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What Is Your Comfort Level?

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#1 cayugad


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Posted 21 October 2010 - 09:35 PM

Hunting season is upon us. All the range time we put in, the load development, and preparation is almost over. Time to own up to what we face in the hunting field. So I have a question for all of you modern inline shooters. Lets for fun just say that you have a modern inline with your favorite load. The rifle IS NOT SCOPED. You have tags to fill and limited time to fill them. First off;

  • what rifle you will be using?
  • what is the powder you use and why?
  • what projectile will you be using?
  • what is your comfort level? By this I mean with your open sights, how far are you willing to shoot at a deer?

  • What is your comfort level. And how far are you willing to shoot?
  • What is the max distance you have practiced out to?
The following pictures are to get you excite and to show off my resident deer herd that likes to come into my lawn in the afternoon. Not to worry people, they are off limits and if they want to camp out all season in my back yard, they are safe and sound. Now some interesting questions... what is this deer telling you by the way she's standing?

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She caught me standing in front of the patio door taking her picture. Strange as this sounds, she did not run off.

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She heard a car drive down my road. Even though she has a house to block her view, they are always on guard.

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I changed windows... but she was keeping track of me. She did get excited after I put the camera down and sighted a scoped rifle on her.

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Now granted most of us would not shoot a nubbin buck, this doe's fawn. But if you had to and the distance was 50 yards... with your open sights where would you aim and why? With the scoped rifle, where would you aim and why?

Have fun this hunting season. Be safe. And I hope you enjoyed this post. There are some advantages to living in the middle of the National Forest.
"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, a total wreck with a big smile on your face."

#2 Jeremiah


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Posted 21 October 2010 - 11:02 PM

Wow, that's a lot to take in. Let me first preface my reply by saying that I don't own an inline muzzleloader. So, it's good that this is mostly just academic. :D

Now, I don't often take to the field with rifles. But, when I do, I prefer unscoped. (Hmm... That sounded very "Dos Equis Commercial".) So, that much is right up my alley. As best I have gathered, I should be able to expect something like a T/C Triumph or Encore to reach out there comparably to a centerfire rifle of modest caliber, provided the load has been worked up properly. (I'm sure that's very generalized and likely nowhere near the entire story. But, it should serve my purposes where this posting is concerned.)

Personally, I would probably load the Triumph with APP Gold. (Yeah, everyone's favorite. But, you know what? I've used it before and liked it just fine. I definitely liked the clean-up and ignition was never a problem for me. So, it certainly shouldn't be any issue in a .209 primer inline.) My projectile of choice would likely be a sabot. I've used Shockwaves in the past and they seemed fine. (I would certainly have tested SSTs and Powerbelts out of this firearm as well and would likely be using whichever performed best from the bench.) Seeing as how the farthest I can comfortably see to shoot with the naked eye (and farthest distance that I regularly practice at anyway) is 100 yards, I am positive that this firearm enables me to accomplish the task. (If my flintlock can, and it can, then I know the inline can.)

Scoped: Honestly, that probably only buys me another 50 to 100 yards of visibility with the typical 3-9x40s I run. I would think 150 yards with a scoped Triumph sounds do-able.

LOL The first pic looks like the doe is definitely on alert... staring a hole right through you. I'm definitely hoping that deer does some serious calming down before I even consider shooting. (Looks like a decent-sized doe, by the way.)

Well, truthfully, I'm probably aiming for #3 with either scoped or unscoped rifle. I'll admit that #2 is very tempting. (I know many a hunter whom have folded deer up putting one into their ear like that.) But, it's just not my bag. I've always personally gone to the vitals (heart/lung) and that doesn't generally change regardless of my weapon of choice. (Though I do become more bold about not avoiding "shoulders" as much with firearms as compared to archery equipment, for example.) Somewhere around #3 looks like it has a good chance of taking the heart and, at least, the opposite side lung as well.

I'll be eagerly awaiting the replies of others.
Always interesting to see everyone's take.

PA IHEA & NBEF/IBEP Instructor




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Posted 22 October 2010 - 07:42 AM

Cayugad your post sounds like you already have all the answers from your shooting and testing. Now for me I would be taking my Knight Bighorn with 85 grains of real 2f bp and a 300 grain Hornady XTP in a crushrib sabot ignited with a musket cap. With open sights I would be limiting my distance to under 100 yds not that the rifle is not capable but the nut that holds the trigger has limitations. Here in PA a shot over 100 yds although possible is not very probable. Also for the most part unless you have replaced the rather heavy coarse open sights that come with the rifle as a rule a sure 100 yd or more shot is tough.

If my rifle were scoped I would feel comfortable out to 100 yds or more with the same set up as with open sights. I always sight in at 50 or 75 yds and then shoot a bit at 100 yds which is about my personal max distance I would shoot at a deer.

The first deer picture is of course of a doe on alert. It does not appear to me that she is excited alert but alert to something as yet unidentified. There is a calmness to her stare and no hairs are raised and the tail is down so she is mildly curious. It really looks like something caught her attention and the full cheek pouches indicate you have a ruminate lawn mower.

