Do paper patching and OP wads make rifling depth irrelevant for connicals?

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Howdy,

After reading many posts about barrel suitability for conicals I've been finding that most sucessfull load development stories mention OP wads or paper patch. If this is the norm, what do shallow grove barrels have to offer provided the same caliber and twist rate?

My question is motivated by the MT muzzleloader season regs. Only legal projectiles are pure lead PRB or conical without additional gas check or seal which appears to disqualify felt wads and paper patching (cloth patch legal for RB only). I have a .50 Lyman Deerstalker that I am interested in using for elk, but since I can't use OP wads or paper patch, my guess is that it won't work with conicals in my .008" grooved barrel.

There is a ss replacement barrel with shallow grooves .004" (same 1/48 twist) available for the Deerstalker. What are the odds that it would enable accurate hunting loads with something like Lee REALs in 250 or 320gr without the use of an OP wad or PP?

*I am aware that conicals produce more recoil, are liable to move off the powder and generally need to be spun faster than RB to stabilize and not tumble when hitting flesh. That's why I'm looking at ballets and stubby 300ish-grainers.

Looking forward to hearing thoughts and personal experiences.

Thanks!
 

ElkStalker

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I’m not familiar with the specific laws for Montana, we have similar laws here in Idaho. I understand the “no seal” part to refer to something attached to the conical, sabot, skirt, or gas check. You may want to call fish and game ask to talk to a warden to clarify (the gal working the desk isn’t going to give you proper information because she’s not writing the ticket). I could be wrong, so call and verify, but an over powder wad should be fine. My TC renegade will only do 3-4” at 50yds without a wad in place. Idaho Lewis has a ton of posts on the use of a 1/8” felt over powder wad and he swears it shrinks the groups significantly. I’m running over to the store tomorrow to pick some up to try for myself. A .500” leather wad that I punched out didn’t quite do it for me, but it did shrink the group some. I’ve been told to use an oversize wad - 54 for 50, 58 for 54 etc.
Groove depth - my TC Renegade and Hawken have an advertised .500” bore with .006” grooves. They say this is best for conicals. I had a Lyman GPH 1/32 twist with shallow rifling and it was a tack driver with Hornady Great Plains bullets, no wad. The shallow rifling is designed so that the conical, or sometimes sabot for those who can use them, seals the groove. This isn’t always enough. Something is needed to protect the base of the conical from melting due to the powder burn- increasing accuracy. Melted bases can wreak havoc on accuracy because the bullet with yaw off course. With deeper rifling,(my Lyman GPR has .012 deep grooves) the conical isn’t large enough to seal on its own. This would require a conical that is cast at .524” for 50 cal. You aren’t getting that down the barrel without a 12 pound hammer.
I hope that somewhat answers your questions. But give the warden a call. I bet you are fine with an OP wad.
 

ElkStalker

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I’ve seen some guys advocate for a card wad seated on top of the conical to keep it in place and say they have great results with this tactic. I haven’t don’t that yet. I just carry the rifle muzzle up, usually on my shoulder and I remember to check it if I have to point it muzzle down while hiking. I haven’t had an issue so far, but it’s always smart to check and be mindful that the conical could slip off the powder and make a pipe bomb.
 
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Only legal projectiles are pure lead PRB or conical without additional gas check or seal which appears to disqualify felt wads and paper patching
Uhm, your good with felt wads or paper.
A "gas check" is a specific item needed for a bullet that is designed to use one, a "seal" is a plastic sabot or cup by general definition.
Wads and/or a paper patch are part of a traditional load combination.
If you still wonder about the legality of it,, call the Montana DNR for the actual details
 

stikshooter

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Howdy,

After reading many posts about barrel suitability for conicals I've been finding that most sucessfull load development stories mention OP wads or paper patch. If this is the norm, what do shallow grove barrels have to offer provided the same caliber and twist rate?

My question is motivated by the MT muzzleloader season regs. Only legal projectiles are pure lead PRB or conical without additional gas check or seal which appears to disqualify felt wads and paper patching (cloth patch legal for RB only). I have a .50 Lyman Deerstalker that I am interested in using for elk, but since I can't use OP wads or paper patch, my guess is that it won't work with conicals in my .008" grooved barrel.

There is a ss replacement barrel with shallow grooves .004" (same 1/48 twist) available for the Deerstalker. What are the odds that it would enable accurate hunting loads with something like Lee REALs in 250 or 320gr without the use of an OP wad or PP?

*I am aware that conicals produce more recoil, are liable to move off the powder and generally need to be spun faster than RB to stabilize and not tumble when hitting flesh. That's why I'm looking at ballets and stubby 300ish-grainers.

Looking forward to hearing thoughts and personal experiences.

Thanks!
As cast mine will not move with pure in all my GM/Rice and stock 1-48 Renegade barrels ,if your concerned go to 40-1 alloy (tin) and they ain't going anywhere/Ed
 
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Thanks for the replies everyone! I sent an email to MT FWP regarding paper patches and felt wads. The reply was that those are indeed legal for the state's heritage muzzleloader season.
 
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