Muzzleloader - I need some advice/opinions

Discussion in 'Hunting, Fishing & Camping' started by JWSmith, Dec 5, 2017.

  1. JWSmith

    JWSmith

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    I am considering getting into muzzleloading for deer hunting. I have shot one once, so I am certainly new to them. I shotgun hunt, and I am looking to extend my hunting season(s).

    I am just now learning about them, so any info/advice/opinions are welcome and appreciate. Thanks in advance.
     
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  2. Tvov

    Tvov

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    I don't know a whole lot about muzzleloading, so of course I need to chime in.... :chatter:

    I won a Traditions inline muzzleloader (Vortek series) with scope in a raffle a few years ago. Turns out Traditions makes pretty good muzzleloaders! Actually, a lot of their stuff is imported from Turkey, and they are good guns. Not the best, but good. So take a look at Traditions guns:

    https://www.traditionsfirearms.com/category/Muzzleloaders

    Thompson/Center makes excellent guns... my understanding they are at or near the top in terms of quality?

    https://www.tcarms.com/firearms/

    As to type - you are looking at 3 basic types:

    1. Flintlock - very traditional muzzleloader, really fun to shoot. Takes a decent amount of practice just to make the gun go Boom, not even hunting yet! You get a deer with a flintlock, everyone will tip their hat to you. Many times will have a smooth bore barrel. I have a Thompson/Center "Hunter" flintlock... a little shorter than a traditional gun, modern adjustable iron sights, and has a rifled barrel. Looks like a traditional flintlock. As I said, these types are just a pile of fun to shoot!

    2. Percussion cap traditional style - looks similar to flintlock, but uses a primer cap to fire. Much more reliable and easier to shoot than a flintlock.

    3. Modern in-line blackpower - these are like "cheating", lol! This is the Traditions Vortek with a scope that I have. They usually look like a modern bolt action rifle. Many (most?) people actually hunt with this type when they talk about muzzleloader season. Honestly, the biggest thing with these is the removable rear breach plug - makes cleaning a 1000% easier than traditional blackpower guns (I think so). These guns also will have a "normal" hammer to hit the firing pin which hits the primer for firing, or newest ones are "striker fired" and don't even have hammers anymore. They also have modern trigger safeties.

    I've never actually gone into the woods to hunt with blackpowder, but the guns are just so much fun to shoot... and you will experience the "push" they have versus the "kick" that normal rifles have. It is hard to describe - blackpowder guns "push" against your shoulder. A good, hard push, but not so much a kick. Which is interesting, you would think it would be the other way around (at least I think so), because blackpowder actually explodes, as opposed to burning like modern smokeless powder does.

    So, don't know how much all this helps. Just going to the range with a muzzleloader is fun!
     

  3. redrick

    redrick

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    Some states have different hunting laws , so find out your local laws pertaining to what you can use for hunting .

    In my state I can use sabot bullets , scopes , percussion caps , black powder substitute powders , so I use a modern inline CVA rifle . It is easier to clean than a traditional muzzleloader ( IMO ) a lot of bullet choices . I like using a scope and they can come with a scope mounted already or you can easily mount one . You can get it in a more weather resistant furniture and barrel . You can pretty much pick how much you want to spend on a new inline muzzleloader . They have entry level models that are good shooters and more expensive models that might have features you like better . The top two brands I like are CVA and Thompson Center and they have a few different models in different price ranges .

    I have both and I hunt with my inline and admire the looks and history of the traditional .
     
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  4. JWSmith

    JWSmith

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    I'll look into the traditions - all I knew about those is that the reproduce the old flintlocks.
    Thank you!
     
  5. adamg01

    adamg01

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    I went the TC route myself. If I couldn’t own a TC, the only other brand I would consider is CVA. A lot of people prefer them over TC.

    They are made in Spain. From what I understand the accuracy is as good and in some cases better than TC.
     
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  6. JWSmith

    JWSmith

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    I found a CVA wolf and a traditions buckmaster at Farm and Home, both for 209 traditions had a scope, CVA had fiberoptic sites and tapped for a scope
     
  7. Deltic

    Deltic

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    As redrick said check your state laws to find out the rules. I like a traditional percussion cap rifle with a wood stock and iron sights. It takes a while to reload so go big. I have a .54 caliber with a 1/48 twist that can handle a heavy bullet. Some of the more traditional rifles have 1/66 twist that will not stabilize anything but a round ball. That would be a serious disadvantage for hunting.
     
  8. Borg Warner

    Borg Warner

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    I don't like the modern inlines. They're functional but they are ugly and have no soul. The only thing good about them is that they burn Black powder but some of them don't even do that. And I LOVE the smell of Black powder.

