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Hey great to see this forum is still going. I was only an occasional user but was shocked to see the DWR had pulled the plug on the old forum. I am glad that it has been preserved.

Anyway...

I am finally making the switch to muzzle-loader hunting this year for the elk hunt and I was just wondering what sage advice any of you old "smoke pole" vets might be willing to offer. I am not new to hunting; been doing it with a bow and rifle for years, but have never hunted with black powder nor so late in the year. I am spending plenty of time at the range getting to know my rifle, and I plan to hunt an area I am well acquainted with, but I would love to get all the advice I can. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks.
 

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Sounds like you are already doing a lot of things right.
Getting to know your gun and what it likes to eat, is the biggest challange to hunting with a muzzleloader.
There are so many options on powder charge and type of slug, that you have to field test several different loads to see which one your gun will like.
A break in period is needed for some barrels to settle in.
I have found this to be at least 50 rounds or more on some guns.

You will want to practice your reloading and find the best and fastest place for everything needed to reload.
Do it over and over until it becomes second nature to you.
The best advise is to be sure to make your first shot count!
You will find that you may not make a shot with a ML that you may have made with a high power rifle.
When you only have one shot, make it the best shot available, or don't take it!
Have a great hunt!
 

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Grandpa D said:
The best advise is to be sure to make your first shot count!
You will find that you may not make a shot with a ML that you may have made with a high power rifle.
When you only have one shot, make it the best shot available, or don't take it!
Have a great hunt!
could not have said any better...good advise
 

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Gramps and Sage are right on! Since you say you have been a bow hunter, your move to Muzz won't be that big a deal except that your range will double from that of a bow.

Once you find that combo of powder and bullet that your gun likes, you should be confident enough to take that 100 yd shot. Be kind to the animals and put a limit on yourself as to how far you shoot. Everyone has a different idea about how far it is to be ethically shooting and for sure these muzzleloaders will occationally bring down a buck at what I consider incredible distances, but most shooters can't hit their target at those ranges.

Part of the idea of "primitive hunts" is to get in as close as you need to make a clean kill. If you do happen to wound one, I hope you follow through with as much energy as you can muster to try and find it and put it down for the count.

Good luck on the upcoming hunt! I'm so danged excited for next Wednesday to come around I can hardly stand it.
 

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Ditto to everything that has been said, I wouldn't consider myself a veteran to ml's yet but have been doing it for a while now, and I love it!!! A few years ago I bought my TC Omega and I have loved it. But my dad was looking for a new muzzleloader, and we stopped by Cabela's and were looking around, and one of their guys named Craig helped us. I thought I already knew a bit about ml's but it turned into an hour class on what is what. I learned more last night about them then I have learned in seven years of hunting with them. So if you can make it down there ask for Craig and you will learn everything you need to know, other than just getting out there and doing it yourself.
Sorry to be so long winded.
 
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