Monday, November 23, 2009

Should I Shoot & Hunt With The 260- Or 300-Grain Scorpion PT Gold?

The popularity of Harvester Muzzleloading's saboted "Scorpion PT Gold" polymer-tipped spire-pointed bullet has taken off like a skyrocket. And the reasons why are pretty simple - the bullet shoots with exceptional accuracy and delivers tremendous knockdown power, with exceptional penetration. Likewise, the sleek aerodyamics and improved ballistic coefficient of the bullet (compared to bullets of blunt fronted hollow-point design) insures greater retention of velocity and energy down range.

Here is a bullet that's built to hold together well when driven into big game at close range (20 to 50 yards), yet will still provide the expansion that's a must out at 200+ yards to give the transfer of energy needed for clean one-shot kills. For me, it has been everything I've ever wanted in a muzzle-loaded big game projectile. And as this is being written, in late November 2009, I've now taken 29 whitetails with 260- and 300-grain "Scorpion PT Gold" bullets - all of which have been one-shot kills - including the buck in the above photo, which was taken at 160 yards. I've also heard from hundreds of others who have expereienced the same great game-taking accuracy and knockdown power.

So, you're sold on this bullet...or at least perhaps you're now thinking about giving them a try. And you would like to know which bullet weight is best suited for your big game hunting.

That depends on a number of things. First, is the big game you plan to hunt. Another consideration is the maximum range you may have to shoot. Plus, the rate of rifling twist in the bore of your rifle. And even how recoil sensitive you, or the shooter who will be pulling the trigger, may be.

If you're going after whitetails and other similar-sized game, the 260-grain "Scorpion PT Gold" is a great bullet. With a 100-grain charge of a modern powder like Blackhorn 209, it will get out of the muzzle of a 26- to 28-inch barreled No. 209 primer ignition in-line rifle at around 1,950 f.p.s. - with right at 2,195 foot-pounds of energy. This bullet has a b.c. of right at .220. And out at 200 yards, it will take a big ol' whitetail buck with about 1,000 foot-pounds of retained energy. (800 f.p.e. is pretty much considered the minimum.)

The great thing about this load is that recoil is very minimal, and accuracy is great out of the standard 1-in-28 inches rifling twists of most modern in-line rifles. Drop from 100 to 200 yards is right at 11 inches. And with a rifle sighted "dead on" at 100 yards...with the crosshairs right at the top of the back, the 260-grain "Scorpion PT Gold" will dead center the kill zone.

When going after larger game, such as big black bear...elk...or moose, the 300-grain "Scorpion PT Gold" is a better choice. Due to the heavier weight, it will take a 110-grain charge to get this bullet out of the muzzle at a similar velocity (appx. 1,960 f.p.s.). And at the higher muzzle velocity, it generates a significantly higher 2,560 foot-pounds of energy. And thanks to its higher .250 to .260 b.c.(due to its added weight and longer length), this bullet retains velocity and energy better down range. In fact, at 200 yards, this load would drive home with 1,400+ f.p.e. - 200 foot-pounds more than needed to take a bull elk at that distance.

The load drops only about 1/2 inch more at 200 yards than the lighter 260-grain "Scorpion PT Gold"...which left the muzzle at a slightly higher velocity.

A couple of seasons back, I personally made the switch to shooting the 300-grain bullet for everything - from deer to elk. I made the change due to the flatter trajectory of the higher b.c. 300-grain bullet once past 200 yards. Even when both are shot out of a 27-inch barreled .50 caliber in-line rifle with a hot 120-grain charge of Blackhorn 209 (at around 2,130 f.p.s. for the 260-grain, and around 2,070 f.p.s. for the 300-grain bullet), the faster out-of-the-muzzle 260-grain spire-point sheds velocity quicker once past 200 yards - which simply means less game taking energy and a bit more bullet drop. Shooting 120-grains of Blackhorn 209 behind these two bullets, and using the 250-yard reticle of the Leatherwood/Hi-Lux HPML muzzleloader scope, I found that at 250 yards the heavier (and higher b.c.) 300-grain bullet (sighted "dead on" at 100 yards) tends to print right at 2 1/2 inches above point-of-aim...while the lighter (and lower b.c.) 260-grain bullet hits the target about 2 1/2 inches below point-of-aim. With such a hot load, the 260-grain "Scorpion PT Gold" would retain around 1,080 f.p.e. at 250 yards, while the 300-grain version would still be good for right at 1,360 foot-pounds of knockdown power.

If you don't hunt game as large as elk, or do not want to contend with the recoil of heftier powder charges, and are simply looking for an honest flat-shooting 200-yard saboted muzzleloader bullet with exceptional game-taking performance - the 260-grain "Scorpion PT Gold" is your bullet. However, if you do hunt a variety of game, up to and including elk, and want one bullet for hunting everything out to 250 yards, you can shop around and experiment for a long time and not find a better shooting or better performing bullet than the 300-grain "Scorpion PT Gold" from Harvester Muzzleloading. And for those of you shooting a rifle with a faster turn-in-24 inches rate of rifling twist, the longer length of this bullet is better suited than the shorter 260-grain bullet.- Toby Bridges

Be sure to visit the Harvester Muzzleloading website at

And for more load data, accuracy tips, and other valuable muzzleloader hunting information, go to NORTH AMERICAN MUZZLELOADER HUNTING

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1 comment:

  1. I should mention that the northern Nebraska buck in the photo at the top of this post first walked past my ground blind at less than 10 feet...offering no opportunity for a shot. Due to a couple of thick cedar trees, I could not get a shot until the deer was well out into a winter wheat field - and walking at an angle away from where I followed with the crosshairs of the Leatherwood/Hi-Lux HPML scope on my .50 Knight "Long Range Hunter".

    When the angle was just right, I slipped a 300-grain "Scorpion PT Gold" in behind the last rib on the buck's left side, and that bullet passed through more than 25 inches of whitetail to come to rest under the hide of the front shoulder on the opposite side. The deer ran less than 30 yards and piled up.

    The recovered bullet retained right at 90-percent of its original weight, and the front of the .451" bullet had expanded to .685".

    Toby Bridges