    I have a Remington model 1863 zouave .58 caliber rifled musket replica and it's powerful enough for elk or moose but won't kill deer too dead. I Also have a T/C Hawken 50 caliber that I shoot either 177 gr. .490" Round Balls with .015" Lubed Patches or a 370 gr. .501" diameter Maxi-Ball.

    I also reload shotshells using black powder or triple seven for an old Joseph Manton side-by-side double with external hammers that is chambered for 2 7/8ths inch 10 Gauge and I use 3 1/2 inch magnums and pull them apart and cut them down and then load shot to powder volume-for-volume. I even have a load with two 69 caliber balls inside of a shotcup and the two balls strike within a couple of inches from each other at about 25 feet. It's perfect for repelling Boarders.

    Flintlocks are the ultimate ignition system for muzzle loaders but it has to be a good quality lock and you have to understand how the lock works and the flint has to be knapped correctly and has to be Square to the Frizzen and you have to have a clear touch hole that is the right size.

    A flintlock is not a gun for beginners (caplocks have less of a learning curve) but a flintlock is the ultimate long-term survival gun as long as you have a good supply of flints. a dedicated survivalist could even make his own Black powder. Of the commercial Black Powders, Swiss is the best, and Pyrodex is the worst. but of the substitute black powders, Triple seven is the best.

    A properly aligned flintlock will have very little ignition delay. My brother has a Brown Bess replica and he's harvested deer with it and also Turkey with shot loads. The Brown Bess is 75 caliber which is very close to 12 gauge.

    He also has a custom built German Jaeger 69 caliber flintlock with a swamped barrel that has an amazing balance to it. A swamped barrel is one that is full diameter at the muzzle and the breech but tapers to a smaller diameter in the middle and it makes the gun feel lighter than it actually is. Both these guns are works of art and beautiful to look at and function perfectly.

    Remington model 1863 zouave .58 caliber rifled musket

     
  9. JWSmith

    JWSmith

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    thank you for that write up - lots of info I didn't know!!! Lots to think about for a beginner
     
  10. pAZ Ron

    pAZ Ron

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    OP, welcome to muzzleloading. As Boerg mentioned, you have to decide how traditional you want to go ... or if you just want to extend your season in the most effective way you can. And as Redrick mentioned, what is allowed in your state.

    I have both a traditional percussion mz and a modern inline. Both are Thompson Center. You also can fire blackpowder substitute in both types of weapons and that is what I'd recommend (not blackpowder or Pyrodex) if legal in your state/hunt. It is more consistent shots, never misfires, much easier to clean, and almost no issue with corrosion. There are many brands. I happen to try 777 and stuck with it.

    My more traditional is a TC Renegade in .54 cal. This has a double set trigger that is fantastic to shoot. With the good trigger, I have been successful on every animal I shot at with it. So I've taken 2 out of the 3 elk I've taken with muzzleloaders with this gun. I use either a peep sight or, where allowed, a 2.5x long eye relief scope. The twist rate is more set up for conicals than sabots, but I have successfully shot/hunted with sabots with it. With this kind of sight setup and the rainbow trajectory, I limit shots to about 150 yards with this combo. It is a fun gun to shoot. It is more work to clean.

    My inline is also TC. I shoot exclusively sabots in it and also a heavy but not max load of 777 powder. (With these loads a mz will kick!) The original trigger pull was extremely heavy for hunting. I could force my way through it on the range, but impacting accuracy, but I missed 50% of the animals I shot at with it. So whatever you choose look for a good trigger that you think you can shoot well. Sent it back to factory but still had to have a gunsmith hone it more to get an acceptable hunting pull weight.

    Have a 3-9x BDC multi-reticle scope on, and am prepared to take longer shots with the inline. I've fired on target out to 500 yards, but due to energy level and accuracy, only feel comfortable hunting with it to less than 400 yards. I took an elk with it at ~ 350 yards after getting the trigger worked on. It is not as "fun" to shoot as the traditional one. It is easier to clean. With an extra breech plug or two, after 3-4 shots at the range you can screw off the plug, swab the barrel, put on a clean plug, and effectively have a clean gun with no buildup, start a new group and finish getting it zeroed in at various ranges.

    Overall, if legal, I grab the inline for all of my mz hunts now, in the open country of the west so to not be as limited on range. If I was exclusively hunting thicker habitat with no chance for a long shot, i'd happily grab the traditional Renegade for the hunt.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2017
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  11. redrick

    redrick

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    pAZRon I also have the .54 Renegade and a .50 Hawken .

    That was a impressive shot you made with your inline on that elk .

    The difference in the trigger is why I bought the CVA over the TC . I went in the store to buy a TC Triumph and left with a CVA Accura . It has the best trigger of anything that I own .
     
