Muzzleloading rookie / Opinions on first setup

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Muddyboots

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CO-Guy, all good suggestions with experience. One thing to remember about full bore "conical" style projectiles in ML rifles is they must engrave the rifling to be reasonably accurate. If the conical "slides" down the bore easily I would question its accuracy in comparison to others that require some force to load. The real issue with ML rifles is the bore diameter can be slightly different from brand to brand from model to model. These are not CF rifles where bore diameter to land dimensions are spot on. Even from brand to brand of bullet can vary in diameter which can compound the fickleness of finding the perfect Waldo bullet. It is far more critical to test different full bore conical style bullets to find the right one for optimum accuracy that somehow is perfect marry to your ML rifle bore.

ML rifles seem to perform best on elk with the heavier conical bullets due to retained energy which is no different than expected. Your muzzle velocity drops fast due to a BC of a concrete block but saving grace is retained energy with heavier bullets. When shooting heavier loads the ML rifle recoil is more of sharp push then smash from CF rifle recoil so don't be shy about heavier ML loads.

I think you have seen BH209 is heavily recommended for all the right reasons, more velocity with less powder, consistent accuracy, consistent velocity, no crummy crusty hard ring to test your patience, which is why I switched when it first came out and never looked back. I load up vials of the weighed load to take to range as well hunting and is no big deal.

I have some really nice plastic screw top vials of right size at Hobby Lobby which is a place I look for various weird things for either hunting or salmon fishing.
https://www.hobbylobby.com/Crafts-H...n-Currency-Collecting/Dime-Coin-Tubes/p/27626
Michaels has some glass tubes that I like to use as well for range but not in field since not static with powder. The above plastic seems to be ok with no static but other tubes with thin flexible plastic was dickens with static.

Nice to go to range with pre-weighed loads so you just shoot and not deal with anything else.
 

emp1953

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For my muzzle loaders or center fire rifles, on game, I always shoot the heaviest bullet that the rifle will shoot well. I want to do everything I can to guarantee that for every hole going in there is a hole going out. I want as much leakage as possible, just in case my shot isn't a Drop in its Tracks shot. Unfortunately for some people who are sensitive to recoil, and this approach usually maximizes the amount of recoil you'll get from the rifle. Usually in a hunting situation I'm wearing plenty of padding so recoil is never an issue. For my MZ I also use Pyrodex 50gr pellets. I've shot a number of range sessions with these and even though when I weighed a bunch of them they varied quite a bit, the velocities out of a cleaned barrel were extremely consistent though. A friend has a chrony that doesn't blow apart in front of a muzzle loader. I started with 100gr (2 pellets) then moved to 150gr 3 pellets. I am shooting a .50 cal Remington 700 MZ with a Nikon BDC scope. I custom sighted all the BDC rings for my load and am good out to 200yds and have consistently killed whitetails to that range and a little further. I always carry a range finder. Rather quickly I stopped shooting 150gr and dropped back to 100gr. With the BDC scope I was still hitting just fine and the animals were just as dead. I shoot 300gr Barnes Expander Solid Copper Hollow points. I've never recovered one in 82 kill shots, they always go through. In the beginning I tried the 250gr and I did recover some and they look wicked after they done their expansion thing.
 

mdmiller

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Quincy IL.
For my muzzle loaders or center fire rifles, on game, I always shoot the heaviest bullet that the rifle will shoot well. I want to do everything I can to guarantee that for every hole going in there is a hole going out. I want as much leakage as possible, just in case my shot isn't a Drop in its Tracks shot. Unfortunately for some people who are sensitive to recoil, and this approach usually maximizes the amount of recoil you'll get from the rifle. Usually in a hunting situation I'm wearing plenty of padding so recoil is never an issue. For my MZ I also use Pyrodex 50gr pellets. I've shot a number of range sessions with these and even though when I weighed a bunch of them they varied quite a bit, the velocities out of a cleaned barrel were extremely consistent though. A friend has a chrony that doesn't blow apart in front of a muzzle loader. I started with 100gr (2 pellets) then moved to 150gr 3 pellets. I am shooting a .50 cal Remington 700 MZ with a Nikon BDC scope. I custom sighted all the BDC rings for my load and am good out to 200yds and have consistently killed whitetails to that range and a little further. I always carry a range finder. Rather quickly I stopped shooting 150gr and dropped back to 100gr. With the BDC scope I was still hitting just fine and the animals were just as dead. I shoot 300gr Barnes Expander Solid Copper Hollow points. I've never recovered one in 82 kill shots, they always go through. In the beginning I tried the 250gr and I did recover some and they look wicked after they done their expansion thing.
 

mdmiller

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Quincy IL.
Hi, been hunting in Co for years. My rig is a first generation Rem 700MZ. Been loading 85grs. of 777 with 295 PB's. Have killed 2 6x6 bulls and 3 cows with this load. Last cow was killed(2017) with Blackhorn 209 @ 90grs. with Federal Premium 270 bullet. All my powder is weighted! All primers were Win. 209.
I'm from Illinois!
 