As to where I would aim on a deer so positioned I would choose 3 as it would allow the most aiming error and still have a killing shot. In reality I would wait for a little better angle. The deer is calm so is not in danger of bolting off but being a deer that could happen anyhow. I have already taken the edge off by connecting on a doe in Kansas and another here in PA so far this year so I would wait for a more broadside shot on this one.

I love to hunt with a muzzleloader and own at least one of each type of ignition and any limitations are not very much rifle related but are infact my own personal limitations. The longest shot I have done was with a modern scoped rifle at over 300 yds and my longest shot with an unscoped muzzleloader was 83 long steps. My longest shot with a scoped muzzleloader was just this fall in Kansas at 77 yds. My preference in distance is not shooting and hoping but being so close I cannot miss. Getting close to the intended critter is what I call hunting anyhow.
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#4 cayugad


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Posted 22 October 2010 - 05:19 PM

The resident herd was back in tonight and they were nervous about something. They moved to the far back corner of the yard where you can hardly see them from anywhere but in the house. Funny they should know that. And they did a lot of head bobbing tonight. They are very interesting to watch and see how they react to different things that go on in the woods. Its a good way to learn to judge what a deer will do. I studied them for many years in the yard. It made me a better bow hunter as I would only shoot when they were in a relaxed stance. Where the front leg is out in front of them. They have a harder time to drop and spin from that to duck an arrow. It must work because I have never had one duck an arrow when I wait for them.

Back to my question...

Inline would be a White Ultra Mag .504 caliber. Powder would be 65 grains of Pyrodex P and the projectile would be a 460 grain .5045 Bull Shop conical bullet. The reason I would use the Pyrodex P is its a finer grade powder and ignition pressures are a little better for the use of a conical. I know it sounds like a low charge to use.

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But the accuracy is exceptional with that low charge, there is no recoil to speak of. And plenty of power.

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I figure if the bullet will penetrate eight inches of solid poplar wood. A deer is a piece of cake.

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The conical bullet will penetrate, expand, and just plain old drop them. Nothing will walk far with a shot that expanded like that in their vital organs.

With open sights I would limit my shots to 100 yards. 100 yards would have to be a every thing right kind of shot. I would much rather have them 75 yards of closer. My eyes play a lot of tricks on me sometimes and I am learning that I can no longer do the long shots like I did in my youth. Now this rifle also has a 2-7x32mm Nikon Pro Staff scope (which is now legal) that can be put on it. With that scope I would be good out to 125 yards. I hesitate to shoot further then that with a scoped muzzleloader at a deer unless something really needs to be hit. The reason... I have only practiced out to 125 yards. I know what the hold over is at that distance and I know what the rifle is going to do. But for a by the way, lets say the biggest buck of my entire life is standing out there at 150 yards BROADSIDE. If I had a good rest position and could keep my heart beat and breathing under control, I would aim at the spine of the deer. I am sure the drop would put me in the top of the heart.
"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, a total wreck with a big smile on your face."



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Posted 22 October 2010 - 08:01 PM

You sir are a real shooter. Those whites can hold a real group. I do a lot of wood splitting for a winters supply of firewood but never thought of doing it with a muzzleloader. Your 65 grain charge is not a real light load to me. I killed a deer in Kansas at 83 long steps using a traditions buckskinner sidelock with a very short barrel and only 60 grains of 2f bp and a powerbelt 295 grain bullet and had a passthrough on a mature doe. That is why I only use 75 to 90 grains in any muzzleloader I own and get great results including penetration.
If God had a refrigerator would your picture be on it.
Remember the Ark was built by amateurs, the titanic by professionals.

#6 Spirithawk


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Posted 25 November 2010 - 10:59 AM

Optima Pro .50 cal, two 50gr pellets of 777 because it shoots well and burns cleaner than Pyrodex.
150gr Power Belt
100 yards open sights
200 yards scoped
I always aim behind the shoulder for the vitals

1) She knows your there and is alert but not spooked

2) alert and curious about the noise

3) Can't a girl get any privacy you peeping Tom!

4) That log smells good

As to where I'd aim? I wouldn't! Remember? They are safe in your yard! :peace:

Edited by Spirithawk, 25 November 2010 - 11:01 AM.

#7 Falcon


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Posted 25 November 2010 - 07:48 PM

Normally i do not hunt with an iron sighted gun. However, my cheap old CVA StagHorn has Remington rifle sights on and it shoots really well. In the past i've made a few longer range kills on deer and wild hogs using a muzzleloader. Longest shot was a sow at 226 yards. That shot was out of my comfort zone and i'll most likely never make one that long again.

Iron sighted gun:

Gun: CVA StagHorn .50
Bullet:: 240 grain .430 XTP
Sabot: Crush rib
Powder: 100 grains of 3F Goex Pinnacel
Primer: Winchester shotgun

Maximum distance: 100 yards with a good rest.

Scope sighted gun:

Gun: TC Encore
Scope: Zeiss Conquest 4X32
Bullet: 250 grain SST/Shockwave
Sabot:: Red or Black
Powder: 100 or 110 grains of Goex Pinnacle
Primer: Winchester shotgun

Maximum distance: 150 yards sitting or with a good rest.

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