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  12. JWSmith

    JWSmith

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    I live in Ilinois, so I can use muzzle loader to hunt, which is all I am looking to do...just extend my hunting season some. I am leaning towards the CVA Wolf rigjt now... I've read good reviews and price is excellent as a starter.
     
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  13. redrick

    redrick

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    I think that is a good choice .
     
  14. Big Bird

    Big Bird NRA Life Member

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    You basically have two choices when it comes to muzzleloaders:

    Modern Inline Rifles and Traditional Rifles

    There are countless variations on either choice.

    If you intend to hunt you need to check your local laws as some states allow scopes with muzzleloaders and some don't. Also some states require traditional guns--for example Pennsylvania only allows flintlock traditional rifles. So your choice may be dictated by your state.

    I have Flintlock Longrifles and Smoothbore Fowlers and modern inline rifles and hunt with all three depending on the weather and how I feel.

    In terms of moden inlines--they are mostly now all fired with a 209 Shotgun Primer and use modern black powder replacements (either in pellet form or loose) or they can use black powder. The inlines almost always fire either a lead conical bullet of some sort or a modern copper jacketed bullet fitted to plastic sabot the drops away after the bullet leaves the bore. My TC Encore will shoot a Hornady 250 grain Saboted bullet into about an inch and a half at 100 yards using two White Hot Pellets and a Winchester 209 shotgun primer. If I think I might be shooting out to 250 yards over a beanfield I will load another 50 grain pellet. behind the bullet. The Encore has a Nikon Black Powder scope with a BDC reticle that I have found to be dead on out to 250 yards.

    My flintlocks are custom made and either 54 cal or 20 gauge depending. I use a patched round ball and 2F Swiss Black Powder. Honestly, I can load my traditional guns as fast as my modern guns. They just get dirtier faster and need more care and attention than the stainless inlines. I have a 54 cal custom made Lehigh style replica that will put three bullets inside an inch at 50 yards using iron sights! Its exceptionally accurate and lightweight too---though it is long. I love hunting with these guns and a patched round ball is entirely acceptable for deer as tens of thousands of frontiersman and longhunters can attest. Mass produced Traditional style guns tend to be a little clunky and the ignition systems are less than ideal compared to a custom gun. But they can be made to work with some tweaking and load development.

    I love to hunt blackpowder season for several reasons....less competition from other hunters. I get to spend more days hunting antlers if modern gun and bow season fails to produce. I eat em all so keep your moral high horse comments to yourself--trophy hunting is perfectly legal and legitimate. First two deer I killed this year were a couple of does for meat.

    Don't let anyone tell you what to do. We do this for our own enjoyment not to affirm someone elses's choice. Modern inlines are convenient, reliable, accurate and have extended range over traditional guns. Modern guns are also less affected by inclement weather and are easier to unload than traditional guns. (with a modern gun you unscrew the breach and push the charge and bullet out the back....easy, quick, and no need to clean the gun! With a traditional gun you either have to fire it or use a ball puller and screw an attachment into the lead ball and pull it out the front.

    Thompson Center stopped producing traditional guns a few years back. But they make some of the best inlines--I have an Encore and can swiitch barrels from muzzleloader to .22-250 or .270 Win or any number of other calibers with one receiever!
     
  15. sourdough44

    sourdough44

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    A0C77121-CD25-45E5-89B6-F23DCDC156B3.jpeg I’m versed in the subject, started with cap & ball revolvers with Side-locks as rifles. I ended up the modern inline type, Knight has been my brand of choice.

    I mostly hunt now with. 45 Cal Knight ‘Elite’, M-L. I use Blackhorn 209 powder and a modern saboted bullet. My goals are just about 100% deer hunting, that is in States like IL and others to extend the season. I have my gun set up so it’s not much behind a single-shot 308 in efficiency.

    I get just over 2200 FPS in my 45 cal with a 200 grain bullet, a Conquest 3-9 is currently mounted.

    The original Knight went out of business, there is a new Knight manufacturing down in TN I believe. The new Knights are still quality rifles.

    Drop by modern muzzleloader to get a good dose of info with muzzleloaders.

    http://www.modernmuzzleloader.com/forum/index.php?sid=528d429e01052665190ca1a071dce5d9

    I have respect for those shooting flintlocks & States with tighter restrictions. I just set up to get the job done.
     
  16. JWSmith

    JWSmith

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    thank you all for the great info..so much knowledge. I was just looking for an entry level muzzle loader, but I got some serious thinking to do know!!!
     
  17. tjpet

    tjpet

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    To borrow from a poster I saw a short time ago:

    The flintlock Hawken. It's like an M4. Except for men.
     
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  18. G19 DB

    G19 DB

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    That and percussion is just a fad, it'll never catch on... :D