WidenersMidSouth Shooters SupplyADvertise hereTitan Reloading
Inline FabricationLee PrecisionRepackboxRotoMetals2

Results 1 to 6 of 6

Thread: Some helpful tips for those getting ready for the muzzleloader hunting seasons

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Minnesota
    Posts
    2,163

    Some helpful tips for those getting ready for the muzzleloader hunting seasons

    I'd like to share some hard fought knowledge for those of you getting ready for hunting. I've been shooting my rifles all year, however, I've really cracked down this week. In the last 7 days, I've spent about 20 hours at the shooting range.

    The first thing I tested was the clean bore first shot. One day I went to the range with a jar of water, and some patches. Every single shot I took the barrel off, cleaned it like I always do, and dried it off by setting it on the truck dash with the heat running, then one oil patch followed by a dry patch before loading. This was painstaking, about 15-20 minutes per shot. I learned two things from this. #1 a clean bore shoots about 6"-8" off at 50 yards from a fouled bore. I already knew this. #2, my rifle shoots like absolute garbage with a clean bore. I've done this test on another rifle that shoots normally from a clean bore, it even groups to the same place. This rifle was different. Moral of the story, either hunt with a fouled bore, or 100% test your gun before hand. I find far more often than not that a clean bore is significantly off from a fouled bore.

    The next thing I tested was how to foul a bore besides just firing a round or two, which does work. What I discovered was it is far more important to lube with your bullet lube, than any fouling. This makes me suspect that it is the oil, and not the fouling that actually causes these problems. Since I was using Crisco for lube, I cleaned my TC Renegade, TC New Englander, and TC Scout pistol well, and ran a Crisco patch to protect. This is a short term solution only, say a few weeks tops. The first day I snapped two caps in each gun, ran one dry patch, and then loaded normally. In all three guns, the first shot was right in the center of the group, meaning they hit exactly to where a fouled bore did. I repeated this for a second day with the same results. Both days, six shots, those shots were pretty much in the dead center of the group too. I also tested a squib load, which was about 30 grains of powder, and a bit of patch to hold it in. This worked well too. The last thing I tested was a clean gun, but then oiled with my normal gun oil, CorrosionX. In this case the first rifle I snapped two caps, and that first shot went 7" wide. The second rifle I did a squib load, and it wasn't as bad, but still a good 5" off. The scout pistol I did nothing, as I had decided the oil was the problem, and it was the best at about 3" low. The guns then continued to hit to the sights after the fouling shot. All shooting was done at 50 yards. Come Saturday, I'll have clean bores, lubed with Crisco, and then snap two caps. I did not get time to try simply loading a clean bore lubed with Crisco without doing anything else.

    The next thing is a lot more debatable, however, it may help some in my shoes. I am talking about getting a patched round ball to shoot well in a TC rifle. The first gun isn't even a rifle, it's the scout pistol with a 1:20 twist barrel. This is my most accurate muzzleloader, I kid you not. The only limiting factor is me, and basic open sights. The load that shoots great in that is as follows. 60gr FFg Goex, two 1/8" dense felt wads, pillow ticking patch lubed with Crisco, .532" round ball cast of pure lead. This load groups an average of 3" at 50 yards, once in a while it will shoot a one hole group that makes your eyes pop. What boggles me about this gun, is that the barrel has some pitting. Often patches would end up torn or shredded, nothing seems to matter. This handgun shoots good no matter what. Pillow ticking was definitely the best shooting. Notice I am using two felt wads. With no wad, recovered patches have a big hole in the center. These still shoot quite well. With one felt wad it maybe a little better, but not much. Adding two felt wads 100% cures the problem, recovered patches are as good as new.

    The Renegade is the big one, as it is the crankiest rifle I have ever owned. Chances are good I'll be selling it. That said, I'll be hunting with it yet. I did manage to get it to shoot pretty well with conicals, although I far prefer shooting round ball. After months and months of testing I never could get it to shoot good with a PRB, but I did manage to get it where I trust it for hunting accuracy, meaning sub 4", out to 75 yards. That load is 80gr FFg Goex, one 1/8" felt wad, duck canvas patch cut from my Carhartt pants lubed with crisco, and a Hornady .520 (actual .522") ball. The felt wad doesn't help or hurt accuracy in the Renegade, I just like the idea of the powder barrier. The powder charge makes little difference, however 50 and 60 grains does not shoot as well. 70-100 all shoots about the same, at 120 grains it seems to open up again.

