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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been thinking about a muzzle loader for deer hunting. There about a million options ranging from under $200 to over $1000, who on here has hunted with one, what were your results and what rifle did you use?
 

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I don't hunt but there is nothing so fun as shooting with a smoke pole. Most are very accurate with recommended loading.
 
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That sort of depends on what you consider a 'muzzleloader'.

You can go with a scoped, modern stocked, shotgun primer ignition 'inline' shooting jacketed sabots using BP like subs- which is available in pre-formed and measured little pellets on one end of the spectrum. Some of them can cost as much or more than a cartridge rifle.

Then you have long rifles and hawkens that come pre-built or as kits. They are caplock or flint lock and vary wildly in their historical accuracy but have been killing deer and other game for generations.

On the far end of the spectrum, you have custom built caplocks and flintlocks, often built using traditional methods, that would blend in perfectly during their proper periods and in the location where they were used and are pretty much indistinguishable from historical pieces. Some of these smiths are the ones that the museums turn to when it's time to verify that new acquisitions are legitimate or when something in their collections need repair.

Any time you say 'custom' it means extra money. When you get into niche markets like this one, the prices start high and go up. On the other hand, you get exactly what you want, the way you want it or you can get something that is exactly like what was used back in the day.

You need to do a little research and gain some knowledge so you can get the right gun for the way you want to hunt and what you plan on shooting. For example, patched round balls call for a different twist rate than minie or maxi balls. Shooting the wrong projectile in a gun set up for one of the others will ruin your accuracy.
 

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Unless you're a hard core deer hunter, get the traditional style rifle. A St Louis Hawken percussion will do very nicely as a deer rifle, but will also satisfy your desire for a classic shooter at the range. Believe me, when you start shooting black powder, you're going to want a traditional style rifle. If you are the hard core deer hunter type, you'll appreciate the features of a modern "in line" black powder rifle. You can always get a traditional muzzle loader later on.
 

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Too messy for me. I was soured on my buddy's cap and ball revolver. WAY too much trouble for me.

....then again, I'm a complete wuss. :p
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
For me it would be for hunting only, maximum range and accuracy being the considerations. I am looking at the inline 209 primed type, my question is mostly about the walmart cheapo vs. higher dollar Knight and Thompson versions.
 

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I never got into the so called modern muzzleloaders but hunted a 54 cal Lyman Plains Rifle or my TC New Englander also in 54 Cal. for many years. I've killed a lot of deer with both.
 

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I bought a CVA Mag Hunter (inline shotgun primer) Probably 10 years ago just because I trophy hunt on my farm and sometimes I haven't got my trophy by the time the regular gun season is over. 3 years ago I shot a 187 point buck at 213 yards with it so I am quite happy with that and I spent less than $500 on it,my son uses a TC Encore and he spent a whole lot more on that and I don't think it shoots any better than mine but being a break open it sure is a lot easier putting the primer in with cold fingers.
 

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I love shooting my cap and ball guns. I own 3 rifles, a CVA Plainsman I bought off gunbroker, a Cabela's Hawken Hunter Carbine which I bought off...uh...well, CABELAS...duh, and a CVA Wolf inline I got from Gander mountain on sale for 180 bucks. The Plainsman is a fun gun I bought for 80 dollars used. It has a 1:48 twist which is a compromise to stabilize patched round ball or light weight Minie balls. The Hawken Hunter Carbine is a Hawken modified with modernistic things such as a recoil pad, real adjustable sights, and such. It shoots well with heavy 385 grain Hornady Great Plains Minie balls. The HHC has a very fast 1:24 rifling, so forget anything, but heavy Minies in it.

For hunting OR shooting, I prefer the CVA Wolf. I have a scope on it and it shoots 2 MOA at 100 yards. The Cabela's HHC can shoot that well only with a 385 grain Minie and Pyrodex. I've never shot FFG in it, can't get it without ordering the stuff and paying 3 times in hazmat fees than the cost of the powder. So, last black powder I've bought was in about 1975 when you could buy the stuff right off the shelf at the gun shop. Ah, the good ol' days. With sidelocks like the Hawken, only real black powder will ignite easily. I installed a special attachment on the HHC, a converter which uses small rifle magnum primers to replace the number 11 percussion caps. THAT works really well, but those conversions are no longer availible. The Wolf is an inline whose breech plug accepts a shotgun 209 primer. It works very well. I have a nipple on the CVA plainsman and it's a pain, but it's mostly a wall hanger as I don't really enjoy the ill fitting stock and consequent felt recoil of that thing.

