Saturday, January 19, 2013

2013 SHOT Show Did Not Offer Much In The Way Of New Muzzleloader Hunting Innovations

     As far as anything excitingly new for the muzzleloading hunter, the 2013 SHOT Show was the most lackluster I've attended, and since the first of these shows in January 1979 (St. Louis, MO), I have only missed three.

     One very shining exception was a brand new rifle being introduced by Traditions Performance Firearms - the .50 caliber VORTEK StrikerFire.  This is an extremely slick new break-open design, held in this photo by company president Tom Hall.  While this new approach eliminates a hammer that protrudes up behind the firing pin of the receiver, it still offers all the convenience of an exposed hammer...but with an added element of safety and even more convenience.

     The internal firing mechanism is "cocked" by pushing the StikerFire System button forward with right or left thumb (the rifle is truly ambidextrous).  Once cocked, a trigger block safety mounted on the trigger housing allows the rifle to be safely carried until a shot is taken.  To "uncock" the rifle, one simply pushes the (silver) release button shown at right.  It's that simple.  (Opening the action also de-cocks the rifle.)  The advantages of this system are a snappier lock time and the ability to mount a scope lower and closer to the axis of the bore, which tends to equate to more consistent accuracy.

     The new 28-inch barreled design weighs in at just 6.25 pounds, and will surely be a dream to carry in the field.  We are slated to receive one of the very first test guns in May, and will run a complete report on this before the end of that month.  Starting retail price will be $489, for a black synthetic stock with a tapered, fluted and CeraKote finished Magnum Chromoly barrel.  The rifle offers other new features as well, which we will fully detail on the NORTH AMERICAN MUZZLELOADER HUNTING website when we publish the test report in May.  Don't miss it.

     For updated info on this rifle, go to -


     Thompson Center Arms' website still proclaims... "T/C’s OMEGA™ Will Revolutionize the Way Hunters Think About Muzzleloaders for Years to Come" ... However, I can't help but wonder if the company is already doing some serious downsizing.  The Omega was not even displayed at the 2013 SHOT Show.

     In fact, the only models on display were the Triumph...the Impact...and the Encore Pro Hunter.  There was nothing that "muzzle-loaded" that was truly new.  To put it nicely, T/C's huge booth was mostly void of guns, with easily 90-percent of the display devoted to center-fire rifles.  The 2013 SHOT Show was the 35th of the annual "Show of Arms", and as I pointed out earlier, I've missed just three of the shows.  One thing I've noticed in the past has been when a rifle that's loudly touted as one which "Will Revolutionize the Way Hunters Think About Muzzleloaders for Years to Come" is suddenly absent at the SHOT Show, it generally means the model is being phased out.

     Personally, I've found the solid design of the Omega to produce the most consistent accuracy of all the T/C in-line designs.  If I could shoot and hunt with only one T/C would definitely be the Omega.  I, for one, hope that the ommission of the rifle at the SHOT Show was just an ill thought out mistake.

     We were made privy to a couple of new bullet concepts, which we will be testing and reporting on later in the year.  Also, there's a new in-line rifle making operation bringing another innovative break-open inline model, known as the Redemption, to the market.  Those behind the new venture are primarily former T/C management that either chose not to move from the Rochester, NH area when T/C's Smith & Wesson owners decided to relocate the company to Springfield, MA...or who were downsized out during the move.

     While the company, known as LHR Sporting Arms, was not displaying at this year's SHOT Show, several muzzleloading writers I ran into shared that they would be doing test reports on the new rifle.  Prior to the SHOT Show, NORTH AMERICAN MUZZLELOADER HUNTING also corresponded with the marketing manager of the company, and hopes to bring you a report as well.

     For more on the rifle and the new company, go to -

     It hurts me to say that, with only a few exceptions, the muzzleloading industry has become extremely lame.  Right now, less than 20-percent of the companies offering muzzleloader hunting products are keeping the industry alive - the other 80-or so-percent seem to be just along for the ride.  -  Toby Bridges, NORTH AMERICAN MUZZLELOADER HUNTING       

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Looking Into 2013...

I did not spend a lot of time on this blog through 2012.  All of my effort was put into rebuilding the NORTH AMERICAN MUZZLELOADER HUNTING website, at .  Late in July 2011, my former website hosting service (Homestead/Intuit) apparently decided that a muzzleloader hunting website was not appropriate for them...and without any reason or notice simply pulled the plug - losing nearly six years of research and writing. 

As angry as I was at the time, I've now come to realize that they actually did me one huge favor. 

2010 was the all time best year for the website published at, with some 350,000 users during the course of the year.  Fact is, 2011 was on track to slightly top that...until the anti-hunting greenie gang at Homestead shut the site down.  August of 2011 was a hectic one for me as I scrambled to find a new, appropriate and better hosting service - which I did with FatCow.  The last week of that month and all of September was spent getting a new start under a new and more appropriate web address.

It took a couple of months for many of you to find the new site, but once you did, thankfully you kept coming back on a regular basis.  I quickly learned that FatCow does a much better job of getting article/report topics published into the internet search engines - and by the end of December 2011, monthly traffic was up around 35,000.

Well, as we moved into 2012, traffic just kept growing...topping 100,000 for the month of July alone...more than 200,000 in each of October and November...and nearly reaching 300,000 for the month of December.  In all, some 74,000 unique visitors used the NORTH AMERICAN MUZZLELOADER HUNTING website 1,553,000+ times during 2012.

And I would like to thank the folks at Homestead for making that happen.  If you had not pulled the plug on the's doubtful that traffic would have topped 400,000 to 450,000.

What has kept muzzleloading hunters coming back has been the wide range of great muzzleloader hunting articles and reports.  All of those newly published pages can be found at -

We've gotten a great start on the 2013 Articles & Reports menu as well.  In just the first week of this new year, three new pages have been published...with one or two more scheduled for the month of January.  In all last year, we added 50 new pages.  We really are not planning to top that number this year...but we do expect to bring you the same great variety of muzzleloader hunting topics through the coming year.  Here's a look at the start of the new lineup -

One of our primary goals this year is to better utilize this get many of you sharing information right here. 

It's going to be a great year...visit us and on the website.

Toby Bridges