A “Best Load” is an entirely subjective matter. Its determination largely depends on the needs and whims of a particular shooter. So the information that follows constitutes my personal opinion as to what is a “Best Load”. It may differ substantially from yours.
The loads I am interested in are those that are safe for the rifle and system they are used in, are easy to perform, meaning that they are quick to load and get ready to fire, are as accurate as needed for the game hunted, and powerful enough that they will penetrate and kill game animals by multi-system tissue destruction without problem. I want my chosen target animal to die suddenly, without time to escape or turn on me, or even think about it.
I have chosen loads that are accurate, are easy to clean up after, deposit minimal amounts of lead or plastic in the barrel, don’t kick too hard or foul the barrel badly and are effective at 100-200 yards range on deer-size or larger big game.
All the loads quoted were fired in either David White’s or my personal White rifles. Don’t attempt to duplicate them in any other brand rifle. The manufacturer’s suggestions should be followed if you are shooting a rifle other than a White. Also, keep in mind that not all rifles shoot alike, even when in the same caliber and when carefully made by the same manufacturer. What worked well for me in my rifle may not work quite that well in your rifle. You still have the obligation to test your own rifle and find the Best Load for the conditions in which you expect to hunt. What I recommend is only a good place to start.
The reader is going to have to decide for himself what a “Best Load” really is for his particular rifle and purpose. There’s only one way to do this. Get a rifle, a supply of bullets and powder and determine for yourself what your “Best Load” is. Every shooter should shoot as much as he can because it is the only way to truly become familiar with the rifle and the White Muzzleloading System, let alone develop a “Best Load.” So the byword is Shoot, Shoot, Shoot.
CALIBER AND WEIGHT NOTATION
Please note that SuperSlug and PowerPunch calibers and bullet weights are listed with a THREE DIGIT notation of diameter of bullet, then a forward slash, then bullet weight in grains, then the title of the bullet. For example, the .450 caliber Power-Punch bullet weighing 460 grains lists as .450/460 PowerPunch. The SuperSlugs of yesteryear are the PowerPunch of today.
White designed BuckBusters are listed in a similar fashion. The bullet diameter is listed with TWO DIGITS, followed by a dash, then the bullet weight in grains followed by the title.. This differentiates the BuckBuster from the SuperSlug and PowerPunch line. Example; the 45 caliber BuckBuster weighing 360 grains, will be listed as 45-360 BuckBuster
In contrast, White SuperSabots with ShootingStar or PowerStar bullets are listed with a TWO DIGIT notation of nominal caliber of rifle barrel, which is the same as the nominal caliber of sabot, then a forward slash followed by a TWO DIGIT notation of bullet diameter, followed by a dash and finally the bullet weight and title. For example, the 50 caliber SuperSabot with 45 caliber PowerStar hollow point bullet weighing 435 grains is listed as 50/45-435 PowerStar.
330/240 SuperSlug (BC= .36)
|This is the 330/240 SuperSlug, measuring .330 diameter and weighing 240 grains. Ballistic Coefficient is .36|
This is the 330/240 SuperSlug, measuring .330 diameter and weighing 240 grains. Ballistic Coefficient is .36
So far this is an experimental caliber and bullet, included to whet the appetite of muzzleloading experimenters. My Super 91 rifle sports a barrel with groove depth at .338 and land-to-land diameter of .331. Twist is 1-14. The bullet weighs 240 grains in pure lead and is very quick to 200 yards with 60 grains of Pyrodex P. In fact, the bullet hits at 200 yards before recoil kicks the rifle out of the way. It’s also very accurate, printing a 4 inch group at 175 yards shot informally over the hood of my truck with a low power scope.
The only game I’ve taken with it so far is a big 300 lb. Sika deer and several Bobcat and varmints. The damage the bullet did with a 60 yard shot on the deer was phenomenal. It blew the atria off the heart, blew up the lungs and exploded the liver. It caused far more damage than normally expected from such a small caliber bullet. I feel that the caliber holds great promise. It’s at least as good as the old 32/40 rifle cartridge, which was a favorite in past years, as it throws a heavier bullet at even higher velocities.
There’s no reason to believe that the fine cartridges and bullets of yesteryear will not eventually be duplicated by the muzzeloaders of today. The ballistics of the 32/40 Black Powder cartridge are duplicated, if not bettered, by the 330/240 SuperSlug. Our next two bullets shown, the 350/280 and the 376/320, better the ballistics of the venerated 38/55, with even heavier bullets and higher velocities.
Doc with .330 Super-91 and 300 lb. Sika deer. Load: 60 grains Pyrodex P & 240 grain SuperSlug. Range 60 yards. The deer traveled another 60 yards before running into a tree and tipping over. The bullet caused much more tissue destruction than expected.
.350/280 SuperSlug (BC= .34)
This caliber and bullet are also experimental at this point in time. My Super 91 rifle throws a 280 grain bullet sized at .350 out of a barrel with groove diameter at .358 and land diameter at .351. Twist is 1-14. It shoots a little harder than the.330/240, with its heavier bullet and 70 grain Pyrodex P load. I haven’t used it on game yet, but the bullet is accurate and quick on target.
367/300 SuperSlug (BC= .33)
This is also an experimental caliber. It will be very useful as it betters the ballistics of the much loved 38-55 of yesteryear. The bore mikes .368 land-land, with a groove depth of .375. Twist is 1-14. Bullet is cast weighing 300 gr. at .368 diameter, then is sized to .367. It is accurate and hits hard with 80-90 grains Pyrodex P. It’s sure to be a good killer on deer sized game. Recoil is surprisingly mild. A similar combination was used by the White Muzzleloading target team to win the 2007 Manufacturer’s Match with record score.
