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My father-in-law and brother-in-law purchased a matching pair of stainless synthetic Encore 209x50 muzzleloaders. Both have the new VAri-x II 3-9x40 scope. Both of these rifles will not shoot minute-of-target at 100yds. I mean they won't even hit the paper most of the time. 1 was sent back to T/C and they worked it over,sent it back and give him the 'recipe' to make it shoot. All they (T/C) require of the gun is 1.5moa at 50 yards. It still will not do better than 4 or 5 MOA at 100! I've since been online investigating the opinion webpages. This problem seems to be very widespread, especially in the rifles. (Excess headspace, slop in action, chamber rough or out of spec, etc)

Does all this represent what T/C has resorted to or just isolated problems? Any experiences will be appreciated. I am wanting a new .45 caliber inline and am/was wanting the encore.
 

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When I first bought my 209x50 I was very dissapointed with it. I was using the standard load given in all the Gun Rags ie. 2 Pyrodex Pellets and the T/C packaged Hornady XTP's with T/C sabots. I could not sight the rifle in because there was no rhyme or reaon to where the next shot would hit. I tried Clean Shot powder and the patterns turned into groups.

Now, I have heard many people say that they really need to be shot a lot to smooth out the bores. Maybe that is what happened with mine because I tried a lot of different bullet and sabot combinations with both pellets and loose powder. But. loose powder always has shot the best. 777 has shrunk my groups even farther and now I either use the 295 gr Power Belt or the Barnes Expander MZ.

As for the rifles, I only have one standard barrel and that is a 22-250 barrel that has been giving me excellent groups. My other barrel currently is a Custom Shop .250 Savage Barrel that has been superb since I started handloading for it. The throats are ve-e-e-ry long on all the barrels for whatever reason but I have had no problems getting under MOA with either barrel.

My new barrel should be here soon. This is another Custom Shop barrel in .350 Rem Mag. I am sure it will shoot as well as the others. It may take some Playing with but that is the fun of a new Rifle or a New barrel.

All in all I like my Encore even though we have gone through some pains together. Sean
 

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If you are shooting those 3 piece sabots TC makes, there is your problem with bad accuracy right there. Those things are crap. In my 700 ML they would not shoot within 6 MOA. Switched to Barnes X bullets and their sabots and groups immediately went to 1.5" for 3 at 100. (I had been told by a Knight's rep at Friendship to ditch the TC sabots and all would be fine, he was right). Same in my son's .50 Cal barrel for the .58 Big Bore, got new sabots and shooting the same Hornady XTP bullet, groups went from 5" to 2" with peep sights. Also, consistent seat pressure will cut groups quite a bit. Don't pack the powder by bouncing the ram rod. Get a pressure guage and seat the bullets to the powder, then apply 40 to 80 pounds of pressure (40 pounds will not crush pellets, but what ever amount of pressure you use, keep it constant). The guage I use is preset to 40 pounds and lets you know when you have 40 pounds of pressure applied. That alone will cut your groups dramatically. If shooting pellets, don't crush them, that will play havock with pressures and accuracy. Also, is shooting heavy loads, greater than 100 gr, make sure the sabots you are shooting are for magnum loads. Thin sabots not for heavy loads can blow their skirts and accuracy will go right down the tubes, just like shooting HB conicals.
 

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Not using the 3 piece sabots, have tried 3 different bullets, including the Barnes. Pyro select, pellets, and 777. Nothing helps. Just pieces of junk I guess. Everyone keeps saying after they shot it a lot it seemed to smooth out. Sounds like rough barrels, not what I'm looking for.
 

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If you look at the twist rates for most black powder rifles, you will find that they are much too slow to stabilize the smaller caliber bullets. Most of these are hand gun bullets - just look at the twist rates in modern hand guns and you will see the problem. For example, the popular .429 caliber bullets shoot from hand gun barrels with 1 in 20 inch twist rates. The spin rates imparted by black powder sabots is also somewhat lower than the twist rate implies, because the sabot rotation declines as it opens, before the bullet is fully released.

My guess is that they are computing twist rate on bore size, not bullet diameter, which is patently incorrect. Either that or fast twist rates make it hard to push the sabot down the barrel, and they can't do it.

