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August 07, 2008


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Mike:In your TC .50 caliber try using .452 Hornady XTP Mag HP (intended for reloaders for use in the .45 Colt) and the correct Hornady sabot (black) over 2 fifty gr. 777 pellets...you'll see plenty of blood from the pass thrus. I've killed deer, black bears and elk with that combo from my Omerga .50 caliber. BD

I've used CVA (Buckhorn and Wolf)the last 3 years. I know they are not the top end, but I was just getting into muzzleloading and still wanted too see if it was something I'd enjoy. I'm looking at the remington genesis right now as my next step up.

I hunt hardwood and laurel stands here in CT, so both deer I took were well under 100 yards....so open sights for me. As a result I've stuck with the Powerbelts Aerotips. I've heard that they may not leave a good blood trail, etc, but something tells me those results are from longer shots. I don't care what you use, but sub 75 yards, a 250-300 gr. .50 cal slugs leaves a hell of a hole. I didn't have to track either of those 2 deer anyway as both fell over dead.


been using inlines since the early 90's before they were even popular and i absolutely love 'em

just a run down of history on a few

-CVA apollo 100 grains Pyrodex/ 250 precison bullets (prototype to the dead center)

as you can see we hunt flat open country with little timber, just corn and bean fileds......perfect for the muzzleloader........seems deer are always just out of slug range :)

215 yards (drop tine buck :)), went 100 yds.
several does from 100 to 150 that went less than 50-60 yards

currently shooting T/C Omega .50cal Shockwave bullets/ 150 gr. 777

195 yrd. 7 pt.er dropped dead (high shoulder shot)
213 yrd. doe dropped dead (high shoulder shot)
125 yd 9 pter ran 100 yard death run
120 yrd. 10 pter dropped dead (high shoulder shot)
115 yard 8 pter (high shoulder) running shot
deer slid to a hault
and many others..........
the only real failures i have had were with CVA power belt..........lost a big 10 and a doe then quite using them...... shot placement was good.....not sure why they didn't die

a few of my buddies landmark hunts

230 yrd 10 pter with TC and shockwave/ 777
ran 150 yards
248 yards 7 pter high shoulder shot, dropped
dead (knight rifle .45 cal)

seems one can draw conclusions about a high shoulder shot..........puts them down fast
if hit right (where the neck, shoulder, spine come together)

Ok someone is bound to ask this so I'll be the dirty rotten SOB to dive in first....
Why is it someone takes up the sport of hunting with a MZ (inline or flintlock)for the challenge of hunting with a semi primative weapon then begins taking shots more apt to be found at a centerfire rifle range?
Hey your as good as your weapon but if you're not interested in the challenge that MZ hunting was meant to be why muddy the playing court to begin with?

I've been using two 777 pellets and a 295 grain powerbelt. I know many people don't like them, but I've never had an issue.

I have been mulling the idea of trying Hornady's new FPB bullet and wondered if anyone on here has?


Mike, The RIGHT bullet, I recommend the Barnes MZ Expander (I use a 50 Cal.). This bullet is devastating on deer. I have only had to track ONE deer on the past 6 years (18 deer shot), the rest I have watched fall, and that is a tall order in thick wooded areas in NJ. She isn't a pretty bullet (big hollow point), but damn it flies great. By the way the one I had to track was not fatally shot, I sent it through the brisket, infront of both shoulder blades, But I let it sit for 4 hours and I found it bleed out. That bullet rips a hole you could drive a truck into.
As for a gun, for obvious reasons I have not purchased a new one in 10+ years, so I must recommend a Thompson Center. I have an older Black Diamond, and I am having an inner struggle thinking about purchasing a new TC ProHunter.
BD, I do agree with your comments, but I would say, A gun, is a gun, is a gun. The challenge is when you switch weapons to a bow. That sucker WILL limit the range.

BD quote:

Why is it someone takes up the sport of hunting with a MZ (inline or flintlock)for the challenge of hunting with a semi primative weapon then begins taking shots more apt to be found at a centerfire rifle range?


I rarely take shots in the woods that exceed 75 yards, but all of these guns are capable of 200 yard accuracy and the manufacturers of the guns, loads and optics push that feature like crazy. Everyone from Hornady to TC to Nikon (and beyond).

For many in slug gun country the inlines have replaced the slug gun as the gun of choice due to the typically longer range capabilities.

In other words, it's as close to centerfire performance as they'll ever get.