.410/280 SuperSlug (BC= .25)
This relatively light weight bullet is easy to load, is accurate with modest charges of powder in fast twist White rifles and hardly kicks at all. It’s very easy on the shoulder. It has been discontinued, I suppose due to slow sales. This is unfortunate because it was a delight to shoot, a great plinker.
This is a discontinued bullet once produced for the .410 caliber. It was a deadly killer on deer-sized game. I watched my lawyer brother-in-law take a walking mule deer at 200-plus yards using this great bullet in the fall of 1992. He was using peep sights, shooting 80 grains Pyrodex P. He shoots fist-sized groups at 100 yards with this combination. He claims to be no great shot. As the fast 1-16 twist in his Super 91 does best with middle power loads, his 80 gr. Pyrodex charge was probably about perfect. He reported mild recoil. Velocities were excellent, with the 80 gr. load producing 1417 fps at the muzzle and 1119 fps and 890 ft lbs of energy at 200 yards. The deer was heart shot, bucked and kicked and ran a few steps then went down.
Velocity/Energy/bullet path of 409/320 SuperSlug loaded over 80 Gr. Pyrodex P. Note that the bullet is only 4 inches low at 150 yards when sighted in at 125 yards.
Bullet paths of 409/320 SuperSlug, over 80 grains Pyrodex P, sighted in at 100, 125 and 150 yards.
409/320 SuperSlug bullet energy dispersion curve, 80 grins PyroP. Note that 100 yard energy is 1100 ft lbs +. and at 200 yards energy still exceeds 880 Ft Lbs.
How to turn a lawyer into a heart surgeon. Lawyer Keeler with heart-shot 2 point mule deer taken with 409/320 SuperSlug and 80 grains Pyrodex P at 200 yards, shot taken from the sit on a big rock in the sagebrush. The deer had been missed by at least a 1/2 dozen shots from another group of hunters before Lawyer Keeler took his.
410/400 PowerPunch (BC= .32)
A fantastic bullet in White barrels. Probably the most accurate bullet and barrel combination currently produced. I’ve shot 6 inch groups at 400 yards with this bullet in a White GR Series Sporting Rifle using a tall vernier tang peep and 70 gr. of Pyrodex P. My best hunting load has been 90 gr. Pyrodex P. Muzzle velocity with the 90 gr. load is in the 1313 FPS range with 100 and 200 yard energies of 1273 ft. lbs. and 1088 ft. lbs., respectively. BC is White’s next to highest at .32. I’ve taken antelope, deer and elk with this caliber. It’s excellent for all but the heaviest and hardiest American game.
Velocity/energy/bullet path of 409/400 PowerPunch with 90 gr. Pyro-P. Note tht the bullet rises to only 3.8 inches above line of sight when sighted in at 125 yards.
My young friend Aaron used this bullet with 90 grains of Pyrodex P to harvest the good Sika buck in the photo above in the fall of 1995. The well aimed bullet took off the top of the heart and went all the way through side to side. There’s no reason for anyone to hesitate using this fine caliber on deer or elk-sized game. It’s also the best bullet for long range target shooting made, proving to be a “killer” on the steel silhouette range.
409/400 PowerPunch bullet path. Sight-in at 100, 125 and 150 yards. I like the 125 yard sight-in range. This puts the bullet 3.9 inches high at 100 yards and 17.9 inches low at 200 yards.
409/400 PowerPunch energy graph shows that the 90 grain Pyrodex P load still has nearly 1100 ft. lbs. left at 200 yards.
45-360 BuckBuster (BC= .22)
This was a short, light-weight bullet once produced for any maker’s rifle or pistol. It’s no longer cataloged, which is unfortunate because it was especially good in White’s two handed Javelina pistol as well as competing rifles and pistols. Its channelures are fewer, wider and deeper than those in Super-Slugs or PowerPunch bullets to hold more PowerLube and upset better in the deeper grooves and slower twists found in CVA, Thompson-Center, Traditions, Knight, Remington, Ruger and other high quality competing muzzleloader’s barrels. It’s best used with rifling twists of 1-32 to 1-48. White’s 1-20 twist demands a lighter load for best accuracy. I’ve found 60 gr. Pyrodex-P in the White-designed Javelina pistol, Whitetail, Bison, and the MTI Models 97 and 98 rifles to be an excellent load for deer sized game. An 80-90 grain load works well in 45 caliber T/C rifles, as well as other competing rifles with deeper grooves and slower twists. It was an excellent bullet for less than 150 yard deer hunting as it is capable of excellent velocities with top loads in slower twist rifles.
White Javelina and the real thingRecoil is modest with 60 grains Pyrodex P but energy is 700 Ft Lbs plus at50 yards. 450-360 BuckBuster Velocity/energy/bullet path charted here, fired out of the Javelina’s 14 inch barrel with just 60 grains of PyrodexP. 450-360 BuckBuster bullet path, as fired with 60 grains Pyrodex P in the Javelina pistol. Sight-in at 75, 100 and 125 yards.
Energy of the 450-360, showing 798 ft. lbs. at the muzzle and nearly 700 ft. lbs. at 100 yards with a light load of 60 grains PyrodexP I used a load of 60 grains Pyrodex P in the then new White Javelinatwo-handed pistol with the 360 grain .45 caliber Buck-Buster to take a nice Javelina in the fall of 1995. Range was about 60 yards. The hit was through the heart and lung and the Javelina traveled less than 40 yards at a dead run then collapsed. The bullet went all the way through with a good 2 inch exit hole inthe opposite ribs.I have used as much as 90 grains of Pyrodex P in the .45 caliber Javelina pistol with good success. Recoil is substantial, but is nicely taken up by the sling and two hand hold. What I like best is the lack of punch in the face: nobuttstock-no punch in the shoulder or face.
