Utah Wildlife Forum banner

1 - 20 of 41 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
306 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Big thanks to MuscleWhitefish for helping me out some already!

A little background.. I've hunted waterfowl since I was 15, drew my first general season rifle deer tag when I was a senior in high school, had no idea what I was doing that fall.. Haha. After I got back from my mission last year, I drew another rifle deer tag, harvested a little 2x2 that was a whole lot of fun with help from Mardell Nelson.

Now this year, my first choice tag was a Any Legal Weapon GS Buck. Ended up getting my second choice Muzzleloader! I also had my girlfriend do Trial Hunter Course so she could apply for a tag in time. She snagged a Muzzy tag as well! Now she will do the Hunter's Safety course next month!

Now... I am really excited to get into muzzleloader hunting! But.. I know nothing about them really.. Any tips or pointer would help out a whole lot! Where do I start?? Haha. I probably shouldn't spend too much.. She wouldn't be very happy about that, even though she will most likely be using mine to take her deer..
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
185 Posts
The best "bang for your "buck"" (see what I did there...twice?) is hands down the CVA Optima. Check out muzzle-loaders.com I think they have them for $260.00 I'd buy now instead of waiting for the fall sales so you will have plenty of time to practice and find a load your gun likes to shoot. I would offer to give you my old ML, but I'd better keep it for my son to use in a few years. I shot Power Belts out of my old gun and had so-so results (killed 2 deer with them). I'm switching to 290 grain Barnes T-EZ for my new setup.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
501 Posts
Decide on a budget (included all your setup: gun, projectiles, powder, accessories, optics) find a gun and then spend the summer shooting and finding the load your gun likes. The muzzy hunt is super fun and not nearly as crowded as the rifle.

I bought my first muzzy last year. I really love the break action with a quickly removable breech plug. It makes cleaning the gun a breeze. Most of the new guns have these and for me it's a make-or-break feature. If you hate cleaning it, you'll likely shoot it less and you need all the practice you can get.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,954 Posts
The best "bang for your "buck"" (see what I did there...twice?) is hands down the CVA Optima. Check out muzzle-loaders.com I think they have them for $260.00 I'd buy now instead of waiting for the fall sales so you will have plenty of time to practice and find a load your gun likes to shoot. I would offer to give you my old ML, but I'd better keep it for my son to use in a few years. I shot Power Belts out of my old gun and had so-so results (killed 2 deer with them). I'm switching to 290 grain Barnes T-EZ for my new setup.
^^^^^
This!
 

·
Member
Joined
·
1,666 Posts
This is another great resource http://www.chuckhawks.com/index2h.muzzleloader.htm.

Just to add some things to the conservation early.

Muzzleloader - Go to Cabela's or Sportman's and shoulder a few. You want a gun that feels great in your hands. Brands will be a personal preference (Mine is TC or CVA). I can't discount Traditions all the way even though my pursuit LT dislikes everything, I put down the barrel. I'm sure the Vortek line is a good gun. I would also recommend stainless or Nitride/Weather Shield protection.

Powders - I think Blackhorn is by far the best, but it does have flaws especially if the breach plug is clogged or magnum primers aren't used. Tripple 7's, Pyrodex, White Hots will do the job also, but they will require cleaning in between shot(s). Loose powders pack down more compact which is better for accuracy, but the difference is negligible with a well fitted bullet.

Primers - With Blackhorn I like CCI 209M, but I'm sure Federal and Winchester Mangum 209 primers will work.

Projectiles - Each gun will like a different bullet. I have had the best luck with Hornady SST or FPB. Barnes, TC, and Thor also make great bullets. I dislike Powerbelts, but a lot of people kill game with them. Sabots can be hard to load at times, but are usually a bit more accurate. Conicals are easier to load, but are slower. It really doesn't matter which bullet you use as long as you can shoot it accurately.

Optics - I like the Leupold Prismatic 1x optic with the etched reticle, but it is $600 bucks. You can go open sites, which is fun - takes a lot of practice. As far as 1x optics go, Crosshairs can cover the entire target and red dots can be pretty annoying on the eyes. You will have to try each and see what you like. It's a personal preference.

