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Thread: What to load my Knight MK85 with?

  1. #1
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    Default What to load my Knight MK85 with?

    I haven't shot muzzleloaders since I was a kid shooting a Thompson Center .50 with FFF blackpowder and maxi balls. I recently inherited a Knight MK85 .50 cal when my dad passed away. What should I load this gun up with? I plan to hunt moose with it, or at least try to this next year. Is pyrodex the way to go? Are the new sabbot bullets the best?

  2. #2

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    I'd check the Knight site for their recommended loads (if any) as well as the Hodgdon site, where I know they've got a bunch of loads for Pyrodex and Triple Seven. I've got an 85, but mine is a 54 cal. It doesn't seem to be real picky about loads- it shoots most powder charges well. But my experiments with pellets rather than loose powder has left a bad taste in my mouth. Oh, they shoot fine when you first open the box, but a few weeks later, I start having ingition problems, and based on the changes in impact, irregular burn rate. Loose powder works great.

    As you note, there are lots of options in bullets, but they get expensive fast. I find it a lot cheaper to buy bags of 50 empty sabots and add my own bullets. Based on using them at similar velocities in conventional cartridge rounds, I'm really sold on the Speer 300 grain handgun bullets in 44 or 45 caliber, depending on the specs of the particular sabots you buy.

  3. #3

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    I have not tried Pyrodex pellets, but I have used Triple Seven and Pyrodex loose powder a great deal. I prefer loose powder over pellets as it lets me fine tune my charges (kinda hard to shoot 95 grains of pellets). I much prefer Triple Seven over Pyrodex as it tends to be much cleaner and less "gummy" in my gun. If you go with Triple Seven, just remember to reduce your charges by about 15% as that powder produces higher pressures than regular black powder (e.g. Goex) and Pyrodex.

    I have gone the same route as BrownBear with regards to bullets. I buy the Harvester sabots and shoot 300 grain Hornady XTP pistol bullets. They're very accurate out of my gun with the right powder charge and much cheaper than paying a $1 / bullet for Dead Centers, Barnes, etc. But I'll admit, I shoot my gun quite a bit throughout the year. If I only shot it during hunting season then bullet price probably wouldn't be a factor. I have shot ShockWaves, and they are very accurate. I've heard great things about Dead Centers and Hornady SSTs, just never tried them myself. I have shot PowerBelts at the range, but never tried them on game (you'll hear mixed reports on those depending on how you talk to). To be honest, I think any decent bullet is fine as long as you fine the right powder charge to give you the best accuracy (each gun tends to be a bit different) and put the bullet where it goes with regards to shot placement. If I were going to hunt moose or bear, I'd use a heavier bullet (300 grain and up) than I might for deer.

    I shoot Great Plains Bullets and T/C Maxi Balls out of my flintlock, there's no reason you couldn't shoot those out of your Knight if you wanted.

    Jeff

  4. #4

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    I'll add to Jeff's very good point on the all-lead GP and Maxi bullets. Those are my preference and I cast my own for even more savings. But whether you buy or cast your own, you'll get much better accuracy with all-lead bullets if you put a lubed felt wad between the bullet and powder. You can buy them cheap so I'm not sentencing you to a do-it-yourself project, but they're worth searching out for accuracy. Heck, my Lyman cast bullets usually shoot more accurately than sabots when I add the felt wad. And at the ranges shot with MLs, they really whap the game hard. I've still got several hundred empty sabots sitting around, but they see darn little use now.

  5. #5
    Member alaska bush man's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Mk 85

    I have a MK 85 in 50 cal also...........I use Barnes Expander MZ 300gr and 90 grains of 777 2F powder with a 209 777 Primer or 3 Pellets of 30gr each.

    If you have converted yours yet to 209 primer suggest looose powder 777 2F same weight charge but use a Magnum CCI primer.
    Alaska

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    Member akndres's Avatar
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    Thumbs up exactly

    exactly what Alaska Bush Man said...

    that is the exact load I use --- minus the magnum primer (i'm using a percussion ignition).

    That charge/bullet combo is awesome. Definitely use the loose 777. It isn't as easy to load as the pellets obviously, but I'll spend the extra 30 seconds loading loose powder.
    "The rich... who are content to buy what they have not the skill to get by their own excellence, these are the real enemies of game".... Theodore Roosevelt's A Principle of the Hunt

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    Default 209 primer

    I don't know if it has a 209 primer conversion. I just inherited the gun. It looks like it takes a normal black powder cap. What do I need to do for the conversion?

  8. #8

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    You can get conversion kits straight from Knight, or as I recall, also from Cabelas.

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    The conversion kits cost about $29.95. Includes a new breech plug, firing mechanism and priming tool. Real easy to change out. I shoot 240 grain Hornady XTP with 85 grains of Black powder. The rifle likes this load the best. I have only hunted deer with this load. If I was going after moose I would go with a barnes bullet and increase the powder charge

  10. #10
    Member alaska bush man's Avatar
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    Thumbs up conversion

    I converted mine because I wanted to try 777 Pellets I needed 209 for ignition.....but if you use loose 777 2F the Magnum Remington or CCI Mag No 11 primer will work just fine. The load of 90gr with the Barnes Expander 300gr will kill everything in Alaska.
    Alaska

  11. #11
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    I'm dated the current price for a conversion kit is $62.99. The new kits use the "disk" system where as my kit just used 209.

  12. #12
    Member alaska bush man's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Flame Flower Nipple

    Suggest a Flame Thrower Nipple from TC and Mag No 11 Caps for your MK 85 much cheaper.....than a 209 conversion.

    T/C NIPPLE FLAME THROWER #11cap 1/4x28 for the MK 85 IN-LINE

    Less than $10.00
    Alaska

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