This Bullet Is No Beauty Queen ... But It Hits Like A Mack Truck!!!
In a world of sleek and aerodynamically shaped bullets, the Harvester Muzzleloading belted Saber-Tooth bullet stands out like a sore thumb. But then, this bullet was never ever designed to be, or promoted as, a long-range 200+ yard bullet. To be perfectly honest, this bullet is more at home where shots rarely exceed 100 yards. Shown directly above, with a .490" pure lead round ball, for a .50 caliber rifle, are the 270-grain Saber-Tooth (to the left of the ball) and the 300-grain Saber-Tooth (to the right of the ball).
Note that the lighter 270-grain bullet really isn't that much longer than the diameter of the ball. In fact, it measures just .635" in length. And that short length got me to thinking ... which can be a dangerous thing at times!
My very first .50 caliber muzzleloader, which I acquired in 1972, very shortly after the rifle had been introduced, was a percussion Thompson/Center Hawken. The rifle had been promoted to shoot BOTH a patched round ball and a somewhat squat 370-grain conical, dubbed the "Maxi-Ball", with good accuracy. Well, my rifle shot well with a patched 177-grain .490" diameter ball ... as long as I loaded with 80 or 90 rains of black powder. With the Maxi-Ball, which was .947" in length, I did good to keep the "bullet" inside of 6 inches at 50 yards.
The problem was that the 1-in-48 rifling twist of the rifle just did not impart enough spin on the short elongated bullet to properly stabilize it in flight.
I've owned a number of 1-in-48 twist .50 caliber rifles over the years, and all tended to shoot a patched round ball far more accurately than a conical bullet. So, when the above .50 caliber rifle arrived here at NORTH AMERICAN MUZZLELOADER HUNTING earlier this year, I was pretty much sure that ALL I would be shooting out of it would be a patched round ball. And this Traditions Hawken Woodsman model did indeed shoot very well with patched round balls. Our first experiences with this rifle can be found at - http://www.namlhunt.com/mlrifle20.html
Over the past 10 or 12 years, I have shot quite a few of the Saber-Tooth bullets...but mostly out of modern in-line rifle models - with a faster 1-in-24 to 1-in-28 rifling twist. I actually made the 300-gain bullet one of my "Special Purpose" bullets ... and relied on these bullets several times where I wanted to insure that shots would be well inside of 100 yards. Here's a link to an article published on this web magazine a few years back - http://www.namlhunt.com/mlbullets9.html
And that is...the Saber-Tooth, particularly the 270-grain is short enough to be stabilized by the 1-in-48 twist of rifles like the Traditions .50 Hawken Woodsman and the T/C Hawken ... and could very well turn these rifles into "honest" 100-yard deer rifles. I know there are plenty of muzzleloading hunters who will argue that the .50 Hawken rifles loaded with a patched round ball are more than sufficient for taking deer-sized game to and past 100 yards. But ... Ballistics Data Says Otherwise!
I'm now conducting some test shooting to see if there is any merit to this "theory". I will say at this point that the 270-grain Saber-Tooth is shooting as well as a patched round ball out of the Hawken Woodsman rifle. Before the end of this month (September 2016), we'll publish our findings on NORTH AMERICAN MUZZLELOADER HUNTING - Toby Bridges
Have you had any experience with shooting the Saber-Tooth bullets out of a 1-in-48 inches rifling twist bore ... or found another short conical that shoots well out of a rifle with a 1-in-48 twist? If so, please share in the comment section.
Watch For Full Report On Shooting The Saber-Tooth Out Of A 1-In-48 Twist About 9-20-16
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