I do like the Thors for hunting, especially the feature of being able to get the correct diameter bullet that fits your particular barrel. Old Hunter is a real proponent of them, he turned me on to them and thats what I use. But all bets are off now as I'll be getting a new M/L in a couple of months....as soon as I get to the Grand Junction Cabelas. The I'll start with a clean slate.
As far as powder goes, I use nothing but substitute American Pioneer Powder (APP) or Goex (real BP). I shoot competation Cowboy Action and use only BP or APP. IMHO APP burns almost like BP and is easier to clean.
Check back in this catagory history and there are several reall good threads on M/L and bullets.
I am a colorado resident so I have no experience with sabots, even when I go out of state, I still shoot full bore size bullets.
I own 3 muzzleloaders, a .54 cva woodsmen, a .50 t/c thunderhawk, and a .50 t/c triumph. The first two, I have shot at and killed multiple animals but the last one, I purchased for a specific elk hunt that never happened but will this year, I have never shot at any animal. I have shot power belts, fpb and thors through both of my .50's. I will say this about the power belts, no matter what size I use, whether or not it is hollow or tipped, they all seem to come apart way to much and don't penetrate deep enough for my taste. Maybe for deer, which I have shot mostly with them, but not elk would i trust the penetration of the power belts. I tried the Hornady fpb, but they are hard to load the first time and almost impossible to load with a dirty barrel. I think the fpb stands for " for picky barrels":p I tried the Thors on recommendations from other members here and other m/l shooters I know and am totally happy how they load, shoot and foul my barrel. The only question is how they will work once they penetrate elk. Everyone I talk to like the penetration and how they hold together. I know they can't be any worse than I experienced with the power belts. I use 777 loose powder to push these guys and hope that it puts down a rather large bodied elk , which hopefully translates to a 350" elk or bigger, when I draw my elk tag with 21 pp. I really want to take my shots from 35 to 100 yards but will expect and be ready for shots up to 150 yards. That is my .02 cents worth.
Drhorsepower and I talked a bit about this thread posting before he posted it. He is just getting into muzzleloader hunting, and one of the first animals he'd like to hunt is elk. As you all know elk is a totally different critter than a deer or an antelope and can soak up a lot of punishment. When it comes to a big heavy muzzleloader bullet, you can shoot a deer or antelope with pretty much anything that will shoot accurately. On elk however, bullet construction is far more critical.
I will likely be muzzleloader elk hunting in Colorado in 2014, burning 22 points there, so this thread is very interesting to me as well. Over the years I have seen basically three lines of thought on muzzleloader bullets for elk:
1) Expanding type bullets. Of these the Barnes or Thor types are some of the best. The Barnes would be shot with a sabot. The Thor being basically a Barnes full copper bullet designed to be full bore with no sabot.
2) Big heavy lead conical. My 50 caliber Knight DISC Extreme shoots a 460 grain No Excuses (die sized) bullet extremely accurate. These things hit like a freight train. Being soft pure lead they will mushroom a lot, so that could potentially be an issue when it comes to penetration.
3) Hard cast bullets. These would be something like a hard cast 45 caliber bullet shot out of a sabot. The idea being they are already large diameter, so expansion is not necessary. The hard cast bullet being able to penetrate deeper.
At the moment I am leaning to #2, but am not set on my direction yet, and would like to see specific experience you guys have with various bullet types on elk.
I have a CVA that shoots Powerbelt bullets great. Colorado only allows shooting loose powder and open sights. No sabots are allowed. Hopefully I'll draw my bull elk tag this year.
Here in NM we can use scopes and sabots so I shoot TC Omega 50 cal. with a Bushnell Muzzleloader Scope. As far as ammo I use Barnes TMZ sabots in a 250 grain with 2-50 grain pyrodex pellets and 209 primers. I have had great luck with this load. In the last 2 years it has taken 3 muleys and 3 bull elk. What I love is that every one of them animals have gone 20 yrds max and pile up, consistently. I have tried powerbelts in the past but didn't like them. I will stick to Barnes, from what I've experienced they'll be hard to be beat! Good luck!
That is just what I had hoped to hear, a guy with experience with the Barnes bullet on a few elk. That boosts my confidence level with that bullet for elk. Thanks!
Originally Posted by jay
Drhorsepower....basically the Thor bullet is the same as the Barnes, just in a bore sized bullet for states like Colorado where you can't use a sabot.
Yeah I was comparing the two the other day, noticed smallest caliber Thor offers is .50 cal so that automatically rules out sabots.
I have only taken one bull with my muzzleloader here in NV, and I used Thompson Center Shockwave 300gr. Sabots, 3 - 50gr. pyrodex pellets, and 209 primer out of my Thompson/Center Encore Pro Hunter. I hit the bull at 170 yards in the pocket, he walked 10 feet and tipped over. The bullet was lodged in the opposite shoulder. I wasn't completely happy on how it mushroomed, but then again the bull went 10 feet and died so I can't really complain on the performance.
Yeah, the Thors aren't designed for sabots. They have a cupped base that conforms to the rifling when fired.
Originally Posted by Drhorsepower
Has anyone had experience on elk with big heavy pure lead conicals?
I have only hunted deer with my Knight disc extreme. Where I could use sabots I used Knight red hots. The 1 I recovered from a mule deer expanded perfectly and I found it just under the hide after going through both shoulders. I use Hornady FPB's where sabots are not legal but I have not killed a deer with them but they shot a nice group. I used 100gr of triple 7 fffg with both. I have herd bad things about power belts such as them coming apart but have never used them personally.