Home Main Category Hunting

The .454 Casull and Joe's bullets - Good Combination!

ZeeZee Senior MemberPosts: 27,456 Senior Member
My son and I went hunting with a friend for deer this evening. Both of us had decided to use a more challenging weapon. Black powder for him.......in the form of my previously owned Lyman GP Rifle in .54cal. and I.........well I brought two. Primary would be my 10.5" Ruger 3-Screw Super BlackhawK in .44 Mag with 325gr WFN-GC bullets. Backup would be my Super Redhawk in .454 Casull and Joe's 300gr WFN-GC bullets.

He set up on the wheat field side of a large palm tree grove and I set up with my boy in a pop-up tent blind on the opposite side of the grove, near intersecting trails. We knew the deer had been traveling to the wheat field to feed at night and were hoping they would come in legal shooting time.

As the evening progressed, I began to see bands of deer way off in the distance. They were leaving a river bottom and entering the plowed fields enroute to the wheat field behind me. But, would they make it to me in time?

Here is the view from my ground blind.


A - Creek Bottom
B - Fence Crossing

The wind was in my face in a perfect set up. I was overlooking a fork in a trail that would take the deer either to my left or my right as they passed me along a trail on their way to the green field behind. The deer made their way SLOWLY from (A) and paralleled the fence on both sides. Some meandering off into the plowed fields to forage or mill around. At that rate, they'd never make it to me before dark.

Suddenly, I got a text from my friend that some Blackbuck does were heading his way. About 20 minutes later....................BaWOOOOOOOMMMMMMM!

Me: Well?
Him: They're pretty small.
Me: What does that mean?
Him: It means, I missed.

Seems he did not account for the diminutive size of the Blackbuck does. What he thought was a little over 100 yards turned out to be less than 75 yards. He shot over the doe.............and watched his round ball skip down the wheat field in little puffs of dirt........as the does trotted off to the east. Seems it was up to me now.

Back to watching the progress of the deer in front of me. Painstakingly slow........they progressed.

I was using a BOG-Pod and PSR Rest. Not an exceptionally stable platform, but usable for the short distance involved with most revolvers. Especially one with iron sights.


The hope was that the deer would come at me from a quartering angle, either to the left or right as the trails led them past.


Well, the sun set and the light began to fade. Anxiety was creeping in as two does crossed the fence at (B) and made their way up towards me. I told my boy to get ready as they approached and we both put on hearing protection. Then..........I lost sight of them in the low ground. Light was fading............where did they go? Darker still........... sights getting questionable..............darn it........time to switch! I reached down and grabbed the Casull and placed it on the PSR. Moments later, I see the does again. But, they aren't on either of the trails. They are heading cross country in a perpendicular route that will take them across in front of me out past 50 yards. I'd already had the bushes ranged and knew the 50 yard mark. They would pass just behind it.

The lead doe walked her route as I tracked her. The heavy reticle of the 4x Leupold contrasted well against her tan body. As she passed between two mesquite bushes (C) at 54 yards, I moved the reticle to the front of her shoulder............"BOOM"!

Up in the air she jumped and kicked her back legs. Hitting the ground on all four legs, she lurched forward. On the first bound, her front legs could no longer support her weight and her front end crashed to the ground. That didn't stop her, though. She drove ahead with her strong back legs and propelled herself 43 yards like a plow making a furrow. Until flipping end over end............she came to rest.

Let the cheering commence!!!!!

My first game animal with this handgun, the .454 Casull cartridge, and any cast bullet from a handload.


The cast bullet passed just behind her on side shoulder bone and busted right through the off side bone, snapping it clean in two. It destroyed the front of her lungs and severed her wind pipe and carotid arteries. But........amazingly..........there was little to no blood on the ground. Only where she came to rest on her side. Most likely, I figure this is due to the fact the entry and exit holes were pretty much buried in the dirt as she plowed forward. Being as they are towards the front of her shoulder and in contact with the ground. But, that 300gr WFN-GC drove a beautiful hole right through her.

I am impressed with both the power of the gun and the performance of the bullet. WOW!

I am exceedingly pleased that my boy could be with me. It was a very fun hunt that culminated in the last few minutes of shooting light.


I'm digging on the Casull.
"To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith


  • JermanatorJermanator Senior Member Posts: 16,244 Senior Member
    Awesome! Congratulations.
    Reason obeys itself; and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it.
    -Thomas Paine
  • BigslugBigslug Senior Member Posts: 9,324 Senior Member

    I'm thinking you had a whole lot of interior blood, but not a lot leaking out because the skin was sliding back and forth over the holes in the rib cage. This seems to be what goes on with the straight-penetrating non-fragmenters. The result certainly is conclusive!

