Want to get started in muzzeloading
OK Ive been wanting to try this for quite some time. I am looking at purchasing a stainless encore 50 cal. Are these rifles good shooters? I was asking about muzzeloaders at sportsmans but nobody knew much. Is the prohunter worth the upgrade? Im not concerned about looks and it seemed like the engraving and hammer swing was the only difference. What powder loads and bullets are good? How often do you clean? Are the stainless barrels good with blackpowder? How do you keep your loaded barrel dry in the rain? What primers are you using. Since I will be using it in a rifle area can I use a scope? If so what power is good on a muzzeloader? Thanks Scott
Whoa! A whole book there, Scott. I've only got a little bit of time right now, so I'll answer some of your questions and let someone else chime in. I don't own the Encore, but several friends do. Fine performer. It'll come with recommendations for charges and bullets. Clean that sucker every time you use it, and I don't care what the powder manufacturer says. Stainless barrels are fine, but they still rust if you don't take care of them.
In the rain, I like the little black rubber condoms you slip over the barrel. They're available on the shelf at Sportsmans. My hunting pards get a good laugh, cuzz all they do is run a strip of electricians tape over their muzzles.
I really urge that you take the ADF&G muzzleloader class. It's a 2-day deal and the certification you get is recognized by other states. In there they will teach you all you need to know to get started, plus you'll do some shooting. In fact, you have to shoot to their accuracy standards to qualify, as well as pass a written test. They provide all guns and components and you get to shoot lots. Scopes are legal during the regular seasons, but not during special primitive weapon seasons.
Well you pretty much did it.
You basically covered it all. Thanks a bunch....anyone else have any load recommendations for the encore??
I can't recite their loads, but I can pass on some insights from the friends with Encores. They have moved away from powder pellets and bullets with sabots. Those work okay, but without the scope they offer no range advantage, and in fact don't do as well compared what other load combos can do inside 100 yards. These guys are now using loose powder and solid lead conical bullets from Hornady or T/C. They are available in lots heavier weights (over 400 grains) than the pistol bullets typically used in sabots, and as a result generally penetrate lots deeper and do a better job on moose and elk. The small diameter/high velocity bullets in sabots offer range advantages on deer when used with a scope for accuracy, but they aren't near the performers as the heavy bullets on large game at closer range.
All report that performance is best with loose powder and heavy lead conicals if you load a lubed felt wad or button between the powder and bullet. From the accuracy results they get on our range shoots, I can see why they do it.
Also, don't get too wrapped up in only using a modern gun like the Encore for high power, big game loads. With smaller powder charges on the order of 50 grains or less and patched round balls, they are cheap to shoot and can be really accurate for plinking, target and small game. I wouldn't want to be a snowshoe hare anywhere close to one friend and his load of 30 grains of Pyrodex P and a patched round ball. That load practically stacks the shots on top of each other out to 50 yards.
BTW- Those powder pellets are handy but in the experience of my friends, they really deteriorate after you open the box- at least in high humidity areas. Things are okay if you take great care to keep the humidity away from an open box in storage, but if you don't they're soon harder to light off and velocity starts dropping pretty badly.
Loose powder is easy to use and store in predetermined loads. I use 35mm plastic film containers. You can buy aftermarket ones but mine work just fine. Figure out what you are going to hunt the most and start working a load for that. I hunt deer where I'm from so I use the sabots and loose powder. I worked up to 100gr(by weight, be careful on this one. Read up on weight vs volume in your powder handbook!!) 777 GFFF with a 300gr. poly tip sabot from Hornady. Williams adjusable peepsights and am confident out to 150yards. I started out light on the powder to get the feel and worked my way up to the point the round got squirelly and backed off. Consistancy of your load will pay dividens later. You will have so much fun the first time out, I would recommend just shoot close and light so your shoulder doesn't cry uncle too fast. I have the encore 50 cal and love it. Simple, easy to strip and clean. Well weighted and holds nice in the hand. I started with a kodiak by CVA for $100 with the kit and everything. I LOVED THAT GUN!! Of course you always love your first. Shot great. Light. The parts were a little on the cheap side and dissassembly and cleaning was was not as smooth but I still had fun. I sold it to a kid who was just getting into it. If solids are what you use there then do so. Work a load up and have fun with it.
I load, shoot, swab twice with a water dampened swab and reamer, swab twice with a dry swab, load, and so on. Shoot 10 times like this and remove breach plug and clean it well. I don't scrub my barrel clean after each session. Kind of like seasoning a frying pan. At the end of the season I'll clean it well but not DURING. In the field I skip the wet patch and just use one dry. The wet patch removes more than you would guess. Try different things and have fun. Joel
Thumbs up for the Encore....
