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Shooting a muzzleloader over 100 yards.

After hearing claims of 200 plus yard shots with a muzzleloader I did some test.

With an average ability to shoot a muzzleloader with open sights and just a rest to lean on.  I was unable to group shots at the 200 yard range. It's Madding!

As a hunter you must ask, do you want to take a shot and spend your morning looking for a wounded animal that you may never find.

I am not condemning shoots at a 200 yard range. I am just taking a realistic approach for myself. I think a scope is a must. 

For now I will keep hunting with the mentality of a bow hunter not a riffle hunter.


Make sure your gun is made to handle 150 grains

First Shooting test

The Omega was sighted in last with 125 GR. Loose powder and a 250 GR. Shockwave. Now consistently shooting low with two white hot pellets and a 250 grn. bullet at 150 yards. I raised my rear sight and still hit low.  I increased to three white hot pellets. This brought my group up to the kill zone. After I shoot  I lick the patch and  run it down the barrel  making sure the jag goes all the way down to bottom touching the breach plug. (A licked patch is less likely to get stuck in this process) move the ramrod up 4 inches and then back to the bottom of the barrel until it has no resistance. I flip the pad and then repeat with the dry side of the patch. This helped me keep my next load seating exactly the same for every shot. I have a mark on my ram rod that I use to know when load is seated correctly.

If you use a dry patch the ram rod can become lodged deep in the barrel. If this happens you may have to take the breach plug out and push the rod all the way through the barrel. A ram rod T puller attachment is a must for shooting at targets and to have while hunting.

Take your breach plug wrench and your ram rod T puller with you on the mountain just in case.  

  I hope I can improve my long range grouping. Three White hot pellets matched up with a 250 shockwave bullet seem to be a good load for  my TC Omega.

Second shooting test

Shooting my TC Omega at 201 yards. The gun was set on the first test to shot a 250 GR. bullet. Moving to a 300 GR. bullet I see the impact holes drop again.

First I loaded 3 white hot pellets and a 300 gr. SST Hornady bullet.

First shot hit low below target, second shoot hit low to the right (red), third shoot hit low missing the target

I moved my rear sight up to the top line (maxing it out). I tried loading a Shockwave 250 gr. It was hard getting it down the barrel and at the bottom it did not seat right. It went to deep. I could not see my mark on the ram rod. I think this caused it to hit high. Don't hunt with a load that is not seated perfect.

I cleaned the barrel with a licked patch and then a dry patch loaded a 300 gr. SST bullet on 3 white hot pellets.  When I pulled the trigger I had my first ever hang fire with a 209 primer. It was pop then boom!

Frustrated again! I moved up to 50 yards and shoot one more 300 gr. SST with 3 white hot pellets.

SST bullets go down the barrel a little bit easier than the Shockwaves.

 While hunting I had a chance at a good mature mule deer. I aimed my gun pulled the trigger and click. I removed the 209 primer and replaced it with a new one, Three times my 209 primer's  fail to ignite. Needless to say I did not get the deer.

When  TC Omega doesn't ignite the 209 primer check your firing pin and make sure that the threaded body that houses the pin has not unscrewed itself. This is why my TC omega misfired. All you need is a flat screw driver to tighten it back in place.

Remington Genesis Sighting in test.

The first shoot from a clean barrel lubed with bore butter seems to always hit the target a little high on average. The second and third shots came after I ran a licked patch down the barrel, then flipped the patch to the dry side and ran it down the barrel again. Loads were 110 GR. Pyrodex select loose powder and a Hornady 50 Cal. 240 Gr. XTP/Mag. 53 yards. The Genesis was last sighted to hit 3 inches high at 50 yards using two Pyrodex pellets 100 GR. With this test I loaded 110 GR. loose powder I think that is why the bullet grouping is a little high.

As you can see my groups are not the best I may be a below average shooter. Again shooting a muzzleloader is madding!

On this test I shot the TC Omega and a Remington Genesis muzzleloader.

With the intent to shoot 100 yards or less hunting.  I loaded 2 Triple seven pellets in both guns. One shot from the Genesis and it was good. Then the TC Omega. First shot hit a little low I moved the rear sight up four lines causing the second shot to hit high. I moved it back down two lines and the third shot hit about one inch high. This would be good to hunt with. After this test I set out to find my mule deer.

My shot came at a distance of approximately 15 yards. Dumb luck!

I was glad my Omega was not set to shoot any higher than one inch or I may have shot right over the bucks back.