450/400 PowerPunch (BC= .26)
Current production 450/400 PowerPunch.You can easily duplicate 45/70 or even 45/120 loads with this bullet.An excellent bullet capable of 1550 fps velocities with top loads in White rifles. I managed to kill the prettiest Mouflon sheep in the world (not the biggest, but close) with this bullet and 80 gr. Pyrodex P in my Razor-Back folding-stock rifle. I took the shot near offhand, leaning against a tree, almost in the dark and steeply downhill through the Missouri hardwoods at nearly100 yards for instant knockdown.
Velocity/Energy & Bullet path of 45/400 PowerPunch with 80 grains PyroP. Fired from 24 inch barrel. Note 100 yard energy of 1238 Ft Lbs.
Bullet paths of 450/400 PowerPunch with modest load of 80 grains of Pyrodex P, sight-in at 100, 125 and 150 yards, approximating what you would see with the classic 45/70.
The prettiest Mouflon I’ve ever seen and the RazorBack folding-stock rifle.
Energy graph of 450/400 PowerPunch with only 80 grains PyrodexP, showing 1536 ft. lbs.of energy at the muzzle and 1043 ft. lbs. at 200 yards.
My favorite load duplicates the ballistics of the old 45/70 sporting load, i.e.- 80 grains equivalent Pyrodex P for 1315 FPS and 1536 ft. lbs. energy at the muzzle. There’s 1238 ft. lbs. of energy at 100 yards and 1043 at 200. Lots of big game have been killed with this load. It’s just as good now as it was way back then.
450/460 PowerPunch (BC= .30 )
White’s most popular 450 caliber bullet. The most popular .450 caliber bullet White currently produces. This is deservedly so as its performance is hard to beat. It hits awfully hard yet recoil isn’t severe. Velocities are achievable in the 1500 fps range. The most popular load among the shooters I know is 80-100 grains Pyrodex P with 90 gr. being the most popular. I like that combination, too. I’ve shot numerous near inch 100 yard groups with the 90 gr. load. It comes highly recommended.
This is the biggest mule deer ever killed with a White let alone any other muzzleloader. It was taken in Southern Utah by Lloyd Barton with the 450/460 SuperSlug, (now PowerPunch), and a White Super-91 rifle. Do you think he got the shakes when that monster stepped out of the trees? I would have.
paths of the 450/460 PowerPunch (nee SuperSlug)
fired with 90 grains Pyro-P. Sighted in at 125 yards, with 10.67 inches of fall
at 175 yards.
My favorite 90 grain load produces 1276 fps at the muzzle with 1663 ft. lbs. of
energy. If sighted in to hit point of aim at 125 yards, it’s only 3.9 inches
high at 75 yds and 4.46 inches low at 150. It has 1377 ft. lbs. of residual
energy left at 100 yds. and 1181 ft. lbs. left at 200 yds as well. It’s a good
killer on any American game except perhaps the biggest bull moose and the big
Bullet path of 450/460 PowerPunch with
90 grains Pyro-P, sighted at 100, 125 and 150 yards. It’s 18.7 inches
low at 200 yards when sighted in at 125 yards. It will still have almost 1200
ft. lbs. of energy left when it gets to 200 yards
The energy curve of the 450/460 with 90
grains Pyrodex P shows 1663 ft. lbs. at the muzzle and 1181 ft. lbs. at 200
450/490 SuperSlug (BC= .32)
A great bullet,
sadly not popular except with me and a few others and no longer listed.
This was a very accurate bullet with 90-100 gr. Pyrodex in White
rifles. Jeff Winn swears by the 90 gr. charge. He should, as he used it to take
a 44 inch record book Stone sheep at 175 yds with a neck shot. I like the 100
grain load better, as it’s more potent. It was a great bullet. (No
[one_half]Jeff Winn and
record book Stone sheep, killed with the 450/490 SuperSlug over 90 grains
Pyrodex P at 175 yards, probably the finest muzzleloading trophy taken in
the last 100 years. The sheep’s horns are absolutely symmetrical. He shot at the
neck and hit it in the neck, contravening my rule that all neck shooters are
paths of 450/490 SuperSlug fired over 100 grains
Pyrodex P, sighted in at 125 yards, showing apogee of 3.8 inches at 75 yards. It
won’t be that far below line of sight until it reaches about 140 yards.[/one_half_last]
The 45/490 SuperSlug and my favorite load of 100 gr. Pyrodex P produces 1286 fps and 1800 ft. lbs. at the muzzle with 100 yard. residuals of 1182 fps and 1522 ft. lbs. Two hundred yard residuals equal 1103 fps and 1323 ft. lbs.
[one_half]Paths of the 450/490 SuperSlug over 100 grains PyrodexP, sighted at 100, 125 and 150 yards. It’s sad that this great bullet is no longer produced. It’s the one I would pick for all around use in the 451 caliber White-designed rifle. Maybe we can get White to produce it again sometime.[/one_half]
[one_half_last]Energy curve of the 450/490 SuperSlug over 100 grains Pyrodex P. Energy at 200 yards is 1300 ft lbs.[/one_half_last]
If sighted at 125 yds, the bullet is 3.8 inches high at 75 yds., 10.3 inches low at 175 yds and 17.4 inches low at 200 yds. It’s an excellent load for almost any big game and target shooting at almost any range. If I had to choose just one bullet for a .45 caliber White designed rifle, this is the one I’d pick as the best all-around choice.
450/520 SuperSlug (BC= .33)
My favorite for
long range shooting. It’s deadly at 800 yards in my personal Whitworth 451
Sporting Rifle copy. The single shot long range shooters tremble when I show up at
long range shoots with it.
This was White’s heaviest & longest bullet in .450 caliber. It had the
highest Ballistic Coefficient (BC) of any 45 caliber muzzle-loading bullet made
at .33. It was an excellent choice for truly long range shooting, whether at big
game at 200 yards or target at 1000 yards. It was an improvement on the classic
bullets used in the old 800 yard. Creedmore matches of yesteryear. Muzzle
velocities appear to be low for the charge used but the bullet hardly slows down
as it flies down range.
