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That Quick Second Shot

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That Quick Second Shot

Old 08-28-2013, 06:08 PM
Boone & Crockett
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Default That Quick Second Shot

Every now and then one of us mentions the desire to have a load combination that allows loading a quick second shot while hunting. That topic came up today in a bull session with one of my hunting buddies.

After kicking it around a bit we realized that between us a quick reload was wanted exactly twice in our entire combined muzzleloading careers of about 70 years - once for me and once for him. Both occasions involved a deer down withing view, but not dead.

There were many occasions for both of us where the deer was down and kicking, but expired before a second shot could have been loaded no matter how fast the reload would have been. There were other occasions where a follow-up shot was required. But the deer had moved out of sight immediately after the shot and required tracking anyway. So a fast or slow reload before the tracking began didn't make any real difference to the situation. In those situations we agreed that waiting a bit before beginning tracking is generally a good idea anyway.

Also, neither one of us had ever had a situation where the game remained within view after a clear miss. So even a very quick reload wouldn't have produced a kill.

So, what are your thoughts or experience regarding the need for a "quick" reload? And how quick is quick anyway?

Last edited by Semisane; 08-28-2013 at 06:11 PM.
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Old 08-28-2013, 06:42 PM
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I have only needed it one time in many years - but I always want to have it available. Often I really do not even get to see if I got the hit until the smoke clears - then I do want to be ready - in case - so yep! I want the second shot available quickly.

Also I think since I am not working out of a stand, but stalking on the ground and normally in brush or timber it is something that makes me feel good to know I could/can get a second shot. Also because of the terrain I hunt in Idaho a run of 75-100 yards could put the animal in an awful big hole - not much is flat around here.

One other thing - shooting elk, especially a bull in the rut - you may not ever know if the first shot hit or not - they have a much bigger interest in their mind - pain is not always a factor.
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Old 08-28-2013, 06:49 PM
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I've only felt the need for a fast reload while deer hunting one time. My son (his first deer) spined the deer at about 80 yards. It was down, but you never know for how long at that point in the game not being 100% positive about the hit.
I usually keep a couple speed loaders with a Lee R.E.A.L handy because the R.E.A.L will usually load fairly easily in a dirty bore. We walked quickly closer to the deer (about 10 yards), but he was so excited he missed the second shot.
I loaded again and put one through it's head to end the drama.
I guess the speed load probably wasn't really necessary, but I wanted to be sure it was down for good as quickly as possible.
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Old 08-28-2013, 07:12 PM
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If a quick reload is desired, a pistol or revolver (depending on your states law) would be the easiest method. I can't think of a time in my life where I needed a quick reload, even when carrying my 30-30.
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Old 08-28-2013, 07:42 PM
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I have to admit, when I was younger... I used to take more then one shot. Most the time it was not needed and the second shot was really wasted. But I have never needed a second shot with a muzzleloader. I mean granted, I reloaded and as quick and safe as possible, but like you say.. the animal had run off, then tracking, then finally finishing them off. So I thank the muzzleloader for making me slow down and make sure that my first shot is the killing shot. That is one reason I will not take a low percentage shot with a muzzleloader. I have a friend that does, and he has needed a second shot. But I blame him for that. Had he waited a little or prepared better for that first trigger pull.. the second shot would not be an issue.
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Old 08-28-2013, 07:47 PM
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I don't know about the laws in your state, but here you can shoot more than one deer per day. I feel a quick second shot is a must if you get a chance to shoot more than one deer. I have had that chance and capitalized on it three times. Twice when shooting a pump action shotgun and once when I was hunting with my .50 caliber Thompson Center Hawkins. Fortunately all of my muzzleloaders are easy to load for a second or third shot without cleaning between shots.
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Old 08-28-2013, 08:30 PM
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Originally Posted by freebirdfb View Post
If a quick reload is desired, a pistol or revolver (depending on your states law) would be the easiest method. I can't think of a time in my life where I needed a quick reload, even when carrying my 30-30.
I seriously doubt that will EVER be allowed here in PA. I've tried some of the so called "speed-loaders" over the years and found them to be worthless for the most part. Not that I have missed or wounded a bunch of deer and felt that they were a necessity, it was more of a "How fast can I reload and shoot again" mindset. I would take them out and try to see how fast I could load and shoot an aimed shot off with them. Trying to get a quick second shot off at a paper target is not the same as trying to get a quick second shot off at a deer. The margin for error is much narrower so to speak. The only time that I needed a quick second shot was when I tried to shoot a deer from an awkward position because it came in where I wasn't expecting it and when I squeezed the shot off, I immediately knew I missed because the deer trotted a few steps and then stood there looking around as if it was wondering where the noise came from. I was setting on the ground and I reloaded from the position I was sitting in and I soon found out that it's more difficult than I thought it would be. By the time I got a load down and was primed and ready, the deer had moved to where I no longer had a clear shot. In my opinion, the best option you have is to make the first shot count! If I hit a deer with my muzzleloader and it doesn't go down within a short distance, I keep my eye on it the best I can while I methodically reload with a premeasured charge and a prelubed conical or patched roundball in a loading block and then re-prime with a capper or pan charger depending on what I'm hunting with.