Below- muzzleloader shooting tests.2009

Target set at 58 yards on an uphill grade. I was shooting over the hood of my jeep with some jackets rolled up to rest my gun on. (This would be close to leaning over a log or against a tree in actual hunting conditions.)

I use a range finder to determine the distance.

A strong wind blowing left to right. It kept blowing over my target. Human error should factor in also.

The gun used. Thomson Center Omega.

.50 Cal.  XTP 240 Gr. TC Mag Express bullets. (The most inexpensive bullet I have found)

 Winchester 209 primers

     Left Target, 2 White Hots pellets.                               Right target, 2 Triple seven pellets (100 grains).  

Aiming point is center of target. My first shot on a clean buttered barrel using Triple Seven hit the right target 3 1/2" high and 1 1/2" to the right. My 2cnd & 3rd shot were most likely human error. I also noticed that when loading TC Mag Express bullets, the spire tip loading jag seemed to get stuck as the bullet became seated. I am not sure if this was moving the bullet as I dislodged the ram rod effecting the consistency of each load. I may try a different jag on next test. I will have to adjust my rear site to the left just a smidge.

Second inline muzzleloader shooting test

For the next set of shoots, I adjusted my rear sight to bring bullet impact in closer to center.

The shoot that hit low left on left top target was due to bad bullet seating. When I loaded the muzzle loader the bullet was not going in and when I forced it the mark on my ram rod went into the barrel at least a 1/4 inch farther than it should have. I think I crushed the pellets or the base of the plastic sabot flattened out from the heat of the barrel.

Bullet seating may have caused inconsistent patterns. My best group came when I figured out which mark on my ramrod matched which load (to many marks on ram rod). Changing jags, powder charges and bullets has effected my consistency at seating my loads. I guess I am sharing my mistakes as I go. On the second set of targets I licked my patch and ran it down the barrel and then flipped it and ran down barrel again. No cleaner or lube.

Third inline muzzle loader shooting test

I suggest that when starting a youth hunter, have them shoot at 50 yards or less. Then move out. Make sure your target is big enough to show were the bullet impacts after they shoot.

 70 yards 3 shots. Using two Pyrodex pellets and then with 110 GR. Hodgdon Select loose Pyrodex powder. Bullet used .50 Cal.  XTP 240 Gr. TC Mag Express bullets.

I seem to be hitting consistently high so I moved my rear sight down 1/32" We will see what happens.

Fourth inline muzzleloader shooting test.

This time I wanted to shoot a 200 yard shot with a muzzleloader. I started with a large target (41"x49"). This will show were each shot impacted.. I ended up setting the target at 188 yards. That is still long range shooting with a muzzle loader. I loaded 2 Pyrodex Pellets (100 Gr.) and a .50 Cal.  XTP 240 Gr. TC Mag Express bullet. 2 shots both hit low. This would not work for taking a mule deer at 200 yards. I am hitting high at 50 yards so I don't want to raise my sights any more so I increased the powder to 3 Pellets of Pyrodex powder (150 GR.) and tried three shoots using the .50 Cal.  XTP 240 Gr. TC Mag Express bullets. The results were much better. I have been using the TC 250 GR. Shockwave bullets for the last few years and it is time to see there long range accuracy.

Inline muzzleloader long range shooting test. I am not using a gun vice and I do not have a scope on the gun. As my gun heats up I notice more shots dropping low. 

I have read allot about lower grain loads for accuracy and that 150 GR. is to much. This test shooting 188 yards shows the drop of a bullet with 2 pellets Pyrodex 100 GR. compared to 3 pellets 150 GR.. I have no doubt that for long range shooting the 150 grains will get your bullet out there and allow you to set your gun at a minimal height high at fifty yards. I set my gun to harvest big game not punch holes around the bulls eye. My patterns could be better and I need to keep practicing. But can I effectively take a deer at 200 yards with a muzzle loader? I know I can and have done it (it may have been a lucky bullet based on my shooting groups). I can also miss at 90 yards. My last hunt on the last day, I had a chance at a 4 point mule deer. I missed shooting high over his back. This is the down side to how my gun is sighted in. The lost opportunity at a good buck is the reason I am doing these tests.

 Fifth inline muzzleloader shooting test.

I tried three shots in the sitting position. The distance was 97 yards.

I adjusted my rear sight to the left on an earlier test. I may have moved it to much.

I am running low on bullets and pellets this is why I am not shooting at least 3 shots per test.