With my favorite load of 100 gr. Pyrodex, you’ll get 1255 FPS at the muzzle
with a fantastic 1352 ft. lbs. of energy left at 200 yds and great accuracy. It’s
a good choice for any big game in North America and any horned game in the
This hippo was
killed with the 450/520 SuperSlug over 120 grains PyrodexP. It took two bullets
to the lungs but the hippo didn’t go 100 yards after the first hit. The thing
is almost as big as a Volkswagon.
paths of 450/520 SuperSlug with 100 grains Pyro-P. A long range shooters
Bullet Path of 450/520 SuperSlug,
sighted at 100, 125 and 150 yards. I use this bullet for 1000 yard shooting in
my custom Green River Sporting Rifle over 80 grains Pyrodex P. I don’t
clean between shots, either.
Bullet Energy of 450/520 SuperSlug and
100 grains of Pyrodex P, starting with 1819 ft. lbs. and with well over 1340 ft.
lbs. of energy left at 200 yards.
503/430 SuperSlug (BC= .20)
The old 503/430
SuperSlug, no longer listed, has been replaced by the 503/440 PowerPunch, which
is a better design, I think. Weights and diameters are more consistant. From a
manufacturing veiwpoint, the 503/440 PowerPunch is the better bullet.
This was White’s speediest .503 caliber SuperSlug. A max charge of 150
grains Pyrodex P will push it out the muzzle at 1560 fps for fantastic close
range, “Express,” knock-down power. Its BC was lower than our longer
bullets so it slowed down faster but at 200 yards it retained a respectable
1293 ft. lbs. of energy. Its performance is bettered somewhat by the new .503 caliber 440
grain PowerPunch currently available. For all practical purposes, the two can be
interchanged, since there is only a 2.3 % weight difference.
Velocity/Energy?Bullet paths of 503/430 SuperSlug with 100 grains PyroP.
Note 1326 ft. lbs. of energy at 100 yards
Rodger Raglin swears by
his Whitetail rifle and PowerPunch bullets. He’s made
some fantastic kills on Whitetail and deer-sized exotics at extended ranges. I
watched him flatten a blackbuck on TV at 200 yards one day, Blackbuck was on the run,
he was using his favorite 100 gr. Pyrodex powder charge. The Blackbuck tumbled
and never got up after
of 503-430 SuperSlug with 100 grains Pyro- P, sighted at 100, 125 and 150
yards. If sighted in at 150 yards, the bullet is less than 13 inches low at 200.
Roger sights in his White Whitetail .504 caliber rifle so that it hits 5 inches
high between 75 and 100 yards. This puts him on point of aim at 150 yards and 13 inches low at
200. He also claims near minute of angle groups when using a scope. He does have
to remember to hold low if the animal is close. A 100 yard shot on a deer means
holding just under the brisket for a solid heart hit. A 200 yard shot means
holding across the spine to hit the heart. Best, it doesn’t kick too hard at
all and it slays like a hammer.
Dispersion of the 503/430 SuperSlug
fired over 100 grains of Pyrodex P. 100 yard energy is right at 1300 ft. lbs.
50-460 BuckBuster (BC= .22 ) and
the new .503/460 PowerPunch
The new 503/460
PowerPunch is a better looking bullet with more channelures and a flatter base.
Its improved design allows it to be thrown from the mold more consistently, so
weights and diameters are more consistent, which makes for more consistent shooting. Sorry I don’t have a photo of it yet. Performance is virtually the same.
The BuckBuster is sized at .500 to fit other brand 50 caliber rifles, the PowerPunch is sized to .5035 to slip-fit in White 504 caliber rifles This BuckBuster is as grand a bullet for any .500 caliber muzzle-loading rifle of any brand as the .503/460 PowerPunch is for any .504 caliber White Rifle.
Neither can be beat. We sell more of these bullets than all the other bullets listed combined, it’s that popular.
Both have the advantage of working on White Muzzleloading System principles.
You don’t have to pound then down. They slip in with a swoop of the ramrod.
The bullet expands on firing, bellying out to fill the rifling and obturate the
bore. The BuckBuster’s larger channelures are packed with White’s PowerLube
to better fill the deep grooves found on other’s slower twist rifles. The
PowerPunch’s smaller, shallower grooves work better with White’s shallow groove
fast twist rifling.
Best yet, both have a better Ballistic Coefficient than any competitive bullet (except some others of White’s SuperSlugs, PowerPunch bullets and saboted ShootingStars) plus a better nose shape for quick expansion in game. They’re the best of both worlds. Both are made of Enhanced lead, pure lead with a touch of tin to sharpen up the edges and get it out of the mold without damage, as well as enhance the consistency of casting and sizing If you have a muzzleloading rifle in 50 caliber that isn’t a White, then use the BuckBuster. Just make sure it fits your barrel like it should with 1/1000th inch windage or less between bullet and lands.
Velocity/Energy?Bullet paths of 50-460 Buckbuster or PowerPunch with a modest load of 80 grains PyroP My doctor friend Kent smith used this bullet and 80 grains FFg Goex Black Powder in a Thompson Center Renegade on a black bear in British Columbia in 1994. It was down on the shot, and didn’t move six feet. He was absolutely tickled with the bullet’s performance.
Bullet path of the 50-460
BuckBuster or PowerPunch,
fired in a T/C rifle over 80 grains of black powder.
And for those of you who worry about the slip-fit bullet falling out of the barrel, he shot the bear almost straight down from a 25-foot high treestand. Long experience has shown that the fouling from a squib load of any of the common muzzle-loading powders is enough to hold the slip-fit bullet in place while hunting. Sight it in at 75 yards for tree stand hunting and it will be 4
inches low at 100 yards with about 1150 ft’ lbs. of energy.