Accessories - Speed Loaders and Cleaning Kits are a must. Good thing, that both of them are reasonable in price. Anything else is just nice to have.

Have a good hunt.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,812 Posts
Powders - I think Blackhorn is by far the best, but it does have flaws especially if the breach plug is clogged or magnum primers aren't used. Tripple 7's, Pyrodex, White Hots will do the job also, but they will require cleaning in between shot(s). Loose powders pack down more compact which is better for accuracy, but the difference is negligible with a well fitted bullet.
Blackhorn 209 requires a closed breech, fully supported primer. I wanted to try it in my Remington 700ML's but as they aren't fully supported, its strongly not advised. I looked into a modification kit for the Rem700ML that makes it BH209 capable but it was pretty expensive, and would make the gun illegal in Idaho and CO.

Basically any Idaho or Colorado legal muzzleloader cant use BH209 (those have exposed ignitions, a no-go with BH209).

-DallanC
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,311 Posts
For someone starting out, triple seven pellets make things pretty easy. I've gotten such good results with them out of my optima, I've never seen a reason to switch to loose powder. Maybe I will someday just for kicks. Muzzy hunts are a blast.
 

·
Member
Joined
·
1,666 Posts
Blackhorn 209 requires a closed breech, fully supported primer. I wanted to try it in my Remington 700ML's but as they aren't fully supported, its strongly not advised. I looked into a modification kit for the Rem700ML that makes it BH209 capable but it was pretty expensive, and would make the gun illegal in Idaho and CO.

Basically any Idaho or Colorado legal muzzleloader cant use BH209 (those have exposed ignitions, a no-go with BH209).

-DallanC
I think you mean't Oregon or Washington, rather than Colorado.

Colorado Rules:

"Muzzle-loading rifles and smoothbore muskets, provided the minimum caliber shall be forty (.40) for all big game except elk and moose. The minimum caliber for elk and moose shall be fifty (.50). All muzzle-loading rifles and smoothbore muskets from forty (.40) caliber through fifty (.50) caliber must use a bullet of at least 170 grains in weight. All muzzle-loading rifles and smoothbore muskets greater than fifty (.50) caliber must use bullets of at least 210 grains in weight."

a. During the muzzle-loading firearms seasons for deer, elk, pronghorn, bear, and moose only lawful muzzle-loaders and smoothbore muskets may be used by muzzle-loading license holders.
b. During the muzzle-loading firearm seasons for deer, elk, pronghorn, bear, and moose the following additional restrictions apply:
1.Propellent/Powders: The use of pelletized powder systems and smokeless powder are prohibited.
2. Projectiles: Sabots are prohibited. For the purposes of this regulation cloth patches are not sabots.
3. Loading: Firearms must load from the muzzle. Firearms, which can be loaded from the breech, are prohibited.
4. Sights: Any muzzle-loading rifle or smoothbore musket with any sighting device other than open or "iron" sights is prohibited.
5. Electronic or battery-powered devices cannot be incorporated into or attached to the muzzle-loading firearm.

Idaho Rules:

In any hunt, including general any-weapon seasons and short-range hunts, it is unlawful to pursue or kill big game animals with any muzzleloading rifle or musket that is less than .45 caliber for deer, pronghorn, mountain lion or gray wolf; or is less than .50 caliber for elk, moose, bighorn sheep, mountain goat or black bear. Muzzleloader-Only Season Any person hunting in a muzzleloader-only season, including controlled hunts, must have in their possession a license with a muzzleloader permit validation. During a muzzleloader-only season, it is illegal to pursue or kill a big game animal with any firearm, muzzleloading pistol, or weapon other than a muzzleloading rifle or musket. In addition, the muzzleloading rifle or musket must be: Capable of being loaded only from the muzzle. Equipped with only open or peep sights. Scopes and any electronics are prohibited. Except hunters with a visual disability may apply for a permit to use no magnifying scopes. Loaded only with loose black powder, loose Pyrodex, or other loose synthetic black powder. Pelletized powders are prohibited."

