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Muzzleloader Hunting Help

Old 01-19-2015, 10:32 AM
Fork Horn
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Iowa/Nebraska
Posts: 262
Default Muzzleloader Hunting Help

This year while deer hunting late muzzleloader season I encountered a few issues. First I will mention that I shoot a 50 cal. Muzzleloader with 100 grains of Triple 7 pellets. The bullet Iím using is 250 SST Hornady. The first five does I shot with this combination I shot and had great blood trail and the deer maybe went 10 Ė 15 yards. All deer were standing broadside when shot and between 80-150 yards. Last yearís doe I shot with all the same info from above with no blood trail and the recovery of probably 200 yards.
This year I shot at the first doe at probably 50 yards broadside with no blood and no deer found. So I thought maybe I missed. The second deer was a buck at probably 80 yards with a great rest and broadside. No blood and no deer found. Now I thought that maybe the gun was off. I went to another farm and shot three times at 50 yards and 3 times at 100 yards each group were right on and the three shots were touching the other. Now Iím confused. I go out again and aim for the shoulder thinking maybe I can disable the deer so there is no or little recovery. The doe dropped in her tracks at 50 yards broadside. With another tag I shot at another decent buck at 100 yards broadside nothing. Now really confused I just about give up, till another doe comes out at 150 and shoot and she drops in her tracks.
So my question to you is the pellets that Iím shooting bad, being they are like 7 years old? Is the bullet not mushrooming like theyíre supposed to, or due to bad pellets not allowing the bullet to mushroom? Or was I all out missing? If I was missing I donít understand how when I had a good rest each time. Also the first five I shot I had a poor rest.
Sorry for the long rant just puzzled to why I had so much trouble this year. Thanks for any help.
wernerjd is offline  
Old 01-19-2015, 11:11 AM
Giant Nontypical
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 5,425

I shot a couple of dozen with that bullet and 80grs FFF Goex and found basically the same thing...Started shooting them high in the shoulder...

I ended up going to Hornady XTPs in the 300gr .429 diameter, better blood, larger exit wounds...
nchawkeye is offline  
Old 01-19-2015, 11:43 AM
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Shenandoah Valley,Virginia
Posts: 69

It was one of those rainy days,when most people are in bed ,but the deer where moving I was in a tree stand an I shot at 3 different bucks that morning an must have missed every one,no signs of being hit,no blood and no hair on the ground.They were about 40 yards off.I was thinking my gun was off,when a buck comes off a ridge and I down him at 125 yards.I think I missed the first 3 deer because of the steep angle of the shot.If you hit a deer and there is no blood,there will be hair on the ground close by.Sometimes when you hit a deer high up in the chest,you don't have much of a blood trail,they more or less bleed out inside.When you have some time to practice,I would test your old pellets against some new ones and see if you have the same point of impact,that should give you an idea if your pellets have weaken with age.I usually shoot 300 grain bullets.This year I shot one deer kinda facing me.I found the bullet under the skin at the hind quarter,it didn't expand,but it dropped the deer in its tracks.
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Old 01-19-2015, 11:52 AM
Dominant Buck
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 21,193

If the rifle sounded normal when you shot, it could have been shot placement. If you hit high in the chest, many times they do not start bleeding until the actual chest cavity fills with blood. Especially if you hit no bone going in, which does not allow the bullet to start to mushroom. You very well might have mortally wounded a number of deer. Since you discovered the rifle is dead on.

Bullets react different due to powder, but mostly shot placement. When the bullets are high shoulder shots, they hit, and expand, causing a massive wound and usually dead where they stand or they bleed soon. I suspect the deer you shot at and then report no blood or sign of hit, might have been hit in areas where bleeding takes time.

You can change bullets. But shot placement with any bullet is important. I really don't know what to tell you.
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Old 01-19-2015, 01:26 PM
Nontypical Buck
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: gilbert az
Posts: 1,168

i hope since you are not getting blood and the deer doesn't drop in it's tracks you still look for the deer as best you can !!! but it's like cayugad said when you hit high it take time for the chest cavity to fill and the fact is you may never find blood at all if you hit lung (s) there will be a mist of blood sometimes heavier than others difficult to see without snow on the ground you have to get on your hands and knees and crawl to find it sometimes?? but sounds like your gun is ok and i doubt your powder is the issue.
muzzlestuffer is offline  
Old 01-19-2015, 02:43 PM
Nontypical Buck
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 2,922

I sense you have bad powder and each pellet reacted differently.

Buy fresh ''loose'' powder and if you are going to check anything else, check your sights on your ML. They may be loose.
Triple Se7en is offline  
Old 01-19-2015, 05:58 PM
Giant Nontypical
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 6,585

It is possible that it is the shot placement, personally I have shut that same bullet over the years and tried a few others but always went back to it. I shoot it with 120 grains of Blackhorn and the damage it does is hard to believe with out seeing it. Pellets do not keep well in their original container the best way to keep them is to dehydrate them and then vacuum package them.
I would recommend granular powder and 120 grains of 777 FF or 120 grains of Blackhorn this would push your velocity up to where expansion is much more reliable.
lemoyne is offline  
Old 01-20-2015, 02:46 AM
Nontypical Buck
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Virginia / West Virginia
Posts: 4,906

How far a deer travels and how much blood trail you have is more a factor of shot placement, than the bullet you are using. That being said, sometimes even a good shot takes a bit to bleed, with any bullet.... I trailed one this year that was shot right through the lungs with a deep curl that took about 50yds to start bleeding.
I would agree that a switch to loose powder would give you more consistent results than pellets. If you keep loose powder in a climate controlled area, you will have no issues with it.
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Old 01-20-2015, 08:28 AM
Nontypical Buck
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Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Illinois
Posts: 1,482

I would guess a combination of problems. First, you are using pellets that are 7 years old. I would get rid of those right away. Pellets (especially if not stored in an airtight container) are notorious for sucking up moisture which then affects how well they shoot. It is very possible that you had a clean miss or two due to the old pellets. Switching over to a fresh can of loose powder will solve that issue.

It's also possible that you were not finding blood trails due to shot placement. Lung shots that are higher up tend to not bleed much right away, and sometimes don't bleed much at all. If you want to anchor the deer right away, go for a solid shoulder shot- you will probably ruin some meat this way, but most of the time the deer won't go anywhere. If you are confident in your marksmanship skills, a neck shot is another option.

Just because you don't find blood right away doesn't mean the deer wasn't hit mortally. Make sure you visually record the last place you see the deer as it is running away and the direction it is going. If you don't find blood right away, wait 30 minutes then go to the place you last saw the deer. Check for blood as you slowly follow the path it was taking. Eventually there should be at least a few small drops of blood here and there. Even if the bullet didn't expand, a .45 caliber slug through both lungs is going to kill the deer - you just need to find it.
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Old 01-20-2015, 09:47 AM
Nontypical Buck
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 2,922

Originally Posted by oldsmellhound View Post
Just because you don't find blood right away doesn't mean the deer wasn't hit mortally. Make sure you visually record the last place you see the deer as it is running away and the direction it is going.
That might require yelling this to the deer........

""......Do Not Move Please, not until all the smoke clears.""

Triple Se7en is offline  

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