The Remington 700 ML/MLS & Ruger 77/50 muzzle loaders have been out of production for years now. These rifles now vary in condition. Some have hardly been used. Others used, but well cared for. Some have been neglected. So their condition truly runs the full gambit. This is further complicated due to the original design and other 209 modifications sending fouling corrosive gasses throughout the bolt and the receiver. New owners can be further confused by the various kits that may have been fitted over the years. Our kits fix blow back issues, don't rely on most of the parts people tinker with, and base line the rifle to a solid known good state.
Many folks find their way to this blog from a simple internet search. Frequently because they are having trouble like misfires, failure-to-fire, are tired of blow back, etc. Some just want to use Blackhorn 209 powder (which will misfire or blooper if not sealed up). Other's have a friend that fixed his woes with our system, or saw a modified rifle at the range using our awesome 209 conversion for Remington 700 ML's and Ruger 77/50 rifles. Some just know that there has to be a better way, and there is: you found it in our kits. However you got here, and whatever shape your rifle is in, welcome to the best, last conversion you'll ever want on your rifle, and a great source for other hard to find Remington 700 ML parts.
Looking at these rifles as they came from the factory, folks 'just know' that they could be so much better. I agree: our kits take them to their full potential.
If you are new to our conversions, you may want to skip this blog post and read some of the others, then come back to this one, as it assumes you already know our conversions are awesome and fix your troubles. However some folks are determined to do some even "heavier meddling" and make these rifles something different. I've looked at this and on a personal level, I'm not interested and won't be doing anything more on my rifles than using our kits to seal the breech. We have products that will aid those who still want to do that barrel swap and burn smokeless, but I myself won't be going down that path. In this post I want to discuss this 'heavy meddling' and explain why I won't do it myself.
The number one question I get concerning meddling and trying to do 'more' is converting to 209's with our kit and shooting smokeless powder in the factory barrel: DON'T DO IT! It says it right on your rifle's barrel. No kit will change the fact that the barrel is not safe for smokeless. I don't care what you read on some forum, or what some guy on the range told you. DON'T DO IT! There are not any magical fairy smokeless powders for your rifle, and there isn't any need to take that risk!
The problem here is that muzzle loader safe propellants (like Black Powder, Pyrodex, Triple Se7en, and BlackHorn209) have different burning properties than the wide spectrum that makes up modern smokeless powder. And that difference is what saves folks from blowing up guns (so long as they follow the manufacture's rules, don't double charge, double load, etc). I cannot emphasize enough how using only a muzzle loader safe propellant and using a witness mark on the ram rod (to know the rifle is loaded and avoid a double charge) is the key to enjoying this sport safely.
That said, some rifles, with special barrels are made to use certain types of smokeless powder. However your Remington nor Ruger is not one of them. Yes, some folks swap barrels to make a smokeless gun. They of course are 100% on their own, and liable for their own technical problems and safety issues. If it is possible to do a barrel swap, and may be legal in some states to hunt on some hunts with a smokeless muzzle loader... why do it? What really are you going to get and at what cost? Typically those pursuing smokeless want faster, flatter shooting, harder hitting rifles, and think that they need to go smokeless to get better performance. But how much increase in range or velocity will you get versus the $$$$$ spent? How much heavier or more awkward of a rifle will you make? Will it group any better than what you started with?
Doesn't the original leaky rifle, with black powder, already have what it takes to kill anything in North America?!?! Our kits seals up those breach leaks and makes it reliable. Many modern muzzle loading propellants already out perform black powder. These rifles with their factory barrels have a reputation of being very accurate. Do you really need more than that?
I believe the factory rifle (with our 209 kit) is good enough: my rifles shoot reliably, accurately, and harvest deer (the largest game I can kill around here is Black Bear, but Black Bear isn't my thing... but I'm sure my rifles could easily handle Black Bear). I'm confident my rifles, with our kit and factory barrels, will kill any North American game to 200 yds. I'm convinced that anyone with a Remington 700 ML/MLS or Ruger 77/50 in good shape and wants to have a top performing muzzle loader, only needs to use our kit, standard 209 primers, Blackhorn209, sabots, and jacketed hand gun bullets.