DavidleeCole

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Bonneville Arkansas
I Shoot a CVA Wolf and Optima and very much do not like Power Belt bullets at all hunted white tails for 8 years with them and always had the same results, bad groups, no pass through shots even with 150gr charge, deer did not leave blood trails if so very minimal, and had to clean the bore after 3 to 4 shots or it became hard to reload the next round which makes sighting in a all day event. I switched to Hornady XTP 245gr .45 cal pistol bullets 100 count box for 23.50 and their black sabots 50 count bag for 8.00 and use Winchester 209 shotgun primers with 100gr Hodgens pellet powder. I get excellent 1 1/4" groups at 100 yards year after year, optimal terminal ballistics, very reliable results in all weather conditions and can shoot as many as 6 rounds before I just dry brush the bore and blow it out with a primer. This makes target practice, sighting in and getting actual range data for drop info much more enjoyable. The real plus side is 100 rounds around 65 bucks for everything which is a lot better than 15 to 20 bucks for a 15 pack of Power Belts alone. I would not be afraid to hunt Black Bear with the same load they hit that hard!!! On 3/16" plate steel (regular grade) at 100 yards it rips it almost passing through hitting like a 8lb sledge hammer. You said that CO. has restrictions for your loads you may try the Hornady FBP or the similar ones by Thor hammer brand I have not personally tested them as I am settled on my load but I would give them a try.
 
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mdmiller

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Apr 13, 2012
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165
Location
Quincy IL.
I Shoot a CVA Wolf and Optima and very much do not like Power Belt bullets at all hunted white tails for 8 years with them and always had the same results, bad groups, no pass through shots even with 150gr charge, deer did not leave blood trails if so very minimal, and had to clean the bore after 3 to 4 shots or it became hard to reload the next round which makes sighting in a all day event. I switched to Hornady XTP 245gr .45 cal pistol bullets 100 count box for 23.50 and their black sabots 50 count bag for 8.00 and use Winchester 209 shotgun primers with 100gr Hodgens pellet powder. I get excellent 1 1/4" groups at 100 yards year after year, optimal terminal ballistics, very reliable results in all weather conditions and can shoot as many as 6 rounds before I just dry brush the bore and blow it out with a primer. This makes target practice, sighting in and getting actual range data for drop info much more enjoyable. The real plus side is 100 rounds around 65 bucks for everything which is a lot better than 15 to 20 bucks for a 15 pack of Power Belts alone. I would not be afraid to hunt Black Bear with the same load they hit that hard!!! On 3/16" plate steel (regular grade) at 100 yards it rips it almost passing through hitting like a 8lb sledge hammer. You said that CO. has restrictions for your loads you may try the Hornady FBP or the similar ones by Thor hammer brand I have not personally tested them as I am settled on my load but I would give them a try.
David Lee, I 've killed many deer in Illinois with this load( mostly Power Belts) and with many other loads that you speak of. We can muzzleloader hunt with all the good stuff here, I get to put a scope on the rig for hunting in Illinois yep eee! I have 3 rigs that I rotate during the season if I need to.
 

DartonJager

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Apr 1, 2016
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805
Co_guy,
Give these bullets a lookhttps://www.thorbullets.com/ . I have shot them out of two of my .50 cal muzzleloaders with very good accuracy. They are 100% CO legal. I have been shooting inline ML's for over 20 years now. Own inlines from T/C (first run Encore), Savage (10ML-II), and Knight (Elite).
No doubt in my mind what so ever Knight makes the best non-smokeless capable inline ML.

Using exclusively Harvester saboys, I have shot out of my Encore over 1500 loads using pellitized Pyrodex, then another 350-400 using 3F-777. Then I tried Blackhorn 209 and never looked back. BH209 is the absolute best BP sub out there hands down and this is from a guy who has gone through a over 4k Pyrodex pellets and over 5lbs of 3F-777. I would rather pay to use BH209 than use Pyrodex or 777 for free.
Out of my 45 and 50 caliber Knight Elites I have only used BH209 and they are absolutely shockingly accurate.

