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Blackpowder PIstol Bear Load #208021 09/14/2020 12:24 PM
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jcp161 Offline OP
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I have PA bear tag this year and will be hunting during the archery/muzzleloader season in October. I was going to use archery equipment until it struck me this may be a good opportunity to take my Contender with .50 caliber BP barrel out for an armed hike.

The barrel is 12" long and takes the 209 primer. Also wears a 2x7 pistol scope.

Anyone have a load they would recommend in it that could be used on black bear? Those that have proven to be successful would be most appreciated.

Thanks.

John

Re: Blackpowder PIstol Bear Load [Re: jcp161] #208022 09/14/2020 2:14 PM
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Chance Weldon Offline
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Have you hunted bears with any other handguns before? I ask because the beauty of the black powder handguns is that you can buy a pack of just sabots for the bullet size you want, then buy the exact same bullet you use in your normal revolvers and even load it up to similar velocities. That's assuming you're not shooting something like a 454, or one of the S&W magnums of course.


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Re: Blackpowder PIstol Bear Load [Re: Chance Weldon] #208032 09/14/2020 5:27 PM
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jcp161 Offline OP
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I have not hunted bears with any other handguns; however, I do hunt deer with a few different .44 magnum revolvers and contender barrels. I also have a .454 but it doesn't sound like that will work.
\:\)


I have used the Sierra 180 grain JHC and Hornady 240 grain XTP in my revolvers/contender. Seems like I'd want to stick to the 240 grain bullet for bear.

Do you have a load for that bullet that will work?

Thanks.

John

Re: Blackpowder PIstol Bear Load [Re: jcp161] #208038 09/15/2020 2:27 AM
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dave thomas Offline
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100 grains of white hot pellets and your choice of bullets either a powerbelt or my personal favorite for deer is a t/c cheapshot. the powerbelts dont shoot as good at 100 yards but if you are going to hunt over baits or in tight conditions 1/2" wont matter.
you cant go wrong with speer deep curls. shot a 300 pound black last year with a 44 mag and got a pass thru with internals that were tore up. bear went 40 yards.
good luck with what ever you decide on and keep us posted.


Ephesians 6:10-18 because we are warriors.
Re: Blackpowder PIstol Bear Load [Re: dave thomas] #208042 09/15/2020 12:23 PM
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jcp161 Offline OP
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Thanks Dave.

Can't hunt over bait in PA so it's all on the move or find a spot and wait. I probably wouldn't take a shot past 75 yards in any case.

I've used powerbelts in my CVA double rifle. Very accurate but I've read mixed reviews on them in terms of terminal performance. Never shot anything with one so I don't have an opinion.

I appreciate the input and will take a look at the Speer deep curls.

John

Re: Blackpowder PIstol Bear Load [Re: jcp161] #208047 09/16/2020 1:13 AM
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dave thomas Offline
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i used the powerbelt 223 grain 50 cal bullets they did not disappoint on the two deer that i shot with them out of my pistol. my wife shoots them exclusively in her t/c encore 50 cal. she has taken 6 deer with quick kills and good blood trails. I really like the deep curls so far.


Ephesians 6:10-18 because we are warriors.
Re: Blackpowder PIstol Bear Load [Re: dave thomas] #208048 09/16/2020 1:57 AM
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Gregg Richter Offline
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 Originally Posted By: dave thomas
i used the powerbelt 223 grain 50 cal bullets they did not disappoint on the two deer that i shot with them out of my pistol. my wife shoots them exclusively in her t/c encore 50 cal. she has taken 6 deer with quick kills and good blood trails. I really like the deep curls so far.


I have experience with both Blackbelt and Powerbelt bullets but have not seen them in 50 cal. 223 grain.

Where do you get them?







Re: Blackpowder PIstol Bear Load [Re: Gregg Richter] #208064 09/16/2020 12:21 PM
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jcp161 Offline OP
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I see 245 and 295 grain advertised in copper and 270 and 338 in platinum.

Pretty sure I used the 245 grain copper in my double.

What's the advantage in platinum if anyone knows?

