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For the big game handgun hunters among us. (muzzle loader related) Login/Join 
Buy that Classic SIG in All Stainless,
No rail wear will be painless.
Picture of cee_Kamp
posted
I've had many muzzle loader rifles over the years.
I really liked my Remington Model 700 muzzle loader, but what a pain in the ass for cleaning.
(barreled action had to be removed from the stock for cleaning, along with bolt disassembly)

I've finally transitioned over to the Thompson Center Encore rifle and have several barrels, a 209 X 50 muzzle loader and a 20 inch Katahdin carbine barrel in .500 S & W Magnum. It's a versatile platform and with the removable barrels, the black powder barrel is amazingly simple to clean.

Here where I live, you cannot have a cartridge firing firearm with you when black powder hunting.
So you have that one shot in your black powder rifle.
With cold fingers and excitement, it's several minutes to reload with black powder substitute pellets, sabot & Hornady XTP projectile, and a 209 shot shell primer.

I don't know how the Revolutionary War soldiers were expected to shoot two or three aimed shots in a minute.
(perhaps being smooth bore muskets and a bit of practice)

I also own a second Thompson Center Encore, a pistol.
I have a 15 inch T/C Custom Shop barrel in 30-06 Springfield with a Leupold 2.5 X 8 variable scope that easily shoots MOA from a rest.

Guns 003 by cee_Kamp 32ACP, on Flickr

Back before Smith and Wesson purchased Thompson Center, they had a caliber list with an incredible variety of choices.
After the corporate purchase, that caliber list is now very short.

Years ago, when Thompson Center was their own corporate entity, they made a 209 X 50 muzzle loader pistol barrel in 15 inch pistol length. It's no longer on the caliber list for a pistol since being bought by Smith and Wesson.
I have looked for longer than a decade for a good used Encore stainless steel pistol muzzle loader barrel with zero success.
I found one that was blued once, and passed as I believe muzzle loaders should be constructed from stainless steel for the additional corrosion resistance.
I had considered buying a rifle barrel and cutting it down to pistol length, but MSRP is nearly $500, so pricy.

I found a like new used stainless steel Encore 209 X 50 muzzle loader rifle barrel for sale on another forum for $225 shipped.
I bought it!
It is missing the rear iron sight, but has a Weaver scope rail mounted.
Then I had a brainstorm... I have an Aimpoint red dot sitting around, so I decided to mount the Aimpoint on the new to me muzzle loader barrel and use it on the rifle frame.

I took the 209 X 50 stainless steel Encore rifle barrel I already owned (which has both iron sights present) and headed out to my shop. First, a visit to the power hacksaw. I cut the 24 inch barrel down to 16 inches.
Then I chucked it up in the lathe, and turned the overall length down to 15 and 31/32 inches.
(it will now always be a pistol barrel, and used only on the Encore "pistol" frame which is the only serial numbered component)
Next was crowning the new muzzle, and boring the muzzle with a boring bar for a copy of the T/C Quick Load Accurizor with reduced rifling at the tip for easy loading. All that was remaining was to drill and tap the shortened barrel for a front sight and the ramrod ferrule. The rifle barrel had two full sized ramrod ferrules. In pistol format there is only room for one shortened ferrule. I have the machinery and ability for doing the barrel drilling and tapping myself, but soon found that since there are two different sized drilled and tapped holes, buying the taps for a one time job was more expensive than farming the job out to my local gunsmith. He charged $40 for the two drilled and tapped holes, a 8-40 threaded hole for the front sight and a 6-48 threaded hole for the shortened ramrod ferrule.

Next was a range trip.
With my original muzzle loader rifle, it was in the bullseye at 50 yards. But the rear adjustable iron sight was bottomed out. (no more "down" adjustment available)
I expected after shortening, and in pistol format, it would shoot high.
I wasn't disappointed.
At 50 yards, no hits on paper.
I moved the target in to 25 yards, and aimed at the bottom edge of the target.
OK, I have hits 16 inches high and reasonably centered. (several inches left, but easily accommodated with the rear adjustable sight for the slight windage correction)

The original factory front sight is 0.350" tall.
The Dawson Precision website has a sight height geometry calculator.
https://dawsonprecision.com/sight-calculator/
It can be done with simple trigonometry, but the website sight height calculator is certainly easier.
The calculator said I needed a new front sight height of 0.510" but the tallest I could find was 0.485" with the barrel diameter I have. (0.485" minus 0.350" is 0.135" so my new front sight is 0.135" taller than the original and 0.025" less than what the front sight calculator said it should be)
The recoil vector of the pistol has much more muzzle flip than the rifle which is the cause of the 16" higher target hits.
(pistol grip below bore axis vs rifle buttstock generally in line with bore axis)
Williams Gun Sight Company in Michigan had the 0.485" tall front sight in stock.
It came in and I now have it mounted.
If it shoots a couple inches high at 50 yards that will be fine.

I'm all finished now.
I may bead blast the barrel for reduced reflectivity, but I think I will use it first for a season.
I'm using two 50 grain pellets of Pyrodex black powder substitute, a Hornady XTP pistol bullet .429 diameter, 200 grain, and a Hornady "green" sabot with a Winchester shot shell primer.
The above loading really barks, exceeding 44 magnum revolver performance.

Now I have a quick second shot available if I ever need one.
(a "New York" reload, ie: a second black powder muzzle loader firearm)
I am fairly convinced I won't like carrying both the Encore rifle and the Encore pistol at the same time, they are heavy. Most of my deer hunting is done from elevated stands and ground blinds so I will carry both regardless.

I've been "puttering" on this project all summer, it was a nice COVID distraction.
I also did a revolver COVID project this summer, but I'm waiting for the last part to arrive from the parkerizing guy.

DSC00099 by cee_Kamp 32ACP, on Flickr

DSC00100 by cee_Kamp 32ACP, on Flickr

DSC00102 by cee_Kamp 32ACP, on Flickr

DSC00101 by cee_Kamp 32ACP, on Flickr

This message has been edited. Last edited by: cee_Kamp,



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Posts: 949 | Registered: December 14, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of sourdough44
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The Encore M-L gets great reviews, a few friends have used them. Yours seems a bit shorter than average.

I drifted to Knight over the years, mostly ‘Elites’ now. My usual for the IL deer hunt is a 45 cal with XTP or Barnes bullets, chronographed at just over 2200 FPS. I use 115 grains(volume) of Blackhorn 209.

I prefer my M-L over a shotgun shooting slugs.
 
Posts: 4397 | Location: WI | Registered: February 29, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
and this little pig said:
posted Hide Post
I was able to get ownership of a T/C 209x50 15 inch barrel for my Encore many years ago. I bought it at Foxridge Outfitters in Rochester, NH, a T/C company before S&W bought them out.

It is an absolute joy to shoot and hunt with. I use 100gr of White Hot (pellets) under a 245gr saboted bullet. Very accurate!
 
Posts: 3070 | Registered: February 07, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Buy that Classic SIG in All Stainless,
No rail wear will be painless.
Picture of cee_Kamp
posted Hide Post
I had to get my stainless Encore 15 inch 209 X 50 muzzle loader barrel the hard way.
The 30-06 barrel is from Fox Ridge/Custom Shop.



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NRA Instructor
USPSA Chief Range Officer
 
Posts: 949 | Registered: December 14, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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