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I'd look around www.cabelas.com at the various CVAs & NEFs. I'd buy the best one you can afford.


I'm sure the CVA is a good gun, but I'm starting to hear more about the NEF. I doubt most would test the limit to ever wear out a hinged ML.


Ok Tuckeverlasting, let's hear why you are in love with the .45. I've got a .50 Omega SS laminate and I love everything about it. I can't see a reason to switch unless you have reinvented ML'ing


I'm hearing some poor field reports on the PB's with 150 FFF. I'm leaning towards something from Nosler and/or Win Plats. I've still got to test many loads this summer.....


mudhen - CA

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I shoot a TC Encore since 2001; which has performed flawlessly on 8 deer out to 147 yards. I won't get into a friendly debate about .45 cal. vs .50 caliber but my theory is that a good big gun will do everything a good small gun will do ... and more. Not one animal moved more than three feet! I've shot a .300 WinMag for 30 years using everything from 150gr to 200gr bullets and I seldom have them drop in their tracks like that. If you prefer the break open action as I do ... a friend of mine bought a CVA Optima and took it on our Ohio hunt last season; I was very impressed with the quality, feel and fit. It shot dead on too. They're a touch above your $160.00, but it looks like a muzzleloader that would serve you a lifetime.

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Originally posted by mudhen:

Ok Tuckeverlasting, let's hear why you are in love with the .45.

Awwww, since you asked so lovingly, how could I resist?



hit the go button too quickly.... stand by please.


[ 06-15-2005, 10:22 PM: Message edited by: tucker301 ]

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Thanks for waiting.

Did you enjoy the muzak while on hold?




I like the fact that I'm shooting faster, hitting harder, and dropping less at longer ranges with the 195 grain bullets.

Where I hunt, it's whitetail only, but I would have no reservations about taking this setup into the alders for a nice 6X6 bull.


The powerbelts were simply the lightest, flattest shooting loads I could find when I was making my choices. The fact that they are shooting cloverleafs at 100 yards is just icing on the cake for me.


As with all loads and guns, results may vary. But as for me, the powerblets and my Apex 209 are the perfect combination.

Of course, this is utilizing advanced technologies, which enable me to take more game with less skills, and therefore drive the Eastern Whitetail populations to dangerously low levels. :D


Also, forgot to add that the powerbelts are the easiest loading bullets I've ever used.


[ 06-15-2005, 10:44 PM: Message edited by: tucker301 ]

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I couldn't agree more about the speed and trajectory on those .45cal 195gr bullets. As I mentioned, I've shot a .300 most of my life for the speed. Poured over the ballistics tables; reloaded and swore by Hornady 165gr. In 1996 I added a Browning BAR with the BOSS system to my old glass bedded, trigger worked Winchester M70 ... the BOSS system is a NIGHTMARE. Burned tons of costly ammo trying to find the right setting for my 165's ... tried different brands & weights of ammo too. Even sent it back to Browning ... nothing wrong. FINALLY, after it came back; when I was doing the preliminary setting of the remounted scope with some old Federal Premium 200gr ammo I had laying in the bottom of my ammo can ... it grouped very well. It was such a horror before; I figured I'd live with the grizzly load for whitetail. Low & behold ... the deer started being better anchored. I've read the complex charts on "knock down" or killing power of various weights @ various velocities which tend to favor bigger bullets ... but they sort of fly in the face of the clear and understandable ballistics tables. A 150gr @ 3,500fps triggers the image of a sexy Ferrari and a 200gr @ 2,800fps a slovenly truck. When I bought the muzzleloader in 2001 and started shooting 240gr XTP bullets @ about 2300fps ... and had all eight deer drop directly in their tracks, I realized why the old timers used big, slow bullets ... because they work! Now ... I never lost a deer ... the 150's killed them just as dead as the 240's. (Just like the Ferrari will splatter you about as well as the truck) BUT ... the farthest I ever had an animal go after being hit through the boiler room was with speedy 150's. What I've seen ... seems to indicate that the bigger the bullet ... over all ... the shorter the distance they go after impact. BUT ... we're just debating degrees of dead here. Thinking in terms of a 30.06 or .308 or your average deer rifle ... 195gr is in reality a HUGE bullet. Fully capable (and some might feel superior) for doing the job you're asking it to do. My thoughts when I went with the .50 Encore were that it's versatile enough to handle really BIG bullets (over 400gr) for any game in America if I ever get the urge or opportunity. It's a little similar to the 20gauge vs the 12 gauge argument ... in my opinion the 12 can do everything the 20 can ... but the 20 can't do everything the 12 can. The 20 may do a very limited number of things a little better. When I can afford it ... I try to buy stuff to last a lifetime ... so I tend to figure in a lot of "what if's." Bottom line is ... you won't go wrong either way ... you decide. LOL


One last thing ... the PowerBelts vs the sabots ... I shoot XTP's because I've had 100% success so I'm scared to change. They take a Herculean effort to load by your third shot. My buddy with the Optima shots Powerbelts dead on accurate ... and can shoot a dozen, no problem.

