The biggest problem facing the muzzleloading industry today,
as I see it, is standardization. No two gun makers, barrel makers or sabot makers
manufacture their products to the same specifications. Over the counter, brand
name .50 caliber muzzleloader barrels run from .495" to .504". Some manufacturers
even have a .005" variance in barrel sizes in the same model of rifle in the same
This lack of standardization makes sabot fit a nightmare. The only agreement seems
to be that .44 caliber bullets for use in sabots should be .429" to .430" diameter
while .45 bullets for use in sabots should be .451" to .452" diameter. The outside
size of .50 sabots with a bullet in place can vary from .500" on the small side
to .508" on the large. Clearly, all makes of sabots will not perform optimally
in all sized barrels.
Here are a list of the advantages of a sabot that is on the loose side:
1. Very easy to load with clean barrel.
2. Very easy to load with fouled barrel.
3. Quick to reload should a follow up shot be required while hunting.
Here are a list of the disadvantages of a sabot that is on the loose side:
1. A real danger of the bullet moving off the powder charge during an active day
2. Lower velocities due to the sabot not trapping as much gas behind the sabot.
3. Incomplete ignition of pellet powder. This form of powder requires a
lot of pressure to evenly burn all the pellets. Tight sabot to barrel fit is critical
to the burning process of these pellets.
4. Lack of accuracy due to uneven velocities on a shot to shot basis.
Here are a list of the advantages of a sabot that is on the tight side:
1. Higher velocities.
2. Better accuracy due to better, more consistent gas seal.
3. Greater peace of mind knowing that the bullet will not move off the powder
charge during active hunting.
4. Complete, instant ignition with pellet type powder.
Here are a list of the disadvantages of a sabot that is on the tight side:
1. Difficult to load in cold weather.
2. Almost impossible to load on a dirty barrel.
3. Slower to reload a follow up shot while hunting.
4. May require the use / purchase of a short starter for loading.
5. In extreme cases, damage to ramrod.
Which one is right for you? It's a matter of a little self analysis to determine
which factors will effect your shooting or hunting style more.
Personally, I want a tight sabot. I hate to wonder whether my bullet is on the
powder or not. I want the most consistent velocity shot to shot that I can get
and I definitely want the highest level of accuracy possible. Loading is not a
consideration for me because I always use our bullet pushers and I always swab
with a spit patch between shots.
You can see why we have two or three different sabots available for every size
where possible. During the order process, we try
to determine which size will work best for your particular muzzleloader. Mostly
we ship the correct size for your barrel; when we don't we replace them with a
bigger or smaller size to help improve your gun's performance. Just one more reason
why we have the word CUSTOM in our name; Precision Rifle Custom Muzzleloader Bullets.
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