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Thread: The Attraction of Muzzle-Loading

  1. #1

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    Default The Attraction of Muzzle-Loading

    I often wonder what attracts shooters to muzzle-loading. At one time I didnít want to get into muzzle-loading but to hunt deer in Southern Ontario was a strong enough motivation. My first muzzle loader was a Rem 700ML. Nothing impressive about groups and required immediate cleaning after usage. Then thereís that smoke cloud when a shot was fired obscuring you view. I came across the 10ML-II that uses smokeless powder that offered a little more than a standard ML. What I didnít realize was the extra intricacies involved.

    Here a new learning curve started and boy did I get an education. Over some years I began to understand the sabot better and what it needed to perform. Also, a better education of using the 10ML-II and what made it tick.
    One all important lesson was that first shot when hunting. Here a shooter must assess the surrounding conditions and the feasibility of making a good shot. Itís not easy to let a good-sized deer walk away with an iffy shot. The alternative is possibly chasing a cripple that might elude you. I have been fortunate to maintain a one shot kill record. Thatís due to knowing my muzzle-loader and my range limitation which is determined through range time.

    Today the 45cal is taking center stage over the 50cal as with any advancement occurring. Also, when a shooter finds a good load, they seem to stop there without any further experimentation. Not criticizing anyone and glad they took the time for finding a good load. As for me Iím not satisfied with just one ideal load. Sensing there are more available loads to be used I decided to further explore load development with the 50cal with lighter bullets. Iím off to a slow start but that will hopefully change.

    My interest is not only in the 50cal but whatís happening in other calibers. Even though Iíve restricted myself to the 50cal I enjoy reading what is happening in other calibers. But alas the enthusiasm for posting load results has waned. Well at least I have my own load exploration to occupy my inquisitive mind. Simply having bare-bone knowledge of SML is not sufficient for me when I know thereís more to learn. The more I learn the better my SML experience is the end result.

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    Hi Ed....there don't seem to be too many guys that really take to the wonders of Black Powder shooting anymore. Most guys are happy with an inline, two pellets and a box of Hornady .50 cal sabots from Walmart. Sacrificing some accuracy for convenience. Which in itself is not all bad, a well-placed 300 + gr lead conical will drop a deer all day long. Most important to the sport, is that it gets them out shooting late in the season and enjoy some hunting in snowy cold conditions.

    I have 4 calibers of Black powder rifles; .45, .50 and .58. With a 300 yr range outside my back door, I am able to shoot almost daily.

    i.e. I've been on the range the past week with the .45 CVA Kentucky. With the temporary shortage of Goex, I'm adjusting my loads running it through the paces with Pyrodex 'P' (FFFg). As it turns out it is really pretty much the same. I've been using two types of patches with the .44 cal 125 gr lead ball, an older designed 'Poly-patch' and the standard .015 pre-lubed patch. Results are good, considering that using iron sights at a 3" target that you can't see when you put the front bead in front of it

    Today I'm going to shoot some .45 cal Maxi Balls down range. With only a 1:66 twist rate on this rifle I wasn't expecting great performance with a Maxi Ball...but last year I stumbled on one that is 30 gr lighter (242 gr ) than the one I had previously tried a few years back (275 gr). Low and behold it shots much more accurately and now extends my killing range with the .45 Kentucky out 100 yds.

    I used to rely heavily on my Traditions .50 cal in-line, my first ML, for all my deer hunting. My mentor put me onto Cecil out at PR bullets in Manitoba and after some extensive sampling of his product line over a few years, I settled on his 425 gr Keith Nose .45/50 saboted bullet as my hunting round. The soft lead bullet flattens out to the size of 'Lonnie' and rarely exits the deer; all energy being expended inside the deer and a well placed shot drops them in their tracks.

    Last year I was given some of PR bullets old 'Colorado Conicals' for the .50 Traditions; its a knurled full bore, 390gr .50 cal. It shots really well on paper, but haven't shot flesh with it yet, so my final approval is still pending. Pinpoint accuracy comes 2nd to shot placement and bullet performance when it comes to the killing of game, at least to me.

    I also shoot a .58 cal Parker Hale Muskettoon, it shoots 525gr Minnie Balls. What great fun that ML has bought me. Opened the door to the manufacturing and experimentation with various lubes to fill the groves in bullets. Great fun melting beeswax and pan lubing bullets in the morning before going out on the range.

