New Mexico set up

nolanjs55

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Jan 28, 2019
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I have been going down this rabbit hole of researching my New Mexico set up for a unit 13 late season bull hunt. I shoot an accura v2 here in co with a Williams peep sight. I am more of a set it and forget it guy and want to keep that gun as is, especially since I have a co deer hunt prior to the elk in NM.

I have settled on a Remington 700 ultimate muzzleloader and I have a new leupold Vx 5 hd scope that was supposed to go on a rifle that I may just put on the new muzzy.

with that said, I am relatively new to muzzleloading and I would say bow is my weapon of choice or what I focus more on. I plan to invest a lot of time at the range but would also say I am on the begging side of the learning curve when it comes to developing my loads and gun capabilities.

the questions I have are as follows. I am mentally preparing for a 300-350 shot for this late season hunt considering I won’t be hunting rutting bulls. I would like to get closer but if the animal of a lifetime presents an ethical shot I want to know my gun can do the job.

1. do you all think out of box the Remington ML is a capable long range gun? What do you all consider the average range for late season ML? I plan to shoot Parker match hunter with either 209 or triple 7 based on randy Wakemans blogs and Los data suggestions.

or 2. Do you think a custom upgrade/conversion is needed for this hunt. Lots of outfitters tout this. I am looking at one from levi reed who will upgrade and convert the barrel and develop loads specifically for my gun to shoot long range.

I want to make sure I have the proper tool for the job.
 

hogcarpy

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Nov 21, 2010
Messages
34
I drew a late season NM muzzleloader tag last year. I used a Thompson Center Omega 50 cal, Nikon Omega scope with the BDC reticle, Blackhorn 209, and Barnes TMZ 250 gr. bullets.

A few things I learned...
Shoot a bunch during the summer and find the load/charge that is the most accurate.
My accuracy improved a lot when I weighed the charge vs. measure by volume. Be careful here, the max load is different in volume vs weight measuring if I remember correctly. I referenced Blackhorn's website.
Follow the same cleaning and fouling process for every shot. I sent two rounds down range, clean, fire off two primers, repeat. Some folks may disagree, but it worked for me.
The BDC reticle was key. Zeroed the scope at 100 yards and shot at 200 and 300 yards to calibrate the drop with the BDC reticle. I then printed and taped the calibrated reticle layout to the stock of the rifle.

I harvested a bull at 171 yards on opening day. It was a fairly good shot, one lung and a piece of the other. The bull was quartered toward me more than I realized. Knowing that I had calibrated the reticle gave me a lot of confidence to shoot accurately at longer ranges with a muzzleloader.

I would note that the bullet was lodged in the bull's hide, preventing an exit wound. In my mind my muzzleloader setup may be accurate a long ranges, but I would have hesitation shooting an elk beyond 200-250 yards. There isn't enough energy at long ranges for the bullet to behave like a rifle. Just my experience.

I may not have answered your specific questions, but hopefully this may help.
 

johnrr65

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Nov 6, 2019
Messages
133
I drew a late season NM muzzleloader tag last year. I used a Thompson Center Omega 50 cal, Nikon Omega scope with the BDC reticle, Blackhorn 209, and Barnes TMZ 250 gr. bullets.

A few things I learned...
Shoot a bunch during the summer and find the load/charge that is the most accurate.
My accuracy improved a lot when I weighed the charge vs. measure by volume. Be careful here, the max load is different in volume vs weight measuring if I remember correctly. I referenced Blackhorn's website.
Follow the same cleaning and fouling process for every shot. I sent two rounds down range, clean, fire off two primers, repeat. Some folks may disagree, but it worked for me.
The BDC reticle was key. Zeroed the scope at 100 yards and shot at 200 and 300 yards to calibrate the drop with the BDC reticle. I then printed and taped the calibrated reticle layout to the stock of the rifle.

I harvested a bull at 171 yards on opening day. It was a fairly good shot, one lung and a piece of the other. The bull was quartered toward me more than I realized. Knowing that I had calibrated the reticle gave me a lot of confidence to shoot accurately at longer ranges with a muzzleloader.

I would note that the bullet was lodged in the bull's hide, preventing an exit wound. In my mind my muzzleloader setup may be accurate a long ranges, but I would have hesitation shooting an elk beyond 200-250 yards. There isn't enough energy at long ranges for the bullet to behave like a rifle. Just my experience.

I may not have answered your specific questions, but hopefully this may help.
+1
 

p_ham

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716
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Fallon, NV
I know a lot of those ultimate muzzleloaders shoot well, but there are a lot of them that wont hold minute-of-moose. My dad has one that will not shoot anything. I would stick with the CVA.

I will 2nd the 200yd cap on elk with a MZ.
I prefer the Barnes 290 GR TMZ out of mine.
 

Birddog916

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Jan 13, 2020
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Sacramento, CA
I have a RUM. I love it. My person max range is 300 yards with the factory recommended 4 pucks of 777 and Remington labeled bullets and sabots. I topped the rifle with a Leupold VX Freedom Scope with the Muzzlelaoder BDC. I really like the set up it shoots surprisingly well and is pretty accurate. It will shoot sub 1.5 inch at 100 yards, and I'm not the best rifle shooter that's for sure. Down side to my set up is it's heavy... but it's also shooting 4 pucks of 777 and a .50 cal so my shoulder doesn't really mind the weight.
 