Its too bad, because the accuracy inherent in black powder rifles using modern barrel technology is astounding on paper.

Sabots at very high velocity from smokeless rifles are not a problem when fired from a chamber throat short enough to allow the engagement of the lands by the sabot in battery. Bullet jump with sabots is a disaster because the petals can deform when alignment if off. Control of seating depth is essential, so accuracy is a handloading proposition. I shoot 0.25 MOA all day with 55 gr Hornady .224 BTs from my 300 WSM at 4345 fps using custom sabots and AA 2230. This is all done at 31,000 PSI using AA 2230. After 10 rounds, the barrel barely gets warm.I have been baned from hunter class competition at the local club for good reason, but the groundhogs don't know it yet.
 

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I shoot a T/C Encore 209X50 Mag also but I get absolutely great cloverleaf groups at 100 yards. I shoot either 2 pellets or 3 pellets, 240 grain hornady xtp's and T/C mag express sabots. I even get 1 1/2" groups at 200 with the 3 pellet load. I also use federal 209 primers. My Encore is a stailess model with a VariXII 3X9X40 mounted in a T/C one piece ring and base. I'm sorry to hear about your accuracy problems but one thin that I will add my Encore really likes a clean barrel. I clean it after every 3 shots or my groups go south.
 

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7mmaniac said:
My father-in-law and brother-in-law purchased a matching pair of stainless synthetic Encore 209x50 muzzleloaders. Both have the new VAri-x II 3-9x40 scope. Both of these rifles will not shoot minute-of-target at 100yds. I mean they won't even hit the paper most of the time. 1 was sent back to T/C and they worked it over,sent it back and give him the 'recipe' to make it shoot. All they (T/C) require of the gun is 1.5moa at 50 yards. It still will not do better than 4 or 5 MOA at 100! I've since been online investigating the opinion webpages. This problem seems to be very widespread, especially in the rifles. (Excess headspace, slop in action, chamber rough or out of spec, etc)

Does all this represent what T/C has resorted to or just isolated problems? Any experiences will be appreciated. I am wanting a new .45 caliber inline and am/was wanting the encore.
The 50 Thompson Encore I used a year ago I sent back via the sports shop I purchased it from. Only after a variety of many loads and techniques were used. I started second guessing myself in frustration It was so bad I couldn't adjust the scope. Supposedly the best blackpowder on the market. Mine had the very nice wood and looked good with quick release mounts and 2.5/10X scope but didn't shoot worth a darn. Giving the benefit of the doubt I upgraded to the stainless with camo stock so far it seems much better but I am not finished yet. One thing they do like is a clean barrel after each shot :(
 

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My business partner and I both got T/C Encore 209x50's a few years ago. We both had a accuracy problem in the beginning. At 75 yards, the first two shots would almost touch, but the third shot would be way out. We were using a 3 pellet load with Barnes 300 gr Expander, Partition Gold 250 gr, and Hornady 250 gr bullets. I made a call to Ken French of T/C and explained the problem. He told me that he cleans the bore after every shot. Boy did that work. The main theory behind his solution is sabot deformation. Any upsetting of the sabot would cause erratic grouping. Also use magnum sabots.

My current cleaning procedure, between shots is; 1 wet patch of Pyrodex E-Z Clean, followed by 1 dry patch, then 1 patch with light T/C Bore Butter.

I have found that the Knight Magnum sabot is the best. The thinner the sabot's petals the better, i.e. a 458 bullet is better than a 45 which is better than a 44. The Barnes 300 gr, Barnes sabot, and 3 pellets was very accurate (1 1/4" at 100 yards), but very hard to load. Even from a clean bore. Had to just about pound them down. A Hornady 250 gr 45 cal, Knight Mag sabot, and 3 pellets was also super accurate. I also got very good group with the Speer 458 400 gr FP, Knight Mag sabot, and 3 pellets. I am currently trying out the new Hornady 250 gr SST bullets. Looking for that long range shot.
 

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My Encore as well as three of my hunting and shooting partners Encores will all shoot an average of 1 inch groups at 100 yards - 3 shots! They will do this 5 out of 5 times, while cleaning between each 3-shot group....

