In order to participate in the GunBroker Member forums, you must be logged in with your GunBroker.com account. Click the sign-in button at the top right of the forums page to get connected.

Muzzle-loading Woes at the Range

FrogdogFrogdog Member Posts: 2,353 ✭✭✭
edited November 2004 in General Discussion
Went to the range today with the ambition to sight-in the muzzle-loader, .270, and slugster all in 3 hours. As you can guess, my goal was pretty unrealistic. Actually never got past the muzzle-loader. It's a Traditions Hawken .50 cal. w/ 1:48" twist. I was using patched balls and 90 grains of pyrodex at 50 yards, and was scrubbing it out every 2-3 shots. Let me tell you, it was all over the target. Fought with it for a while and finally reduced to 85 grains Pyrodex and it settled down. Best I could get was a 2 3/4" group of four shots with 2 shots over-lapping. Group was about 2" high at 50 yards. So here's my questions for y'all: Are the results I acheived suffiecient for good deer hunting? Considering open sights, patched balls, 85 grains Pyrodex, and how I sighted it in what's the max range I should consider shooting at a deer? Thanks for the help.

Comments

  • salzosalzo Member Posts: 6,837
    edited November -1
    Are you new to muzzleloading? If so, I would keep my shots VERY CLOSE until I got accustomed to the rifle-and when you are more accustomed to the rifle, and shooting it, you will be able to judge what kind of range you are capable of.

    "Waiting tables is what you know, making cheese is what I know-lets stick with what we know!"
    -Jimmy the cheese man
  • rldowns3rldowns3 Member Posts: 6,096
    edited November -1
    DBV, what little experience I have of muzzle loaders (pistols and rifles) are that they take a little more dicipline to shoot accurately. I know I myself am accustomed to an instant BOOM when I pull the trigger with modern firearms, but i have noticed a teeny tiny delay in muzzle loaders from when you pull the trigger till the bullet goes flying out of the end of the muzzle. I eventually figured it out that I had to try to keep it on the target longer and not expect the recoil right away.

    kerrytraitor.jpgof our country.
  • idsman75idsman75 Member Posts: 14,524
    edited November -1
    Was this your first time shooting it? Remember, you CHANGED the condition of the barrel EVERY TIME YOU SHOT IT!

    It was fouled after the first shot. It was even MORE fouled after the second shot. It was even MORE MORE fouled after the third. THEN you cleaned it? This wouldn't be much of an issue if you were shooting a modern rifle with modern smokeless powder. However, I always recommend swabbing between every single shot so that the barrel is exactly the same between subsequent shots. Have you played with different patched balls and different patches? It's almost like handloading. However, you aren't trying to squeeze 3/4 MOA down to 1/4 MOA. You are trying to change 12" into 2" at 100 yards.

    Many would disagree with me but I had excellent results when I "seasoned" the barrel with Bore Butter. I would clean my muzzleloader THOROUGHLY after a shooting session. After it was COMPLETELY clean (spotless) I would take the lid off a shoe polish tin. I would put a hunk of Bore Butter in the lid and would melt it with a cigarette lighter under the lid. I would soak a couple cleaning patches in the molten bore butter and would run them down the barrel after I KNEW the bore was thorougly clean AND dry. I would ENSURE that it was dry by running patches soaked with denatured alcohol prior to this "seasoning" process. The alcohol evaporates almost instantly. After coating the bore with Bore Butter I would wait a day and then run a dry patch/jag back and forth in the barrel a couple of times to ensure that the Bore Butter spread out evenly. Then I'd let it sit in the gun cabinet until I fired it again. I think it made the seal between my projectile and my bore more consistent. I could be way off base by saying that but that's my theory. It also makes seating projectiles a bit more easy.

    Some people will theorize that a wee bit of powder residue and/or moisture will get sealed against the surface of the bore by Bore Butter and a chemist from Knight actually warns against this practice. This chemist (some guy with the last name of "KNIGHT") cut barrels into cross-sections and "proved" his theory by showing that bores treated with Bore Butter in the process that I mentioned were more corroded/pitted etc.... Just make sure your bore is spotlessly clean and use denatured alcohol to make sure it is absolutely bone dry.