I shoot a Knight 50cal disc converted to full plastic jacket. Also use the 295grain cva powerbelt hollow point with 100grains pyrodex. Don't shoot that bullet if you demand a blood trail, I usually see them go down, if not a bang-flop. The bullet usually stays inside, great shock.

Last winter, I shot a doe with my brothers traditional style offset cap MZ in Mich. I used a ball, and 70 gr. of 777. The doe was 35 yards out and went down as fast as gravity can work. It was a complete pass through. I want an Inline for Washington hunting, black bear, elk, and black tail. I just happen to be a WA resident now, and don't get many chance's to hunt. This fall I will only get a few days of black bear hunting if I am lucky. Thank you very much Mike.

After reading this I'm wondering if the doe I thought I missed last year wasn't really hit after all. It was my first muzzleloader shot at a deer (traditional Hawken style, ~30 yards, quartering towards slightly). The first time I pulled the trigger the cap didn't go off, so I cocked it again and boom. The deer immediately turned and ran. The woods were really thick to where you couldn't see a deer much more than 30-40 yards anyway and there was snow on the ground. I went up to where it was standing and I couldn't see any blood, I tried to follow its trail, but there were a lot of deer trails converging at that spot and I couldn't tell which way she went. It was just about dusk and I went a little way up some of the more used trails but didn't see anything definite. I checked my gun and it was right on, but in the time I recocked and fired I thought I might have come up off the stock or something.

BD, i never picked up the muzzleloader to get back in touch with early americans or whatever..... i couldn't find a slug gun (that was affordable) that had the accuracy of an in-line. i assume by your comments toward long range shooting that you have killed all 40 150"+ bucks with a long bow at 10 paces......(just kidding of course0
but you see what i mean......i can appreciate folks who shoot flintlocks at
25 yards only...... that is just not me, and those folks will never take any deer consistently where i have to gun hunt.
i also use a compound bow and now hang my recurve on the wall .......if that makes me a less of a hunter in others eyes, so be it.....i hunt for me, my family and for food. GOD has blessed me with some great bucks, lots of does and some exciting adventures.... i constantly have people bash me for shooting deer at 200 yards..... but i can shoot the sam groups at 200 that they do at 35 with their slug guns.....so why am i in the wrong........ just a thought
to each his own

I quit using Powerbelts because I was getting some serious blow by. I switched to Thompsan Shock Waves and am getting way better results. I used to swear by PB, but I discovered on the range that they were dropping significantly out to 100 yards. After comparing the two projectiles (both the same weight) together, the difference between the two was startling.

While I respect everyone's opinions, I think it's funny that some folks think that muzzleloader hunting should be limited to those "primitive weapons" of the past, or that folks think that some standard shot distance should be adhered to.

During the Civil War, Union (and Confederate) sharpshooters (or, "skirmishers")were using 475 grain projectiles packed in front of 50 grain charges and knocking off soldiers from 200 plus yards on a consistent basis. The effective range of the .50 caliber Sharp's was well past that range.

Granted, these sharpshooters were talented riflemen, and practiced a great deal prior to warfare.

I feel that individual hunters should decide what is a safe and effective distance to shoot a weapon, based on skill and practice. If a skilled muzzleloader hunter can kill a big buck out to 200 yards and beyond, why should they feel obligated to limit their shooting to less than 100 yards?

Dean Weimer quote:
I used to swear by PB, but I discovered on the range that they were dropping significantly out to 100 yards.

If you don't mind my asking, how far where they dropping? What weight powerbelt and how many grains of powder were you using?


T/C Encore , .50 caliber.......

T/C 3x9 scope.......

2 , triple seven pellets........

Cabela's Percision Dead Center 200 gr. sabot.......

Cabela's Percision Rifle X-tended Range .180 gr. sabot.......

T/C 209 primers......

Shots inside of 200 yds. is the ticket for me.......