But to continue the comparison: rifles re-barreled for smokeless almost always have much longer, heavier barrels. It must be emphasized that the longer barrel itself gives an increase in velocity... all things being the same: longer barrels increase velocity. Or in other-words shooting the same powder charge and projectile combination in a longer barrel will generate more velocity. This is because the projectile is in the barrel longer, getting pushed by expanding gasses for longer, so more energy (AKA velocity) is transferred to the projectile.
But with BlackHorn209, and your factory barrel, you don't have to go smokeless to get more velocity. At heavier bullet weights, (like 275gr and up) I think you will find BlackHorn209 out performs all other muzzle loader safe propellants. And if you were to chronograph a safe smokeless load in a barrel made for smokeless, and of the same length as the factory barrel, against a BlackHorn 209 charge (both using the same 300gr projectile), the BlackHorn209 load wouldn't be too far behind the smokeless. By too far behind, I'm talking a couple hundred feet per second. And lets be honest, 200 FPS is not much of an increase in range or killing power.
In general barrel swaps cost around $1200.00... Frequently more, occasionally less if you do a lot of the work yourself. To consider what our kit does to a standard rifle vs doing a barrel swap; you have to consider the cost against the potential performance increases. And I don't think that $1200 is worth it. Especially because BlackHorn209 is readily available, and safe! You must realize that if you get something wrong with the smokeless gun, you are more probable to have a KABOOM!
Remember, a longer barrel is essentially what the newer Remington 700 Ultimate Muzzle Loader (UML) has over the older Remingtion 700 ML/MLS. The Ultimate is a longer, heavier rifle. It is not as handy, and costs so much more than a good used MLS. I've had plenty of customers tell me they sold their Ultimate and got a used 700 MLS rifle and our kit because it does the job, is more handy, easier to carry, and actually saved them $ because its cheaper over all.
I have a Savage 10ML2, new in the box. I've never shot it! Why? Because its super long and super heavy: my Remington 700 ML's and Ruger 77/50's (with their original barrels) get the job done and are so much lighter and handier. And I don't go deer hunting from a bench... I'm walking out to the fields and woods, climbing trees, up ladder stands, etc. My Remington and Ruger rifles with their factory barrels win hands down overall when it comes to hunting.
So for me, I wouldn't entertain a barrel swap unless the barrel was not serviceable. And even then its probably cheaper (and definitely easier) to just buy another rifle with a factory barrel!... or find a take off barrel on Ebay from someone's smokeless build. I get nearly the same performance from my factory barreled rifles, and without all the cost, weight, awkward handling, and added trouble of doing the work to swap a barrel. Dollars & work in vs performance out: I'm tickled pink with our kit and my factory barrels.
If you are tired of the clean up of Black Powder substitutes, and wanting to get away from them for that reason, BlackHorn209 comes out ahead there too. Blackhorn209 cleans up great with standard gun cleaning solvents, just like a smokeless gun. You can read more about that by clicking here.
All that said: any muzzle loader safe propellant works great in the Remington and Ruger original barrels (with our kits installed on the bolt and sabot/projectile). It so much easier just to convert to our system and get great performance, I don't think I'll ever re-barrel a rifle and go smokeless.
But if you are absolutely set on swapping barrels, we offer "half kits." Smokeless conversions usually use a custom breech plug that sits deeper into the breech. So, folks putting a new barrel on a Remington will probably want a longer nose. Our long nose protrudes farther forward and will not work with our standard breech plug, nor the original barrel. The cost is the same for a half kit with a long nose or a standard nose (just tell us in the "note to seller" portion of check out what nose you want):
So there you have it. I got on my soap box, and told folks that I'll sell them what they want, but I won't necessarily agree with them that they 'need' it.
So if you contact me asking about smokeless mods, I'll try and figure out what your priorities are, see if they could be met with a cheaper option: our kit, the rifle's original barrel, BlackHorn209, and Sabots. Those are deadly combinations.
That's my advice, because that is what I use and resolved to myself.
Alas, the customer is always right.
If an internet search brought you here looking for a solution to your woes with a Remington 700 ML or Ruger 77/50 muzzle loader: Don't worry, you are in the right spot and we have the fix you are looking for. Just keep scrolling down or click here for our wonderful 209 sealed breech fixes for those rifles. We are a dynamic business and constantly adding to this blog.
