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!
Always enjoy helping customers. It really seems like plain 'ol good Americans like to shoot muzzle loaders, and many of them have the old Remington 700 ML/MLS and are tired of unreliable ignition, crud in their face, and scopes getting eaten by blow back. They are looking for the better solution we offer. Below is a recent email from a repeat customer, Dennis, from North Carolina, who bought our Remington 700 209 Conversion Kit and installed it himself:
Shot my first Blackhorn 209 through Rem 700MLS on Saturday after upgrade with your kit. No misfires or problems of any kind on 3 shots and all between 1852 and 1879 fps with 70gn by weight (to test) and 240gn HP/XTP. Was a little slower than expected based on experience with Pyrodex. But, I think I have room in BH 209 powder charge to get back to 2000 fps safely and…. I can give away my protective scope wraps. Primers slip in and literally fall out if I turn gun over. Bolt disassembly is no longer part of each cleaning.
Good product. Firing pin install was a little tricky but overall installation not too bad.
Thanks for the positive feed back, Dennis!
As you are using BH 209 by weight, and 70gr by weight = 100gr by volume (equivalent black powder is measured by volume, not weight), you can increase your load by working up to 120gr by volume according to Western Powders. So you have more room to increase velocity if that is your desire.
Most of my 700 MLS rifles have shot best at 80 to 100 gr by volume of Blackhorn209.
For those of you who don't want the hassle of installing the firing pin and nose to your bolt, we offer installation of the kit for reasonable fees and have great turn around times.
Videos of our 209 kit in action are below:
With our 700ML 209 ignition upgrade we try to keep it simple and yet very effective. And frankly we are proud of it. We understand that its going to be new to most folks. Though we do have a number of repeat customers, who realize once they see our 209 conversion in action realize how great it is, and start buying up used 700ML's. Below I've put together a fairly common exchange for the benefit of the newcomer (and yes, did some editing for clarity and to protect the client's identity, etc).
You've just received a new submission to your Contact Form.
Question or Comment
First, I would like to thank you for your service and hope it has been as rewarding as the 22 years I spent serving our country.
I just received the full 209 conversion kit I purchased a couple of days ago. I am now opting to have it professionally installed - hopefully by you. Is it possible to return the kit along with my bolt and payment to you for the service?
Thank you in advance.
28 July, From BadgerRidge to Kenny G:
Thanks for your service.
You certainly can have me install your kit. Please purchase installation at our website with a note saying that you will ship the kit with the bolt. Then drop it all in the mail to me.
I appreciate your business!
(phone number removed.... if you want it, send me a contact form)
28 July, Kenny G's following messages to Badger Ridge.
Thanks Tom. I will do just that.
--then I received his bolt, converted it and mailed it back to him the day after receiving it, he got automated emails with tracking information I received this on 04 August :
I got my bolt back today! That was a very quick turn-around. Haven’t installed it yet but will this weekend. Thanks for the great service. I will send pix if I am successful this season. Take care and God bless.
--then he sent on Sept 2nd --
Just following up and saying thanks again. I installed my newly modified bolt and breech plug, mounted a Nikon 3-9x40 and went to the range. I only had 245gr Aero tip Powerbelts and used 100gr Pyrodex and the Winchester 209s. Yes, they stuck just as you stated so, thanks for the tip on getting them out. Barring the sticking primers, all worked well at the range. I zeroed with 3 shots. Shots 4&5 overlapped in the bull. I have been looking – in vain for CCI Primers in my area but had to settle on 777. They seem to work. I’ll take them to the range soon. Eager to go hunting with it. Got some really nice bucks on camera. J
I would like to take this opportunity to wish you and your family a safe and happy holiday. Take care and God bless.
After I asked (and he agreed) that it was OK to share our correspondence here in the Badger's Den, he sent me the sight in pic above and the pic below of his latest mod. Seems since sighting in at 50 he's decided to spruce the rifle up a bit:
From Tom to Kenny G:
What you have now definitely works, and you may have some Pyrodex to shoot up before you are ready, but my parting recommendation is:
Get some Black Horn 209, full powered 209 primers (best CCI, like you saw the Winchester tend to stick and require a dry fire to remove) , black sabots, and 225 to 300 gr 45 cal hand gun bullets and shoot some groups at 100 yds with different bullets by starting at 80gr by volume, and working up to 120gr by volume. Zero the load that shot best a couple to three inches high at 100yds. Go home clean the rifle up; you have a sealed breech a deer hammer to take to the woods.
Thanks for being a great, understanding client. Please keep me posted and let me know how I can help.
Welcome to the Badger's Den!