Long range with black powder

jeff 300

Well-Known Member
Mar 27, 2005
corpus christi,tx
Just wondering if any one took long shots with a black powder and what would be a long shot for a black powder 300,400,500????? I'm thinking of getting one and would like to try some long shots.
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If you are talking about black powder cartridge rifles, yes they are very accurate.

I shoot BPCR silohette in the summer. The sharps, hiwalls and rollingblocks are very accurate rifles. the rams are at 547 and are usually fairly easy to hit. We have a ram hanging at 647 up in the woods on a hillside and go shoot it quite a bit. if you are a decent shooter it is fairly easy to hit it time after time. I have hit a 2x3 target at 925. so yes blackpowder is accurate. Read, shooting old buffalo rifles by Mike Venturino if you are interested in these type of rifles. Mike is an authority on these rifles and is also a very nice gentleman and a tough fellow to beat in the matches.
If you are talking about the inlines, I'm pretty sure that you can consistently hit 500 yards with the right sabot, bullet and powder combination.

Just wondering if any one took long shots with a black powder and what would be a long shot for a black powder 300,400,500????? I'm thinking of getting one and would like to try some long shots.

I have not tried distances past 250yards with the muzzle loaders because of accuracy.

The sabots did not improve the longer range accuracy in fact they lost accuracy in my rifles
past 200 yards.

I did find that the heaviest bullets (500 to 600grs did help) but the velocity was down and
trajectory was up.

So I tried the cartrige black powder rifles in the sharps and high wall and found great accuracy
and now that most states allow the pre 1900 designs that is my preference.

I shoot 45/110s and 45/120s and accuracy at 600yards is acceptable and with the new
black powder substitutes it should extend this to 800+ yards.( I limit my self to 1 and 1/2
MOA minimum with the black powder rifles for hunting).

Also I have found that some of the new jacketed bullets work great in the old smoke poles.

Haven't you guys ever heard of Billy Dixon? Billy Dixon knocked an Indian off his horse at a distance later surveyed to be 1,538 yards at Adobe Walls in 1874. He was using a 45-90. Hear is a link to some modern testing with black powder sharps.gun)


That was a sharps or a rolling block cartrige rifle and I think the original poster was
talking about a muzzleloader.

I agree that the black powder cartrige rifles were much more accurate because they
were breach loaders and the bullet engraves on the way out instead of on the way in
as in a muzzleloader. that was the principle behind the Mini ball (It expanded on
firing engraving on it's way out like modern rifles).

And I'll bet if you could ask Billy Dixon how he made that shot he would tell you it was
80 % luck and 20 % skill.

billy dixon used a sharps rifle chambered in what they called the big fifty which was either the 50-70 or the 50-90. The link for the article on the billy dixon shot was writted by Mike Venturino and is really an interesting piece. Jeff
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Yep i was talking about muzzleloaders any chance to reach out there with a muzzleloader???

You could really benefit from a Mini Ball, or Maxi Ball for long shots. They fly a lot straighter than the straight led ball will. This would be beneficial in a flint lock or percussion rifle. Now if you are talking about the inline, some of the new ones use smokeless powder. This will help you go a long way with the right bullet powder combination. Black powder can be just as effective, just getting your load right. 75 to 100grns is all that is really needed. There is so much mass in the projectile that it can be very effective to.... say 500yrds. Just practice and practice some more. I know from a competition I shoot every spring and fall, 80yrd steel plate (8" bullseye) off hand with a round ball, loose powder, and patch can be quite difficult to hit with any amount of accuracy off hand. Leaning on a tree is quite effective though. Remember, ram rods are not ammunition!!!!:D

Something else to try if a cartrige rifle is out of the question ,Is to have a custom barrel
screwed on and make it at least 34" long and with a false muzzle.

The advantage of a false muzzle is that it aligns the bullet before it is engraved
to prevent any cocking of the bullet during seating.

The sniper rifles of the day all used this system to go use.

The false muzzle is a piece of the barrel that is drilled 3 or 4 places along the center line
of the bore while the barrel is still one piece, these holes will later be pined so they
can place the false muzzle in perfect alignment for loading.

After the barrel has been drilled (About 2 1/2 to 3") the barrel is parted off as square as
possible at 2 to 2 1/2 " leaving some of the drilled holes in the barrel. The barrel is then
crowned .

The piece that was removed is now bored to a perfect fit to the bullet to be used and the allignment pins are installed to stay in the false muzzle and protrude at lease a 1/2 ".

When loading it is placed on the barrel and the bullet is placed in the false muzzle and
then pushed down the barrel .

This allows for near perfect alignment of the bullet in the rifling and also protects the
crown from damage by the ram rod.

As mentioned earlier hard cast bullets of heavy weights will work best.( I use 620grain
Spitzer flat base in my 50 cal with lots of powder for max velocity) .

This is the best way to get maximum accuracy that I know of from a muzzle loader.

Also fouling is the worst cause of inaccuracy and the use of BP substitutes can improve

Sounds like a neat project I hope this helped

Due to state restrictions all of my resident deer hunting is done with a ML. I have a T/C Omega which I accurized (pillars/bedding). Until this past year I shot 110gr 777 and a 200gr Shockwave (optimal accuracy) at 2050 fps and have taken 3 deer past 300 yds with a long shot of 338 yds. I regularly target shoot this load to 400 yds but 350 yds on deer is about where I'd limit it, just too slow past that.

This past year the FTX bullets were released so I switched to the .458 325gr FTX and a max load of 135gr 777 at 1950 fps. This load virtually duplicates the trajectory of my previous load to 300 yds then beats it after that, with twice the energy and half the wind drift. I have shot this load to 500 yds with good results but my only kills with it so far were a deer at under 20 yds (BRUTAL on it) and a coyote at 140 yds.

I am currently modifying a Savage Model 11 package gun I bought into a switch-barrel gun so I have a 243Win barrel for coyotes and a Pac-Nor .45cal smokeless ML barrel. People are pushing the 200 Shockwave to nearly 3000 fps with this setup, with 2700-2900 fps being easily acheivable. This would push the max range on game (extrapolating from my previous experience) to around 600 yds. I will also try the 275gr Parker Extreme .45cal bullet sabotless at 2400-2600 fps, which will not be quite as flat but will get another 100 yds or so due to increased energy delivery.

The real difference is that none of these bullets fare very well in the wind. Drift compensations compared to drop values get a bit ridiculous compared to shooting CF rifles. Therefore conditions really become a limiting factor, for all of my 300+ yd shots it was virtually dead calm.

500yd group with the ftx. It was a rotten 100F day and windy so I was happy with this group.

The accurized omega.


The smokeless ML.
In the civil war it was reported snipers made 1000 yd shots. One of the rifles used was the Whitworth. These rifles were specially made, heavy long barreled, fast twist rate ect. They also used extra long bullets for caliber.(any of this sound familiar? :)) Check your regulations. In Oregon we cannot use a muzzloader bullet over twice as long as its width.

They still make replica Whitworth's. There is a long range black powder forum here is the link.

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