tracks to the higher ups, I have no doubt that bp cartridges are fine. Loose bp is NEVER find (except in Alaska under special instances). There are a lot of internet opinions about flying with bp cartridges, but I've done my homework. Many others have flow bp cartridges w/o an issue.

The cartridge box issue is another internet fallacy. Ammo must be in purpose-made boxes, plastic, fiber, wood, whatever, but purpose made for holding cartridges. They can't be in a baggie.

As for the Gemmer - Kirk Bryan mentioned just the other day on a thread somewhere that they (Shiloh) occasionally do a Gemmer. So, if you want one - sounds like you need to call. I think there are others that will do it too. Dan Phariss comes to mind as likely and I know there is someone that specialize(d?) in this, but damned if I can remember who (or is that whom? Hell it's Friday) .
Just straddling the hard line between "the arrogance of dogmatism and the despair of skepticism"

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Re: Some hunting Q's for you experienced guys

Post by Darryl » Sat May 21, 2011 7:34 pm

Supersubes:

You never did say what you're shooting but I'll assume it's .45

That 45 bullet is ok, but nothing like my .50 cal bullet flatnose that shoots. Heck - I can't assemble a load for my .50/70 that DOESN"T shoot less than 1.5MOA. That gun/load combination is a fly-buster at 100 yards. Everything I've tried works in that gun.

But this .45 caliber bullet is not one to copy - just being up front with you on it and saving you money and headache. I can't get it to shoot as well as a 508 Grain flatnose of Brooks' own design that I initially bought for my Hartford. I use it though, because I deliberately designed the nose as non-borerider so I can chamber it in a fouled barrel without issues. The 508 grain flatnose is a borerider and won't chamber after the fouling starts to harden without blowtubing 6-8 breaths to soften things up.

supersubes
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Re: Some hunting Q's for you experienced guys

Post by supersubes » Sun May 22, 2011 1:44 pm

Thanks Darryl

The postel I shoot in my saddle rifle is the same. Amazingly accurate all around. Yes, I am shooting a 45-70.

Ill just talk to Steve and see what he thinks before ordering.

We have this crappy "condor zone" that encompasses basically all of the pig hunting areas in the center of the state. We cannot shoot lead bullets inside that area. I worked up a load yesterday using 350 gr barnes TSX bullet at 2150 fps. Shoots amazing by any standards but kinda depressing at the same time. The recoil is fierce too, much worse that 530 gr lead at 1150.

Thanks all for the help.

Aaron

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Re: Some hunting Q's for you experienced guys

Post by 77 sharps » Sun May 22, 2011 11:50 pm

Hi Aaron

Here's my 2 cents worth. To wipe I use a delrin rod with a .45 jag, this rod will not break or bend easily so you don't have to worry about it. I keep it in my soft case in the truck with the patches in the side pocket. This is all you will need to take care of the rifle during the day. Keep your good rod, brushes, and oil in camp. I clean my rifle every night because it gets soaked with sweat during the day.

A flat nose bullet is the best, and any weight 420grs. or more. My bullet is the RCBS 500 gr. BPCR with the nose turned off to make a .300 meplat and weighs 480grs. My mould was cut by Dave Farmer. Paul Jones also has a couple of moulds that should be very good. You do not need very heavy bullets, a 325gr. flat nose at 1400fps will shoot through a cape buffalo's shoulders. I use the extra weight to maintain the momentum at longer ranges. My bullet will shoot the length of a zebra beyond 200 yards if it does not hit heavy bone.

I strongly recomend very hard bullets. I will be using heat treated wheel weights on my next trip. I thought my soft bullets were doing OK because I did not loose any animals in the last 6 years, but I had several close call this last trip. I hit a zebra at 200 yards in a joint in the leg, the bullet only penitrated 1 1/2 inches and only weighs 228grs, starting out at 480. Also I shot both a kudu and a oryx in the neck and both failed to fully penitral the neck, they infact did not break the neck. They were not great kills. If you get unlucky and hit heavy bone with a 20:1 bullet you might be out the $1000.00 in trophy fees and you get to pay taxes on it too. The bison hunters shot very soft bullets, but they had an unlimited supply of free targets.

