Optimum Barrel Lengths for Long Distance Muzzleloader Hunting

Discussion in 'Muzzleloader Hunting' started by CHARLIEDUECE65, Jan 24, 2009.

  1. CHARLIEDUECE65

    CHARLIEDUECE65 Well-Known Member

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    Hello,

    I would like any advice on barrel lengths for Muzzleloading. I have a TC Encore presently with the qla removed and barrel target crowned. I also have the EABCO accuracy hinge pin installed and it is scoped. It shoots "good" out to 150 yards then gets kinda wild. I worked up the loads with triple 7 loose powder and currently shooting 300 gr hornady sabots with 115 grains of powder. I have used PRbullets in the past and really liked them too. I was thinking about having a custom barrel made either 29" 0r 30" in lengths. Would this give me any more velocity. I know it does with rifle but you dont hear alot about this with muzzle loaders. Thanks for any advice. My intention is to get accuracy out to 200-300 yards. I hunt deer in MN and in the shotgun zone. I am allowed to use a muzzleloader during this season. Due to the long ranges where I hunt I would like to get as much distance as I can. Im thinking I might have to go smokeless.gun)
     
  2. WRG

    WRG Well-Known Member

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    It has been my experience over the last 30 years of hunting with rifles & ML that the number one key to accuracy is how well you clean your rifle. This is even more important with Muzzelloaders because the fouling is so bad. The best thing you could do for any ML is if it uses a 209 ignition is to convert it to a .25 acp ignition. The 209 primer is over kill to ignite black powder and is not needed. It is so powerful it actually pushes the charge up the barrel 6" to 8" before the charge has a chance to completely burn, this affects accuracy tremendously. The primer also creates so much blow back fouling around the breach, scope rings, and trigger that it makes cleaning a real bummer. There is a breach plug made that is converted from 209 to the .25 acp for the Encore you can buy and will reduce the amount of fouling around the breach by 98%. The only down fall is you will need to get a Lee or RCBS or the like hand held primming tool.

    When working up a load at the range, I will clean the barrel spotless after each round. Reason being is, in a hunting situation your first shot will be from a totally clean barrel so why not find the most accurate load with a clean barrel. I also will try every combination of bullet / powder / and grain charge I can afford until I find what my rifle likes best. If your looking for accuracy out to 200 yards you might want to consider a ballistic polymer tipped bullet that uses a sabot with the best BC. Typically a heavier "250 -300 gr" bullet will push through the air further and give you the best accuracy once you can find the best powder charge. Lighter bullets tend to drop of quicker down range resulting in a wider MOA. Understanding what your rifle is telling you is the key. Using a chronograph will help and is the best tool you could own when doing load development.

    Muzzelloaders are a great challenge if your up for it. It can take a fair amount of time understanding what your rifle likes if your just getting started but if you don't get discouraged and stick with it you will have a accurate rifle.

    Good luck and be safe!

    WRG
     

  3. WRG

    WRG Well-Known Member

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    Sorry, I foregot to mention about you original question and yes a longer barrel will give you a higher velocity. But you also need to consider rifle twist!! I would suggest calling Ernie Stallman at Badger Barrels and ask him. A barrel maker will give you the best answer. WWW.badgerbarrels.com
     
  4. distantfoe

    distantfoe Well-Known Member

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    Go smokeless, it's as close to a centerfire as it gets! Follow similar cleaning routine as a centerfire, dial your range/wind, kill to 300yds+.
     
  5. CHARLIEDUECE65

    CHARLIEDUECE65 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the info, i have had the prbullet 25 acp breech plug for several years, swapped between it and the factory one, and have experimented with it as well. I do believe it is cleaner. I have used triple seven powder, pellets, jim shockeys gold pellets, and bullet weights from 240-300 gr. I have been muzzleloading for i believe 8 or more yrs now. I guess im still trying to find the perfect load for long distance, i have found good loads out to 150 but looking for more distance. I had found a website that makes smokeless barrels. I believe they use badger barrels for the encore frame with a breech plug included. I understand that is where the weakness is and why they do not want you to use smokeless powder in the standard encore muzzleloader. If anyone has any info on this let me know. Thanks!
     
  6. WRG

    WRG Well-Known Member

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    Here's a load I shoot from my Genesis with goods results out to 200 yards (1.77) MOA / 3 round groups with consistency. I get .88 @ 100 yards and 1" @ 150 yards.

