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Barrel Fouling


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#1 Spirithawk

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Posted 20 January 2009 - 04:16 PM

Reading through the book, that came with my Optima Pro, I was surprised to see they recomend PowerBelts as the prefered bullet to use in all their rifles. Reading farther it brought up a point, that should have, but hadn't occured to me. I always blamed powder fouling for second and third shots being hard to load but that's not the complete culprit. I have been using sabots exclusively and, according to CVA, the plastic boot is the main culprit. Seems the plastic ends up in the rifling and bore and, for that reason, you should always swab the barrel after every shot. They go on to say that the PowerBelts are full caliber bullets and thus with repeated shots the bullets actually help remove the small amount of plastic residue that they leave behind. Kinda makes sense. Jason has a new pack of PowerBelt Platinums that I just may have to snatch from him. He has been shooting sabots and likes them. Gee with all the differant kinds of bullets and powder and ingnition types it makes a guy's mind drift back to simpler times of round ball and patch and just plain black powder.

#2 cayugad

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Posted 20 January 2009 - 05:29 PM

I know the feeling. When I look at my inlines I always wonder what made me take this path as I was very happy with my traditional rifles as well.
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#3 Spirithawk

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Posted 20 January 2009 - 05:39 PM

In my case Jason convinced me to switch. The inlines are lighter to carry, easier to load and clean, and more reliable ignition. Still, I guess I'm just old fashioned cause the traditionals have a charm the inlines never will.

#4 PA RIDGE RUNNER

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Posted 20 January 2009 - 07:43 PM

Gotta agree also. I own an inline an do shoot it and hunt with it. I have not sold my traditional rifles though. Here in PA we have a special flintlock season that Eric and I really love to hunt. While dragging his doe back we had just made it to the top of the ridge and stopped to get our breath he looked at me and said Real Men use flintlocks. I don't know why but that really tickled my funny bone.

I do not agree with CVA on the powerbelts cleaning the bore. If any thing they are going to leave lead in the bore. I have shot a whole bunch of sabots and used a bore scrubber and never got any indication of plastic fouling. I figure that large amounts of money have changed hands and powerbelt and CVA are in cahoots. I have tried powerbelts in all but my flintlocks and never got very good accuracy. In my Knight inline they nearly fall down the barrel making them too loose a fit for me. Plus they are very expensive.
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#5 Phil

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Posted 21 January 2009 - 05:54 AM

I had a 45 cal inline that didn't group very well using powerbelts. I switched to Hornady XTP sabots and it'll really lay em in there now. I upgraded to a 50 cal Omega and still perfer the XTPs ......hey, its all about the 1st shot anyways right? :thumbsup:
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#6 Chrud

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Posted 21 January 2009 - 07:03 AM

I do not agree with CVA on the powerbelts cleaning the bore. If any thing they are going to leave lead in the bore.


I agree. I would think Powerbelts would leave some copper or lead in the bore. Isn't there a plastic ring on the bottom of the Powerbelts too? I've never shot Powerbelts, but know a few people who do. Most have them have switched to a sabot because the sabots grouped better than the Powerbelts.

I used T/C Shockwaves in my Pro Hunter and do swab between shots. I would say 90% of the fouling is in the first 4" up from the breech plug. I haven't tried shooting without cleaning, so I don't know how it would effect accuracy and/or loading. The biggest reason I clean between shots is so each shot has the same bore condition.

#7 PA RIDGE RUNNER

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Posted 21 January 2009 - 02:20 PM

Agree with you Matt I also prefer to sight in on a clean bore. I hunt with a clean bore and as Phil says it is the first shot that counts so I want that first shot dead on. In all my hunting with a muzzleloader I have never had enough time to shoot, reload and shoot again. Also hunting with a clean bore does allow me to leave the rifle loaded for the next day and have no fears of corrosion in a fouled barrel.
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#8 Jeremiah

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Posted 21 January 2009 - 03:34 PM

When I still shot Powerbelts (even from a flintlock), I never had a single problem with them and they were always insanely easier to load than sabots or patched round ball. I always shot the copper-jacketed Powerbelts so as to avoid lead fouling. When I still shot the Powerbelt / American Pioneer Powder combination I never once bothered to swab between shots and I could still push the projectile to full seated position with one finger on the ramrod.