    The trick is ensuring that ALL conditions (including cleanliness of the bore) are EXACTLY the same between each shot. You didn't do that. Plus, you didn't play around with different patched balls and you only made one adjustment to your powder charge.
  • idsman75idsman75 Member Posts: 14,524
    edited November -1
    Let me highly recommend a book called "Modern Muzzleloading". A lot of your chain sporting goods stores that sell guns will carry it if they are worth their salt. I have a copy and learned a lot of what I know from that book in addition to what I learned from experience and from friends/GB'ers.
  • Red223Red223 Member Posts: 7,946
    edited November -1
    I've shot some old flintlock's with some pretty good accuracy. My dad got me a in-line .50 caliber for christmas and this thing is a piece of crap. The barrel and stock are not mounted together very well and have slop, it is poorly manufactured (stock likely made in china).

    I've thought of cutting it up and making a nice little .50 caliber cannon complete with little wheels to sit on my desk and fire off on the 4th of July with it.

    Good luck.
  • James AyersJames Ayers Member Posts: 1,598 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    [8D]YO DBV, YOU WON'T GET HELP, BUT CRITISYM FROM THIS "EXPERT" GROUP.[:(!][:(!][:(!][:(!]

    On your mark-get set- go away!!
  • idsman75idsman75 Member Posts: 14,524
    edited November -1
    James--you got a chip on your shoulder? This isn't the "Ask the Experts" forum. You are going to get anecdotal responses (like mine) on this forum. Personal experience, theories, etc....

    I'd criticize you but I used to misspell "criticism" all the time.
  • jjmitchell60jjmitchell60 Member Posts: 3,887
    edited November -1
    As some would have you believe not all of us only give "CRITISYM FROM THIS "EXPERT" GROUP" but let me give you some of my experiences with BP. First of all I use strictly black powder but as to pyrodex, it and BP are close to charistics. I start my sighting in at the same grainage as is the caliber as the rifle. In your case begin with 50 grains and work your way up to a load that gives consistant accuracy. Now as to swabbing the barrel after a coupl to 3 shots, to be accurate either do not swab till at least 10 shots or swab inbetween every shot with the latter being what I reccomend. You will find that 50 grains will kill a deer at 100 yards the same as 100 grains. Depending on the length of the barrel, with 80-100 grains, you are probably not igniting all the powder. Sometimes less is better. Next time at the range take a mixture of 1 part Murphy's Oil Soap, 1 part Hydrogen-peroxide, and one part rubbing Alcohol in a bottle. Swab the barrel with a wet patch from the solution and then a dry patch. Begin your load at 50 grains and swab after each shot with a wet patch then a dry one. Work your way up from 50 grains till you get a pattern that suites you. Thatis what we teach our 4-H shooting sports kids to do and it works. Just my 2 cents worth but I am no "EXPERT" just a long time BP shooter.

    The statistics on sanity are that one out of every four Americans is suffering from some form of mental illness. Think of your three best friends. If they're okay, then it's you.
    Rita Mae Brown
  • sharpshooter039sharpshooter039 Member Posts: 5,918 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    By no means an expert but if you can shoot a consistent 2.5" group it will take a deer.I also shoot a Traditions Hawkin rifle to deer hunt with.I like doing it the old fashion way.I have bought several in-lines but just prefer an old smoke pole.I have taken many deer and other critters and I use a 70 grain load of pyrodex with a patched round ball.I do not shoot over 75yrds but its my eyes with open sights that hold me under this range not the gun or the charge.
  • cletus85cletus85 Member Posts: 2,104 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I think everyone wants to help, and a lot us have been in your shoes. When I first started fiddling with inlines in 1995 (the year I killed my first deer with one) I was very disappointed with my results, and ultimately only felt confident at 50yds with a Scoped inline! Muzzleloading requires a different mindset altogether...with patience, persistence and a consistent load method you'll achieve acceptable accuracy...it may take several trips to the range however. I've chronographed loads, read, listened, and experimented, I don't claim to have a load that will work for everyone, but I am fully confident that I can shoot a 2" or under 3 shot group with my Knight T-Bolt at range of 100yds now. I used to shoot a TC Renegade .50 caliber, and I had good results with maxiballs in it...never tried sabots in it, but I know guys who have gotten great groups from 1 in 48 twist guns using them.
  • James AyersJames Ayers Member Posts: 1,598 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    [8D]Yea idsman,I also asked a simple responce to a 5" grou[:D][:D][:D][:D]p,at 25 yds and look at the snot that started- so don't talk to me about a chip on my shoulder.

