Cva wolf ballistics

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Full Trajectory Calculator for Rifles, Muzzleloaders, and Bows

In my previous posts I detailed the physics behind calculating the trajectory of an arrow shot from a bow under real conditions experienced by an archer.   The most important detail in calculating correct trajectory calculations is knowing the correct drag coefficient for the arrow and including the effect of drag on arrow trajectories.   In this post I expand these calculations to include typical hunting rifles, muzzle loaders, and bows with examples for each.  I have tried to make this post a bit more theory light and application heavy.  By comparing the trajectories of three different projectiles (arrows, 30 caliber bullets, and 50 caliber muzzle loader rounds) if becomes easier to understand the similarities and differences of these three weapons.
In each case I begin with a complete trajectory calculation implemented in Microsoft Excel as described in my previous trajectory post.  To calculate the trajectory of any object you need to know four things:  1) the launch speed, 2) the object mass (weight),  3) the launch angle, and 4) the drag coefficient for the object.  Using a baseball analogy, we need to know how hard we are throwing the ball, the weight of the ball, the direction of the pitch, and if we have any spit or dirt on the outside of the ball.
Launch Velocity:   The launch velocity is the speed that the arrow or bullet leaves the bow or gun.   The launch velocity for arrows is highly dependent on the setup of the bow and arrow and really needs to measured directly.   Future posts will evaluate several different tools for measuring arrow launch speed, but for now I would recommend asking your local pro shop to measure your arrow speed or invest $99 in a Shooting F-1 Chronograph.  The same chronograph will also work for rifles or you may also use the ballistics tables provided for most rifle ammunition.  
The projectile mass is the amount of stuff being shot toward the target.   Mass and weight are often confused.   Weight is the force of an object being attracted toward the Earth by gravity.   A bullet has mass on the Earth and in space, but in space the bullet would be "weightless".  As a practical matter we measure mass using a balance that compares the weights (force) of two objects on Earth (balances don't work in space).   When the balance is level the weight of each object is the same.  Since gravity on Earth is almost constant, two objects on Earth with the same weight also have the same mass.  In the ballistics world the unit of mass is the grain (gr).  A grain is a unit of mass equal to a single seed of cereal grain.  A 150 grain bullet would have the same mass as a 150 grains of wheat.  One grain is equal to 0.064798 grams or 0.002285 ounces.
Direction:   Direction is simply the elevation of the arrow or gun barrel above or below the plane of the Earth measured in degrees.   The launch angle is determined by the sights on the gun or bow using your eye(s).  It is important to remember that your eyes are almost always above the arrow or rifle barrel.  This is why most trajectory calculations start 1.5 inches low for rifles and 3.5 inches low for bows.
Drag:  The drag coefficient describes the effect of air resistance on the arrow or bullet.  The more aerodynamic the object the smaller the drag coefficient.  It is possible to calculate the drag coefficient for a projectile based on shape of the object and our knowledge of fluid dynamics, however, we usually measure the drag coefficient empirically by measuring the drop of our arrow/bullet at several distances and calculating drag from a fit to the ballistics data.   The rest of this post will walk you through these calculations.  For references I have listed the drag coefficients for several projectiles.  Notice that the rifle bullet has about half the drag of the arrow or 50 caliber muzzle loader bullet.
 Table 1. 
 Projectile Mass (gr/grams) Diameter (inches/meters) k (1/meter)
Cabela's Stalker  Extreme, 29" arrow 244/25.5 0.3125/0.0079 0.00310
Hornday 300 Win Mag 180 gr SST Interlock rifle bullet 180/11.7 0.30/0.0076 0.00078
Powerbelt Aeortip, 100 gr charge, 28" barrel, muzzleloader bullet 223/14.5 0.50/0.0127 0.00284
Ballistics Data.   Ballistics data is the measured trajectory of a bullet or arrow at specific distances.   Table 2 and Figure 2 shows the ballistics data for a 50 caliber muzzleloader bullet.  Notice that the bullet starts below the target, arches upward to 70 meters, is level with the target at 131 meters (150 yards) and then falls below the target after 131 meters.   In this case the gun was sighted in at 150 yards and then fired at targets with distances from 25 to 250 yards.   The blue symbols are the actual shot positions.   The blue line is the calculated trajectory with drag, and the red line is the calculated trajectory not correcting for drag.  Drag makes a big difference at distances past 50 yards.
Table 2. Ballistics data for PowerBelt Aerotip 50 caliber muzzleloader bullet
shot from a 28" barrel with a 100 gr powder charge.
Range (yards)Shot Drop (inches)

