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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So as I have posted in the past, I am new to muzzleloader this year and want to know more about fouling. From a few articles I have read, it seems like I should shoot with a fouled barrel. To do this, I have heard to put 20-30 grains with a balled up dry patch and shoot it to foul the barrel, and hunt with that. Thoughts? Am I off in what I have read and understand about this?

Thanks guys
 

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depends on the gun/load and how you have practiced. I shoot with a clean barrel!! I have sighted in that way, I swab and clean the barrel after every shot. Other guys like a dirtier barrel and it helps them with accuracy. It also depends on the powder. If you're shooting a dirtier burning powder, fouling it before might not be a good idea.
 

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The only guns that should require a fouling shot is some of the older roundball barrels. There is no need to foul any modern muzzleloader, inline or sidelock.

In fact best accuracy will be from a clean barrel, which means a quick swab between shots.


-DallanC
 

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I always shoot at targets the same way that I would do it in the field.

First shot is a clean barrel shot, second shot is from a fouled barrel, and possibly the third shot is from a fouled barrel. Then I'll swab it out.

So how many of you after you take a shot at a elk or a deer swab the barrel out between the first and second shot while the elk or deer is still standing there? I figure that as long as the animal is still standing I'll keep throwing lead at it without worrying about swabbing out the barrel. Now if the elk or deer takes off after the first shot I might and then again I might not swab the barrel out, it just all depends of what is happening at the moment.
 

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I did tests once on my ML for accuracy degradation for subsequent shots. First shot is always dead on, 2nd fouled opens 2", 3rd shot fouled opens up to 5-6", 4th shot gets out around 6-8" (sabots start tearing). Beyond that I'll stop and swab (but seriously, a critter on its feet after 4 hits???). I hit a cow elk once, right through the lungs. Reloaded, walked up to where I last saw it, followed the blood into thick brush, it stumbled to its feet and I put another one into it though the boiler room. Reloaded, kept following, bumped it again and put a 3rd into it through the neck.

So, as you stated, I do keep firing if its on its feet... a rare event, but its happened. I'd stop and do a quick swab if I've got more and than a few shots through it. I HAVE swabbed a loaded gun before, more than a few times. usually when trailing something. Just use a lightly damp patch.


-DallanC
 

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My bull last year took 3 hits before he went down and any of the 3 hits would of killed him if I hadn't kept on shooting. The first shot was high and missed him, the next three were into the ribs and lungs, he didn't move more than 10' while I took those 4 shots and then while I was reloading for the 5th one he walked 20 yards and fell down.
 

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Yep, my dad always said "shooting is the fun part, might as well keep firing". I agree, once they tip over the work starts.

But, depending on how far away the animal is, there is a point where fouling will introduce so much inaccuracy its worth stopping and giving a quick swab. I keep a ziplock with lightly damp patches just for that scenario, it only takes a few extra seconds to run it down the barrel.


-DallanC
 

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how many loads do you guys carry into the field? these talks of 4 plus shots have me curious. The most I've carried is two speed loaders, so 3 shots total. Might carry an extra one on my LE hunt next week.
 

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Loaded gun + 3 speedloaders. My possibles bag has a mini-can of pyrodex and another dozen or so projectiles & caps. Also all the components to disassemble and clean the gun in the field.

Sometimes accidents happen.. ever knock a scope off and need to sight back in? Stuff happens, I'd rather be prepared than not.


-DallanC
 

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I have a loaded rifle and 2 speed loaders and in my pack I have enough material for at least 6 more shots. If I can't get it done with that much ammo then I need to take up a new hobby. All the rest of the equipment is back at the truck except for my Leatherman. I don't have a scope and it is hard to knock open sights off but it can happen. I had a friend loose a front blade one year. We cut a penny in half and got it to work so that he could shoot his rifle.

In all my years of muzzle loader hunting last year was the first year that I took 4 shots at a animal, but as I mentioned all but one hit him. Other than that usually 2 shots is enough for elk and one for deer.
 

