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Best Muzzleloader Rifle

by , Posted to on 11/26/2008 7:17 PM | "Quote" | "Quick Reply" |

Joined: 12/17/2001
Location: ND
I don't have one of these yet, but I am going to be entering the Muzzy lottery every year from now until I die. So, when I go to purchase one, what do you guys recommend? Price does not matter. Just no encrusted diamonds or gold decor and crap. I want an accurate, high quality, nearly flawless gun with a nice wooden stock for the muzzleloader season.

Any input Horsager?

Stizo :)
 
Re: Best Muzzleloader Rifle
by on 11/26/2008 7:24 PM | Reply #1 | "Quote" | "Quick Reply" |

Joined: 12/17/2001
Location: ND
I realize now that there are other threads on this topic. I will go and read them and see what is there. Sorry. Stizo :)


What we do in life echoes for eternity.   Shadows and dust.

Re: Best Muzzleloader Rifle
by on 11/26/2008 7:26 PM | Reply #2 | "Quote" | "Quick Reply" |

Joined: 12/17/2001
Location: ND
the cva optima magnum is a great gun that I shoot. It shoots well, is very easy to clean and is a lot of fun to shoot. I am pretty sure that you can get one for under $200 new. Make sure that you get the magnum then you can shoot 150 grains of powder.


mtnbiker79 | Nov 25, 2008 12:00AM


What we do in life echoes for eternity.   Shadows and dust.

Re: Best Muzzleloader Rifle
by on 11/26/2008 7:28 PM | Reply #3 | "Quote" | "Quick Reply" |

Joined: 08/12/2003
Location: ND
Skip the wood stock.

TC Encore or Omega in SS/syn. SS gives you a little rust protection and you'll need it unless you're a very consistant cleaner. Blackpowder and it's substitutes are all fairly corrosive. When I want to use a ML I steal my dad's Omega, I'm too lazy to own my own ML, I HATE cleaning rifles. There is a reason that TC owns better than 50% of the ML market share though, I do believe they are the best, not that others aren't good, and many are less expensive but TC is still the best.

This moment is a paradox, it's the oldest you've ever been as well as the youngest you'll ever be.


Re: Best Muzzleloader Rifle
by on 11/26/2008 7:29 PM | Reply #4 | "Quote" | "Quick Reply" |

Joined: 12/17/2001
Location: ND
http://www.savagearms.com/10mlbtssii.htm

I really like my savage! (Dont tell NXS :P)


Lycanthrope | Nov 24, 2008 1:26PM


What we do in life echoes for eternity.   Shadows and dust.

Re: Best Muzzleloader Rifle
by on 11/26/2008 7:31 PM | Reply #5 | "Quote" | "Quick Reply" |

Joined: 12/17/2001
Location: ND
I went with the CVA Optima Pro Elite. Very nice gun and you can put on different barrels for rifle or shotgun. A really nice fit and excellent quality barrels. The guns run between 300-400 dollars. I really wanted the Thompson Pro Hunter but for a savings of 500 the CVA will do just fine.


Mad Dog | Nov 24, 2008 12:52PM


What we do in life echoes for eternity.   Shadows and dust.

Re: Best Muzzleloader Rifle
by on 11/26/2008 7:38 PM | Reply #6 | "Quote" | "Quick Reply" |

Joined: 12/17/2001
Location: ND
Here is a webpage I am about to read right now:

http://www.chuckhawks.com/recommended_muzzleloaders.htm


What we do in life echoes for eternity.   Shadows and dust.

Re: Best Muzzleloader Rifle
by on 11/26/2008 7:38 PM | Reply #7 | "Quote" | "Quick Reply" |

Joined: 10/24/2005
Location: ND
TC Encore is nice... I have one.
Does a person need something like that? HECK no... unless you plan on playing the barrel exchange game.

I'm the devil's son..... call me young gun.

Re: Best Muzzleloader Rifle
by on 11/26/2008 8:03 PM | Reply #8 | "Quote" | "Quick Reply" |

Joined: 12/17/2001
Location: ND
Here is the article from the webpage I mentioned above:



What Muzzleloader Should I buy?

By Randy Wakeman



This is the number one question, posed over and over in countless e-mails. As in all things, opinions are subjective, skewed, slanted, and based on one's individual experiences and values.

Some folks care deeply about quality triggers; some feel if it "goes bang," that's fine. Some obsess about warranties; some care more about good manuals and prompt customer service. Some care about resale and long-term value; some care only about getting through the next hunting season. Some find maintenance repugnant; some find accuracy to be the only thing that matters.