Figure 2.   Ballistics plot for PowerBelt Aerotip 50 caliber bullet.
Ballistics datafor rifles and muzzleloaders can be downloaded from the web by searching on your specific bullet.  The data is pretty good because most rifle barrels and the loads are very uniform.   However, each bow and arrow combination is different so you must collect your own ballistics data for each bow and arrow combination.   This is easily done by stacking two targets on top of each other and placing a small aiming point 12 inches below the top of the top target.   This will be the sighting point for your 30 yard pin.   Take a couple of shots at the aiming point from 30 yards to confirm that you bow is "zeroed in" at 30 yards.  Now move to 10 yards from the target and shoot at the aiming point with the 30 yard pin.   Your shot should be high by 4 to 5 inches.   Repeat shots from 20, 30, 40, and 50 yards always using the 30 yard pin.   Shots longer than 30 yards will be low.  Record the distance above or below the aiming point for each shot distance to generate the ballistics data for your  bow.   Figure 3 shows the results from my ballistics trials with a 62 pound draw weight PSE stinger shooting 244 gr arrows with Blazer vanes.  
Figure 3.  Arrows positions after shots at 10, 20 , 30, 40, and 50 yards using the 30 yard pin.  Each shot is labeled in black type face. Notice that the 20 yard shot is above the 10 yard shot due to the arc in the arrow trajectory.
Data for my bow taken from Figure 3.
 Distance shot height above aiming point (inches)
 20 5
 30 0
 40 -12
 50 -30

Caution, the above experiment is not easy to perform.   Your groups must be small or shot errors will be larger than the change in arrow position due to range differences.
So now it is time to use the ballistics data to compute aerodynamic drag.    Attached to the end of this post are three Excel spreadsheets with typical trajectories for a 30 caliber rifle, a 50 caliber muzzleloader, and a 60 pound compound bow.   Pick the file that is closest to your weapon.   Each file has complete directions listed on the directions tab.   Start by entering your specific ballistics data starting in row 54.  Set the target distance to the sighting distance for your weapon (bow = 30 yards, muzzleloader = 150 yards) and click on the green button to solve for the correct launch angle for our your target.   The trajectory should pass through zero at your sighting distance.   Now click on the blue button to adjust the aerodynamic drag coefficient to fit the trajectory of your bullet/arrow.  Repeat the process by clicking on the green button to improve the launch angle, blue button to refine the drag coefficient, and repeat this cycle two more times.  This process optimizes the launch angle and drag for your bow/rifle.  Save the file to a new name and don't mess with the drag coefficient unless you change ammunition.
Lets look at my trajectories.  Figure 4 is the calculated trajectory for my bow shot at range of 30 yards.
Figure 4:  Arrow trajectory for a 62 pound bow. Notice the significant drop with distance.
Notice that the arrow climbs upward from launch, reaches maximum height at about 1/2 the distance to the target and then falls well below the target beyond 30 yards.   The steep downward curvature beyond 30 yards is due to the increasing downward velocity of the arrow due to gravity.   For archers this can be a big deal.   Take a look at figure 5, and notice the shot placement for shots taken at 25, 30, and 35 yards.
Figure 5. Shot placement for a deer at 25, 30, or 35 yards shot using the 30 yard pin.

