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Muzzleloader help!

23142 Views 22 Replies 13 Participants Last post by  kentuckyboy
Okay so I am new to muzzleloading, I bought one to give me another season to deer hunt anyway I am having a bit of a problem with my gun. I have a thompson center impact, I was shooting 250gr shockwave bullets. I went to sight in my gun over the last few days and have had nothing but problems. My very first shot was dead on and little high at 50(just like I wanted it) I then moved back to 100 yards and this is where it went bad. my shots were moving all over the place I would make adjustments to correct the accuracy and the bullet would be off target. after shooting over 15 rounds i began to think it was the scope so i put on a new scope and went back at it the next day. first few shots were on target but needed some adjustments once i started adjusting they started shooting all over the place again. shot another 5 or so shots and the last one did not even hit the plywood target. there was not consistency where the shot would hit say 4in high so i would do the appropriate adjustments and the next shot would be like 12in low it really started to bother me and now I don't know whats wrong.

any tips or help would be great!!! I am now only able to bow hunt during this muzzleloader season because i could never get it sighted in.
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Only ones I can get to fly right with the best accuracy and I love them are the powerbelt bullets. I get the 245 gr n shoot 100 gr ( two pellets)

I was having the same problem you were, but I was trying to use sabbots, as soon as I switched to the powerbelts problem solved an I've never looked back.
And another when sighting in with a muzzle loader run a dry patch down the barrel after about ever 3 or 4 shoots.
Thanks! i am considering trying the powerbelts but it is too late now... I was running a dry swab every 2 shots today
No matter what bullet you shoot, someone will have a story about how bad they are. It takes some experimenting to find the right powder/bullet combination. Usually, it is not the bullet. Try reducing the powder charge and see what happens. Once you find the one that works, stay with it.

When sighting a rifle in, always ALWAYS clean the barrel between each shot and let it cool some. I can't stress that enough. Run noeor two patches with bore cleaner on them and follow with one or two dry patches between each shot. Remember, in a hunting situation, 99.9% of the time, your shot is through a clean, cold barrel.

I spent a few years shooting and testing muzzleloaders for a prominent company. As a result, I have had the opportunity to shoot a lot of front-stuffers. I am not a very good shot but I do know how to shoot.

The problem you are having sounds on the surface like barrel fouling. Think about it. If the first shot is dead on, why would the second one not be and why can't you adjust the scope? Start at the muzzle and work your way down eliminating things. Then, start experimenting with loads and bullets.

Step number one is always clean the bore. helps to be adept at cussing.
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Muzzleloader accuracy

I am new to muzzleloading also.I was told to start with 50 grains of 2f powder in a 50 caliber and increase the load in 5 grain increments until I find the most accurate load.In my case,with a 1 in 66 twist barrel,that is 70 grains.My only concern is will this have enough power to kill a deer at 75 yards.I'm shooting the round balls because nothing else is as accurate in this slow twist barrel.
Thanks for the great tips. I am considering going from T7 pellets to some blackhorn powder. When shooting i was using a dry patch every 2 shots didn't seem to help. the gun was often on for the first 2-3 shots until it began going crazy. I was unsure if i should use bore cleaner or not when sighting in.. thanks for clearing that up. I am still considering switching up bullets. do you have any suggestions? I have been looking at Powerbels,hornadys and barnes. seem to have better reviews than the T/C shockwaves.

