I just picked up an 15" Encore 209 x 50 magnum muzzle loader barrel and was wondering if anybody out there has any recomendations for saboted hunting loads for this barrel - primarily for whitetail. I'm especially interested in finding out if anyone shooting this barrel uses any saboted loads, for hunting or target, with 50-60 grains of Pyrodex pellets (1x 50g pellet, 2x 30g pellets). Since my other handgun barrel is a 44 magnum, I have lots of different .44 bullets that I reload with, which I want to use in this barrel with sabots. My 44 bullets range from 160 grains to 325 grains. All are hard cast except for some jacketed 240 grainers. I'm going to shoot it tomorrow if it doesn't rain.
Re: 15" Encore 209x50 Muzzle Loader Barrel Question
I finally got to the range & experimented with numerous loads. I started with shooting two 50 grain pellets & a 240 grain bullet. For me, it was similar to shooting my heavy .44 mag loads (310 bullet over 25 grains H110), and not necesarily something I wanted to do all day. One 50 grain pellet sent a 240 grain saboted .44 bullet down the range just fine, as did 60 gains (two 30 grain pellets). One pellet was fun to shoot with any of the saboted bullets I used - 160g, 180g, 200g & 240g. I shoot at an old gravel pit & don't have access to anything that checks velocity, but all of the one pellet loads plowed through pieces of 2"x4" treated lumber at 50 yards, so my guess is that they would be fine on a deer under 50 yards. I also shot 80g & 90g loads with all of the bullets mentioned above. The 80 grain loads were fine, but the 90 grainers where very similar to the 100 grain loads for me. I did shoot some 300 grain saboted .44 bullets over the 80 grain loads (1 50g pellet, 1 30g pellet) and they were easy on the hand but hard on the lumber, so they would also do the job on deer and possibly larger game like bear.
I swabbed the barrel between shots to keep accuracy on the mark. I did try Outer's new barrel scrubbing foam when I got home. Filled the barrel & let it sit for 30 minutes and then put some patches (5) through it until they came out clean. That stuff took all the scrubbing out of cleaning which I did enjoy.