The Delusion of De Velocity?

Too often, the notion of reducing charges in muzzleloading and in the Savage 10ML-II is ignored. Rather than focus on all-weather reliability, all-temperature accuracy, all condition game-getting ability-these considerations are cast aside for the false notion of if your chronograph does not have the highest reading possible, you "are not getting the most out of your gun." If you have not developed a load that is the maximum recoil threshold your shoulder can withstand, it is often thought that you "are leaving something on the table." The vast majority of the time, you are not. All you are leaving behind are temperamental loads that inflict punishment to scope and shoulder for no reason. We fail to admit that gamer animals are taken inside 100 yards the majority of the time, closer is always better, and the only shot that really counts is the next one. Hyperbole often wins out over practicality and reliability.

A standard, very good 10ML-II hunting load is 44 gr. Accurate Arms 5744 pushing a 300 gr. XTP or a 300 gr. Barnes MZ-Expander. Thousands and thousands of deer have met a quick end to this combination year after year after year. The effectiveness is beyond dispute.

However, what about the temperature extremes of 90 degree shooting, and saving stress to scope and shoulder alike? We seem to be afraid to reduce charges as advised when working up a load, yet-are we really losing anything by doing so in the real world? Not what many think we are; perhaps not what we think we are.

Using 38 grains of 5744 pushing a Barnes 250 gr. Expander, we now have a prediction that looks like this:

What exactly did we lose? Well, we have lost a lot of peak chamber pressure, dropping from about 39,000 PSI to somewhere around 29,500 PSI. We have dropped recoil from 16.45 ft. lbs. when the bullet exits the muzzle to about 10.04 ft. lbs. The stress inflicted on our scope and mounts has dropped to 678 lbs. from 910 lbs.

Have we lost lethality? Well, with a 2000 fps MV we have a 183 yard 6" point blank range, at 190 yards we are striking our animal with over 1000 fpe, and have a projectile still moving over 1350 fps--well exceeding the parameters for proper expansion.

We have a year round load with over 35% less recoil, over 35% less punishment to our scope, and about 10,000 PSI peak stress to our sabot as well. Did we lose anything, or did we actually gain?


© 2005 by Randy Wakeman



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