Went to the Wilson Shoals WMA Range yesterday....

Thread starter #1


Senior Member
Mainly to shoot my 1-66” Traditions Hawken rifle, for which an accurate and consistent hunting load has evaded me. And, yes, DNR ranges remain open, although they have closed every other shooting station to maintain social distancing.

Last time, I concentrated on working with real black powder. Yesterday, I worked with Triple 7. To my surprise, the Triple 7 produced considerably better groups than my Goex ffg groups a few weeks ago. Below is a group I shot at 80 yards with 90 grains of 777, and 240-grain Hornady PA bullets: 0B4ED729-0063-4181-94AF-0A04E4704802.jpeg

As you can see, that load really grouped well, albeit a little low. Before taking a file to my front sight (the rifle has fixed sights), I decided to see if I could raise the POI by upping the amount of powder to 100 grains. Below is my three shot group with the same bullet:


Notice that only two of the shots show up in the photo. The third one is out of the frame, about eight inches below the center of the black. That makes this load unacceptable in terms of consistency.

I guess I need at least one more range session to confirm the accuracy of the 90-grain load, and then I can, very carefully, start filing the front sight to move my POI to dead center.

Then I’ll have an accurate deer rifle zeroed at an optimum hunting range of 80 yards.

While I was at the range, I also shot my Thompson Center Hawken at 100 yards just to confirm that the load I settled on earlier of 90 grains of 777 and a 385-grain Hornady Great Plains bullet remained my load of choice:

It does!
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Thread starter #3


Senior Member
My problem is I'm always trying to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear -- meaning I want my $70 Traditions Hawken to shoot as well as my Green Mountain-barreled, 1-28" TC Hawken that I've got $500 invested in. I know it ain't gonna happen, but I want it close!

I'm very happy with my 90-grain group at 80 yards. If I can just get it up (the group, that is) three or four inches, I'll be very satisfied!
Thread starter #5


Senior Member
To be honest, unless I kill a couple with the TC Hawken and just want to take the Traditions out as a lark, the Traditions will probably never be carried into the woods. I feel I owe it to whatever animal I draw down on to shoot him/her with the rifle/load that I am certain will make a quick, humane kill. I know for certain that with the TC, the bullet in 100 shots out of 100 (inside 125 yards), will strike where the sights are pointed. That's not saying that I won't make a mistake and make a bad shot, but it won't be the fault of the rifle if I do.

I also have a Knight inline that shoots just as good as the TC, but I'm thinking about giving that one to one of my sons who live and hunt in other states.

Still, I want to get the Traditions shooting up to snuff, just in case.......!
Thread starter #6


Senior Member
Would someone who knows a lot more than me look at the difference in the holes produced by the PA bullets (first two pictures), and the nice, sharp holes produced by the Great Pains bullet (last picture).

Are the PAs key-holing? Is that a problem on game? Just asking.


Senior Member
I've seen the same thing, and my answer is that the GP385s have that sharp shoulder, which cuts a clean hole. Think of a notebook paper hole puncher...

The PAs and Round balls have no sharp edge, and rip a hole, rather than cutting one...

If anyone has a better answer I'm all ears.