Re: Blackpowder PIstol Bear Load [Re: jcp161] #208083 09/17/2020 6:11 AM
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Bob Roach Offline
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I have used Harvester Sabots with 45 Cal., 250 Grain Hornady XTP's in my CVA Optima V2 with I believe 90 grains of Blackhorn 209. The Blackhorn Powder is very clean making a reload easy in the field. I have extra powder charges in Blackhorn Powder Tubes made for that purpose. I would get all the Bug's Out of a Field Reload before the hunt. Back when I was seriously into Buckskinning we would do Woods Walks. This gave some serious practice doing field reloads from a Possibles Bag. As well as keeping the old Hawkins running for however many shots that the course required. Setting up a target in the woods or simulated, and making Field Position Shots, then following up with a Field Reload is not a bad plan at all. Much better than fumbling through this the first time on the hunt.

I have way to many Hunting Handguns, and not nearly enough freezer space, or kids home to eat the meat now days, so I have not hunted with my Optima so far. Power wise it is the same as a 454 Casual for all practical purposes.

Bob R


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Re: Blackpowder PIstol Bear Load [Re: Bob Roach] #208085 09/17/2020 12:23 PM
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jcp161 Offline OP
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Thank you Bob.

That's a pretty powerful load, much more than I would have thought you could get in a blackpowder pistol.

I have hunted quite a bit with black powder rifles in various configurations so the field reloading won't be anything I'm not used to doing. My White rifle has slip fit bullets which make the process much easier but the barrel on this pistol is a cut down Contender rifle barrel that works pretty well in that regard also.

My loads thus far have been much lighter than what you describe. I've been shooting 70 to 80 grains of 777 or Pyrodex with a TC MaxiHunter and 209 primer. Excellent accuracy but as I said I have no file for terminal ballistics with it and honestly just wanted to see how the barrel shot.

Thanks for your response and I'm going to try your load as soon as I can get to the range.

John

Re: Blackpowder PIstol Bear Load [Re: jcp161] #208089 09/17/2020 1:09 PM
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REDHAWK1954 Offline
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I shoot 85 grains of Blackhorn 209 behind a Thompson Center 240 grain all lead cheap shot in a sabot in my CVA Optima V2. It will shoot one inch groups at fifty yards.

I have killed seven deer with this gun in the last five seasons including on big six point last season.

Blackhorn does burn very clean and shoots well in my pistol. You can see photos of the deer from last season in my photos and on the bragging board.


Michael Joe Moore
Re: Blackpowder PIstol Bear Load [Re: REDHAWK1954] #208091 09/17/2020 3:53 PM
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Chance Weldon Offline
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+1 on the Blackhorn 209. Like the others said, it's easy to clean and produces surprisingly high velocities.


Formerly TN Lone Wolf

"We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided." - J.K. Rowling
Re: Blackpowder PIstol Bear Load [Re: Chance Weldon] #208099 09/18/2020 12:31 PM
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jcp161 Offline OP
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I checked out the photos as suggested. Nice buck!

Also did some research on the Blackhorn site. I'm going to pick up some of the TC Cheapshots that Dave Thomas and Redhawk have recommended and try them in my gun using Redhawk's load data as well as the recommended loads for the 240 XTP.

Reviews on the cheap shot bullet are really good in terms of terminal performance and I've had good luck with the XTP from my .44 magnum.

I appreciate all the input.

John

Re: Blackpowder PIstol Bear Load [Re: jcp161] #208105 09/18/2020 9:20 PM
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REDHAWK1954 Offline
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Please let us know how it turns out.


Michael Joe Moore
Re: Blackpowder PIstol Bear Load [Re: REDHAWK1954] #208129 09/22/2020 12:32 PM
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jcp161 Offline OP
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Ordered all the necessary components from Cabela's for in store pickup. Only thing that they don't have yet are the cheap shots.

Looks like it will all be in by the end of the week but who knows. Things have been shipping at the speed of smell around here lately. Once it's in the all together, I'll be off to the range.