Energy of the 500-460 BuckBuster with 80 grains black powder, showing 1054 ft. lbs. left at 150 yards, plenty for elk or deer
503/480 PowerPunch (BC= .25)
This is the famous “Colorado Special,” so called because Colorado has the unique rule that a muzzleloading bullet can’t be any longer than it is wide by a factor of two. They also decree a minimum caliber of .50 for elk, so the Colorado Special is .503 wide and 1.006 long. It weighs 480 gr. and is more than adequate for any elk that ever walked.
with 503/480 and Super-91.
I used this bullet in Africa during the African winter of 1994 to harvest a fine zebra stallion at 150 yards. I used 100 grains of PyroP and a Musket cap. The shot took him shoulder on and penetrated all the way to the opposite ribs. He only went about 50 feet, mostly because the bullet took the aorta off the heart. The bullet hit him with 1377 ft. lbs. of energy.
Velocity/Energy?Bullet paths of 503/480 PowerPunch with reasonable load of 100 grains PyroP. Note that 100 yard energy is 1544 ft. lbs., with 1248 ft. lbs. left at 200 yards.
My load was a modest 100 gr. Pyrodex P. I had the rifle sighted in at 125 yards, which puts it 3.5 inches high at 75 yards and 9.9 inches low at 175.
Energy at 175 yards is a terrific 1309 ft. lbs. Average group size at 100 yds with peep sights and slow, careful shooting, allowing the barrel to cool a little between shots, had averaged less than two inches, including many shots on many days over the summer. I shot it at least 200 times at close and long ranges getting ready for this hunt.
Bullet Paths of 503/580 PowerPunch over 100 grains PyrodexP, at 100, 125 and 150 yards. I like the 125 yard sight in, putting me 17 inches low at 200 yards, just right for a hold through the spine for a heart hit on an elk at that range.
dispersion curve of 503/480 PowerPunch, the ‘Colorado
Special’ over 100 grains Pyro- P. Muzzle energy is 2013 ft. lbs., 100 yard
energy is 1544 ft. lbs., 200 yard energy is 1248 ft. lbs.
503/600 POWERPUNCH (BC= .30
This is one of the great bullets of the muzzleloading world. I’ve seen 200 yard targets with groups of less than 2 inches with this bullet and I’ve seen it penetrate all the way from rump to chest on elk and through the armored chest of Cape Buffalo. I have samples of expanded bullets that measure over an inch in diameter taken from elk and moose. I saw one fell a giraffe like a great tree going down to the woodsman’s axe. It’s just a great bullet with marvelous amounts of energy and huge wound making capabilities.
My favorite load is 120 gr. Pyrodex P with the base protected by a .50 caliber blue White lubricated wool wad. The wad keeps that hot load from melting the base of the bullet and leading the barrel. Even then, I carefully clean the barrel after each few shots when in the field. I do this with the powder and bullet down but before I cap it again. This technique reduces leading and
maintains accuracy for that all important first shot on the next go round. Just be sure you haven’t left a live percussion cap on the nipple.
The biggest moose ever killed with a muzzle-loader, with my personal Super
91, on video, using the 600 grain PowerPunch bullet. Can you imagine, I lend my personal rifle to a guy and he kills the biggest moose in the world with it! Where was I that day?
This load kicks like a magnum, so you’ll want to hold the gun tight when
you shoot it. If you have a scope on the gun, watch your forehead. I have a scar
between the eyes from a hurried shot on a Kodiak bear using this great bullet
and 140 grains black powder, plus a scope that was a fraction too close..
paths of 503/600 PowerPunch fired over 120
grains Pyrodex P in a White Super 91. Note the 100 yard energy of 1780 ft. lbs.,
150 yard energy of 1648 ft. lbs. and 200 yard energy of 1539 ft. lbs..
Bullet paths of the 600 grain 503/600 Power-Punch, loaded over 120 grains Pyrodex P, sighted at 100, 125 and 150 yards
A quick check on the ballistics tables below will show you a 1265 FPS muzzle velocity with 2132 ft. lbs. of muzzle energy with the 120 grain Pyrodex P load.
Residual 100 yard energy is 1780 ft. lbs. while residual 200 yard energy is still a hefty 1539 ft. lbs. Save this bullet for the heaviest game, or the heaviest brush or the heaviest wind. Think heavy when you use it.
Bullet Energy of the 503/600 PowerPunch using 120 grains of Pyrodex P. Muzzle energy is nearly 2200 ft. lbs. with 100 yard energy of 1780 ft. lbs. while 200 yard energy is 1500 plus ft. lbs. This
big bullet takes moose down with an audible “wop” and is excellent for any but the largest African game with up to 150 grains powder..
54-450 BUCKBUSTER (BC= .18 ) (The new .539/430 PowerPunch comes close)
This short, fat bullet is a real hummer in relatively slow twist rifles that our competitors manufacture. It works superbly well in T/C, Knight, Traditions and other’s deep grooved rifles with 1-32 to 1-48 twist barrels. It also shoots well in White fast twist barrels with lighter loads. It’s meant for close range shooting.
The proof of the pudding is a 150 plus point whitetail that I shot with Roger Raglin on video, some years ago, at about 20 yards. We were hiding a in a plastic stump, one of the best blinds I’ve ever used. The bullet, fired over
80 grains of Pyrodex P in a White Bison rifle, blew the whitetail sideways and piled him up, all 4 feet in the air. Big bullets do their job, even with whatyou might think of as a light load.
Doc White with White Bison rifle in .54 caliber, using 80 grains PyrodexP and 450 grain Buck-Buster bullet. The knockdown power of the fat bullet at close range was awesome, even with the modest powder charge
I don’t have any formal ballistics for this bullet yet, but it’s a good one. Follow your manufacturer’s directions on powder charges if you use it in a rifle not a White.
