As a longtime reader of your magazine and a muzzleloader, I must comment on Keith Wood's "Guns & Loads" column (December-January) on Pedersoli's Mortimer Target Flintlock. Overall, the article was interesting even if its $1,875 price tag seems a bit much.
My concern is with the powder charge of 120 grains of FFg powder. Even with a roundball, that is a bit much for a .54-caliber target load. My preferred .54-caliber load is 75 grains of Goex 2F. A bigger concern is when Mr. Wood states, "... a 224-grain sphere of lead moving at 1,850 feet per second will wreck the shoulders of most things that walk this continent, particularly with heat-treated wheel weights filling the bullet mold." No one in the muzzleloading field recommends wheel weights for roundballs, rather pure lead is what Lyman recommends for all muzzleloader projectiles! Wheel weights are too hard because they contain antimony, and heat-treating them doubles the Brinell hardness far too hard for any muzzleloader. I hope Mr. Wood's advice does not lead novice muzzleloaders astray.
Thank you for being a loyal reader of Petersens Hunting and for taking the time to share your own experience. As I mentioned in my column, my own traditional muzzleloading experience is minimal, which is why I relied on the advice of Mr. Seyfried. His actual recommendation was "100-120 grains," and I worked-up carefully to this accuracy sweet spot. For the record, Pedersoli's load data lists a maximum charge of 110 grains of powder in the Mortimer, while Goex Powders's maximum recommended load is 120 grains.
Is 120 grains a heavy hunting load rather than the light target load that you mention? Yes, it most certainly is. All indications are that this load is safe in my Mortimer, and given that I will fire a shot or two at game with this rifle per season, it should not put undue strain on the rifle.
As for pure lead versus heat-treated wheel weights, I would recommend that you use whatever works best for you in your rifle but don't be afraid to experiment. Though I am relatively new to muzzleloading I'm not new to hunting with cast bullets --my own experience has taught me that if breaking shoulders on large game is the task, heat-treated wheel weights are the ticket.--Keith Wood
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|Article Type:||Letter to the editor|
|Date:||Feb 28, 2018|
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