Muzzleloaders have gone through several improvements over the years and will often rival some modern rifles in range and accuracy. However, nailing down the perfect shot with a muzzleloader requires a lot of patience as you practice shooting down long-range and configure your rifle the right way. Today, we’ll be looking at how far you can shoot with a muzzleloader and the steps you can take to improve your accuracy. If you want to know 10 best muzzleloaders then click here.
How far can you shoot with muzzleloaders?
Modern muzzleloaders are capable of landing high precision shots up to about 200 yards. But there are quite a few things that determine how good your long-range shot will be.
First, you are looking for a good sight or optics to go with your gun. Next, you need high-quality bullets with the right weight to shoot from your gun. Finally, you need to figure out the exact amount of powder you need to get your shot flying and this needs to be determined through quite a bit of trial and error.
At the end of it all, it comes down to your skill level. So, before you can shoot at long range, you need to get many hours of practice into handling the gun and getting comfortable with it. To achieve a level of consistency when it comes to firing long-range shots, you need to keep repeating and practicing your shots. But for muzzleloaders, the repeatable practice runs are more than just firing the gun multiple times.
Clean Up Between Shots
Scrubbing and swabbing down the bore of the gun is essential if you want to fire accurate shots down a distance. Usually, when firing at close range, you do not notice much of a difference between shots if you don’t swab your bore. However, as the range increases and you’re shooting well beyond 200 yards, you will start noticing a great deal of deviation between your shots. It might be a hassle to swab down the bore so often, but it works wonders in improving the accuracy of your shot as you fire each time.
Practice with Consistency
Shooting at long range without proper tools won’t work out for you. Moreover, if you do not spend a lot of time with your muzzleloader rifle, you won’t be landing accurate shots anytime soon. So, each time you fire a practice round, try, and ensure that you load the bullet in the same way, and the powder as well. Keeping conditions consistent between shots will help you understand how to improve your shot and therefore improve your accuracy as you shoot long-range.
Optics and Sights
If you have plain iron sights on your muzzleloader, you might be looking to shoot accurately up to about 100 yards. And even if you’re a pro shooter, you can easily shoot down targets 150 yards away. But for the average shooter, to get better range on your muzzleloader, slapping on a good sight is the best way to go.
Look at buying guides to find the best sights or optics for your muzzleloader and choose accordingly. You’re looking for a good balance between usability, visibility, and weight. This is to ensure that you’re not carrying around a heavy sight which is way beyond your skill level and cannot use properly. After practicing with the sight, you can easily start shooting down hunt a couple of hundred yards away.
The weight of your bullet is another determinant when it comes to aiming down a long-range. Hitting the right balance between power and speed is essential. Lighter bullets suffer from a lack of power down range once it is fired and is more prone to wind variations. A heavier bullet on the other hand knocks a bigger punch, keeps its energy for most of the flight path, and is resistant to wind. However, due to the pull of gravity, you will need to fire a few rounds first to get a feel for your bullet’s trajectory before you start shooting it at the game. Then, once you get it down, you’re pretty good to shoot at targets at about 200-300 yards.
Getting the Powder Just Right
Loading your muzzleloader full of powder and aiming down sights as a hail Mary strategy will not work. The power behind a shot is determined by a delicate dance between the bullet you use and the amount of powder.
What powers your shot is the amount of pressure in the bullet chamber which builds up as the powder is ignited. With each shot you fire, getting the same pressure each time is important if you want to aim for consistently accurate long-range shots. If the pressure is not right, the bullet will either travel slower or faster. This means it will either miss the target completely or end up not reaching the target at all.
The brand of the powder you use affects the power of your shot as well. So, try different brands, and different amounts of powder before settling on the one which works best for you.
While practicing your shots, you will usually be in a more relaxed state than you would be when out on a real hunt. Therefore, on a hunt, try to stay calm and steady with each shot you fire. Moreover, remember to take a few deep breaths and steady your aim after you’ve hiked up a hill or walked down a path. Even minor changes in your breathing pattern will affect how the shot lands down a long distance.
If you have a lot of trouble keeping your gun steady on your own, you can always resort to a reliable rifle mount to steady your rifle for you.
To sum up, you can shoot a muzzleloader quite far if you have the right tools and the skills to back it up. For an average shooter, you’re looking at something around 100 yards. And for someone more experienced, 200 or more is not a tough ask. With enough practice, anyone can use a muzzleloader to shoot down long-range targets.