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Old 08-29-2013, 12:45 AM
Nontypical Buck
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I've had use for it maybe 2 times. Since I've only been hunting with a muzzy for 8 years, I consider that often enough that I should pay attention to the issue.

The one time I made the rookie mistake of shooting at a running deer and hit it too far back. The deer ran about 50 yards and just stopped there, looking at me while I was frantically reloading. The 2nd shot transversed the 4th cervical vertebrae, taking care of that issue.

The other time I took an offhand 150 yard shot, and again hit the deer a little far back. Instead of bolting, it went 20 yards and bedded down. I still had a clear broadside shot of it bedded there, so I took the 2nd shot and my aim was better that time.

So both times a fast follow-up was necessary due to mistakes on my part. I can see how if you are very picky with your shot selection, a quick follow up may rarely be necessary.

I wasn't timing myself, but both times I'd wager that I was reloaded in less than 30 seconds.
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Old 08-29-2013, 04:44 AM
Nontypical Buck
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Location: Tennessee
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Only once in my 25+ years of hunting have I needed a second shot. It was on a spinded deer. I will add, it was with a ML using a slip fit conical and put her down quickly with a second shot. No fuss, no problem.

That being said, while thinking of a need for a quick second shot does enter my mind for planning. I do not have any load with any of my MLs that can't be reloaded on a dirty barrel with the same bullet I am using for the first shot. So for me, it's a non-issue.
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Old 08-29-2013, 04:48 AM
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I've only ever truly needed a quick reloaded one time. I shot at a pretty nice buck that was following a doe hard (probably 50yds away)... and since I was dead on him, I figured I nailed him. Anyhow, he ran towards and past me and stopped about 20yds behind me in a small patch of pines. He showed no sign of being hit while he ran, and since he was just standing there, I figured I had to of missed. I quickly got my speed loader out, loaded up and got off my second shot. He dropped in his tracks. Turned out, the first shot went right through one lung, and out the offside through the liver. Only thing I could figure is he was all jacked up from chasing, and didn't even know he was hit. He was probably on his feet about 1.5 minutes total from my first shot to my second. Standing there dead basically. LOL. Beyond that, its all been one shot opportunities.

Now...a few years ago, a buddy of mine who's not much of a hunter honestly... he shot a doe and dropped it. Within about 30 seconds, along comes a nice buck nose to ground and runs right to her laying there. My friend reloads, fires and misses. Buck stands there over top the dead doe. He reloads, misses again. Reloads again, misses again. This was about 40yds broadside, wide open with an open sight Hawken .50. The buck never moved after being shot at 3 times. My friend was out of loads and could only just watch. Deer hung around the dead doe for several more minutes before finally moving on. We still ride him about this one, and ironically...that doe was his last ML kill. I think all that missing from buck fever took it out of him
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