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How Accurate is a Modern In-line with Sabots?

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by earlthegoat2, Jun 15, 2020.

  1. earlthegoat2

    earlthegoat2 Member

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    Curious what setups you’re all using and the results your getting shooting for accuracy and success in game animals. I wouldn’t consider myself a newbie to muzzleloaders but rather just inexperienced.

    I have a CVA Staghorn I got for Christmas around 1998 and it has always been acceptable but not great and has accounted for more than a few deer.

    I used to shoot 44 cal XTPs over 2 Pyrodex pellets to give a 4” group at 100 yds. I rarely shoot past 100 so this has always been OK. I have read a bit apparently granular powder can produce better groups. I now shoot 44 cal Nosler Sportings in the same sabots with the same powder and same results.

    I know there are more advanced design muzzleloaders out there than this but really, I am uninterested in buying another one. This Staghorn cost around $90 at K-Mart back then and it owes me nothing but at the same time has been reliable and has brought home the game.
     
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  2. Jackrabbit1957

    Jackrabbit1957 Member

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    Any muzzleloader is gonna have a specific accuracy load be it a traditional side lock or a zip gun. Ditch the pellets and work up an accuracy load with loose powder.
     
  3. Armored farmer

    Armored farmer Member

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    I only use traditional rifles, but #1 son uses a t/c encore with great results. I think he buys Spitzer bullets in plastic sabots.

    I concur with @Jackrabbit1957.
    You gotta build your best load with loose powder at least by 5gr increments.
     
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  4. possumbelly220

    possumbelly220 Member

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    I have a CVA Wolf, and use Powerbelt Bullets in it. I have tried a few different brands that use the plastic sabots and accuracy is not as good, acceptable, but just not as good.
     
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  5. Arkansas Paul

    Arkansas Paul Member

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    I have found Powerbelts to be more accurate than sabots for me. The skirt on them supposedly acts like an old mini ball, and grips the rifling.

    Also, I use loose powder. 80 grains of Pyrodex and a 295 grain bullet for me.

    I won't get all crazy and say my ML will shoot MOA, but sub 2" groups aren't unheard of when I'm sighting in.
     
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  6. Loyalist Dave

    Loyalist Dave Member

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    As Expected!

    CVA has a vested profit interest in producing projectiles that work the best in their rifles. That way instead of a one stop shop and done, the shooter keeps coming back season after season for the bullets that work in that rifle. ;)

    LD
     
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  7. earlthegoat2

    earlthegoat2 Member

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    Back when I first got it, Powerbelts were the latest and greatest thing so that is what I tried first. A family member of mine had also gotten a Staghorn recently and had good luck with Powerbelts.

    Accuracy was pretty horrendous for me. 5-6” groups at 50 yds. I asked around and folks were having similar spotty results with them.​
     
  8. arcticap

    arcticap Member

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    What concerns me the most is not the size of the groups, but the accuracy of the 1st shot from a cold, clean barrel.
    One of my guns likes a particular sabot and bullet weight with 90 grains of Pyrodex P, and another gun likes a different sabot and bullet weight with 90 grains of 3F American Pioneer Power.
    In the north, it's a good idea to test the load in the same cold temperature as the deer hunting season which is late December.
    And when hunting, I cover the muzzle with a small balloon to keep moisture, snow and debris out of the bore.
    Others have mentioned that they place tape over it.
    Because our state land is mostly thick woods, there's not much opportunity for long distance shots.
    But I like the reliable 1st shot accuracy of sabots better than anything else.
    You can practice with a loose powder load, and hunt with pellets unless you find something that works better.
    Pyrodex pellets may actually work the best, since loose powder can cause erratic shots if the compression isn't consistent, which pellets can compensate for.
    Whichever you think works best for you, as long as it shoots the 1st shot consistently with a cold, clean barrel when you test it.

    Regarding using loose powder, 777 can cause a crud ring with hot 209 primers, and sometimes even with #11 caps.
    So I don't use 777 when loading heavy powder charges.
    Maybe those 777 Star pellets work better, or IMR White Hots which are just another more potent form of 777 but which they claim are cleaner.
    But loose 777 or these different pellets could also change your accuracy and will produce more felt recoil unless the powder charge is reduced.
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2020
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  9. Patocazador

    Patocazador Member

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    Accuracy from a muzzleloader can be terrible to fantastic. It all depends on the gun (lock + barrel) and the load. Every one of them will have a load that shoots better than the others. It's up to you to find it.
     
