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Best Process to Shoot Muzzleloader

I have had a CVA Wolf muzzleloader for 17 years. I have had varying success shooting with it. For the last few years I have used Hodgson's Triple 7 loose powder and using Hornady SST .50 cal 300 grain sabots. I am also using fiber-optic sights. In previous years I would shoot straight but be 3" high at 25 yards. Today, I was all over the map at 50 yards and much higher. I think the problem might have a couple of starts, one I was using 290 grain sabots, Cabela's and Bass Pro were both out of the Hornady SST. 50 cal 300 grain and I have since ordered more from Midway USA, and I also changed processes. Before today, I would run 2-4 lube patches between shots, I was told today not to do that as it could clog the plug.

By question is, what is the best process to shoot a muzzleloader? I do use it to hunt white tail and I want to make sure that I am consistent with my shot placement so I can hunt ethically. Thank you for any advice.
 

hickslawns

Dignitary Member
Supporting Member
36,974
212
NW Ohio
Welcome to TOO.

Consistency is the key. Start clean. Load your load. Ensure it is fully seated. If your ramrod isn't seating the bullet and powder in the same exact spot each time, you will get inconsistent shots. It can also be dangerous. Do you have your ram rod scribed or marked to know the bullet is seating in the same place each time you load?

The only other thing I see is the lube. I shoot a few and run a brush. Then I run dry patch. Shoot more and repeat. The bore butter or lube definitely can create inconsistencies.
 
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Jackalope

Dignitary Member
Staff member
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Welcome to the forum. I personally prefer a dirty barrel to hunt with. I found that shot number 2 and 3 are the most consistent. 1 and 4 can get kinda wonky. Nothing that would matter at 100 yards but at 150-200 it's not something I like to see. After shot x3 I pull the breech and run a brush down the bore from the back paying attention to the crud ring in the chamber area of the bore. Then 3-4 dry patches. Shot number 1 on the second round of shots will be better than shot #1 was on the bright shiny bore on the fist round because it's still kinda dirty, and not the bright clean bore from storage. But still, shots #2 and 3 will still be the most consistent. When I go to hunt I like to take the gun outside before the hunt and put a round through it just to check zero and foul the bore. I then reload it and leave it in the garage without a cap for the entirety of gun season. I've had great accuracy with 150gr triple 7 and a hornady XTP in a mag sabot.
 
Welcome to TOO.

Consistency is the key. Start clean. Load your load. Ensure it is fully seated. If your ramrod isn't seating the bullet and powder in the same exact spot each time, you will get inconsistent shots. It can also be dangerous. Do you have your ram rod scribed or marked to know the bullet is seating in the same place each time you load?

The only other thing I see is the lube. I shoot a few and run a brush. Then I run dry patch. Shoot more and repeat. The bore butter or lube definitely can create inconsistencies.
Thank you
 
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Reactions: hickslawns
Welcome to the forum. I personally prefer a dirty barrel to hunt with. I found that shot number 2 and 3 are the most consistent. 1 and 4 can get kinda wonky. Nothing that would matter at 100 yards but at 150-200 it's not something I like to see. After shot x3 I pull the breech and run a brush down the bore from the back paying attention to the crud ring in the chamber area of the bore. Then 3-4 dry patches. Shot number 1 on the second round of shots will be better than shot #1 was on the bright shiny bore on the fist round because it's still kinda dirty, and not the bright clean bore from storage. But still, shots #2 and 3 will still be the most consistent. When I go to hunt I like to take the gun outside before the hunt and put a round through it just to check zero and foul the bore. I then reload it and leave it in the garage without a cap for the entirety of gun season. I've had great accuracy with 150gr triple 7 and a hornady XTP in a mag sabot.
Thank you
 

hickslawns

Dignitary Member
Supporting Member
36,974
212
NW Ohio
Don't forget about us. Keep us posted on your results. I'm "okay" in this department. Good enough to get by. Learned enough the hard way to remember a few things. We have guys on this forum that have forgotten more than I ever knew. We will get you dialed in.

Jackalope made a great point: leave it in the garage. Bringing it in the house and then in the cold creates condensation. It can booger your powder up and rust the barrel. Once dialed in, load that thing and leave it in temps similar to outside temps during the season. Just be sure to fire at the end of the season and clean it extremely well. Then use your bore butter. Just know the first shot next year is going to be erratic with the bore butter in there.
 

giles

Village idiot and local whore
Supporting Member
35,956
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In a bar
That SST is crazy accurate also. I was just never impressed with how it did after impact. I was able to get it to fly the best. But Barnes flew good enough and the devastation is much better.
 

Clay Showalter

Southern member northern landowner
4,204
110
Guilford County
I think the newer powder, blackhorn 209, is the way to go. Easier to clean, doesn’t build up a smoke ring or powder ring, whatever it is called. Is not corrosive. Is more consistent, but you have to use regular primers, not muzzy primers and some muzzleloaders, like my CVA Optima require a special breech plug.
 
Don't forget about us. Keep us posted on your results. I'm "okay" in this department. Good enough to get by. Learned enough the hard way to remember a few things. We have guys on this forum that have forgotten more than I ever knew. We will get you dialed in.

Jackalope made a great point: leave it in the garage. Bringing it in the house and then in the cold creates condensation. It can booger your powder up and rust the barrel. Once dialed in, load that thing and leave it in temps similar to outside temps during the season. Just be sure to fire at the end of the season and clean it extremely well. Then use your bore butter. Just know the first shot next year is going to be erratic with the bore butter in there.
Thank you, I have a feeling I am going to be spending a lot of time at the range after the hunting season is over.
 

Jackalope

Dignitary Member
Staff member
35,583
235
That SST is crazy accurate also. I was just never impressed with how it did after impact. I was able to get it to fly the best. But Barnes flew good enough and the devastation is much better.

I had trouble finding the XTPs one year and picked up a box of the SSTs. I had similar results, they flew great but I wasn't impressed with the impact. Dont get me wrong they'll kill deer but they just don't hit as hard. I went and bought a box of XTP mag 45 cal pistol bullets and bag of mag sabots on the advice of @Ohiosam after he told me they were just a pistol bullet packaged with some sabots. The XTP stands for Extreme Terminal Performance and they put the hammer on deer. The other thing I like is they have the jacket thet curls over the tip with no exposed lead or polymer tip so the ramrod doesn't deform the tip.

1410991142-XTP-MAG-bullet-illustration---cutaway.410e54b8.png
xtp-mag.png