    On your mark-get set- go away!!
  • oldemagicsoldemagics Member Posts: 5,751 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    hey jjmitchell, does that load work up work with pistols too? have a new 44 repro pistol im about to start with, and only ever had a 67 cal horse pistol before (talk bout a arm twister!)
  • JamesRKJamesRK Member Posts: 25,672 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I'm not an expert, take this for what it's worth. I wouldn't use the patched ball for deer hunting. I hit one in the shoulder with a ball at about 50 yards, brought lots of blood, but haven't found him yet. If legal where you hunt, I'd use the .44 sabot with 90 to 100 Pyrodex (whatever is accurate). The sabot helps keep the fouling down a little too, and they don't have to be lubricated.

    Are you sure it's you and not the rifle? I have two Thompson Hawken 50's. One will drive nails at 50 yards, and the other one is all over the place. Just a thought.
    The road to hell is paved with COMPROMISE.
  • cletus85cletus85 Member Posts: 2,104 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Another thought...can you shoot better than a 4 shot 2 3/4" group at 50 yards with open sights with anything else?
  • jjmitchell60jjmitchell60 Member Posts: 3,887
    edited November -1
    oldemagics, no it does not work out as well on cap and ball revolvers but there is a trick that was taught to me many years ago that does improve accuracy! On the 44 a standard load is 30 grains of FFF black powder and either a .451, 454, or .457 round ball depending on the make of the revolver. I use .457 in my CVA as well as does my friend in his Ruger. Now as to the trick, I first load 30 grains of powder, then I put a felt wonder wad on top of the powder, next I add 5 to 7 grais of cream of wheat ceraal on top of the wpnder wad, and then I seat the ball on top of the cream of wheat. Now what the cream of wheat does is fill out the space that the ball seats into the cylinder. The closer you get the ball to the end of the cylinder, the less travel it has in the cylinder before it enters the barrrel. This less travel distance does affect accuracy. You have to be careful though so as to not add too much cream of wheat that the ball sticks out the cylinder thus not allowing the cylinder to index to the barrel. Try it some time. Some people use corn meal or grits in place of the cream of what. Just something I was taught by a gentleman who has shot BP rifles and pistols for most of his 70+ years of life. Good luck and be careful because those revolvers do get addicting. By the way I am looking for a pair o flint horse pistols at a reasonable price.

    The statistics on sanity are that one out of every four Americans is suffering from some form of mental illness. Think of your three best friends. If they're okay, then it's you.
    Rita Mae Brown
  • allen griggsallen griggs Member Posts: 34,024 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I would swab the bore after every shot.
    Since you got the gun tuned in fairly well with 85 grains, it would make sense to drop down to 80, then 75, then 70 and see if accuracy improves. I wouldn't go below 70 grains.
    As you stand now, you are ready to take a shot up to 80 yards or so.
    Above and beyond the 14 one shot kills I made with the .50 round ball, which meant that every deer I shot at with it, I killed, I know a guy who has killed over 70 deer with the .45 patched round ball, including one shot of 120 yards. This guy had two handmade flintlocks, he was obviously a real good shot.
    Whatever the .45 will do, the .50 will do better.
    If your rifle has iron sights, paint the very top 1/16 inch of the front sight white. This will help a lot when deer hunting. It will give you contrast. On iron sights, you have a black rear sight, black front sight, and a dark brown deer which is often in the shadow. No contrast, sometimes you can't pick up the sights against the deer, whereas at the range, in good light, you could easily see the target. But the target isn't dark brown.
    With this trick the front sight will be a little white ball. You settle that into the V and that white dot is where the bullet will hit. Helped me a lot.
  • select-fireselect-fire Member Posts: 68,132 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Round balls are not going to give you the accuracy the sabots are. Load her up with 80-90 gr. and a sabot and have a go at deer. 100 yd shot will give you meat on the table

    " It Ain't Over till its Over"
  • FrogdogFrogdog Member Posts: 2,353 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by badwrench
    A little fouling actually helps your accuracy and the repeatablity thereof.


