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Location: Illinois
Joined: 07/09/2005
Posts: 60
Questions about muzzle loaders.

Howdy all,

Any advise for someone who has never shot a muzzle loader before. I'm considering getting one for IL deer. We can use shotgun, pistol, or muzzle loader. Is it true that you can be accurate out to 250 yards with a muzzle loader? Has anyone used the new Nikon BDC muzzle loader scope yet, and if so any opinions. I pretty accurate with a rifle, and my shotgun is accurate out to 150-200 yards with the new Hornady slugs. Can I reach out even further with a muzzle loader? Does anyone have any opinions on which muzzle loaders to consider for maximum range? OK, I think I crammed enough questions into one post.

Thanks, gcpd35

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Location: Colorado
Joined: 11/09/2005
Posts: 166
Questions about muzzle loaders.

First and foremost, double check the game laws where you're going to hunt. Do not trust what a friend tells you, or what a salesperson at a gun shop tells you. Every gun shop here in Colorado sells stuff for muzzleloaders that is illegal to use for hunting, and about 75% of the salespeople do not KNOW that the stuff they are selling is illegal!

Second, realize that a muzzleloader is essentially a short-range weapon. Is it possible to make shots out to 250 yards? Sure, just like it is possible to make shots out to 600 yards with a modern magnum. But just like with the modern rifle, 99.9% of the hunters out there have absolutely no business even attempting shots like that.

Don't just assume that, because you can make a 200 yard shot with your .30-06, you can make the same shot with your muzzleloader. They are different animals and you need to practice shots at that range until you are comfortable with them and are CERTAIN that you can make them.

Even better is to work in closer. Yes, it's more effort, but it's worth it. I've been hunting with muzzleloaders for more than a dozen years now and the LONGEST shot I've ever taken on a deer or elk was just over 80 yards.

Good luck!

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Location: Illinois
Joined: 07/09/2005
Posts: 60
Questions about muzzle loaders.

denverd0n,

Thanks for the input. Trust me I agree that there are many hunters out there who should not take the long shots. And I'm not saying that I plan on hunting at extended ranges, I just want the option to do so. I would never shoot at an animal unless I was confident in my weapon and abilities. I believe whole heartedly in practice, practice, practice, and thats what I will do. The farm that I hunt is pretty open, and sometimes it's pretty hard to get close. Trust me when I say I like getting close to the game, thats the fun part. I usually try and stalk deer when I have the chance. But the past couple of years I have seen some amazing bucks (150"-180") out just past 200 yards. I hunt with a Mossberg bolt action rifled barrel shotgun, and use Hornady SST slugs. I know they say that those slugs are capable of 200 yard shots, but I'm not comfortable shooting them at that range. I did shoot a buck at 153 yards last year. I'm very comfortable at 150yards.

I guess what I'm saying is please don't think I'm going to grab a ML off the shelf, and start blasting at deer at 250 yards. I'm just looking at potential of extending my range and taking up a new style of hunting. Plus I do like shooting distance for accuracy. Again thanks for the input.

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Location: Upper Peninsula of Michigan
Joined: 01/13/2007
Posts: 368
Questions about muzzle loaders.

There is one muzzleloader, the Ultimate Muzzleloader, made in Michigan that advertizes 400 yd capabilities. To do this it uses 200 grains of powder!!! Recoil must be something else! I agree with earlier posts, muzzle loaders are short range weapons by their very nature. In my experience, the bullet drop beyond about 150 yds is great, and makes precise range determination and knowledge of bullet trajectory essential if you are going to make a killing shot.
The scope you mentioned is set up for a specific load and any variation from that load (ie: heavier bullets) will change bullet impact point. Note the spacing between their 150 yd and 200 yd aiming circles and between their 200 yd and 250yd circles. This indicates extreme drop as you pass 150 yds. The final issue is bullet terminal energy at long range. Will the bullet retain enough energy to meet the reccomended 1000 foot pounds for deer.

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Location: Upper Peninsula of Michigan
Joined: 01/13/2007
Posts: 368
Questions about muzzle loaders.

I have just finished reading a new book by Toby Bridges entitled: Muzzleloader Hunting: Then and Know. Published by Woods N' Water, Inc. PO Box 550, Florida, New York 10921. In this book, Toby makes a good case for 200 to 250 yd capability from modern in-line muzzleloaders with the right bullets and powder charges. A MUST READ in my opinion!!

Joined: 09/07/2009
Posts: 27
I have made 250 yard shots

I have made 250 yard shots with my Encore, and have made a 300(with about 5 ft of hold-over) at a paper target. I can make the shot and the gun can do the shot. Thing is, is there enough energy left at that range for a clean kill? I think not, so I won't attempt a 250 at an animal. If I can't get within 100 yards, actually I prefer 50, I question my tactics and abilities. Whistling

saskie's picture
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Location: West Carleton, Ottawa, Canada
Joined: 12/23/2002
Posts: 1264
well said

RatherBNtheWoods wrote:

I have made 250 yard shots with my Encore, and have made a 300(with about 5 ft of hold-over) at a paper target. I can make the shot and the gun can do the shot. Thing is, is there enough energy left at that range for a clean kill? I think not, so I won't attempt a 250 at an animal. If I can't get within 100 yards, actually I prefer 50, I question my tactics and abilities. Whistling

Well said, that sentiment, combined with the earlier comparison to 600yd rifle shots pretty much somes up my thoughts on blackpowder hunting. I have heard of +200yd shots; personally I'd never try one with mine. If I'm using the smoke pole I've made a conscious decision to set up for 50yds and restrict shots to inside 100 period. The trade-off is I get the bush (more or less) to myself, no dress requirements (in Sask at least) and have extra month to hunt.

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Location: Colorado
Joined: 07/13/2011
Posts: 865
I can kill paper all day at

I can kill paper all day at 200yds with a ML. I'd never try it on an animal.

RevHoover's picture
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Joined: 06/16/2010
Posts: 45
it is all about you...

What do you enjoy about hunting? 

The above advice is very sound.

Muzzleloading is about enjoying Muzzleloading. If you don't enjoy spending a lot of time with your gun... you will not enjoy hunting with a muzzleloader. 

For me... I want a lot of fpe within 110 yards. I prefer a .58.

Other want a lot of fps and go with a .45 or .50 and shoot to 150 yards. (some shoot farther... personally I think this is foolish... my opinion) 

The point... find a weapon that will make a clean kill, is legal to use, that you can handle effectively, that you enjoy hunting with, and don't worry about what others think. It does not matter if it is a shotgun, rifle, bow, crossbow, airgun, or muzzleloader. The purpose is to enjoy hunting.  

Have fun!

 

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