Muzzleloader Help

HighDesertSage

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So I have two questions that maybe some of your more experienced muzzleloader guys can answer for me. First is do you hunt with a clean barrel? I was at the range tuning up my muzzleloader today and I notice that my first shot from a clean barrel is 6" high and 3" to the left of where I wanted to be. My sights are on with a dirty barrel, so I am just wondering if leaving it dirty for two weeks through the season would be a bad idea or not. I am shooting Blackhorn 209. Second, I have a good group at about 2" to the right of the bullseye. I was hesitant to adjust the sight because it's pain and I had about a 15-20 MPH crosswind coming left to right while shooting. Is that amount of wind enough to move the bullet 2" at 100 yrds? Either way I am thinking that it is close enough if my shots are under 150 yrds.I appreciate any feed back.
 

teamhoyt

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My muzzle loader experience is pretty limited but generally you always foul the barrel even on a rifle. Play a round with it a bit and see where your gun/load likes it. I would say that a 2" wind drift at 100yds is certainly wind drift. Maybe blackhorn 209 is different but I would say no more than 5 shots between cleaning. I know it's not worth much but that's my two cents.
 

Paul in Idaho

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I usually see about 6 or 7 inches of difference in point of impact between clean and fouled barrel on my Knight. Using Triple Seven, I have had no problems leaving it fouled for the season.

So far I haven't found a ballistic calculator for blackpowder, but the bullets are slow and bulky enough it wouldn't surprise me to get 2" off at 100. Maybe shoot again on a calm day, if you have time?
 

Muskeez

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Agreed. I always clean mine exactly the same, whether at the range or between hunts. The first round of the year after cleaning and lube will always be off. Usually High. Took me forever to convince my dad of this, he would either miss his first shot or shoot them in the spine - huh, I wonder why!?!?!? Anyway, after that first shot and before every load I run a bristle brush down my barrel, and swab with a dry cloth, both sides of the cloth. Then reload, shoot, and repeat exact same procedure, letting barrel cool adequately between shots also. This gets me very good groups. I feel this works better than cleaning after 5 or 10 shots and having variable results whether you are on the first or 10th shot. JMO.
 

Blueniner9

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I do quite a bit of muzzleloading, both with flintlock and modern day inlines. Black powder and most of its substitutes are extremely corrosive. Leaving a barrel fouled for an extended period of time is not recommended by the either the gun or powder manufacturers. I would be willing to bet money your owner's manual has a page fully devoted to the importance of keeping the barrel and breech areas clean. Secondly, it's extremely dirty. If you do not clean the barrel frequently, you can and will experience pressure changes, misfires, etc. Depending on how true-to-bore your barrel is, you'll feel the resistance when loading due to the build up of fouling when you try and load your third shot. The most I shoot between cleaning is three shots in a single range session. After that, two wet and two dry patches usually cleans the barrel. After a shooting session, I use Thompson Center foaming BP cleaner for a solid cleaning. If you follow rigid cleaning procedures and shoot on calm days, you will have much better success. It's difficult to sight in most modern rifles in a 20 mph crosswind. A muzzleloading bullet, even when pushed by "magnum" loads, is much more suceptable to wind drift. Most importantly, keep at it. Learning to master black powder, and harvesting game with primitive weapons, is addicting. Good luck, and PM me if you have any specific questions.
 

Nunyacreek

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I have had great success cleaning the rifle at night and then firing a squib load (powder and patch only) in the morning. I learned about it by reading from Doc White's muzzleloader site. White rifles use "slip fit" bullets and the fouling from the squib load provides enough resistance to keep the bullet in place against the charge. No need to fire a bullet to foul the barrel.
 

O C Hunter

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Oil is the main culprit. In my experience, a freshly oiled bore will throw muzzleloader rounds to the right about 8-12 inches at 25 yards and up to 3 feet off at 100 yards. Not only is this frustrating, it results in many wounded animals nationwide every year. I have seen this happen with .32, .50, and .54 calibers, shooting patched round balls and saboted bullets. I even see it on the hunting shows. After a few missed shots, they miraculously make the kill shot. Fouling the bore works well, but the gun would need to be cleaned every day. I have found that cleaning and drying the bore thoroughly without oiling is the way to go. There won't be much corrosion, and you can load and hunt right away without having to clean each day. At the end of the season, I do oil the barrel. After a year of drying, the effect of the oil is insignificant.
 

