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I think it's been about 10yrs since my father bought a pair of in-lines to ML hunt with. At the time we wanted to extend our hunting after getting nothing for several years in a row largely due to the 4pt on a side rule they had in place at the time. I have no idea how many 6 pointers I had to let walk during that time but it was quite a few. My mother informed me that at one point we went 4yrs in a row with neither my father nor I getting a deer.

They've since dropped the point rule but due to a variety of other factors I've never gotten a deer with the ML until tonight.

A good sized doe came out just before dark. I was sitting in a spot I like that my father calls the nest and naturally she didn't come from the "correct" direction but instead came down the hill behind me and crossed the small opening to my left. I'm including an older picture of the spot looking directly forward and she was on my left which isn't really shown on the photo.

Fortunately I heard her coming and was able to get a shot on her just before she re-entered the brush. I stepped off the distance at between 35-40yrds. She didn't drop immediately so just like the doe my Father got a few weeks back I ended up having to follow the blood trail after dark. I was a bit surprised that even with the ~.50 cal hole in her there wasn't a heavier blood trail and in fact at times it was intermittent or just a few specs on the leaves. She also didn't make it easy as she seemed determined to run through the heaviest brush and at one point jumped about a 3ft high brush pile.

All together I guess she ran about 150yrds and at the end managed to fall down a 3ft ledge, and into the mud, in the small creek that runs through the property. There was plenty of blood where she ended up though.

Upon field dressing the shot was a through and through just behind the front legs that went through both lungs. It really amazes me how far they can run.


Details:

Rifle - Thompson Center Omega Z5 - .50 Cal in-line
Bullet - 250gr Hornady SST Sabot 50 cal (.452)
Charge - 2 pellets of Hodgdon 777 50/50
Primer - Remington 209 STS in-line muzzleloading primer
Shot distance - Stepped off at between 35-40 yards
Distance ran - roughly 150yards at a guess
Shot placement - Through and Through just behind front legs hitting both lungs and anything in between.

Of interest - not nearly as much blood trail as expected given the ~half inch hole all the way through.
--pictures below show exit wound.
 

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Congrats!:beer:
 
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Congrats! And also would like to tell you that you have some impressive tracking skills. Do you think that the bullet may have failed to perform at its potential? I’m assuming so judging by the condition of the lungs.
 

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Congrats.
 
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congratulations.

If it was me, I'd switch to a 250gr Hornady XTP instead of the SST. I've killed numerous deer with the xtp and it really thumps them. Lots of shock effect and great penetration.
 

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Congrats. Glad you found her.
 
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Discussion Starter #10
congratulations.

If it was me, I'd switch to a 250gr Hornady XTP instead of the SST. I've killed numerous deer with the xtp and it really thumps them. Lots of shock effect and great penetration.
I may have to do that next year given my experience on the two deer that I got this year see my other thread: https://www.marlinowners.com/forum/big-game/610267-another-ml-deer-4pt-buck-time-another-adventure.html#post8119861. In some ways I don't want to do it since I know the rifle shoots the SSTs really well, but in both cases it seems that the bullet drilled it's way directly through without opening up. Penetration wasn't a problem since in both cases they were complete pass through's and it's still a .45 or larger hole but it looked about the same size on both sides potentially indicating that it wasn't opening up.

One thing I do like or it seems that the rifle likes regarding the SSTs, which could well be true for the XTPs as well, as Hornady's claim of low drag.

I've fired other ammunition through this rifle and the first shot in a clean barrel goes exactly where I want it, while a second or third shot out of the barrel without cleaning it shoot high. I think what may be happening in the dirty barrel is causing the bullet to exit more slowly and muzzle rise is causing the shots to go high.

With the SST's I can fire at least 3 shots without cleaning the barrel and have consistent impact points. My experience seems to suggest that they may have something with their claim of the low drag sabot.
 

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The SST's may have a low drag on the sabot, but they lead to long drags on the deer trail.

I've tried them and much prefer the 250 gr. Hornady XTP. I have had much faster kills with a pure lead .490 round ball with a pillow ticking patch.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
The SST's may have a low drag on the sabot, but they lead to long drags on the deer trail.

I've tried them and much prefer the 250 gr. Hornady XTP. I have had much faster kills with a pure lead .490 round ball with a pillow ticking patch.
Yes, I'm definitely going to have to figure out something different for next year as I'm not going to use the SST's again. I used them mainly because when I tested different bullet types they gave me consistent accuracy/point of impact on repeated shots without taking apart and cleaning the barrel.

I had also tried out 240gr Thompson Center Mag Sabots with XTP bullets (below). I chose not to use them because unlike the SST's it appeared I couldn't get repeated accuracy without taking the rifle down for a thorough cleaning between shots. The first shot from a clean barrel had the same point of impact as the SST's, the second shot went roughly 3inches high, and the third was off the paper. The Sabots with the TC bullets were much harder to load especially on shots 2 & 3 with a "dirty" barrel and my supposition was that they were slower exiting the barrel than shot 1 and the additional time was pushing the shots high due to muzzle rise.

Having not had a chance to evaluate either bullets performance on deer I went with the one that didn't require me to take apart the rifle and clean it before I reloaded.

Now that I have had the experience with the SST's I'm definitely going to find something else. At least one thing I'm going to try since I have them is loading the XTP bullets in the red SST sabots and see what happens.
 

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If you want the best combo go with Harvester PT Gold 300 gr bullets with Crush Rib sabots over Blackhorn 209 powder. You will get at minimum 10 shots before needing to clean(possibly 20). You will not regret this combo
 
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I've come to approach ML follow-up and archery follow-up similarly. I think it's wise to wait 20-30 min before beginning the tracking process. As some have noted, tweaks in gear and loads can maximize ML effectiveness and are worth exploring. Imagine a slightly less precise shot placement on that deer. She still would've expired, but you might have pushed her farther and potentially lost her without giving her time. Glad it all worked out and congrats on the fine shooting and tracking job!
 

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101_0189.JPG savage 50 cal muzzleloader.jpg
I may have to do that next year given my experience on the two deer that I got this year see my other thread: https://www.marlinowners.com/forum/big-game/610267-another-ml-deer-4pt-buck-time-another-adventure.html#post8119861. In some ways I don't want to do it since I know the rifle shoots the SSTs really well, but in both cases it seems that the bullet drilled it's way directly through without opening up. Penetration wasn't a problem since in both cases they were complete pass through's and it's still a .45 or larger hole but it looked about the same size on both sides potentially indicating that it wasn't opening up.

One thing I do like or it seems that the rifle likes regarding the SSTs, which could well be true for the XTPs as well, as Hornady's claim of low drag.

I've fired other ammunition through this rifle and the first shot in a clean barrel goes exactly where I want it, while a second or third shot out of the barrel without cleaning it shoot high. I think what may be happening in the dirty barrel is causing the bullet to exit more slowly and muzzle rise is causing the shots to go high.

With the SST's I can fire at least 3 shots without cleaning the barrel and have consistent impact points. My experience seems to suggest that they may have something with their claim of the low drag sabot.
Expansion and consistant accuracy have never been an issue with my Savage and the XTP. At 2200+fps it expands and holds together even at close range. And the MMP black sabots hold the bullets well and stand up to high velocities while giving great accuracy.
 
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