Take your own range finder and discuss the trajectory of the rifle with your PH because he will not understand. Also keep in mind that you will loose some shooting time in the morning and evening if you use iron sights. These rifle have some limitations but they also have some advantages. They out penetrate most high power rifles and make devastating wounds.

Good luck on your hunt.

Mike

rdnck
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Re: Some hunting Q's for you experienced guys

Post by rdnck » Mon May 23, 2011 6:54 am

I do not believe a 325 grain bullet at 1400 fps will shoot through both shoulders of a Cape Buffalo. I DO believe that a 520 grain Government bullet at 20-1 and 1200 fps will. I intend to find out in 2012.

I used a 480 grain flatnosed bullet at 1240 fps on my trip Natal and the Eastern Cape last October. I took warthog, impala, blesbok, kudu, and zebra that trip. I shot all the way through everything except the zebra. I got a one shot DRT on the zebra on a behind the shoulder shot at 161 yards, but no pass through with the 480 flat nosed bullet.

On previous trips I have taken kudu, both black and blue wildebeast, gemsbok, zebra, springbok and impala, and have gotten complete pass through shooting a 511 grain round nosed bullet or a 520 grain Govt.bullet, and until this last zebra, have never recovered a bullet. Based on that experience, my take is that if you shoot the smaller deer sized animals, a 480 grain flat nosed bullet works just fine. But when you get to the larger animals, you need a 510 to 520 grain round nosed bullet if you want to shoot all the way through them, and you want an impact velocity of 1100 to 1200 fps for optimum penetration. Shoot straight, rdnck.
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Re: Some hunting Q's for you experienced guys

Post by 77 sharps » Tue May 24, 2011 10:12 pm

Rdnck, you are correct, I should have said 360 grs. I thought I rememberd correctly, I should have checked my records first.

I was a beliver in 20:1 bullets for years because all the shots were pass throughs and I didn't loose any animals. This last September has changed my mind. In the zebra most of the bullet turned to dust and the other one just wrapped itself around the oryx's neck vertebra like putty. Neither broke the bones. It has been my experiance that a bullet through the chest of an animal the size of a zebra will not kill it on the spot unless the bullet hits the central nervous system, and I have used rifles way more powerful than a Sharps. That soft bullet must have flattened out enough to change direction considerably. Where did it end up? I have read reports of pure lead bullets flattening and changing direction 180 Degs. in animals as small as American antelope.

Please consider this, every thing you are telling us in the last paragraph tells me that you are having troubles due to your alloy being too soft. There are people out there that have a lot of experiance shooting animals with big bullets at moderate speeds, they are the revolver shooters and they swear by very hard flat nose bullets. I do belive that you will be successful taking a buff with your 20:1 Govt. bullet if you avoid the leg bones. Other than the ribs overlapping buffalo are not built any different than a beef, they just have a bad attitude.

The best of luck on your quest. Mike

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Re: Some hunting Q's for you experienced guys

Post by Brent » Wed May 25, 2011 5:22 am

Mike,
Pistoleers have to shoot hard bullets because their bullets are so light - they cannot afford expansion.

I've shot a lot of big animals with slow lead bullets, and in my book, softer is better. Including pure lead. As far as I am concerned, bullets that change direction 180 degrees are the stuff of legend - not fact.

Brent
Just straddling the hard line between "the arrogance of dogmatism and the despair of skepticism"

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Re: Some hunting Q's for you experienced guys

Post by Clarence » Wed May 25, 2011 6:42 am

77,

I'm not sure how you got the conclusion that 20:1 is too soft from Rdnck's post. He has used that very successfully, and generally had pass-throughs with his Gov't. bullets. He has had no problems killing his game.

IMO, 360 gr. is far too light a bullet for animals of substance (larger than deer), regardless of alloy.

20:1 or 30:1 with ~500 gr. bullets and either a round-nose or small flat-nose (5/16" or less) is still the starting point for a successful hunting combination in .45 caliber BPCR's.

Clarence

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