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  #1  
Old 10-03-2011, 10:15 AM
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first time muzzleloader?


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I'm thinking about muzzleloading next year for elk and deer. However, I have absolutely no experience with muzzleloading.

What would be a good muzzleloader to start with? is a .50 cal big enough for elk? I live in Washington and the rules are kind of confusing to me (partly because I have no idea about the muzzleloading lingo)
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  #2  
Old 10-03-2011, 10:24 AM
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This is a good time to start thinking about next year, if you work at it now you may be about ready.
Yes, a .50 caliber is enough gun and won't kick so hard as a larger caliber. Once you move beyond "enough gun" there is really nothing to be gained by "still more gun". Just because muzzleloaders have big bores don't let that fool you into thinking you can be sloppy in shot placement. Accuracy rules, well, reliablity first but accuracy a close second.
There are an amazing variety of "modern muzzleoaders" available but I've never owned one, I shoot traditional muzzleloaders and I can tell you that one year of serious work and study is barely enough to prepare for a hunt.
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  #3  
Old 10-03-2011, 01:41 PM
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Thanks!! what is the difference between a "modern muzzleloader" and a "traditional" one?

and what does this mean?

"a. Ignition is to be wheel lock, matchlock, flintlock, or percussion using original style percussion caps that fit on the nipple and are exposed to the weather. "Exposed to the weather" means the percussion cap or the frizzen must
be visible and not capable of being enclosed by an integral part of the weapon proper. Primers designed to be used in modern cartridges are not legal."

this was taken from the regulations.
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  #4  
Old 10-03-2011, 02:03 PM
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That means you must be from a state where they don't like 209 primers etc. You will have to stick to a NW edition Thompson or Traditions NW / evolution or CVA has one too. As an inexpensive gun that passes your laws, I'd review the Traditions Evolution. The other alternative is to use a traditional side lock style Hawken or similar rifle: This is my traditional pistol / rifle:



Certainly nothing wrong with traditionals and they are pretty. Only drawback I find is cleaning. The hooked breechplug traditionals aren't too bad, but solid ones can be a pain to clean without damaging wood etc. This is my modern which has an enclosed percussion cap and you couldn't use:



Here's a link to the two Traditions you could use:
Evolution-50-cal-G-1-Vista-camo-premium-cerakote-Information
Vortek Ultralight Northwest Magnum .50 Caliber Synthetic Black With Premium CeraKote-Information

If it were me I'd start with the less expensive Evolution and if you like it later you can upgrade. Good luck with your new pursuit.
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  #5  
Old 10-03-2011, 02:16 PM
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"Modern muzzleloader" is a term made up to excuse the "inline" things which bear no resemblance to what everyone recognizes as the muzzleloaders of the previous 500 years. They are muzzleloaders only by legal definition and everyone knows they are not "real muzzleloaders". People looking for the quick and easy way can buy one at Walmart packaged with all needed accessories, load it up by the instructions provided and go hunting. They resemble a modern bolt action rifle or break open shotgun with stocks of black plastic, sometimes camo painted. They were developed to eliminate, as much as possible, the inherent limitations of real muzzleloaders. They are a cheater's gun, designed to perform like a modern firearm while slipping through the loop holes of the legal definition.
"Traditional muzzleloader" is a term we have been forced to adopt to distinguish real muzzleloaders from the disgusting things described above. They resemble, at least in general form and function, the rifles carried by Dan Boone, Davy Crockett or Kit Carson. They have all the same limitations as the rifles of 150-500 years ago, are loaded in the same way with the same components and make the same demands of the shooter. They are used by hunters who are willing to accept the handicaps imposed by using outdated technology and who enjoy the challenge of trying to make the most of that technology. They also are the only choice for historical reenactors of the American Revolution and up through the Fur Trade Era and the Civil War.
I'd suggest you start by acquiring a book or two. One which is inexpensively available at many gun shops and even some Walmarts and is very useful is the "Lyman Black Powder Handbook & Reloading Manual", that will give you a grasp of the terminology.
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Last edited by CoyoteJoe; 10-03-2011 at 02:39 PM.
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  #6  
Old 10-03-2011, 02:19 PM
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Is this the same muzzleloader as the vortex ultralight northwest??

