How far can you really shoot with a muzzleloader?
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  1. #1
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    Default How far can you really shoot with a muzzleloader?

    I hear people talking about shooting deer at 300+ yards with their muzzle loader, and see they have 4-12 power scopes and such.

    I have my muzzleloader sighted in a couple inches high at 100 and by 200 its falling fast, by 300 its several feet low.

    I know a few people who claim to have shot over 300 yards, they also claim that they are sighted in dead on at 100 yards and that they just aimed at the top of the back. This means only one of two things....their scope is WAY off and they got lucky, or they are full of ****.

    I know even more people who claim to be able to shoot deer at 300+ yards but have not done so yet. Not a single one of them has actualy shot their gun at 300 yards...they are just going to use the balistic chart that came with the bullets to find out their hold over.

    Just wondering if most folks here are in the 150 yard muzzle loader way of thinking....or are you actualy capable of shooting 300+ with or without actual practice at that range

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  3. #2
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    Im about 4" high at 100 and about 6" low at 200 0 is at approx 150yds for the right deer i might attempt 300yds but i doubt id hit it

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    Colonel varmint's Avatar
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    I have my grandfathers springfield, which was his grandfathers. 500 yard shots at lot cars are possible with a 65 grain charge. The rifle weighs 10 pounds and will kick the snot out of you.

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    Colonel THE RAVEN's Avatar
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    I wouldn't say 300 yards is unreasonable,but it is quite a long shot.....A bullet rises in elevation before it levels out then eventually drops....


    "There's a time to live,a time to die,a time to meet your maker...But isn't it strange as soon as your born,your dying" Bruce Dickinson ~IM~

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    My buddy make a great shot at 200 yards on a spike with his savage smokeless muzzleloader. I'm old school when it comes to muzzleloaders so its a 100 yards max for me but then again in NY where I live thats a rare long shot.

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    Colonel THE RAVEN's Avatar
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    I'm not surprised at his shot.....You,at 100 yards aren't tapping the potential of that smokepole yet.....


    "There's a time to live,a time to die,a time to meet your maker...But isn't it strange as soon as your born,your dying" Bruce Dickinson ~IM~

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    The furthest I would shoot a deer with my muzzleloader is 250 yards. The bullet really starts to drop between 200-250 yards with my current load.

    I wouldn't hesitate at all to take a shot up to 175 yards, as it's actually an easy shot with a current in-line muzzleloader. Between 200 and 250 I would only make a wide open, very careful shot. As most have mentioned, getting a shot past 175 yards doesn't occur very often, but it can be done.
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  10. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by varmint View Post
    I have my grandfathers springfield, which was his grandfathers. 500 yard shots at lot cars are possible with a 65 grain charge. The rifle weighs 10 pounds and will kick the snot out of you.
    Cars? Not sure why you shoot cars during deer season. How big is the vital area of a car?

  11. #9
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    I was figuring 150-200 is reasonable...250 is pushing it and 300 is pretty much a no-go unless you have practiced and know the exact range.
    Anything over 300 is probably BS, and in my opinion not really possible without actualy practicing it to know the exact drop.

    Also most of these yahoos fail to realize the potential for wind drift on a MZ bullet, 10mph wind can drift a 50 cal a lot at 300 yards (close to a foot).

  12. #10
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    With the load that I run (100grains/volume Blackhorn 209, 250 grain Hornady SST, Federal Shotgun primer), I have it sighted in for dead on at 100. It is 8" low at 200. I have not shot it past 200. Last week I took a nice 8 point at 180 yards (ranged with a laser rangefinder) and this combo had enough energy to take the deer completely off of its feet. The round entered the very front of its left shoulder, took out the right lung and exited the center of its right shoulder, turning it into jelly. I held the crosshairs just over the deer's back.

    My combo should be effective at 250 yards, but I would need to shoot it quite a bit out there so I knew exactly where it was hitting. 300 yards might be doable with a hotter load. Would I take those shots out in the field even if I knew just how high to hold? Chances are pretty slim that I would.

  13. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by WNYBuckhunter View Post
    With the load that I run (100grains/volume Blackhorn 209, 250 grain Hornady SST, Federal Shotgun primer), I have it sighted in for dead on at 100. It is 8" low at 200. I have not shot it past 200. Last week I took a nice 8 point at 180 yards (ranged with a laser rangefinder) and this combo had enough energy to take the deer completely off of its feet. The round entered the very front of its left shoulder, took out the right lung and exited the center of its right shoulder, turning it into jelly. I held the crosshairs just over the deer's back.

    My combo should be effective at 250 yards, but I would need to shoot it quite a bit out there so I knew exactly where it was hitting. 300 yards might be doable with a hotter load. Would I take those shots out in the field even if I knew just how high to hold? Chances are pretty slim that I would.
    I am curious where you got the 8" low at 200 number from? I just ran that combo through a ballistic program and it is showing 16" low at 200 with a 100 zero. This is using a 26" barrel, 250 g sst (.210 bc) at1700fps (150gn charge gets it to 1900fps but its still 13" low)
    This combo shows 25" low at 250 and 60" low at 300.
    maybe my program is all messed up, not sure.

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    Few miles from my place they have a Saturday, 500yd shoot with muzzle loaders. This is in Wilton. Recently, I had a chance to visit the range and the steel plates they shoot at seem impossible. I'd love to stop in during a shoot and see how it's done.

