Knight SS Shadow?
I have hunted with front stuffers for years and have always been a little reluctant to cave in to the new fangled in-line guns. However I just bought a brand splinter new 50 cal Knight SS Shadow off Gunbroker for 150 bucks.
The gun is equiped with a 26 inch stainless steel Green Mountain barrel. I have a slow twist Green Mountain barrel on a TC White Mountain carbine that shoots 2 inch groups at 50 yards with iron sights and round balls so I am sold on the Green Mountain barrels. The problem is that Iowa's late muzzleloader season finds most of the deer out in the open as they have been run out of the woods by three months of hunting pressure. The first week of January I was out trying to spot coyotes and found three monster bucks on three seperate mornings bedded down in fence rows and waterways. Since I normally hunt the early muzzleloader season in October, I was out of the running on these bruisers (no tag). However I decided to try to make a stalk on the last one spotted (the biggest and an honest 180 class 12 pointer) just to see how close I could get before he spooked. So I locked the rifle in the truck and plodded out across the snow covered cornstalks armed with only my binoculars. Heading into the wind and using the only the lay of the land for cover I came to the crest in the hill and belly crawled to the best vantage point. The big fella was still bedded down at a distance of around 200 yards and was oblivious to being spied on. I backed back down the hill and went a little further around and was able to slip up a little closer using a terrace in a waterway as cover. When I peaked over the terrace he was still there, about 150 yards out and laying in plain sight but being sheltered from the wind by a brush pile on the far side of him. Even though he looked bigger than a barn he was still way to far out had I been packing the White Mountain carbine. I watched him for 20 minutes and had to purposely try to draw attention to myself before he got nervous. Even then he just stood up and stared at me for five minutes trying to figure out what I was. I went through the whole range of motions of shooting him with my pretend gun and since most of me was still concealed behind the terrace he was none the wiser. He eventually got tired of the game and left but do you have any idea how many times I have relived that non hunting episode in my mind........hense the new in line!
So I'd appreciate it if you guys shooting the shiney and black new fangled 150 grain magnums would give me the low down. Which bullets for long range thumping with this 26 inch 1 in 28 twist barrel? Which powder? Loose? Pellets? Jim Shokey's junk? I'm all ears!
I haven't shot anything but paper that far and further, but I'll pass along what I've learned on paper targets along with a few insights from friends who make long shots on game.
I'm assuming that you can use scopes there, but if not consider a flip-up tang-style peep sight. An acquaintance in Idaho uses one with lead conicals (home cast Lyman Great Plains bullet) on his TC Hawken 50 for longrange shooting, while leaving the factory sight in place on the barrel. He has the conventional sights dialed in at 100 with the tang peep laid flat. For longer shots he raises the tang peep, which is sighted in at 175. Laser range finder and close familiarity with his trajectory lets him use the tang peep for everything over 100 and the conventional sights for everything under. He's made witnessed mule deer shots out to just over 200 with that outfit. Another long range game shooter I know uses a similar load, but does everything with a Lyman 57 receiever sight, which he has marked for different ranges. He lasers his animal, then adjusts the sight accordingly.
Now my own experience on paper with a scoped Knight and sabots (with 45 cal 300 grainers). I gave up on pellets. My particular rifle wasn't accurate with any combo I could manage with pellet combos, plus ignition appeared to be inconsistent judging by fluctuating sound levels. It did best with loose Triple Seven. I also had much better luck at long range with those 300 grainers than anything lighter. No, they don't shoot quite as fast or as flat inside 200, but they take over from the lighter stuff beyond that. With any bullet and load, trajectory is a rainbow past 150, so a laser range finder and tight groups were more important than any other details. Misjudging the range by even 20 yards would probably have resulted in a miss or a long blood trail. Even with the 300's wind drift was horrendous at 200, and it got worse with every foot of added range. By 300 yards what seemed like a mild breeze could blow the bullets completely off my 4'x4' target backstop.
I've got aging eyes, so for me the scope would be mandatory for shots at game as far as you're talking and further. If you've got younger eyes and regs against scopes, then you could get by with either of the sight combos my acquaintances use.
Sounds like a really fun and challenging hunt. Keep us posted what you work out in your load testing, and of course, post pics of the trophy!
Thanks for the advice BrownBear! I will get some Tripple seven and give it a go. I will be mounting a Nikon 2x7 shotgun scope on this muzzleloader figuring the extra eye relief will be welcomed.
I'll shoot it some when it gets here and let you know how it turns out!
When you get into the heavy bullets and charges, that extra eye relief will be a bonus. I've got a very light Knight 54 caliber that will scope you every single time you pop a cap on heavy loads with a VXIII Leopold 1.5x5. Yet that scope never pops me on any of my biggest cartridge guns. Go figure!
Originally Posted by elmerkeithclone
BrownBear; I took the Knight to the range today and gave it a go. I couldn't find any Tripple Seven but I had a can of Pyrodex Select on hand so I burned some of it. I started with 100 grains and a saboted 240 gr XTP. Since I had bore sighted the rig at home I started out at 100 yards. The first three shots went into 2 1/2 inches about a foot high and right of the bull. A little twisting with a dime and I had it where I wanted it. The best group I got was just a bit over 2 inches. This was running a wet patch and then dry patch down the bore between shots.