    I shoot Blackhorn 209 110 gr. by "volume"/ 250 gr. Barnes Spitfire TMZ with the 777 / 209 ignition. I know what I said about the .25 acp. But this is the only powder I use the 209 ignition with. Mostly that is what it was designed for and they don't recommend any other type. Once I find a volume measurement thats working I weight it on my digital scale for a more consistent measurement. Volume measurements are not accurate enough for my liking. I am eclipsing 2000 fps (chronograph) and no over powder has even come close.

    Whats nice about the BH 209 is it's non-hygroscopic ( temp/ humidity sensitive) and noncorrosive. It is a little pricey around $40.00 a 10 oz bottle but I feel it's worth it. If you have never tried it I recommend it before spending money on a smokeless barrel.
     
  7. CHARLIEDUECE65

    CHARLIEDUECE65 Well-Known Member

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    THANKS FOR ALL THE INFO, NICE TO GET INPUT FROM PEOPLE WHO HAVE TRIED/EXPERIMENTED WITH POWDERS, BULLETS,PRIMERS AND FOUND OUT WHAT REALLY WORKS. I HAVE SHOT THREE BUCKS I CURRENTLY HAVE ON MY WALL, 2 TEN POINTERS AND AN 8 POINTER WITH MUZZLELOADER. REALLY ENJOY MUZZLELOADING, BUT I DONT TRUST MY MUZZLELOADER LIKE MY RIFLE. gun)
     
  8. trueblue

    trueblue Well-Known Member

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    Charlieduece65,

    If legal where you hunt, absolutely go smokeless. Get yourself a Savage ML and load it up with 300gr Barnes Originals, 58 gr Vihtovouri N120. The key to accuracy with muzzleloaders is the barrel fit with the sabot. You want a snug fit. I use Harvester Black Crushed Rib sabots. This load in my rifle is going 2,200 fps and is MOA or less to 300 yards. AA5744 is also a good powder.
    The great thing about the smokeless muzzleloader is that you can put 100 rounds down the tube before cleaning. My Savage has a 26" varmint stock barrel. I did bed the receiver.
     
  9. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

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    Using black powder or the substitutes in barrels up to 40'' in a muzzle loader will increase
    velocity to some point.

    With the cartrige black powder rifles not much is to be gained by going over 34'' in barrel
    length.

    And as WRG said keeping the bore clean will improve velocity and accuracy.

    I have a little trick for both on muzzeloaders that has helped reduce fouling and increased
    velocity.

    After a very good cleaning I spray MIS MOLLY down the bore and use a bronze bore brush
    to spread and even the molly before it dries.

    This stuff is tuff to remove but it does double the number of shots I can fire before cleaning.
    and with less fouling powder like the triple 7 or Shockeys. it more than triples it.

    I hope this helps.
    J E CUSTOM
     
  10. nate270

    nate270 Active Member

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    Jan 31, 2009
    well i read tis post when it first came out and have made sone mods to my ML and now have a 42 green mountain barrel with 1:70 twist and as ive said in other threads hit 6"groups at 500 and have a new chanlenge to work up to and thats 1000 yard with "open site" or traditional and it can be done:D.
     
  11. HAWKEYE50ML

    HAWKEYE50ML Member

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    To WRG,
    I'm pretty much hooked on the BlackHorn 209 also. I'd like to recommend the 200g. T/C ShockWave sabot. I'm getting 1.5" groups out to 220yds. I'm using 85grs. of BH.
     
  12. WRG

    WRG Well-Known Member

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    Hawkeye50ml, I use to shoot the Shockwave until I found the Barnes TMZ. The ballistic tip combined with the boat tail design that the TMZ offers makes for a flatter shooting bullet. However, I discard the sabot that it comes with and use a Harvester High Pressure crush rib sabot "yellow" designed for the boat tail bullet. A far superior sabot that will consistantly drop off at around 9 yards from the barrel with 110 grain charge of Blackhorn. That is another key to accuracy! The longer a sabot hangs on to the bullet the longer it takes that bullet to stabilize in flight. Think about that for a minute! Almost every sabot I have tried drops off from 20 to 40 yards down range. If you study your sabot and what it's doing you can understand more of why you have periodic fliers. All other sabots when they open up tend to from time to time will either break off a pedal or bend the pedals all the way back or bend them back on just one side. The sabot I use consistantly opens the way it was designed, like a parachute and everytime without fail. No other sabot works as consistantly as the Harvester and consistancy is the biggest key to accuracy.

    This is a test that I did a while back and posted on another site I am a member of.

    AmmoGuide Interactive Forum

    Have a look and you will get a better understanding of what I am taking about. My screen name is M700P on this site.

    WRG