Cabela's: Traditions™ Vortek™ Ultra Light CeraKote/Black .50-Caliber Muzzleloader
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  #7  
Old 10-03-2011, 02:25 PM
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Thanks CoyoteJoe, I refuse to go to walmart, but i'll track down that book.
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  #8  
Old 10-03-2011, 02:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coors View Post
Is this the same muzzleloader as the vortex ultralight northwest??

Cabela's: Traditions™ Vortek™ Ultra Light CeraKote/Black .50-Caliber Muzzleloader
Nope, if you look carefully at the link I supplied, in the top view, you can see through to the percussion cap. The Cabella's one is not acceptable in your neck of the woods. 8( If you watch for deals in the Traditions Specials I've seen em for around $225 for seconds, etc.
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  #9  
Old 10-03-2011, 02:50 PM
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Yep, you should definitely still be shooting a match lock coyotejoe or perhaps a wheel lock, because THOSE are real muzzle loaders. Sorry, but even flintlocks and percussion caps were simply stepping stones up as technology advanced. I love the look of traditionals too, but simple fact is that as technology advanced, so did firearms and this continues to this day. I shoot a Swiss 1911 Schmidt-Rubin bolt action, because I find it cool, but that doesn't mean I shouldn't own my modern EAA Tanfoglio Witness .45 Match Pistol.
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  #10  
Old 10-03-2011, 02:53 PM
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Thanks, they look a lot alike. Like I said, i'm new to this whole muzzleloading thing.
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  #11  
Old 10-03-2011, 04:09 PM
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No problem. The ones that will work for your area will typically specify: "legal in Washington, Idaho, Oregon" or something similar. Another is TC's Northwest Explorer. Sorry, should have listed it earlier:

Triumph™ - Thompson/Center

Here's a good deal on a Semi-modern traditional right now only $189 8)
Deerhunter .50 Cal Select Hardwood/Blued R36108101-02-Information
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  #12  
Old 10-04-2011, 10:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tacklebury View Post
Yep, you should definitely still be shooting a match lock coyotejoe or perhaps a wheel lock, because THOSE are real muzzle loaders. Sorry, but even flintlocks and percussion caps were simply stepping stones up as technology advanced. I love the look of traditionals too, but simple fact is that as technology advanced, so did firearms and this continues to this day. I shoot a Swiss 1911 Schmidt-Rubin bolt action, because I find it cool, but that doesn't mean I shouldn't own my modern EAA Tanfoglio Witness .45 Match Pistol.
It's human nature to want to improve on things, to find an easier way, and that is good.
Sports magazines covered the bow hunting efforts of Saxton Pope, Howard Hill and Fred Bear and people said "hey, I want to try that". But they soon found the simple stick and string bows had great limitations, so they "improved" the bow into something Mr. Pope would never recognize.
Doug Wesson hunted big game all over the world with the first .357 magnums and people said "I want to try handgun hunting". But they didn't like the limitations so they "improved" the handguns until now the term "hunting handgun" includes what are really just scope sighted carbines without a buttstock.
Likewise some old timers lobbied their game departments to establish a special season for those who were willing to accept the limitations of hunting with a muzzleloader. But there were people who wanted to "take advantage" of that season but didn't want to put up with the limitations. So they "improved" on the concept until it bears no resemblance to a muzzleloader but for the fact that it loads from the front. That would be all well and good save for the fact that those special seasons were established expressly because of the limitations of those 1940-1960 era muzzleloaders which replicated the 1640-1860 era.
So yes, they are a cheaters gun when used in the special muzzleloading seasons. In the target shooting world they would be called "rule beaters".
A perfect example is illustrated above. The rules say "exposed ignition", clearly intended to mean a traditional side hammer gun. So they just take their enclosed system and cut out a peep hole to get around the rule.
Shoot them in the regular rifle season if you like, but using them in the muzzleloader season is cheating, taking advantage of loop holes in the law, and you durn well know it and that's exactly why you like them.
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  #13  
Old 10-04-2011, 11:48 AM
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In-line ignition has actually been around a long time. Just not as long as the very first muzzleloader
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  #14  
Old 10-04-2011, 01:29 PM
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Yes Sir, Here is a late example. It may be old news but I still am fascinated by it. It's a Billinghurst inline ignition rifle. It is an exposed hammer firearm too. In no way am I pointing this out to "cheat the rules" or work around the game laws. It's just part of history. I'm sure William Bllinghurst designed this to give an advantage in target shooting. That being quick, efficient burning of the powder as with underhammers and mule-ear locks he built. I think a .54 caliber (or larger) roundball rifle with appropriate rate of twist ( 1:66 to 1:72) is all you really need.