Flatlander I don't know where you live an it really doesn't matter. I'm going to assume like every state or providence the regulators set the MZ season as a management tool allowing for whatever enjoyment sportsmen could gleen from it. When that season was set it is a pretty good bet the intentions of the game dept was not to see game harvested with a MZ as proficently as with a centerfire or slug gun.
But alas this is what it has come to...get what you want as easily as possible...I ask you this: How long do you think archery hunting seasons will last when 400fps bows become common place, 4000fps firearms that don't burn out barrels are perfected, inlines that are capable of 400 yd kill and slug guns routinely group under 3' @ 300 yds???? Think it won't happen??? Stop an lok back at archery equipment from 30 years ago an compare it to todays equipment. Archers clamor for longer seasons each year here in Pa (already 6 weeks) but that 6 week season was set when recurves were the bow of the day and we shot fibergalss arrows...it took on the average of 60 archers to produce 1 bow killed whitetail of any sex...what is it today???????????
Yes I still hunt with a recurve along with my Mathews and Hoyts...'cause that is what archery season is to me...get within 20 yds and stick them not brag about 50 yd shots with carbon shafts/expandable BH/2"plastic fletching,etc.

BD "get what you want as easily as possible" yah right.....i have scarring on 2 fingers from frost bite from crawling through corn stubble during the late antlerless season here in Illinois last winter..... I know you are an educated man but i think with your busy schedule you have been on far too many hunts with outfitters and guides to really learn whitetails...... at least in some regions.
Ill. has a overpopulation of deer, especially does...... we can't kill enough of them each year, they keep adding seasons and lenghtneing them........probably because it is so "EASY"..... these deer are pressured like you would not believe...
i could respect your view if you stuck to one view or the other (modern/ traditonal) but you flop around like Obama......
Illinois seasons are not getting shortened anytime soon and with crop prices and damage to corn from deer..... farmers will be screaming for more deer harvests!!!

i don't think there is any legal hunting in America that is unethical at this point in time...(be it bow, gun, cross bow,etc.) deer still have the advantage...... I spend 200+ hours a season just on whitetails and i have learned several things...... one is we will never kill them all, even with all the technology in the world...they are survivors!!! thats why we all love to pursue them. so if you are opposed to inline MZ's better put that hoyt/Mathews on ebay or that would make you a hypocrit :)

I have a CVA Optima and it likes 90g of FFg 777 loose powder and 300g xtp mag. I have found it best not to over power the xtp and try and keep it around 1600 fps.

I think for those having issues with the powerbelt it maybe the fact they can be over powered as well. Too much speed and the copper fragments. Slow them down to around 1600 fps and you will see the difference.

Flat I'm not opposed to inlines (I use an Omega .50) what I'm opposed to is the menality that 150-250 yd shots should become so common place in a semi primative season that some hunters have forgotten why they are hunting in that season to begin with.

Also it may interest you to know that the vast majority of the trophies I've killed were on self guided trips. That goes from my Stone sheep in Ak to my whitetails in Iowa an Ill!

excuse me my Stone came from BC not Ak

BD, Most times Laws, Rules & Regulations do not keep up with the times, they must always be revaluated and adjusted. As you mentioned, we are not going to stop technology and as Flat said deer populations are still out of control in many states. If we just change the name of the season from "Primitive season" to "Muzzleloader Season", which is what they have done in NJ, would that solve it for you?
I think we are all talking about the same thing, just some people like to keep things close to the vest, while other like to put it out there.

Silverback....will it do for me? I ask you this : will it do for the deer? what happened to THOSE DEER IN NJ when the state went to multiple tags...Recall 20 years ago,now think back to the last few..hmmmmmm like I said everyone wants to go the easy route...'nuf said I have sutures to cast.

Looking back, In NJ there have never been more deer and bigger bucks in this state as there are now. And some zones are UNLIMITED (two a day) antlerless muzzleloader season and that is a 62 day season. It seems to be working fine here.

Sometimes when men reach a certain age they become afflicted with a terrible disease.

It affects their mood, attitude and gives them a false sense of knowledge that is displayed by being a bit of a "know it all".

There is no cure and it will affect all men (but especially white men) @ some point in their lives. As friends, relatives and acquaintances all we can do is look upon these poor souls with the sympathy they deserve.

What is this terrible affliction you ask?

It's called GOMS. Grouchy old man syndrome.


I bought a T/C Encore back in 2001 I believe and I fed it The Hornady saboted 300 grain bullets until 2 years ago. I shot 8 deer with that set up. As long as I was behind the shoulder it was a dead deer, however, never a good blood trail. I did not have an exit wound on 5 of the deer and on two I had 2 exit wounds from the bullet coming apart. I lost one big doe I shot at 75 yards quarting away. I found a spec of blood at the point of impact and nothing else. We did a full grid search and no deer or blood. I gave up on Hornady and couldn't be draged back.
I have shot two deer with the T/C Shockwave Sabots and so far they performed great. I made two behind the shoulder shots, one at 30yds and one at 50yds, and had a great exit wound on both and blood trails I still dream about.


