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Selecting the Right Muzzleloader


If you have decided to give Muzzleloading hunting a try, now it’s time to choose the gun that will best suit your needs. As stated previously, the overwhelming popular caliber is the .50. And for most practical purposes, this is fine, readily available and easy to shoot for most applications. For beginners, the .50 caliber is certainly the most recommended. Basically because of the reasons mentioned above. Availability of accessories, powder, charges, bullets, etc. The .50 caliber is the most practical choice.

Styles, are varied, we will discuss flintlock rifles in a subsequent story, so for this application, we will focus on percussion rifles only. There are really two choices, the percussion cap that uses a #11 percussion cap. These are used mostly on the traditional style rifle with a side hammer. The other option is the .209 primer that is commonly used for shotgun shells. These are used only in “inline” Muzzleloading rifles and shotguns.

There are a host of companies offering a variety of options to meet every budget and desire. Some of the more notable companies that offer a variety of guns to choose from include, Thompson/Center, Traditions, and CVA. Each of these companies have introductory models and high end models. Some suggestions for beginners would be to start with a reliable gun that has options.

Inline muzzleloaders are by far easier, more reliable and easier to learn to shoot. They look just make sense for beginners. If you choose to get into more advanced Muzzleloading there are a variety of other guns available to meet that need. One of the things that many complain about with Muzzleloading, is the effort needed to clean these guns. Thankfully, modern manufacturers have addressed this issue with the removable breech. By being able to remove the breech with a simple twist allows not only for easy cleaning, but also unloading the gun is now safe. One of the most frustrating elements of Muzzleloading is for centuries, the only way to unload the gun was to fire it into some target. With the removable breech, now the guns can be unloaded safely and easily without the need to discharge.

To summarize, for beginners, (check your state laws about what type of muzzleloaders are legal to use) the best choices of muzzleloaders would be an inline that uses the .209 primer in a fifty caliber version. Blued, stainless, camouflage are all options. If your state allows, you will also need good optics.