In this installment, I figured it was time to discuss breech plugs: what works, why it is probably different than most think, and why I think it works. I'll also showcase our service of retrofitting vent liners into breech plugs (to help them work more reliably, accurately, and better with Blackhorn209 powder). Yes: we can help with more muzzle loaders than the Ruger 77/50 and Remington 700 ML.
One of the first things most folks realize when they examine our kits, is that the Badger Ridge breech plug, is unique and different from the rifle's original. Our kits won't work with the original breech plug! Our system just plain works. Because our design works, folks frustrated with igniting BH209 in other rifles send us their breech plug for modification.
BOTTOM LINE UP FRONT: A good breech plug is a compromise of many different features. Our design works with any muzzle loader safe powder (we can make other rifles' breech plugs work with any muzzle loader safe powder... like Blackhorn209).
I'll try not to delve too deeply into chemistry, physics, and thermodynamics both because most won't care about the details, but also I'd probably rapidly reveal the limits of my understanding. But some basic understanding is required. First, heat flows from hot to cold. There is truly no such thing as cold... cold is a relative lack of heat. Heat can be thought of as a form of energy... thus a hot piece of metal just has more energy than a cold piece of the same metal. So heat from discharging a primer will flow into the metal around it, and into the powder charge we want to start burning.
So you might be thinking "What does that have to do with muzzle loading and breech plugs?"
Well every time we discharge a primer we convert the chemical energy of the primer into heat and expanding gasses. Seeing our real goal is to get the powder burning, the primer's flash needs to be directed into the powder charge, and it has to stay hot to get the powder charge burning. It is the powder charge that turns into more heat and more expanding gasses that push the projectile down the barrel.
So at first it seems to get reliable ignition, you just need to get the primer close to the powder, and minimize the metal in between. And many of the first generation of inline muzzle loaders followed that design idea. But if you have seen any of the more modern breech plugs, especially those that use 209 primers, and are reliable with Blackhorn209: there is a large expansion chamber in front of the primer, creating a big air gap, and has a small hole at the end that abuts the powder charge.
Just thinking about heat flow, all the metal that makes up the wall of that expansion chamber, and that super cold winter hunt you might take your muzzle loader on, it seems stupid to lose some primer heat to it. So why does a good breech plug have that chamber? And why would it have a metal constriction on the end of it (ie a vent liner or small flash hole)?
Before I answer that, let's consider another reason the flash chamber doesn't make sense at first glance... as the primer's burning gasses expand they would cool just through the act of expanding into the flash channel.
Fact: pressure, volume, and energy are all connected. For a steady state, ideal reaction I learned in High-School Chemistry:
PV = nRT
(or Pressure * Volume = number of molecules * their constant value * Temperature)
Or in simpler terms if you don't change the temperature but you increase the volume the pressure will decrease to keep it all in balance. But in real life you get both: as the hot gas expands into the chamber it loses heat just from the expansion, even before we take into account the heat that flows into the cold walls of the breech plug!
"OMG" you exclaim, "I knew that primer should be right up against that powder to be 100% reliable!" But, I'd say practice has proven that to be wrong, our breech plugs have expansion chambers for good reason: to keep the powder charge from blowing up the primer and venting gas all over the shooter and dropping accuracy!
Remember, after we get that powder ignited and burning, it produces a whole lot more pressure and heat than that tiny, thin walled primer could ever contain. We want all that heat and energy to push that projectile down the barrel, but because there is that small flash hole right next to it, the gas shoots backwards into the expansion chamber that is being sealed by the primer. The trick here is that the flash hole is so small it greatly restricts the rearward flow, and what flow makes it through, finds itself rapidly expanding, dropping pressure, and cooling as it flows into the primer's flash chamber. And that is why the flash hole and flash channel (chamber) are there. They work together to keep the pressure from burning powder from blowing up the sealed primer.
Keeping that primer sealed and intact keeps the mess in the breech plug, and tends to increase accuracy as the pressure seen at the back of the projectile is consistent shot to shot.
Our sealed breech systems have the expansion chamber with a 209 primer sealing one end of it, and a removable vent liner so that we avoid the bad things that happened without an expansion chamber (and I say happened because many of the first 209 designs lacked the expansion chamber and vent liner design, but beware: they are still out there!)
