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Any love for Powerbelts?

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Pathfinder60

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Oct 6, 2020
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I took my T/C Pro Hunter FX to the range to sight-in last week. My Barnes Expander sabots WOULD NOT GO DOWN THAT MUZZLE no matter what. I had to pound two out.

I went back to the old reliable 295gr Powerbelts. On top of 100gr of Blackhorn 209, I can shoot 3" groups at 100Y. This is, well, good enough.

So I'm using 'em. This will be my first season ever hunting deer with a muzzleloader. I know the Powerbelts are out of favor now but for many years they killed many, many deer.

I plan to go for the high shoulder shot. I want DRT or minimal tracking.
Did you try a light coat of lube on those Barnes sabots? It might be worth a try.....
 

Wilbar

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I've used 300 gr Hornady XTP's out of my Pro Hunter since I bought it many years ago, I use to use 100 grain by volume Pyrodex loose powder, I switched to two 50 gr pellets of 777 for ease of hunting and reloading and never had to adjust my scope, its always shot tight groups at 100 yards with either. My Accura V2 and White White Lightning shoots them well also and I've been using 77 grains weighed of BH209 in them. I've also shot the Barnes expanders with my White which is bored .504 and they loaded and it shot them well, does some damage on deer. I'm going to try the Blackhorn 209 in the off season in my Pro Hunter and see how it does. Good luck and good hunting
 

Outlaw99

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Dec 13, 2020
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My mom used to use PB’s out of her TC because as others have stated, they shot ok on paper and loaded easy.....they also consistently led to long tracks on deer that otherwise should have been dead in short order. Crush sabots and superior Bullets have led to quick kills and far less tracking for me.
 

HV-Muzzleloaders

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Nov 12, 2020
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I bought a pack of the new PB ELR bullets in 50 caliber this week to see if they perform any better than the older versions.

I hope to have a target to show in the next couple of days.
 

OXN

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Nov 11, 2020
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In my mind, using a Powerbelt versus a projectile like a Barnes, Thor or Fury is akin to using a field tip versus an expandable broadhead. Admittedly, my personal experience is very limited with them because I've never owned a rifle they'd group acceptably in. However, I have seen multiple deer lost that were hit with solid, center vital shots by Powerbelts and never recovered. Their terminal performance is questionable at best, IME.
 

shiner200gr

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I have been wishing that I had saved what was left of the Powerbelts that I tested while doing research for a magazine article I was writing. I constructed some wooden boxes that were designed to simulate a live deer or hog sized animal shot broadside. They had two baffles. A bullet would strike the first side (about 2 inches of plumber's putty) then hit a "cavity" of wet newspaper scraps, then hit a second baffle of putty. This was before a wide variety of sabots were in use, so it was mostly bore size .50 caliber.
I tested several muzzleloader projectiles at 50 yards. I never finished and sold the article, and nothing was too memorable or out of what you might expect, but I do remember I was surprised that my .50 round balls ended up in beautiful quarter size wafers with little or no weight loss AND I remember the Powerbelts because there was almost nothing left after the first layer. In my opinion, at the low velocity of a black powder bullet, they would have resulted in fairly superficial wounds. The other problem (I'm remembering more details about the project as I write) was the difficulty of hitting the 4" hole in the test box with the PB's haha)
 

idahoron

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Jan 15, 2013
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I have had a chance to test the PB for hardness.
Yellow 275 gr 45 cal was .033 or Medium hard 5 BHN.
Blue 225 gr 45 cal .043- 7 to 8 BHN
Black 270 gr 50 cal .043 7 to 8 BHN
Green 244.4 gr 50 cal .036 hard 5 BHN

This bullet was not mine. I won't shoot PB at anything.
This bullet was taken out of the hip of an elk. The hip was not broken. Penetration was a couple inches at best. It weighs 284 grains.
 

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retrieverman

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May 19, 2005
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159
When I first discovered PowerBelts, I just had to try them and couldn’t get them to group to save my life in the Encore ML I was shooting at the time, so I boxed them away. Fast forward 15 years+/-, I tried the in the new to me $100 Traditions DeerHunter, and they shoot really decent. I even killed a pig using one.
Now don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t use one to hunt a trophy Oklahoma buck, but for shooting pigs around the house, they’re good enough. 🤷‍♂️
 

Insulator18

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Dec 18, 2020
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Oh boy! I'm in a small group here. I have had good luck with the.50 caliber, 245 grains PB, I think it is. Hog @ 60 yard, nice doe for this year at 87 yards. And few other deer. My Marlin mls 50 loves them. But it hates pellets. Once I tried 85 grains of loose 777. It prints a clover leaf at 125 yards at the range. But no more than 85 or groups fall apart. Don't always use them, but never lost an animal with them. Can't say that for Hornady, or Harvesters. Harvesters, fell out the end of my Encore. Ok for squirrels I guess. Lol. My older Encore shoots well with them also. With any powder. 54s, that's another story. Lol
 

Boreal

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Jan 7, 2019
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60
I've never had a problem with Powerbelts. Lately I've been experimenting with a bunch of different bullets but killed a doe with a Powerbelt last week. I shot it from about 40 yards quartering away. I got full penetration, entering just behind the lungs and high towards to spine on the right side. The exit was on the left side at the front of the shoulder. You can see the exit in this picture.
 

