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Range Report...and I almost died!

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Range Report...and I almost died!

Old 09-17-2011, 11:14 AM
Nontypical Buck
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Default Range Report...and I almost died!

OK...not almost died, but was almost seriously injured. Read on to learn from my mistake. There is no room for HASTE on the range!!!

Last night I went through the rigorous process of applying Dyan-bore coat to my muzzleloader (lots and lots and LOTS of cleaning involved...you must clean it to down to 100% bare metal). You cure the coating by firing your weapon 5 - 10 times as quickly as possible (to get the barrel hot). With a muzzleloader, well, there is no quick.

When I got out to the range this morning, I pre-measured 10 loads, had 10 bullets and 10 primers neatly arranged, and I was going to fire 10 shots off in record time.

I fire the first shot...BANG! Load up the next shot, rush back the bench, load my primer, and quickly fire, just pointing the gun downrange (i.e. I sat down, put the gun on the rest, looked downrange and fired with no cheek weld). The recoil I experience is nothing short of explosive. My right hand and bicep (where the buttstock struck me) are in extreme pain...so much so, that I can barely think. It takes all of the concentration I can muster to go on to load the next round. As I get up I'm wondering if that's how much recoil my shoulder normally absorbs, and if it recoiled like that because I didn't get squared up to the rifle properly, etc. Could I possibly have double charged? No, neither one can be.

I dump in the powder for the next round, start the bullet and reach for my ramrod. It's not on the bench. It must have fallen off. No, not on the ground. Where did I put it in my haste? And then it hits me...I didn't put it anywhere!! I fired out of my rifle!! At that moment I am thankful that I am OK, and that I did NOT put myself into proper shooting position. There is no doubt in my mind that I would have been in the hospital with a concussion had I fully been behind that shot.

So, I nominate myself for the (lucky) bonehead of the year award. I do not know how this happened except for that fact that I was making too much haste. I have decided that it will be part of my shooting practice to point the barrel towards the ground after each time loading.

In case you're wondering what the ramrod and loading jag look like, I have no idea. A couple of people at the range helped me look for it, but we couldn't find it anywhere. I was using the Spinjag loader, and it i just slightly under .50. You cannot send a patch down the barrel with this jag it is so tight. I'm sure it hit the ground somewhere and skyrocketed over the berm. Luckily there was someone at the range with a spare ramrod, so I was able to borrow it for a little bit to finish curing the bore coat, and to test out 3 loads.

This is my first time with Deepcurls (I picked up the 300gr variety). My previous hunting load was 90gr BH209 w/ 260gr Harvester Scorpion PT Gold in a crush rib black sabot. I could get a 1" group at 100 yards with that combo. The reason I'm looking into the Deepcurls is that last season, I believe that I hit a buck at point-blank range with the PT Gold, but could not find blood or hair (or a deer) anywhere after a 4-hour search. I had two solid kills at longer ranges that year with those bullets (one at 150 yards), but that disturbing incident shook my confidence in those bullets. Could I have missed? Possibly. I'll never know.

Range = 50 yards
Gun = T/C Omega
Powder = BH209
Sabots = Harvester Variety
Bullets = Speer Deepcurl 300gr

The center group is with the red crush rib sabots and 90gr BH209. Not a great group for 50 yards IMO. But the red crush ribs are not feasible in my Omega. The first one loaded fine, but the 2nd was very difficult and the 3rd was almost impossible. It will be interesting to test them as a "target sabot", swabbing between shots.

The bottom group is 100gr BH209 in the crush black sabots. Again, not impressed by the group at 50 yards.

The left group is 100gr BH209 with the standard short black sabot. Shot 1 was good, I called shot 2 left and it was, shot 3 was good, and shot 4 was good, except for the fact that I discovered about 10gr of powder left behind in the measure after the shot. It must have stuck in there due to static electricity or something, and I didn't notice it. That could very well have thrown the shot off. Judging by shots 1 and 3, this might be a decent load. But the guy who was loaning me his ramrod was leaving, so I had to end my session.

I also got to shoot my M1A Scout a few times, just to check zero. I know this is the BP forum, but man, I love this gun. If I had a scope on there, those last two shots would be touchin'. It should be a 3-shot group, but I ran out of Silvertips, so...

Range = 100yds
Gun = SA M1A Scout
Load = Winchester Silvertips 150gr
Sights = Aimpoint Red Dot, no magnification

The lower 3 shots all have sight adjustments done between them, the highest shot is the last adjustment, and the one right below it was made after that last adjustment. I wish I would have had 1 more cartridge left to really justify that group, but oh well.

Last edited by 7.62NATO; 09-17-2011 at 11:18 AM.
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Old 09-17-2011, 11:30 AM
Typical Buck
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Glad you're alright!

Thanks for sharing that close call. Happens to even the most experienced as well

Indeed, we all need to keep our heads in the game, while at the range. As we all start getting ready for our various season's, take time to slow down and double check each load--measuring with ram rod witness marks etc...

And try not to get caught-up in range conversations, that can distract us from our loading procedures.

And that was some good shooting in those pics BTW
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Old 09-17-2011, 11:49 AM
Boone & Crockett
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You know the old saying "Haste makes waste." This also holds true to firearms. But in some cases "Haste makes injury." In this case I don't think there was much cause for alarm. I know a guy who has shot his ramrod down range on 3 separate occasions. But every time there was some kind of distraction. The rod was probably on the bullet so what you did was actually send a 2000 or so grain projectile down range (somewhere). Next time, don't be in such a hurry. The barrel will get hot enough after 10 - 15 shots loaded at a quick but safe speed.
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Old 09-17-2011, 12:23 PM
Nontypical Buck
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Your ok that's what's most important, lesson learned.
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Old 09-17-2011, 01:14 PM
Nontypical Buck
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Yup, The old shoot the ramrod down range trick. Seen it done before but haven't yet had the pleasure of sending one just yet. Knocking on wood here..... and hopefully I won't.

Good to hear you're OK. Lesson heard and understood. Thank you.

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Old 09-17-2011, 01:27 PM
Typical Buck
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Location: Central Connecticut
Posts: 746

The extra weight of the ramrod with jag tremendously increased
the pressure curve of the powder when it fired off.
I suggest to double check the bore with extra tight patches or an
empty sabot to see if it developed a bulge and is now ringed or not.

Last edited by arcticap; 09-17-2011 at 01:33 PM.
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Old 09-17-2011, 01:54 PM
Typical Buck
Join Date: Dec 2008
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Wow!! I have often wondered what would happen if I would have done this?? I really don't want to find out first hand. Glad your ok.
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Old 09-17-2011, 02:04 PM
Dominant Buck
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Haste is the real enemy of the muzzleloader shooter. That and distractions. One reason why when company comes over, I stop my shooting. And I will load some fast, but I have a routine that I do to check everything before I touch the trigger.

Glad you are all right. That could have been a nasty experience. And believe me you are not the first. And I'd bet even money you won't be the last.
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Old 09-18-2011, 06:30 AM
Nontypical Buck
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Yeah, I hear the ramrod shooter's club ain't exclusive. Hopefully I can remain a one-time contributor.

The barrel seems fine. I cleaned it well when I got home and neither feel nor see anything out of the ordinary. The real test will be testing out last season's hunting load at 100 yards. If I'm much over 1", that's a problem.
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