54-535 BuckBuster (BC= .22 )
This big, heavy bullet was meant to be used in White rifles as well as our competitor’s strongly built .54 caliber rifles. It sported the narrow channelures of the SuperSlug series but also worked well in the slower twist, deeper groove barrels made by our competitors.
It was a great bullet in T/C’s, Knight’s and other .54 caliber rifles, as well as in White rifles. Its BC was higher than the competition’s simply because the bullet is longer and heavier. It’s sadly no longer produced.
Velocity/Energy?Bullets paths of 54-535 BuckBuster over relatively light load of 100 grains Pyro-P.
When I designed this .54 caliber bullet, I did it as a sop to those who just had to have a 54 caliber rifle. Since then, though, I’ve gained great respect for it. It’s accurate and hits Hard, with a capital H. My favorite hunting load with the 54-535 in the .54 caliber heavy barreled White Grand
Alaskan is 120 gr. PyrodexP, which produces a muzzle velocity of 1405 FPS with muzzle energy of 2426 ft. lbs.
If you use this big bullet in a rifle not a White, be sure to follow your manufacturer’s recommendations on powder charges. They will probably be substantially different than those we suggest for White rifles.
Bullet paths of the 54-535 BuckBuster, sighted at 75, 100 and 125 yards, fired with 100 grains Pyrodex P in a slow twist T/C rifle.
If sighted in at 100 yards with the 100 grain load, the big 545 grain bullet will rise only 2.5 inches at 50 yards, and fall to 3.7 inches below point of aim at 125 yards. It will be 16.5 inches low at 175 yards with plenty of energy left for big deer or elk.
Bullet Energy Dispersion of the 54-535
BuckBuster fired over 100 grains Pyrodex P. Residual energy at 150 yards is
better than 1400 ft. lbs.
In T/C and other rifles, which might not be quite so sturdy as White’s Bison or Grand Alaskan, back down to 100 gr. Pyrodex. Even the 100 grain loading in a TC rifle produces 1306 FPS and 2065 ft. lbs. of energy at the muzzle. Residual energies with the same 100 grain load at 100 and 150 yards equal 1583 and 1472 ft. lbs., respectively, more than enough for quick kills in big game.
539/750 SuperSlug (BC= 26 )
If you thought the 545 gr. BuckBuster in .540 caliber is big, wait till you see this one. So far, it’s been a limited production bullet, marketed on special order to those special few who hunt Africa or are just nuts for big bullets. It was developed for an African trip the summer of ‘94. I built a heavy sidelock double rifle, using 180 grains
Pyrodex RS and 10 grains Goex FFFg black powder for ignition. It was very effective on hippo, giraffe and cape buffalo. The wounds it made were large and the penetration excellent. Later, I loaned it to Dr. Don Kettlekamp who shot a leopard and a 55 lb. bull elephant with it.
Because of its success, White once produced a Grand Alaskan rifle, based on the W-series, ( same as the Super 91 & M 98), but with a heavy, only slightly tapered 24 inch barrel. The rifle turned out to be super accurate with
the big bullet over 200 grains PyrodexP ignited by a musket cap.
Don Kettlecamp and elephant with White Custom .54 caliber double rifle, firing 190 grains PyrodexP and 750 grain 539/750 SuperSlug.
Velocity/Energy/Bullet pths of 539/750
SuperSlug over 180 grains Pyro-P ignited by 10 grains fffg Black Powder, fired
from a 24 inch barreled Grand Alaskan.
To say the least, the big bullet is potent, with the 190 gr. load above
producing 1401 FPS at the muzzle with 3270 ft. lbs. of energy. At 200 yards,
velocity has fallen to 1156 fps but energy remains a phenominal 2225 ft. lbs.
Bullet Paths of the 539/750 SuperSlug,
loaed as above, and sighted at 100, 125 and 150 yards. It is point blank (no
more than 5 inches above or below line of sight) to 175 yards. If sighted in at
150 yards, it is only 11 inches low at 200 yards.
Recoil is substantial but tolerable in a 12 lb. rifle, (which is what both
the custom double and the grand alaskan weigh). Accuracy in my prototype Grand
Alaskan rifle is phenomenally good with frequent cloverleaf groups at 100 yards.
Penetration on a big cape buffalo, fired through the solid ball joint of the
shoulder, then shoulder blade, than a rib, with the custom double, extended to,
but not through, the opposite ribs.
Bullet Energy Dispersion of the big
539/750 SuperSlug, showing 3270 ft. lbs. at the muzzle with 2664 at 100 and 2200
plus at 200 yards. Enough for most everything, maybe a little light for
rhino and elephant.
54/50-500 PowerStar (BC= .24 )
The .54 SuperSabot with .50 caliber PowerStar bullet never did come
into production. The PowerStar had already proven itself in the 50/45-435 and
45/40-350 calibers. The prototypes had a boat-tail base and ogival nose
for enhanced flight characteristics with a hollow point that made it a fast
expander in big game animals like caribou and elk. It was long and relatively
heavy for its length, with a high ballistic coefficient and fantastic retained
energy. Everything that can be said for he PowerStar in 45/40-350 or 50/45-435
caliber could be said in spades for the 54/50-500 caliber.
The 54/50-500 caliber PowerStar looked like the 45/40 and 50/45 caliber White
saboted bullets, except for the larger caliber. You were supposed to fill its
patented lubrication grooves with White PowerLube before you loaded it.
500 grain bullet in 54 cal sabot. Wow!
The pre-production 54/50-500 PowerStar not only performed beautifully in the
White line of rifles but also in other’s true .540 caliber rifles, with lesser
It also worked on White Muzzleloading System principles. It loaded a tiny bit
harder than a SuperSlug or PowerPunch as there is .001 interference fit. The
Enhanced lead PowerStar bullet expands into the sabot on firing, just like a
SuperSlug or Power-Punch, bellying the plastic sabot into the rifling. This made
it accurate with terrific down range performance.
