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Muzzleloader shooting techniques ?

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Muzzleloader shooting techniques ?

Old 09-13-2008, 07:59 PM
  #1  
Spike
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Default Muzzleloader shooting techniques ?

Just wondering if some of the more experienced ML shooters can share some pointers on shooting techniques.

I'm shooting a modern inline.50 calgenerally with250grain saboted bullets.

Is there a point where the gun caliber and/or bullet weight or powder chargenecessitate a shift in technique from more of a "light rifle" technique (loose, light hold) to a "magnum rifle" technique (hard, firm hold)?

Does any recoil occur in muzzleloaders before the bullet leaves the barrel?

Is it OK to use a lead sled when shooting a muzzleloader?

Why does the recoil from a muzzleloader, shooting a bullet of the same weight at the same speed of a rifled shotgun, feel considerably less?


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Old 09-13-2008, 08:42 PM
  #2  
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Default RE: Muzzleloader shooting techniques ?

bigmossy

I'm shooting a modern inline.50 calgenerally with250grain saboted bullets.
Excellent choice of bullet weight for deer - a very good weight out to 175 yards... If you are planning shots longer than that you might want to consider a 300... do not get me wrong the 250 will do the job for greater distances than 175 - but you will probably get more penetration from a 300gr. with the extra energy it carries.

Is there a point where the gun caliber and/or bullet weight or powder chargenecessitate a shift in technique from more of a "light rifle" technique (loose, light hold) to a "magnum rifle" technique (hard, firm hold)?
I am not quite sure what you might be asking here it seems to me the hold I take on the rifle is the same whether I am shooting 90 grains or 120 grains... My rear hand always has a firm with the rifle pulled back in my shoulder... the front hand does not have a tight hold at all.

Does any recoil occur in muzzleloaders before the bullet leaves the barrel?
It would occur to me that the recoil starts and the rifle starts moving back as the ignition starts to move the projectile. Remember, black powder and most subs reach peak pressure very rapidly... and in fact in some cases the bullet may be actually slowingdown before reaches the muzzle depending onpowder charge and type. All that said when the bullet leaves the muzzle there is recoil as the pressure is relieved.

Is it OK to use a lead sled when shooting a muzzleloader?
I personally do not use the lead sled and have no interest in using one - but a lot of people do. If you use a lead sled, be reasonable about the amount of lead you put on the lead - it is not designed to absorb all the recoil... it will but it might be hard on your equipment.

Why does the recoil from a muzzleloader, shooting a bullet of the same weight at the same speed of a rifled shotgun, feel considerably less?
Most of it in the weight of each gun.. shotguns are normally on the light side while ML's are mostly on the heavier side. But, I know what you mean shooting a healthly load in my ML is pleasent as compared to a 3 1/2 Turkey load from my Remington 870. For me there is less percieved recoil from ML than from my 300 Winchester Mag.

Just my side of the story - others will surely follow....
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Old 09-13-2008, 08:51 PM
  #3  
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Default RE: Muzzleloader shooting techniques ?

I shoot my MLs the same way I shoot my smokeless rifles.
Recoil Before or After - Not sure but would say after the bullet leaves the muzzle.
Lead Sled - That's a personal preference. There should be no reason why you couldn't.
I'm not an expert in BP vs Smokeless but this may be due to the burning rate of the BP (and substitutes). Smokeless powder (Nitro) does not require oxygen to burn and pressures peak rapidly. This quick increase in pressure results in a sharper 'punch' rather than the 'shove' you get with BP.
I do know that if you shoot a 450 gr bullet using 100 gr of BP from a rifle with a steel buttplate while wearing a Tshirt - it has a tendancy to get your attention.

Other than that the only difference I see in shooting a ML from a smokeless cartirdge is the time it takes to see if you hit your target waiting for the smoke to clear.

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Old 09-13-2008, 09:09 PM
  #4  
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Default RE: Muzzleloader shooting techniques ?

The techniques I use to shoot black powder are basically the same as with a modern rifle.

But to recap, address the rifle the same way each and every time. I mean have your cheek on the same part of the stock, your grip should be firm but not tight. And maintain and concentrate on your sight picture. Try to be the same as always each and every time.

I like to have the butt in the same part of the shoulder each and every time firmly. And where the rifles rests on your shooting bags, bench, what ever, have it there the same each and every time. Are you aware that some rifles shoot worse if you rest the barrel of the rifle on the rest, VS resting the stock of the rifle on rest.

