the best money you can spend on a long range muzzleloader setup
I use Mil-Dot scopes on all my muzzleloaders. I am not going to spout a bunch of figures and subtensions that you can find on any scope website but rather give you the bare bones function of the best "long range muzzleloader setup" dollars you can spend.
For those of you who do not know, Mil-Dot scopes have a series of dots on the vertical and horizontal cross hair. The $ 69 Tasco that sits on most of our muzzleloaders has four. So if you start with the cross hair itself and go all the way to the heavy part of the duplex, you actually end up with 6 separate aiming points. It is like having 6 pins on your bow. One for each distance.
Remember we cannot CHANGE the distance where each dot will be zeroed but rather we must DETERMINE the distance where each dot is zeroed.
We always sight the cross hair in at 100 yards. We then move back until our first dot hits dead center. We move back again until our second dot hits dead center and so on until we have actual yardage figures for all 6 aiming points. As I determine the exact distance of each dot, I write it down in my load manual so when I get home I can list all the distances on a computer label and tape it to the off side of my butt stock. Depending on bullet style and powder charge, I may have aiming points all the way to 350 yards.
The horizontal dots are also useful as windage references. By being mindful of the wind direction and speed as you shoot, you can compile a second chart to reference the required hold off in a wide variety of shooting situations.
It goes without saying that one also needs a laser rangefinder to get the distances correct when determing the distance for each dot. You should use the same rangefinder for dot determination as you use while hunting for additional accuracy. The use of a quality spotting scope, although not necessary, sure saves a lot of walking or eliminates the need for a down range spotter.
Remember that the distance between the dots is only the same at a single power. We do all our shooting at 10x power and that is where we determine the distance for each dot. If you find that you wish to shoot beyond the dead on distance of your last aiming point, you can simply reduce the magnification of your variable scope and the distance between the dots increases therefore extending the range of all the dots.
As a final note I would like to say that hitting is not necessarily killing. Very few muzzleloader bullets made today carry enough down range energy to humanely harvest game at the distances we are talking about shooting. I used this method to harvest a young buck on video at 318 yards with one of my Encore barrels using 100 grains of ffg Triple Seven powder and our 195 Dead Center Duplex. I can tell you that this combination was right at the end of its effective range. I have since stepped up to the 240 - 260 Dead Center .40 and 340 Dead Center .45 for all my hunting shots where I expect to shoot beyond 300 yards.
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