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Discussion in 'Welcome' started by NatureNick, Jan 9, 2019.

Modern Muzzleloader

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  1. Jan 9, 2019 #1

    NatureNick

    NatureNick

    NatureNick

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    I joined this forum while I was in Colorado with the Army in 2008, just to read what others had to say as I was starting out in muzzleloading. I considered myself a total newbie to the activity and thus, like a good child, elected to be "seen and not heard." Now, having received an email today announcing the re-launch of this site, I find myself retired in Iowa with time to pursue my interests again and am excited to see that interest in muzzleloading (generally) is alive and well.

    I started muzzleloading not because of heritage or posterity, or because I sat up too late one night with a bag of jerky watching "Jeremiah Johnson," but out of practicality, frugality, and logic. I was in the service, not knowing where I might next be assigned, and wanted a hunting rifle system that would be permissible in as many places as possible.

    A little research revealed that:
    1. Muzzleloading rifles are legal in every state;
    2. Many models are not even fully considered "firearms" for many purposes of the law;
    3. Most inline .50 caliber muzzleloading rifles are capable of delivering external and terminal ballistic performance equaling that of .45-70 cartridge handload data;
    4. The recoil of a practical deer/elk load just isn't harsh enough to discourage frequent practice;
    5. A .50ML will launch the same 250 or 300 grain bullet found in a Hornady SST or FTX sabot shotgun shell at the same velocity, but with greater accuracy due to thinner sabot walls with greater concentricity - and much less recoil due to lesser total ejecta mass;
    6. Muzzleloading components are liberally available everywhere in the U.S. even where loaded ammunition sales are restricted or undermarketed, especially with "standard" .50 caliber supplies;
    7. Land owners seem to relax sooner and trust inquiring would-be hunters a little more than they do the usual door-knocking stranger once the practice of hunting exclusively with muzzleloaders is declared;
    8. The layout of funds to get started was roughly half of what it was then (2008) for a full new inline muzzleloading rig versus a new bolt action, bottlenecked metallic cartridge rifle with a quality scope;
    9. Because each shot is handloaded at the range, fine-tuning of loads for accuracy and precision is accomplished in real time; and,
    10. The guns tend to be more simple, robust, and durable, given that they only need to be sophisticated enough to ignite one shot before "system reset." Also, with proper barrel care, plastic sabots at 1,100-1,900 fps are physically incapable of causing wear on barrel lands beyond a mere fraction of what gilding metal at 2,500-3,300 fps will do. This, the lower maximum rate of fire, and the reduction in peak chamber pressures together indicate that unless I am negligent, I may not be able to wear out a good muzzleloader in one lifetime of shooting and hunting.

    As several "shotgun" states have in recent years legalized straight-walled pistol cartridge rifles during their gun deer seasons, I wondered if guys like me who previously chose the efficiency of inline/sabot equipment over shotgun slugs might have defected en masse to the other side. That is happening a bit, but not in droves like I feared. Some new hunters are appearing in the woods with everything from .44 Magnum lever rifles to ARs in .450 Bushmaster, but the Early Muzzleloader Season tags still sell out early, and most of the guys I know who hunt the ML seasons also use their frontstuffers if they also hunt the regular gun seasons.

    I shoot a stainless H&R Sidekick with a Metrics, Unlimited carrierless plug and one of those Jim Shockey fanboy Leupold UltimateSlam scopes. I have a blued T/C Encore .50 with the old style plug as backup, and a T/C Grey Hawk which I'm on the fence about whether to shoot or keep in the safe. (Feel free to laugh at my H&R, but it's given me 3 holes touching at 200 yards a few times so don't be surprised if I laugh, too.)
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2019
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  2. Jan 9, 2019 #2

    ENCORE50A

    ENCORE50A

    ENCORE50A

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    Welcome back. This muzzleloading stuff can go just as far as one wants to take it.... or can afford.
     
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  3. Jan 10, 2019 #3

    ourway77

    ourway77

    ourway77

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    I started muzzle loader hunting when all you could use was a Hawkin type ML'er From that time on I never shot another slug After the bug bit me I ditched my $24.00 Montgomery Ward 12 Ga, shotgun
     
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  4. Jan 10, 2019 #4

    ShawnT

    ShawnT

    ShawnT

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    Welcome Back! I Hunt in Ohio that was an ML/shotgun state for more years than I have been around. They recently started allowing the Straight walled rifles too. I did pick up a Ruger American in 450BM and I really like it. BUT will never give up my Muzzleloaders!;)
     
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  5. Jan 10, 2019 #5

    Angie

    Angie

    Angie

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    @NatureNick I'm very happy to see that the newsletter drew you back into the site and visiting with the good folks here.
    I'm pretty new here and they have been most welcoming to me. Just good all around.

    And I'm impressed with your fact list. Welcome, back home.
     
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  6. Jan 10, 2019 #6

    masakimm

    masakimm

    masakimm

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    I hunt With muzzle loaders for gun season and alternative season her. I also hunt with a bow. One thing also to consider Is some starts do consider muzzle loaders fire arms if u use 209 primers for smokeless powder. So Buy Muzzle
    loading only 209 primers just to be safe.
     
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  7. Jan 10, 2019 #7

    NatureNick

    NatureNick

    NatureNick

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    I have a bunch of .44 Magnum components lying around, as well as an extra 2-7x33mm Leupold with rings & an Encore base. So now that Iowa allows straight walls, I'm probably going to ask E. Arthur Brown to cook me up a 20" .44 Mag barrel for that Encore. That way, next time my buddy says "let's go thump some feral hogs on power company land," I can get more than one shot at the 4-5 hogs running under the stand!

    But for any activity where I'm just going for a single animal, the .50ML barrel has more legs to get it done. 110 grains of BH209 once put a 250 grain SST past my Chrony F1 averaging just over 1,960 fps in 4 shots (just before a sabot took out the sky screen rods). So, compared to a 240 grain XTP at 1,430 from a 20" barrel, Isaac Newton says I should go with the frontstuffer when I can.

    Like I said in my introduction, I didn't start muzzleloading to become a traditionalist, nor directly because of Fair Chase principles. It's great that those are built-in parts of muzzleloading, and the Fair Chase part is important to me. But even without those considerations, muzzleloading seems more practical to me from mathematic/economic/efficiency perspectives where bottlenecked rifle cartridges are disallowed, or where shots are going to be short & single anyway. It just makes good sense, all the way around. It feels more intimate, too; I'm more "involved" with the rifle than when I take a cartridge out of a box (even if I loaded that cartridge on my own press at home).
     

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