180gr Hornady XTP for deer hunting via saboted muzzleloader

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by wasa, Aug 13, 2022.

  1. wasa

    wasa Member

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2019
    Messages:
    35
    I recently came into two boxes of Hornady #44050 44 Cal 180gr XTP pistol projectiles. I am a reloader, but I don't own a 44 or reload for 44 caliber. I do own two 50 caliber inline muzzleloaders that I use for deer hunting.

    My current deer hunting load is 2x50gr equivalent IMR WhiteHots with a sabotted 45 caliber Hornady XTP 250 gr pistol projectile. I also reload for 45 Colt in my Henry Big Boy. Was thinking that I could use 44 caliber green sabots with these new-to-me projectiles and save the 45 cal 250gr projectiles for my 45 Colt rifle.

    A quick internet search has me believing that I need to use 240-250 gr minimum and up to 300 gr for deer hunting with a sabotted pistol projectile. Hornady indicates on their website that these 44 cal projectiles are fine for medium game up to 300 lbs so I assume that when fired from a handgun (44 Magnum?) they are "fine" for deer at pistol velocities.

    So, am I foolish for even pondering 180gr pistol projectiles out of an inline muzzleloader for deer? Or am I missing the "punch" or knockdown power of a 250-300gr projectile at muzzleloader velocities (assuming 1800-2000 ft/s)? Or would you expect the 44 projectile would just make a 0.429" hole in the deer and pass right through? Or maybe no penetration, especially if I hit bone? Obviously lots of rifles use 180gr projectiles for hunting deer/moose/bear but at a much greater velocity.

    Thanks
     
  2. brewer12345

    brewer12345 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2015
    Messages:
    2,476
    These bullets have a low sectional density similar to a round ball. You could try shooting them and see if they are accurate. As far as terminal performance, just like with a 50 cal round ball I would push it fast and keep your distances modest, assuming it is accurate.
     
  3. Hugger-4641

    Hugger-4641 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2021
    Messages:
    1,732
    Location:
    West TN
    I would just buy a .44 pistol to use those XTP's and stick with a 250 to 300gr in the 50cal.:cool:
    But as already mentioned, if you try those .44's , push em fast.
     
  4. mcb

    mcb Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2008
    Messages:
    6,928
    Location:
    North Alabama
    That does seem a bit light for a muzzle loader. I am currently using an XTP in my muzzle loader but I am pushing a 45- cal 300gr XTP-HP.
     
    horsey300 and Captcurt like this.
  5. Hugger-4641

    Hugger-4641 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2021
    Messages:
    1,732
    Location:
    West TN
    I don't think he'll have a feed problem with a muzzle loader.:cool:
     
    Bfh_auto and brewer12345 like this.
  6. LoonWulf
    • Contributing Member

    LoonWulf Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2010
    Messages:
    16,234
    Location:
    Hawaii
    Id trade or sell them then get more of what you usually use since you'll have to switch sabots to shoot the .44s.
    Ive found that .44 bullets tend to be less accurate in my 50s than .45s. I assume because they have so much more sabot between them and the bore.
     
    Bfh_auto, horsey300, mcb and 2 others like this.
  7. stringnut

    stringnut Member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2014
    Messages:
    624
    I have the same issue as Loonwulf. The 44 just don’t fly well out of my muzzleloader. Pushing that bullet as fast as possible may cause more issues than it solves. The faster you drive them the more they tend to come unwrapped on impact. If that happens more is always better when it comes to bullet weight. Have killed a dozen, or so, white tails with 250 gr Xtp at various distances and at close range the bullet sheds a lot of weight. Big deer, close range, thru the shoulders may be a bit iffy with the 180,s. The difference is not just the weight. It is that you can’t drive the heavier bullet as fast.
     
    Bfh_auto and LoonWulf like this.
  8. wasa

    wasa Member

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2019
    Messages:
    35
    Good points. Guessing someone might want to trade. I actually have a package of green Hornady sabots, so after deer season I should try some out at the range to see how they group. I've had good groups at 100 yards with Hornady XTP 250gr and 300gr pistol bullets so I don't "need" to switch to 44 caliber 180gr.
     
    LoonWulf likes this.
  9. Bfh_auto

    Bfh_auto Member

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2016
    Messages:
    5,817
    Like @LoonWulf and @stringnut I have poor accuracy from 44 caliber sabots. I also had poor accuracy from 200 gr 45 caliber sabots.
     
    LoonWulf likes this.
  10. wasa

    wasa Member

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2019
    Messages:
    35
    Appreciate all of the comments. Got some green sabots and sometime in the near future will take them to the range to see how they perform. I'm all set-up for this fall, so totally no rush on this. Maybe I'll try to trade them, or at least one box.

    Thanks!
     
    LoonWulf likes this.
  11. Captcurt

    Captcurt Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2010
    Messages:
    4,059
    Location:
    Ozark Mountains of Arkansas
    Not a big fan of light bullets in a black powder gun. Had an episode with an old 45cal Hawken when I tried a 140 gr Speer 357 bullet. I was in a tree shooting down at a buck walking away from me and took it about the last rib just to the right of the spine. There was absolutely no blood because of no exit hole. We looked for around an hour without a sign of blood. We found the buck by the road as we walked back to the truck. He had gone about 100 yards. The bullet had ranged down through the chest taking out a lung and some of the plumbing above the heart and had stopped in the brisket. Now I shoot a 300 XTP in a 50 cal and get an exit hole.
     
    LoonWulf and Bfh_auto like this.
  12. Bfh_auto

    Bfh_auto Member

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2016
    Messages:
    5,817
    Those 300xtps are very good at leaving blood everywhere.
    I switched to a 45/40 200sst. Results are similar to a 35 Remington.
     
    LoonWulf, Captcurt and horsey300 like this.
  13. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2002
    Messages:
    23,721
    Location:
    Atlanta
    If you get an accurate load, get some milk jugs filled with water, and test penetration. I personally want over 4 jugs of penetration for deer, with 5-6 being optimal.

    John
     
    LoonWulf likes this.
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice