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Run down on muzzle loaders


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I think it's about time to take up muzzleloadering. I need a complete run down on muzzle loaders: which brand to purchase, which brand is of high quality, how to take care, which powder to use, how much recoil, etc., etc....

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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I use a CVA Optima, its a great muzzleloader. Very easy to load and clean. As far as what you need, my best advice is to just go to Gander or a sportshop and talk to someone. Thats what I did and it was very helpful, and they were not just trying to sell stuff either, so that was nice. Good luck on your search.

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Pardon the pun, but those are some loaded questions. That could be quite a lengthy post. My suggestion would be to get your hands on a book called "Muzzleloading, by Toby Bridges" This will give you the basic information you need to make a somewhat informed decision when it's time to buy your new muzzleloader. It’s an easy read. (should be able to get through it in an evening.) The rest you'll learn at the range.

Good Luck

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Top of the line I would have to say would be the Thompson Centerfire Omega or the Knight Revolution. For the money I would look at the CVA line. Kodiak to be exact.

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I personally from other stuff I've read would recommend getting a .50 caliber. Lots more bullets to choose from and legal for any type of game in any state. I've got a TC Omega which I really like and I put the peep sight on it. I'd love to see how accurate it could be with a scope on it but then it wouldn't be legal for this weekend. Muzzleloading is a blast and I couldn't be happier that I got my gun this year.

I'm planning on lapping my barrel over the winter which is basically a process for removing and nicks or burrs in the barrel. He writes a whole chapter on this. To be honest though my gun is shooting pretty good right now once I figured out that I didn't need to shoot a 150 grain load of powder. I'd bet most guys probably shoot out of a standard inline about 90 grains to 120 grains of powder.

I'm going to cut and paste some stuff from another source below. This guy does really know his stuff on Muzzleloaders. He's got like 12 chapters on stuff but I just put a little bit over here.

Written by Expert:

Chapter 5: Selecting your rifle

If you are thinking about getting into muzzleloading (ML) there are quite a few factors that need to be taken into account:

Do you hunt anything bigger than a whitetail or a black bear?

How much does the cleaning aspect bother you?

How much recoil can you tolerate?

How much time are you willing to devote to learning a new shooting sport?

How much money can you afford to invest in this new sport?

What is the general weather in your area during hunting season?

If you hunt nothing larger than a whitetail or black bear, then IN THEORY, you need nothing larger than a .50 caliber. I prefer to use a .54 because I can use lighter loads for smaller animals and heavier loads for bigger animals. Every gun on the market can only be loaded with a certain amount of powder before you get into a real dangerous situation. So make that decision.

If the cleaning issue is a major factor, and you really don't want to have the hassle more than absolutely necessary, then I would shoot loose Clear Shot and buy a stainless steel barrel. The stainless barrels don't rust the way blued ones do, and will tolerate a bad cleaning job better than blued. Inlines are the easiest to clean because you can remove the breech plug. Percussion are the next easiest to clean, and flintlocks are the hardest.

Now the critical stuff. The general rule that I tell everyone is to buy the absolutely best rifle you can afford. In this business you get what you pay for. Low prices - low quality. Low quality - more problems. The main ingredient with any rifle, in regards to quality, is the barrel. Some rifles have die cut lands and grooves, some have have laser cut, and some have forged. I prefer laser cut and forged lands and grooves. Any rifle with a Green Mountain barrel has laser cuts. Remington forges theirs. Die cut lands and grooves have "chatter" marks in the barrel and it can sometimes be very difficult to remove them. I am going to do a chapter on this problem and it will help you solve that problem if you do end up buying a rifle that has the die cut lands and grooves. When you go to the store to buy your rifle take a couple of cotton balls with you. If you have a bore scope, or bore light, also take that with you. A small mirror will work if you don't have the scope or light. When you narrow down your choices, and before you buy, use a ramrod and run the cotton ball down the bore. Look in the bore with the scope, light, or shine light down it with the mirror, and look for cotton fibers stuck inside the bore. Buy the gun that has the fewest number of fibers that are stuck in the barrel. If you find a gun with no fibers stuck in the bore, buy that "puppy" right then and there. It will save you innumerable problems later on.

I would buy a gun with a synthetic stock. It solves a lot of problems, the least of which is scratching. Also,don't forget you are going to have to buy some accessories; caps, powder, patches, bore swabs, bore brushes, etc. that pull this whole thing together. Plan on spending around $50.00 on top of the cost of the gun.

Chapter 4: Why I don’t like Pyrodex Pellets

One of the really great things about muzzleloader (ML) hunting that I like is that I can custom tailor a load that exactly fits my situation. Unlike in centerfire (CF) where some pencilneck is sitting at a desk and making the decision as to what weight of bullet, what kind of powder, what amount of powder, and what type of bullet is best for me in my situation when he knows nothing of my situation. With a ML I can choose every ingredient that makes my situation work. All that bullet manufacturers in CF do is reach a compromise.

What we do in muzzleloading is tailor each component for our individual situation. I want to be able to know in my mind that I have put together a combination that is going to give me the results that I want, and if I don't get those results I want it to be as a result of something I did, not something that some obscure individual sitting somewhere at his desk did. That is why, so far in this conversation, I have said to decide what bullet you want to use, and what powder you want to use, and then adapt both to YOUR situation. Let's talk about powder. I know what I am going to say is maybe not going to sit right with some of you, but let's let the chips fall where they may. My purpose, as moderator, is not only to help solve problems, but in some way help make more folks better hunters. This means respecting and treating the resource (animals) with respect and not make them suffer anymore than necessary. By swiftly and effectively downing an animal with as accurate a shot as possible we have fulfilled that objective.