The middle green dot is the dead-on shot.  The upper dot is where the arrow would hit if the deer was really at 25 yards (a high, but effective shot), and the lower dot is where the arrow would hit if the deer was at 35 yards.  In both cases the archer was aiming using the 30 yard pin.  Because of the arrows increasing downward velocity due the acceleration of gravity a long shot has a much greater error, and likely a wounded deer.   It is always better to error on the long side of any range estimate (shoot the lower pin).
It takes about 0.3  seconds for the downward velocity of any projectile to become large enough to cause significant shot errors due to target range errors.  Faster rifle bullets travel farther in the horizontal direction in 0.3 seconds than relatively slow arrows, while both projectiles drop the same distance in the vertical direction.
Compare the bow to high performance hunting rifle (Figure 6).  Because the rifle bullet is moving 10 times faster than the arrow it gets to the target 10 times quicker.  This means that the bullet has much less time to drop and has a much flatter trajectory.    As a good rule of thumb, you can compare effective hunting ranges of weapons to projective velocities.   A bullet moving twice as fast will have twice the effective range.
Figure 6. 180 grain rifle bullet trajectory.  Notice the flat trajectory.
Figure 7. Shot placement for a deer at 170, 200, or 230 yards shot using the 200 yard sight.
Comparing Figures 5 and 7 you can see why range estimation with a hunting rifle is much less critical.   A 30 yard uncertainty in range estimation has almost no effect, at least within 300 yards.  Very few deer in Maine are shot at distances over 200 yards.
The trajectory calculations for a muzzleloader is somewhere in between the bow and the rifle.  Again, comparing projectile velocities of a rifle (2960 ft/s) to a muzzleloader (2000 ft/s) suggests that a muzzleloader in experienced hands should have good shot placement out to 200 yards.  The actual calculations attached below confirm this prediction.
If you want to compute trajectories at any range simply enter the range into cell B11 and click on the green button to recalculate.   This will compute the correct launch angle for that range.   You may also change the short and long range estimates (cells I18 and I19) to see the effects of estimating target range incorrectly.   Finally, you may play with the hunter elevation above/below the target to convince yourself that only the horizontal distance to the target has a significant effect on shot placement.  In all cases, the hunter is relatively immune to target range estimates if the projectile hits the target in less than 0.3 seconds.  
Simple Effective Range Estimate (Multiply Launch Speed by 0.3 seconds)
 Weapon Launch Speed (ft/s) Effective Range (yrs)
 244 25
 muzzleloader 2000 200
 rifle 3000 300

Have fun playing with the trajectory calculations.

Updated 6 December 2014

Check out this CVA Wolf Northwest bullet review comparing the Hornady SST, Barnes Spit Fire TMZ, & Barnes Spit Fire T-EZ bullets in the CVA Wolf Northwest.

As hunting season has gotten closer, I’ve done more testing to determine the best bullets to use in my CVA Wolf Northwest muzzleloader for hunting this year. The folks at were kind enough to send me three different bullets to test out in my muzzleloader: the Hornady 250gr SST, the Barnes 250gr Spit-Fire TMZ, and the Barnes 250gr Spit-Fire T-EZ. I shot them from both from a bench rest as well as from a “semi-supported” field shooting position. Additionally, I also evaluated each of the bullets on how easy they were to load and how the accuracy of each bullet changed when I didn’t swab the bore between shots (simulating taking a second shot while hunting).

Before we get started, here’s a disclaimer: the links below to are affiliate links. This means I will earn a small commission if you make a purchase.

This commission comes at no extra cost to you. This helps support the blog and allows me to continue to create free content that’s useful to hunters like yourself. Thanks for your support.

CVA Wolf Northwest Bullet Review comparison

All three bullets are high quality bullets made by respected ammunition manufacturers specifically for hunters using muzzleloaders. They are all polymer tipped, .45 caliber bullets fired from sabots, which allows them to be fired at higher velocities, with correspondingly flatter trajectories than conventional full-bore, round or flat nosed bullets. The polymer tip also helps initiate bullet expansion even at the lower velocities (compared to centerfire rifles) obtained when shooting muzzleloaders.

The Hornady SST is an adaptation of their “Super Shock Tip” line of bullets that they designed for many centerfire rifle cartridges. As is typical for many modern bullets, the SST has a copper jacket covering a lead core. As best as I can determine, the jacket is not bonded to the lead core.

In addition to the polymer tip, the SST has a boat-tailed design to make the bullet more aerodynamic. Hornady also produces a 300gr version of the SST for use in muzzleloaders. The 250gr SST bullet (without the sabot) is .451 caliber, .95″ long, and has a ballistic coefficient of .210.

The Barnes Spit-Fire TMZ and T-EZ bullets are 100% copper bullets specifically designed for rapid, but controlled expansion and deep penetration. This makes them good choices for hunters who live in states, like California, that mandate the use of lead free bullets. Since the bullets are all copper, and copper is less dense than lead, 100% copper bullets must be longer than bullets of the same weight and diameter that contain lead. This is why both the TMZ and T-EZ are slightly longer than the SST even though they all weigh 250gr.

