Muzzleloader For Beginners?
Muzzleloader For Beginners?
If you love to hunt, get a muzzle loader. Many states offer extended muzzle loader hunting seasons that provide low-competition opportuni-ties to enjoy the woods Without the crowds. But before you start com-
paring performance and price of new muzzle loaders, check your state’s regulations on hunting with one. The legal requirements of each state are different, and some are so stringent that they might choose your
new muzzle loader for you. Some states have special ﬂintlock-only sea-sons. which restrict hunters to the most primitive of muzzle loaders. Other states don’t allow scopes on muzzle loaders, while some have
minimum caliber requirements. There are even restrictions on which type of bullets and powder you can use. It’s essential that you carefully study your state’s hunting regulations before diving into the world of
This hunter, Dan Doty. killed a great-tasting whitetail buck with his muzzle loader on
public land in North Dakota.
When you do begin shopping for a muzzle loader, be prepared to spend $300-$500 for a quality midpriced rifle. Since you will end up cleaning a muzzle loader often—in fact, some guys clean after every shot—buy one with a removable breech plug. Black powder is still used by many hunters, but black-powder substitutes such as Hodgdon Triple Seven make for easier cleaning. The 28-inch barrels are fairly common—these are long, heavy, and quite accurate. The .50-caliber is the most common muzzle loading rifle, and it is accepted in all states. Bullets and accesso-ries for .50-caliber rifles are widely available.
Because some states allow scoped muzzle loaders and others do not, it’s handy to have a rifle with a rail that can accept both open sights and a scope. A muzzle loader does not need too powerful a scope, due to the limited shooting range. (A 150-yard shot is considered long by many muzzle loader hunters.) A fixed 4x scope works great. Many of the current muzzle loaders on the market come with open sights fitted with fiber-optic wires that increase your ability to shoot in low light conditions. These are great at closer ranges, but they can begin to obscure your image of the target when shooting past 100 yards. For those who want to shoot at longer distances in areas that prohibit the use of scopes on muzzle loaders, try using a peep sight. Many hunters consider these to be an ideal compromise between open sights and a scope.
An all-purpose big game muzzle loader, the .60-caliber T/C Triumph with some essential accessories. A: Ramrod. B: Cleaning jag. C: Winchester primers. D: Hodgdon propellant. E: 260-grain T/C Shock Wave .60-caliber sabots. F: Powder measurer.
A few common styles of open sights. When shooting with open sights, it’s best to visually set the target (in this case, a gray dot) on top of the sight post.