    I never did get around to asking - on your last buck with the .30-30AI Contender - was all of that massive blood trail coughed up out of the mouth? There didn't seem to be much gore on the hide where the round entered and exited. I didn't have much external blood on my last buck either (Barnes TTSX), even though one lung was complete tar-tare and the heart still going to pump blood out of the shredded parts. Not much on the ground for us to track, but then, these slugs seem to be dropping them in seconds, so what's to track? The science of death continues!

    "Nothing is safe from stupid." - Zee
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 27,456 Senior Member
    On the .30-30 AI buck, there was ample blood coming out his mouth as well as the exit hole towards the end of the trail.

    I'll get the autopsy photos from this doe up tomorrow.

    But, suffice it to say, the entrance and exit look like spitting image cookie cutter cutouts.
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • jaywaptijaywapti Senior Member Posts: 5,032 Senior Member
    Nice, glad you took your son along.

  • WeatherbyWeatherby Senior Member Posts: 4,953 Senior Member
    Nice doe....... very long nose.
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 27,456 Senior Member
    Weatherby wrote: »
    Nice doe....... very long nose.


    I tried, my friend. I had everything ready to hammer one with the 3-Screw. It just got too dicey there at the end. Both in distance, lighting, and a moving target. I didn't want my first hunt with the old Super Blackhawk to be a screw up on my part.

    You our deserve better than that. But, I've figured out where to go next time. I'm going to move down closer to that fence crossing. Catch them in better light.
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • WeatherbyWeatherby Senior Member Posts: 4,953 Senior Member
    You did RIGHT :up:

    I liked the effort :cool2:
  • sakodudesakodude Senior Member Posts: 4,546 Senior Member
    Excellent story as usual. Your boy is getting big!

  • bullsi1911bullsi1911 Moderator Posts: 12,041 Senior Member
    Nice story, and a great meat doe. Congrats!
    To make something simple is a thousand times more difficult than to make something complex.
    -Mikhail Kalashnikov
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 27,456 Senior Member


    Entrance Under Hide

    Entrance Under Hide - Shoulder Removed


    Entrance - Meat Removed (Broke 1 Rib)

    Entrance - Ribs Removed

    Entrance - Front of Lungs / Wind Pipe / Carotid

    Exit - Front of Lungs / Wind Pipe / Carotid

    Exit - Chest Cavity


    Exit Under Shoulder - Broke Bone at Base of Scapula (created a compound fracture)

    Exit Through Shoulder (compound fracture)

    Exit Through Hide

    There seems to be substantially less hydrostatic shock involved in the use of slow-er moving cast bullets. But, they appear to be substantial wrecking balls of whatever they contact. Granted, i hit her at the front of the chest cavity with a non-expanding bullet, so little opportunity for temporary cavity. I have no doubt there would have been more damage were the impact about 4" further back. As it is, I think the bullet did exceptionally well. It is quite amazing seeing the caliber size hole in...........and caliber size hole out............with damage in between. Kinda cool.

    Deer are hardy animals. To be able to drive forward for 43 yards with her front end plowing the ground. With the front of the lungs damaged, no windpipe, and destroyed carotid.................total time from impact to stationary..........about 4-5 seconds.
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 27,456 Senior Member
    Bullet Weight: 300gr
    Est. MV: 1,681 fps
    Est. Impact Velocity: 1,511 fps
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • BigDanSBigDanS Senior Member Posts: 6,992 Senior Member
    I saw similar results with the 405 gr 45-70 bullets hitting the pigs last weekend. Not much "shock", just a 45 caliber hole in and out, at about 950 FPS.

    "A patriot is mocked, scorned and hated; yet when his cause succeeds, all men will join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot." Mark Twain
    Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.... now who's bringing the hot wings? :jester:
  • CHIRO1989CHIRO1989 Senior Member Posts: 14,186 Senior Member
    Finally finished reading this, gotta like 2 holes on a shot deer. We spent some time trying to figure out just how my son shot his this AM since there was only one hole, I assumed the entrance was the exit and the bullet just passed through without expanding, I wish it was not so cold AND windy, I would have dug harder for the bullet.
    I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn away from their ways and live. Eze 33:11
  • NNNN Senior Member Posts: 25,125 Senior Member
  • Six-GunSix-Gun Senior Member Posts: 8,155 Senior Member
    Awesome job and great selection of armament on this hunt to carry you into the last minutes of daylight. It never ceases to amaze me how well those heavy, cast bullets penetrate and kill.
    Accuracy: because white space between bullet holes drives me insane.
  • BigslugBigslug Senior Member Posts: 9,324 Senior Member
    Zee wrote: »

    [/B]There seems to be substantially less hydrostatic shock involved in the use of slow-er moving cast bullets. But, they appear to be substantial wrecking balls of whatever they contact.

