Traditional muzzleloader Question

MattEastman

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Just got my Traditions Hawken muzzy in the mail and shot for the first time this weekend. Just wondering if any of you have any tips for me. I'm shooting a .495 round ball and a .10 thick pre lubed patch. The powder that I'm using is Pyrodex Select with 90 grain loads. Seems to be working pretty good so far.

This pic is my first group at 50 yards. On my 100 yard shot, I had about a 5 1/2" group. I think if I can put a big buck to bed and get within 100 yards, he is in big trouble. Pretty fun stuff!
 

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robby denning

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First question: are you restricted to shooting round balls by law, or is it a personal choice?
 
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MattEastman

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Mostly by choice. I thought it would be a good challenge..... Plus I believe my barrel has a 1 in 48 twist. I'm not sure how a conical would perform with that rate of twist.

I plan to hunt deep in Colorado this fall for deer with it. What's your thoughts on hunting muleys with the round ball?
 

robby denning

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Well, if you want the challenge, a round ball will certainly provide it. The problem is the low ballistic coefficient of a round ball. It does not hold the energy that a conical holds. You're right about the twist issue being more towards a round ball. Check out prbullet.com. Cecil is one of the best muzzleloader guys out there. He can probably match you up with a conical that will do the job. Checking his tables, I see he has a UL1 Conical listed as ideal for a 1:48 twist

http://prbullet.com/chart.htm

I'll be honest with you, I wouldn't hunt with a round ball in fairness to the animal and myself. Just my opinion!

For an example, history shows that once the conical was introduced in the civil war (called the minnie ball) anyone who was shooting a round ball was out of the fight as the minnie balls had the downrange energy and could shoot further.
 
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bearguide

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i disagree with robby even though i respect his posts, and love his articals. i believe that muzzleloader seasons were originally made to be primitive seasons, like archery. offering the hunter a challenge. modern muzzleloaders have taken a lot of that challenge away. the long range hunter, as well as some others are producing muzzleloaders that shoot accurately out to 500 yards. some states have made restrictions which limit the type of advancements that can be made on muzzleloaders. others have no restrictions, which has spawned all these super muzzleloaders, using long range scopes, which only resemble muzzleloaders in the fact that they load from the muzzle. i applaud those who embrace the challenge of using real primitive equipment, round balls black powder etc. but i also believe that bow hunting is funner than rifle, because of the challenge. that is why some guys use long bows and ceder shafts, by the way 495 is the best ball for that gun. nice group
 
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robby denning

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bearguide, you're right in the sense of keeping it primitive and I'm not advocating the total change to the modern muzzleloader- that is why I referenced the minnie ball from the civil war period. I just think you can do the animal a better job with a conical vs. a round ball, that's all.
 

Broken Arrow

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I've shot several whitetails with a patched round ball and good old 2fg black powder crisco was my choice and still is for lubricant. I wouldn't personally shoot anything over 75yds. I actually try to keep it 50 and under. My 2 cents
 

sodak

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I would get a slower twist barrel if you want to shoot PRBs (patched round balls) accurately. Check out Campfire Muzzleloader Forums. Beware, most of the guys on that forum are die-hard flintlockers.

I would bet that most game species in North America have been killed with a PRB. Its all shot placement and hunting skills to get in range.
 
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robby denning

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sodak
I wouldn't bet against you on that and yes, the patched balls need the slower twists- less than 1:48- but many of the newer guns are faster and guys don't consider that is what is hurting thier accuracy with the balls.
 
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MattEastman

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Thanks guys. I've been out to the range now a few times and starting to get pretty good with the round ball. Very confident out to 100 yards. If I can find a shooter buck in the high country this fall and have him all to myself, that buck is in big trouble :)
 

Umpqua Hunter

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Thanks guys. I've been out to the range now a few times and starting to get pretty good with the round ball. Very confident out to 100 yards. If I can find a shooter buck in the high country this fall and have him all to myself, that buck is in big trouble :)
Hi Matt...as you have experienced a patched round ball (PRB) is very accurate, but as Robby mentioned a PRB has a lousy ballistic coefficient, so it sheds energy like crazy. I have heard from very experienced muzzleloader hunters that shots with a PRB on mule deer should be limited to 50 to 70 yards at the most. The gun may be very ACCURATE beyond that range, it just does not have the ENERGY to make a clean kill. A 100 yard shot with a PRB and you could well have a wounded deer, even with great shot placement.

If you want to extend your range past 70 yards, you really need to shoot a conical. A 1:48 twist is kind of the "do-it-all" twist for a 50 caliber muzzleloader. it shoots a lot of different projectiles well (sabot, conical, PRB) though it is not really optimized for any. Also, certain twists barrels tend to shoot certain weight conicals better. With a 1:48 twist barrel, you should be shooting a bullet in the 300-350 grain range. This should be about optimum for what that twist barrel will stabilize and shoot accurately. If you were shooting a faster twist barrel, like a 1:28 twist, you would want to shoot a heavier bullet like a 400-450 grain conical.

It's kinda counter intuitive but those big heavy conical bullets are better for longer range shots, due to retained energy. Personally that was not an easy concept for me to grasp since I tend to think of lighter bullets being "flat shooting long range" bullets.

Robby mentioned Cecil at www.prbullet.com. Cecil probably has the most thorough selection of conical bullets available and is super knowledgeable.
 
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MattEastman

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Robby, my groups at 100yds are about 4 inches. Thanks for all the info. You guys got me thinking about those conicals though. I think I might just have to give them a try. Whats your thoughts on the Powerbelts?
 

robby denning

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Matt, I'd just shoot what the gun likes. Try powerbelts, some guys love them. I do know you can very likely get better than 4" groups and that is what I'd be trying to improve, but I'm an accuracy freak.
 
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MattEastman

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Just got off the phone with Cecil. Looks like I might be giving his Ultimate 1 Spitzer a try. He said that the round ball has a humane effective range only to 37.5 yards! Anything past that increases that chance of wounding a deer. The 390 grain Ultimate 1 Spitzer will do the job out to 175 yards and should work well with my 1:48 twist. With all that info, I like the idea of the Ultimate 1 flat out putting the hurt on a buck out to that range.

The idea of the round ball and taking a high country buck with it was romantic thought I had and invisioned. But since I consider this a "Dream Hunt", I want to increase my odds and the ethical part of it as well.
 

Steve O

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Matt, I am really enjoying this. I shoot a stickbow for 95% of my hunting, but I see a picture in my head with a big bull elk or gnarly massive muley with me sitting next to him resting a beautiful curly maple flintlock on his shoulders!

I have 7 deer points in CO and 13 elk points in UT and am seriously considering holding on to them for a primo muzzleloader hunt.

I am going to have to check out these spitzers in the meantime for my Knight and TC Dream Season.

Hopefully you will start a new thread about your hunt. Good luck.
 

T43

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I don't know Cecil and I don't claim to be an expert but I have had a .50 since I was 10 and I have a hard time believing his numbers for effective range. I would be comfortable within 100 yards with my setup. I'm sure there are better options but why not just hunt rifle if that's what you are looking for?
 
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