"Muzzleloaders equipped with a single or double barrel. Loaded with a projectile that is within .010 inch of the bore diameter. Sabots are prohibited. Loaded with a patched round ball or conical non-jacketed projectile comprised wholly of lead or lead alloy. Equipped only with a flint, percussion cap or musket cap. 209 primers are prohibited. Equipped with an ignition system in which any portion of the cap is exposed or visible when the weapon is ****ed and ready to fire."

Oregon Rules:

"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. 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 non-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 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."

"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."

"For muzzleloader-only seasons and 600 series hunts where there is a weapon restriction of shotgun/muzzleloader only or archery/muzzleloader only, the muzzleloader must have an open ignition."

Washington Rules:

"Definitions of a Muzzleloader: A firearm that is loaded from the muzzle and uses black powder or a black powder substitute as recommended by the manufacturer for use in all muzzleloading firearms. A muzzleloading firearm shall be considered loaded if a powder charge and a projectile, either shot or single projectile are in the barrel and the barrel or breech is capped or primed. It is unlawful to hunt wildlife using a muzzleloading firearm that does not meet the following specifications. A muzzleloading shotgun or rifle must have a single or double barrel, rifled or smooth-bored A muzzleloading shotgun or rifle used for deer must be 40 caliber or larger Buckshot size #1 or larger may be used in a smoothbore of 60 caliber or larger for deer. A muzzleloading shotgun, rifle, or handgun used for all other big game must be 45 caliber or larger. Persons lawfully hunting small game with a double barrel, muzzleloading shotgun may keep both barrels loaded. A muzzleloading handgun must have a single or double barrel of at least eight inches, must be rifled, and must be capable of being loaded with forty-five grains or more of black powder or black powder substitute per the manufacturer's recommendations. A muzzleloading handgun used for big game must be 45 caliber or larger. A handgun designed to be used with black powder; including black powder percussion revolvers, can be used to hunt forest grouse, cottontail rabbits, and snowshoe hares. In addition to the above requirements, it is unlawful to participate (hunt) in a muzzleloading-hunting season using a firearm that does not meet the following specifications for a muzzleloader. As in the past sabots are allowed Any type of projectile is allowed. A modern handgun may be carried for personal protection Modern handguns cannot be used to hunt big game or dispatch wounded big game during a big game hunting season for muzzleloading firearms 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 eather "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. Sights must be open, peep, or of other open sight design Fiber optic sights are legal Telescopic sights or sights containing glass are prohibited It is unlawful to have any electrical device or equipment attached to a muzzleloading firearm while hunting. Those persons lawfully hunting Big-game with a double barrel muzzleloader may only keep one barrel loaded. Hunters with disabilities who meet the definition of being visually impaired in WAC 232-12-828 may receive a special use permit that would allow the use of scopes or other visual aids. A disabled hunter permit holder in possession of a special use permit that allows the use of a scope or visual aid may hunt game birds or game animals during muzzleloader seasons. Muzzleloading firearms used during a modern firearm season are not required to meet ignition, sight, or double barrel restrictions."

TLDR

In Colorado you can use inlines and in Idaho/Washington/Oregon you have to use the northwest version of inlines or traditional (Which is not compatible with BH209).
 

·
Member
Joined
·
1,666 Posts
For someone starting out, triple seven pellets make things pretty easy. I've gotten such good results with them out of my optima, I've never seen a reason to switch to loose powder. Maybe I will someday just for kicks. Muzzy hunts are a blast.
Once you go Blackhorn, you never go back. :mrgreen:

The advantage of loose powder is like the advantage of reloading your own shells. You can perfect a load, but if you gun shoots great there is nothing wrong with keeping a good thing going.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,812 Posts
Ah, I stand corrected on CO. Maybe it was a proposed rule I read vs the actual implementation. Either way, good to know.


