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Muzzle Loader Recommendations

Discussion in 'Northwest Hunting' started by Yankeefan, Nov 3, 2012.

  1. Yankeefan

    Yankeefan Southern Oregon Member

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    My hunting partner and I are going to do a eastern Oregon muzzle loader hunt next year. He already has a smoke pole but I am now looking for one. I know very little about them except for the requirements that ODFW has set for the guns.

    So what do you all use or recommend?

    Would like to stay within the 300-600 range.
     
  2. carracer

    carracer Nampa, Idaho Active Member

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    I have a TC White Mountain Carbine. It is .50 cal. I believe it has a 20" bbl. My personal reasons for this were the weight as it is very light and the length being very easy to handle.

    It is as accurate as I am provided I actually practice and shoot with it. Missed a standing broadside shot at an elk this year cuz I didn't go to the range before the season. Silly me!

    There are many choices available so ask around to shoot a couple before you buy. IF you get close to Boise, pm to me and you can shoot mine.
     
  3. Natty Bumpo

    Natty Bumpo Clackamas County Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I recommend going used and inexpensive for your first one. You will want to see if you end up liking muzzleloading. Most people who try it drop it after trial, or limit it to occasional use.

    There are several reasons for this. These include limited range, very limited firepower, and the necessity to be very fastidious about cleaning. It is also necessary to spend more time working up various loads for differing purposes. I see typical factory (Thompson Center, Lyman, CVA) rifles on sale here regularly for $200-300. Most of these are short, heavy stocked, percussion ignition rifles loosely resembling the western mountain pattern. I would stick with a recognizable, name brand rifle to begin with, so you can easily sell it down the road.

    If you end up becoming a fan, you will likely want to step up to a rifle with a finer lock, better triggers and a barrel with greater accuracy and made in a style that suits you and the type of hunting you do.
     
    mjbskwim and (deleted member) like this.
  4. Mark W.

    Mark W. Silverton, OR Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    WOW. I shot Blackpowder in competition for 15 years. I've owned a dozen different rifles. I hunted for 6 years with my rifle.

    My first question is do you want a Traditional style rifle or do you want a modern style?

    Second question do you want to shoot conical bullets/Maxi balls or do you want to shoot traditional round balls

    I would strongly suggest that you make a trip up to the GUN WORKS in Springfield and talk to the guys there about a used rifle. Might not need to buy there but they are the Blackpowder Rifle experts for the State.

    - The Gun Works Muzzleloading Emporium -

    I personally did all my hunting with a Thompson Center Hawkin that had a Green Mountain Target barrel on it 34" long with a 1-72" twist made for the .490 round balls I shot. I never changed my powder load from 70 grains of fffg and I could hit a small styrofoam coffee cup standing at 120 paces. The biggest mistake I saw guys do in the trail walks was to change the load all the time. Its much easier to learn the ballistics of the load you choose and to adjust point of aim accordingly. MY wife routinely won or came in in the top 3-4 and she competed using a little CVA Plains style rifle in .50 cal I put together for her. Her load was always 50gr of fffg.

    As to the modern side of muzzle loading I know nothing I've never been interested in those types of rifles.
     
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  5. Yankeefan

    Yankeefan Southern Oregon Member

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    Thanks for the help guys; keep it coming.

    I did a little bit of looking this morning before our soccer tournament today and I think I cound a leader of the pack right now. Its the thompson center northwest edition. Its set-up for the hunting regs here in oregon; but I am still looking for other rivals.

    Also need some reccomendations for the accessroies I should have.

    I have shot front stuffers a lot in the past when I lived in washignton and really enjoyed it. My hunting buddy and I are thinking about several different ML hunts over the next few years so whatever one I buy will need to serve for several hunts.
     
  6. nrc

    nrc Oregon Member

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    Used ones are a good way to save a few bucks - but keep in mind that failing to really clean a blackpowder gun will wreck a bore faster than on a used modern rifle. That's kept me off of a few used blackpowder rifles in the past.