Lets over simplify and say that there are four basic ideas on how to make a breech plug. Two are bad ideas, and two work well with the back pressure burning powder generates:
1. Don't even try to seal the primer and vent the back pressure (ie Blow-Back) into the action; let it leak out. This makes a horrible mess, and tends to shorten the life of the system as sticky goo covers everything. Also these systems won't work with Blackhorn209 as it has to be sealed up. (BAD IDEA)
2. Seal up the 209 without an expansion chamber and vent liner: Direct all the heat into the powder charge but blow up the primer/cap due to blow back, and then have blow back escape where ever it goes.
This tends to drop accuracy as you don't control the time nor pressure when the rupture occurs. Plus is makes a mess and sends pieces of primer all over the place (Blackhorn209 does't like this either and can give you unreliable performance). Most of all: Flying primer fragments are dangerous! (BAD IDEA)
3. Seal the 209 up with an expansion chamber that has a small orifice at the end to deal with the back pressure the powder charge generates.
4. Use large primer holders/brass cartridge cases that are strong enough to hold the pressure in.
209 primers in and of themselves are not strong enough for #3. Most systems that use #4 use primer carriers and magnum rifle primers, also break actions enclose the 209 primer in steel.
-The original #11 percussion cap systems on the Remington 700 and Ruger 77/50 followed 2 mostly.
-The Remington 209 modification followed #1 (note the big slits on the side).
-The Canadian 209 mods for both rifles did a bit of #1 and #2 in my book (sealed until back pressure unseated the primer, also tended to blow up primers).
-The Remington Ultimate Muzzle loader uses #4, but is very expensive and requires reloading gear to re-prime the cases.
-Our 209 kits use #3. And we can modify other rifle's breech plugs to do the same. The down side is that the chamber must be sized right: it is "Goldilocks" work. Not too big (lose too much primer heat) not too small (blows up primers). The other down side is that the orifice slowly erodes with each shot.
Remember that back and forth flow of hot burning gasses (primer residue and combustion gasses) erodes the flash hole with each shot.
When breech plugs that don't have vent liners open up, they loose accuracy. Most folks don't realize this, and just know that their rifle doesn't shoot like it used to. They typically look for loose scope mounts, bad scopes, loose action screws, etc. I get calls from them and they are frustrated as they can't seem to figure out why the rifle isn't shooting well now. For some, the light bulb comes on when I start asking about the size of their breech plug's flash hole. And do they have a gage pin to measure it?
I'm confident, that manufacturers know that flash holes have a limited life. Some just go with a cheaper breech plug, or even solder in vent liners! Seems they just want to sell entire new breech plugs. But we usually can offer a different solution: modifying the breech plug to take a vent liner. Most of the time we can convert those breech plugs to take inexpensive vent liners and also put an expansion chamber between them and the 209 primer to keep the primer from seeing excessive pressure.
So there you have it, a good 209 breech plug is a compromise between directing the energy of the primer into the powder, and keeping the pressure from the burning powder from blowing up the primer. To use Blackhorn209 powder, it must be sealed up. To use 209 primers the breech plug needs an expansion chamber that is sized to allow expansion but not rob too much heat, and it needs a small orifice in the end that abuts the powder charge.
At Badger Ridge, we go a step further by using inexpensive replaceable vent liners. Our breech plugs are designed for longevity: we use vent liners to cheaply replace the flash hole instead of forcing shooters to buy new breech plugs. And we sell pin gauges so that you know when to replace the vent liner: if it goes through its time to replace.
We've been selling and installing our great 209 conversions for years now. And I've noticed my questions and sales following trends influence by the various hunting seasons and their associated rules. This time of year folks are getting ready for Colorado's muzzle loader season, typically focusing on harvesting an elk. I also added this to the FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions).
Q: I hunt in Colorado, sabots are not allowed for hunting during muzzle loader season. I want to use your awesome 209 conversion, but you say you recommend sabots with jacketed handgun bullets. What are my options?
A: Short answer is our kit will work great with any projectile. I've found Pyrodex, Triple Se7en, and black powder work best with non sabot projectiles.
I realize not all 50 state have the same rules. And some state’s rules are just plain silly. I wrote a blog post about that.
The main thing to remember here: the powder you chose must be compatible with the projectiles you use.