I have fired over 1200 loadings out of my smokeless Savage 10ML-II using Barnes 245/250/290grn all copper ML bullets, 452" 300grn XTP's, 325/.458" Hornady FTX, 300grn 458 Barnes original SSP, 458 Hornady and Remington 45/70 bullets and 250grn .458 all copper Hornady bullets, .452" 300grn Hornady SST's, T/C .452"300grn Bonded Shock waves, and 300grn 452" Harvester Scorpion PT Golds. All shot very well but the SST's, Shock waves, and PT Golds shot great with the the Shock-waves and SST's tied for best.

I have used 209 primers from Winchester, Federal, and CCI and never saw a significant enough difference in performance to be able to recommend one over the other.

Best sabot money can buy is made by Harvester Sabots. Used well over 3500 and 5 or 6 different types and two different calibers of them now and they are as good as it gets.

What ever projectile you choose, with or without a sabot, you will almost certainly achieve your best accuracy by getting the tightest fit possible between projectile and bore.

By tight I mean requires a significant amount of force to run the projectile down the bore with or without a sabot. Not so tight you can barely do so, but I like to have to use both hands to create enough force to get the bullet down the bore. I could get it done with one hand but two makes for a fast and smooth loading.

My experience with Power-belts is VERY VERY poor. Worse performing ML bullet on game I have ever seen first hand. I thankfully never used them but three of my good friends have two being a father son team and both shot deer with them and both reported little to no blood for trailing deer went long distances but thanks to very diligent tracking and a grid search recovered their deer. Have other friends who have used them I didn't see first hand results, but they told me their experiences and they mirrored my friends.
The three friends who shot deer with them that we recovered the deer (all big doe's) based on the lack of damage to the lungs (all were double lung pass through shots) and the the finger sized entrance and exit holes I'm certain the Power-belts just penciled through and never expanded. These were all close shoots under 100 yards so velocity would have been more than sufficient to insure expansion.

If you have any other questions about inlines feel free to ask as I have 20 years and 1000s of shots worth of experience.
 

mdmiller

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Apr 13, 2012
Messages
165
Location
Quincy IL.
Co_guy,
Give these bullets a lookhttps://www.thorbullets.com/ . I have shot them out of two of my .50 cal muzzleloaders with very good accuracy. They are 100% CO legal. I have been shooting inline ML's for over 20 years now. Own inlines from T/C (first run Encore), Savage (10ML-II), and Knight (Elite).
No doubt in my mind what so ever Knight makes the best non-smokeless capable inline ML.

Using exclusively Harvester saboys, I have shot out of my Encore over 1500 loads using pellitized Pyrodex, then another 350-400 using 3F-777. Then I tried Blackhorn 209 and never looked back. BH209 is the absolute best BP sub out there hands down and this is from a guy who has gone through a over 4k Pyrodex pellets and over 5lbs of 3F-777. I would rather pay to use BH209 than use Pyrodex or 777 for free.
Out of my 45 and 50 caliber Knight Elites I have only used BH209 and they are absolutely shockingly accurate.

I have fired over 1200 loadings out of my smokeless Savage 10ML-II using Barnes 245/250/290grn all copper ML bullets, 452" 300grn XTP's, 325/.458" Hornady FTX, 300grn 458 Barnes original SSP, 458 Hornady and Remington 45/70 bullets and 250grn .458 all copper Hornady bullets, .452" 300grn Hornady SST's, T/C .452"300grn Bonded Shock waves, and 300grn 452" Harvester Scorpion PT Golds. All shot very well but the SST's, Shock waves, and PT Golds shot great with the the Shock-waves and SST's tied for best.

I have used 209 primers from Winchester, Federal, and CCI and never saw a significant enough difference in performance to be able to recommend one over the other.

Best sabot money can buy is made by Harvester Sabots. Used well over 3500 and 5 or 6 different types and two different calibers of them now and they are as good as it gets.

What ever projectile you choose, with or without a sabot, you will almost certainly achieve your best accuracy by getting the tightest fit possible between projectile and bore.

By tight I mean requires a significant amount of force to run the projectile down the bore with or without a sabot. Not so tight you can barely do so, but I like to have to use both hands to create enough force to get the bullet down the bore. I could get it done with one hand but two makes for a fast and smooth loading.