-DallanC
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
169 Posts
Cva makes a quality muzzeloader for about any budget.
Go to cabelas and take a look through a few scopes and see what you like. I shot a red dot last year, but am switching over to the vortex 1x this year.
Also, don't make the same mistake I did when I first got into muzzleloading and not clean your gun. Make sure too clean it after every time you go out. That black powder will eat your gun.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
692 Posts
I can't say much about inlines since I've been shooting sidelocks since I was old enough to hold one to my shoulder.

That said, my opinion on load would be to use loose powder, and get ready to spend more on practice (learning, learning what your gun likes, bullets, etc) than you will on the actual gun.

You don't get to buy consistent factory loads, and EVERY gun is different... even the same make/model... Try power belts, try every type of bullet there is... and find the powder/bullet combination that your chosen gun groups best with.

Last but not least, once you've found what it likes, look at the ballistics, and be real when it comes to the range you can shoot at... a 285 grain bullet isn't going to be realistic over 100 yards (my opinion, but ballistics don't lie either)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
306 Posts
Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
Thanks everyone for the advice, it really means a ton!

So I stopped by Sportsman's in Riverdale on my way home from work. These are the guns that they recommended to me out of the ones they had in stock.

I think the Encore FX felt the best shouldered, but I'm not sure if my wallet likes the price that much..

The coating on the fore-end of the stock on the CVA's were coming off from people handling. Is that something anyone else is experiencing with their CVA's? Or should I not worry about that..
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
306 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
Anyone know of a particular gun store with a knowledgeable muzzleloader guy behind the counter?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,311 Posts
Thanks everyone for the advice, it really means a ton!

So I stopped by Sportsman's in Riverdale on my way home from work. These are the guns that they recommended to me out of the ones they had in stock.

I think the Encore FX felt the best shouldered, but I'm not sure if my wallet likes the price that much..

The coating on the fore-end of the stock on the CVA's were coming off from people handling. Is that something anyone else is experiencing with their CVA's? Or should I not worry about that..
I'd tell you to get the rifle that feels most comfortable and you'd be most excited about. That being said, I've never had issues with the finish wearing on my Optima. It's a tough one to beat for the price. I wanted to start with a "cheaper" muzzleloader to make sure I liked it before I went with a more expensive one. The Optima has definitely exceeded my expectations.
 

·
Member
Joined
·
1,666 Posts
Thanks everyone for the advice, it really means a ton!

So I stopped by Sportsman's in Riverdale on my way home from work. These are the guns that they recommended to me out of the ones they had in stock.

I think the Encore FX felt the best shouldered, but I'm not sure if my wallet likes the price that much..

The coating on the fore-end of the stock on the CVA's were coming off from people handling. Is that something anyone else is experiencing with their CVA's? Or should I not worry about that..
I don't think it is a huge deal with the CVA's, it is just personal preference.

That Accura picture you posted is tempting me.

Accura has a promise that if it is not the most accurate gun that you have ever shot they will give you your money back and I kind of want to put it to the test.

That Triumph seems a little over priced.

http://www.muzzle-loaders.com/muzzleloader-rifles.php is a good resource for price.

As far as someone to talk to about Muzzleloaders, I think your best bet would be on-line actually.

I have talked to Cabela's staff and Sportman's staff, but they for the most part have very little idea about muzzleloading (I'm sure there is exceptions) .

Just talking to people that muzzle-load hunt whether it is online or preferably in person.

Also, Youtube videos may be a resource especially when it comes to learning the do's and don'ts of cleaning. You can also check out what each company is stating that makes their rifle better than the next. There are a bunch of how-to videos too.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
394 Posts
Anyone know of a particular gun store with a knowledgeable muzzleloader guy behind the counter?
I hope I don't get grief for referring to another forum, but there is a very active blackpowder forum at huntingnet.com. Guys that shoot everything from traditional to modern. Most are pretty good dudes and more than happy to share what is working for them. You can also plow through the archives and get a lot of good info.
 
  • Like
Reactions: MuscleWhitefish
1 - 20 of 41 Posts
Top