    I like that you took out both shoulders and that the bullet didn't deviate a millimeter. A also like that there doesn't appear to be much meat loss in spite of that.

    My own observations with ballistic gel, jugs and reading Veral Smith's observations in Jacketed Performance with Cast Bullets has me revising my thinking somewhat. What I've seen with these lead solids is showing me that obtaining sufficient penetration with them is not even a slight concern. Having grown up in the age of pre-rocket science bullets, I think I've instinctively leaned toward heavy-for-caliber, simply because that was the way to compensate for fragmentation, jacket separation, and other undesirable effects. That's not an issue with the Barnes I've been shooting, nor does it seem to be with your Hornadys, and it CERTAINLY is not an issue with a properly-alloyed lead and heat-treated slug in a reasonable weight.

    So once we know penetration-to-exit isn't going to be a problem. . .the way to ensuring a wider wound channel is #1, bigger meplat, and #2, more speed. Unless you're inside of 50-75 yards, full wadcutters are out because the aerodynamics destabilize them beyond that. LBT's meplat for LFN's on .44's and .45's is .30cal, and the WFN is .34 regardless of weight - these seem to fly fine. The faster you throw them, the bigger splash you'll get in tissue, and you can only throw the big heavies so fast. Good for Cape buffalo, but maybe more penetration than we need for the Lower 48.

    With that in mind, and reasoning that it took four feet of water to stop my lowly 230 grain .45 ACP LFN at 825fps, I'm currently thinking that my next mold from Veral will be the 260 grain .44 WFN. This should be plenty for any deer, pig, or even elk that I'd encounter at any distance I'd consider handgunning one from. Basically, I want to see if I can duplicate your wound channel, but at a lower level of recoil.
    Zee wrote: »
    Deer are hardy animals. To be able to drive forward for 43 yards with her front end plowing the ground. With the front of the lungs damaged, no windpipe, and destroyed carotid.................total time from impact to stationary..........about 4-5 seconds.

    Another catastrophic cardio kill - WOO-HOO! Ten seconds seems to be about tops for what their little deer gyro-stabilizers can manage without blood flow. I think we got some really useful data off this one - better perhaps than if you had pegged the heart. She got going on startle-response from sound of the shot - the heart-rate kicked up . . .only to pump into the void of a severed carotid. That doe bled out FAST!!

    I'm doubly grateful for this one Zed. . .setting aside his extra 105 grains of lead, you've copied the meplat and velocity as my pop's Baikal SXS. This give me a great idea of what to expect.:worthy:

    "Nothing is safe from stupid." - Zee
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 27,456 Senior Member
    There assuredly was less meat damage for what the hit was. An expanding or soft jacketed bullet through the same path would have destroyed both shoulders for the most part. As it was, both shoulders went in the cooler. Just need to trim right around the wound path and wash off the blood.

    For lack of a better description, and from my limited experience of exactly 1 kill with them, it appears that cast bullets result in a "cleaner" kill.

    I am curious though, if a less than desired impact through say.........the liver.......would result in a quick kill. I know that a rapidly expanding bullet absolutely demolishes a liver as it is less resilient to hydrostatic shock and temporary cavity. Basically, a fast moving expander shreds a liver.

    Wonder what a slower moving cast bullet with a wide meplat would do when passing through the liver.
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • jbohiojbohio Senior Member Posts: 5,615 Senior Member
    Excellent! What a sledgehammer those loads are!
  • JayJay Senior Member Posts: 4,349 Senior Member
    Excellent writeup and autopsy. Looks like it was a great hunt with your boy.

    I'm a huge fan of the 454 cartridge. It started my love affair with big, loud revolvers.... Have never tried cast bullets out of mine. I've always planned to try it, just haven't done it. I still haven't taken any large game animals with 454 or 460. Awesome reading your experience with it. I'd always planned on going with the 300 grain XTP for my hunting load. I'm thinking I'm going to put in for elk here for next season. Maybe I'll start playing with the CPB 395 grain gas checked bullet for that... Hodgdon lists 1500-1600 FPS in 460 S&W. Should let an elk know something is wrong if it gets hit with one. Sounds like fun to me.
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 27,456 Senior Member
    395gr would be a BEAST!!!!!

    Speaking of the .460 S&W cartridge..................
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • JayJay Senior Member Posts: 4,349 Senior Member
    Haha! I've always wondered what recoil would be like out of mine.

    I kinda saw a hint elsewhere........
  • JayhawkerJayhawker Moderator Posts: 18,113 Senior Member
    Nicely done, she'll be good eating.....those younguns of yours sure are growing up fast....
    Sharps Model 1874 - "The rifle that made the west safe for Winchester"
Sign In or Register to comment.
Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services


GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top Guns & Ammo stories delivered right to your inbox every week.