The Truth about Blackpowder Rifles

For anyone who is a hunter, chances are that they will have hetipstools3-fig-11ard of blackpowder rifle
s. A lot is said about them but unfortunately, most of the stories circulating are based on pure mythology. Especially if such stories are told around a hunting camp! It’s however important that hunters and aficionados learn all there is to them before they go out and buy their own. Or even in the even they already own one, it’s good to be aware of them so to know the best way to handle them.


For a blackpowder rifle, the muzzle loader has roughly 2700 feet per pound of energy at the muzzle and about 1200 feet per pound at 200 yards. By the time we are talking about 245 yards, the bullet goes below 1000 feet per pound of energy. This is the minimum needed to kill a deer.

Force or gravity

Every physical object obeys the force of gravity, at least on planet earth. The same applies to bullets. With a blackpowder rifle, this causes the bullets to drop increasingly faster as its flight time increases. As such, a bullet drops faster from a range of 200-250 yards compared to a range of 0-200 yards. If we take the example of a deer that requires a six inch kill zone, just three inches in any direction will potentially get the hunter out of the zone. By the time it’s at 300 yards, it only requires about 9 yards of frontal movement to drop three inches.


In truth, some blackpowder rifles shoot better while others shoot worse. A random experiment with 30 3-shot, 100 yards from different blackpowder rifles had an average size of 2.25 inches. This means that 100 yard averages go beyond the typical six inch deer kill zone by up to 270 yards, making it very easy to miss (with all other factors considered).