Obviously, you have to go with what shoots most accurately for the gun. But, I would never shy away from trying Powerbelts in any muzzleloader. :peace:

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#9 Spirithawk

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Posted 21 January 2009 - 04:56 PM

Think I'll at least give them a try since we already have some. If they don't work out I'll shoot the same sabots as what Jason uses or RL told me what he shoots in his and he's making some mighty long shots for a muzzleloader so I might give his loads a try. To quote RL;
[I shoot 150 grains of pyro pellets with a 250 grain horndy sst boat tail, I am getting 4 inch groups out at 250 yards and sub 2 inch groups at 200 or less, Off the bench of course, right before sherri shot her deer I busted a yote at 279 yards according to tthe range finder]
Nothing wrong with that! :D

Edited by Spirithawk, 21 January 2009 - 04:59 PM.


#10 PA RIDGE RUNNER

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Posted 21 January 2009 - 10:17 PM

I have read a good number of reports on other forums about the powerbelts. One constant theme of these reports has been that many times powerbelts do not leave an exit hole. Some report that the powerbelt fragmented and did not exit. Most times it was when the person was using a 150 gr magnum load and the range was relatively close. To my mind these powerbelts can be driven beyond their capability to expand and drive through. I only use 80 gr of 2f Goex behind a 300 gr Hornady XTP bullet in a harvester crush rib sabot. I have shot a number of deer with this combo. I did recover the bullet from one deer. The deer was about 18 yds quartering to me. I took out one lung, the liver and the bullet exited the lower flank and reentered the lower back leg. In all that bullet went through over 2 feet of deer and had perfect expansion and still weighed 295 gr. What surprised me was that deer ran off. At first there was only the sparcest of blood. She then ran up hill and the trail was very easy to follow most likely because of the exit hole being so far back. I found her after about 100 yds of trailing. She actually was only about 50 yds from where I shot her as she went in a big circle. I do know that the xtp bullets will drill through both sides of a steel drum, travel about 35 yds and plow a foot long furrow in my back yard. I may try a shot or two with powerbelts at the steel drum to see if they hold up.
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#11 Jeremiah

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Posted 21 January 2009 - 11:07 PM

Well, that's one of those age-old arguments...

"Should a bullet exit for best blood trails or stay in to transfer all shock to the game?"

I would have to say, "It depends on the game being pursued and your goal(s) as the hunter."

Personally, I have no problem with a bullet staying in the deer as I tend to lean toward the "shock kills" theory when talking firearms. (Now, if we were talking arrows/archery I'd have a big problem with not getting a pass through!)

I have had two people show me their Powerbelt bullet after they managed to retrieve it from the deer during the cleaning/butchering process. (Both were lodged just under the hide on the opposite side of entry.)
Both projectiles looked identical. They were still whole, but about as flat and as wide as a quarter!

Here are a couple pics I found online that look similar to what I saw...

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(You'll note the little "nipple" on the second one above. This is what the plastic cups snap on to. It is about the only portion of the bullet still identifiable as a Powerbelt.)

Even that little chip off the second one above doesn't scare me. The bulk of the projectile is intact.

With hotter loads and/or very large game... Who knows? But, I do know I've seen enough that were propelled by 100 grains or less of black powder and retrieved from deer to feel confident that Powerbelts perform admirably. Of course, there's also that ~350 lb. Russian boar I killed with my flintlock using a 348 grain copper hollow point Powerbelt which aired on "Bushnell Outdoors" a few years back that made me take notice. That hog was down in under 10 seconds. :)

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