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flounder

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Nov 6, 2006
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I don't like their performance on game but they have been accurate for me. Shot one deer with a 295. I killed it but the bullet fractured. I've heard the heavy ones work better.
 

Old Stuffer

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Dec 20, 2020
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The 295gr PB with the aero tip w/ 100 gr of pyrodex pellets has always been good to me. My shots are never more than 100 yds and 90% less than 50 yds. Obviously, I'm not asking it to do as much as many of you have. Near as I can recollect, I've probably taken 20-25 whitetails with this load and haven't seen alot of fragmentation, but I've seen many complaints about that. I do find a little green plastic though. Lol
I'll try to attach a pic to this post of a 100 yd liver-shot from a few years back. I think it did it's job.
I've also seen alot of guys prefer a pass-through shot. Some of mine have (the liver shot), some haven't. Never lost a deer though.
I do have a question about the pass-through though....
As an archery guy, I'm ALWAYS wanting a pass-through for the blood trail. But I was told (more than once) that "a perfect bullet will maintain close to 100% of its mass, has controlled expansion for good penetration, and transfers 100% of it's kinetic energy into the animal for the maximum shock". That's alot to ask of a tiny little hunk of metal....lol.... but wouldn't a pass-through eliminate some of the shock value? Not arguing.....just asking. I honestly don't know enough to argue. Hell... I may need to rethink my disappointment in seeing two holes.:)
Anyway.... I'll send the powerbelt a little love, but also admit that I've switched to the Hornady SST 250gr sabot for this year. Haven't shot at anything other than a target yet, but I like what I'm seeing so far.
This site is teaching me alot....but mostly that there's always another way to skin the cat and we all have different experiences and preferences. I love reading all the different opinions and looking at things a different way.
MikePhoto214.jpg
 

snapbang

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Mar 9, 2019
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I always want a pass through shot for a blood trail. Frankly a good shot is a good shot and a bad one is bad. IMHO we overthink the bullets (unless a particular bullet gives us accuracy). Its the shot placement that is the key. Put a hole of any size through the boiler room and just sit back and let it happen. Make a bad shot with the most well designed bullet and you still have a problem.

I used a .243 win. for 30 years to kill deer in Wyoming. Same gun I shoot groundhogs with. (Different bullets though.) Wherever the cross-hair was when the trigger broke is where the bullet hit. All the fellows said some day I would pay for using such a small caliber on deer. They stand corrected. Never had a problem. I used 100 gr. Nosler partitions and never collected a bullet because they all passed through. Id make my shot, sit back and enjoy the scenery for several minutes, and go follow the blood. Always a deer waiting for me.

I would rather have good accuracy with a poor quality bullet than mediocre accuracy with the best performing bullet out there. IMHO Thankfully we have a variety of quality bullets. One should give you the accuracy you need.
 

Dwayne

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Dec 19, 2012
Messages
240
The 295gr PB with the aero tip w/ 100 gr of pyrodex pellets has always been good to me. My shots are never more than 100 yds and 90% less than 50 yds. Obviously, I'm not asking it to do as much as many of you have. Near as I can recollect, I've probably taken 20-25 whitetails with this load and haven't seen alot of fragmentation, but I've seen many complaints about that. I do find a little green plastic though. Lol
I'll try to attach a pic to this post of a 100 yd liver-shot from a few years back. I think it did it's job.
I've also seen alot of guys prefer a pass-through shot. Some of mine have (the liver shot), some haven't. Never lost a deer though.
I do have a question about the pass-through though....
As an archery guy, I'm ALWAYS wanting a pass-through for the blood trail. But I was told (more than once) that "a perfect bullet will maintain close to 100% of its mass, has controlled expansion for good penetration, and transfers 100% of it's kinetic energy into the animal for the maximum shock". That's alot to ask of a tiny little hunk of metal....lol.... but wouldn't a pass-through eliminate some of the shock value? Not arguing.....just asking. I honestly don't know enough to argue. Hell... I may need to rethink my disappointment in seeing two holes.:)
Anyway.... I'll send the powerbelt a little love, but also admit that I've switched to the Hornady SST 250gr sabot for this year. Haven't shot at anything other than a target yet, but I like what I'm seeing so far.
This site is teaching me alot....but mostly that there's always another way to skin the cat and we all have different experiences and preferences. I love reading all the different opinions and looking at things a different way.
MikeView attachment 12315
You are correct. . .a non-pass through means the full shock force of the projectile is expended in the animal, which
creates the most damaging kill shot. It may not produce the best blood trail, but it will expend the full FT/lbs it has at
the point of contact into the animal, if it doesn't go through.

Ask any sniper, they will tell you the exact same thing. . .
 

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