I then upped it to 150 grains and the groups opened to about 4 inches and the muzzle flash was a pretty good indication that there was some of the powder burning after exiting the barrel.
In all reality the difference between 100 grains and 150 grains is on par with the difference in 44 mag rifle and a 444 Marlin rifle as far as how fast the 240 grainer is driven. The purpose for which I got this gun is for longish shots so I am gonna keep playing with it and will pick up some Tripple Seven and some of that Black Horn stuff to play with. I want to get the most out of it so am hoping I can find something that will shoot well in it with a high end charge!
I'll keep ya posted!
I have an inline Knight Bighorn 50 cal. with a Nikon Omega Bullet Drop Compensator. The BDC is set assuming you use 150 grain powder (I use Pyrodex pellets) and a 250 grain bullet Powerbelt bullet. Haven't shot it in a couple of years but can put three rounds at 100 yards all within a 3" diameter. Might want to take a look at the Omega.
Do that! Those sound like great results. For the best long range performance you might have a look at some 300 grain bullets, too. They don't start as fast, but they hold their velocity and trajectory better. I'm using the 44 and 45 caliber speers in my 54 knight (two different sabots) specifically because of the performance in game of the 44 in my 444 and a 44 wildcat based on an expanded 45-70 case. They just hold together a lot better than the Hornady's when closer range shots present themselves. I haven't chronoed the load in the 54 knight, but 100 grains of pyro RS really shoots well at 100. It can't be close to what the wildcat 44 is turning out (2350fps), so I'd expect it to hold together even better. I can tell you that out of the wildcat, it's plenty flat for 150 yard deer, and the one I shot at that range really went down. No bullet recovery, but the wound channel sezz it expanded well while holding together well. A deer shot with the Hornady 300 at around 100 yards is what sent me looking at the Speers. Ick.
Originally Posted by elmerkeithclone
try magnum pellets
I have had better luck with triple 7 magnum pellets more powder burns in the barrel than on the ground in front of you. I shoot the powerbelt 338 grain platnum bullets, when hunting outside Ak I have a 2-7 power scope and can get good groups at 100 yards. I have shot a moose with this load and it works well.
Do those 777 pellets deteriorate as fast as the Pyrodex version once you open the box? On the wet coast, I can have problems getting the Pyro versions to light off after the box has been open even a couple of months. Airborne humidity is hell on them, no matter what I've tried in storage. Yet I have no problems with longevity of loose Pyro!
Seems to have lots to do with the ignition compound on the base of the pellets, because sometimes even when I do get them to go off I get a few shots with kind of "prolonged" bangs and even a fireball out the muzzle a couple of times. No chrono testing, but when that happens the shot lands way far outside my group. If I was going to hunt with them, it would be a new box or nothing. I'd sure be doing the same if you were coming to the coast with Pyro pellets.
I have never had a problem with the pellets but I alway buy new before a trip I also break down the box into several packages and vaccum seal that way if the immediate use ones get wet the other pellets are still usable. I save the plastic boxes and seal the pellets in those to avoid breaking up the pellets. It also helps being in the interior.
That sounds like a great strategy, especially considering how expensive both powder and pellets have become these days. Especially for hunts, I need to be super confident in my gear and components.
I made a trip to the new Bass Pro Shop just down the road yesterday. They didn't have the 338 gr Powerbelts on hand. They did have the 295 copper jobs, so I payed a little better than a buck a piece for 20 of them and brought them home with me. I also bought a box of the 50/50 777 pellets.
The results at the range this morning were good. Three pellets behind those 295 grainers will wake a feller up when he lights them off but they shoots straight and thats what matters. I cleaned all of the bore butter out of the gun before heading out and popped a few primers just to make sure it could breath. I fired only three shots at the range. The first was about an inch low but dead on so I bumped it up some and then shot again. This time I was about 2.5 inches high and still dead on. The third round landed right next to second one a pencil width appart. Then it started to rain. I am confident that this combo will do the job.
I have a 40 acre piece of land that I lease that is smack dab next to a large nature preserve on one side and nonhuntable state owned property on the other side. Last year there was a real dandy that eluded my son and I all bow season. The neighbors killed a whopper durying the late muzzleloader season and I assumed it was him. Not so... I saw him on each of the last two scouting trips. So I'm thinking I'm gonna try to put one of those Power Belts into him durying the early front stuffer season Oct 17-23. I fully intended to go after one of those late season lay out in the open deer but dang it this ones got me seeing him in my sleep.
The deer started making scrapes the first week in october last year and they're doing so 2 weeks earlier this year. The next full moon tells me they will rut early this year. So keep your fingers crossed boys......them bucks should be like 16 year old boys on prom night by then. My puter doesn't do the picture thing but if I get him killed I'll find one that does and maybe the moderators will spare me and let me post on this musket forum!