50/45-435 ShootingStar & PowerStar
(BC= .26 )
The White PowerStar bullet is a true
cylindro-conoidal rifle bullet for use in White’s patented, lubricated
This is no short pistol bullet. It’s a saboted rifle bullet that
works on White Shooting System principles, engraving the sabot into the rifling
after bellying up, forcing the plastic of the sabot into the grooves as it’s
fired. It’s a slight interference fit so loads somewhat harder than SuperSlugs,
PowerPunch or BuckBusters but loads a lot easier than other sabot/bullet
combinations. You won’t need a short starter or a hammer to get it down the
barrel and you won’t have to pound on your ramrod with a rock.. You will want
a White’s PowerStar Loading Tip so the nose of the bullet doesn’t get
deformed during ramming. You will also want a tin of PowerLube, which was
specifically developed for White bullets and the SuperSabot. Don’t lube
the bullet, lube the sabot. Fill the channelures in the base.
My favorite load is 120 gr. of Pyrodex P, which produces muzzle velocities of
1393 fps and muzzle energies of 1875 ft. lbs. Best yet, the bullet is super
accurate and retains energy well. BC is right up there with the best of the
SuperSlugs or PowerPunch bullets yet muzzle velocity can be higher because of
its relatively light weight. Velocity and energy at 200 yards are fantastic 1145
FPS and 1268 ft. lbs with the 120 grain charge.
Caribou fell to my White .504 caliber Super Safari loaded with 120 grains Arco
and 50/45-435 PowerStar. Shot was taken at 240 yards. The rifle was sighted in
at 140 yards. I held the crosshairs across the bull’s back for a heart shot and
Velocity/Energy/Bullet paths of
50/45-435 PowerStar and 120 grains PyroP in 24 inch barrel Super Safari.
I used this combination on Mountain Caribou in the Northwest Territories of
Canada in the fall of ‘96. I took the nice Mountain Caribou bull illustrated
above at 240 yards, holding the crosshairs across the top of the shoulders. He
went down instantly with a heart lung hit and never got up. Expansion of the
PowerStar was phenomenal, with a three inch exit wound and massive multi-organ
internal damage. This rifle bullets long range performance on big game is
nothing short of astounding.
Bullet Paths of the 50/45-435 PowerStar
saboted bullet with 120 grains Pyrodex P. If sighted at 125 yards, drop at 200
yards is 16 inches. If sighted at 150 yards, rise at 100 yards is 5 inches while
fall at 200 yards is 11 inches or less.
Bullet energy dispersion of the
50/45-435 saboted PowerStar, showing 1875 ft. lbs. at the muzzle and 1268 ft.
lbs. at 200 yards.
50/45-320 PowerStar (BC=.20)
This is a brand new
bullet, introduced in the summer of 2001 in response to the demand for a lighter
weight bullet for the White 50 caliber SuperSabot. The new bullet looks very
much like the 435 grain PowerStar, but is shorter and weighs in at 320 grains.
It retains the PowerStar hollow point and works on White Muzzleloading System
Principles. It is so new I haven’t aquired ballistics for it yet. Yet it has
proven to be accurate with hot loads and is very quick out to hunting distances.
It has proven to be a great bullet for whitetail and antelope.
45/40-350 PowerStar (BC= .28 )
All the superlatives that describe the
50/45-435 and 50/45-320 SuperSabot with ShootingStar or PowerStar bullets can be
applied to the 45/40-350 PowerStar. It also works on White Muzzleloading System
principles, and shoots flatter than any other muzzleloading bullet in existence
at the longer hunting ranges. In fact, it is only bettered by the long White
PowerPunch bullets with Ballistic Coefficients above .300 at any range.
The lubricated SuperSabots keep powder residues softer and require a whole
lot less cleaning than other sabots because of the lubricant in the channelures
on the sabot. The result is far less plastic buildup in the barrel and far
easier reloading without cleaning between shots. The new SuperSabot even has a
fitted internal reverse boat-tail to fit the boat-tailed PowerStar.
Normally, with SuperSlugs, Buck-Busters or PowerPunch bullets, you will see
rifling imprinted all along the length of the bullet after firing. On the
SuperSabot, you’ll see the imprinting of the rifling along the legnth of the
plastic sabot and imprinting of the leaves of the plastic sabot on the soft lead
bullet. This shows that the White Muzzleloading System really works, the soft
bullet bellying out onto the plastic, leaving an inprint of the plastic on the
lead bullet, and the plastic being forced into the rifling, again leaving an
imprint of the rifling on the plastic.
Velocity/Energy/Bullet paths of
45/40-350 PowerStar and 110 grains PyroP fired in a 24 inch barrel.
It works so well that the 45/40-350 SuperSabot-PowerStar combination shows
1509 FPS muzzle velocity loaded with 110 gr. P Pyrodex for 1770 ft. lbs. of
muzzle energy. Sight in that load at 125 yards and it’ll only rise 2.7 inches
above line of sight and fall only 13.7 inches on its way to 200 yards. Sight it
in at 150 yards and it only rises 4 1/4 inches above line of sight at 100 yards
and falls only 9 3/4 inches at 200 yards. No other muzzleloading bullet can
match that performance, especially considering that the 350 grain PowerStar
bullet retains 1150 ft. lbs. of energy at 200 yards, is made of the softest of
lead ( which remains the best bullet material ever) and expands beautifully with
its hollow point.
shows off his Muley buck, taken from Southern Utah with the 45/40-350 PowerStar.