My experience with Power-belts is VERY VERY poor. Worse performing ML bullet on game I have ever seen first hand. I thankfully never used them but three of my good friends have two being a father son team and both shot deer with them and both reported little to no blood for trailing deer went long distances but thanks to very diligent tracking and a grid search recovered their deer. Have other friends who have used them I didn't see first hand results, but they told me their experiences and they mirrored my friends.
The three friends who shot deer with them that we recovered the deer (all big doe's) based on the lack of damage to the lungs (all were double lung pass through shots) and the the finger sized entrance and exit holes I'm certain the Power-belts just penciled through and never expanded. These were all close shoots under 100 yards so velocity would have been more than sufficient to insure expansion.

If you have any other questions about inlines feel free to ask as I have 20 years and 1000s of shots worth of experience.
Darton, thanks for the info!
I purchased Thor bullets back in March of 2012, size .502 that fit my barrel. I have not given it much range time to get any data from! Need to do that come spring! If I may what is your load for your Savage? Been trying to find one locally but no luck. I will still keep looking, you can find them on the web but don't want to pay that price for a used machine! Not Yet anyway! My Power belts come out of my Rem. about 1550 fps.. Not super fast but real accurate out of my rigs! I chronograph everything I shoot. From ML to my rifles I build. I'm a prairie dog shooter among other things I shoot.
 

Elkeater

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Dec 3, 2017
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1,036
Wow would not have guessed the dislike of powerbelts. I’m running them in my CVA optima and they are accurate to the level of 1 MOA which with iron sights is as good as it’s gonna get and of the maybe 10 critters I’ve shot with them (whitetails, Muleys and 1 antelope) the bullet has always exited and done it’s job very well.
 

mdmiller

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Messages
165
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Quincy IL.
Wow would not have guessed the dislike of powerbelts. I’m running them in my CVA optima and they are accurate to the level of 1 MOA which with iron sights is as good as it’s gonna get and of the maybe 10 critters I’ve shot with them (whitetails, Muleys and 1 antelope) the bullet has always exited and done it’s job very well.
I'm with you Elkeater, powerbelts shot very accurate for me as well as sabot bullets did! Only had to track 2 Elk in Colorado both 50-60 yard(one Bull and one cow), blood everywhere! I try to shoot them heart/lung area. When your 10,000+ feet up "take the AIR out of them" they don't go far!
 
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Deleted member 107796

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Wow would not have guessed the dislike of powerbelts. I’m running them in my CVA optima and they are accurate to the level of 1 MOA which with iron sights is as good as it’s gonna get and of the maybe 10 critters I’ve shot with them (whitetails, Muleys and 1 antelope) the bullet has always exited and done it’s job very well.

All great input especially DartonJager's post given the level of experimentation. I'll check out the Thor offerings. Unfortunately, if the double cost of BH powder that I'm seeing at Jax can't be found cheaper elsewhere, I'm a retiree and maybe 777 is the ticket.

One thing, I'm hearing about the Powerbelts but I see no distinction between the Aero Tip, the Copper Plated HP or all lead. The HP are specifically designed for fast expansion vs the Aero Tip. Which is it that has performed badly or well?
Anyone else with FFFg experience?
 

Elkeater

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All great input especially DartonJager's post given the level of experimentation. I'll check out the Thor offerings. Unfortunately, if the double cost of BH powder that I'm seeing at Jax can't be found cheaper elsewhere, I'm a retiree and maybe 777 is the ticket.

One thing, I'm hearing about the Powerbelts but I see no distinction between the Aero Tip, the Copper Plated HP or all lead. The HP are specifically designed for fast expansion vs the Aero Tip. Which is it that has performed badly or well?
Anyone else with FFFg experience?

I’ve used the hollow point and aerotip. For me they were basically the same. I settled on the aerotip but mostly just because to me they look cooler.
 
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Deleted member 107796

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Ok, I nabbed some 777 ff and want to add some Hornady Great Plain bullets into the test mix.

I’m in CO as well. I use 245gr aerotip powerbelts with 110gr triple 7 powder and triple 7 primers. I kill deer with mine. Never shot an elk with it but with the open sights required (I put target style globe and peep sights on mine) I wouldn’t hesitate to shoot an elk out to my 150 yard max. It hits deer hard and generally leaves a big hole going out. I killed an antelope with mine too and it was wrecked.

I am assuming Triple 7 ff? I am wondering what velocity that recipe gives you.
 
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