Friday, July 13, 2012

Where Can Muzzleloader Hunting Go From Here?

On Thanksgiving morning last fall, I was hunting a long and narrow hayfield along the Musselshell River in the breaks country of central Montana.  From a knoll that rose a good 40 feet above where the field narrowed to just over 200 yards, I watched as a doe ran past a huge cottonwood, which I had lasered at 227 yards.  A few minutes later, a 5x5 buck followed the same exact route, passing within just a few yards of that tree.  Taking a rest on a collapsible tripod shooting rest, I placed the 225-yard cross-bar of the multi-reticle muzzleloader hunting scope on the shoulder of the buck...and eased back on the trigger.  The modern No. 209 primer ignition fast-twist .50 caliber in-line rifle belched - and a 110-grain charge of Blackhorn 209 powder pushed a saboted 300-grain polymer-tipped spire point out of the muzzle at 1,970 f.p.s., with 2,583 f.p.e..  At about 225 yards, that bullet drove home with right at 1,300 foot-pounds of knockdown power...and that buck went down on the spot.

So, where can muzzleloader hunting performance go from here?  This new NORTH AMERICAN MUZZLELOADER HUNTING report takes a look at what likely lies ahead...

Monday, June 25, 2012

Should There Be Separate "Traditional Only Muzzleloader" Seasons?

Muzzleloading has certainly changed a great deal since I bought my first .45 caliber percussion Kentucky round ball rifle at the ripe old age of 15. When the performance and capability of that rifle and what I'm shooting today are compared...there is no comparison...other than both load through the muzzle. We now have muzzleloader big game seasons in EVERY state but one - and that's the state where I now live... Montana. In most of those states, the muzzleloading hunter can participate in those seasons shooting just about as modern or as traditional a rifle and load as the individual hunter wants.

There is now a fear among many that the traditional side of muzzleloading is in danger of being totally lost. Do you share that fear...and do you feel there should be separate "Traditional Only Muzzleloader" big game seasons established to try and save that side of our sport?

For more on this, go to

Please leave a comment on this topic - whether you shoot and hunt with a traditional muzzleloader or a modern in-line muzzleloader.

Toby Bridges

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Want A Look At The Next Likely Trend In Saboted Muzzleloader Hunting Bullets?

Top Photo Above - Those of you who shot with saboted .44 (.429-.430" dia.) bullets during the late 1980s and early 1990s probably realized quickly that the .50x.44 sabots and bullets of that diameter did not produce the best groups. Three-shot groups of that period with that sabot-bullet combination, on a good day, rarely stayed inside of 4 inches.

Center Photo Above - Shown at the right side of this line up is the Harvester Muzzleloading green .50x.44 Crush Rib Sabot and the 300-grain Hornady .430" diameter XTP jacketed hollow-point bullet. Note the different degrees of sabot opening exhibited by the recovered sabots. More powder and higher velocity continues to more completely open sabot sleeves.

Bottom Photo Above - At 2130 f.p.s., the 300-grain .44 XTP, paired up with the green .50x.44 Crush Rib Sabot, produced excellent 100-yard accuracy with a Knight Rifles .50 caliber Long Range Hunter - like this sub 1-inch three-shot cluster.

For a look at the most common problems associated with loading and shooting saboted .44 caliber bullets out of a .50 caliber rifle, and how to overcome those problems - go to the NORTH AMERICAN MUZZLELOADER HUNTING report at the following link -

Also...Discover the advantages of a slightly smaller diameter bullet...and what likely lies ahead for today's modern muzzleloading hunter.

Toby Bridges