David did the ballistic work for this book and deserves far more credit than he
gets for his contribution to it. He is most savvy about the System and how to
best make it work. He has even invented a few things for which I normally get
the credit but is too humble to claim them for himself. He’s a big part of the
Just to illustrate how effective the 45/40-350 can be, David (pictured above)
used a White .451 caliber Super Safari rifle and the 45/40-350 PowerStar with
110 grains P Pyrodex to take a better-than-good Utah mule deer in late 1994.
Range was about 225 yards. He put the red dot just over the buck’s back and
knocked him breakfast over tea kettle with a hit through the heart-lungs. The
buck was instantly “tits up”, and never regained his feet.
Bullet paths of 45/40-350 PowerStar.
With a 150 yard sight-in, the bullet rises only a little more than 4 inches at
75-100 yards and falls just under 10 inches at 200 yards
Bullet energy dispersion curve of the
45/40-350 PowerStar over 110 grains Pyrodex P. Remaining energy at 200 yards is
1150 ft. lbs.
A LOOK AT THE FUTURE
The 45/40-350 is a terrific bullet for any game that weighs less than 600
lbs. It clearly shows the direction that muzzleloading calibers and bullets are
going to take in the future. Better designed bullets with improved nose shapes
and higher Ballistic Coefficients are going to take over. It’s inevitable,
especially since most hunters don’t enjoy the substantial kick of a powerful
load firing a heavy bullet. If he can shoot a lighter bullet, flying faster,
flatter and more efficiently, hitting with as much energy as the bigger bullet
at distance, he will take to it like a duck to water. The quicker, more
efficient bullet will need less powder and a smaller bore for the same
performance. Who wouldn’t change. Didn’t our forefathers leave their 45-70’s
in the closet and take to the new 30-30 in droves for the same reason.
PowerStar is perfect medicine for plains game. It shoots flatter and with more
retained energy than any other muzzleloading bullet available, loads quick just
in case you muff the first shot, and doesn’t require cleaning between shots to
maintain accuracy. This Black Wildebeest fell to a White Thunderbolt rifle with
45/40-350 PowerStar loaded loaded to 1600 FPS, at 180 yards. The new bullets
described above will do even more: fly flatter yet with even more retained
energy, and expand explosively in thin-skinned game. Watch for them.
Thus the reason for the .33, .35 and .367 bullets illustrated in this manual.
The White-designed .410 typifies what the future will bring, the
caliber having caused a revolution once before in the 1880’s when .40
caliber rifles like the 40/70 were the rage on the target range and on the
plains. Why? Because of their ballistic efficiency, the bullets being longer and
heavier for their cross section than the bigger 45’s and 50’s that had
previously been so popular. They also kicked less and were more comfortable to
shoot. They were a shoo-in.
You might be asking how White is going to get even more efficiency out of the
calibers and bullets they now produce. Smaller calibers with longer yet lighter
bullets are only part of the answer. The rest of it comes with design, the shape
of the bullet being all important. Heretofore, a lead bullet, (the best
ballistic medium ever devised), had to be designed to get through resistant air
as well as possible while retaining enough of a blunt nose to cause bullet upset
and expansion once it hit the game animal. This resulted in lead bullets with
long bodies and blunt noses. Even then, the blunt nose wasn’t enough in
smaller big game, so designers like Gould came up with the classic deep hollow
point of the 1880’s. It solved the expansion problem nicely but
still left the bullet with the blunt nose. What’s obviously needed is a lead
bullet with a deep hollow point and a sharper nose, one that flies through the
air with the best of ballistic efficiency and still expands vigorously in light
This contradictory bullet design is well on the way to production, with all
the advantages of a deep Gould hollow point and a ballistically efficient ogival
nose. Sadly, the machinery to make it has to be designed at the same time.
Making them one at a time is easy but making them in quantities that will get
them into the shooters hands at a reasonable price is another thing again.
Problem is they have to be cast, hollow pointed then swedged, all separate
operations. However, with any luck, you should see this bullet on your White
dealer’s shelf sometime.
Another anticipated development involves the use of harder plastics for
sabots, thus getting higher velocities yet less plastic left in the barrel. This
is contradictory, as forcing harder plastic through the rifling will be even
more difficult and slower than what we have now, and that can be hard enough to
be discouraging. Obviously, the new saboted bullet will have to be slip-fit or
nearly so, to minimize the effort of getting it into the barrel. This is again a
problem, since current bullets fall out of sabots if not held tightly there by barrel
pressure on the sabot side-walls. An interlocking device of some kind would
solve the problem. I have applied for a patent on such a device but we have yet
to see if it works well enough for eventual production.
A method that would sweep plastic, lead and powder residues out of the barrel
would also be advantageous. The next shot would load easier, and not require
frequent cleaning to maintain accuracy. Base wads were used for years for this
purpose, first in muzzleloaders then eventually in cartridges. This led to the
development of the copper ‘gas check’ which worked well in cartridges but not at
all in muzzleloaders, the copper being too hard to force down the rifling with
the bullet. My Self Cleaning Sabot (SCS) and Self Cleaning Bullet (SCB)
expanding gas checks were designed to solve the problem of getting hard
copper down the barrel with the bullet and expand into the rifling with the
shot, cleaning out the residues of the previous shot as it flies down the
barrel. The SCS and SCB are simply tent-like copper gas checks that attach to
the base of the sabot or bullet. The tent flattens with the shot, expanding the
copper into the rifling.
I tried a 600 grain SCB bullet in 504 caliber with 140 grains of PyrodexP in
a musket cap ignited M98 Elite Hunter on a hunt for Asian Buffalo. I had
previously found that accuracy degraded if I exceeded 120 grains of Pyrodex.
Adding the SCB to the bullet returned the accuracy with up to 140 grains, giving
me a 20 grain advantage over the non SCB load. The barrel was also
markedly easier to load and clean when using the SCB bullet.
First ever kill with the SCB bullet.
The SCB simplified loading and cleaning, as well as enhancing accuracy with
larger then normal loads.