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  10. 792mauser

    792mauser Member

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    My muzzleloaders run the gamut from a Brown Bess thats good for an IPSIC target at 100 (somewhere on the target). To a P53 Parker Hale .577 that I used to shoot at 300 yds regularly.

    I have a Spanish inline. Its good for 3 inches with 70 grains with a sabot, roundball and 777.
     
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  11. PapaG

    PapaG Member

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    The original pyrodex was extremely loading pressure sensitive. An old gunsmith and WwII army marksman and I experimented a lot with it and came up with a loading rod with a spring gauge so we could get the same compression on each load. Shrunk groups greatly. I have returned to my real bp roots and use only the real stuff. Trad or inline.
     
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  12. woodnbow
    • Contributing Member

    woodnbow Contributing Member

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    @arcticap nailed the most important factor for any hunter. The cold bore shot and or the group size of cold bore shots is what hunters should be concerned about. I have long been in the practice of keeping cold bore targets for my hunting rifles, the groups are sometimes not as tight as those you will fire when shooting for groups but the information you’ll glean is more useful.
     
  13. Patocazador

    Patocazador Member

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    Yes, some muzzleloading rifles shoot noticeably different with a clean vs. a fired (dirty) barrel. Many shooters purposely foul their clean bore before hunting or shooting in a scoring match.
     
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  14. earlthegoat2

    earlthegoat2 Member

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    I foul with a 209 primer. Couldn’t tell you where that came from but it was probably some recommendation from one of the various manufacturers.
     
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  15. J-Bar

    J-Bar Member

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    I have only used a few saboted bullets, just after buying my first muzzleloader and before discovering the joys of a patched ball, but I remember how quickly the melted plastic accumulated in the barrel. I suspect that one would have to clean the barrel thoroughly after each saboted round to produce the smallest group possible. I suspect that after finding that sweet spot powder charge and cleaning between shots, the modern rifle could easily produce sub- MOA groups with sabots. The old timers did it with patched balls in 1000 yard competition in the late 1800s. It would be a matter of standardizing conditions for each shot, starting with a clean bore each time.
     
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  16. alsaqr

    alsaqr Member

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    Bought my CVA Stag Horn rifle in 2000; after bedding the action and floating the barrel that rifle makes two inch three shot groups at 100 yards using 100 grains of Pyrodex and the .430 240 grain XTP bullet in the black sabot. i used 100 grains of Pyrodex and two pellets interchangeably for hunting. Killed scores of deer and hogs with that gun

    Using the 250 grain SST bullet in a crush rib sabot, my TC Black Diamond .50 caliber muzzleloader is capable of making one inch three shot groups at 100 yards: i can do that on a good day. A young USMC friend shooting that rifle can make one inch groups every day.

    Modern sabots leave no plastic residue in the bore.

    Owned a few muzzleloaders like that myself, they quickly went away.
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2020
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  17. Catman42

    Catman42 Member

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    earlthegoat2 gave very good advice. do that. i would go to a 45 cal bul;let in those easy to load ribbed sabots or use power belts. use 80 grains. remember, their is no more accurate powder in a muzzleloader than real black powder. the only powder that is as good is blackhorn 209. stop using pellets. foul the barrel on the first shot with a primer. wipe between rounds with one damp patch and 2 dry ones. get a good stiff range rod and use that for your rod. also above some one said and i thank them for that that equal pressure on the bullet every time you seat it will work wonders for accuracy. tamping the bullet like in the movies ruin accuracy especially with pyrodex as it is so soft. you have a lot of good advice here. as to the gun its self. check the muzzle crown. if it isnt perfect, find out how to make it perfect. its not rocket science.
     
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  18. J-Bar

    J-Bar Member

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    I’m glad to hear this. It has been more than 20 years since I shot a saboted slug.

    What brand or brands of sabots have given you good results without residue?
     
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  19. Steve S.