Though the TMZ and T-EZ are very similar bullets, they are not exactly the same. The T-EZ is designed for easy loading in muzzleloaders with tight bores and has a slightly smaller sabot to help achieve this. The other big difference is that the TMZ has a streamlined boat-tailed profile that is slightly more aerodynamic than the flat based T-EZ.

Barnes also manufacturers both bullets in 290gr variants. The 250gr TMZ is .451 caliber, 1.102″ long, and has a ballistic coefficient of .210. The 250gr T-EZ is .451 caliber, 1.090″ long and has a ballistic coefficient of .195.picture of cva wolf northwest bullet review data

I shot all three bullets from a bench rest at a paper target 100 yards away to compare the accuracy of each bullet. When shooting for accuracy, I swabbed the bore with one wet patch, one dry patch, and fired one musket cap between shots to ensure conditions were as consistent as possible. Each bullet was propelled by 90gr Goex FFg black powder (measured by volume) during the testing. I used my chronograph to check the velocity of each load and measured each group size.

The results are in the table below.picture of cva wolf northwest bullet review group size

As you can see in the table and in the photo below, the Hornady SST bullets were extremely accurate and shot the smallest group of the three bullets. Any “off the shelf” rifle/ammunition combination that shoots sub-MOA groups is doing very well. With this performance, the Hornady SST bullets are certainly accurate enough for me to use at any reasonable range (<125 yards) while hunting this year. Additionally, they were extremely easy to load and their accuracy did not seem to degrade very much after shooting several shots in a row without swabbing the barrel.

CVA Wolf Northwest Bullet Reivew target

On the other hand, I was disappointed in the performance of the Barnes TMZ bullets. Even when I swabbed the bore after each shot, they were extremely difficult to load and did not shoot very well. Initially, I was shooting 6-8″ groups with the Barnes bullets.

However, I did not have the appropriate bullet aligner on my ramrod and I was having a hard time properly seating the bullets without damaging the polymer tip. Once I started using the proper bullet aligner tool ( sells a really nice universal attachment), my group sizes improved dramatically. However, I was still not happy with a 3″ group at 100 yards.

Since I was having such a difficult time loading the TMZ bullets, I decided to try the T-EZ bullets. As it turns out, my muzzleloader has a very tight bore that is much better suited to the T-EZ bullets than the TMZ bullets. So, if you want to use a Barnes bullet but the TMZs don’t shoot well out of your muzzleloader, make sure you try the T-EZs.

The difference between the two bullets was truly night and day: the T-EZ bullets were much easier to load and shot significantly better than the TMZ bullets. Though they were not quite as accurate as the Hornady SSTs, I was still pleased with their accuracy. Additionally, their performance did not significantly change when I did not swab the bore between shots.

As far as external ballistics goes, there is virtually no difference between the three bullets. All have nearly the same muzzle velocity, muzzle energy, and trajectory. However, the T-EZ lags slightly behind the others in these areas, though not by much, due to its slightly lower ballistic coefficient and muzzle velocity.

All of the bullets are suitable for shots on game out to 100 yards (maybe slightly further) with no holdover and all are powerful enough to ethically take medium sized game at the ranges I’ll be shooting.

After shooting for accuracy, I fired the SST and T-EZ a couple of times at a paper target at 50 yards and a 6″ steel plate at 75 yards from shooting sticks. The purpose of this was to see how they did under slightly more realistic “field” shooting positions and to see how easy they were to reload. Both bullets did very well: reloading was easy, all shots struck within 1″ of the bulls-eye at 50 yards, and all hit the steel plate.

Though I did not get the chance to compare the terminal performance of the bullets, the steel plate test did provide another piece of useful information to me about the T-EZ. When checking the target, I noticed a shiny piece of metal in the grass near the plate. Upon closer examination, I realized that it was a T-EZ bullet that I had just shot at the steel plate.

CVA Wolf Northwest Bullet Reivew front

After hitting the steel plate, the bullet expanded to 1.46″, yet still weighed 232 grains (93% weight retention). I mention this because it demonstrates the durability of Barnes bullets under the most extreme circumstances. No animal, not even a big feral hog or a Cape Buffalo (not that I recommend shooting a Cape Buffalo with a 250gr T-EZ), has a shoulder anywhere near as tough as an AR500 steel plate.

