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hawkeye270's picture
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Location: Fort Collins, CO
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What's your maximum range with open sights?

The longest shot I have taken on a big game animal was 135 yards and that was my buck from this year. I practice out to 200 yards regularly but people seem to act like something is wrong when I tell them that I do so. If all conditions are perfect, I feel confident taking a shot on a deer up to 200 yards. This is because I have proven that I can hit a 12 inch circle out to that range and that is what I hold myself too.

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Location: NE NV
Joined: 03/18/2010
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150 yards is about it & that

150 yards is about it & that ONLY after not being able to get any closer.  If you're really really comfortable at 200 have at it but you're really pushing it with a muzzleloader.  Also, I can't honestly remember when "all conditions are perfect".

In my mind muzzleloader hunting is a short range game - 100 yards or less.  I've passed up a few that I couldn't get closer to, shot at & missed a few that I didn't want to pass up, killed one or two that maybe I should have passed up, & wounded one that hind site tells me that I shouldn't have fired at.  None were more than 150 yards but the only ones I feel good about later were the ones I passed up.

Critter's picture
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Location: Western Colorado
Joined: 03/26/2009
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I would say that 150 yards is

I would say that 150 yards is max for a muzzle loader with a scope or open sights.  The big thing that you have to look at is the trajectory of the bullet.  You are no longer shooting a sleek pointed bullet but a short fat one and the balistics will change.  If you sight your ML in at 150 yards with either open or a scope well then you quite possibly will shoot over your target at 50 yards.  So what I would do and have done with my muzzle loaders is sight them in at 100 yards and limit my shots to 150 yards.  I missed out on a oppertunity this last muzzle loader season in Utah when a couple of hunters figured that they could take 200 yard shots at a deer.  Both times they missed but since they figured that they had a 1x scope on the rilfe that they could shoot that distance. 

hunterkurt's picture
Location: WI
Joined: 03/27/2009
Posts: 15
  I just got back from

  I just got back from Nebraska hunting deer during there Dec. muzzleloader season.  I shoot a .50 cal. T/C Bone Collector with a Nikon-Omega scope. I use 120 grains of black Horn 209 with a 235 grain precision rifle bullet and winchester 209 primers. With this combination at 100 yrds. I'm dead on, and at 200 yrds. I can consecutively shoot a 2" pattern, and at 300 yrds. I can keep them in a 8" pattern. (about the size of a paper plate)

  I was lucky enouph to stalk a bedded Mule Deer within 200 yrds. I waited for him to stand and give me a broadside shot and 2 hours later he did.  I shot through this buck at that distance, and he dropped like a rock.....

  I'm not afraid to shoot long distances if I know I can make a good shot.  I have my own shooting range on my property that allows me to shoot up to 500 yrds. (further if needed) I'm at the range alot practicing my long range shooting.

  So it can be done, but it takes alot of time and alot of patience. (patience=finding the right load or combination you gun likes to shoot)

Ca_Vermonster's picture
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Location: San Diego, CA
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I don't think I would push it

I don't think I would push it much past 150 yards.  I shoot it at 100 yards now, but I don't think I could push it to 200.  Just don't feel comfortable with that disatnce.

Then again, what animal are we talking about?  If it's a bigger animal, say an elk, I would have to reconsider that.  I would probably take a shot out to 200 yards. I know the gun can shoot that far, and you kill zone is twice what it is on a deer, so yeah, I can see myself doing it in that situation.

groovy mike's picture
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Joined: 03/19/2009
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open sights

With open sights I don't think I would shoot beyond 175 yards, and only under ideal conditions.

Even with a good scoped rifle I wouldn't shoot past 275 under ideal conditions.

These are the extremes.  Most of my shots are well under 100 yards, and if you throw in brush, any movement, gusty wind etc. then the long shots mentioned baove would be off the table.

The key as you alluded to, is to be 100% sure of your shot at any given distance and in those conditions before you pull the trigger.  Not that I havn't missed, but you owe it to the animal top be as sure as you can that you can make a humane and ethical kill before you shoot.



buffybr's picture
Location: Montana, USA
Joined: 11/15/2007
Posts: 358
open sights

Several years ago, I had Lasik eye surgery that corrected my distance vision to 20/20, but it didn't do my close vision any good.  I can now see the animals a mile away, but those iron sights are just a blur.

I still practice with my magnum pistols and iron sighted rifles at the 100 yd gong at our club range, but I don't hit it as many times as I used to.  A 100 yd shot would be about max for me with open sights.

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

I don't have set ranges as long as, when you squeeze the trigger, you KNOW you can make the shot. Personally, with my eyesight open sight shots just aren't a viable option. I can see the target or the sights but never both, so I went with a scope.


hunter25's picture
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Location: Colorado western slope
Joined: 11/13/2009
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I have not hunted with one

I have not hunted with one for about five years now but when I did I practiced out to 100 yards and limited my shots to that. This was using a Cabelas Hawken .54 with a peep sight.

I've only taken four animals with them.

A cow elk at 50 yards with a .54, A doe at 30 yards with the same, A small buck at about 50 yards again with the same .54 Hawken.

I used a .50 caliber inline for one year but was only able to take a coyote with it. My best shot ever with a muzzleloader at 172 yards. I did practice out to 200 yards with that one using the Aero tip power belt bullets.


AlpineClimber's picture
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285 Grain Barnes Expander with 150 Grain of Powder. (3-50/50's)

I shoot a Thompson Omega with a thumbhole stock and zeroed two guns for 150 yards for my son and myself.  We've shot 3 cow elk at 225, 140 and 110.  I shot a 6 x 5 Bull in New Mexico's Unit 13 at 185 yards.  Only one of the 4 had to be tracked more than 50 yards.

I built my gun from scratch and found an identical one with a Zeiss Scope for my son on a consignment rack at the Don's Sport Shop in Scottsdale.  The previous owner had only sent 6 shots through it.

Technology has change and there are some great new guns out.  We just have so much confidence in these that there is no reason to switch at this time.

Topgun 30-06's picture
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saskie---I could have written

saskie---I could have written the exact post you put up in this thread, especially the eye part!!!