View Full Version : Savage M10 Muzzleloader Accuracy

Ackley Improved User
February 22, 2005, 08:47 PM
I've had trouble getting my Savage M10 muzzleloader to shoot accurately with smokeless powders and sabots. Is there a secret I've missed?

February 23, 2005, 10:08 AM
Hi- Mine took some tweaking at first but shoots great now- I would try a load of 45 gr. 5744 and a hornady 250 gr. XTP - this seems to by a favorite load among the savage 10MLII shooters- with that load I shoot 3/4 inch groups at 100yd. :D - Now I'm just finishing putting on a Boyd's laminate/varmiter stock-pillar bedded and all- but I don't know if I can improve on the accuraccy! :confused: check this thread- http://dougva.proboards34.com/index.cgi?board=Savage&action=display&num=1109041873 -GETONIT- and for more help with the 10MLII (if you have a savage- read these boards!) http://members.aol.com/randymagic/ballltd.htm
http://dougva.proboards34.com/index.cgi check them out

February 24, 2005, 10:12 AM
AI User, (I like that user name) I've been a long time fan of Mr. P.O. Ackely. I read his books, volumn I and II, back in the mid 1970's when I was 11 or 12 years old. I correspsonded with him several times and have a few letters from him, as well as, 3 sets of autographed and personalized books of his. He was a very nice man, to take the time to correspond with a teanage kid.

Anyway, could you give some info as to what powders, bullets, primers, and sabots that you are using? You may want to check your vent liner. If you were shooting accurately, then for now apparent reason, accuracy seems to fell off suddenly, it's most likely the vent liner. Replace the vent liner with a new one and you should be right back to shooting accurately. The vent liner has a flash hole of .030", if that hole opens to .040" or larger, you will see accuracy fall off. A vent liner should be good for 100-200 rounds depending on the loads. Heavier the loads, the short the vent liner life. Also, check to see if the very front scope base mount screw on the front base mount, is not bottoming out on the barrel threads. In some cases, the base mount screw may be a thread or two too long and not allowing it to tighten up fully. As you know this will cause the front end of the scope to flop around upon firing.

For accuracy tips, I have found Accurate Arms 5744 powder, to be one of the most consistantly accurate powders. Charges in the 45 grain range seem to be the most accurate. Of course, weighed charges seem to shot a tad more accurate than the dipped charges, but the 3.4cc dipper has proven i can deliver consistant sub 1" groups. Other powders like VihtaVouhri N110 and IMR 4759, in the 42-44 grain range also give good accuracy. IMR 4227 in the 45-48 grain range, givews good accuracy, but can give misfires, if not using hot 209 primers. OF COURSE ALL THE LOADS LISTED ABOVE SHOULD ONLY BE USED IN A SAVAGE 10ML OR 10ML-II ONLY!

Bullets that have shot well for me over the years, have been the Hornady .452 250gr and 300gr XTP's. The New Horandy SST's, 250gr and 300gr, have also proven to be very accurate, as well. The PR .40 cal 260gr Dead Center, has proven to be on of the most accurate bullets in just about any 10ML-II I have shot. In fact, in every Henry Ball Ltd Edt that I test for accuracy, the standard accuracy load is: 45gr of AA5744, Win. 209 primer, and the PR .40 cal 260gr Dead Center bullet with supplied sabot. In some 10ML-II the PR 300gr Dead Center has proven to be more accurate that the 260gr. Ther Parker 275gr Hydra-Con has been an accurate bullet as well.

The sabot that I shoot 98% of the time is the MMP sabot from Del Rasmey. That sabot is the HPH-24 sabot. Del has two sabots, the HPH-12 (long finger) and the HPH-24 (short finger) sabots. The HPH-24 is supplied with the Hornady SST's. Also The HPH-Blue sabot is a good sabot to use, if you are going to shoot .40 cal bullets. You can also swap these sabots for the orange ones supplied with the PR .40 cal 260gr Dead Centers and is recommend that you do so if you want to up the powder charge 2-4 grains, as well as, the velocity a hundered or two FPS.

Primers are fairly simple, stick to the hotter ones, like the Federal or Winchester 209's. If in a very cold climate, you may want to use 209 magnum primers. Mild primers like CCI's and Remington's have proven not to be as reliable and accurate a the Federal's and Winchester's have.

Check out the sites that Getonit has listed and you will find the most comprehensive information on the web about the Savage 10ML-II.

Ackley Improved User
February 24, 2005, 11:40 AM
1Shot1Kill, thanks - that's a hell-of-a post, filled with great info. I've been shooting 250 and 300 gr. XTP/SSTs with MMP sabots, 43.5 grs. V110, and W209 primers. I use a scope - Leupold - and a bench rest. I've been getting 3" groups, which is adequate but not great. I've found that getting too hot hurts accuracy.

