Recently, for $35 and trade for a little junk that I didn't want, I picked up a 50-cal Traditions Yukon In-Line Percussion Modern hunting rifle. I only got it because of the price because I no longer hunt. I thought that I'd shoot it at the range because the owner swore that it was real accurate.
Today I shot it at the range and I will agree that it is very accurate - very! However, that's where the joy ends. I had picked up some Thompson/Center 50-cal XTP sabot bullets to shoot in it. They are ultra, ultra-hard to load. I bent the ramrod trying to seat the rounds. I shot it about 4 times and gave up, figuring that I needed to switch to an appropriate size bullet because the Thompson/Center bullets are apparently wrong. I initially thought that it would be easy to push the saboted bullet down the barrel - not so - I had to almost hammer down the round, bending the ramrod on my 4th round..
When I returned home, I drove a lead ball through the barrel and then measured it with my micrometer. It reads .502 between the lands and .515 between the grooves.
The empty plastic sabots have a waist that measures .501 measure ~.501 (.499 to .501) at the widest points (the base and waist). Once the bullet is inserted into the sabot, the outside of the bullet area of the sabot measures .506.
Given that the lands are .502 and the saboted round is .506, it would seem that the sabot round is too large, after all. The plastic sabot base is hollow, like a Minnie-ball, and they were obviously designed to expand into the grooves, just like a Minnie-ball. It would seem correct, to me, that the saboted round should measure .502 maximum and depend upon the Minnie-ball base to grab the rifling. This would yield an accurate but easy to load round. Am I wrong here?
Any experience and advice regarding loading with loading an In-Line Percussion Modern 50cal???
P.S.: The website Choosing The Right Sabot & Bullet Combo For Your Bore, By Toby Bridges
, provided some useful information, especially that a proper fitting sabot should load easily.