Also when I set my finger on the trigger I try to shoot with the end of the finger and apply pressure so gradual as I maintain sight picture that the ignition is actually a surprise when it happens.

Last, shoot through the shot. I mean when the rifle fires, the shot is not over. Look through the shot/smoke. I actually try to feel the rifle fire, view the projectile hit the target, etc... Look through the entire shot. All to often people feel the rifle kick, and break their shot concentration and move out of the shot. Hold through that fire.

As for a lead sled, I have no experience with it. I use a simple Caldwell rest. As for the recoil before the projectile leaves the barrel, I could not say. And to me that is not important as I shoot through the shot. As for the feel of the recoil, it is more of a push then a kick.. maybe that is what you are feeling as well.

This is how I shoot. Whether it works for you I could not say.
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Old 09-13-2008, 09:44 PM
  #5  
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Default RE: Muzzleloader shooting techniques ?

Muzzle loader, varmint rifle, magnum rifle. I can not think of a single thing I do differently. I cut my teeth(shooting) with a flintlock. A flintlock shooter will tell you that the key is follow through. Just like the key to shooting a bow. I do not grip any differently when recoil is an issue. For me the key is practicing your follow through. You need to try to stay on target, and return to target after recoil. Tom.
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Old 09-13-2008, 09:45 PM
  #6  
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Default RE: Muzzleloader shooting techniques ?

Thanks for the responses so far. I can see that some of you weren't quite sure where I was comin' from with some of the questions. I'll explain.
I just came out of a bad relationship with "modern" slug shotguns. I'd used the old smooth bore/slugs in the past but never did any bench shooting with them. When I tried my new, modern slug guns off the bench, shooting them like a light riflemy groups were erratic with quite a few flyers.After wasting alot of money on very expensive ammo (I'm talkinga couple of buck$+per $hot) I learned thata big part of the problem was my shooting technique. Because with those 250gr saboted bullets traveling at around 1800fps (same as muzzleloader) the gun would begin to recoil before bullet actually left the barrel.It seemed that I should have been using a firmer hold on the gun to produce better groups instead of shooting it like my .22LR. The lead-sled added to the problem because it caused me to hold the gun even looser; basically putting the crosshairs on the target and gently squeezing the trigger and letting the gun jump and the sled take the recoil.

Anyhow, I traded in my slug guns for muzzleloaders after the first time I tried them and haven't looked back. Some of the things that would seem to parallel each other between the slug guns and muzzleloaders don't seem to add up and I'm trying to figure them out.
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Old 09-13-2008, 10:12 PM
  #7  
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Default RE: Muzzleloader shooting techniques ?

bigmossyd
First,recoil is a reaction to the bullet being pushed,IE every action has an equal reaction. So the recoil starts when the bullet starts moveing an only in very high speed weapon does it not affect where the bullet hits.
As to holding a gun there are a number of things that can affect group size; to loose or to tight is difficult to repeat and being able to get it the same is critical, there are a lot of people who never get good groups because of that or eye problems. Lee
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Old 09-14-2008, 01:03 AM
  #8  
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Default RE: Muzzleloader shooting techniques ?

The answer about recoil starting when the bullet moves is correct. We noticed when shooting pistols that hot loads shoot lower than light loads (that seems to be the opposite of what you would think). The explanation however is that hot loads allow the bullet to exit the barrel before the barrel has time to rise as much where as with a lighter load the barrel rises more before the bullet get out the end. That is a similar result with a rifle and part of what you were attempting to get at. I believe that final sighting should be done as close to hunting conditions as possible. If you shoot off hand final sight that way. If off a rest use a similar rest at the range for sighting and so on. I try to set up my hunting stands so that I rest the forearm on a log or tree limb at about the same loacation on the forearm that I use at the range on my rests.
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Old 09-14-2008, 07:25 AM
  #9  
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Default RE: Muzzleloader shooting techniques ?

I'm glad I didn't take a bet on the recoil issue. But I aint a ballistician either.
All I know is the ML is fun.
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Old 09-14-2008, 12:56 PM
  #10  
Spike
 
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Default RE: Muzzleloader shooting techniques ?

Howlight is your trigger weight? many bad shooting techniques come from heavy gritty triggers. people will spend 300 on a gun and 200 on a scope and wont spend 75 on a good trigger job. a 3# trigger that breaks clean and crisp will help a ton
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