    I have also shot PR bullets .45/58 Sabots thru it with good success, just seemed a waste of the potential of a .58 cal to just shot .45 cal bullets.

    Over the years I've played with various powders like Goex (Fg,FFg, FFFg), Pyrodex (P & RS) and Triple Seven (T7) in both FFg and FFFG. I even pushed a 1lb of Blackhorn 209 thru the Traditions one year just to see what all the fuss was about...not overly impressed with the cost vs performance on that one

    I guess what I'm trying to purvey here is that Muzzleloaders come in a variety of styles (Flint Lock, Percusion and In-lines) and in a wide variety of calibers to kill everything from squirrels to Elk in calibers that provide an almost endless variation of bullet and powder loads to keep one going to the range to 'work up a load' for years to come.

    Have to get in a friendly jab far as the smokeless MLs...If you worry you won't be able to see your game run, for all the smoke, then you weren't using the right bullet to drop the deer in its tracks

    As always don't let anyone convince you that 'Pie Plate' accuracy is not acceptable...a 6" group on a 2yr Old Bucks heart works just fine.

    Last edited by MikePal; May 3rd, 2022 at 12:25 PM.

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    I almost forgot Ed..

    The 12ga Black Powder barrel I purchased, for my .50 Traditions in-line, opened up the truly great experience of hunting Turkey with "Smoke"...nothing better to see than Turkey Feathers wafting over the kill zone as the smoke clears

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    I use a ML because that's all that is allowed in 92B during the controlled hunts. Lol

    If they allowed shotgun I would order a savage 220 in a heart beat!

    Truth be told I'd rather hunt with my scorpyd crossbow than anything else...

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    Enjoyed reading your response and the little jab with it, chuckle. Boy, you have a wealth of knowledge and really know your black powder equipment and loads with black powder/substitutes. Keeping all that info organized must be fun. Because of my infrequent shooting I have logged my info as I don’t totally rely on memory recall at this age.
    Open and peep sights don’t work well with me but a scope does. For years I used a fixed 6X scope and always got my deer. I’ve recently had my eyes checked and all is well for my age so no excuses that are sight related, chuckle. For me accuracy takes center stage followed by shot placement. Shot placement is dependent on the shooter’s skill and not just the load. As for level of accuracy that’s up to the shooter to decide. For me my SML is capable of under an inch at 100yds. I demand this accuracy for shots out to 200yds, under a 2” group. Okay this is bench rest shooting and my groups expand in the field.

    I’ve never had a drop right there kill. Usually, it’s a 20-30 yd recovery that’s quick because of knowing what direction the deer has taken off. Having no smoke blocking my view is an asset for me to recover a shot deer quickly.
    Regardless of smoke or no smoke muzzle-loading is almost an art that requires devotion to develop a skill. For me this is challenging in itself that drives me to learn more about the intricacies involved. My knowledge is limited because of my focus in a smaller area compared to yours. But this is what has my interest.

    The only thing missing is some range time. Hopefully that will also change soon.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bellerivercrossbowhunter View Post
    I use a ML because that's all that is allowed in 92B during the controlled hunts. Lol

    If they allowed shotgun I would order a savage 220 in a heart beat!

    Truth be told I'd rather hunt with my scorpyd crossbow than anything else...
    They will be allowing archery in 92wmu soon

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    Quote Originally Posted by ET1 View Post
    Keeping all that info organized must be fun. Because of my infrequent shooting I have logged my info as I don’t totally rely on memory recall at this age. ....Open and peep sights don’t work well with me but a scope does.
    This is becoming a bigger issue with me as well Ed. My eyes are failing and open sights are becoming an issue. I may have to find a 'peep' for the Kentucky soon.

    And you're also right; I've had to start keeping a log book of the loads I use for each bullet and powder combinations for each ML. Far too costly to have to work up a load each year when I can't remember what I was using last year .LOL.

    My enjoyment for ML shooting has bumped aside most of the Centerfires I have in the gun cabinets. I rarely shot them anymore. I've even been taking the MLs out 50% of the time during 2 weeks of the Rifle Deer season.

    I've been very lucky to have found some great friends in the area that are Old-time ML custom builders and shooters. They have a wealth of knowledge and some fabulous Flintlocks worth drooling over. It's a great hobby with unending interest that hopefully provide me much pleasure for years to come.
    Last edited by MikePal; May 4th, 2022 at 07:15 AM.

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