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Black Powder: The Cold Hard Truth About Muzzleloaders

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Black Powder: The Cold Hard Truth About Muzzleloaders

Myths and misunderstandings regarding the performance and care of blackpowder rifles and propellants have cost many hunters a buck. Don’t be one of them.

Hunting stories are wonderful things; facts are pesky little critters that suck the fun out of them. Let’s take a look at a few, shall we? (Facts, that is.)

Accuracy
I picked at random 30 three-shot 100-yard groups from several modern in-line muzzleloader rifles I have tested. The average group size is 2.24 inches.

Sure, some guns shoot better than that, but some guns shoot worse, too. That 100-yard average projects to exceed a deer’s 6-inch kill zone at 268 yards. That means you could miss even without all the other factors we’ve yet to cover.

Velocity
With three Pyrodex pellets, the Barnes 250-grain bullet has a muzzle velocity of 2,197 fps from a 28-inch barrel. It has 1,467 fps remaining at 200 yards. Retained velocity is 1,325 fps at 250 yards and 1,204 fps at 300 yards.

Bullet Path
With a 100-yard zero, that same bullet is 3.04 inches below the line of sight at 150 yards, 9.4 inches low at 200 yards, almost 20 inches low at 250, and nearly a yard low at 300 yards.

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