I did buy some of the Blackhorn cleaning solution as well. Was that a necessary purchase or did I just p*** away $15?
\:\)


John

Re: Blackpowder PIstol Bear Load [Re: jcp161] #208131 09/22/2020 12:58 PM
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dave thomas Offline
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our local fleet farm store but sure I had bought them at Cabelas also. they are powerbelt copper. I wanted to shoot the lightest bullet possible when my wife injured her neck and had to shoot a reduced load. never got away from them when she was able to shoot full house loads again.


Ephesians 6:10-18 because we are warriors.
Re: Blackpowder PIstol Bear Load [Re: jcp161] #208498 10/13/2020 12:55 PM
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jcp161 Offline OP
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Well, finally received the components to test the Blackhorn/Cheap Shot sabots and made it to the range to try it out. I did not get off to a good start as the first primer I used popped with no ignition. After waiting a suitable period of time, the second primer set it off although there was a delay and a flinch on my part.
\:\)
Probably my fault as I did not pop off a couple of primers before loading.

Switched to some Federal primers and things got much better. ( I was using Winchesters). No delayed ignition and the first two shots in the bull at 25 yards. A guy shooting at the other end of the bench suggested I try a wonder wad to seal things up a little better. Tried that and there was no delay in ignition although subsequent loads without it worked just as well.

I was using the cheap shots over 80 grains of BH. Recoil comparable to my .44 as the 12" Contender barrel is pretty heavy. Extremely accurate when I did my part. One of the clerks told me that I needed to make sure to the bullet was seated tight against the powder to prevent the hang fire. I try to do that anyway but maybe I didn't do as well as I thought. Will try it out at 50 yards before I leave and see how it does then. I'll post a target picture tomorrow as I didn't take one yesterday. I did keep the target.

Questions from here for those who know: Is there a recommended primer for Blackhorn powder and are the wonder wads necessary to ensure ignition?

I do appreciate all the responses to this post and I'm pretty pleased with the results based on the information I received. Thanks to all who responded.

John

Re: Blackpowder PIstol Bear Load [Re: jcp161] #208515 10/14/2020 12:31 AM
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Chance Weldon Offline
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I use Federal 209 primers, which I believe is what the manufacturer recommends. Even so, I've had a few failures to fire, but most of them were probably my fault.

Blackhorn does require the bullet and sabot to be seated tightly. It's hard to do with those pistols since there isn't a buttstock to place on the ground to give some leverage. Just try to press that ramrod down as hard as you possibly can.

Speaking of Blackhorn, it seems like 80 grains of it behind a 200-250 grain saboted bullet is the sweet spot in the Optima. Mine would do about 1-1.5" groups at 100 yards, and it still has power to spare at that distance.


Formerly TN Lone Wolf

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Re: Blackpowder PIstol Bear Load [Re: jcp161] #208516 10/14/2020 12:34 AM
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Okie Hunter Offline
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I mark a spot on my ramrod to insure I seat the bullet the same everytime.


With God all things are possible. Matt.19:26
Re: Blackpowder PIstol Bear Load [Re: Okie Hunter] #208540 10/14/2020 6:20 PM
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jcp161 Offline OP
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I do that as well for the ramrod although the one that came with barrel is cut so short there's not much left to mark. That's something I would like to replace or address prior to the hunt.

And Chance is right about getting leverage to seat the bullet with a pistol and the Federal primers. When I initially got it, I was shooting TC Maxi Hunters and they went in a little easier than the cheap shot sabots.

All a learning process but I like the way it shot.

Re: Blackpowder PIstol Bear Load [Re: jcp161] #208543 10/14/2020 7:40 PM
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REDHAWK1954 Offline
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As far as primers go I use Winchester shotgun primers with BH 209 and have never had a misfire.


Michael Joe Moore
Re: Blackpowder PIstol Bear Load [Re: REDHAWK1954] #208550 10/15/2020 3:39 AM
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dave thomas Offline
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i believe i read in an article that muzzle loader primers and shotgun primers were not the same as the ignition on muzzleloader primers are hotter. I have no way of proving that though. makes sense since the muzzleloader is not shooting smokeless powder in a standard case and there are variables on how tight each load is packed in the barrel. however I can also see the manufactures just putting standard shotshell 209 primers in a muzzleloader primer box and charging more for them.


Ephesians 6:10-18 because we are warriors.

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