Birddog916

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What's the point in a muzzleloader hunt if you're using a scope and shooting 300 yards? I always felt that muzzleloaders should be a more primitive weapon.
Yeah, John ain't it wild and many state gov't wildlife agencies agree with you. That's why I own multiple muzzleloaders some are good to 50 yards and others are good to 300. I just love to shoot all kinds of stuff. The RUM is not legal in all states while grandpa's Hawken is. I like shooting them all.
 

JoltnJoe

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Nags Head
Call Bob Parker and pick his brain. His bullets are his passion and his customer service is second to none! I guarantee you’ll have more confidence in your set up for having spoken with him if you’re shooting his bullet.
 

nolanjs55

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Jan 28, 2019
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Call Bob Parker and pick his brain. His bullets are his passion and his customer service is second to none! I guarantee you’ll have more confidence in your set up for having spoken with him if you’re shooting his bullet.

thank you, I actually did that and he is a wealth of knowledge. He has me contemplating a barrel upgrade from L and r customs
 

nolanjs55

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Jan 28, 2019
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What's the point in a muzzleloader hunt if you're using a scope and shooting 300 yards? I always felt that muzzleloaders should be a more primitive weapon.
I would normally agree but from my research of the unit and experience with elk hunting this late, I am anticipating pocketed bulls that will be difficult to get into range given the open country. If this was a rut hunt I would have no problem with my cva iron sight. i am approaching this hunt as a once in a lifetime hunt and I want to have the most capable tool that is legal within the regs
 

JohnCushman

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South East Colorado
If that was my reasoning I wouldn't have 2 P&Y antelope. People have stalked into positions for thousands of years and got animals. It must suck to have such little faith in your hunting skills.
 

rainbro_trout

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Apr 5, 2018
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I 2nd what hogcarpy and others have said about limiting your effective range based on how far you are comfortable making a lethal shot vs. how far you are comfortable making an accurate shot. A lot of states have laws that use restraints on optics, sabots, action types, and powders that will limit your effective range before you have to consider if your shot maintains lethal energy at a range you are comfortable with in terms of accuracy. State muzzleloader regs vary quite a bit and for a couple of the western states I think its important to keep in mind how much energy a shot has at ranges that extend the limits of conventional muzzleloaders.

I've got very limited practical muzzleloader experience (1 hunt), but will try to help. My setup is a scoped CVA Accura MR, shooting Blackhorn 209 powder and Barnes TMZ 290 bullets. After dialing in a load and sabot combination I settled on harvester crush rib sabots and 70 grains by weight Blackhorn 209 (100 grains by volume), and was comfortable shooting accurately out to 200 yards. However, during the hunt I shot an elk broadside at 20 yards and the bullet lodged in the hide on the far side. The shot just barely clipped a rib on the entry, passed through both lungs, and kept its material and weight. The elk only went 20 yards before tipping over, but I was surprised that such a close shot didn't result in a pass through. The photo below shows the bullet used:

IMG_2601.JPG


Moving forward I plan to revisit the drawing board and try load combinations with BH 209 closer to the max recommendations for my gun. I will gladly sacrifice a little bit of accuracy (and limit my effective range) for increased energy with the peace of mind that my shot will result in a quick and ethical kill.

Keep in mind that this is an apples to oranges comparison between my setup and the setup you are planning to use. From what I've found the maximum BH load recommendation for an Accura is 120 grains by volume and the maximum BH load recommendation for Remington 700 is 150 by volume. You've discovered Randy Wakeman's material and Parker bullets so you're already on a good track for extending your effective range. Many of Parkers options have high BCs that will maximize energy retention and help push the limits of your effective range.
 

p_ham

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thank you, I actually did that and he is a wealth of knowledge. He has me contemplating a barrel upgrade from L and r customs
Holy hell that's expensive. I didn't see on their site what style of breech plug they're running. Do you happen to know?
We're thinking of installing a .45cal barrel on Dad's but dont know what breech to use. Might just make something custom.
 

.270

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Apr 17, 2017
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South Texas
I have a UML that wouldn't shoot at all. I should have figured something was up when the breech plug was damaged from the factory and it was tumbling the supplied sabots. After spending to much time and money trying different bullets that would not work, I had it rebarreled by Arrowhead rifles and uses their breech plug. Now I am shooting three touching shots at 100 yards and muzzle velocity of 2550 with 300 gr bullets and BH209. I shot a bull with it this year at 220, no problems.
I would shoot that UML with BH209 and see how it does. I know some of them can be accurate. I just got a Friday rifle.
 

3855WIN

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Jul 17, 2014
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Mississippi
Nolan, sounds like you need a gun for one hunt. I would try to borrow one from a hunter that didn’t draw a tag this year. If I remember correctly, you’re in the fly fishing business. Surely you have something you could trade out for this short term rental. Fishing trip, rod, etc.
Make a new post and see if you get any bites.
 
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