I got lucky and drew the Ft Rich hunt. I've got a T/C Black Diamond .50 cal and have picked up some Barnes 300 gn Expanders and 285 gn Spitfires. I also picked up some Pyrodex pellets (50/30 gn) and already have some 209 primers. My questions are:
The manual that came with the rifle lists 100 and 150 gn loads for 300 gn sabots, but what do you seasoned vets recommend. What about 130 gns of Pyrodex pellets? The manual doesn't list any loads for 285 gn sabots, what do ya think?
The manual also described using their propietary "natural" cleaner and lubricant (bore butter) so that's what I picked up. I understand the spit patch/dry patch after each shot, but was wndering how many shots prior to full cleaning at the range? I also plan on the full cleaning deal when I get her back home.
When do they start responding to calls on Ft Rich and when do they start rutting. I could tell ya for the area I normally hunt, but am not sure down low around Anchorage. I already did some scouting and have some good looking areas pegged.
Thanks for any/all responses. I just want to make this one count seeing as how I'll never probably be lucky enough to draw this hunt again. I also want to get started into the muzzeloader thang the right way.
First questions first, have you taken the ADF&G muzzleloader class required for hunting in the Ft. Rich hunt? From your questions about the muzzleloader, it really doesn't sound like you have. Better do it or you won't be allowed to hunt, permit or not.
Can't tell you about the moose over there, but there are folks here who certainly can.
Hmmm...so what exactly about my questions makes you think I didn't take the ADF&G Course? That I asked for opinions on the two different projectiles, or that I was wondering if I should bump up the 100 gn load to maybe 130gns or 150 gns of Pyrodex, or if the 100 gn load would suffice? Maybe it was not having any load data for the Barnes 285, and asking if anyone else had a pet load for it. Maybe it was asking whether guys use the "natural" line of lube/cleaners or petroleum based, since I've read differing opinions on both as well as differing opinions on cleaning. I re-read the post and still can't figure out what led you to believe that I didn't take the course. Of course I took it, and actually learned quite a bit....and will now have to go through Ft Rich's course/qualification. But it was three years ago. I'll admit that I haven't shot a muzzleloader since, but family and job related issues never provided for the opportunity.
Funny but when I asked some questions about goat hunting (which I knew nothing about) folks here chimed right in with advice/tips. Hell I think you might have even been one of them BrownBear.
So does anybody else have any info?
Sorry bout that. Someone else's turn.
Your rifle should have a max load but that doesn't mean you need to push the limit, muzzleloading is like reloading so you have to work up your own load, thats part of the fun. I used triple 7 but I didn't like the 209 primers as they have lots of spunk which pushed the load forward before ignition and would leave a " ridge" which made loading the next round difficult so you had to clean with a spit wad between shots so I switched to, I think it's remingtons low power 209 primers ( they brought these out due to this problem ) and I didn't have any more problems. I would try 130 grs. and then try 150 grs. and see which one produces the best groups. good luck
First off, I am by no means an expert on the subject. I can say that I have learned a ton about it since I started. I have used Maxi-Balls, Saboted bullets, and Powerbelts. I use Powerbelts for hunting. Don't have any use for sabots. I could not shoot more than twice before cleaning the barrel with sabots. Not swabbing, but actually cleaning it. The third load wouldn't seat on the powder no matter what I tried. Maybe the different 209 primer would help this.
I use 345 gn powerbelts with (2) 50 grain triple seven pellets. This load did in a moose last year with one shot. Hit it in the neck and shattered it. Thought it ran away as it dissapeared before the smoke cleared. Turned out it hit the ground that fast! We have used 60, 80, 100, 110, 130, and 150 loads and so far we haven't seen any use for the 150 max load.
By the way I shoot a .50 cal T/C Omega. Might sell it for the Pro Hunter though.
My Black Diamond...
Seems to prefer the 460 gr. Hornady "Great Plains" bullet and two 50 gr. Pyrodex pellets set off with a CCI rifle cap. Just seemed a waste to let that 'quick' twist barrel go to waste shooting the light bullets.
I would recommend a heavy, 350gr plus bullet. Most of sabot bullets today are on the light side, meant for deer size game. They are trying to make a 200yard plus gun out of a muzzleloader. With scopes on muzzleloaders not legal hear during the special hunts, you are going to be limited to around 100yards. Trajectory differences of light and heavy bullets won't matter much at that range. Moose are big, shoot as heavy a bullet as you can. My wife has found the 405gr powerbelt and 2ea 50gr triple seven pellets to be accurate.
I too recomend a big bullet. The 460 grain Hornady is a great choice. However great accuracy from a fast twist barrel with a maximum powder charge isn't real likely with this bullet. I would start with 3/30 grain pellets and get used to the gun then move up to 4 and see how the gun groups. A 460 grain Great Plains bullet running in the neighborhood of 1500 fps will piss limber any moose out to 100 yrds.
I would not hesitate to shoot 150 yrds plus with a 300grain XTP in a sabot with 5 30gr pellets. I once killed two big ole corn fed Iowa does with one shot using a 300 grain xtp and 2 50 grain Pyrodex pellets. They were lined up side by side with the bullet entering just behind the front shoulder of the first deer and exiting through the off shoulder of the second deer. That was one heck of an exit wound I might add. I think there was still enough goody left that it could have killed one more ifen they would have lined up in such a fasion.
To help you out w/ the bore butter, I have been using it for 8 years now and I love it. I can get 10 shots out before it takes a lot of elbow grease to get the sabot fully seated. I usually shoot until I am content and clean it when I get home but if I plan on shooting all day I will run a brush and some bore cleaner through then some bore butter and have at it some more. I don't skimp on the bore butter when I finish my "deep" cleaning after a day of shooting. I get the barrel real good and put some on the threads of the breach plug.
I sure do appreciate all the good tips and experience. I think I might go ahead and pick up some powerbelts as well as some T-7 pellets to see what the rifle shoots best compared with the Branes sabots and pyrodex. I remember shooting the powerbelts at the ADF&G course and liked how they loaded so easily. They also shot pretty well if memory serves.
You use the bore butter on the breech plug threads? I was under the impression (from the manual) that I should use an anti sieze type on the breech plug threads. Sounds like you've been doing it for a while though and it works.
Is what they say about easier clean-up true with the T-7 pellets/powder?