Muzzleloader advice for Wife

altitohunter

Member
Aug 8, 2012
96
26
South Texas
My wife drew a muzzleloader deer tag in New Mexico for this fall, I guess now I need to get her set up with a decent muzzleloader. She is an experienced shooter, but is not a big fan of recoil. She handles her Tikka 7mm-08 just fine but recoil much above that I?m worried she?ll flinch. Does anyone have any advice on particular rifles, brakes, maybe .45 caliber experience that helps reduce felt recoil?


David
 

nv-hunter

Very Active Member
Feb 28, 2011
960
127
Reno
What are the muzzy rules on inline?
My knight disk is managable with 110 grains and a barnes sabat
 

LCH

Very Active Member
Jun 28, 2015
644
85
Southern Indiana
I am by no means a ML expert, so take this for what it's worth..

The biggest adjustment for me, going from rifles to ML hunting, is figuring out and mastering the cleaning regimen. With a breach loading rifle using smokeless powder, I have no problem with firing off a few rounds then sticking the rifle in the cabinet for 6 months before cleaning. That's a big no-no for a ML. Also be diligent in the use of anti-seize on the breach plug.

I have a Hawken sidelock, used to have a CVA Buckhorn (inline/non-break barrel), and recently acquired a Traditions G4 (inline break-barrel). The break barrel is SO much easier to operate and keep clean, no special tools required to remove breach plug, insert primer, etc. So for me, the break barrel with tool-free breach plug removal would be first requirement.

As far as propellant, I like BH209 for ease of cleaning. It's more expensive than most other BP substitutes, but you can shoot several times consecutively without cleaning, very convenient during range-time.

One thing with the G4 is that it's extremely lightweight, even with a scope and sling mine weighs around 7 pounds total. Great for packing, not necessarily so great for recoil. The nice thing is that, same as any ML, you can down-load it for range time then bump up the charge for hunting. My technique is generally start at around 100 grains (or equivalent) by volume of charge, then increase until accuracy starts to drop off. After you get your hunting load figured out and scope zeroed, you can back off the charge when practicing. The G4 also has traditional rifle sights, or at least mine does. I like the idea that if I have some sort of optical failure, I can remove the scope in the field and still use it.
 

Colorado Cowboy

Veteran member
Jun 8, 2011
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Dolores, Colorado
I'll leave the recommendations for the rifle to everyone else (I shoot a T/C Pro Hunter), but I do shoot thousands of rounds a year of BP cartridge loads. I shoot APP substitute and cleanup is pretty simple. I use Ballistol cut 50/50 with water. It is a water soluble oil that really does a great job of cleaning the residue and leaving a film of light oil on the metal surface. Simple and easy.
 

RICMIC

Veteran member
Feb 21, 2012
1,142
148
Two Harbors, Minnesota
Although 150 gr. of black powder/substitute can be loaded in most inlines, you will generally find that it isn't the most accurate and it does knock the be-jesus out of you. I loaded just 50 gr. for my 70# grandson to shoot watermelons with, and he can now handle 100 gr. (he's now 120#), without complaint. Spending a lot of time on the range, using a chrono, and working different loads, I don't find too much loss of fps going from 150 gr. to 120 gr., and even at 95 gr. I get an accurate load that is comfortable to shoot. You have to keep in mind the remaining energy for the maximum range she is able to shoot with the load she settles on.
I should draw a muzzy elk tag in CO this year, and plan to spend a lot of time with my TC Omega this summer. It helps that I have my own 200 yard range to play around on. Good luck, and keep the smoke out of your eyes.
 

Umpqua Hunter

Veteran member
May 26, 2011
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North Umpqua, Oregon
In New Mexico you can use virtually any muzzleloader in muzzy season. The very best and most advanced muzzleloaders out today use a smooth die sized conical bullet to fit your specific barrel (Swinglock die) and NO SABOT. The sabot is the weak link in long range accuracy particularly in a hot barrel. These muzzleloaders are typically custom built for Eastern US muzzy seasons. These are smokeless powder designs, but when loaded with Blackhorn 209 you have an unbelievable high performance muzzy that is legal in several western states. Most of these are built with a muzzle break, significantly reducing recoil. They have a special loading funnel to get the powder in the barrel and align the bullet for loading.

If it were me, I would get one of these, load with a mild load for your wife, then you have a premium muzzy if you draw a muzzy hunt in New Mexico, Utah, Arizona, or Wyoming where the restrictions are minimal. That was my approach.

Guys I would talk to:

Jeff Fisk (Bestill Creations) - He built mine. Remington 700 short action, Brux 1 in 18 twist 45 caliber barrel, ASG breech plug, modified bolt nose to hold 209 primers. Look him up on Facebook. A very quality person and some of the best customer service I have ever experienced on anything.