I shoot 777 3f in the Wolf. I shoot about 90 grains of it and I get 1700 fps. 777 is more energetic than any other substitute or real black. Killer stuff. It still needs clean up just like black powder or Pyrodex. I don't have the breech plug for the Blackhorn 209 substitute that came out some years back. That stuff is supposed to be non-corrosive and quite clean shooting, but it takes a blow torch to set the stuff off. It can only be fired in inlines using 209 primers and even so, takes a special breech plug in the Wolf. That breech plug is available, but I haven't bothered. I ain't skirt of cleaning my guns and I like the way 777 performs in that gun, really makes some power, near 3000 ft lbs. That's pretty much overkill on our deer. Would be useful for a moose or grizzly I suppose. :D

There's a lot to know with front stuffers. You HAVE to get out and shoot 'em, play with projectiles and powders if you aren't stuck on black powder and CAN get it. I can get it if I drive 150 miles, or I'm told there's a couple of shops on the west side of San Antonio that has it. I may order a bunch sometime, but I'll never shoot up a large quantity. I'd told to make a big order with friends and split the hazmat fee. That'd work if I had any friends, I guess. :rolleyes: I don't know ANYone around here that shoots BP. So, I just shoot the subs. I have recipes that work. :D Pyrodex smells and looks just like BP. It's a bit sluggish to ignite, but not in inlines. So, if you're not going to shoot black powder, I'd HIGHLY recommend a 209 inline. Yeah, it's not authentic 1400AD, but ya know, it at least WORKS and works well. Do you wanna sit around and dream you're Cabesa De La Vaca exploring the new world, or do you wanna SHOOT the danged thing and hit what you aimed at? It's far easier to live with a 209 inline than a sidelock, trust me, at least if you're denied the use of real Black Powder. Even if you shoot black, it's a lot easier to pull that breech plug and swab that bore. Be aware, too, that you'll need to clean the bore every couple of shots with a brush and water to get the fouling out if you want to maintain decent accuracy. Yeah, they're messy, they're a pain in the butt, you can't rattle off 30 rounds bump shooting, but they have their own qualities. During the ammo shortage when I couldn't get .22LR, I could still get caps, Pyrodex, and cast my round ball to shoot my revolvers. But, revolvers is another story. :D
 
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Oh, some states have a "primitive firearms" season and require sidelocks, percussion caps, and even restrict sabot projectiles (which I don't like anyway). I killed a 6 point with my CVA Wolf some years ago and he was killed quite dead. I haven't hunted with it for a while. One thing I do like about it, also, is you can pull the breech plug and unload it without firing it which can come in handy. You don't wanna leave it loaded more'n a few days or you not get it to fire. BP absorbs water readily. This may be more a problem on the gulf coast, though, not sure.

Really, for the hunter than doesn't have to follow "primitive firearms" rules, the 209 inline is the ONLY way to go. Texas has a muzzle loader season AFTER the regular season, which is kind of a joke. Nothing left diurnal after gun season, not even the does.
 
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My Hawken Hunter Carbine is left handed. :D
 
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I guess I'm fortunate that we have a couple re-enactor groups in my area so black isn't all that hard to get. There are at least 5 places within 50 miles of me that stock real black powder. When I can get it I like to use Swiss but there are a couple of new powders that are getting good reviews. I like the sidelocks. Cleaning is not that hard when you learn not to use petroleum products and get your bore seasoned correctly. Hot soapy water is all that's needed to remove any fouling, dry it and coat with Bore Butter and your done. In the field I use TC 13 to clean when needed but without the petroleum the fouling doesn't get as hard and you can get a lot more shots off before having to clean the bore. Most guys that just want to kill more deer will go with the in-lines but I just like using the old methods.
 

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For me it would be for hunting only, maximum range and accuracy being the considerations. I am looking at the inline 209 primed type, my question is mostly about the walmart cheapo vs. higher dollar Knight and Thompson versions.
Pick up a CVA inline. That way if you hate it you're not in for a ton of cash and they still are nice BP rifles. I recommend .50 caliber, just because there is a wider selection of bullets and you can pick up Pyrodex pellets to make loading easier and faster. I have a CVA Kodiak that I hunted with and used .45 caliber pistol bullets with sabots. I haven't hunted for a few years, so it just sits in my gun cabinet as a display piece now.
 

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I'm a little bit of a traditionalist.

My first muzzle loader was a Hawken made by Armi Sport in .50 cal. It shot great and did a nice job on Deer. I had a few years and sold it to some friends.

My second was a Thompson Center Renegade in .50. I loved that gun, but sold it to my step sister's husband for cheap because he didn't have much money and I only had $80 in it. He traded it off for a **** dog that couldn't find a **** if it was chewing on it. It was a great shooter.

My fifth was a Remington 700ML. It worked great and I had bought it used for $100. I really didn't like the look or feel, but another very accurate muzzle loader.

Now we get to 3, 4, and the 7th. They all have in common that they are replica of civil war rifles in .58. Two of them are a Parker Hale and a Traditions 1853 Enfields. The Parker Hale is collectors item and never shot. The Traditions has killed many deer. The 7th is an Antonio Zoli Remington Zouave. It too has done it's share.

Both the Traditions and Antonio Zoli are very accurate and can do the job past 150 yards. The era of the rifled musket only lasted about 10 years as the supreme military arm. The Civil War proves how deadly they were and how far they could reach accurately. Accurately placed 200 yard shots were not uncommon.

It's been fun to out shoot some of the fancy in-lines that are available today. There are some very nice and accurate in-lines, but some of the more traditional tools can do as good. One deer season, I never got the chance at a deer, but three Coyote's fell to the Zouave in the regular and primitive season. I still prefer black powder when I can get it and a nice greased Minie-ball. The main secret to them is using pure or near pure lead, and have what is nick named is a "Skirt iron". The skirt on the bullet can be dented easily if pure lead and a "skirt iron" pressed into the base makes it nice and round again. My favorite load is only 67-1/2 grains of Goex FFFg as measured by volume. I go for accuracy and after 80 grains the accuracy is a little off.

To clean, I use three equal part mixture of Murphy's Oil soap, rubbing alcohol, and hydrogen peroxide, as a bore solvent for black powder. It smells better in the house and use just like any bore solvent. then you MUST re-oil as the mixture is really good degreaser and oil remover.

As I said in the beginning, I'm a little more traditionalist in hunting tools. I once had a "Brown Bess" and French Charleville, but there was no way I would use them for deer hunting. They were too inaccurate, but with shot, I did try to rabbit hunt with them. Let me say that there is a reason they are nicknamed Flinch Locks.

Maloy
 

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love shooting my buddies custom made flintlock but for me and what I'd use one for I keep coming back to Remingtons 700.
 

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I have both ...My Sporterized Hawken....When weather is good....If it is rainy out i go with the traditions break open.
The break open styles are far easier to clean and more reliable with 209 ignitions....But i prefer the traditional style
and use it mostly...weather permitting.
 

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I'm a little bit of a traditionalist.

My first muzzle loader was a Hawken made by Armi Sport in .50 cal. It shot great and did a nice job on Deer. I had a few years and sold it to some friends.

My second was a Thompson Center Renegade in .50. I loved that gun, but sold it to my step sister's husband for cheap because he didn't have much money and I only had $80 in it. He traded it off for a **** dog that couldn't find a **** if it was chewing on it. It was a great shooter.

My fifth was a Remington 700ML. It worked great and I had bought it used for $100. I really didn't like the look or feel, but another very accurate muzzle loader.

Now we get to 3, 4, and the 7th. They all have in common that they are replica of civil war rifles in .58. Two of them are a Parker Hale and a Traditions 1853 Enfields. The Parker Hale is collectors item and never shot. The Traditions has killed many deer. The 7th is an Antonio Zoli Remington Zouave. It too has done it's share.

Both the Traditions and Antonio Zoli are very accurate and can do the job past 150 yards. The era of the rifled musket only lasted about 10 years as the supreme military arm. The Civil War proves how deadly they were and how far they could reach accurately. Accurately placed 200 yard shots were not uncommon.

It's been fun to out shoot some of the fancy in-lines that are available today. There are some very nice and accurate in-lines, but some of the more traditional tools can do as good. One deer season, I never got the chance at a deer, but three Coyote's fell to the Zouave in the regular and primitive season. I still prefer black powder when I can get it and a nice greased Minie-ball. The main secret to them is using pure or near pure lead, and have what is nick named is a "Skirt iron". The skirt on the bullet can be dented easily if pure lead and a "skirt iron" pressed into the base makes it nice and round again. My favorite load is only 67-1/2 grains of Goex FFFg as measured by volume. I go for accuracy and after 80 grains the accuracy is a little off.

To clean, I use three equal part mixture of Murphy's Oil soap, rubbing alcohol, and hydrogen peroxide, as a bore solvent for black powder. It smells better in the house and use just like any bore solvent. then you MUST re-oil as the mixture is really good degreaser and oil remover.

As I said in the beginning, I'm a little more traditionalist in hunting tools. I once had a "Brown Bess" and French Charleville, but there was no way I would use them for deer hunting. They were too inaccurate, but with shot, I did try to rabbit hunt with them. Let me say that there is a reason they are nicknamed Flinch Locks.

Maloy

Those sound like more fun than watching a liberal trying to mud wrestle a greased pig! I have very limited exposure to BP- my only shooting of one being kruzer’s cap & ball at the 2015 SD event. Interesting but takes a lot of work.

I still have no idea how anyone hit anyone else at the OK Corral (1881) since everyone was shooting BP. The fog created by tight confined (15 ft X 15 ft) space should have resulted in 0 visibility and a lot of difficulty breathing.
 
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