Originally Posted by AK_Bowhunter
I shoot the stainless Encore and like it a lot. I have the version from a couple of years ago without the swing hammer. I've thought about having one put on because once you put a scope on it there isn't much room between your thumb and the bottom of the scope. I usually shoot Powerbelt aerotips 245 to 290 grains depending on what I'm shooting at..and 100 to 150 grains of pyrodex...depending on what I'm shooting at once again. You will have to shoot a bunch to figure out what loads your gun likes to eat and go from there. I would start out with 100 grains of pyrodex and see how that shoots before you move up to 150 grains...get that sighted in first before you change things around.
Check the regs for the scope issue. In some areas that are muzzle loader only you can't have a scope or are restricted to a certain power scope. If your hunting in an open rifle area you should be good to go with any scope that is legal...again check the regs though.
I would go with the Prohunter becasuse of the swing hammer and I think that comes with the power rod as well which can be a big help loading after you've fouled the barrel a couple of times.
Good luck to you my friend!
I wouldnt waste your money on the prohunter frame.
For hammer clearance they make a little extension that you can mount on the hammer, check eabco.com or midsouth.
And you can pick up the power rod seperate too.
The true advantages with the prohunter setup lay in the speed breech and longer barrel. But those two things arent worth the extra cost. Maybe a small cost would be okay, but its quite a stretch between the pro and regular setups.
I Bought the pro frame, and I have a regular barrel. THe gun is very accurate reliable, ect, just not worth the price.
I have to agree that the blackpowder setup for the Pro hunter is way over-priced. I do one, just never bought the Blackpowder barrel for it. I just went out and bought an X7 instead.
Thanks guys for all the info. Its truly appreciated.
Consider the T/C Z5 Omega as another option
I purchased a Z5 Omega last year and love it. It is a very accurate gun and easy to clean. But yes, please do clean it after every use! Don't feel like you have to go with T/C. There are several good muzzleloaders on the market, both inlines and traditonal. I've tried several different bullets in mine and found several that worked very well. I mostly shoot Triple 7 powder. 85 grains of Triple 7 and a 245 grain Hornady XTP bullet shoot very tight groups at 100 yards. Those bullets performed excellent on the deer I shot last year. Mind you that is out of my gun and I'm not saying it'll work for everyone. I also got very good accuracy with 300 grain ShockWaves (I think they were in that weight range) and 90-100 grains of Triple 7.
Seems most of the modern inlines advertise they can shoot up to 150 grains of powder. To be honest, all you end up doing is wasting powder and beating up your shoulder. Most bullets on the market will perform just fine with 70-110 grains of powder, sometimes less, sometimes a bit more. But I'd be surprised if anyone is "maximizing" accuracy by shooting 150 grains.
Cast bullets are a great choice
I don't own an Encore, but I'll agree with much of what BrownBear wrote. Only differ on the bullets, but it's a minor difference. I agree with shooting lead/hard-cast bullets instead of the pistol bullets and other more fragile bullets. However, you can still shoot hard cast bullets quite easily and accurately using sabots.
I have a 50 cal, and shoot hard cast bullets in two different calibers using sabots. I shoot 45 cal (.451) cast bullets in 300 gr and 400gr weights, but I now shoot (predominantly) 45-70 hard cast bullets (.459) made by Western Nevada that weigh about 405gr. The sales number on the box is 1-800-482-2103 if you're interested. I won't hesitate to shoot these at anything from deer on up to the big dudes because their flat nose generates plenty of damage without being wasteful, and they'll out penetrate the other more fragile bullets without question.
MMP sells sabots for either caliber. The sabots for the .458/9 bullets are newer, and they expand the choice of bullets you can use by bringing the 45-70 bullets into the game. I'm shooting the combo extremely accurately on top of 100gr (volume) of 777 loose powder over a percussion cap.
That's great news about the 458/9 sabots. I've used .458 cast bullets for 35 years in most CF calibers you've heard of and some you probably haven't, and you're right. They're thumpers. In fact, the 458 Win Mag is one of the very best cast bullet calibers around, launching 515 grain FNs at around 1300-1500 fps. Deadly on deer and one-hole groups are common at 100 yards. It would be pretty easy to hit that velocity range with 405's in a ML, so that's really good news.
T/C ProHunter IS worth it!!
From the speed breach, to the swing hammer and longer barrel, everything about the ProHunter makes it a better gun. It will shoot pellets well and loose powder even better. It is simple to use and simple to maintain and clean. To me it is a no-brainer and worth every penny! I also have a 416 Rigby barrel (with muzzle brake) for it that will be making a trip to Africa with me one day. I hope I can test the performace on a brown bear soon!
I have found the T/C Shockwave bullets to be the easiest to load and are extremely accurate. They come in 250 and 300 grain.
Black powder is the most fun shooting I have ever done! You'll love it!