Need Load Data for Barnes Expander MZ

Discussion in 'Muzzleloader Hunting' started by azsugarbear, Jun 5, 2009.

  1. azsugarbear

    azsugarbear Well-Known Member

    Sep 20, 2005
    I just found out that I was drawn for a depredation hunt for the Bison heard on the North Kaibab Plateau. The tag will be good for any cow or yearling. I haven't decided whether I will ultimately use my bow or my custom muzzleloader. Because of the Condor's presence at the Grand Canyon, I will need to shoot lead-free bullets. I have settled on the 325 grain Barnes 54 cal. Expander MZ bullet. Does anyone have any load data for starting or most accurate load? I suspect 90 to 120 grains??? The stores in my area are out of stock on the Barnes loading manual.

    BTW: the rifle is a custom .54 caliber side lock percussion with a 34" Green Mountain barrel and a 1:28 twist.
  2. WRG

    WRG Well-Known Member

    Nov 25, 2008
    I wish I could tell you what the recommended twist rate is on the 325 MZ bullet is but I just don't know However, If it were me I would shoot the 250gr MRX or the 250 gr TMZ. They are both boat tailed with a polymere tip and will give you the best accuracy down range. They work best in a 28 twist. The difference between the two is the MRX bullet has a higher BC hence; Maximum Range X-bullet. Throw out the Barnes sabot and use a Harvester HP sabot designed for a boat tail bullet. Your limited on powder choice as it is not a 209 ignition so the 777 or FFG blackpowder would be best. I would start at 90 grains by volume and work it up but don't exceed 120 grains as it is not a magnum rifle and the pressures will be to high. I think you will find that 100 -110 grains of 777 will give you the best performance. I would work it up in 5 grain increments. Don't waist your money buying Blackhorn 209 as it is designed for the 209 ignition only! To bad because it is a awesome powder.

    Hope I was of some help and good luck on your hunting trip.

    Keep the smoke low!


  3. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

    Jul 29, 2004
    Your in the ballpark on loading the expander with 90 to 120grs . what you will find as you start
    working up your load that accuracy will start falling off near the top end.

    My 54 cal likes the 110gr load and the 50cal likes 95grs. when I use 777 I find they like the same
    powder charge by volume even though it is faster.

    Expansion is very good and as long as you don't extended the distance to far they are deadly.

    So start with 90grs and work up (Cleaning after each 3 shot group) and you will see where accuracy drops off.

    I use them and they work really well for me.