View Full Version : What zero for muzzloader rifle?

October 8, 2004, 06:13 PM
I'm new to muzzle-loading - I just bought my first muzzle-loader, an NEF .50 cal. I've been told a load of 2 pyrodex pellets (100 grains) under 240 grains (saboted .451 bullet) oughtta do it - my question is, what kind of velocities will I be getting at the muzzle, approx., from my 26" bbl, and what should I set my zero for, approx. - 75, 100, 125 yards; what do you do? Do you use 240 grainers for whitetails or something lighter? (these are rather small whitetails in my area). Do you use .429 bullets or .451s?

Mark whiz
October 8, 2004, 10:34 PM
Hodgdon's load data has your load at approx 1840fps and that sounds about right.

I site-in my Knight to shoot 1 to 2" high at 100yds - that will keep you in the kill zone for anything bigger than a varmint from point blank out to 150yds.

Your best bet is to stay with the .451 sized bullets - typically they shoot better out of most rifles...............I think that the thinner sabots have a tighter grip on the bullet and impart the spin to the bullets better.

October 8, 2004, 11:37 PM
OK, thanks. Two stores were plum out of 50 grain pyrodex pellets, but had massive quantities of 30 grain pellets, so I need to decide between using a 90 grain load or 120 grain load. The instructions from Hodgdon's with the pellets say never under any circumstances exceed 100 gr, but the owner's manual that came with my rifle say you can go up to 120 on black powder and 150 on pellets. So will 120 with pellets definitely be safe? I'll use whichever load gives me the best accuracy, but I need to know if it's safe to try 120 grains. Thanks.

PS. I learned that a 209 shotgun primer is much louder than I figured - about as loud as shooting a .22 lr in my hallway without ears on.

October 9, 2004, 07:55 PM
Your rifle will undoubtably handle 120 grains just fine, but 90 grains is a pretty standard load in a .50 cal.

Mark whiz
October 11, 2004, 04:34 PM
What he said. :)

The 120gr pellet load will be safe.................but you'll probably find that the 90gr load will be more accurate - probably more accurate than the 100gr load was.

October 14, 2004, 10:41 PM
OK, thanks. So I think I'll run with a 125 zero, for whitetails, with 240s and 90 grains. That's basically what you're saying, Mark, sounds like.

Mark whiz
October 14, 2004, 11:09 PM
Yeppers that load ought to serve you well! :)

Chuck Dye
October 16, 2004, 09:30 PM
Take the ballistic coefficient and muzzle velocity of your chosen load to the Norma Ballistics Calculator (http://www.norma.cc/htm_files/javapagee.htm) and play with the sliders. I would decide on a vital zone diameter and go for a maximum point blank range i.e. 6" vital zone needs a mid-range trajectory height maximum of 3". For Nosler’s 260 grain Partition HG bullet, B.C. 0.174, at 1850 fps muzzle velocity, the close zero is 9 yards, far zero is 138 yards, and max point blank range is 162 yards. These numbers assume open sights with a sight axis .8 inches over the bore axis. You should plug in your bullet, sight height, muzzle velocity, and preferred vital zone.

Always bear in mind that velocities vary, bullets vary, and that temperature, elevation, and humidity not only vary, they have significant effects on performance. As always, calculations are jumping off points for testing.