Basic Smokeless Muzzle Loader Questions & Tips

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General MZ Questions

Q: What does it take to shoot sabotless
Here's a link to video on fullform sizing. Youtube Video.  Smooth sizing is very similar, but doesn't impart rifling to the bullet.  Some barrels are loose enough from the manufacturer to shoot some bullets without sizing.   However, barrel diameters will go up and down, so there is no guarantee.   If you're serious about wanting to shoot sabotless, plan on purchasing an adjustable sizing die. Sizing Dies available for purchase here: Sizing Dies

Q: What about sub 45 calibers smokeless mz's?  
They work great.   We've done 25, 35, 375, 400, and 416cal guns.  

Q: How long of ramrod do I need
A: The 3-piece ramrods are 2.25" shorter than listed length.   So the 24" rod is actually 21.75" long.  The 2.25" is taken out of the last section, so if you use a Spin-Jag all 3 sections of the rod will be the same length and fold uniformly for the sheath.  To get minimum legnth of ramrod required for a barrel, take barrel legnth and subsract the length of breech plug (~1.75') and height of load.  Typically, a 24" rod with a Spin-Jag installed, will easily load a 26" barrel.    

Q: What is the best  Bullet / Sabot combo for my 50cal Savage. 
A: In my opinion, the best combination for the stock Savage is a 458cal 300gr Barnes Orignal SSP paired with a Harvester Black Crush Rib (HBCR) Sabot.  This combo will shoot very well in the majority of guns out there.  A small percentage of guns with tighter barrels will shoot better with the MMP Orange saobt instead of the HBCR.  In general, 458cal bullets paired with the HBCR or MMP Orange have been the most consistent.

Q: How often should I clean my barrel. 
A: Every barrel is differet, but generally, these guns shoot best and most consistently after 3-8 fouling shots.  With most guns, barrel cleaning isn't required for dozens of shot.   Some factory Savage barrels will be a little more suceptible to fouling and require more frequent cleaning.  The high quality finish on Pac-Nor and McGowen barrels allow them to go almost indefinitely without cleaning.

Q: Barrel Heat
A: When shooting with sabots, barrel heat can be a major detriment to accuracy.  Barrel heat can kill accuracy even in regular BP muzzle loaders and sabot slug guns, but with the higher pressures in smokeless muzzle loaders, accuracy loss to barrel heat is very pronounced in smokeless muzzle loaders.   If the temperature is over 50-60F, barrel heat can accumlate if loading faster than 10-15 minutes between shots.  If you're seeing fliers and your barrel is even a little warm to the touch, barrel heat is the likely culprit. 

Q: 45cal vs 50cal Barrels
A: 45cal offers several advantages over the 50cal.  The 45cal allows the 200gr 40cal class bullet to be shot with sabots out to approximately 300 yards with excellent accuracy and little recoil.   If further range is desired, the 45cal may be used sabotless and even more velocity and range achieved when removing the sabot from the system.  Additionally, removing the sabot reduces the heat factor that often degrades factory on warmer range days.  

A quality aftermarket 50cal barrel can still provide excellent results, and may be required by law for some western state hunts.   However, when combined with a sizing die, there's nothing a 45cal cannot do better than a 50cal.

Q: What performance can I expect from a 45cal  barrel?
A: Typical loads with sabots and the 195GR Barnes Expander or 200GR Hornady SST run around 2700 FPS (both 40cal bullets).   If the sabot is removed, typical velocity ranges from 2600-3000 FPS  depending on charge, barrel length, and bullet weight.    Typical bullet weghts range from 250gr to 327gr .

Q: Are wads needed in sabotless loads?
A: An ASG051 (45cal 0.060" thick) veggie wad does help yield a better seal and can help with ignitionl consistency.   The majority of our customers use them, but a handful of customers do report better accuracy without them.     The ASG Gen2 LRMP system is efficient enough that a wad is not required.  

Q: Will the Arrowhead Plugs (209 and LRMP) work with BH209
A: Yes!   The best smokeless guns make the best BH209 guns!   A very high level of performance can be acheived with BH209.   Check out the customer results page for a couple of great examples. 

Savage 10ML-II Questions

Q: What shank size is my Savage.
A: Recent production Savages with 4.40" hole spacing are typically large shank.  The only way to know for sure is to measure your barrel diameter right in front of the barrel nut.   Small shank will be approximately 1.040".  Large shank will be 1.1"+. 

Q: Will the aftermarket barrel fit my factory 10ML-II stock
A: Yes. Most stocks are a drop in fit, but some may require just a little bit of sanding. 

Q: Can I bed the factory 10ML-II Factory Plastic Stock.
A: Yes, but it will still have flex out in the forend unless you fill that with epoxy too.  I would recommended getting an aftermarket stock instead of sinking any time or money into the factory plastic stock. 

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