Cooper 22ML Muzzleloader Test Thread

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robby denning

robby denning

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better safe than sorry. I just about broke the action screws in my T/C one time as I forgot to use anti-seize- never again! BH209 is the stuff like you say.
 
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robby denning

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I ordered a slew of bullets and everything arrived yesterday, so I got up early and headed to the hills.

The Cooper seemed to like those Powerbelts in the 225HP but I want a better B.C., so I stepped up to their Platinums and a few other of their offerings. Cooper also recommended Maximus 240’s, which I’d not heard of, so I ordered them. They’re a copper controlled expansion bullet with a .257 BC (good for a muzz bullet).



I started with a clean gun, fired a barrel fouler, then went to work.

1st group 110gr Blackhorn 209 (BH 209) behind 223gr Powerbelt Platinum, lit by Federal Shotshell primer, (these bullets are designed for 110 to 150gr loads):


1.3”, not bad

I jumped to 120gr BH

1.6”

Jumped to 130gr BH

1.8”

Jumped to 140gr BH

1.3”, interesting...

Finally jumped to max charge of 150gr BH recommended for the gun/bullet

1.6”

This gun certainly likes those bullets and isn’t too picky on the charge volume either. Not a single flyer across all those groups, impressive.

I broke my chrono last week (amateur move, I put it too close to the gun busted the LCD) so I can’t check those loads but 150gr of BH behind a 223gr bullet spells speed.

For the record, this is the first gun I’ve ever had any accuracy above 120 grains. That gets me excited.

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robby denning

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The wind had been about 5mph until that last group but picked up over 10mph but it’s coming straight from behind the gun, so I kept shooting

Next up, the Maximus 240s, these are a full sabot vs the Powerbelt which is considered a conical with a plastic skirt/base. I usually clean the gun when switching from conical‘s to sabots, but honestly, I forgot. Some guys say it doesn’t matter, and looking at these next groups, I won’t argue.



100gr BH:

1”, hoping that’s not a fluke!

Feeling cocky, I skipped 110gr and jumped to 120gr:

0.8”, I’m getting happy

130gr BH:

0.8”, holy smolly

140 BH (getting tough to push the bullet down)

3.75”, there’s the breaking point or gun’s just dirty, so I stopped.

I’m just gonna say it, this Cooper can shoot. In two range days, most of my groups have been shooters, and it seems like with the bullets she likes, there’s good consistency even over big swings in powder charges. It’s been my experience that is a sign of a very accurate muzzleloader. When they’re not finicky, there’s good things happening.

I’m very impressed with this gun.

After that last group, the wind really started to pick up, probably 20 mph. So rather than clean the gun, I packed it up for the day.

Going to go over my journal now and do some thinking. I may not test any more new bullets, and just work with the Powerbelt Platinum and Maximus at longer ranges to see what I get. It’s tempting to try all these other bullets, but it might not be necessary now.

Talk soon




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sneaky

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120gr of 209 and that Maximus looks like a load I'd verify, then go kill stuff with

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ENCORE

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With most rifles having a maximum of 120grs volume of BH, is that rifle actually rated by Cooper to 150grs VOLUME of BH209?
 
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robby denning

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With most rifles having a maximum of 120grs volume of BH, is that rifle actually rated by Cooper to 150grs VOLUME of BH209?
Good question. Cooper rates it to 200grains. This is what Cooper’s manual said

I went to Blackhorn’s site and it was not clear what a gun rated for 200grs black powder or substitute could take for BH.

What do you think? Did I push the envelope going to 150gr BH?




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ENCORE

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Good question. Cooper rates it to 200grains. This is what Cooper’s manual said

I went to Blackhorn’s site and it was not clear what a gun rated for 200grs black powder or substitute could take for BH.

What do you think? Did I push the envelope going to 150gr BH?

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If Cooper didn't send a rifle to be tested by Western, I'm not sure I'd exceed Western's 120gr volume maximum. Then again, the manual states 200grs of BP or "common" substitutes, so it should be a strong system. I don't believe that means BH as one of the "common" substitutes. That's what has me asking the question, as I have no clue how strong the action breech plug and barrel is.

I do know that Western has specifically tested the Remington Ultimate Muzzleloader (RUM) and states 160grs is a maximum of BH209. The rifle is capable of 200grs of BP or any other of the "common" substitutes. The Ultimate BP Xpress I shoot is rated identical.

I have no clue....... which is why I'm asking. So far I believe you've been shooting lighter bullets. Without knowing the system, I'd be cautious shooting heavy bullets with large charges of BH. As I say, I have no clue.
 
