SkyChief load, am i expecting to much????

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adkmountainken

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did a little range work with my .75 cal in preperation for turkey season, its not my first rodeo but wanted to try the Skychief load. for the last 10 years i have used 80-90 grans FF, wad of hornets nest, 1 1/2-2 ounces of #5 and more hornets nest. pattern was never to good but i use my calling and turkey hunting knowledge to usually get them with in 10-15 yards. i pattern my guns for 25 yards max which i consider worst case scenario. at this range i was putting 7-10 in the kill zone, drop it down to 10 yards and triple the numbers. went to the range today and use the components to a T to the Skychief load. best target i had 13 in kill zone, average was 5 to 9 pellets at 25 yards. pretty much what i was getting with hornets nest? am i expecting to much? i did notice with the heavy saturated olive oil fiber cushion wad that fouling was very minimal, i shot 15 times and each load went down fine. i did not check the pattern at 10-15 yards just 25 as i had high hope for a 15-25 pellet count which i now think is unrealistic? i settled on a 80 grain load when i went to 90 the pattern really started to open up. perhaps back down to 70? i was using 1 1/2 ounces of #5. from all the glowing reports i hear i feel i am doing something wrong which calls for more range work. i have killed a good share of turkeys with smoothbore muzzleloader and it is pretty much my passion.
 

adkmountainken

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yes plenty of 3f and have tried it multiple time usually results in the pattern blowing apart due to increased velocity.
 

SDSmlf

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did a little range work with my .75 cal in preperation for turkey season, its not my first rodeo but wanted to try the Skychief load. for the last 10 years i have used 80-90 grans FF, wad of hornets nest, 1 1/2-2 ounces of #5 and more hornets nest. pattern was never to good but i use my calling and turkey hunting knowledge to usually get them with in 10-15 yards. i pattern my guns for 25 yards max which i consider worst case scenario. at this range i was putting 7-10 in the kill zone, drop it down to 10 yards and triple the numbers. went to the range today and use the components to a T to the Skychief load. best target i had 13 in kill zone, average was 5 to 9 pellets at 25 yards. pretty much what i was getting with hornets nest? am i expecting to much? i did notice with the heavy saturated olive oil fiber cushion wad that fouling was very minimal, i shot 15 times and each load went down fine. i did not check the pattern at 10-15 yards just 25 as i had high hope for a 15-25 pellet count which i now think is unrealistic? i settled on a 80 grain load when i went to 90 the pattern really started to open up. perhaps back down to 70? i was using 1 1/2 ounces of #5. from all the glowing reports i hear i feel i am doing something wrong which calls for more range work. i have killed a good share of turkeys with smoothbore muzzleloader and it is pretty much my passion.
If you have something that works for you, you may not want to start changing things just for the sake of change. As a kid had one shotgun with one barrel. Had to adjust for pattern and distance with the load. A turkey load and it’s max range was determined by it’s ability to put multiple pellets through the bottom of a Campbell’s Soup can (maybe 2” diameter). We took a lot of turkeys.

As far as Skychief load, was out playing with different loads in my Pedersoli 12 gauge double last winter. Here is a photograph of target with both barrels (cylinder/modified choke) dumped into it. 30 yards, Skychief loading, 1-1/8 oz of #7-1/2 shot over 80 grains of Swiss fff. Disregard the extra 32 caliber holes. ‘Recycled’ target. Gun had taken a number of turkeys, although I previously used a mix of #4 and #6 shot. Tried the #7-1/2 this last spring and took two turkeys, one at 18 yards and the other at 25 yards.

upload_2020-1-11_16-8-48.jpeg
 

adkmountainken

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the one thing i have never fiddled with is shot size, i have been using #5 for 30 years, might be time to try 6 or 7's. as i said i set up for worst case scenario most my shots are 15 yards or under.
 

Historian

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Get rid of the stupid hornets nest. In the past I used 110-120 grains 2Fg in my Pedersoli 10 ga. Leather OP wad, 1/2 inch wool felt wads lubed in olive oil and bees wax, 1 5/8 oz to 1 3/4 oz shot, I used 5's too, and then another 1/2 inch wool felt wad to seal the bore. I had average velocity of 1093 FPS and deadly patterns for head shots out to 35 yards. Then again when I hunt the swamps I take body shots with 2's and I have taken them out to 43 yards with the load column above. If you are limited in range the way you say you are your load column is the issue. I have used this load column on 11 birds.
 

THBailey

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I would humbly suggest a turkey head and neck is not a particularly hard target, and pattern density is the name of the game. If I could still use lead out here in "enlightened" California it would be 7 1/2 or 6. By the way, that is some very turkey worthy shooting SDSmlf, even figured at 1/2 the pellet count.
 

Britsmoothy

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yes plenty of 3f and have tried it multiple time usually results in the pattern blowing apart due to increased velocity.
Are you assuming that the pattern being blown apart was due to increased velocity?
Personally I would try again with good fitting thin cards. Or a combination of leather, felt and cards. Anything more uniform except for a full length fibre wad.
 

adkmountainken

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Historian,
i was using hornets nest becouse at the time i wanted to hunt with "period correct" gun and load. low and behold i was getting very good patterns using it. i have tried MANY different combo's but with some may suggesting Skychiefs load i wanted to try it. i have been hunting turkeys on and off with smoothbore muzzleloader sense the early 90's and have taken a fair share. i will continue to tinker with this load using the recommended components, i will work on powder charge and amount of shot.
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Britsmoothy

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Don't get me wrong Ken.
I've shot not turkeys but pheasants and other game with all sorts of wadding. Including newspaper and leaves.
The problem in my honestly humble opinion with wasp nest, leaves and newspaper is its random nature how it sits on the powder and behaves at the muzzle on emerging from the barrel.
Any bias away from square to the bore is going to result in steering some shot away from the desired point. It's akin to steering a shot load via filing the muzzle of a shotgun!
Unless the pattern board is huge one may not notice that the some shot has been turned away! One would only see on a small target a poor show of hits.
For elimination purposes, next time you test try an alternative wad that is consistent.
Best wishes.
 

Eric Krewson

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Ken, give 1F a try, when I switched to it my patterns got much more dense. My fowler is jug choked but shot a poor pattern before I put 1F and a Skychief load in it. Wattlebuster on here turned me on to the 1F.

I have a 20ga Gustomsky trade gun that might put 5 pellets scattered out in a turkey target at 20 yards with a normal shot load. The cardboard picture is how much the Skychief load tightened the pattern. I think this was 80 gr of 1F and 1 1/4 oz of #6 with the Skychief wad column. The gun shoots to the left, I was aiming at the crease in the center.
skychief 20.JPG


I shoot 100gr of 1F, 1 5/8 oz of #6 and the Skychief wad column out of my .72

25 yards.
turkey 2019.JPG
 

Zutt-man

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Dang, Eric, that is a very fine target. Y'all are making me think I should buy a turkey tag ...

Pretty much the same target. Go ahead and purchase that tag ;)
 

Historian

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Good shooting there and nice long beards.
Leather and wool felt wads are very period correct, alot more than hornets nest which is something I would only use in an emergency situation. They seal better and I get outstanding patterns and good velocity with them. I keep the Right barrel loaded for head shots and the Left barrel for body or wing shots. Hope you find what you are looking for.
 
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