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Thread: Cold Weather Muzzleloading

  1. #1

    Default Cold Weather Muzzleloading

    I hunt with a 50 cal T/C Firehawk, stainless barrel. I have been shooting Barnes sabots in front of Pyrodex. The sabots have always been VERY tight loading for me, even with a freshly cleaned barrel. I tolerate this because my they shoot very accurate out of my gun. I happened to draw DM766 this year, and I'll be there in late November. I have never fired or loaded the gun below about 20 deg. Are there any differences that I should expect when loading if the temperature falls well below zero? Any suggestions or input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

  2. #2

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    I only have you beat by 10 degrees and only with patched round balls or lubed all-lead conicals. But I correspond with several guys who hunt a lot colder and use sabots too. One and all include a lubed felt wad between their powder and sabot- even when the weather is warm. It appears to ease loading at all times, but especially in cold weather and for followup shots. They're available cheap in packs of 100 from Track of the Wolf and lots of other sources. I think I've even seen them hanging on the wall at SW and Cabelas.

  3. #3

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    Thanks BrownBear. I'll give them a try.

  4. #4
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    My one experience shooting at -15F we had to run a patch with TC bore butter on it down the barrel before pushing a bullet/sabbot down. Also had to run a bore butter patch between shots or else the bulle/sabbot would stick. When I've shot the guns at +25F we didn't need to do this.

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    Member hogfamily's Avatar
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    Many years ago when I was in the Army at Ft. Wainwright in Fairbanks a group of us had sort of an informal muzzle loading club. Between all of us we had just about every type of muzzle loader in just about every caliber available at the time; rifles, handguns, and shotguns, both flintlock and percussion, all types of projectiles.

    We often shot at temperatures -20 to -40F. The only problems anyone had other than keeping our hands warm, was occasionally the flintlocks would misfire, (more often than in warm weather).

    A friend and I were hunting Snowshoe Hairs once in the spring he was using his muzzle loading shot gun and ran out of wadding we had some toilet tissue that he used for wadding. After he made a shot at a rabbit we had to stomp out the little fires made by the tissue wading. We decided to call it a day and learned that the commercial wadding was flame resistant.

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    Member akgun&ammo's Avatar
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    My problem was/is inconsistant ignition. I still wonder how to get better (hotter, maybe?) ignition. I use a percussion 50 caliber most of the time, when I'm muzzleloading.

    As everyone who knows me, I don't limit myself to one style of hunting. I enjoy rifle, handgun, bow, blackpowder, and other means to make meat. Even used a knife onct for whitetail deer.

    Chris

  7. #7

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    Tell me more about your gun and loads. There's usually a quick fix for ignition problems.

  8. #8
    Member akgun&ammo's Avatar
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    CCI percussion cap, w/110 grs of Pryodex, and 437 gr cast conical with soft lube. Even tried to even not the hole in the nipple w/ drill bit.

    Chris

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    Member akgun&ammo's Avatar
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    That load is super accurate in "warm" weather, but is slow to light at COLD temperatures (-10 and lower). I tried several range sessions at cold temp, and still same- slow ignition. Really works on whitetails, and I would like to try on a moose. One of these days.

    Chris

  10. #10

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    What make and model rifle is it? I've only seen the same thing a couple of times- once the result of Lyman's own brand of nipples, which don't fit CCI caps perfectly, and once with a rifle having a drum bolster. Neither was related to cold weather but did occur with Pyrodex.

    In the case of the Lyman, it was a matter of using extra force in seating the nipple, and eventually changing to another brand of nipples. In the rifle with a drum bolster, Pyrodex fouling had built up around the inner edge of the bolster and started closing it off till only a trickle of powder was getting into the flame channel. I fixed that with a breech scraper. Conventional cleaning wasn't getting the residue out of that area, and it built up slowly into a really hard cake that was impervious to solvents.

    I acquired a whole bunch of Pyrodex (22 pounds) from a friend's estate and I still use it for dinking around. But I tried regular black powder (Goex brand) and found ignition was instantaneous and reliable. I don't know how accessible that is to you, but it may be worth tracking some down to see if that helps. If it's not available, see if you can locate some 777. A hunting pard swears by it, and he certainly doesn't have any ignition problems in something like a dozen different guns. It's more expensive that Pyro, but you have to reduce the loads something like 15% from the same granulation of Pyro or real black, so it kinda makes up for the extra price.

  11. #11
    Member akgun&ammo's Avatar
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    Thanks BrownBear,
    I will try 777. As a dealer, I do have access. I have already changed the nipple. Actually, I was thinking of getting another rifle - just to see if it was my rifle being fickle! Being in Fairbanks, real black is available- just not in a quanity that would keep me content with loads. What with getting only about 62 loads per pound....

    Chris

  12. #12
    Member akgun&ammo's Avatar
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    Also, I have a good supply of the CCI caps. Since they worked great at 50 degrees (above), I stocked up when I was able.
    So changing the cap would only be for COLD temp hunting. I remember the first whitetail I harvested with that rifle.

    I was eating supper (in the house), when my beagle pup went apes___ outside. He was up tight on his collar- front feet off the ground-- baying to beat the band. A mid sized Doe was nose to nose with him - hair standing up on her neck and a stompin her front hooves. (note: my property in Texas is in the country) I had my muzzlerloader right there in the living room, so just leaned out the front door and punched a doe tag. When the smoke cleared- Junior (beagle pup) had gone inside his house, and I don't think he came out till the next morning! That doe was dropped right there next to my burning barrel. Had to dress her out and put her in the freezer pretty quick due to warm temps in November-- right after dessert!

    Chris

  13. #13

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    That's interesting about the CCI caps with Pyrodex and extreme cold. I haven't had the opportunity (or should I say the need!) to try it, but I value and will remember your insights.

    Quote Originally Posted by akgun&ammo View Post
    I was eating supper (in the house), when my beagle pup went apes___ outside. He was up tight on his collar- front feet off the ground-- baying to beat the band. A mid sized Doe was nose to nose with him - hair standing up on her neck and a stompin her front hooves. (note: my property in Texas is in the country) I had my muzzlerloader right there in the living room, so just leaned out the front door and punched a doe tag. When the smoke cleared- Junior (beagle pup) had gone inside his house, and I don't think he came out till the next morning! That doe was dropped right there next to my burning barrel. Had to dress her out and put her in the freezer pretty quick due to warm temps in November-- right after dessert!

    Chris
    Reminds me of the time a few years back when I was reloading 38 specials behind the house in my detached shop. I saw motion out the window, and sure enough it was a deer raiding the garden. I slid open the window and dinged him in the lungs at 25 yards with a 38 spec SWC, since I had the revolver laying right there beside a fresh batch of loads. I can't imagine your beagle disappeared any faster than my wife APPEARED from the house!

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