The three-shot 100-yard group shown here is pretty typical of my "first three shots" out of a perfectly clean bore ... with that upper right hit being the first shot. Quite honestly, I can live with this small amount of "first shot deviation". Center-to-center, this "group" is still inside of 1 1/2 inches. But ... sometimes that first shot has a tendency to spread out a bit more.
When shooting for groups on the NORTH AMERICAN MUZZLELOADER HUNTING range, I almost always take a shot or two to put a small amount of powder fouling in the bore ... BEFORE GOING FOR A GROUP. Most days, I'll take a shot or two at a steel 100-yard gong ... which lets me know the rifle ... scope ... and load will print on a paper target. That shot, or couple of shots, will put some "soot" in the barrel ... and then it's time to go after those sub 1-inch groups.
On the first morning of a hunt with one of the ultra modern No. 209 primer in-line muzzleloaders, I'll snap two or three primers before loading. Yes ... one primer is plenty for clearing the ignition system of solvent or oil, but by snapping a couple of extra primers, I've found that the small amount of additional primer fouling put into the bore very closely simulates the fouling left by a first shot. Without fail, when two or three primers are fired before loading, the first shot impact is right there with the following two.
(Note: The above is true when loading and shooting with Blackhorn 209. When loading and shooting with Triple Seven, to obtain those sub 1-inch groups requires that the bore be wiped between shots with a lightly dampened patch.)
The sub 1-inch group shown at left was shot with a .50 caliber Thompson/Center Strike rifle - stuffed with 110-grains of Blackhorn 209 and the light 250-grain all-copper .430" diameter MAXIMUS bullet from Cutitng Edge Bullets and Harvester Muzzleloading .50x.44 Crush Rib Sabot. These were the first three shots out of the rifle that morning ... and before loading the rifle, three of the Federal No. 209A primers were fired through the ignition system. Quite honestly, I cannot tell you which was the first shot. The group measures right at .600" center-to-center.
For more on keeping that first shot out of a clean bore much closer to where the following shots will impact the target, whether on a paper target or on a big ol' buck, here's a link to a feature article we published back in 2012 -
How about sharing your experiences when taking a first shot out of a perfectly clean bore ... and what you do to eliminate the impact of that shot being too far from where following shots are likely to impact the target. - Toby Bridges
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Have you ever looked at a product name ... and wondered, either to yourself or out loud ... "Why did they give that product that name?"
When it comes to shooting and hunting products, the preferred names tend to have something to do with performance - either the accuracy ... the knockdown power ... or the reliability. In our sport, muzzleloading, a product's name often reflects our muzzleloading heritage. One that has been used extensively for more than 40 years has been rifles referred to as a "Hawken" rifle ... many of which were far from looking anything like an original Hawken dating from the 1840's and 1850's. Then there have been a number of rifles named for the region of the country which the modern made reproduction is supposed to represent, such as the Kentucky rifle ... Pennsylvania rifle ... or Tennessee rifle.
For what we shoot out of these rifles, most names again revert back to terminology which indicates accuracy, power or game taking ability. These include Power Belt Bullets ... Black Mag (powder) ... White Hots (white powder pellets) ... and the use of the word "Magnum"! Over the years, I have been asked to help name a lot of new products, muzzleloading and otherwise. The bullets shown above are one of several I have named. This is the line up of the Harvester Muzzleloading saboted Scorpion PT Gold bullets. Actually, naming these came very easy for me ... since I had mocked up the first prototypes of these bullets ... by "borrowing" the polymer tips from another new bullet (the Parker "Ballistic Extreme" ... which I also named) and installing them into Harvester's hollow-pointed Scorpion bullets. When I sent along my idea for a polymer tipped (PT) version of the bullet, I had spray painted the black tips gold in color ... and simply suggested the company call them the Scorpion PT Gold.
Another very popular muzzleloader loading component I was involved with was the powder that became Blackhorn 209. Mostly, my involvement was with the engineers who actually developed the new "High Performance Muzzleloading Propellant" ... and I sat down with them to outline all the properties which would make this the perfect modern formulated powder for today's hot new No. 209 primer ignition in-line muzzleloading big game rifles. Back in the early 2000's, this web magazine was widely known as HIGH PERFORMANCE MUZZLELOADING ... and in 2007 I suggested the use of that wording on the label to describe the powder inside one of those mostly black and orange containers.
The gang at Western Powders, of Miles City, Montana, actually came up with the Blackhorn 209 name. I had thrown a couple of name ideas their way, but actually liked the name they came up with for the powder. BLACKHORN has kind of a traditional ring to it ... while 209 says the powder is for use in those modern muzzleloaders with a hot No. 209 primer ignition system.
New Names For New Products...
Yes...when the length of the sabot sleeves protrude too far above the point where a bulllet taper breaks over, to form the tip, that extra plastic or polymer can keep you from obtaining the absolute best accuracy. For more on this accuracy issue ... and to take a look at a very simple way to easily tailor sabot sleeve length to the length of the bullet you shoot, go to the link at the bottom of this post. We would love to hear from those of you who have experienced accuracy issues with sabot sleeves that are too long ... and of any solutions you may have come up with. To share your thoughts...please use the comment section for this post.
This NORTH AMERICAN MUZZLELOADER HUNTING Blog allows you to share your thoughts and muzzleloader hunting experiences...without leaving this website.