If the Barnes T-EZ was able to remain intact and retain over 90% of its mass when striking a steel plate (a feat few hunting bullets can match), then it will likely perform in a similar or better manner when it strikes a big game animal. While this situation does not demonstrate how deep or consistently the T-EZ will penetrate on an animal (that’s for another day), it absolutely demonstrates that the Barnes T-EZ will probably remain intact and not fragment when striking a rib or a shoulder blade in a big game animal.

I can only speculate on how well the SST performed compared to the T-EZ in this case, as I did not recover one after it hit the steel plate. However, I doubt the SST, with its thin copper jacket and un-bonded lead core would have done nearly as well as the T-EZ.

CVA Wolf Northwest Bullet Reivew back

Overall, I’m very pleased with how well the Hornady SST and the Barnes T-EZ did out of my CVA Wolf Northwest. Both were accurate enough for me to use at the ranges I’m likely to take a shot at while hunting this year. Both were easy to load and both performed well when I did not swab the bore between shots.

I’ve still got some more testing to do to compare how well each bullet penetrates. That being said, right now I’m leaning towards using the Barnes T-EZ  as my primary hunting bullet this year since it will likely offer superior penetration and more reliable expansion than the Hornady SST.

For more detailed information on learning more about hunting with a muzzleloader, check out these other articles:

How To Hunt With A Muzzleloader

Blackhorn 209 vs 777 vs Goex Black Powder: Which One Should You Use In Your Muzzleloader?

These Are The Best Brands Of Black Powder and Black Powder Substitutes You Should Be Using In Your Muzzleloader

9 Best Muzzleloader Scopes For Hunters

9 Of The Best Muzzleloaders For Hunters In 2021

5 Best Traditional Muzzleloaders For Hunters In 2021

Essential Muzzleloader Supplies Every Hunter Needs In 2021

101 Best Gifts For Hunters To Put On Your Wish List

11 Best Hunting Ear Protection Options For Hunters

Update 6 December 2014

I shot my first blacktail (and my first deer with a muzzleloader) a couple days ago using the CVA Wolf Northwest and 250gr Barnez T-EZ bullets. Both the rifle and the bullets performed well. I hit the deer on the right shoulder as he was quartering towards me. The T-EZ destroyed both lungs and exited just behind the left shoulder. The deer ran less than 30 yards after the shot.

first blacktail cva wolf northwest
muzzleloader ignition tips E-Book article

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Endorsement Disclosure: Per the guidelines of the Federal Trade Commission, the product reviewed here is an endorsement and I received compensation by “in-kind” payment to review the product.

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Ballistics charts for muzzle loader rifles

Note:I created this Muzzle loading website in 1996. Many upgrades to muzzle loading have been introduced since my muzzle loading days. I offer this information as a guide only,never load any weapon beyond it's manufacturer's recommendations.

I do not hunt with muzzle  loaders now since I'm well over 74 years old. I still hunt deer  but now use a Smith and Wesson pistol with a Leopold scope. Its a Model 29 in 44 magnum caliber . This is a legal deer hunting weapon in my area.  It's easier to carry and offers 6 powerful shots. I don't like to use more than one shot (meat damage) but it's good to know that another shot is quickly available if needed.

Muzzle loading is often referred to as "coal burning". Black powder burns dirty and leaves a grimy residue in the barrel. Several black powder substitutes are offered these days. Some are a little cleaner, some are not. Black Powder and genuine black powder substitutes are the ONLY powders to use in a muzzle loading firearm. NEVER substitute any type of modern smokeless powder as these muzzle loading firearms are not designed for the high pressures of modern smokeless powders.

Generally it is the size of the powder granules that determine the use of the powder. The smaller granulations have the fastest burn rate, the larger granulations are slower. FFFFG identifies the smallest granulation, FG is the largest.

FFFFG, "Four F", the fastest burning black powder is primarily used for priming flintlocks.

FFFG, "Triple F" is primarily used in revolvers.

FFG, or "Double F" is primarily used for rifles over 40 and up to 58 caliber.

FG, or "Single F" is pretty much restricted to rifles over 58 caliber.