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    You should NEVER shoot at game with any weapon if you are not sure that you can make that shot - and that means that you have practiced that shot and made the hit accurately many,many times.
    Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him, and He will act. Psalm 37:3-7

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    Quote Originally Posted by THE RAVEN View Post
    .A bullet rises in elevation before it levels out then eventually drops....
    Um....no. It only rises if the bore is pointed up.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revelyell View Post
    Cars? Not sure why you shoot cars during deer season. How big is the vital area of a car?
    as big as the bowling pin sitting on the fender

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    Depends on what type of sabots you are using too. Probably for the best distance, go with a copper, medium weight, pointed sabot. This should help keep it on track.

    I like using Barne's all copper sabots. I also find Powerbelt to be quite effective.

    Once again, it all depends on the shooter and how comfortable you are with the gun. I've only shot up to 100 yards with mine, because the land I hunt on is dense and does not allow for shots greater than 100 yards. I would feel comfortable shooting up to 150 yard though, but I'd like to have practiced at that distance and be sure where my rounds would hit.

  19. #17
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    We've done a lot of longer range shooting, with ML's, using modern (TC, Savage) inlines as well as buffalo guns and flinters. Real world shooting for modern guns is very doable at 200+ yards, with some research and practice. Sighting your gun at 100 will only give you a rough idea of where to go at 200, you MUST get on to a range and actually shoot it at the range. Ballistic charts are a wonderful tool, but can be misleading as hell. One of our guys with a Savage is hitting 5" low at 200 with the gun at 1" high at 100, another has considerably more drop with identical loads. (Both will shoot cloverleafs at 100, though.) Yes this is anecdotal information, but not all rifles and shooters are the same. I've watched guys with traditional buff busters ring 12" plates at 500 yards all day, but these shooters work hard to get there. Taking an Omega out of the box and dialing it in at 100 will get you a deer, but unless you actually learn what it does at 200, chances are you are going to be disappointed.
    It is always prudent to keep in mind the fact that an old lion is still, indeed, a lion.

  20. #18
    Colonel varmint's Avatar
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    The best rifles will put it into a 48 inch circle at a thousand yards

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    I'm personally comfy to only 150. No practice beyond that point...yet.

  22. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by varmint View Post
    The best rifles will put it into a 48 inch circle at a thousand yards
    I know that a muzzleloader will shoot targets at long distance (and buffalo if you don't care where you hit them).
    I am sorry if I was not clear about this being about "how far can you shoot a deer, or how far have you shot at targets that represent the vital area of a deer in anticipation of taking deer at that range"...not just "how far can y'all shoot yer smoke poles".

  23. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revelyell View Post
    I know that a muzzleloader will shoot targets at long distance (and buffalo if you don't care where you hit them).
    I am sorry if I was not clear about this being about "how far can you shoot a deer, or how far have you shot at targets that represent the vital area of a deer in anticipation of taking deer at that range"...not just "how far can y'all shoot yer smoke poles".

    guys what this about smoking poles? maybe i dont wanna know!

    i personaly cant handle a muzzle loader to well but at camp one of the older gents uses a 40 inch long barrel black powerder rifle (i believe its a riflee) with just iron sights one high one over tip of barrel and a ladder style sight adjustable at 50 yard incriments. i have seen him hit the outline of a deer at ranges just passed 200 yrds and from what im told its a newer replica of a 1800 black powder game rifle

    the sight looks like its not of the period by about 50 years but seems to work well

    i fired it once and nearly fell on what he said was a 75% percent charge

    at 100 yards i completely missed the oak tag paper that the deer outline was drawn on

    so my guess is that it depends on getting the right person together with the right rifle and projectile and charge and allowing them to learn the habbits of a muzzle loader and in particular that one muzzle loader


    so in response to original poster, there is no way to tell at all how far any one can shoot



    ps... he has been the only one to take dear with in muzzle loader from our camp with a muzzle loader... 1 other have done it with crossbow

  24. #22
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    I learned where to hold my muzzle loader at 200 yards but have yet to shoot at a deer with it at over 75 yards so I dont really worry about it... this isn't Iowa
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  25. #23
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    I shoot 100 grain FFFg pyrodex with a 240gr .429" hornady XTP and a harvester Sabot. I am zeroed at 100 yards. It is about 1" high at 50 yards. I aim for the spine at 150 yards. I aim a bit over the back at 175 yard. I aim as high as the ears for 200 yards. Hitting the target is one thing. Hitting it with enough energy is another thing. Hitting the target with enough velocity to expand the bullet is a third thing. The farthest shots I have taken all have been with modern inline muzzleloaders. All were in the 130 to 150 yard range.

    I know folks from open areas who hunt antelope, blacktails, and mulies. One of them shoots a 45 cal with a high BC 357 mag bullet. He has taken an antelope at 250 yards. The other guys I know limit themselves at 200 yards with typical 50 cal loadings.

    A traditional muzzleloader I limit myself to 75 yards with round ball and 100 yards with a maxi-ball which is basically a non-saboted slug.

    It takes less time to find another decent deer to shoot than it does to to find a wounded one. Once you wound one and cant find it, your whole thinking on the sport becomes different. I am the guy who brag how close I shoot them, not how far.

    I limit myself to 150 yards with a scope and 100 yard with an iron sight, regardless of firearm type on deer. Coyotes are another story in my book. I am more willing to take longer shots on them. Deer are peaceful creatures. I allow them to expire quickly as possible by shooting reasonable distanced shots that are on calm animals. I also shoot them with as much gun as I can reasonably handle and afford to shoot. Hence, my nickname.

  26. #24
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    Ya with my Encore i dont think i would push anything over 200.Ide feel real good at 150 for sure,if it was a big enough rack ide throw one out to 200 i think.

  27. #25
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    Anybody tried those hornady PA conicals? They're cast specifically for slow twist rifles that usually use balls. I was considering ordering them for my kentucky.
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