500 yards

Discussion in 'Muzzleloader Hunting' started by ATH, Jun 28, 2009.

  1. ATH

    ATH Well-Known Member

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    The furthest I've taken game with a muzzleloader is a doe at 338 yards with a 200 Shockwave over 110gr 777. I target shoot with that bullet to 400 yards but the energy is getting really questionable out there, and certainly shooting at deer beyond 400 yards with it is out of the questions. I'm of the opinion that as of 2008 the 200 SW was the best all-around bullet for long range ML shooting.

    Hornady may have changed that. This year they released the FTX bullets in bulk and I selected the .458 325gr FTX for testing. While velocity is lower (1900 fps with 130gr 777 vs 2050 fps with the 200SW and 110gr 777) energy is double, even at extended ranges, and the actual (shooting-derived) BC is .21 instead of .17.

    While I've heard some early reports that they are harder than the SWs and may not expand well, I am going to give them a go this year and see for myself. I'd verified that this load duplicated the trajectory of my 200 SW load out through 300 yards, so I ran the numbers through JBM to get a dope for 500 yards and shot this target yesterday. By the time I assembled a 15-foot tall holder to get the target over corn and terrain I only had a few minutes to shoot, so there was no barrel cooling and I was firing as fast as I could load the 4 shots. It was 90 degrees and I couldn't hold the barrel at the end.

    This is not a cutting edge smokeless gun, just a thumbhole Omega that I have accurized (float, pillars, and epoxy bedded). I know it starts to pull left when it gets hot so I think my first two shots are the one just low of the bull and the last two are to the left but I don't know for sure. I'd wanted to get a 6-inch group but I'll take 8.5 inches with no cooling:

    [​IMG]
     
  2. trebark

    trebark Well-Known Member

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    110 grains of Triple7? Can your rifle handle 150g mag loads? if so, have you tried?

    I have a CVA Optima Pro. Shooting 150g of Triple7 behind a 245powerbelt, it shoots the first round right-on target. Each successive shot strings upward - as if the pressure is increasing for each shot. Any suggestions?
     

  3. ATH

    ATH Well-Known Member

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    If you are shooting 150g of LOOSE 777 you are over-charging your rifle. No mass-produced muzzleloader is rated for 150gr loose 777. 777 is about 15% more powerful that blackpower or Pyrodex. Max charge is really around 130gr, which is why I use 130gr with the 325gr FTX. I only use 110gr with the 200SW as accuracy goes away at 115gr or above.

    The 777 pellets are reduced charge to compensate for the increased power, they are equivalent to pyrodex. If you don't believe me, shoot 3 50gr pellets over a chronograph then the same bullet with 150gr loose powder. The loose powder will be faster due to that charge being about 15% more powerful.

    The manufacturers have never caught up to the proliferation of new ML powders. They don't provide a rating for BH209 either, they just rate for blackpowder/pyrodex. I doubt the overcharge with 150gr 777 is dangerous but it is technically over the recommended pressure.
     
  4. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

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    ATH.

    The sabots seem to be accurate to 300 or 400 yards but not beyond that because
    they loose stability.

    I have tried all types and still use the 250gr expander at 200 to 300 yards with good results

    But the best results at longer distances have been with heavy cast bullets or banded solids.

    I use 777 or Shockeys and in my 50cal ML a 560gr postnell cast bullet, shoots good to 600yards

    In my 45/120 sharps I use a 620gr cast in front of 132 grs of 777 and the furthest I have shot
    this combo to date is 850yrds with very good results (One Minute of buffalo) just under 15"size 3 shot groups .

    In the 50cal MZ I use 120grs 777 or 135grs Shockey's with the 250gr sabots if I'm going to shoot
    close and may need quick follow up shots,

    The best accuracy I have seen with my black powder rifles has been with the banded solids,
    but I have not tried them on game, But if I get the chance at a hog I will give them a try.

