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Author Topic: Considerations for Muzzleloader Buying and Usage by Brad Gordon  (Read 327 times)

Offline TalkHunting Mag

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  • Join Date: Mar 2013
  • Posts: 44
You have been considering starting hunting with a muzzleloader; you have a lot of questions and many of them are still unanswered. Well, read on my friend, and Iíll try an answer some of them and hopefully give you the information to get started in this wonderful shooting sport. Another good source is to visit several muzzle loading manufacturers web sites which often contain valuable information on selecting your gun.

What to buy in caliber and type all need careful planning along with deciding what game animals you are going to hunt plays a large part in your selection. Game regulations in your state or out-of -state hunts should also be in your thought process when making your selection. Generally, the closer the gun is to a traditional type of muzzleloader (flint or percussion/cap) the more options it can be used for in several states; in-line ignitions are not as usable in many western states. Many states even have restrictions on the type of ignition system, the size and type of bullet your gun uses so investigate the regulations with care and due diligence.

Once you know the regulations in your state and other states you plan to hunt in, you can make a better selection of the type of muzzleloader that will shoot the best. For example, round balls lose energy down range quicker than conical or sabots but maybe you only hunt in heavy cover so this doesnít matter to you. Round balls and sabots can be harder to load than some conical bullets due to barrel fouling from powder and repeat shots. A fast rate of twist is very important; 1:32 (or 1 complete twist of the projectile every 32 inches) which works well for conical and sabot bullets to stabilize them in flight. Whereas, a slow twist of 1:60 in your new gun barrel works best for stabilizing round balls to spin slowly and accomplish accuracy. Many manufacturers compromise by making guns with a 1:48 twist to allow the hunter to shoot all types of projectiles accurately enough once a load is worked up to hunt your desired quarry. All ethical hunters need to spend time on the range experimenting with different projectiles and powder to see what their new gun shoots the best. Keep your targets and mark down the projectile used, powder type and amount, along with type of primer used for in-inline guns or type of cap etc.

Types of finishes on the gun matter as usually a stainless finish handles foul weather better along with powder pitting caused by black powder which attacks barrels and components with more vigor than smokeless powder. Many new powders on the market like Pyrodex or Triple Seven for example limit the above problems caused by traditional black powder. If you hunt in humid, wet, or snowy conditions I would definitely not only heavily consider a stainless barrel but a synthetic type stock to improve and maintain accuracy by preventing warping of the stock.

Iron sights or mounting a scope on your muzzleloader depends again on regulations, the type of hunter you are, the terrain youíll be hunting in and the game all matter in your choice of sights. As Iíve aged and my eye sight worsened, Iíve gone to a scope on my muzzleloader and seen my accuracy improve.

Sighting in your new gun can be an adventure and itís great if you organize with some of your friends a shooting day and ask them to lend you a few conical bullets, sabots and shells, and round balls in your caliber choice with different grain weights. Ask them to bring with them a variety of loose black powder, pyrodex powder or pellets, and triple seven powder or pellets to experiment with for the best load accuracy in your gun. You might even bring a few prizes like black powder accessories to reward for the best group shot that day or the closest shot made at a certain distance offhand. Remember to bring cleaning materials with you to clean your gun barrel between shots to achieve the best accurate load. Nothing is better in the outdoors than sharing the day with good friends while getting your new load worked up for your gun.

Remember the sniperís code, ďone shot, one killĒ and you have now entered the wonderful world of the muzzleloaderís shooting sport.

Brad Gordon

 

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