Tikka06

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I never start a hunt with a fouled barrel. My first muzzleloader was a T/C Omega and it only produced good groups with a clean barrel. I now shoot a Knight Mountaineer and it shoots tight groups clean or dirty. That being said, I have no issues leaving the barrel fouled over a couple of weeks since I started loading Blackhorn 209. It seems to clean up a little easier than the others did. I do however hunt with a dry barrel and only oil it down when its going to be put up after season is over.
 

jakesdad

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Aug 18, 2012
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I use blackthorn 209 in my Knight Disc Extreme .50 and while it is still corrosive,it is non hydroscopic which means it doesn't draw moisture like other bp subs. I have been lucky with my gun and have found that if I pop off 2-3 primers on a clean barrel it fouls it enough to give me good accuracy on the first shot without the worries of a "dirty" barrel. My first shot is usually only off around a inch high on first shot, definitely nothing I am going to worry about. I have hunted without cleaning my barrel after a shot for several weeks with zero issues using the blackhorn 209.

As far as the wind drift,yes that kind of wind will push a bullet that far at 100 yards.
 

Matt/VT

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I try to practice and hunt with a fouled barrel to develop consistency. I always fire a primer (I use an inline) and run a dry patch, then load up and shoot. Swab after every shot at the range and restart this same way. This is easy to replicate when hunting, you can clean in the evening if desired and know where you are starting from when you load up. I find very little difference between 1st and 2nd/3rd/etc shots with this routine. I hate leaving black powder residue in the barrel because it is so corrosive, so this seems like a middle of the road option to me.
 

ccc23454

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my knight shots nearly same poi clean/dirty with pyrodex pellets. i always hunt with a cleaned barrel with borebutter sheen in it.

C
 

hank4elk

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I use a TC Omega Z5 BH 209 Barnes 250tez's 209 shotgunprimers and swab out oil before going to range before hunt and shoot a few off to make sure it's on. Usually the 1st one is a flier,then their good.
I leave it fouled til my hunt is over and loaded if not. I then fire it empty,clean and oil and put away til next time
 

schmalts

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A dirty barrel is a corrosion barrel. If I am using anything other than black horn I spit patch between shots
 

HighDesertSage

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Thanks everyone. I think I'll stop by the range on my way out of town on Friday and shoot once, hunt the 9 days, and then clean it when I get back home.
 

StrutNut

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Jun 21, 2011
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I only used water based cleaning solutions for my black powder rifle. I too have the first shot clean as I have seen first hand what can happen if you dont clean your barrel often. I am sighted in for a clean barrel first shot. I hope to not have to worry about a 2nd shot! My POI is very close with a dirty barrel vs a clean barrel. I am in the process of switching from Pyro Pellets to 777 granular.
 

maxx

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I run a wet patch and then a few dry patches down. Then I fire a primer only. I have never had a problem with my first shot. They are typically right on the money.
 

hound dog

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Mar 17, 2014
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one shot fouling

Great question and tons of great advice. The most important aspect of shooting a muzzleloader is keeping the barrel consistent on every shot. Over time I have worked at it and my encore is extremely accurate at long ranges. I take one patch, put a little spit on it, and run it down the barrel between each shot. I also hunt on this one shot foul, never a clean barrel. It was only after I started doing this that I could effectively sift through the variety of bullets and powders and find an outstanding combo for my gun.

I would recommend sticking with a lighter jacketed sabot if you are going to stretch out the distance. The difference between a 250 and 300 grain in drop is substantial. Also, having a reticle like the Burris Ballistic Plex or any other distance compensator is super helpful.

Best of luck with your gun and future hunts!
 

HighDesertSage

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Sabots, pelletized powder and, scopes are illegal in CO for muzzy season. Thanks though. I do agree that the general consensus it to not hunt with a clean barrel.
 

Mengle

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Feb 8, 2015
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I have an LHR redemption. My first shot was always 4-5 inches high until I started intentionally fouling the barrel by firing three primers before loading my first formal round. Now my first 5 rounds tend to be touching one another.
 

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