    J E CUSTOM
     
  5. ATH

    ATH Well-Known Member

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    I don't know, I consider sub-2MOA on a 90 degree day with no cooling breaks at 500 yards to be pretty reasonable accuracy. If I hadn't spent all my time setting up the 15-ft tower to get the target over the corn and had been able to let the barrel cool I'm sure it would have tightened up some. It's not reasonable to expect .5 MOA out of a ML like we do a centerfire.

    Barnes Expanders are not what I would consider a long range bullet, very poor BC. Try a Shockwave, Parker Extreme, or an FTX for long range shooting. I've had MOA-type groups regularly with the 200SW, it just doesn't hit with enough energy so I'm looking for something heavier that will still fly as flat (which this FTX does). I've never seen any problems with subsonic stability with ML bullets.
     
  6. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

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    I would be very happy to get 2 MOA groups at 500 yards but I have not been able to using sabots. That's why I said 200 to 300yards for the expander.

    I have not tried all of the sabots because of the BCs and the heaver bullets were just more
    accurate for me.

    I have machined some 730gr boat tail banded solids but have not gotten a chance to use them
    and if they shoot I will make a mold to cast my own.

    J E CUSTOM
     
  7. justgoto

    justgoto Well-Known Member

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    I do too, I had no idea you could shoot that far and that well with a muzzleloader. Great shooting!
     
  8. killahog

    killahog Well-Known Member

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    ATH that is some very Impressive shooting Have you tried using a cooling rod to cool your barrel?. I use a solid brass rod I bought from McMaster-Carr Supply Co. It will kept the barrel cool between shots, Although you will have to swab between shots to kept the bore dry This is not a problem with my setup and it does kept the velocity more consistant than shooting a dirty bore. at least for me. 9105K223 MACHINABLE NAVAL BRASS (ALLOY 485), 7/16" DIAMETER, 3' LENGTH. this is the size I use in my 45 cal you will probably want one larger in diameter if you want one at all. Tony
     
  9. edge

    edge Well-Known Member

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    I am impressed :)

    I assume that the target was set up the way you are measuring it.
    If that is the case, then the great majority of your group size is windage!
    Vertical dispersion would seem to be around 3 inches or well under MOA!

    edge.
     
  10. ATH

    ATH Well-Known Member

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    Thanks...to clarify the cooling issue was that by the time I got the "tower" constructed to get the target viewable from my shooting bench I had 15 minutes left to shoot AND retrieve the target/tower. So I had to fire off all 4 shots as fast as I could load and shoot accurately then run out to retrieve everything.

    To be fair, besides the cooling, all four shots FELT solid. I do not think rushing hurt my shooting just the cooling issue, I can't wait to repeat this in a more conventient/cool setting (not 90+ degrees, my gun hates heat).

    edge,

    I had the same thought as you, the majority looked to be windage. However since it was virtually dead calm and I know from previous summer shooting that my POI shifts once the barrel gets too hot, I think the two shots to the left were the last two after it got hot though I'll never know for sure.

    J E,

    The heavy conicals have done well at long distances in MLs for over 150 years, it doesn't surprise me they work for you. Try some of the newer, higher BC sabots like the FTX or 300gr Shockwave. Personally I think the 325 FTX is the best comprimise between weight and BC out there right now that will stabilize out of a 1-28" twist. I would love to build a Rem700 or Savage conversion to shoot this bullet sabotless in a .458 barrel but that is priority #2 on my gun wish list. This would enable smokeless shooting (my state allows smokeless but gun caliber must be .45 or bigger) so I could improve trajectory by increasing velocity -- but I'm not sure I'd like the recoil generated.
     
  11. killahog

    killahog Well-Known Member

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    edge, when I seen the range that group was shot at I should have known it was you.
     
  12. edge

    edge Well-Known Member

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    No, not mine but I would not mind taking credit for it :)

    ATH shot that fine group.

    edge.
     
  13. killahog

    killahog Well-Known Member

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    I misread ATH's post i am very Impressed One of these days I will get around to shooting at a 500 yard target.
     
  14. winmag76

    winmag76 Well-Known Member

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    ATH
    What kind of sabot are you using with 325 FTX?