Jeff Hankins: His rifles tend to have very heavy profile barrels and likely weigh more than needed.

https://www.hankinscustomrifles.com/muzzleloaders/

Luke Horak: Arrowhead Sporting Goods. He stocks most of the premium components for these builds.

https://www.arrowheadrifles.com

There are other builders on the Smokless Muzzleloader Shooters Group on Facebook.

Here is the link for Swinglock sizing dies.

http://www.swinglock.net
 
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altitohunter

Member
Aug 8, 2012
96
26
South Texas
I like your thinking Umpaqua, since it’s for her I might could justify the expense then I could “borrow it” later. I did once buy her a rifle for her birthday...it was not what she was expecting;). So many more options in the muzzleloader world than I thought existed! Thanks for the advice and I’ll explore all avenues.


David
 

ore hunter

Very Active Member
Jul 25, 2014
611
1
Ive shot muzz for years,,.45 or .50 would be fine..you will usually get better accuracy with loads below 100 gr,,reduced kick too,,i like 777 ff powder myself,with a conical like a great plains.
 

ore hunter

Very Active Member
Jul 25, 2014
611
1
if you shoot conical you will want 1-32 or 1-48 twist barrel,,,ball and patch 1-66 is the way to go.
 

LCH

Very Active Member
Jun 28, 2015
644
85
Southern Indiana
I like those great plains, but man are they tough to load in either my Hawken or my inline. It's tough for me, I'm sure my wife couldn't physically do it. Same with the Hornady FPB ML bullet. Powerbelts slide down the barrel just like butter.

I picked up a couple packages of these Federal Premium bullets on clearance a couple months back, haven't tried them yet though. Seems similar to a Powerbelt. https://www.federalpremium.com/products/muzzleloading/muzzleloading/trophy-copper-muzzleloader-bullet/pmz50tc1
 

ore hunter

Very Active Member
Jul 25, 2014
611
1
I get about 20" of drop at 200,,doable if you put it above the back a little,,drops right in,,with practice id say thats probably a max shot.
 

RICMIC

Veteran member
Feb 21, 2012
1,142
148
Two Harbors, Minnesota
I get about 20" of drop at 200,,doable if you put it above the back a little,,drops right in,,with practice id say thats probably a max shot.
MZLs shed velocity and energy quickly due their low BC bullets, and they have a moderate velocity to start with. In the plus column, they generally have much heavier bullets than most modern hunting rifles. I shot a CO mule deer at 204 yards using a peep sight and a Powerbelt bullet, but I don't want to do that again with my older eyes. 150 yards is a reasonable goal for max range, and if she can consistently smack a 12" plate beyond that, then all the better.
I coach a high school trap league, and just yesterday one of the shooters was a 14 year old girl who might weigh 85#. She shot 3 rounds of trap (75 shots) with her 12 ga. pump with no complaints. Recoil sensitivity is more a state of mind, unless you are dealing with an injury. If your wife shoots her 7mm-08 without complaint, then I suggest that you help her become proficient with that and build her confidence up to 200 yards. When you settle on a MZL rifle, make sure it isn't too light weight, it has a good recoil pad (you may have to change out the stock one), then a scope that she likes, and start low and slow. You can do the hard work of working up a load, but I suggest that you start soon as it will all take numerous range sessions to accomplish this.
 

Colorado Cowboy

Veteran member
Jun 8, 2011
6,053
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Dolores, Colorado
One thing to remember....shooting off a bench at targets is definitely a circumstance that makes the shooter more aware of felt recoil. Is she gets recoil sensitive, try using a recoil dampener made for shooting off a bench. I have never used one (I think they're call a lead sled) but have seen them at the range.


Just sayin..................
 
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tim

Veteran member
Jun 4, 2011
1,720
171
north idaho
lead sleds rock, takes the bite out of my 338 wm.
highly recommend. 25lb bags of shot are not inexpensive though.
 

altitohunter

Member
Aug 8, 2012
96
26
South Texas
Thanks for all the advice everyone , a solution may have just presented itself today at lunch. My wife’s uncle was in town and said he has a CVA that is a “tack driver” and he has no plans to use it this fall and was hoping she would at least try it out. Wouldn’t hurt my feelings if a “free” borrowed rifle worked out this year
 

LCH

Very Active Member
Jun 28, 2015
644
85
Southern Indiana
Thanks for all the advice everyone , a solution may have just presented itself today at lunch. My wife’s uncle was in town and said he has a CVA that is a “tack driver” and he has no plans to use it this fall and was hoping she would at least try it out. Wouldn’t hurt my feelings if a “free” borrowed rifle worked out this year
Sounds like a good plan! Good luck!