Never fire a muzzle loading rifle, pistol, or shotgun unless the bullet or shot is completely down against the powder charge. To do otherwise can possibly burst the barrel.

Here are some muzzle load ballistics that I have either chronographed myself or picked up from various locations. They're basic and sometimes were only one shot through the chronograph. There are many factors that will change the speed of a bullet leaving the barrel of a muzzle loader. Among these factors are the weight and type of the powder and bullet, barrel length, barrel twist, temperature, humidity, and more. My son and I will use a friend's chronograph to try to pick the best load for our muzzle loaders. My rifle is a Thompson Center Thunder Hawk and my son's is a Knight Disk rifle, both 50 caliber in-lines.

A decent chronograph sells for under $200 these days. No two muzzle loaders shoot exactly the same. Barrel length and twist both have a tremendous effect on bullet speed and energy (see the ball loads in Chart #1). A chronograph is a "must", if you want to get the best from your muzzle loader.

The following two charts are for 50 caliber muzzle loader rifles. ENERGY is in foot pounds, at muzzle. There may be a typo, so if you see something in here that looks "out of kelter", it probably is... Leave me an e-mail if you see something odd. Never exceed the loads recommended by your gun manufacturer.

Chart #1. . . 50 caliber BALL loads show the tremendous difference in barrel length and twist. Chart is sorted by Energy column, ascending...

NOTES for above chart:
  • #1 . My TC ThunderHawk thru chronograph. 24 inch barrel, 1 in 38" twist using #11 primers.
  • #2 . My son's Knight Disk rifle using Pyrodex pellets & #209 shotgun primers thru same chronograph. Also 24 inch barrel but with a 1 in 28" twist.
  • #5 . 43 inch barrel with 1 in 66" twist, black powder FFFg
  • #6 . Never use FFFg powder in a rifle unless the manufacturer specifies it.

Balls cannot compete with conicals and saboted conicals in speed and energy in today's high twist, short barrels. They simply are not heavy enough to allow large powder loads to burn completely in the barrel. Balls require a long, low twist barrel. Note the tremendous difference that the 43 inch barrel (note #5) makes in the above chart. The balls in the above chart are all the same size and weight. Two of these ball loads (the weakest and the hottest were left in the next chart for comparison.

Chart #2. Random 50 cal. ballistics sorted by foot pounds of Energy.

  • #1 . My TC ThunderHawk thru chronograph. 24 inch barrel, 1 in 38" twist using #11 primers.
  • #2 . My son's Knight Disk rifle using Pyrodex pellets & #209 shotgun primers thru same chronograph. Also 24 inch barrel but with a 1 in 28" twist.
  • #3 . Suggested loading data from back of Lyman 335 grain hollowpoint sabot package. Copyright, Lyman Products Corp, Middletown CT.
  • #4 . origin unknown.
  • #5 . 43 inch barrel with 1 in 66" twist, black powder FFFg
  • #6 . Never use FFFg powder in a rifle unless the manufacturer specifies it.
  • #7 . The 180g ball loads show the immense difference that powders, barrel length and twist make.
  • #8 . Just for fun... A single 50g Pyrodex pellet followed by 50g Pyrodex RS powder fired from my TC ThunderHawk. I thought that the pellet would aid the #11 cap in igniting the powder mixture but it didn't seem to help. For some reason, it was slower than 100 grams of RS.

I'm sighting in my TC Thunder Hawk and picking my load for the 1997 whitetail season, I tried 350 grain Buffalo Maxi type bullets and 100 grains of Pyrodex RX Select for an approximate speed of 1550 fps at the muzzle which results in 1868 ft lbs of energy at the muzzle. I was pleased with the speed and energy with this load but not happy with the 100 yard groups. I then switched to a Lyman Shocker 335 grain sabot (same powder charge) and shot much tighter groups but didn't have the chronograph with me. I liked the Shockers better than the Buffalos but shot all my Shockers and couldn't purchase more. I am now shooting the 250 grain Knight Red Hots, an all copper saboted bullet. I'm getting good groups at 1777 fps at the muzzle for a total of 1754 ft. lbs. of energy. (see Chart #2)

My son wants to shoot heavy loads. He bought the Knight after reading the review on the Knight Disk rifle in NRA's American Hunter magazine. The Knight did not do well shooting the balls. The rifle, with it's 1 in 28" twist, was not designed to shoot balls. It is supposedly designed to shoot sabots using a heavy load of Pyrodex pellets.