I have never seen a ML or CF rifle where the trajectory of the bullet was not greatly affected by 30 or 50 grains of powder. The amount of powder, and type, have tremendous effect on the path of the bullet, so consequently on the accuracy of your shot. Let's put it right up front. I DO NOT LIKE THE IDEA OF PELLETS, WHETHER THEY ARE 30 GRAIN OR 50 GRAIN, AS THE ONLY INCREMENTS OF POWDER THAT ARE AVAILABLE TO ME IF I CHOOSE TO SHOOT PELLETS. If you are having problems with accuracy, or you want to increase the speed of your bullet, and the only choice that you have is to increase or decrease by 30 or 50 grains you are being seriously mislead. You have now subjugated yourself to the same position as a CF hunter. You have become a slave to the ballistics, and lack of accuracy, that 30 or 50 grain increments of powder provide! You are letting somebody at that obscure desk somewhere tell you that you can get the results you want by adjusting your powder load in those increments. IT DOESN'T WORK FOLKS! I hate to say this, but they have made you lazy ML shooters. Notice I did not say hunters! What is the biggest reason you use pellets? Because they are easy to load and control. You have forsaken assembling the best load that you can that will treat you and the animal in the best way possible. You have gotten frustrated because you aren't really getting the accuracy that you want or need. All of us are guilty of rationalizing poor shots.

When we do that we start using "Kentucky windage" far too much, or start moving our sights around and end up with a worse situation that we started out with. I know as sure as God made little green apples that some of you are going to come back and say I'm all wet; but if you are honestly getting the accuracy that you want under all circumstances by increasing or decreasing your load in 30 or 50 grains increments then you are the very rare exception to the masses. You are cheating yourself out of one of the real pleasures involved in muzzleloaders. Let me give you an example of what I am talking about. I only shoot .54's. Why? Because by adjusting my bullet weight and powder charge I can hunt anything from a 1000 lb. grizzly to a 75 pound javelina (hog). Show me 1 centerfire rifle that can do that. Better still, show me 1 person shooting pellets that can adjust his or her load as finitely. Don't let the ease of pellets override the necessity of taking the time to work up the absolutely best load you can by increasing or decreasing your powder charge in 5 grain increments. If the only option you have, if you are shooting pellets, is to increase or decrease you powder charge by 30 or 50 grains then, sadly to say, you are a shooter who is hoping like the devil to hit the kill zone when the gun goes off. If you take the time to work up a load with loose powder and continue to use it when you hunt then you don't have to guess where the bullet went when you squeezed the trigger.

Let's say for the sake of argument that you sighted in your rifle with the bullet and powder charge that you wanted and you used loose powder to do so. By some fluke it works out that 100 grains, or 150 grains of Pyrodex were just exactly what gave you the 3" shot group at 100 yards that you are striving for. Then, by all means, use the pellets but only after you have gotten a 3" group at 100 yards. If you start out using pellets and wonder why you can't get that 3" group, I think I have told you why. That is my 2 cents worth on the subject.

To illustrate the subject a little more. The only thing I will ever say on this page is what my personal experiences have been, not someone elses. I have all 7 of my rifles sighted in to where I can get a 3" group, or smaller, at 100 yards. When these pellets came out I wanted to see what the effect would be by changing my loads in 30 or 50 grain increments. I took all 7 guns to the range and shot pellets through all of them. Every shot was a minimum of 4 inches away from where the gun normally shoots. With one of my percussions the bullets were in the 7 ring! Nuff said.

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I just bought a CVA optima from walmart for 150 bucks synthetic with a nickel barrel so far i love shooting the thiung and cleaning the thing was rather easy. I got mine on clearance but they usually sell for 200 bucks or more at other stores but wally was right at 200. I would definately recommend a break open action instead of the bolt action. My dads went off when he was try to ease the bolt forward and I think the break action would be a lot easier to clean.

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I just noticed the other day that Cabelas has a CVA Hunter Bolt Magnum Combo on sale, they come with a .45 and a .50 caliber barrel. I think they ranged from $130 - $160 depending if you got a camo stock or whatever.

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Thanks to all the posters, your suggestions are of great value to my search.

I went to Gander Mountain and looked at what they have instock (not much variety). I really like the Thompson Center Omega with the brown laminate stock. But the close to $700 price tag is really going to set me back a bit. Ouch!!!

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I would do a little research if I were you. I just looked up the price online at Cabelas and it's $489.99 for the TC Omega Stainless/Laminate. You could be getting the one with a scope or something I don't know and this is the price for just the gun.

I actually bought my TC at Ricks Sporting goods because they had the best price. I had done some checking around. They matched a 10% off thing I had for Gander Mountain on some of the accessories. I would pick the gun you've decided you want and then call around for pricing and check online pricing as well.

A TC Omega Stainless/Black synthetic Stock is listed as $399.99 online at Cabelas. I paid $389.99 for mine at Ricks.

I wouldn't buy a pre put together kit if I we're you with things like bullets, and lubes with the gun. I would pick up the specific items that you need and then go from their. Your going to end up going back to get different things later and why pay extra for stuff you probably won't use.


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Thanks for the heads up.

Gander Mountain is the most expensive in the guns department.

Where is Rick's?

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