    Steve S. Member

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    I use a T/C Pro Hunter .50; 250 grain Shockwave, 2/ 50 grain Pyrodex pellets, WW 209 primers with consistent bore swabbing after every shot at the range. Last year at the range prepping for ML deer season, my last group was five shots in one ragged hole, 1” high at 100 yards - as good as it gets for me.
    I have tried Powerbelts and 777 but had inconsistent groups averaging 4” (or so). This rifle really likes the simple to use Shockwave/ Pyrodex pellet combo - I guess I am lucky. Also, I have noted no rusting problems with the Pyrodex load - good cleaning practices I guess. The load kills deer very efficiently; exits chest cavity, deer (may) take some steps and expire quickly. Everything as advertised - very pleased with the rifle/ load combo.,
     
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  20. Loyalist Dave

    Loyalist Dave Member

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    When I target shoot, it's practice for hunting. I know others like competition more than or instead of hunting. To each their own.
    So I hear folks "shooting fouling shots" before loading their rifles for hunting..., but I was taught if your rifle shoots a bad group with a clean barrel, then you need to spend more time on the range as your patch and ball combo need adjustment, or your conical bullet isn't right. The rifles, well at least those from the era where my style of muzzle loading rifle descends, were built to be hunting arms, and "shooting at marks" was for setting sights, practice for the hunt/warfare, or only a recreation when the hunter had the means to afford the powder and lead. ;)

    LD
     
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  21. Catman42

    Catman42 Member

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    ive used mmp sabots but my friend uses the ribbed ones. dont know the name brand but im sure you can do a little research and find out who makes them. they are much easier to load. i would never shoot a 44 in a 50 sabot. shoot a 45 in a ribbed sabot ment for a 45. as stated above in a reply a one hole ragged at 100 yards can be expected if you do it all right and by the numbers as he does. ive kept one hole ragged from a rest with my custom in line. i was shoot a paperpatched bullet. how ever my son shot a deer through the nex at a little over 200 yards with it. it was a 300 grain 45 cal. bullet in a mmp sabout. 125 grains of blackhorn 209 powder was used. these fast twist modern inlines, fancy or lower priced ones, can really shoot good groups when loaded right. learn all you can about them.
     
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  22. Bill M.

    Bill M. Member

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    I do not have an in-line. My TC Hawken shoots 1 inch groups at 50 yards with a red dot sight and 90 grain charge behind a sabot ( I forget the brand). The first shot is in the group so it works from a clean bore.

    It took almost 2 weeks for the bruising on my shoulder to go away the first time and after 3 sessions checking I am not going to shoot it again unless at a deer or bigger.
     
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  23. alsaqr

    alsaqr Member

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    Both MMP and Harvester make excellent sabots. i've used both brands and they all perform well. There's no pesky residue. The Harvester crush rib sabots load easier than most.

    https://www.harvestermuzzleloading.com/

    https://mmpsabots.com/
     
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  24. OrangePwrx9

    OrangePwrx9 Member

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    My attempts at achieving accuracy with sabots drove me to slow twist barrels and patched roundballs. With sabots, the point of impact with a clean cold barrel was almost always the wildly different than when the barrel was dirty. Then, from the dirty barrel, you'd get 3 or 4 shots that made some kind of group before the thing was off to the races again.

    Heavy powder charges and pyrodex pellets were the worst. 90 gr loose pyrodex was the most I could shoot and get anything I'd hunt with, but some guns did better than others. The magnum charges touted in the literature were useless due to all the fouling.

    PRB groups well from slow twist barrels, clean&cold or hot&dirty and it does a good job on the deer, so that's what I mostly use. I did find that the 295 gr Power Belt shot from a slow twist .54 barrel using the same powder charge used for PRB shot to nearly the same POI as the roundball loads and with about the same accuracy. So a few .54 295gr Power Belts always find their way into the possibles bag when hunting.

    With sabots, my .54 Firehawk (1:38 twist) seemed to do as well as any (4" group @80yd) using a purple sabot made for .50 bullets (may have been from MMP). I used 300 gr. 50 cal. Bullets and 90 gr Pyrodex and keep my fingers crossed. Seems to help if I load some Crisco lube AHEAD OF the bullet (at bullet nose) when I seat the bullet/sabot combination. That way the sabot rides on lube when its fired and the fouling stays soft. It's weird, it's messy, and it's fussy but it seems to work.
     
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  25. Catman42

    Catman42 Member

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    if i had a 1/38 twist barrel in 50 cal i would use a over the counter 45 cal 250 grain pistol bullet in a harvestor sabot. 80 to a hundred grains of powder. after the bullet has gone through a deer whats the point of more powder. recoil pads and even a device called a dead mule works wonders with heavy recoil. i used to buy dead mules at midway.
     
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