View Full Version : What are you shooting in your muzzleloader?

November 10, 2004, 09:34 AM
I guess the title says it all. I have been around a lot of muzzleloader shooters this season and there seems to be a LOT of different loads out there. One guy swears by the new Power Belt projectiles and I saw the damage a .50 245 grain Power Belt did to a big 8 point buck he had hanging up, another fellow uses the .50 180 grain ball and patch. He had a prong horn buck hanging as well but the trauma damage difference between the two deer was very evident.
When I started out I was shooting a T/C Renegade with the compromise 1/48 twist. Patched balls were shooting pretty well but much past 50 yards I could tell they were not tack drivers. I started using the T/C 255 grain Maxi-Hunter and found that my groups tighted up. The performance on deer sized game was pretty good with .50 holes going all the way thru in most cases. Then a friend of mine showed me sabots one afternoon at the range. He was shooting the .44 200 grain Nosler semi-jacketed hollow point in a one piece green sabot. His CVA side hammer was putting them into 2 inch groups at 100 yards. I was also hunting with a .44 Mag 6" S&W at the time and the kills using the similar 200 grain Hornady XTP hollow point were spectacular out to 150 yards. A quick visit to the gun store for a bag of sabots and I went to the range. The chrono revealed my Renegade was pushing the 200 grain XTP a good bit faster than my 6" .44 Mag so I thought why not change over.
Of course the one piece plastic sabots started melting to the inside of my barrel. Pushing a load down the barrel was next to impossible ect. ect. I bought some T/C break away sabots with the felt washer soaked in Wonder Lube. That solved the plastic residue in the barrel but you still had to almost drive the load down the barrel. Smearing some Wonder Lube on the plastic part of the sabot helped some and it helps conditon the barrel but loadeing was still difficult. Accuracy was fantastic hovering around MOA out to 75 yards and around 1.5" after that. Then there was the damage a .44 200 grain XTP hollow point does to a deer when it hits at 1700 FPS+. Even a marginal shot results in massive trauma.
Eventually I bought a replacement barrel that had a slow enough twist to handle patched balls. Accuracy is great now but you have to shot center for maximum damage to the animal or you will be tracking for a while. My son still shoots that Renegade because it is so easy to load. I picked up a used Renegade for a song at a gun store when the current inline craze first started. I am back to forcing my old load of a T/C breakaway sabot and a 200 grain Hornady XTP hollow point down the barrel. I killed two deer so far this season and the damge this combo did was the talk of our deer camp.
Well enough of me.......what are you shooting?

November 10, 2004, 11:13 AM
I use a 240 grain swaged swc-hp in sabots for the same reason you mentioned, 44 mag performance is enough for me. I used to use the breakaway sabot but switched this year to a one piece for convenice. I haven't shot them enough to see any difference. The soft lead hollow point expands well but doesn't break up. It has exited all but one deer, where it went from one corner to the skin near the opposite corner of the deer. I wonder how it would do at longer range, but at woods range load it to about 1500 FPS with 80 grains of powder and know it will work.

November 10, 2004, 11:17 AM
Forgot to mention that I was considering trying the Lee "target" mold that casts a heavy almost wadcutter 50 cal. I figured that would do the job and be almost free to shoot. (It amazes me that they charge more for a muzzle loader bullet than a high-tech rifle bullet) has anybody used anything like that on deer?

November 10, 2004, 02:43 PM
I have inlines, but when I hunt with a muzzleloader, I go traditional. Sidehammer, wood stock, and patched round ball over 110 grains FFF. Normally a .54 cal TC Hawken.

November 10, 2004, 11:19 PM
I have 3.
A .36 repro H&A underhammer , a ,45 inline and a .50 side hammer.
I use .34 balls with ticking patches and a 100 gr semi wad cutter I cut the cherry for and reamed the aluminum blocks for, 35gr ball, 30gr FFFg , gives 1350fps and good accuracy for squirrels and rabbits, 100gr swc, 25 gr 777, 1250 fps and 2" groups at 50 yds.
I have .45 ball and 200gr, 250gr and 290 molds , all shoot well with 777, up to 1750 fps with 200gr Lee REAL bullet, 1600 with 250gr REAL and 1550 with 290 Min'ie.
In .50, I have only 250gr REAL bullet, but with the 777 equivalent of 100gr FFG, I get about 2" groups at 50yds with 1650 fps, the energy of this is almost the same as the factory .45-70 405 at 1320 fps , this is in a $50 CVA Bobcat sidehammer, The results in my CVA $65 inline are much better than this.

November 12, 2004, 09:59 PM
Tried something else today, have a 105 gr swc mold for .38sp, tried several things, finally chucked it up and drilled the base out with a #3 center bit, left a good skirt when drilled so flutes went in base about 1/16", remaining weight was 85gr +-, .
Went to shoot today, 20gr eq. 777, 975fps, 30gr eq. 777, 1485fps, 40gr eq. , 1615 fps.
I loaded 30gr eq. put 5 shots in paper at 25 yds, 4 were touching, group size, 5/8x1/4", 5th was 1/2" high, total group, 5/8 x 3/4", post with ball front, "U" notch rear sights, Hopkins & Allen .36 underhammer, 21" barrel.
:D Don

November 14, 2004, 08:11 PM
240 grain hollowpoint .44 caliber with a .50 caliber sabot.

July 9, 2006, 05:57 PM
I'm late to this party, as usual. But I wondered what you all are firing through your muzzleloaders these days, especially those of you who are using the latest and greatest toys that have been introduced on the market in the past couple of years. Do any of you feel that the 'tried and true' methods are the best? I'll list my favorite loads in case anyone is interested in updating this thread.

I have a 1 - in - 28 (fast twist) in-line muzzleloader. I have three very different bullets I use in it. I shoot .50 caliber conicals, .45 caliber lead (.452") bullets (in a sabot), and .44 caliber (.454") round balls (also in a sabot).

My favorite .50 caliber load is 80 grains of ffg behind a 350 grain soft lead HP bullet. It will produce a through-and-through on a medium deer at 65 yards, with possibly slight expansion. My favorite .45 caliber load is 70 grains of ffg behind a 255 grain soft lead HP bullet in a black sabot. Increasing the powder charge to 100 grains will significantly up the velocity with good ccuracy, but I prefer pure lead, for a complete shoot-through. I have two .44 caliber loads. The most accurate one is 35 grains of ffg behind a hornady 142 grain soft lead round ball in a black sabot. It is good for squirrels and short-range target work. My heavier round ball load is 60 grains of ffg behind the same 12 grain Hornady soft lead round ball in a black sabot. It is not quite as predictable as the lighter load, but it will usually give 6-inch groups out to 50 yards.

July 10, 2006, 10:47 PM
70 grains 2f with .440 round ball in h&a underhammer!!

July 11, 2006, 05:21 AM
Hornady 300 grain 45 cal/50 cal SST-ML sabot with 2 x Hodgdon 50/50 pellets.

July 11, 2006, 07:55 AM
I shoot a .54cal. Great Plains Rifle
85gr.FFG with patched round ball. Don't need nothin' more for meat on the table!!!
For game from squirrels to deer,even wild hogs,it has proven itself many times.
And it's impressive with one ragged hole targets too!!!