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robby denning

robby denning

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If Cooper didn't send a rifle to be tested by Western, I'm not sure I'd exceed Western's 120gr volume maximum. Then again, the manual states 200grs of BP or "common" substitutes, so it should be a strong system. I don't believe that means BH as one of the "common" substitutes. That's what has me asking the question, as I have no clue how strong the action breech plug and barrel is.

I do know that Western has specifically tested the Remington Ultimate Muzzleloader (RUM) and states 160grs is a maximum of BH209. The rifle is capable of 200grs of BP or any other of the "common" substitutes. The Ultimate BP Xpress I shoot is rated identical.

I have no clue....... which is why I'm asking. So far I believe you've been shooting lighter bullets. Without knowing the system, I'd be cautious shooting heavy bullets with large charges of BH. As I say, I have no clue.
Good advice Encore, and I'm glad you brought it up. I'll reach back out to Cooper and get a better answer and post back up. Thank you
 
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robby denning

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OK, I got a response from Cooper on the max charge of BH209:

"We follow the guidelines of Western Powders regarding BH209 powder which is a max of 120 grains by volume."

So, sounds like no one wants to go there and endorse anything above 120..., so I'll do the same. I should have asked specifically before I went above 120 but I didn't. Gotta live dangerously once in a while.
 

ENCORE

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OK, I got a response from Cooper on the max charge of BH209:

"We follow the guidelines of Western Powders regarding BH209 powder which is a max of 120 grains by volume."

So, sounds like no one wants to go there and endorse anything above 120..., so I'll do the same. I should have asked specifically before I went above 120 but I didn't. Gotta live dangerously once in a while.
I had to ask, as there are only two rifles that I know of that are rated either by the rifle manufacturer, or Western, for charges above the 120gr volume maximum that Western has published.

Now I do have other thoughts, but they should probably remain undiscussed in an open forum. I'm glad that you received the information, even though it may not have been what you wanted. Safety first....
 

sneaky

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I had to ask, as there are only two rifles that I know of that are rated either by the rifle manufacturer, or Western, for charges above the 120gr volume maximum that Western has published.

Now I do have other thoughts, but they should probably remain undiscussed in an open forum. I'm glad that you received the information, even though it may not have been what you wanted. Safety first....
I think with the way that it's shooting with charges 120gr and below that there's really no need to go higher. Unless he wants to be like Austin Powers "I too, like to live dangerously".

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CBECK61

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Great review Robby. Ive had a cooper ML of a few years now and have really enjoyed it. Might give a few more bullets a try in your gun. I've had great success with the Harvester Sabertooth for a bullet legal in states that make you shoot next to bore. The Parker ballistic extreme and Match hunter (best but stupid expensive) both shot the best in my gun and a few other smoke poles I've fiddled with. I also really like the Harvester Scorpion for the money. My groups really tightened up when I started weight my charges rather than using the volume method. 84 weight grs is eq. to 120 Volume. I push the 275 ballistic extreme with 80 weighted grs and seems to be a really good hunting load. Talking to cooper and some other manufactures I also felt like living dangerously and went up to 100 weighted grs (~142 volume) of BH. I saw some speed increase but even with quality heavy bullets 300+ my groups got drastically worse. The additional recoil and loss of accuracy wasn't worth the marginal speed increase in my book.
 
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robby denning

robby denning

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Great review Robby. Ive had a cooper ML of a few years now and have really enjoyed it. Might give a few more bullets a try in your gun. I've had great success with the Harvester Sabertooth for a bullet legal in states that make you shoot next to bore. The Parker ballistic extreme and Match hunter (best but stupid expensive) both shot the best in my gun and a few other smoke poles I've fiddled with. I also really like the Harvester Scorpion for the money. My groups really tightened up when I started weight my charges rather than using the volume method. 84 weight grs is eq. to 120 Volume. I push the 275 ballistic extreme with 80 weighted grs and seems to be a really good hunting load. Talking to cooper and some other manufactures I also felt like living dangerously and went up to 100 weighted grs (~142 volume) of BH. I saw some speed increase but even with quality heavy bullets 300+ my groups got drastically worse. The additional recoil and loss of accuracy wasn't worth the marginal speed increase in my book.
Hey! Thanks for the leads on the other brands of bullets. Much appreciated and I'll give them a try. Just need to draw a muzz tag. I'll know on Idaho in a few weeks. Maybe I'll get to try some.
 
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