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Last edited by @bullseye; 10-04-2011 at 01:54 PM.
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  #15  
Old 10-04-2011, 06:44 PM
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Coors,
If you are interested in a .50 caliber rifle, a REAL muzzleloader, check out the Lyman Trade Rifle: TRADE RIFLE 50 CAL PERCUSSION . $300 for a percussion or flintlock and never worry about if your rifle meets the muzzleloadeng requirements again. I happen to share the same camp fire with Joe.
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  #16  
Old 10-04-2011, 07:01 PM
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Quote:
but using them in the muzzleloader season is cheating
I have to say, last I checked, performing an action which was cheating meant it was against the rules. All 50 states allow in line muzzle loaders, hence not cheating. If you like the quirkiness of the side locks or the looks or just how they feel, then good for you. 8) I love em along with many other types of guns and weapons. I love recurves bows and have no use for long bows or compounds. What that equates to is personal opinion and like, not cheating or violating some holy black laws. To each their own I say and as long as your state allows it, hunt with what you want. One of my projects currently in the works is a 75caliber Forsyth rifled muzzle loader that will have a screw-in choke in the end of it's 36" barrel. This will allow it to shoot shot as well as a smoothbore, while stabilizing large heavy round balls as well, so this might be cheating as well, because I could shoot buckshot from my muzzle loader?
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  #17  
Old 10-05-2011, 09:45 AM
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I hate to be selfish but can we get back to the question at hand?

So far I have learned that reliability and accuracy are the 2 most important things (for obvious reasons for hunting). No matter what, we all want a clean kill!

And that a .50 cal is big enough for elk hunting

For a pure greenhorn with muzzleloading, I think I am leaning towards a "modern" muzzle loader. Reason being, I feel like the learning curve is shorter, and they seem more reliable. If I am wrong please somebody tell me, cause I could be completely wrong.

Now that being said, eventually I would like to work my way down the evolutionary ladder of muzzle loaders and get into shooting a "traditional" style. But like I said, I have never done this before, and all my hunting experience has been with a 30-06. I am a firm believer in "baby steps".

You must first learn to crawl before you can walk, and you must first learn to walk before you can run.

Thank you everyone for your input, and I welcome everyones insight on this topic.
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  #18  
Old 10-05-2011, 09:58 AM
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You're right, the learning curve is shorter and if all you care about is hunting success you are on the right path.
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  #19  
Old 10-05-2011, 02:18 PM
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The problem with roundballs is that they shed velocity fast so you have to get closer but the roundball is a DEADLY projectile. You can increase the range range and power by going with a larger ball but recoil becomes a factor to consider. An example...

http://imageshack.us/g/202/longr36.gif/

You can minimize recoil by selecting a stock design that can manage it. In general Germanic buttstocks manage recoil well while English stocks are usually too straight and handle recoil poorly. Of course there are exceptions to that statement. I've gone full circle considering various options so I hope reading this about roundballs helps in some way.. What I mean to point out is chapter 16 "The Deadly Lead Pumpkin"... I suggest getting some balls


The Complete Blackpowder Handbook - Sam Fadala - Google Books

There are several good pages that might be useful to you but this is all I could think of right now...

http://home.insightbb.com/~bspen/

Last edited by @bullseye; 10-05-2011 at 04:28 PM.
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  #20  
Old 10-06-2011, 07:44 PM
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why is there such a large difference in the twists on muzzleloaders?
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