Lethality of the Savage 10ML-II

By Randy Wakeman

For a comparison of the real-world game getting ability of the Savage 10ML-II, let's consider the Federal Power*Shok .44 Rem. Mag. load #C44A, using rifle ballistics, for a moment. Its 240 grain bullet is listed with a static ballistic coefficient of .157, and it has a muzzle velocity of 1760 fps.

Our .44 Rem. Mag. rifle load that starts with 1760 fps by 100 yards retains 1361 fps and 987 ft. lbs. of kinetic energy. Few would argue that this cartridge out of a rifle is not a generous, ethical, quick harvester of deer at 100 yards.

Well, maybe Homer from Albuquerque would, but his sport of choice is bowling, not hunting, and he likes to argue over what he considers to be a truly "legitimate" gutter ball. I'm told he's quite capable at Nintendo, though.

Please note that out of a handgun, this identical load (Federal C44A) has a static BC of .172 (the BC rises in concert with its lower velocity) develops 1180 fps and 742 ft. lbs. at the muzzle, dropping to 1010 fps and 543 ft. lbs. at 100 yards. Since 1956, the year of its introduction, the .44 Remington Magnum has been a reliable, proven hunting revolver load on deer, wild boar and black bear, with a better velocity and subsequent trajectory in non-vented, longer barreled rifle use. Does anyone really believe a .44 Rem. Mag. wheelgun cannot quickly take game literally shot off of its muzzle?

Enter the Savage 10ML-II with a 300 grain saboted projectile pushed by 42 grains of Accurate Arms 5744, and a muzzle velocity of about 2000 fps. Not the very fastest 10ML-II load, certainly not a very high recoil load, but a field-proven load with extreme reliability regardless of temperature. A "forgiving" load in the best sense of the term.

Assuming the use of a 300 grain Barnes MZ-Expander with supplied (MMP HPH-12) sabot, we have more retained velocity (about 1261 fps) and energy (about 1058 ft. lbs.) at 250 yards than our .44 Rem. Mag. revolver has at the muzzle. Despite the 10ML-II's mild mannered shooting characteristics with this immensely practical load, as they say, not much can live on the difference. You'll also enjoy what other muzzleloaders cannot possibly provide, the spectacle of witnessing your clean kill, with no obscured vision and faster, easier game recovery.

It is soft-shooting, easy to work with, yet devastatingly effective loads like this that can easily handle the majority of muzzleloading hunting scenarios. Of course, nothing compensates for exact shot placement. To find the load your 10ML-II likes best, don't be afraid to start at 40 grains of Accurate Arms 5744 and then work up, if you'd like, to a maximum charge of 45 grains. You may not need to go beyond 40 grains at any time. No deer will have any difference of opinion with you whether he is more completely dead by being hit with well-placed 300 grain saboted bullet pushed by 40, 42, or 44 grains of 5744 out of a Savage 10ML-II.

One of the basic reasons for the development of the Savage 10ML-II was the very quick, humane, devastating harvesting of game, what Henry Ball likes to call "Slamification." By taking a closer look and understanding that a mild recoiling, superbly accurate Savage 10ML-II load pushing a 300 grain saboted bullet is, at 250 yards, actually superior to holding a .44 Rem. Mag. revolver to the throat of a game animal, it isn't hard to accept that the Savage 10ML-II has all the instant game-getting performance we can possibly wish for.

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Copyright 2005 by Randy Wakeman. All rights reserved.