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I guess I am asking: assuming a decent pattern, at what range are the pellets still going fast enough to knock birds down if they start at a muzzle velocity of 1200 fps? Apologies if I am missing something obvious.

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I don't think velocity is the only limiting factor, but 40-45 yds for me. Bigger ducks closer to 40. If it's a ripping wind, closer yet. I don't like taking first shots at birds over 40 plus a little. If you are confident of your pattern and your shooting, then you are probably good to go.

The Boss shells have worked very well for me on pheasants, so far (#5s). But I have not patterned them. They seem to show less penetration than the Kents, and they should - given that the Kents are starting out about 75 fps faster. But that's just subjective estimation from cleaning birds. I did have on bird that popped out an unplated pellet. He did not show signs of a festering older wound, but that's probably the explanation.

I don't know what my bp loads are doing for velocity but I would guess that they are in the 1250 range.


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Flintfan, that is one beautiful gun. More photos and some description of it would be very welcome indeed. smile I could break my no-muzzleloader rule for something like that.


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I'll state my experience with #4 bismuth 1 1/4 oz. handloads at about 1200+ fps. I shoot them out of an overbored Fox with extremely tight chokes. I can kill a big mallard dishrag dead settling into the dekes at 50 yards pretty easily with that gun, sometimes a good but farther. Killed one a couple years ago going straight away at about 45 yards, and that is the hardest shot angle with which to anchor a duck. If you don't break a wing you have to drive the shot from his rear end all the way up into the vitals ..........tough job to do.

There's no reason a muzzleloader w/black won't kill just like a breechloader w/smokeless if the velocity, shot size and pattern density are the same. But, the devil is in the details.

SRH


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50 might be fine. I don't doubt that the Merkel would, if I let it. Possibly the Greener too, though I haven't patterned that gun that far. But I just don't do it. Lots of birds will end up dead, but some won't. That can happen at any distance, but more so the further out it is, of course.

I like a few more pellets so I generally opt for 5s.

One things is certain, the pellets will never know whether they were launched with black or smokeless, so it powder isn't the issue.


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Many thanks for all of the responses on this. I really appreciate them and am getting more pumped up about using an ML. Reloading time is not a factor for me. I can hit or miss with any type of gun. Hunting all day and coming home with a pair of birds is a fine day for me.


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Originally Posted By: RichardBrewster
Many thanks for all of the responses on this. I really appreciate them and am getting more pumped up about using an ML. Reloading time is not a factor for me. I can hit or miss with any type of gun. Hunting all day and coming home with a pair of birds is a fine day for me.


Well good luck with it. It's all fun, and smoke just makes it that much better. Some picts of your gun would be great (with some birds too).

BTW, does anyone here worry about starting grass fires with black powder? If the conditions are particularly hot, dry, and windy, I try to avoid blackpowder for that reason. I've seen a few smoldering fiber wads and I would hate to burn down my hunting cover.


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Brent and Stan - thanks for the clarification, very encouraging. I seem to recall Greener claiming kills at something like 80 yards for his Far Killing Duck gun, so I figured half that might be realistic.

Brent, I shoot BP at a friend's skeet range, but never in summer when the long grass and chaparral are dry.

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LGF,
I have started multiple fires with my .45 target rifles. They don't use the fiber wads the look like good tinder, but they are shot from prone. I don't really know the risk of shotgunning, but I don't want to be the guy that turns a neighboring cornfield into snowdrifts of popcorn, or worse.


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A very timely post. I was quizzed by a younger hunter I know about this subject just pre-Christmas. I told him that I had always been curious but had never done the homework on the subject. He was looking at a Pedersoli Classic SXS in 12 for geese.

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