This level of combinatorial factors never results in consensus, nor will my comments here. Having lived with some thirty different inlines through several thousands of shots, I'll offer my opinions. The only thing I can promise the reader is that these assessments are not bought and paid for, as I am affiliated with no muzzleloading manufacturer or industry-related company. The following guns, I believe, are worthy of your consideration.

The Economy Choice: The Knight Wolverine 209

The Knight LK-93 has been a popular choice for over ten years now, with the same basic action as Tony Knight's "original modern inline," the MK-85. The Wolverine was the first Knight to have barrel and receiver made from one block of steel, an integral design now found in all Knight Rifles.

The Wolverine 209 continues on quite nimbly today, augmented by Knight's full red plastic jacket that weatherproofs the action and reduces blowback. Current Wolverines offer the same "factory adjustable for free triggers" found on the most expensive Knights, with a array of configurations very few muzzleloaders can match: thumbhole, camo, youth, and even left-handed solid synthetic stocks, .45 or .50 caliber, and either 22" or 26" blued or stainless Green Mountain barrels.

It has Knight's sub 2-1/2" accuracy guarantee, though most shoot far better out of the box, and less than 1 MOA is not rare. Ian McMurchy's extensive tests showed 1.33 to 1.53 inch average five shot group sizes.

The street prices vary from around $199 to $299. This gun proves that you need not spend a lot of cash to have a reliable, weatherproof modern muzzleloader with a great trigger, backed by a strong USA company with excellent customer support.

For all the reasons mentioned, there is no reason to settle for less than the Knight Wolverine 209, an all-American classic. Some feel that despite its affordable pricing, you aren't settling for less of anything at all, and I can't argue with that.

The NEF / H&R "Sidekick" has recently earned the distinction of being one of the best values in a well-made muzzleloader as well.

The Gorgeous Choice: The Austin & Halleck 420

Reviewed in greater detail elsewhere, the curly-maple stocked Austin & Halleck 420 .50 caliber looks like a $1000 gun, offers 3-way ignition making it 50 state legal, is extremely soft shooting, and shoots better than 1" at 100 yards out-of-the box in my hands. Yet, it costs less than $499 with two stocks, and the synthetic stocked 320 model has a MSRP of only $399.

It looks, handles, and feels like a quality center-fire rifle. The short throw bolt gives it extremely fast lock time, and its American "Bold" brand trigger (Minneapolis, MN) gives it a quality, adjustable trigger no "off-the-boat" imported muzzleloader can match. It looks great, shoots straight, and its open-breech quick-release bolt action is legal where hunting regulations prohibit 209 fired or closed-breech guns.

Under the management of North American Arms and Ray Crow, the quality control of this beautiful rifle has continually improved. The only problem for many people is trying to convince their "significant others" they didn't spend $1200 on it! Austin & Halleck placed 2nd this year at the National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association manufacturer's championships, and while such events bear little semblance to real-world hunting conditions, it is yet another feather in Austin & Halleck's increasingly brilliant cap.

The Scoped-only Accuracy Choice: The Knight Elite .50 caliber SS

When I can sail bullets through the Illinois winds into a one-half inch hole (or smaller) all day long, it is either divine intervention or an uncannily accurate rifle. Maybe both are at work, but the Knight Elite, with its tapered, non-iron sighted stainless steel barrel with the new, big-footprint "long tined" cantilevered recoil lug barrel remains the most accurate out-of the box muzzleloader I've ever fired.

The Knight Elite has been reviewed more fully elsewhere, so these comments are mercifully brief. The new recoil lug seems to be the primary reason, and it beautifully floats the barrel. If you subscribe to the comments of Col. Townsend Whelen, who remarked that, "only accurate guns are interesting," this may well be the most interesting muzzleloader made today. Sadly, this brilliant frontloader has been discontinued for 2005. Grab one if you can!

The Easy Maintenance Choice: The Thompson Encore .50 caliber SS (The only REAL break-action choice)

It is fast handling, it is built like a rock, accepts centerfire rifle and shotgun barrels, and is sub-MOA accurate. It is also ambidextrous and amazingly easy to maintain. It is the finest break action muzzleloader made today, and perhaps the finest single shot rifle available at an affordable price. Demand still exceeds supply, and it is one of the few muzzleloaders made where used gun pricing can actually exceed new gun pricing.

The Thompson Encore is the Mercedes of break-action muzzleloaders, and it remains the "Gold Standard" in sealed breech 209 fired muzzleloaders today. It is not the prettiest, but it comes with real American steel, and real walnut stocks if you prefer, and real bluing from a real American company, with great customer service. Its owner's manual is the best in the industry, and the Encore is easily one of the strongest muzzleloaders ever made, as you might expect from a firearm that accepts a .375 H & H barrel if you choose! The Encore does everything competently, and some things no other muzzleloader can do.