Again thanks for the tips!!!
Once again, when it comes to bullets, it is all what your gun likes. I don't think I have ver had any real bas ones. I shoot Premiere because they shoot well and kill well. I also never read an advertisement. I have been shooting Pyrodex pellets for many years for the same reason. When something works for me, I see no reason to change and fully realize, it may not work for you.
I have one older TC that is like this{must clean between shots or..} yet I have an even older TC Thunderhawk that seems to shoot as well on the 5-6 shot without cleaning as it does on the first.
Muzzleloaders are just crazy like that.
Hi W&S: I set up a new T/C Triumph 2 yrs ago for a young friend of mine, also a newcomer to muzzleloading, with 777 pellets and Hornady SST's(these are Shockwave's, T/C does not manufacture bullets). In 3 shots we had it 2" high at 50 yds, I thought "great". Moved him back to 100yds, hits all over the place. Long story short, he wasn't getting the bullet seated all the way down hard on the pellets, 777 likes to make a "crud ring" down by the breech plug and after a few shots was impeding the bullet seating. I marked his loading rod at the muzzle, (should've done that right away)and then no more problem, gun shoots well. You need to be using 777 primers with 777, makes a big difference in accuracy. Regular 209 primers are too hot for 777. I can't say that your problem is the 777 pellets, I used them for years with great accuracy and no problems other than the crud ring. I switched to Blackhorn this year, and it is great. Consistency is fantastic and the more you shoot, the better the gun loads. And it is easy to use, no worse than pellets. You also need either Federal 209A or CCI209 Magnum primers for B-horn, this stuff needs a lot of heat to light up properly. You'll find that most of the guys here at DHC have gone to B-horn for in-line guns. Anyway, if you stay with the 777 pellets, get some 777 primers, and I would suggest the Easy-Glide Shockwaves, T/C bores are notoriously tight, but that is why they shoot well too. Make sure the bullet is seated firmly on the pellets, swab between shots, and that gun should shoot fine. Let us know how you make out when you experiment a little more.
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great post above. i would suggest the Black horn powder also. I currently have CCI 209 ml primers and Remington ML 209 and I like the Remington primers a little better, just a personal observation. This fall at the range I had 2 CCI primers that failed to go off????
HM, I never realized how important the correct primer is for a particular app. until I started my "muzzleloading sabbatical" years ago. Until then I figured a primer was a primer, but wow, what a mistake! When I decided I wanted to get a black powder gun, I had no one to "help" steer me around, so I did just what I always did, dove right in to the big ML pond and started experimenting. After about a metric ton of different bullets, primers and powders, I finally got my gun to shoot about a 5" group at 100yds, and back then not knowing how super accurate a ml could be, figured that was pretty good. Then I read somewhere about 777 primers, and I was using 777 pellets at the time. So I went and got some of them, shot my gun with them, and low and behold my "good" 5" group went to 1" or sometimes a hair less. What an awakening!! But yeah, the correct or incorrect primer can totally make or break the whole deal. Well, we've got a 4 day and then a 3 day doe-only season coming up shortly here in Illinois, last chance to use a gun for deer. I'm not holding my breath, the few deer I'm seeing where I hunt will NOT even cross an open field in daylight, that's how spooked they are. But like I've always maintained, sittin' in a tree down there is still WAY BETTER than watching Jerry Springer!!! Hope you make out OK with your neck problem, keep us in that loop please!!
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Scribe is right, you are gonna have your ups and downs its a matter of finding what works for you. PATIENCE is key. You cant expect to get out there and sniper after a day. I have two identical CVA's and one shoots better with the 777 magnum, the other white hot charges. I shoot both with premier 209 primers. I just get the best results with different charges in each gun. Also cleaning between every shot to sight it in is very important. You want to duplicate your first shot as close as possible and that means a clean cool barrel. You just gotta get out to the range, plan on being there a while, take multiple load set ups, and a ton of cleaning gear and get it!!!!!
Range time is vital to finding the right combo. Most in-lines can achieve 1" groups at 100 yds scoped. With the flintlocks, and good vision, 1" at 50 yds is very achievable. After taking to my buddy in PA last night seems that the deer are still nocturnal showing up at 2am. This is not good. Weather has been too nice so far to force them to feed late morning early afternoon. I hope to pull the trigger on the PA hunter and get one tag filled this season.
I got into this one late so I cant add much. I agree with putting in range time and experimenting with different powders and bullets.

I started muzzleloader hunting two years ago out of necessity. I couldnt draw rifle tags to save my life.

I am somewhat anal so take the rest of this with a grain of salt.

I put around 500 rounds through my Traditions Vortek before settling on a bullet and a load. Along the way I found several that would be acceptable but I knew I could do better.

I finally ended up using BH209 powder with a home made 463 grain cast boolit in a Harvester crushed rib sabot.

Guess what- it paid off. Two muzzleloader mulies this year.