I have some additional questions. Would you be willing to help? 1) I have trouble changing my vent liner - it gets stuck and ruins allen wrenches trying to get it out. Some I can't remove at all. Is there a way to prevent this? 2) Have you tried Lil'Gun? 3) Have you used the MMP sub-base, plastic-cup wads? Do they increase accuracy, especially with hotter loads?

February 24, 2005, 02:55 PM
AI User,

Yes, indeed when the barrel heats up, accuracy will suffer. Heat makes the sabot soft and pliable. When the sabot get hot, as in stuffed down a hot bore, it will not stand the pressure and velocity. The tend to start tearing up and shredding. This will also happen when the outside temps push upwards above 70 degrees. I have found that when the temps get above 70 degrees I have to back off the loads by 2-4 grains, when shooting powders like N110, IMR4759, and Lil Gun.

Your load combination sounds good. Have you tried any other powder(s) other than VV N110? I've found that 5744 is one of the easiest powders to get good groups with. It is not the fastest, as in velocity, but it seems to work well with just about any bullet/sabot combo I've tried. With 250gr bullets it easy to get 2,200 FPS, 2,100 PFS with 300gr bullets, and is real easy on the sabots as well. VV N110 gives higher velocity, but is harder on the sabots. So a MMP Ballistic Bridge or just a Wonder Wad under the sabot, may be what you need with VV N110. They do help accuracy when shooting hotter loads. I have used Wonder Wads and 28ga wad bases in some loads. But I like loads that don't require anything under the sabot.

Sticking vent liners can be a pain in th rear, for sure. A good lube is a must. Regular breech plug lubes, like from Knight, CVA, TC, etc., just will not stand up to the heat and pressures, generated from smokeless powder. I use Permatex Anti-Seize, the silver kind, that be gotten from any auto parts store. A 4oz tube will last several years. If I get one stuck, which I haven't in several years, I put it in a 35mm film canister, and soak it in something like Shooter Choice, Hoppes #9, or something like that, overnight. They usually break loose easy after that.

I have and do shot Lil Gun, but Lil Gun has not and is not recommended by Savage for use in the 10ML-II. If you decide to use Lil gun, keep your loads in the 44-48 grain range. Lil Gun is harder on vent liners and may require you to change them out more often, say every 100 shots or so.

February 24, 2005, 03:34 PM
AI user- one more thing I should mention - check for plastic fouling in your bore- there have been others whose accuracy went south from this- and it sometimes takes some scrubbing to remove it- PB Cleaner works for some while some others use xylene', nitro solvent or bore bright. this happened to my Dad's 10MLII- groups went from sub 1" to 3+"..... hope you find the answer -getonit

Ackley Improved User
February 24, 2005, 04:05 PM
Thanks to both of you - great information, and I'll use it! Warm regard, AI User

Ackley Improved User
February 24, 2005, 04:10 PM
Have either of you used Triple 7 (say 100 - 150 grs) in the Sav. 10ML? If so, what bullets and/or sabots? What velocities did you get with the Triple 7? Finally, what's your favorite black powder load with the Sav. 10ML?

February 24, 2005, 04:34 PM
Personally, I haven't tried T7 in any of Savage's. I have shot Pyrodex serverla years ago. The main reason I haven't shot Pyrodex in several years and T7 at all, is smokeless is legal here in NC, and ther just hasn't been any need to shot it much at all.

Herre is some of the better loads I tried with Pyrodex back in 1999 and 2000. These laods were shot out of the original 10ML, not the 10ML-II.


250 gr Hornady .452 XTP 1,955 FPS 2,125 FPE
300 gr Hornady .452 XTP 1,908 FPS 2,430 FPE


100 gr 250 gr Hornady .452 XTP 1,620 FPS 1,455 FPE
100 gr 300 gr Hornady .452 XTP 1,555 FPS 1,605 FPE
120 gr 250 gr Hornady .452 XTP 1,694 FPS 1,587 FPE
120 gr 300 gr Hornady .452 XTP 1,615 FPS 1,740 FPE


100 gr 250 gr Hornady .452 XTP 1,678 FPS 1,562 FPE
100 gr 300 gr Hornady .452 XTP 1,593 FPS 1,695 FPE
120 gr 250 gr Hornady .452 XTP 1,729 FPS 1,660 FPE
120 gr 300 gr Hornady .452 XTP 1,630 FPS 1,770 FPE
150 gr 250 gr Hornady .452 XTP 1,870 FPS 1,940 FPE
150 gr 300 gr Hornady .452 XTP 1,784 FPS 2,250 FPE
170 gr 250 gr Hornady .452 XTP 1,973 FPS 2,162 FPE
170 gr 300 gr Hornady .452 XTP 1,849 FPS 2,280 FPE

What Getonit said about plastic fouling is true. If your loads are hot and/or your bore is a little on the rough side, plastic fouling can build up and accuracy goes away. If the loads are litle hot, then you need to scrub the bore like Getonit stated. If your bore is on the rough side, then you may want to consider lapping the bore J-B Bore Cleaning compound. J-B compound is more of a cleaner, very very fine abrasive compound, that will more polish the bore than actually lap it. You don't need to fire lap it or anything that drastic. Just saturate the bore good, appy some J-B to a tight fitting patch, run that patch up and down the bore about 25 passes, re-satuate the bore, re-apply J-B to another patch, run it up and down the bore. Do this for about for about 200 passes. This will polish and smooth out the bore, reduce the fouling effect, and in most cases increase accuracy. This is expecially true on S/S 10ML-II's, as the button rifling process that Savage uses, causes fine razor burs on the edge of the lands of the rifling.

