View Full Version : .44 cal Sabot's

December 16, 2001, 09:47 AM
My son just called with his first time experience deer hunting with a blackpowder muzzel loader and sabot's (.50 cal TC sabot using a .44 cal XTP bullet and 2- 50 gr pyrodex pelllets.).
He shot a 175lb whitetail at 40 yds,striking the animal behind the shoulder. The bullet broke a rib and appears to have completely come apart. There was a 1"+ size entrance wound where it hit the rib , no exit wound, the heart and lungs wear shreaded,and only tiny peices of bullet to be found.
Now the deer DID go down in a pile,which is a good thing, but I don't see this as good bullet performance. I havn't had time yet to crono this gun but I would have guessed the Hornady XTP bullet would have held togeather better than it did.
Anyone had any experience with the TC Sabot? Any other suggestions for an Alternate Sabot?
By the way....is it pronounced SAY BOT ... or SAAA BOW???????

Will Fennell
December 16, 2001, 12:22 PM
I just had my first experience taking game with blackpowder and Sabot's. I used a .50cal TC ENCORE, 3[!] 50 grain pyrodex pellets, the TC sabot and a 300 grain .44 calXTP.

I got invited on a trophy whitetail hunt in Illinois. Muzzleloader only. The deer there are much larger than we have here in SC, and the outfitter told me to be prepared for longer shooting than I am used to with a muzzleloader. He said that it would be not uncommom for a 150 yard shot. I've been hunting Blackpowder down here and taking usually 25 to 50 yard shots....using an old TC Hawken and .50 Maxi-Balls. Great penetration, and great performance.

Well, I waited till the last couple of weeks before my hunt to really get my "stuff" together. I got the Encore, and after looking at the performance tables in their literature regarding the SABOT loads, I decided to shoot the load I did. 300 Grain .44 XTP at over 2000 fps! I zeroed the rifle @ 100 yards, with about 1 ft drop at 200. Not to shabby!

I shot the buck pictured at 143 yards. The buck [250lbs] ran about 60 yards[!] with BOTH shoulders broken. The bullet entered the front shoulder, dead centered the shoulder bone, through both lungs, blowing bone shards through the heart, hit a rib exiting the other side of the chest cavity, and passed through the shoulder on the off side[missed the bone though]. The bullet stopped against the skin on the opposite side. I'll try to post a pic of the bullet later.

The bullet expanded splendidly, but maybe a little too much. It DID stay together to its credit, but I would have liked for it to exit the body. Luckily the buck was in plain view where he fell, but after retracing his steps, he did not leave a single drop on blood trail. If he had run into a thicket or swamp, he could have been difficult to find. I shot the buck through the shoulders on purpose. I really wnated this buck, as he wasEASILY the largest I have taken, and I knew that a shoulder shot would cause plenty of internal damage, and disable his "running gears".

I shot a nice fat doe 5 minutes later, filling out both of my tags the first afternoon of the hunt[!], with a slightly behind the shoulder shot[ to damage less meat] @ approx 100 yards. The bullet exited, showing good signs of expansion. She also ran about 50 yards, but left a blood trail Ray Charles could follow!

In summation, I am pleased with the ballistic performance of the .50 cal - sabot- .44cal combination. I plan on hunting next year on a trophy whitetail-muzzleloader only hunt again. I will be looking into a slightly "harder bullet" to put in the sabot. Possibly the Nosler Partition 250 grain bullet, or a 300 grain hard cast LBT. I like exit wounds. They give blood trails, which are a GOOD thing.

Keep in mind, these are really pistol bullets, designed around lower velocity parameters. If they are designed to expand moderatly @ 1300 fps[.44 mag pistol velocities], they are gonna expanded quickly and expand ALOT @ the 1750 fps you probally got using 2 pyrodex pellets, and expand REALLY fast @ the 2000 fps I got with 3 pellets. I knew that I would probally get bullet failure with a 240 XTP[espicially on a big, thick bodied buck like I shot] @ the speed I was shooting, so I opted for the heavier 300 grain bullet to "buy" more penetration.

I "think" the Nosler Partition design will hold together better, thus giving more penetration. The design works great in rifles....the design should work with these pistol bullets too....time and testing will tell. I'll better prepard for next season.

December 16, 2001, 03:43 PM
I have had much the same experience with the XTP bullets out of the muzzleloader (240gr out of a 50 cal.). For some strange reason I ended up hitting two deer, in two different years, but both shots were almost exactly the same, broadside through the liver. Both slugs made small hole going in missing the ribs, and just a slightly larger hole going out. Inside of the deer, the liver was completely pulverized on both, but signs of a blood trail were very very small. Luckily both deer only made it about 10 yards.

On both I found one drop of blood and a little hair where the deer was standing when shot, and nothing else until I saw the deer, but of course that was close.

I guess they worked well, but I am going to switch to a different bullet, I am to afraid I won't be able to find the deer if it is only hit marginally!

Al Thompson
December 16, 2001, 03:57 PM
Nice to see you back.. Anthony's scout is doing fine, BTW.


December 20, 2001, 07:37 PM
I have taken one deer with this same combination (two 50 gr. Pyrodex pellets, 50 caliber sabot using Hornady's 240 gr. HP/XTP) in my Rem. 700 ML. The shot was about 75-80 yds. I don't recall hitting bone, it was a broadside shot, two years ago. The bullet entered behind the shoulder, and exited from the center of the ribcage on the other side. The large doe ran about 50-60 yds.
I have chronographed this load in my rifle, and the velocity was right around 1750 fps., as Will stated above.

I use this same bullet in my .44 reloads to hunt deer, at around 1400 fps. from my Ruger SBH. Have shot two so far, but have not been able to recover bullets, as they were also pass through broadside shots. One ran 100 yds +, with the blood trail getting progressively better as it went, starting off with almost nothing. The latest, a nice doe, on the Saturday after Thanksgiving this year, was hit high on the front part of the shoulders, where the neck meets the body. She jumped straight up in the air, about six feet, came down and didn't go five yards.

I hope your experience was a fluke, as I have been pleased with this bullet so far. Hopefully others will post their experiences.

ed mason
December 21, 2001, 04:32 PM
steelbuster:with all due respect WHAT PART OF THAT DEER'S DEATH WHERE YOU UNHAPPY WITH!:):):)

I here what you are saying.Will is correct in saying that these are pistol bullets designed to expand at lower velosities.I like
weight retention as much as the next guy but I have shot many different deer with many types of sabots and bullet combinations
and had pretty much the same results(even with the noslers) with them all.MASSIVE deformation of the bullet is common and
weight retention ,well forget about it.If you do recover the bullet its rare and when you do recover them weight retention is lost
by about 75% of its original weight.The good news it that the bullets are expending all of its energy inside the animal and that's
what you want.I have never failed to recover the deer when I shoot them with a sabot.The only sabot bullet that I have found
that holds together good is the buffalo bullets 375 gr sabots.They look like little icbm's and they drop deer like a rocket.The
down side is that they start dropping like a rock after 100 yards.A buddy of mine used these on a elk hunt a few years ago and
recovered the bullet on the far shoulder and there was a perfect mushroom effect with only 10% weight loss.With that I think I
will still use the xtp bullets on deer but when it comes to elk stick with the buffalo sabot bullets