    To your question - the Lyman plains rifle or deerstalker get my vote. Some folks don't like the 1:48 twist, but they shoot PRB and the shorter conicals very well.

    Have fun with whatever you wind up with.
     
  7. longcolt

    longcolt Zephyrhills, FL Active Member

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    I chose Traditions Hawkin with the brass fixtures cause it just looks beautiful hanging on the wall!!! Nice 50 caliber with the octagon barrel, get lots of comments on it and have made up a few stories to share with friends.

    I do agree with our members comments about buying used and that many shoot them a few times and then go back to regular rifle or bow hunting. Thats why you need to buy one that looks good hanging on the wall!
     
  8. RVTECH

    RVTECH LaPine Well-Known Member

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    Regardless of what you choose keep the ODFW regs in mind when choosing a rifle. Looks like they made some changes since last I checked:

    Muzzleloader

    Scopes (permanent and detachable), and sights that use batteries, artificial light or energy are not allowed during muzzleloader-only seasons and 600 series hunts where there is a weapon restriction of shotgun/muzzleloader only or archery/muzzleloader only, except for visually impaired hunters who have a visual acuity of ≤ 20/200 with lenses or visual field of ≤ 20 degrees (a permit is required; please see page 86). Open and peep sights made from alloys, plastic, or other materials that do not have the properties described above are legal sights. Fiber optics and fluorescent paint incorporated into or on open or iron sights are legal.

    It is illegal to hunt with on-lead bullets, jacketed bullets, sabots, and bullets with plastic or synthetic bases during muzzleloader-only seasons and 600 series hunts where there is a weapon restriction of shotgun/muzzleloader only or archery/muzzleloader only. Conical lead or lead alloy bullets with a length that does not exceed twice the diameter and lead or lead alloy round balls used with cloth, paper, or felt patches are allowed.

    It is illegal to hunt with centerfire primers as an ignition source during muzzleloader-only seasons and 600 series hunts where there is a weapon restriction of shotgun/muzzleloader only or archery/muzzleloader only.

    It is illegal to hunt with pelletized powders or propellants during muzzleloader-only seasons and 600 series hunts where there is a weapon restriction of shotgun/muzzleloader only or archery/muzzleloader only. Granular (loose) black powder and black powder substitutes are the only legal propellants during muzzleloader-only seasons and 600 series hunts where there is a weapon restriction of shotgun/muzzleloader only or archery/muzzleloader only.

    No other firearm may be used for hunting during a muzzleloader-only season (See definition page 10 or regulations book).

    Muzzleloading firearms with revolving actions are prohibited during muzzleloader-only seasons and 600 series hunts where there is a weapon restriction of shotgun/muzzleloader only or archery/muzzleloader only.
     
  9. longcolt

    longcolt Zephyrhills, FL Active Member

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    But you can carry a self defense handgun on your belt during bow or muzzleloader season. I take my Ruger 44 mag on all bow hunts in case I meet up with ber bear without a arrow nocked.
     
  10. shooter

    shooter Ridgefield Member

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    I would encourage you to look into other makes/models before picking up a TC Northwest explorer. I have been muzzleloading for elk the last 8 seasons and two different guys in our group have owned NW explorers at one time or another and both have had issues. While they are easy to clean, it is not uncommon (at least in our experience) for the firing pin to fail to fire the percussion cap. One of the guys had some success by backing out the nipple slightly so that the firing pin would strike the percussion cap harder, but ultimately it's tough to carry around something that doesn't go bang 100% of the time.
    There are several manufacturers that make guns that fit the Oregon/Washington regs. There are two that I would recommend. One, as some others have mentioned, is a Thompson Center Hawkins. They have a great traditional look and they are very accurate if you are using round balls or conicals. They can also be found in the $250-$300 range. The other one is Knight Disc extreme. They are the latest-greatest in inline muzzleloaders, but the price reflects it. They are $550-$750 depending on finish. They are lightweight (for a muzzleloader), easy to clean, and have modern Green Mountain barrels that are designed to shoot sabots. They can handle loads up to 150 grains and Knight guarantees their accuracy out to 200 yards.
    I am more traditional and enjoy the look of a Hawkins so that's what I shoot. I have never taken a shot at an elk out beyond 80 yards, mainly because of the terrain we hunt, but if I felt like I was hunting where a longer shot was a possibility then I would move into a disc exteme, shooting sabots, with a williams rear peap sight and a williams fire sight out front. They are scary accurate for a smokpole.
     