Our kit will seal the breech, which keeps the crud out of the bolt and action no matter what muzzle loader safe propellant you chose. Our kit is compatible with all muzzle loader safe propellants: pellets, loose powder, etc. Also using 209’s will give you more ignition heat and thus more reliable ignition over caps. But the powder and projectile choice is up to the shooter. Read the manuals/instructions and follow them when developing loads.
To be reliable BlackHorn209 needs to be fully sealed; i.e. sealed at the breech (which our kit does), and sealed at the projectile. Minnie balls, power belts, B.O.R. Lock MZ and other easy loading projectiles that are legal for Colorado muzzle loading, don’t usually seal until the powder combusts and forces them into the grooves. This deformation sealing the bore after combustion is called obturation. The problem is BlackHorn209 doesn’t burn well until it’s sealed. So it’s likely to have bloopers, miss fires, and hang fires with obturating projectiles. Sabots seal well to start, thus if you are using BlackHorn209, it’s recommended to use sabots.
Never use smokeless powder in your Remington/Ruger! It says it right on the barrel!
Because Colorado doesn’t allow sabots during the muzzle loader seasons I would stay away from Blackhorn209. If I was hunting in Colorado, I’d use our kit, choose a heavy projectile (250gr or more) that seals on ignition, Hornady FPB, minie ball, lead conical, etc. But I wouldn’t use BlackHorn209; I’d try Triple Seven, or Pyrodex. Although they are not as easy to clean, and foul the barrel, they are very easy to ignite even when not sealed, and will obturate the projectile. Black powder will work just fine with these sorts of projectiles too.
I do have a few clients that report success with Blackhorn209 and CCI magnum primers with Hornady FPB’s. I also had one that said it worked well at the range, but didn’t fire when he had a nice bull in his sights. He said it was very chilly that morning, his rifle was cold soaked, and the Blackhorn wouldn’t go bang. Thus I would stick with Pyrodex/Triple seven for Colorado muzzle loader hunting.
Just about everywhere else, I recommend sabots because they have been accurate, easy to load, and jacketed hand gun bullets have always been very effective for me. Whatever powder you chose, the velocities your muzzle loader will produce are essentially the same that good jacketed hand gun bullets are designed for. They tend to kill quickly and bring home game. Sabots are allowed in most states, so that's what I usually recommend.
Long-term: If I voted in Colorado, I’d pressure my legislature to change the muzzle loader rules. Removing the most effective projectiles (jacketed hand gun bullets), and the most modern muzzle loading propellant (Black Horn 209) from use is bad for the game receiving the projectile. I believe the no sabots rule promotes wounded/lost animals.
Welcome to the website with the only conversion kit you'll ever want on your Remington 700 ML or Ruger 77/50. I've been writing and updating this blog for years. If an internet search brought you here, you will find what you are looking for by reading through these articles or finding the topic you are interested in along the right hand side.
A while back I got on my soap box about trying to figure out all 50 states muzzleloader rules.... and the major head ache that it gave me. You can read that blog post by clicking here if you desire.
For those who hunt in Idaho and Oregon (The only two states where (I think) you still cannot use sealed breech 209s for all muzzleloader seasons) we offer complete bolts for the Remington 700ML or Ruger 77/50. A second, complete sealed 209 bolt helps folks who hunt in these states to swap between sealed breech system and the original unsealed system. This is useful when one season or area allows sealed breeches, but another does not.
However, if you only hunt in places that allow sealed breeches (which is 48 out of 50 states now!), it's always cheaper to convert your bolt than to purchase an entire new bolt. It's always best to have a sealed breech: it stops blow back from getting into nooks and crannies and protects the shooter!
The Remington 700 ML/MLS has been out of production for years now. Those that are out there vary in condition. Some have hardly been used. Others used, but well cared for. Some have been neglected. The condition of these rifles truly runs the full gambit. This is further complicated due to the original design and other 209 modifications sending fouling corrosive gasses throughout the bolt and the receiver. Our kit fixes these blow back issues.
Many folks find their way to this blog from a simple internet search. Frequently because they are having trouble like misfires, failure-to-fire, are tired of blow back, etc. Some just know that there has to be a better way, and there is: you found it in our kit. Other's have a friend that fixed his woes, or saw a modified rifle at the range using our awesome 209 conversion for Remington 700 ML's. However you got here, and whatever shape your rifle is in, welcome to the best, last conversion you'll ever want on your rifle, and a great source for other hard to find Remington 700 ML parts.
YouTube video of our Remington 700 ML/MLS 209 kit in action (above)
So while our sealed breech, any muzzle loader powder compatible, 209 ignition system may be new to you, its old hat in many other ways. So please let me guide you through figuring it all out: First and foremost, this website has a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions). If you go to the FAQ and scroll down to the question and answer area for our muzzle loader products, you'll probably find the answer you are looking for.
Also, I've been writing this blog for years. Along the right side are all the posts, sorted by date, then Category (subject). If you have a question, the answer is probably in those blog posts or the FAQ.
If you want to get it from the beginning, I think some of my very first blog posts will be a good read: How to make a diamond in the rough shine
Badger Ridge Industries offers:
- The best 209 conversions for the Remington 700ML and the Ruger 77/50, seal the breech and are compatible with any muzzle loader safe powder
- MMP sabots, they work great with Blackhorn209 powder and modern hand gun bullets
- The best replacement bolt bodies for the Remington 700 ML/MLS
- Replacement parts for Remington 700 ML's like bolt stop cam follower screws (similar to Remington #: F99286) and main springs
- The best price anywhere on Lehigh Savage type vent liners
- Pin gages to know when your vent liner should be replaced
Remember: if you have questions, please read what you can, watch the videos, and then use our Contact form to reach out to us. We usually reply via email or phone call within 48 hrs.
(A second YouTube video below)
We keep hearing great things from our customers! It makes this line of work very rewarding! We look forward to helping you! Here's an email conversation between us and Wes G from North Carolina!
To purchase a conversion or learn more click here, or any of the pictures or links below.
You've just received a new submission to your Contact Form. Submitted Information:
Name Wes G:
I just had you install a conversion kit on my 700 ML. Haven't had a chance to shoot it yet. Can't wait.
Question: Groups before your conversion between 1.5 and 2"@ 100 with 105 gr BH 209 and Barnes 290 gr T-EZs. While that level of accuracy is fine for deer @ 100 yds, I am heading to NM for elk this fall and would like to improve my 5" groups @ 200. Thanks.
Try out the kit and see. Usually sealing up the breech improves accuracy as it makes pressures more consistent. What you are reporting is pretty good with any muzzleloader.
Thought I’d send you an update. Shot the conversion yesterday. My previous unmodified load was 110 gr (by volume) BH 209, CCI-M, 290 T-EZ in supplied sabots, averaging 5.25” @ 200 yds & 1919 fps (10’ instrumentation).
Since you recommended standard CCIs, I switched to those. Two shots with previous loads were 6.625” apart averaging 1863 fps. Bumped charge to 115 Black Horn 209 (by volume) with standard CCIs and shot a 3 shot group of 3.125” @ 1923 fps [all groups at 200 yds].
Thinking the slower velocity with the 110 gr load was due to the primer switch. Upping the powder got my velocity back with the standard CCI primers. That velocity appears to be the most accurate node from this barrel (having tried 105, 110, 115, and 120 gr by volume). I’m out of both powder and bullets currently, but after I resupply, I will shoot some more to verify repeat-ability. I may also try 110 gr by volume with the CCI-Ms to see how it does.
At any rate, I am thrilled with that group and that my glasses, nose, and thumb are no longer coated with soot and oil from the bolt. Thanks for your help and a great product.
That is great! Thanks for the kind words!
Remember that you can try the CCI-M's... they may stick in the nose and require a dry fire to remove... but usually that goes away at the higher charges you are using.
I always recommended standard CCI's as they have never stuck in the nose on me, but recently CCI changed from a copper colored primer to a Silver, and I don't have any experience with it yet. Regardless, you can use whatever primer you desire with our conversion, they just may require a dry fire to remove them.
Thanks for the update...
Here’s a pic. Trying not to get too excited until I get more powder and bullets to make sure that group is repeatable. The 3 shot group with 115 gr by volume was cleaned between shots.
Steve P from Lake Orion, Michigan was so pleased with his Remington 700 ML 209 Conversion he took the time to send us the picture above via Facebook. Here's what he had to say (short, sweet, and to the point):
130 yard shot, 120gr by volume of Black Horn 209, Parker Ballistic Extreme 300gr and the Badger Ridge bolt upgrade, Timney trigger.
Wow! Nice Buck! Well Done!
After years of selling our Remington 700 ML 209 conversion, and installing many hundreds of them, I still enjoy it when folks take the time to send feed back. I installed our kit on the customer's bolt below. After he got it back, I received the very detailed message shown below (and received permission to share it with you).
Subject: Remington 700 ML 209 Conversion
Badger Ridge Staff
I got to the range yesterday (finally) to do some testing. As expected I had to do just a bit of tuning on the breech plug to allow the primer to fit properly with the provided drill bit. The time at the range sort of got away from me so did not get to test every powder option that I wanted too, however my plan was to end up with Blackhorn 209, so that is what I ended up using for most of the testing.
Powders Initially Desired to be Tested
Pyrodex Select Powder – did not get a chance to test.
Pyrodex Pellets – did shoot one three round group with this powder source
Triple Se7en Magnum Pellets – did shoot one three round group with this powder source
Blackhorn 209 – Shot 15 loads with this powder
Barnes - 245 grain - .451 Spit-Fire MZ™ - 1763 fps
T/C - 250 grain - .451 Polymer Tip - 1712 fps
Harvester - 260 grain - .451 Polymer Tip - 1705 fps
I ended up with the Blackhorn 209 powder (100 grains by volume), the Harvester 260 PT Shockwave bullet, and CCI Shotgun Primers giving just under 1.5” groups @ 100 yards. I think I can actually improve on that. I shot 21 rounds with the new 209 Conversion setup and did not experience one misfire of a 209 primer during this testing. Plans are to do some additional testing to build a proper scale as my Bushnell Scope has a BDC reticle. I would also like to revisit the use of Pyrodex & Triple Se7en Magnum pellets as that is a very convenient method to load and/or reload for a second shot versus the Blackhorn 209 loose powder. I did clean between (3) shot groups and was a bit surprised at the amount of “black” residue from the Blackhorn. It did not seem to be any cleaner than the other powder sources. Maybe I was expecting too much from the advertising.
The only downside with this new setup is the removal of the fired 209 primers and reloading of a new one seems to take a bit more time than the old #11 percussion caps. However, the greatly improved ignition system and lack of any powder blowback in one’s face is well worth that. Besides, I have not had to use a follow-up shot in all my deer hunting for the past 50 years and do not plan on starting now.
From my experience and initial testing, you have a very well designed product and have given my Remington 700 ML new life.
Before we only offered a 209 conversion for the Remington 700 ML. But now I'm happy to announce that we now offer a similar sealed breech 209 system for the Ruger 77/50!
Much like the Remington 700 ML and 700ADL, Ruger sold a muzzle loader that looks a lot like the Ruger 77/44: the Ruger 77/50. According to the Ruger website, it was in production from 1997-2004. Judging by serial number data no where near as many were made as the 700ML. The Ruger functioned very similar to the Remington, and even had a breech thread that allowed use of 700ML breech plugs. (Not that we nor the manufacturer are endorsing that. It's just so similar it's possible). Thus these rifles had many of the same problems as the Remington 700 ML: Blow-back, frequent misfires, and factory setups that didn't have 209 options.
So when Ruger owners find the Badger Ridge Industries 209 kit for the Remington 700ML, they often contact us and ask if we can make a similar "seal up the breech, BlackHorn209 compatible, finger simple prime de-prime system" for the Ruger 77/50. Now, I'm proud to say "YES WE CAN!"
In order to develop and prove out our sealed breech 77/50 209 conversion a few 77/50's were purchased and converted by Fred and myself. Having a couple of centerfire Ruger 77 MKII's that I've hunted with for years, in many ways the 77/50 didn't feel like a totally new rifle to me, even though it was a 'totally new' rifle to me. And while on the surface it works similar to the Remington, and the breech plug threads of both are essentially identical, the 77/50 is a very different rifle to convert.
