“In a roundabout manner, NORTH AMERICAN MUZZLELOADER HUNTING played a bit of a role in the introduction of the 1-in-24 twist .50 caliber Missouri River Hawken rifle. At the 2005 and 2006 SHOT Shows, I had made it a point to pay the Davide Pedersoli & Co. display a visit…to kind of keep up on what the company had new, and to visit with my old friend Pierangelo Pedersoli – who now runs that gunmaking operation. A few years earlier, working with Hi-Lux Optics, I had pushed for the company to step back in time and begin producing the long circa 1850’s style Wm. Malcolm scope shown on the above rifle. While such “telescopic rifle sights” had originally been developed, in America, on fast-twist rifling bullet shooting muzzle-loaded rifles – Hi-Lux Optics put the period correct scope back on the market with a totally different shooter in mind – those who enjoyed long-range shooting with the big-bore black powder cartridge rifles, such as the Sharps, Remington Rolling Block and Winchester High Wall models.
The Pedersoli gun making firm had been alarmed at the drop in the number of traditional muzzleloading hunters in the U.S., mainly because this company is the largest manufacturer of such muzzle-loaded rifles in the world. So, with the modern copy of the Malcolm scope in production, I began the job of convincing the Pedersoli operation that it was time to introduce a true bullet-shooting American design half-stock – and that the stylish Hawken they offered was the perfect rifle. In 2007, the 1-in-24 twist Missouri River Hawken became a reality. That’s when I first began shooting the rifle shown above. “
“The limited range of traditionally styled reproduction muzzle-loaded rifles of the 1960’s and 1970’s can be attributed to the old-style projectiles of the period. When it comes to retaining game-taking energy at any real distance, the patched soft lead round ball is the least effective hunting projectile. Now, this isn’t meant to rekindle arguments with die-hard patched round ball shooters…it’s just a ballistic fact. Accepting to hunt with the patched round ball, which I’ve done plenty of seasons over the years, is to only take shots well inside of the round ball’s effective range.”
This is the first part of a series of articles covering the ballistics and accuracy of the patched round ball compared to heavy conical slugs. To read more, please click here!