Just like the violinist who asked a guy on the street how to get to Carnegie Hall. His response- practice, practice practice. So true.
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Same here HM, I went for the 4 day doe season last week, spent 2 days bow hunting and 4 days with guns, it was in the 50's every day and the wind blew like crazy all but one day. Made the deer almost totally nocturnal. Going again the weekend after this one, one more 3 day doe season and that's it for deer hunting this year:yucky:
TLF, hope you fill a tag in that last 3 day hunt. Every year when all is done an the equipment is clean and put away there's a empty feeling left to me and then the long wait for fall to get here. This flintlock hunt will be the first in several years that I hunt by myself. Never really like that to much. Hunting with close friends always is a blast of fun. Flintlock hunting can be tough when the weather turns bad. Two years in a row we've got hit hard in PA with really heavy snows sending us home early. This year it looks pretty mild but that can keep the deer nocturnal. Always a balance this hunting is hoping for weather that forces the deer to feed early but not too bad to take us out of the hunt. Good luck and be safe!
Are you counting clicks or adjusting to point of impact? I would try different sabots using one to loose will mess with accuracy big time. The shock waves bullets come supplied with a hph-24 if I remember right. Try a tighter fitting hph-12 sabot. If you are crushing pellets that could be your problem also. Shoot it for accuracy at 100 yards with different bullet sabot powder combos 3 shot groups each. If all fails test the scope with a mirror. Set desired zoom then use a hand held mirror to cover the scopes objective lens hold it flat on that end of the scope. Look into the scope you should see to sets of cross hairs one center one not may be high low left or right of center set. Remember the location of the set that's not center make sure your eye is center of the scope also looking at the center set of cross hairs. Remove mirror do not adjust zoom as it will change the location of the 2 sets of cross hairs. Fire a shot or 2 then check with mirror if the uncentered set of cross hairs have moved the scope is bad. You can also use this to optically zero your scope by adjusting scope to make both seen sets of cross hairs one set. This yields the maximum adjustment available up down left or right on all turrets. Hope you get it worked out GL HF MWP:coffee:
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I am new to muzzleloading also.I was told to start with 50 grains of 2f powder in a 50 caliber and increase the load in 5 grain increments until I find the most accurate load.In my case,with a 1 in 66 twist barrel,that is 70 grains.My only concern is will this have enough power to kill a deer at 75 yards.I'm shooting the round balls because nothing else is as accurate in this slow twist barrel.

If you can tell me the barrel length Cal of your gun Round ball weight what you have the gun zeroed at in yards & what powder your using. I could give you a educated guess how many ft/lbs it will have at any given yardage to your zero point. Also how fast it is moving in FPS or feet per second. Being a lead ball is going to limit killing range tho as it will drop fast & bullet weight retention is not very good in 90 to 100% lead bullets - balls.
doesnt matter the Ft lbs, Round balls have very little by the time they reach 100 yards. They just basically bore a hole through the animal and expand very little unless they hit bone.

100gr 2f black powder and a 490" ball has under 400 ft lbs at 100 yards. But like i said, all that Ft lbs needs to kill such and such is for the modern bullets that are hard to expand and normally for centerfire rifles.

You can kill an elk with a whole lot less than the recommended minimum of 800 ft lbs.
I have computed some ballistics just a rough estimate.
If your gun is of standard barrel length for a 1-66 twist in 50 cal
using pyrodex 2f powder with 70 volumetric grain load as you stated.
With a weight of 177 grains for a round ball made of Pure Lead with a diameter of .490". It should look like this.

Yards / Velocity / Energy FT/LBS / ETA In Seconds
25 /1204.82 /570 / 0.056

50 /1026.51 /414 / 0.124

75 /922.23 / 334 / 0.201

100 /845.67 / 281 / 0.286

Zero at 75 yards gives you a trajectory like this.
25 yards 1.67 inches high. 50 yards 1.84 inches high. 75 dead on. 100 yards 4.28 inches low.
I would limit my shots in this case to 75 yards max. Yes upping the powder charge will give you more FT/LBS at any given yardage but not much good if not accurate like you stated & why you stuck with 70g charge. Good charge for the slower 1-66 twist you have.

Keep in mind. The Round ball weight will be effected by the alloy used to make it it also will have different ballistics and trajectory. A different ball diameter also effect this. Here are weights by alloy for a .490" ball. A weight of 177 grains for a round ball made of Pure Lead with a diameter of .490".
A weight of 170 grains for a round ball made of 1-10 Alloy with a diameter of .490".
A weight of 171 grains for a round ball made of Wheel Weight with a diameter of .490".
A weight of 163 grains for a round ball made of with a diameter of .490". Linotype

A round ball is unique among projectiles in that its ballistic characteristics are solely dependant upon its diameter (unless it's made of something other than lead) Also, a lead ball has a very poor sectional density (SD), and consequently poor penetration due to so much expansion but out to 75 yards I think your ok might have to track if you hit bone such as shoulder at 75 yards. Newer jacketed bullets have much higher SD leading to very good penetration most of the time passing right through the animal hints the need for a poly tip to aid in expansion on impact. Solid copper would be hardest to expand but very good penetration. Jacketed lead core bullets less SD good penetration more expansion on impact due to lead core still need a poly tip to expand tho.

Conclusion You can't kill what you can't penetrate & at longer ranges like 75 yards you will need a minimum amount of energy ft/lbs behind the ball to penetrate the hide & rib cage. Also enough SD left to do so due to lead expanding so much with such poor SD it even expands in flight. You will have met that requirement at 75 yards further then that you will just wound him or make him really mad. Now comparing this to a bow is very different broadheads have razor sharp cutting edges unlike bullets or round balls. That's why they can kill with under 100 FT/LBS of energy. Hope this answered your question MWP
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