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I carry 6 speed loaders, 10 primers in a couple rubber keeper, a few more primers in my pack as well as a couple sealed shots of powder. You never know when things are going to get wet or I decide I need to take a swim so I like to have some extra powder and primers plus a little powder makes a great fire starter if the need should arise.

I carry a OTIS 22 rifle kit in my pack just for the accidental barrel in the dirt problem and have thrown a couple 50 cal patches in the kit incase I need them while muzzleloading.

Other then that the possibles bag stays back at the trailer as I don't need all the tools and what not while hunting. I want a quick follow up shot if needed and the best way to get that is with a TC speedloader that has the plastic sliding bullet starter, dump the powder, center the ball and whack the top of the loader with the palm of my had to seat the ball an inch or two in the barrel.

I'm one of them guys that doesn't muzzy hunt for the traditional aspect of things but for the season timing and lack of other hunters. I take my muzzys fast and hard hitting and if the DWR ever let's us have a scope with a little more magnification I will be the first in line at Sportsman's for mine.

In over 30 years of hunting with scoped rifles I have never had a problem with one in the field even after some spectacular feats of falling down the mountain.

As for the OP why not sight your rifle in like you are hunting with it. First shot is cleaned cold bore, then just load it up for your second + shots. eventually you will probably have to swab the bore put after a cleaning shot it for group. In short order you will be able to see if there is a difference between cold bore and shot #4. If there is a difference then something needs to be changed but generally you should be able to find a load that will shot a 1 inch group at 100 yard from cold bore to 5th shot. I want to know what my rifle is going to do in real life situation and swabbing between shots is not real life.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
muddydogs, that's how I have it sighted in right now. I shoot with a clean bore and swab after two shots. I was merely asking because I read a few articles the other day.
 

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muddydogs, that's how I have it sighted in right now. I shoot with a clean bore and swab after two shots. I was merely asking because I read a few articles the other day.
Reading articles can be dangerous at times.
 

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I spent a little time a the range earlier this afternoon and with this thread in mind I performed a little experiment that I hoped would give me some valuable information.

I set up three targets and proceeded to shoot the first with a clean barrel, then proceeded to the second target without cleaning, and the third again without cleaning thus replicating a scenario where a follow up and second follow up shot may be needed/taken. I repeated this three times obtaining a three shot group on each target.

Results were interesting.

My first group from a "clean barrel" was what I have come to expect, right about 2" and about 1.5" high. I wasn't sure where the second group would end up but I found it to be more than double in size (4.5") and the point of impact was 2" higher than the group shot with a clean barrel. The third group was not as bad as the second but not as good as the first (3.25") and point of impact came back down and was more in line with the first group from a clean barrel.

The thing that I really noticed was how much more difficult it was to properly seat the "follow up shots," I knew this already from experience but I guess I paid more attention to it this afternoon. It required considerably more effort to properly seat the bullet for the second shot and took virtually everything that I had (physically putting all my weight onto the ramrod) just to seat the bullet down to the mark on my ramrod for the third.

I hadn't done this exercise before and I found the results very enlightening and useful... info that I'll tuck away in my back pocket for next week and benefit from it if I need it.
 

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The thing that I really noticed was how much more difficult it was to properly seat the "follow up shots," I knew this already from experience but I guess I paid more attention to it this afternoon. It required considerably more effort to properly seat the bullet for the second shot and took virtually everything that I had (physically putting all my weight onto the ramrod) just to seat the bullet down to the mark on my ramrod for the third.

I hadn't done this exercise before and I found the results very enlightening and useful... info that I'll tuck away in my back pocket for next week and benefit from it if I need it.
I liked that you pointed this out - It's definitely something people should be aware of! An extra gap between the bullet and powder could make the hunt a lot more interesting (and dangerous). I've had to reload after a missed shot and while it's tough in the heat of the moment, I've took a little extra time to make sure that next bullet is firmly seated. That extra crud really does add more resistance!

Good luck with the hunt! I'm bummed to sit this season out, but will be rooting for you muzzy hunters!
 
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