    I appreciate your help, but don't understand the above comment. Wouldn't that mean putting the gun away dirty and keeping it dirty throughout the season? I can't imagine that does good things for the bore.

    To clarify things, I ain't looking to shoot the eye out of a sparrow at 1000 yds. I just want to kill some deer at an average distance for the gun I'm using.
  • anderskandersk Member Posts: 3,825
    edited November -1
    I'm pretty new to the muzzle loader scene. And I find the folks over at the shooting range at our club in Mansfield MA to be very helpful and encouraging. I'm catching on just fine. I have been shooting round ball at the range for BP shoots etc, but I think I'm going to go with Sabots for the Deer season. I'd better do some target practice with the hunting stuff in mind.

    Also, flinching is out of the question with muzzle loaders. I guess that is pretty obvious![:D] So lots of practice is certainly helpful. I'm thinking that my bore is seasoned just fine by the shooting I've done this past year. So this December it will be time to do the deed![:)]
  • .280 freak.280 freak Member Posts: 1,942 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    DBV -

    If you have never been there before, let me suggest that you try going to the talk forums at www.Huntamerica.com

    Look for the muzzleloading forums; there are 2 of them, traditional and in-line. Lots of real knowledgable and helpful people there with years and years of experience along with some folks who are actually "in the business".

    I've been shooting and hunting with muzzleloaders since 1980, and I still go there with any questions that I have about front-stuffers.
  • ATFATF Member Posts: 13,304
    edited November -1
    I may be wrong but,I've always heard for patched round balls a one in 66" twist not a one in 48" is best for accuracy.[:)]

    Eagle_Guns.gif
    standard.jpg
    standard.jpg
    When a worm wants to relax,does he go fishing?  ATF,Eagle Guns
  • FrogdogFrogdog Member Posts: 2,353 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by ATF
    I may be wrong but,I've always heard for patched round balls a one in 66" twist not a one in 48" is best for accuracy.[:)]


    Could be. I don't know. But my barrel is clearly marked 1:48". In a previous topic on the subject of projectiles, the consensus seemed to be that 1:48" wouldn't shoot sabots well and round balls would be a better choice (and a LOT cheaper than some of the conicals).
  • steve45steve45 Member Posts: 2,915 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    DBV, A friend of mine has that same rifle and it is VERY accurate with roundballs. One problem he had was the rear site was loose and would move on him. If your sites are good take a look at the patches after they come out of the barrel. Patches come in different thicknesses and the "fit" of the patch to the ball is critical. If the patch has a hole in it or burned a hole through it its the wrong thickness of patch. A correct patch fit will show the black marks of the rifling clearly and the patch will not be badly damaged. Also on a sidehammer percussion rifle like yours follow through after the shot makes a difference. It seems fast but the delay after you pull the trigger to the ball exiting the barrel is much slower that a centerfire rifle. Pulling the rifle down after the shot to see what you hit will affect accuracy. This rife is very accurate with the Thompson Center maxi-balls also.
  • jjmitchell60jjmitchell60 Member Posts: 3,887
    edited November -1
    The slower twist is much better for round ball but many makers, TC, included use a 1 in 48 twist so as to get a decent measure of accuarcy with round balls and a good bit of accuarcy with saboted bullets as well. My flint 45 does have a 1 in 66 while most, not all, of my caplocks have a 1 in 48 twist. As to round balls on deer, I use nothing else and have never shot a saboted bullet. I usually kill 4 deer a year in 2 states with Black powder (using only round balls)and have done so for 20 or so years. Just my 2 cents worth.

    The statistics on sanity are that one out of every four Americans is suffering from some form of mental illness. Think of your three best friends. If they're okay, then it's you.
    Rita Mae Brown
Sign In or Register to comment.