By Larry Weishuhn
Pushed by 150 grains of Pyrodex or Triple Seven, the Shockwave Sabot packs enough energy to drop whitetails and other big game out to 283 yards, according to T/C.
I am sending you some sabots and bullets,” said the person on the other end of the phone. “They’re the latest and greatest - flat-shooting, wind-resistant and extremely accurate. You’ll be amazed!”
“How do they perform on game?” was my only question.
“Dunno. Haven’t shot anything with them,” came the response.
“Well, then we don’t really know how they truly perform. Send me some, and I’ll use them on my next hunt.”
A few days later, I opened a package containing 50 saboted bullets. The prototypes reminded me of Nosler Ballistic Tips, a rifle bullet I dearly love. Handwritten on the box was “250 grains.”
Later that afternoon at the range, I loaded the bullets ahead of three 50-grain Pyrodex pellets in my 209x50 Encore and Omega muzzleloaders. Three shots with each rifle later, I was impressed with the group sizes. At 100 yards, the Encore produced a 1 1/2-inch group, and the Omega’s group was even tighter than that.
I then fired a second three-shot group with each gun at 200 yards, using the same sight picture at 100. The group sizes stayed pretty much the same and were only about 3 inches lower than the previous clusters.
I was impressed with their accuracy, though I’d only fired 12 shots. That’s when I seriously sighted-in the new bullets so they would strike 3 inches high at 100 yards. I fired another round of three shots each. The group sizes actually decreased to just under an inch. Next, I shot groups at 200 yards. Those bullets cut the center out of their respective targets.
With an operating velocity between 1,000-2,200 fps, the Shockwave is a good choice for hunting whitetails up close and from afar.
A week later, on an early muzzleloading hunt, I was in northern New York state, filming a segment of the T/C Game Trails television show. With nearly 2 feet of snow on the ground, hunting was hard, but I finally spotted a healthy doe. When she turned broadside, I pulled the trigger. The doe took a couple of steps and fell.
I reloaded, and in the retake for the camera, picked out a small tree that lined up with another tree, behind which was a larger tree. On cue, I pulled the trigger. After finishing the segment I walked to the tree I’d shot. There was a perfect hole through it, and then another hole through the next tree about 8 feet behind it. That hole also was dead-center. Then the bullet plowed into the largest tree. All three bullet holes were perfectly in line. That was impressive penetration.
When field-dressing the doe, I noted tremendous devastation to the heart and lungs, and also that the bullet had exited. It wasn’t until I’d taken five animals in different states that I was finally able to recover a spent bullet. That particular shot was placed in the hopes of recovering the bullet. It was almost perfectly mushroomed, twice its original diameter. The scales later showed it had retained 73 percent of its weight.
After taking several animals with the new bullet, I finally heard what it was going to be named: the T/C Shockwave Sabot.
The Shockwave’s sharp profile contributes greatly to its accuracy. Note the thick base, which helps hold the missile together at high velocities.
As a former wildlife biologist, I’ve had to necropsy a considerable number of wild critters, particularly white-tailed deer. To me, the worth of a bullet is measured in how accurate it is and its terminal performance. I noted on each of the deer and wild hogs taken with the 250-grain Shockwave that there was substantial tissue damage and usually total penetration of the animal.
To put the Shockwave to an extreme test, I started using the 250-grain version on large wild hogs. With its thick, cartilaginous shield that can literally stop many bullets, solid muscle and thick bones, the wild boar is one of nature’s best tests for a hunting bullet. I apologize for that statement because I dearly love wild hogs and hunting them, and I have great respect for them. But I also stand by that statement as well. Create a bullet that will perform well on 200-pound or bigger boars, and you have a bullet that will work well on virtually every game animal in North America.
Spot-and-stalk hunting wild hogs on the Nail Ranch near Albany, Texas, is a real pleasure. We shot wild boars at various distances, and then recovered some spent bullets.
In most instances, whether the shot was at 20 yards or beyond 200, the animals practically fell in their tracks. The recovered bullets were beautifully mushroomed - nearly twice their diameter - lodged under the skin on the far side of the hogs. We also used other muzzleloader bullets and sabots, but with mixed results.
Developed by Hornady, the Shockwave Sabot is the same bullet as the Hornady SST in design and construction. Hornady engineers say it was the first muzzleloader bullet to incorporate technology previously used in centerfire rifle bullets. It was also one of the first attempts to create a hunting bullet for muzzleloaders, not just trying to make a pistol bullet work in them.
The bullet’s polymer tip and shape give it a high ballistic coefficient, meaning the bullet flies faster at longer ranges. Designed to mushroom at velocities between 1,000 and 2,200 fps, the Shockwave also has a lead core that is interlocked with the bullet’s copper jacket. At the base, there’s an even thicker wall so the bullet can withstand higher pressures without any deforming.
Hornady engineers also told me that the downrange energy of a 250-grain Shockwave propelled by 150 grains of Pyrodex or Triple Seven is more than 1,000 foot-pounds out to 283 yards. That statement explained a lot!
Like you, I put great stock in good hunting bullets that perform accurately and do what they are supposed to do at distances near and far. The T/C Shockwave works for me!
Reprinted from the December 2006 issue of Buckmasters GunHunter Magazine