  11. Yankeefan

    Yankeefan Southern Oregon Member

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    Shooter, thanks for the warning about the TC NW explorer; I will definitely look into it. That Knight Disc is nice but I think a bit out of my price range for now.

    Those of you recommending the Hawken...are you talking about the TC version or the traditions hawken woodsman?

    One more, any one know anything about the Traditions Vortek Ultra Light Northwest Magnum.
     
  12. shooter

    shooter Ridgefield Member

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    I prefer the TC version on the Hawkins.

    There are several mixed reviews out about the Vortek. It is a nice rifle. Lightweight and the camo composite stocks are nice and I've heard they hold up well. The frames are CeraKoted and I particularly like the break open action and drop out trigger. One of the guys in our hunting group is sold on them.

    I think most of the reviews that are negative stem from the same issue that the Northwest explorer exhibits, which is a failure to pop the cap everytime. Lots of guys say the issue has been taken care of and that it was mainly an issue with earlier released guns. My take is that each gun is a little different and with a muzzleloader it sometimes requires a little elbow grease to get it to be old reliable. With many of todays in-line muzzleloaders it is very important to keep the firing pin very clean and plunging properly, and it is also important to experiment with how tight to seat the breech plug.

    Since you are not allowed to shoot sabots in OR, then you may want to do a little research on how the Vortek handles conicals or buffalo bullets. I believe it has a pretty quick twist rate (1:28?) so it probably shoots a sabot nice, however a slower twist like 1:36 or 1:48 is preferred for conicals. That's why a lot of guys like the Hawkins and Lymans.
     
  13. OFADAN

    OFADAN Brownsville, OR Well-Known Member

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    Perhap a visit to Joe at the Gun Works in Springfield is in order. If not mistaken Joe shop is the largest black powder shop west of the Mississippi. He has hunted big game around the world with muzzleloaders and has been in the biz for a real long time. Extremely knowledgable and friendly has lots of new and used production and custom guns.
     
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  14. Yankeefan

    Yankeefan Southern Oregon Member

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    Yup. I just have to find a time I can drive an hour north and make the visit.
     
  15. Yankeefan

    Yankeefan Southern Oregon Member

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    Picked up a remington 700ml for a song off of gunbroker. Should be here in a few days!! I can't wait!!
     
  16. woodland

    woodland Boise, ID New Member

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    a little late but...What gun did you decide on? i purchased a northwest explorer in september and am really happy with it. went on an elk hunt this last weekend and my gun was the only one to discharge on the first cap both days (rained on us both days) I had some difficulty finding the right load for it. After trying maxi-hunters, no excuse, and precision conicals, i found the precision to be the best bullet. I still want to try some maxi-balls...
     
  17. Trailboss

    Trailboss Vancouver, WA Well-Known Member

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    I've been using a TC Hawkins in .50 Cal for 35 years. Cast my own maxi-leads and use black powder. Mine is a cap and ball, never got used to the delay in the flintlock. I've never regretted my choice.
     
  18. Summersteel

    Summersteel wet side of oregon Member

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    I thought OR regs prohibit sabots??
     
  19. OMmedia

    OMmedia Lake Oswego New Member

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    look this one up. Great gun for OR/WA

    I have four muzzleloaders and this is by far the one I like the best thus far, in regards to more modern styles.

    ~OM
     
  20. Pugman

    Pugman Woodland, WA New Member

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    Hello everyone, I hunt in Washington State, hunted Elk for many years with a Remington 700 ML 54 caliber, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it! Knocks elk off their feet! They Never get away and very accurate.... :cool: