Pop'n Caps ? ? ?

Discussion in 'Muzzleloader Hunting' started by STEEL SLINGER, Apr 26, 2015.

  1. STEEL SLINGER

    STEEL SLINGER Well-Known Member

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    I recently have stepped into the inline muzzleloading realm with both feet. Coming from shooting a T/C Renegade for the last 25+/- years with iron sights and being happy with 3” groups at 100 yards to shooting a scoped T/C Encore and punching 1 ¼” or less groups at 100 yards -AND- increasing my effective range to 200 yards has me pretty excited! So now I’m into a new learning curve. I have noticed that when I shoot from a clean bore/barrel that my first 4 shots are not at the POI that I had at the last session, but after that fourth shot things start to tighten up and come back into place. Today I did a little experimenting. From a clean bore I ran 2 patches soaked with brake cleaned to remove all the oils from the barrel and then I ran 3 dry patches, loaded and shot 3 times, then cleaned as usual and repeated the process for a total of 15 shots. My group of 15 shots was about 2 ½” bottom right from the x-ring in a 4” outside to outside group. This is not acceptable! ! ! After cleaning my gun I cannot go pull off 4 rounds somewhere before I go hunting. So I did a little reading and see where some folks are popping caps to foul the barrel and this is taking care of their problem. How is this so? I can’t see how a few primer caps would create enough residue in the barrel to make your bullets fly true again. What am I missing? I would like to know from you guys that are “in the know” or shoot competitively, what you do to overcome this issue.

    Just a little insight; I’m shooting Blackhorn 209 powder, saboted bullets, CCI 209M primers. I clean my barrel with the same solvents as my center fire cartridges and in the same manner (no soap and water with this one), the only thing different is I’ve tried the brake cleaner to remove oils from the bore.

    Thoughts, opinions, helpful advice is greatly appreciated. lightbulb
     
  2. WildRose

    WildRose Well-Known Member

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    It's going to depend on your gun and your primers.

    Shotgun primers burn pretty dirty so there's a lot of carbon residue left after popping even just one. I shoot Winchester 209's in mine.

    All guns are going to shoot differently with a clean bore vs a dirty one so I never shoot with a clean bore period.

    Some powders burn a lot dirtier than others as well so the amount of buildup of residue per shot is going to vary with the type of powder you are using.

    I'm still a relative Rookie but I followed a lot of very good advice and settled on shooting BH209 and other than swabbing with a damp "spit patch" between shots followed by one clean dry patch I'm not cleaning at all during shooting sessions and don't notice much difference in accuracy or pattern shift with additional shots beyond the first group.
     
  3. STEEL SLINGER

    STEEL SLINGER Well-Known Member

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    Shooting the Blackhorn 209 has been great and until this latest trial and error I only cleaned the rifle at the end of the days shoot. . .I did shoot a whole box (50 pk.) of Harvester sabots one afternoon with out cleaning/swabbing. Accuracy was great, but only after that 4th shot would it stay consistent. I was also shooting a cold barrel between groups. I won't let the rifle set overnight or weekend to weekend without being cleaned, so is there something I could do to keep my POI on target for when the rifle comes out of the safe sparkly clean and heading to the woods/range to shoot? I'm going to try the popping caps method next time I'm going out though.
     
  4. WildRose

    WildRose Well-Known Member

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    Modern primers are non corrosive so I wouldn't worry about leaving it set after a few primers are run through.
     
  5. ENCORE

    ENCORE Well-Known Member

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    Welcome to the "I don't know" club. [​IMG]

    This issue has been debated on many forums for years. Barrels are different, all of them and even from the same manufacturer. Rifle A,B and C are built one right after the other. Rifle A doesn't shoot for beans regardless. Rifle B shoots perfect first shot from the box. Rifle C - Z shoot excellent after the barrel is fouled.
    Some guys get lucky with a barrel or two, but there's a much larger group where fouling is required. Those guys with a rifle that doesn't need fouling, will argue to the death their process works. The guys who's rifles require fouling try their methods and they won't work and are right back to square one......... And the debate continues.

    I've had a lot of Encore and Pro Hunter rifles, but never needed more than two fouling shots in any of them. The fouling shots would not have been necessary had all my hunting shots been 100yds or less. However I've hunted for years where a first shot may be at 200 too. That required me to foul the barrel and trust me, popping a couple caps DID NOT work for those rifles. About the only thing that popping a couple primers did, was to coat the inside of the barrel with the non-corrosive primer residue...... which in itself isn't a bad thing to do. Swabbing a barrel IS NOT cleaning the barrel like one was putting the rifle away for a couple months. Swabbing ONLY removes the largest amounts of residue inside the barrel.

    You could do it the hard way, which would be shoot just one (1) shot, completely clean the barrel as you would to put it up. Then shoot one (1) shot again and repeat this process until you had a FIRST SHOT ZERO from an actual clean barrel. Have fun with that.........
    (Note: what happens when you need a follow up shot or maybe two?)

    You could try a tighter sabot and/or bullet combination, which .... may or may not... help. It may only improve your current 4 shots down to 2 required. FYI, I've tried it and had no luck.

    Not everything in muzzleloading is perfect, especially with all the different production rifles. In some cases it may require fouling and there's just no way around it if you may have long first shots. The good thing about BH, is its non-hydroscopic and its corrosion properties are very minimal. I always fouled my barrels a couple days before season, loaded them right back up and was ready on opening day. Unless I got caught in the pouring rain for fell in a creek, it remained loaded for the 15 day season and not a single time, not once, did I ever have a problem with corrosion. If I got caught in the pouring rain, once I got through hunting, I'd fire off the round and reload. However I never take my rifles from the cold into the warmth or, from any moisture without using an oiled rag to wipe it completely down. My Ultimate when shooting off the lead sled, is the first rifle I've never had to foul the barrel with. However, shooting off the shoulder and front rest the other day, did throw the first shot, which most likely was ME. However I'll be keeping track.

    Its part of shooting production muzzleloaders and you're not the first and won't be the last. Lucky are those who get the same POI from a clean rifle as fouled. Thank goodness BH isn't like black, pyro or T7.

    I actually did a test target, using my Pro Hunter to show how fouling shots brought the rifle back to my POI while shooting..

    [​IMG]
     
  6. STEEL SLINGER

    STEEL SLINGER Well-Known Member

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    That was what I was afraid of. . .that I am going to have one of "those" barrels. Well, I guess I really shouldn't complain. . .at least it does shoot tight groups! ! ! Now that turkey season is over here and providing nothing too pressing comes up for this weekend, I will see if I can have a day to experiment some more with this problem. Worst comes to worst, I will just have to shoot a couple fouling shots before the season starts and have at it. Thanks for the advice guys.
     
  7. ENCORE

    ENCORE Well-Known Member

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    Its just the way it is I guess. Hope you figure out what you'd like to do this weekend.

    OT......... did you get a turkey? Darn things are all over my backyard and I don't care to hunt them.

    BOt........... Hope your shooting goes better than mine did today. I shot 50 and 100 and ended up embarrassing myself. Even the wife is showing a little pity for me.......... :rolleyes:
    I may end up having to shoot a lighter bullet for target at those ranges. It may stabilize better.
     
  8. STEEL SLINGER

    STEEL SLINGER Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Encore,

    Yes Sir, I took a nice gobbler Saturday morning. This is the first one I ever shot with a double beard. He was 19.5 lbs. one beard was 3" and the other 10 3/4" and he sported 1 3/8" spurs. I called in two other birds on Sunday morning for my supervisor, but he needed them to come in just 10 more yards to close the deal and he wouldn't take my crossbow to shoot one with. O'well, there is always next season. Don't let the poor shooting get you down. . .I've seen several posts of various targets you've shot and you do quite well for yourself. You better get those bugs worked out though. . .you've got your shoot coming up yet still. Good luck.
     
  9. ENCORE

    ENCORE Well-Known Member

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    Congrats on the double beard!

    All my shooting gear is in the truck. Now its all the personal stuff and a cooler. I have one that runs off 120v or 12v and heats or cools. Figure I'll fill it with gatoraide, pickled bologna, a couple kinds of cheese and I'll be good to go.