Friday, July 13, 2012
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...