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Thread: What muzzleloader do you hunt AK game with?

  1. #1
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    Default What muzzleloader do you hunt AK game with?

    And what type of bullet do you use? I haven't killed anything with mine yet, but I hunt with a Cabela's .50 caliber sporterized hawken hunter carbine. 21" barrel.

  2. #2

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    I use one of four, depending on what's up. During special seasons, I have a Lyman Great Plains Rifle in 54 cal, open sights, 1:66 round ball twist barrel. My usual hunting load is 100 grains of FF or Pyrodex RS or 90 grains of Pyrodex P for around 1650 fps. Could push a little higher, but inside 100 yards there's no need. I have been debating getting a second 1:28 twist barrel for conicals and more penetration, but so far I've had super performance with plain old PRB.

    During the regular season I have been playing with an older Knight carbine (22" barrel) in 54 caliber, mounted with a Leopold 1.5x5 scope. It surely kills at both ends with heavy conicals, but man, does it smack game. A 435 grain conical at almost 1500 fps kills out of all proportion of ballistics, probably due to larger diamter without neededing to expand, plus being pure lead so it expands anyway. For deer I shoot a 45 cal Speer bullet in Nosler sabots on top of 90 grains FF or Pyrodex RS. This chronos 1400 even out of the short barrel, is accurate as the dickens, and surprisingly flat shooting. I can usually break an inch at 50 yards, around 1.25-1.75 inches at 100, and less than 3 inches at 150. Sighted in 2 inches high at 50, it's on the money at 100 and about 6 low at 150.

    For small game I bounce between a 32 cal Traditions Crockett and a 36 cal short barrel of some off brand (can't remember). The Crockett gets all the attention now, because it will consistently break an inch at 50 ayrds when I do my part, a .310 ball in a .015 patch over 25 grains of Pyrodex P.

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    Default smoke pole

    I use a Jackie brown 62 cal. flintlock smoothbore with a .600 patched roundball on top of a shot cushion with 80 grs. FF. Sometimes I use it for small game too with equal amounts of shot to powder. I haven't used it in Alaska yet but I used it on whitetails and it certainly stopped them in there tracks, perhaps I'll get a chance to try it on moose.

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    Member alaska bush man's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Muzzleloader

    For Black Bear over bait a Browning Mountain Rifle in 54 cal with a 220gr patched round ball in mink oil lube and 100gr of 777 2F.

    For Moose a 50 or 54 cal Knight MK 85 with Barnes Xpander Bullets a 100 gr of 777 2F.
    Alaska

  5. #5

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    Tell me more about accuracy with your smoothie, Matt. I've shot a friend's .69 and he was still struggling to get it to shoot. I like the option of using shot for small game, as well as PRB.

    And how about that 777 ABM? Your charges sound pretty stiff, following the formula for reducing charges from regular BP or Pyro loads. I've messed with it some in my Lyman GPR, but haven't tried it in that 54 Knight. As much as I've been shooting it lately, the ease of cleaning is starting to look pretty good. I'm a fan of traditional, but also fascinated with inlines and modern improvements for use during the regular season.

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    Member stevelyn's Avatar
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    I have a .54 Lyman GPR. I haven't hunted with it yet as I'm still tweeking and tuning it.
    Now what ?

  7. #7

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    Hey Stevelyn. I think you'll be thrilled with the GPR once you get it in the field, but I'll offer some unsolicited advice on the tuning and tweeking.

    Clean the dickens out of the barrel. There's some kind of thin brown preservative/lubricant in there from the factory that is the dickens to get out, even after a fair bit of firing. But the accuracy potential doesn't come out till you have gotten it all out.

    Get a 35 cal pistol or rifle cleaning brush and use that on your rod to clean out the patent breech every time you are cleaning. The breech tapers down below 54 cal, and neither a 54 cal brush or patch and swag will get down in there to do the right job.

    Even with all that, clean it a second time about a week later if you are going to let it sit a while. Especially on the second cleaning for storage, I leave the nipple out and lay the rifle down for a while with a hair dryer pointed down the snout to dry it really well, then follow with an alcohol patch, then a dry rust preventative. I don't particularly like WD-40, but have had great luck with Remington EEZOX. It dries completely so it doesn't collect dust and lint (which pull water from the air and start rust) like WD-40.

    In the course of "shooting in," my GPR changed it's nature. Initially it liked .530 balls and .015 patches, but after 250 or 300 shots, it started preferring .535 balls and .015 patches. It takes a pretty good smack of the starter to get the combo under way, but wow, did the accuracy go up with the switch. I tried the combo initially and could barely get it started, requiring the .010 patch if I used a .535 ball. But after shooting a while, I noticed loads started seating a lot easier and accuracy began to suffer.

