CKYhunter was looking for some help over on KentuckyHunting.net regarding sabots in a round-ball muzzleloader.
Here was my $.02:
ACEOKY and SALTY are giving you good info.
I have a .54 TC Hawken that I shot with patched roundball for 20 years. When I hunted deer, I’d switch to 425 grain Buffalo Bullets. They were good to about 40 yards, keeping them on a pie plate, but not much better.
Last year I bought a drop-in 1-28 barrel from Green Mountain– still .54 caliber, but with a much faster twist for conicals and sabots. I tried 8 different bullets. I couldn’t get anything to group worth spit until I tried ffg Triple-X and Powerbelt lead bullets.
You’ll have to experiment– every shooting system is different. If you have a round-ball barrel with a slow twist, you may not be able to impart enough spin to stabilize a conical or sabot. I was amazed at how poorly some bullets worked in the new barrel. Sabots are an answer, but they’re not always THE answer.
If you get frustrated and are thinking about throwing in the towel, try the Powerbelts– kind of a stubby alternative to conicals. The jacketed ones are overkill in my book. When you have that much lead passing through a deer, you can afford some loss.
Check out my post regarding my doe kill with the smokepole and scroll down to the bottom. Even with 50 % loss the lead bullet was still a 1″ mushroom barreling through the chest cavity.
As a last ditch: There are also Buffalo Ball-ets– squat bullets that are built to take rifling without a patch. I’ve heard good things about them in round ball guns.
With any change in the mix of powder, ball, cap, etc. it’s always a good idea to drop down to 70 grains or so and work back up to the optimum in 10 grain increments. Eventually you find the best– just don’t go higher than the published maximums. Maximum loads are usually just wasteful anyway– not much increase in velocity, but a lot more powder to get there.