Ackley Improved User
February 24, 2005, 06:26 PM
1SHOT1KILL, I keep printing out these posts - great stuff! I've heard T7 will get the 250 gr. XTP up to 2200 fps. Is that possible?

February 24, 2005, 07:39 PM
I haven't personally shot any T7 out of anything, so I can't can't say with any degree of certainty whether it is possible or not. Sorry. If you go to the links that Getonit listed, you should be able to get an answer pronto like.

February 24, 2005, 07:48 PM
I haven't tried anything but smokeless in my 10MLII as smokeless is legal in Ohio too -- I think 1shot1kill is probably on the money with his results though- I plan to try a wider variety of smokeless in the future as more loads are developed- I use pyrodex rs in my Thompson Centers but for my best accuracy I limited my loads to 110 grain. I never did set up my chrony on pyrodex to detemine my speeds :confused:

February 24, 2005, 08:18 PM
Wow, great thread. Thanks for all the info, 1shot1kill - I'm planning on getting a 10ML II before October, as smokeless is legal here in OK also. Worst case scenario, if they change the rule back to BP/Pyrodex only, I can still shoot that (on the hot side) in the 10ML II. But I'm looking forward more to saving cleaning effort, than to ballistic performance, but the latter is good too! I'll be trying some of these loads (the smokeless ones).

February 25, 2005, 03:21 PM
AI user,
I would be very surprised, if T7 would get a 250gr XTP up to 2,200FPS, with the Savage recommended 120gr charge. I think you could get close to 2,100, say around 2,075 maybe a tad more, but like I said, I would be surprised if it broke 2,200. I do think that about 2,100 FPS is realistic with 120gr of T7. Keep in mind that we are talking about the Savage 10ML-II here. In no way should anyone shoot loads over 100gr in CVA's, Traditions, Winchesters, etc, muzzleloaders with T7. Hodgdon, I believe only recommends 100gr as max loads for T7. Savage recommended loads list 120gr T7 as max for the 10ML-II.

A 120gr charge of T7 and a 250gr bullet, the pressure is probably around 30,000 PSI, maybe more. That is way too much pressure for the CVA's, Traditions, Winchesters, etc, muzzleloaders to with stand. Lyman Ballistic Laboratories has published three Pyrodex pellet-powered saboted bullet loads that develop 27,000 PSI out of a 22" test barrel. of course the heavier the bullet, the more pressure, with the same charge. But this is still a very safe pressure level for the Savage 10ML-II. With smokeless powders, the Savage recommened loads generate pressures in the 36,000-40,000 PSI range. Western Powders, is currently doing pressure testing on several 10ML-II's that were sent to them a couple months ago. They are conducting data test on many different smokeless powders, as well as, BP, Pyrodex, and T7. They may have the loads and pressures data out later this summer or early fall. So will have to wait a while for exact pressure data.

There have been alot of horror stories about stuck breech plugs, when shooting T7, in many makes of muzzleloaders. One helpful tip when shooting T7 in the Savage, is that after the 3rd shot, break the breech plug loose, 1/2 turn then tight it back up. This will break the crud ring that sticks the breech plug and it will not reform to stick the breech plug. Also make sure that you swab or spit patch the bore bewteen shots, to ensure accuracy.

First Freedom, I believe the great state of OK changed their regs to allow smokeless back in 2002, maybe 2003. Hopefully they will not go back to the ways of old.

February 25, 2005, 09:51 PM
1shot1kill- I couldn't have said it better - especially about not using the higher loads of t7 in the CVA's, Winchesters or Traditions...and the cracking of the crud ring after a couple shots... this advice worth repeating - too many newbies think the Cva's, Wichesters ect. are the same class as the Savage 10MLII , TC's encores and other inlines- and may end up on the bad end of an accident :eek: Getonit

March 3, 2005, 10:09 PM
We really need to standardize on the terms.
If you are talking about Black Powder, you should specify the type and actual weight, such as , 75gr act, FFG.
There is quite a bit of difference in pressure with the same weight of FFG and FFFG , as well as the volume , refer to the Lyman pressure gun tests.
All substitute powders should be identified with brand, grade, actual weight or Black Powder equivalent volume.
Some people may mix up the equivalent volume and the actual weights and try 120gr measured weight of 777 in ol' betsy with a 400gr cast conical and loose their enthusiasm for muzzle loading, as well as other things.
We really should try to be VERY clear, remember, a lot of people are just starting out and do not have the experience to know better.
Don :D