As the rifle came from the factory, or even when modified with a Canadian 209 system, the warning about "Hot Gases Exit Nipple Area" excerpted from the 77/50 manual rings true and must be heeded. Hot gasses and pieces of primers/caps being blown back and around the nipple and the associated fouling are some time referred to as "blow by". However I find it seems more accurate to call it "Blow Back". The later version of the 77/50 used a protrusion on the bolt itself to try and direct the blow back to the side of the rifle. And while it does accomplish this, it also directs blow-back into the bolt. The bolt has a vent in the bolt body that directs the blow back that enters it down and into the stock! So as delivered from Ruger, blow back gets in the bolt, and is even directed down and into the inner recesses of the rifle!
This complicates cleaning and over the long term reduces the reliability of the system. So compared to the Remington we had to modify the Ruger's bolt much more to get a 209 system that seals the breech and is more reliable.
The main reason to switch to our system is not only to use 209 primers, but to seal up the breech area and essentially eliminate all of the blow back issues. 209 primers are hotter and more reliable source of ignition. Using them to seal blow back into the breech plug vastly simplifies cleaning and makes the rifle safer and more reliable. Our conversion seals out the elements and allows one to shoot Blackhorn 209 powder. Which in my opinion is the best black powder substitute available. The Canadian 209 system and the original cap system are not Blackhorn 209 compatible, and they allow blow back into all those nooks and crannies.
Remember, blow-back not only can injure a shooter or by stander, but it can burn the optics mounted above the breech, project corrosive fouling throughout the bolt and action, and wear out a mainspring prematurely. Even worse, the Ruger 77/50 is known to have an additional deficiency: Blow back launches the firing pin rearward and occasionally shears the trigger's sear!
Our conversion for the Ruger 77/50 fixes all of these woes by sealing the blow back into the breech plug with the 209 primer!
The conversion process requires the bolt to be completely stripped, our new firing pin to be installed, the extended shroud to be cut off, and the nose of the bolt dressed. Then the 209 nose is timed to align it for loading and unloading, pressed on, and firing pin protrusion set. So once complete there really isn't any going back. But once the converted rifle is shot, I'm sure no one will ever want to go back to the leaky original set up!
Our Ruger 77/50 conversion is through its first rounds of testing but is still in what the DoD would call LRIP (low rate initial production). I'm not comfortable sending this one out for just anyone to install, and for now, will only offer it as a full conversion service. Or in other words, I'm not willing to sell this one as a kit; you will have to pay me to install it.
The Ruger conversion uses a very similiar breech plug to the one used in our Remington system:
If you are interested in making your rifle work the way you always wanted it to, and Blackhorn 209 compatible, you can purchase Ruger 77/50 conversion as a service (very similar to our Remington 700ML conversion service). Mail us your bolt, we'll convert, and send it back with the breech plug, vent liner, and other accessories. The details are all in the listing for this service!
We also can ship an entire new 209 converted bolt to you if you want to keep the original leaky system, or are missing a bolt etc. That is more expensive than converting an existing bolt. We do not recommend this unless you hunt out west where leaky non 209 systems are required for special hunts, but on others you can use our sealed breech 209 system.
And as always feel free to use the Contact form to send me your info. I'll call or email back promptly.
Here's what someone who's used our 209 conversion for over a year has to say about it! Buy with confidence!
I always enjoy hearing from our customers. This time, Mike A from New York, who had me convert his Remington 700 ML to our 209 conversion over a year ago, took the time to write in. To me, it says a lot about your product when people love it so much they take their time to write a thank you note. I can just say, "Thank you for being a great customer!"
The message I received from Mike A, New York is below:
QUESTION OR COMMENT FOR BADGER RIDGE:
Just a positive comment...
You converted my Rem. 700 ML a few years ago.
I've taken it into the field for a few years now during deer season, and to the range about once a month for those same number of years.
Essentially, with 90 grs. of BH 209, 300 gr. Hornady XTPs, MMP EZ load sabots, and CCI 209 Magnum primers, the result with a low ringed scope is clover leafing dead center at 50 yds. And dead center adjusted up + 3" at 100 yds. The holes are paper punch clean.
The gun is competitive with any of the other BP guns I own. It is fun to shoot.
You turned the firearm from a tomato stake to a reliable, easy to clean, accurate, easy to use gun.
Thanks again for writing in. All of my rifles have shot best between 80 and 100 grains by volume of Blackhorn 209 as well. Glad you are satisfied!
Welcome to the Badger's Den!