We started with 250 grain sabots and three Pyrodex pellets for a total of 150 grains of powder. This load was reviewed in the NRA magazine's article. After looking at the poor energy delivered by the Knight using this load (see Chart #2), we decided to try some heavier bullets when using three Pyrodex pellets. In all fairness, the accuracy of the Knight shooting the 250g sabots was fantastic but I felt that he wasn't getting enough muzzle energy. (see Chart #2). The 250g bullet was leaving the barrel too quickly and too much of the 150g pellet load was burning outside the barrel. (see 150g Pyrodex pellets and 250g sabot in Chart #2). So we tried 300 grain Knight Red Hots and got more energy. (see Chart #2, 300g Knight and 150g Pyrodex pellets).

The best load we finally came up with for the Knight Disk rifle was a 289 grain Remington Premier saboted bullet with three 50g Pyrodex pellets for a total of 150 grains of powder. This load gave great groups and 1909 fps at muzzle producing 2340 foot pounds of energy. (see Chart #2)

We broke the trigger mechanicism on the Knight while sighting it in. Two pins in the mechanicism broke to the point that the gun wouldn't fire. The Knight had this same problem in the NRA magazine's review with the walnut stock but Knight presumably corrected this with the synthetic stock. Anyhow, we had a local gunsmith temporarily repair the trigger in order to use the rifle for the arriving whitetail season. We contacted Knight, told them about the broken trigger, they are shipping a complete new assembly.

After logging to this webpage and reading the above paragraph, Scott left me an e-mail. Quote... Dad-- Web page looks great. I have only one suggestion. You've got to give it (the Knight) SOME credit as it does shoot the "fastest, most accurate & powerful load" that you've charted! . He's right, the Knight Disk rifle is throwing tight groups with 289 grain sabots and 3 Pyrodex pellets.

Don't forget that the muzzle energy produced by most muzzle loading rifles will drop from half to a third at 100 yards. In other words, a rifle that has 1000 ft. lbs. of energy at the muzzle will only have 300 to 500 ft. lbs. at 100 yards. My son likes the heavier loads for this reason. Myself, being almost 60 years old, will settle for lighter loads. They are easier on my shoulders.

Looking over those ballistic charts shows me that Pyrodex, volume per volume, is hotter than Black Powder in loads of 80 grains and up. Pyrodex also smells a lot better while cleaning your rifle. I'm allowed to clean my rifle inside the house, now that I've switched to Pyrodex. Pyrodex is a registered US trademark, property of Hodgdon Powder Company, Shawnee Mission, Kansas.

The next three charts show how an equal volume of black powder and Pyrodex compare. Note: the Pyrodex seems hotter in heavier loads.

Note 3, Chart #2.

BULLET 50 caliber, 335 grain HP Sabot, Black Powder FFg/Pyrodex RS = 70 grains by volume.

BULLET 50 caliber, 335 grain HP Sabot, Black Powder FFg/Pyrodex RS = 80 grains by volume.

BULLET 50 caliber, 335 grain HP Sabot, Black PowderFFg/Pyrodex RS = 90 grains by volume.


Here's a couple loads for the 45 caliber fans.

BULLET 45 caliber, 285 grain HP maxistyle, Black Powder* = 85 grains FFg

BULLET 45 caliber, 325 grain RN maxistyle, Black Powder* = 85 grains FFg

Here are some more 50 caliber ballistics. The trajectory charts are interesting. These are black powder loads.

BULLET 50 caliber, 385 grain HP maxistyle, Black Powder* = 90 grains FFg

BULLET 50 caliber, 410 grain RN maxistyle, Black Powder* = 90 grains FFg

BULLET 54 caliber, 425 grain HP maxistyle, Black Powder* = 105 grains FFg

BULLET 58 caliber, 525 grain HP maxistyle, Black Powder* = 90 grains FFg

WARNING. While the loading data on this page is believed safe, it is your responsibility to use correct powder and charge. Always make sure your bullet is firmly seated on the powder charge If the bullet is not firmly seated on the powder charge, a hazardous air-gap may develop. Read your powder and muzzle loader instructions. Do not use smokeless powder. You must be familiar with the basic rules for using, storing and loading with black powder. Always follow the safety rules and warnings supplied with your firearm. Never use a greater powder charge or bullet than is recommended in your firearm manual. Static electricity or a glowing ember, in your barrel, can cause a flashback! Never load your firearm from a large powder container. Always use a single-load container.