The first thing I did was to add an oversize hinge pin so as to allow for a more solid lock-up. The second thing was to cut off the last 2 inches of barrel to completely remove the QLA and cut a tapered target crown. And last, was to add a modified 6-screw Weaver mount....

Before any of the work was done, ALL of these barrels averaged between 4 and 6 inches at 100 yards, off sand bags. Now, the worst shooting load averages 2 inches at 100 yards, while our best has been 5/8 inch, all three shot groups....

DAVID
 

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Out of the box I was also disappointed in my 209/50 Encore. I tried four different loads before I found one it really likes - the Hornady SST with a 250 Gr .45 bullet. I was second guessing myself and wondering what the heck. But then I got those SSTs and they print "TIGHT". They are difficult to load and you do need to swab the barrel with a patch and Windex (or what ever you like to use) between shots. This is especially true if you use over 100 grains powder/pellets.

The other problem with mine out of the box was the trigger was a bit creepy and heavy. This combined with the high recoil of some of the loads I was trying made it difficult for me to shoot. Mine was a synthetic stock version which I hate having bought and I have now got a Walnut stock which balances the recoil much better. Back to the trigger. Out of the box, the investment cast trigger parts need to be polished in some cases. A good gunsmith can do this easily. It cost me $25 and my groups went from 6 inches to 3 instantly. Then I discovered the SSTs and I was consistantly at 1.5" or better at 100. So it was a combination of getting a crisp trigger and finding the right load in my case. ****, all that just made it more fun to me. But if you were wanting to mount a scope, sight it in and go hunting quickly, I can see why you would be frustrated.
 

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I always found that 100gr of clean shot with a Barnes 250gr expander will shoot as good as most centerfire deer rifles. Easily within 1.5" at 100 yards.
 

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T/C 209x50 Accuracy

Trial and error. The best load combo I have found for this persnickety gun has been 105 grains of pyrodex and 295 hp powerbelt. It hates pellet powder and sabots in any form.
After a 3x9 Nikon and a 2x7 Burris, numerous bases and rings I took the gun gun down and looked at each piece. I heated the hinge pin up to about 1200-1300° to expand it slightly, sanded the forearm where it was rubbing the reciever blk.and put a foam washer between the forearm and barrel lug.I did everything but buy a new one. It now shoots repectively up to 150 yds. I'm not embarrassed to sit at the bench with my buddies now.

105 grs pyrodex granules:
295 HP powerbelt
Remington CB primers hotter and cleaner than winchester or cci's
 

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7mm - I have owned an Encore for a few years with a 209x50 BBL and another for my wife in a .250 Savage. I'll have to admit that the black powder version was harder to find a good load for than the .250, but when I did, and "seasoned" the bore with "bore butter", it has been great ever since. My recipe is 100gr. (by volume, not weight) of 777 and FFg or FFFg "loose" powder under a 295gr "powerbelt" (each barrel usually likes differrent recipes). I tried other loads up to the 150gr max and while velocity increased quiet well, accuracy decreased almost exponentially. I know others who have Encores and they all like them. T.C. sold out to another company and changed their models somewhat; I have to wonder if they are letting their quality control slip? I also have an extra barrel in a .243 that is very accurate and not at all "finicky" (the barrel I traded for it in a .270 Win. was). I would expect T.C. to take care of the problem. Good luck, best regards, and "Merry Christmas". Riley
 

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T/C Encore is Fantastic

I have two and they both shoot great irregardless of what barrel (centf,mz,or rimfire). A lot of problems guys have with mz's is with procedure of loading and not cleaning enough. Consistency with mz's is everything, yes....even if your shooting pellets. TC had a great dvd on this that came with my encore mz barrels. Both of mine shoot 3-shot one inch groups at 100 yards. Thats the norm with the other 4 cent. cal barrels that I have and the rimfire barrel will shot .5 inch 5-shot groups at 50 yards. Check out the dvd from TC or maybe go to a blackpowder shoot and get with someone who shoots mz a bunch. Again, that dvd is really great. Hope this helps, good luck!
 
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