Another muzzleloader that is equally easy to maintain is the Thompson Omega. That model gives you the same barrel in a dual recoil-lugged stock, also in a sealed ambidextrous design. The Omega is a lower-priced alternative that gives you "similar Thompson muzzleloading" performance. The Omega's demand has also outstripped its supply.

The Smokeless Choice: The Savage ML-10 Smokeless Muzzleloader

There is a rumor going around that smokeless powder is no less a black powder substitute than the popular Hodgdon Triple Seven powder, and actually more of a rational black powder substitute than a Pyrodex or Triple 7 pellet, as it is a powder. (By the way, have you ever seen a box of 12 gauge shotshells marked "3 drams equivalent" right on the box? Hmm, thought so.)

There is also the rumor that the Savage ML-10 II is an extremely safe, well-made muzzleloader that offers better ballistics than so-called "magnum" charges of Triple 7 powder; with less recoil, better repeatable accuracy, and far less powder cost per shot. These rumors are all true.

Affordable, featuring a sealed action, with the pace-setting Savage Accu-Trigger now standard on all models, the Savage ML-10 II is the choice for those who wish to make their own traditions, rather than blindly following the tormented, fabricated "traditions" of others. Choice is part of what America is all about, in this hunter's view, and the Savage is both a valid and good one. The vast majority of all deer in all seasons are taken inside 100 yards, in many areas less than fifty yards is the norm. You have one shot. That the Savage may allow you to harvest your game more quickly and more humanely at all ranges is hardly a cause for criticism. It is just another choice you have in equipment, and that, my friends, is "no smoke."

Conclusion

There is a tendency to order non-Form 4473 muzzleloaders sight unseen. All the above are in this category, excepting the Thompson Encore. That is a pity, as holding a gun in your hands and up to your shoulder can instantly tell you more about balance, feel, fit, sights, weight, and overall handling in your personal context than any text review can possibly convey. There are, happily, many quality choices available. In my opinion, no one is making a mistake with any of the exemplary models cited above.



What we do in life echoes for eternity.   Shadows and dust.

Re: Best Muzzleloader Rifle
by on 11/26/2008 8:19 PM | Reply #9 | "Quote" | "Quick Reply" |

Joined: 12/17/2001
Location: ND
Keep in mind that this article was aparrantly written in 2004. There are new models out there today. This article is a good one especially for those buying the "now used" 2004 muzzleloaders mentioned in the article.

As for new and next to new... well, that is what I am here for. I like the accuracy of the Knight Elite .50 caliber SS from the article, so I may look at the new and improved version of this muzzy. Stizo :)


What we do in life echoes for eternity.   Shadows and dust.

Re: Best Muzzleloader Rifle
by on 11/26/2008 8:25 PM | Reply #10 | "Quote" | "Quick Reply" |

Joined: 01/18/2002
Location: ND
I shoot and have shot a Kinght Wolverine for about 10 years or better. I have'nt switched over to the 209 primer breech plug. I just shoot #11 caps with 325 grains of lead and raw 100 grains of powder and have killed several deer with it. It comes down to time at the range to find the best combination of powder and bullet weight and knowing the capabilities of what You and your weapon have. I don't take running shots and keep all sjots inside 100 yards. I found out the closer the bullet diameter to the bore the better the accuracy and consistency.
Re: Best Muzzleloader Rifle
by on 11/26/2008 8:26 PM | Reply #11 | "Quote" | "Quick Reply" |

Joined: 12/17/2001
Location: ND
Photos of actual muzzleloaders and their prices:

http://www.xbowsplus.com/muzzleloaders


What we do in life echoes for eternity.   Shadows and dust.

Re: Best Muzzleloader Rifle
by on 11/26/2008 9:14 PM | Reply #12 | "Quote" | "Quick Reply" |

Joined: 12/17/2001
Location: ND
I still need to review the ND rules, but I like this one.



http://www.knightrifles.com/productdetail.aspx?id=LRH707S


What we do in life echoes for eternity.   Shadows and dust.

Re: Best Muzzleloader Rifle
by on 11/26/2008 9:23 PM | Reply #13 | "Quote" | "Quick Reply" |

Joined: 12/17/2001
Location: ND
Austin & Halleck is or has already gone out of business from a thread I found on another website. They still make paintball guns though. Might come in handy if you want to mark your deer for next year! Ha Ha. Stizo :)


What we do in life echoes for eternity.   Shadows and dust.