Sixth inline muzzleloader shooting test.

Shooting a muzzle loader over 200 yards. 207 yards to be more precise. Now I have been given a does of humility, I feel as if I cannot shot my muzzle loader. While out Grouse hunting we stopped and set up a target at 207 yards. I was hurrying but that would be no different than a hunting situation. It was hard to focus the open sights on the orange center at this distance. Also this distance amplified my shooting mistakes. After I shoot this group I found the the two screws that hold the stock to the barrel were loose. I Tightened them up and tried to run a dollar between the barrel and the stock and could not do it. I found some light grit sanding paper and loosened the stock up and sanded at it for a minute. I can slide a dollar between the barrel and the stock so this barrel should be floated and I hope my accuracy will improve.

Seventh try sighting in an inline muzzleloader.

The first round of shoots were taken at a target 101 yards up a steep hill. I shot this set almost as fast as I could reload. Again I see that as the barrel heats up I start to shoot low. When I shot at the 58 yard target I had given the gun a minute to cool down.  

Eighth  try sighting in an inline muzzleloader.

My first shot was taken with a clean barrel the next two shoots were taken with out doing anything to the barrel. I adjusted the sights on my muzzleloader down and shot 6 more times. I ran a patch I licked down the barrel then flipped it over and down the barrel again between the shots numbered in red.

 Shooting a muzzleloader at 200 yards is madding! I wonder if the barrel heating up is causing this inconsistent group. I have noticed after a few shoots when  I seat my load it will start passing the line on my rod. This heated barrel may be my problem in prior test? I will have to try letting my barrel cool down between shots. I have read that when long range shooting accuracy drops when the barrel heats up. My next test I will shoot two shots and then wait.

I was surprised to see the 125 Grains loose powder hit high I will have to try this with a few more shoots. Loose powder would be cheaper.


Ninth inline muzzleloader shooting test.

 Tenth inline muzzleloader shooting test.

I have noticed over and over again if I do not seat the load exactly were my mark is on my rod I get a flyer.

I think that my gun should not be shot more than 3 times in a row with 150 grains do to the barrel heating up.

 I have also decided to use a licked patch down the barrel and then the dry side down the barrel between shots. If shooting more than 100 grains powder I will run a third dry patch down the barrel again.                  But for the best accuracy always use a fully cleaned barrel.

More tips.

With a good clean buttered barrel load your gun and then make a mark your ramrod, then when you reload your muzzleloader always seat your load to the exact same spot for consistency. You will be able to maintain better impact groups by doing this.

 Changing Set: ups If you change from from 100 GR. to 150 GR. you will have to make your rod again. When a barrel gets dirty it can become hard to seat your bullet exactly the same. This will help you with proper load seating. If you change from one length loading jag to another you will need to follow this procedure again. 

Adjusting open sights: Always move the rear sight in the direction you want the bullet to impact. Example; If your bullet lands to the left of the aiming point, move the rear sight to the right. If the bullet impacts below the aiming point, move the rear sight up. Adjustment for the front sight; move the front sight to the left, and the bullet's impact will move to the right.

Last year I switched from three Pyrodex 50 grain pellets to  three triple seven 50 grain pellets while target shooting at 200 yards. My bullet almost missed the 3 foot by 4 foot target. The bullet hole looked like the bullet was tumbling when it hit the target, The bullet spin was lost. Just like throwing a football a good spiral pass will be more accurate.

Pyrodex and Triple seven do not shoot the same never change to untested loads while hunting.

When loading Pyrodex pellets always put the dark end down to the primer. The coating on the pellets will help the pellets ignite better.

Thank you Hodgdon powder company for your contribution.

We used Hodgdon Pyrodex pellets on all these hunts. They are simple and effective.

I am new to the loose powder; but every thing I have read says it will give you the best shooting groups. You can work up a load that works with your bullet and your gun.

I have read that it is best to lick a patch run it down the barrel then run dry side down barrel between shots to help keep bullet groups close. when your gun has been cleaned with solvent and lubed it may not shoot as well.  Fire it one time then just run a patch you licked down the barrel.

Links on shooting that may help.

Muzzle loading

Guns and ammo White Hots Link.


Safety should never be over looked.  

Be realistic as to how far you can shoot. Everyone has their own limitations.

I am afraid that if a record buck was in front of me; he would have to be close enough to poke it with a stick to hit him.     I may stretch the truth a little but I have been afflicted with buck fever. What a Rush!!