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This may blow your mind, but I swear it's true.

Some years ago, I deer hunted exclusively in large old growth forest and open fields.

My weapon of choice for several years was a Remington 700 Varmint Special .243.

I shot a 70 grain Sierra Match King BTHP over 44 grains H414.

Carfeully placed high shoulder shots consistently dropped whitetails, the largest of which was pushing 190 lbs., in their tracks.


"Autopsies" revealed that the bullets were penetrating to a depth of about 2-3 inches before disintegrating.

The entire shoulder area was turned to jelly and there was typically a trauma area of 12- 15 inches which looked like they'd been hit by a bus.

In most cases, the heart and lungs were found to be nearly liquified.


If you think about it, it's easy to see how speed kills.

A bullet moving at 3,200 fps comes to a complete stop in a matter of inches. That's a LOT of absorbed energy.


I like the lighter bullets because they allow my aim to be more true at greater distances.

At 250 yards, my 195's drop about 9", if I've sighted in a couple of inches high at 100.


This allows me to hold at the top of the back of a whitetail, with no blue sky guesswork.


The 50 caliber would drop nearly double that amount at the same range.

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I agree with you 100% and subscribe to the same speed theories. Trust me ... if I could get my muzzleloader 240gr XTP's going 2500fps rather than 2300 ... I would. I may have had a bigger/slower epiphany in 2001 ... but it still isn't ingrained. I've been avoiding testing a container of 200gr SST's in my Possibiles Bag that are singing me a siren song of addition speed. LOL Now ... we're stretching this .45 vs .50 a little here, (there ain't THAT much difference) but just for fun. Tucker, you're a dedicated marksman who obviously prides himself on hitting where he aims ... and has the self discipline to take nothing other than shots which almost guarantee success. The reality is ... 99% of hunters aren't. Sort of like giving a .410 shotgun rather than a 12ga to a new hunter ... the average guy is going to cripple a lot of game that he would have harvested with the 12ga. I think the larger bullets in many ways compensate for less accurate firearms, less committed shooters or simply the less than "idea" angles or conditions in which most hunters find most of their deer. A "safety factor" for less than perfect hits so to speak. I hunted alongside the professionals from White Buffalo, Inc. who have culled thousands of deer with "tiny" .22cal bullets.(centerfire) The key is each guy shoots tens of thousands of rounds practicing each year; NEVER take anything other than a perfect shot ... and ... like your experience with your .243 ... the bullet gives up ALL it's energy inside the animal. When they're forced to use shotguns ... they use the slowest "reduced recoil" slugs they can get ... for energy transfer. My 150grs, 200's, 240's and even my slovenly shotgun slugs invariably pass through, exit the other side ... and carry a lot of the energy we drool over in the ballistic chart ... into the dirt behind the animal. Even at 312yards ... I got a pass through with a 165gr. Hornady btsp. Your .243-70gr giving up all of it's 1,600 ft/lbs @ 100yd ... does a better job than my .300 using 1,000 ft/lbs to pass through and dumping the other 2,000 ft/lb into the dirt. If I wasn't so enamored with speed ... trying to reap the accompanying additional range & trajectory gain ... clearly I'd be better off slowing all these bullets down so they would give up all that truck like energy INSIDE the animal. BUT ... "IF" ... I hit a bone, or my treestand sways, or buck fever, or I get stupid over a big rack and I don't get a textbook hit ... the big bullet is taking down the animal. (Unless I got REAL stupid) Hence my vote for bigger & slower. LOL (With understanding and respect for your smaller & faster) So ... if sbeIIfan is still even remotely interested at this point ... for deer hunting ... a .45cal @ 195gr or .50cal @ 200gr? Pick your poison. Whatever attracts you. Sometimes you can find good sales on .45's because dealers are looking to move them out of inventory ... shop around ... you might get more gun for your budgeted money if you're lucky.

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