Sunday, November 28, 2010

TC Bonded Shockwave performance

During the past holiday weekend I spent alot of hours in the woods. I had two antlerless Iowa tags for the specail November season. The first doe to be shot was nothing impressive. Thirty to forty yards, clean pass through using the TC shockwave bonded bullets, just like the previous two deer I'd shot. The wound channels were equally impressive, for disruption of tissue was at a max. The doe did the bang, flop, roll over and die, (I had forgot that at this range my rifle would be a few inches high and hit her across the bottom of the spine, taking the lungs with it.)

The next doe was the impressive shot of the weekend. As I already had one doe for the freezer I slept in, listening to the wind howl outside discouraged me even more. Finally after dawn I left the cabin and stalked up the hill, down the draw, across the dike, and back up the other hill. It was while I was coming down the logging road I spotted a group of does. Thirteen in total! I scanned for the largest one, with a clear shot, and holding dead on, I fired. The bullet hit home and this doe also did the bang flop belly up then roll about two feet and stopped. The distance was over 130yards, and from one hillside to the other, and a sharp uphill shot.

When I reached the doe I cheked for both entrance and exit wounds, but only found entrance. Knowing that it had been a fairly long shot, I thought that the bullet had stayed inside. It was while I was skinning the doe that I found the exit wound, just slightly larger than a penny in the neck. The entrance had been behind the right shoulder and exit in the left neck. The wound channel on entrance couldn't be rivaled with, and the exit was perfect.

For now, until I find a problem with them I will keep testing the TC Bonded Shockwaves. Who knows whats next.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

To Be or Not To Be--Traditional that is!

Well the great decision(other than shotgun vs. Muzzleloader) is upon me. I have the itch to use my Flintlock and shoot a doe. So out the "Old" gun comes and off to the range we went. Thats where things went downhill. I have always known why they call Flintlocks "flinchlocks" but I proved the reasoning. A little disappointed, I picked up my Lyman Trade Rifle and gave that rifle a good shooting.

That brought up a thought in my head. Just how traditional is traditional? The Trade rifle, aside from having a coil spring instead of a leafspring, is essentially a copy of the rifles made and sold by H.E. Leman, back in the old days. The Lyman Great Plains rifle is a copy of the the "true" hawkens, but they both shoot and perform just as well as modern muzzleloaders (given range and bullet limitations). So how traditional is traditional, in theory we could look back to the days when it was a steel pipe in a wooden holder with a burning match in the other hand. The flintlock was as modern as it could get in 1770, so how traditional is Traditional.

My definition of traditional is any muzzleloading firearm DESIGNED before 1890, or a CLOSE replica there of. As long as there is hunting someone will try to change the firearm to best suit the game. I don't believe that one is hindered by using traditional muzzleloaders but instead is brought CLOSER. Closer to the game, and closer to our past.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Muzzleloader vs. Shotgun for Shotgun Season

In Iowa we have the great decisions. Do I take my muzzleloader or my shotgun during the Shotgun seasons? The answer to that question depends on how you hunt and who you hunt with. As for myself I lean towards the muzzleloader.

The reasons for taking my muzzleloader are my own reasons, but the big one is accuracy. With my rifle and 115grains of Blackhorn 209 pushing a 290grn Barnes or 300grain TC Shockwave (depending on which I have sighted in), I feel more confident that a magazine full of sabot slugs, or worse the good ol' fosters---another story for another blog. With my TC Endeavor I just feel "better" (kind of a warm fuzzy thing) knowing that I can hit what I aim at out to 200yards or more. Last year on a deal sale I purchased a Savage 210F 12ga. bolt action slug gun. Shooting Hornady SST slugs the best accuracy I could get with that slug gun was 1 1/2inches at 100yards, vs. the .891 that my TC Endeavor shot the last time I was at the range. Accuracy is important to me and that is one reason I like my muzzleloaders.

I spent some time at the range recently and learned that at 175yards my rifle and load are only dropping about 2 inches. I would have shot 200 but didn't have the range to do it, so that is coming up in the near future. From a steady rest I am confident that I can cleanly kill deer at that range, again provided a steady rest and still target. The farm which I hunt, most of the shooting is done from a blind or stand and a rest is readily available especially during the shotgun seasons, where either the deer are not being pushed or the neighboring ground is being pushed and the deer are using the ground I hunt for cover.

As I only have an antlerless tag I also shoot for meat, and I have found that I am more likely to take more percise shots when I only have the single shot afforded me by the muzzleloader.

The who we hunt with; I hunt either alone or with my father, possibly one other person in the mix, we don't drive the deer as I stated above. Those who hunt in large parties, and there are many of my friends in this group, often trade their muzzleloader in for shotguns.

So no matter what you decide to use this year, make sure it works for you. Be safe and careful.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Iowa 2010 Early Muzzleloader Season

Well this year has been great so far, as far as the muzzleloader hunting has gone. I am also a bowhunter and have had no success with my bow. The early muzzleloader season was a complete change and during the first weekend I managed to shoot one nice buck with the Thompson Center 300 grain Shockwave bonded, which I might add performed better than expected!

The shot was not very far, maybe twenty five yards max, but it was a "quicker than walking" shot and yet the buck only traveled at most twenty yards (past me) and died. The bullet did not exit, but with the placement I didn't expect that it would as both front shoulders were broke.

In camp this year, as in many years past, one member shot a doe with his Pedersoli blue ridge flintlock--.50cal with 90grains of FFF black powder. The ball entered the neck and exited just under the tail-- impressive! Another member of camp was using a Savage smokeless and had great results. There were two "new-to the owner" CVA optimas in camp, both impressed me with accuracy though one is having problems with ignition of Blackhorn (story for next post).

Friday, July 30, 2010

Blackhorn 209, TC Shockwave, and Barnes TMZ-EZ

Well, I have officially put close to a hundred rounds through my Endeavor. The TC Shockwave 300grain and Barnes TMZ-EZ (flat based) are the top two shooters. What has suprised me is that the gun seems to shoot better with a higher charge of powder. I am using Blackhorn 209, and with 115grains of powder there is no petals left on the sabot and the base is expanded past .50 cal but it seems to tighten the grouping. My very first group with 115grains was .95 inch and my last was 1.35 (both groups being shot at 100yards from a benchrest).

Anyone else have similar experiences?

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Iowa Muzzleloader Hunting

I am an avid muzzleloader hunter, and as such have used pretty much most forms of muzzleloading rifle to take game, minus the matchlocks. I hunt Iowa, as it is the great state in which I was born and raised. Now I am going on 17 years of muzzleloader hunting for deer and have decided what better way to relive the experience after the season has closed than to talk about it to the masses.

First order of business: Choice of firearm
Second order of business: Protect said firearm by joining groups like NRA

My choices have included everything from a Dixie Gunworks Cub rifle in .45cal (hey I was ten) to my newest purchase a TC Encore Endeavor. There has been knights, Lymans, CVA's, Perdersoli's and others a many in there also. I do not want to specify that I like modern over traditional or vice versa as that is not what this is about, I just want to talk about what I have been finding as I embark on my shooting adventures and hunting experience.

As for right now I am trying to get that Endeavor to shoot, and have been having a rough go of it, it does not like "soft sabots" and does not like the new Hornady FPB in 300grain. It does like Barnes TMZ EZ's and to an acceptable extent Hornady SST-ML(red sabots). Pictures of targets will be posted with each load to show the experience as I go.