    With mine, accuracy trailed off if I went over 100 gn FF or Pyro RS. Cleanest burning hunting load and most accurate is 90gn Pyrodex P with PRB. Best target load is 60gn Pyrodex P. It's a sincere rabbit thumper with 30grn Pyrodex P. Feels kinda funny to pack so much gun for hares, but head shots are the norm at all reasonable ranges, so no big dif. Sure lets you get in a lot of field time.

  8. #8
    Member stevelyn's Avatar
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    Default

    Thanks BB for the info. I'm still learning about muzzleloaders and every bit of info helps. I never thought of the .35 cal brush for the breech as my hot water and soap cleaning seems to get everything out. I do use a bore mop with Bore Butter to give a light coating for rust protection. I also do the same to the drum by removing the nipple and running a pipe clear with Bore Butter in it while it's still hot.

    My initial cleaning of the barrel was brake cleaner to loosen the big chunks and penetrate the preservative. It was followed by a thorough cleaning with MPro-7 and a hot water rinse.

    I found my accuracy load to be 80 gr. of 2F 777 and a pillow ticking patched .530 ball.

    Problem is I can't seem to get a decent enough day out here in AH to shoot. If it's not raining and blowing, it sunny and blowing or foggy and blowing. No matter what, this place just blows. Even today we've had gale force winds and a somewhat clear day.

    I can't dump powder out of my horn into the measure without half of it being scattered downwind and half again when I try and dump it down the barrel. I miss Fairbanks.

    Some of the tweeking I need to do is stake the front sight into the dovetail as it tends to wander. I also need to zero for 100 yards by taking the rear sight to the bottom, raising it about four clicks and then completing the zero by filing down the front sight. This'll give me a little adjustment in both directions if needed. I'd like to polish the trigger and fly a little as the finish is a bit rough and I think it would improve trigger pull and locktime.

    I've also found a tight spot in the barrel about a third of the way up from the breech that needs lapped. Probably wouldn't hurt the rest of the barrel either to get rid of possible burrs on the rifling.

    I've replaced the stock nipples with Knight Red Hots and I light off the charges with CCI Magnum caps. As stated above, 80 grs is my accuracy and likely my maximum load. As little as 5 grs increase starts opening groups. A 10 gr increase scatters them and starts blowing patches.
    I bought some lubed Wonder Wads to try under the ball, but I haven't tried them yet. I probably won't until the other issues are fixed.

    Initially when I started shooting it I was having a hard time getting a clear sight picture. After deciding my eyesight wasn't that bad, I started looking at the rear sight. Lo and behold there was a metal burr inside the notch that blocked the light a little. A little file work opened it up and it's much better.

    As you can see, I have a bit of work left to do on it before I even think about taking it hunting. I'd like to blood it on a hunt moose in the muzzleloading area up at Creamer's Field in Fairbanks one of these days.

    Overall I like the rifle and enjoy shooting it. I didn't expect to open the box and load 'er up and go. Muzzleloaders are kinda like bows, you have to work on them and with them a bit before you depend on them.
    Now what ?

  9. #9

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    Sounds like you're on a great path stevelyn. Just for frame of reference, even measured in total pounds rather than numbers, I've shot a lot more snowshoe hare with mine than big game. May seem crazy to some, but it's a terrific bunny head whacker with 30 grains of Pyrodex P and a PRB. Up till I got my Crockett 32 last year, I shot all my snowshoes with the Lyman 54. Talk about field practice!

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    Member fullkurl's Avatar
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    Default I shoot...

    .50 cal. Hastings barrel on my Rem 870. Sweet, simple and deadly-accurate set up with no extra gun lying around....

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    Default Smoothbore

    Brownbear, my smoothbore is able to drop a ball into a 5'' circle at 75 yds, mind you it has a front sight only. I think if there was a rear sight the distance could be extended. The ability to shoot shot certainly adds to the fun and it's a nice change up for rabbit season. Cabelas was selling a double smoothbore and Dixie gunworks probably has them as well, the extra barrell would certainly be a plus when hunting large game for a follow up shot.

  12. #12

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    Yeah, I've seen that kind of performance once a load is developed. Truth be known, from field shooting positions I would have trouble beating 5" at 75 yards with a rifled barrel! Certainly not by enough to make any dif on game.

    I had a Dixie 12-gauge double for a long time, but traded it off when steel shot came along and before loose bismuth was available. Used it for everything from ptarmigan to snowshoes and ducks with great success, but never tried ball in it. Many regrets in letting it go. Will replace it soon!

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    Member alaska bush man's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Powder

    In my Browning .54 I have dropped my charge down to 80 grs 777 2F using a .018 patched with mink oil and a remington .530 golden ball.

    At the range in my Knight MK 85 Stainless I use Windex Window cleaner to swab out my bore between shots.......works great with 777 powder!
    Alaska

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