    I did not give the New Englander a fair try, however, it is more accurate than the Renegade. It too shoots good with the canvas patch and .522" ball. I never could get any gun with any load to group great at 100 yards and a PRB. Only with a conical. What was common across all guns was that the powder charge made next to no difference at 50 yards. Going forward, I believe I am going to do load work ups with a standard charge of say 70 grains of powder, and just change the ball, patch, and wadding. The patch and ball combo was far and away the biggest factor in accuracy. I tried 3 different lubes, and as far as accuracy goes, I could not measure any difference.

    Those of you fighting a 1:48 twist TC, try a canvas patch and .520" ball. I never would have guessed a thick patch and small ball was the way to go. Everyone I had ever talked to said thin patch and large ball was the key. It's not hard to load either. I need a ball starter, but it's no tighter than a .530 ball and pillow ticking. I still can't get my rifles to shoot great, but where they were shooting 4" at 50 yards, they now shoot 2". Between three ball sizes, and a handful of patch types, this was the ONLY combo that was good.

    One tip I have is those that cut patches at the muzzle. I had been thinking of ways I could quicken reloading in the field for hunting when I looked down. The shooting range is littered with "pre-cut" patches you just fired. I grabbed a handful and kept the best ones to keep in my shooting bag. That simplifies reloading quite a bit. I even shot them, and they do group right with the brand new patches.

    One more tip I have, I have tested all year. And that is for those who swab between shots, try shop towels, the kind that looks like paper towel. Maybe this is well known, but the blue shop towels you can buy anywhere work great for swabbing. All I do is tear off a piece about 1"x2", fold it in half, and use it. I lick it to wet it. I found this trick out when I ran out of T shirt one day, and was half way through cleaning a gun. The stuff tears easy, so I was surprised when I used them, and found it holds up great. Shop towels are dirt cheap, I don't reuse any patches. I make one pass, and throw them away. I have probably put 400 shots downrange swabbing with these, and never once had one come apart, or get lost down the bore. I still clean my guns with T shirt, as the shop towels do not hold up to much pumping.

    Hopefully this will help someone before the season. I'll be out shooting one more time Friday, then ideally the next time will be a single shot with the scout pistol on a deer.
    Last edited by megasupermagnum; 11-27-2019 at 09:04 PM.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master brewer12345's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Location
    Denver Metro Area
    Posts
    889
    So if you grease the gun with a lubed patch after cleaning and then run a dry patch, you avoid the first shot variance? Very interesting.
    "If you see me running something has gone poorly, and you should probably run too." - any beekeeper

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Minnesota
    Posts
    2,163
    Quote Originally Posted by brewer12345 View Post
    So if you grease the gun with a lubed patch after cleaning and then run a dry patch, you avoid the first shot variance? Very interesting.
    It has worked 6 times for me anyway. I'll be trying it again Friday in all three guns. Like I said, I doubt this will protect for long, but I think it would have to be better than a fouled bore. Those that have guns that are accurate well past 100 yards may find a different result.

  4. #4
    After previous cleaning & lubing,
    I like to run an alcohol patch through to dry everything out,
    I still snap a few caps before loading.

    I should clarify, "after storage" I run an alcohol patch through.

    AntiqueSledMan.
    Last edited by AntiqueSledMan; 11-28-2019 at 06:49 PM.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Minnesota
    Posts
    2,163
    Quote Originally Posted by AntiqueSledMan View Post
    After previous cleaning & lubing,
    I like to run an alcohol patch through to dry everything out,
    I still snap a few caps before loading.

    AntiqueSledMan.
    I should mention that I did all the tests with the above mentioned loads with a patched round ball. I did try an alcohol patch, however, it was with a Lee REAL conical. It did not work in that instance. I've found the Lee REAL to be about the touchiest bullet there is. I did get it, along with an Accurate molds conical, and a store bought Maxi ball to all shoot 3"-4" at 100 yards.

    I just find the PRB to be a lot less touchy once you find the ideal patch and ball. After thinking about it, a conical does not really lube or scrape fouling when loading, contrary to many advertisements. This seems to make them very particular to a fouled barrel, and lube. PRB on the other hand basically leaves a clean bore and lubes at the same time.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Minnesota
    Posts
    2,163
    I shot today, but only the Renegade and Scout pistol. Both were clean bore, lubed with crisco again. Again both shots fell well inside of the main group. I'm quite happy with this. The guns are again cleaned and lubed with crisco, and I'll be hunting in the morning.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check