Oh but Jimbo no vice as great as the worst sin of mankind...envy. Lest it has gone unheeded your contstant digs "one too many guided trips" echos ringing true of someone so wallowed in the self pity doldrums for his own lot in life!


I find it ironic that you noticed yourself in some of the symptoms.

Do you have any others?

Thinking everyone born after you is lazy, driving with your turn signal on for miles, thinking people envy you, wearing black socks with sandals, still owning a vcr, still owning a vcr that blinks "12:00" all the time and having hair growing out of your ears that's so long it requires a separate haircut.

Let me know if you have any of these symptoms as well and I'll keep doing more research and come up with additional ones.

Have a good day, BD.


trading insults with a fool over the 'net is below my accepted standars

More symptoms of GOMS.

Impatience, no sense of humor and the inability to spell anymore(standars?)!


Great reading guys. One thing that reading Mike blog has done is really opened my eyes to how folks from all over and every walk of life has their style and preferences brought about be many influences. As Luke replied to me when I stated I am really "Old Fashioned" in what I use, one thing I find is all of us are dedicated, knowledgable, informed and ethical outdoorsmen. It is great meeting you guys in this forum and we need to meet somehow, somewhere to really get to know each other. Great fun, great tales, good knowledge,and learning! Thx Mike and all of you. What a group!

Oops, my spelling is crappy as well. I don't think I have GOMS as yet, but I am old enought to have it. Is there a vaccine? Maybe trips to the range will quell it, or just a walk in the big woods.


I highly doubt you have GOMS just yet. If you do it must be in the very early stages.

The severity of GOMS is somewhat personality dependant. If you have a good personality and are a happy person in general, it probably won't affect you too badly. But...if you have no personality, the disease races through you. You'll exhibit all the previous symptoms and you may even start referring to yourself by a name that sounds like it came from a bad porn film (example/Big Daddy).

Then (in the last throes) you'll be wearing your pants up around your armpits and eating dinner @ 4:30 in the afternoon.


Worse yet Mack is should you regress you'll find yourself trying to set the posting STANDARDS for Mike's blog. Posting your opines on nearly every topic as though it were cut into Ill. red stone!Sad sad sad


I thought you were going to ignore my posts as they were below your "standars"?

BTW, what's the early bird special down @ the diner this afternoon?

Have a nice weekend!


Unfortunately it's read this shit or thumb thru the usual rags lying about here in our lounge while waiting my turn overthe table. An as the last nurse I slid my palm onto her thigh reminded me I'm stuck to this place for the next six hours!
BTW I have serious doubts you would be seated even if you could afford a single glass of the house wine at one of the regular establishments I take my fillets from. Of course in this day of plastic money it isn't totally inconcievable you could still get asked "if you'd like fries with that" at yours.

just a thought but why don't the two of you take it elsewhere? The rest of us are not interested in the pokes.

I have to admit I am ROFLMAO!!!!!! I believe you are on the money and someone is getting very flustered!!


Bill's right, that's enough (for today).

Until another day BD! Enjoy your wait for the next table to open up. Before I go I will leave you with an unsolicited observation.

For a high powered surgeon who apparently is doing very well financially, has a long term marriage, kids and enjoys hunting all over the globe, you sure are quick to get all bent out of shape when someone (you feel is so far beneath you) rags on your GOMS infested butt.

I'd probably quit doing it too if you weren't so quick to try rubbing everyone's nose in your supposed superiority.

I'll make you a deal. You quit being so pompous and I'll quit getting under your skin....even though I would miss it so!

Have a nice weekend.


I use knight E-Z load sabots 245 grain with 100 grains of pyrodex pellets. I shot a 10 pt bucklast fall. The bullet went clean through. The 50 yard blood trail was easy to follow.

Don3. It may interest you to know that TC Shockwaves are the exact same bullet, manufactured by Hornady,as the SST ML. I believe the bullet you were shooting was the hollow point XTP pistol bullet designed for max expansion at relatively low pistol velocities. The shockwaves cost 13 to 18 dollars for 15 bullets. The SST ML 12 to 15 dollars for 25 bullets. I reload many different bullets and Hornady is always a top performer. Give the SST ML a try and save some dough. Its what I now use in an Omega. Couldnt be happier.

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