Q: I recently purchased a new Eclipse 209 muzzleloader, which some people tell me is illegal to use in Illinois. Is it? I would greatly appreciate it if you’d get back to me as soon as possible. My e-mail address is….
A: Sorry, I can’t respond directly to questions and only answer those that appear on this Web site–and only the eight per month I choose out of those received. Otherwise people would be e-mailing me constantly, and Field & Stream doesn’t pay me enough to sit down and answer questions all day, every day.
I also don’t have copies of the current hunting regulations for every American state or Canadian province. Questions like yours can be answered quickly by making a phone call or two. If you don’t know the number or e-mail address of your state game agency, a local sporting-goods store that sells licenses should.
Q: My wife and I are going to hunt elk and black bear in British Columbia. We plan on using a Ruger Mark II Ultra Light and a Remington Model 7, both in .308 Winchester. I reload and will probably use a Nosler 180-grain Partition roundnose with 44 grains of IMR4064 powder, which should give a muzzle velocity of about 2700 fps and a sufficient amount of energy out to 250 or 300 yards.
Do you think this combination will work, or should I try a different load? Other calibers are out of the question, since we don’t have anything larger to shoot.
A: The .308 should work fine with the right ammunition, but your suggested load has me puzzled. Nosler doesn’t make a roundnose 180-grain Partition. Are you thinking of their 180-grain Protected Point with the flat tip?
Also, while the Nosler Reloading Manual Number Four lists 44 grains of IMR4064 as the top load for their 180-grain bullets, the muzzle velocity of 2718 fps is taken in a 24-inch barrel. You’ll lose at least 100 fps from the shorter barrels of your rifles, maybe more, so the 300-yard velocity will be 1900 fps or less, the absolute minimum for expansion with Partitions. This bullet is designed especially for the .300 Winchester Magnum, not the .308, so it may not even expand much at 1900 fps.
I’d suggest their 165-grain Partition Spitzer instead, using 44 grains of Alliant’s Reloder 15. This will get you about 100 fps more muzzle velocity, and the pointed tip will retain more velocity and energy too, arriving at 300 yards traveling at about 2100 fps. Expansion will be certain and trajectory flatter. I’ve used this bullet a lot, and it works great.