Re: Best Muzzleloader Rifle
by on 11/27/2008 06:24 AM | Reply #14 | "Quote" | "Quick Reply" |

Joined: 11/06/2002
Location: ND
First ML I owned was a kit of a Replica Navy Revolver from the Civil War era. Next was a Hawken Kit in .54 cal then a host of traditional and then inlines.

Two things, barrel quality is everything in a ML,and it starts with the consistency of the bore diameter. My first inline was a Knight and Hale and I traded that for another K&H. First one shot like a dream, but was a real pain to load. Conical or sabot you almost had to put the ram rod against a tree and drive it home with the gun.

My next K&H loaded a lot easier but also did not shoot nearly as accurate and especially at any distance. I blamed it on powder,bullet quality and a host of other things not knowing that my barrel was over sized and that there really is no spec of tolerance in the industry other than what a company decides to set.

I currently do not own a ML but have been looking and narrowed it down to either the Savage or one of the TC platforms, but in talking with a couple guys who I really respect that work in the industry they are saying that a number of companies are selling ML with Green River barrels and that is the key. Quality control and consistency is their trademark.

Clay touched on the fact that BP and its substitutes are corrosive, but getting a SS barrel does not mean you need to clean less, just gives a bit more time to clean without damage occurring. For me it does not have to be a SS barrel but it does have to be non wood stock because of cleaning.

I have had no issue in selling my used ML because I clean them and store them properly. I however have looked at many used ML and would not buy any one of them because of poor care.

The NEF and Wolf and other lower cost guns are going to give you a 100 yard rifle. For someone who is unsure of wanting to use ML they are worth looking at as a starter especially the ones that come in a kit.





In my lifetime I have seen fence row to fence row farming and the return of CRP and game to the landscape.Now we face again the prosepect of fence row to fence row again! Sportsman are our own worst enemy in that we fail to look forward and focus to much on the now!
Re: Best Muzzleloader Rifle
by on 11/27/2008 8:25 PM | Reply #15 | "Quote" | "Quick Reply" |

Joined: 12/17/2001
Location: ND
Hardwaterman,

So no wood stock because the wood's finish gets discolored or damaged from the cleaning solvents?

And you would prefer a stainless barrel? Why?


What we do in life echoes for eternity.   Shadows and dust.

Re: Best Muzzleloader Rifle
by on 11/27/2008 8:45 PM | Reply #16 | "Quote" | "Quick Reply" |

Joined: 08/12/2003
Location: ND
Because it extends the time interval between cleanings. The number of shots between cleanings is fairly constant whether SS or CM, SS will however resist corrosion longer and if you don't get it cleaned up right away it won't rust as quickly as CM steel will.

The TC Omega I used last year would go 5-8 shots between cleanings and then it got very hard to seat a bullet to a consistant depth, which is essential for top accuracy.

This moment is a paradox, it's the oldest you've ever been as well as the youngest you'll ever be.


Re: Best Muzzleloader Rifle
by on 11/27/2008 10:32 PM | Reply #17 | "Quote" | "Quick Reply" |

Joined: 12/17/2001
Location: ND
I see...

Even modern muzzleloaders are definately not high tech compaired to modern state of the art rifles of the new millenium. I did not realize all of the shortcomings of the "new" muzzleloader rifles. Makes sense why the separate season, and its low success rate.

I can only imagine what it would have been like for Lewis and Clark tryng to feed a crew like they had with flintlocks! Stizo :)


What we do in life echoes for eternity.   Shadows and dust.

Re: Best Muzzleloader Rifle
by on 11/28/2008 10:23 AM | Reply #18 | "Quote" | "Quick Reply" |

Joined: 11/06/2002
Location: ND
Clay summed it up pretty well, the new powder that Shockey is promoting will extend the number of shots before a good cleaning is needed, but ML are not a modern rifle and lack of consistency when loading can affect accuracy in a much greater fashion.

It is why I think so many people use pellets vs loose powder. It is why sabots are more popular than conical bullets even though from my experience I am more accurate with loose powder and conicals.


I was out and about last night looking at ML since a few places had them on sale this weekend. Had not handled the Rem before and liked the feel of it, but need to find out who makes the barrel for them. Sat I will do some more looking as I hope this will be the last ML I buy for a long time. I do know I want at least a 26" barrel. I want it easy to break down for cleaning.

Trigger needs to be clean and no more than 4lbs pull or adjustable and barrel type does not have to be as I said before SS but it would be a plus. Just not sure how much more cost it is worth for me.


In my lifetime I have seen fence row to fence row farming and the return of CRP and game to the landscape.Now we face again the prosepect of fence row to fence row again! Sportsman are our own worst enemy in that we fail to look forward and focus to much on the now!
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Posted On: 11/26/2008 7:17 PM
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