I have access to a chronograph and have tested several loads. Some of these charts used the formula, ENERGY=(wt*V^2)/450130.33 /I to convert bullet speed and weight to bullet energy in ft. lbs. Abbreviations: HP=hollow point, RN=round nose, BT=boat tail, FpS=feet per second, FtLbs=foot pounds of energy. Note: * An equivalent VOLUME of RS Pyrodex (registered trade mark) may be used instead of FFg black powder. Note: When making this switch, measure by volume only, not by weight.

I skin and process our venison myself. My wife and I can our venison in quart canning jars. This is easy, fast and the canned meat is tender and delicious. The canned meat does not require valuable freezer space. If you would like our canning recipe just send me an email below.  NOTE: I received a lot of emails for our recipe. So, I've added a page showing our venison canning procedure this year. Click here to see how we canned our venison in 2014.

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This page was last updated on May 21st, 2010.


How NOT to Load CVA Muzzleloaders

CVA Accura V2 Long Range Velocity Test Range Day


The CVA Accura V2 Long Range muzzleloader is the top of the line model from CVA and has been rated the best long-range muzzleloader from The Accura LR boasts a 300-yard shooting capability by providing better velocity through its 30" Nitride-treated Bergara barrel. There are many other variables that can affect the bullet velocity and the first variable to test was the type of powder. To find out the best powder to maximize velocity in this muzzleloader, went through a rigorous day at the range to test different powders with the CVA Accura V2 LR muzzleloader.

The CVA Accura V2 LR velocity data was compiled with a PowerBelt AeroLite Bullet.

The seven different types of powder included Blackhorn 209, Pyrodex Select RS, Triple Seven FFG, Triple Seven Magnum Pellets, Triple Seven Pellets, Hodgdon FireStar Pellets, and IMR White Hots Pellets. A magnum charge, or 150-grains of standard powder, was used for every shot.

*Per manufacturer recommendation, only 120 grains of Blackhorn 209 was used, as this is equivalent to 150-grains of standard powder. Also, only two Triple 7 Magnum Pellets were used to total 120 grains, as three pellets would equal more than the safe, recommended amount.*

The bullet of choice in this range day powder test was the PowerBelt AeroLite 250-grain bullet, as it is highly recommended for the CVA Accura lineup and provides easy loading and accurate results. The CVA Accura barrel was cleaned after every shot to ensure consistency with velocity readings. Every shot was recorded with a high-quality chronograph and compiled accordingly. Keep in mind that the velocity was the only stat being recorded, and so accuracy will not be calculated in this article.



Results and Conclusion

The fastest average velocity was achieved by the Pyrodex Select RS loose powder at 2263 fps, followed by the Hodgdon FireStar Pellets at 2205 fps, and then followed by the Triple Seven FFG loose powder at 2150 fps. Blackhorn 209 came in at a close fourth at 2127 fps. 

The Hodgdon FireStar Pellets was the dark horse in this test as there is minimal ballistic information circulating on the internet concerning this new product. The Hodgdon FireStar Pellets are created in 33-grain pellets and used five pellets to create the magnum charge as per manufacturer recommendation. The result is an average of 2205 fps, which translates into amazing knockdown power, especially at longer distances. 

The lowest velocity powder was the Triple Seven Magnum Pellets at 1840 fps. The Triple Seven Magnum Pellets come in 60-grain pellets and only two should be loaded into the muzzleloader at one time. This means that the pellets have 120-grain maximum load, which is lower than the 150-grains that make up a magnum load. By using a Triple Seven 50/30 pellet, which would bring the total grain to 150, the velocity would most likely go up beyond 2000 fps. 

While fan favorites such as Blackhorn 209 and the IMR White Hots Pellets didn't come in with the highest velocity, they are still considered the cleanest burning loose powder and pelletized powder respectively. These are both great options as shooters might want a powder that requires significantly less cleaning. 

If you have any questions concerning the results of the CVA Accura V2 LR velocity test, please contact our customer service representatives at 1-855-236-5000 or send an email to [email protected] 



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