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rdean28's picture
Joined: 04/03/2011
Posts: 29
Accurate Muzzleloaders?

Hello All,


I'm interested in buying a muzzleloader but I want one that is going to be pretty accurate.  I hunt with a bow and a rifle and I would like to try hunting w/ a muzzleloader.  I'm a pretty good shot when I'm shooting regularly.  I won't be doing anything crazy (I've seen muzzleloaders accurate out to like 400 yards from some custom manufacturers) but I wonder which muzzleloader brands are more or less accurate.   Just started on my research for the past few months.  Also, I won't be hunting w/ a scope, but I hope to eventually get accurate to at least 150 yards.

Any thoughts?


RevHoover's picture
Joined: 06/16/2010
Posts: 41
It is up to you.

I personally have not come across an ML that I could not get some type of load to shoot accurately. Really it is all about preferences and what you can afford. 


JodyStomper's picture
Joined: 04/25/2011
Posts: 10
Amen, RevHoover!

RevHoover wrote:

I personally have not come across an ML that I could not get some type of load to shoot accurately. Really it is all about preferences and what you can afford. 



Ditto that.  It's a question of how much tinkering you want to do, and/or how much you want to spend. 

Most manufacturers/importers have "entry level" guns that are just fine, provided you just want to be able to hit a paper plate at 50 yards with iron sights.  Most have non-sealed breech plugs, so you're pretty much limited to Pyrodex and Goex loose powders in Colorado.  The Traditions Buckstalker & Timber Ridge, and CVA Wolf & Elkhorn all lack sealed breech plugs & won't contain the initial blast of hot gas needed to effect complete combustion and achieve consistent pressures with Blackhorn 209 or Triple Seven.

Want cheap entry into CO-legal performance suited to those marvelous elk and bruiser mule deer?  Pick up a T/C Impact, Traditions Pursuit, or CVA Optima, get some Blackhorn 209 powder (everything else is just nostalgia at this point, where inline sealed-breech frontstuffers are concerned), a pack of standard shotgun primers, and some Hornady FPB 300-grain bullets.  I'm a fan of T/C's U-View flask & measure, and their Flex Priming Palm Saver - which keeps 4 primers dry and makes aftermarket ramrods unnecessary. That'll get you into the game for under 400 bones. 

Of course, moving up to the CVA Accura, Traditions Vortek, or T/C Omega, Triumph, and ProHunter FX gets your total to start off up to around $600-$800 with the goodies.  These are the mid-level models that come in varying degrees of trim and price, but all good models.  I particularly like the CVA Accura Mountain Rifle, for a solid but easy-to-carry rifle.  (The effects of recoil are but momentary; of gravity, continuous and cumulative.)  Traditions has a Vortek with a 30" barrel now, from which you'll get the highest velocities. 

Then you can go to Bad Bull or Gunwerks, and get a $4k+ custom number that'll pop Parker bullets into that same paper plate at 500 yards all day.  But I wouldn't recommend starting with those, unless you truly have a taste for the supreme.  You could only use it during the rifle seasons in Colorado anyway.

Mount a scope on it for your initial range work, so you can really see what your loads & technique are doing, without much human eyeball error.  Once you get your powder charge right & your holes touching, you can quickly remove it & zero the iron sights. 

Yes, you can use fiber optic sights now, but I'd suggest trying a peep sight.  They never were illegal in Colorado, and just about everyone I know can shoot more precisely with them, and can see their targets better at long range than they can with post-and-slot sights.  That's why the Army has stayed with them for over 100 years:  You can teach the most unfamiliar operator to shoot reasonably well in a short time with minimal training on peep sights.  E. Arthur Brown makes a really neat rig for Encore/ProHunter, called the "PeepRib."  It's a Weaver-type scope mount with a Williams peep sight ramp & custom aperture built right onto it, out of the way of about any scope you'd want to mount. 

I have an Encore (pre-SpeedBreech model) with that PeepRib, Leupold VX-R 4-12x40 CDS, CeraKote finished in a custom Sniper Gray and riding in a gray laminate stock, with T/C Power Rod, rotating extractor, takedown tool, spare breech plug, hand-lapped barrel, Harris bipod, and $2k worth of receipts to show for it.  What I don't have, yet, is any 2 holes touching at 100 yards.

I also have a post-recall CVA Apollo I received as barter goods for some woodwork I did for an older couple whose son left the rifle with them years ago before he went to college & came back a vegan:  Bore was usable thanks to a thick coat of vaseline, but there was rust outside, the rear sight was broken and the front sight bent, ramrod missing, and nipple mushroomed from dry firing.  Repurposed a basic ramrod and a 2.5x32mm Tasco $20 scope in recycled low rings on $3 clearance bases, knocked the iron sights off altogether, replaced the smashed #11 nipple with a musket cap nipple, took the rust off with a wire brush and gave it a Krylon spray can camo job:  Total investment (including scope & the value of the woodwork labor) under $100.  I feed it 90 grains of Pyrodex P and a .45 cal Winchester 230 grain JHP in the Hornady black sabots (I like the SST-ML bullets but before I found them in 50-ct boxes, I bought them in 20-ct packs with the sabots, which I replace with Harvester Crush Ribs).  In other words, I took a leftover rifle, knocked it back to functional with leftover parts, and shoot leftover components in it.  Unlike the $2,000 custom Encore, this "wrench handle extension" will keep groups around 2" at 100 yards, and the 2 deer I shot at 40 and 77 yards respectively were no less dead than any I have shot with anything else I own.  I consider it a 100-yard gun at most, and I try to keep that musket cap ignition out of the rain, but the thing groups. 

Eventually, so will my custom Encore project gun.  But for now, I've just come a long way around to RevHoover's short point:  Tinker with loads & components (powder & charge, bullet, sabot, & primer/cap) enough, and just about ANY muzzleloader can eventually be coaxed into accurate performance. 


rdean28's picture
Joined: 04/03/2011
Posts: 29
Thank YOu


Well, all I can say is thank you.  You've given me some great info and I will be using it to buy my first blackpowder rifle. I think I'm leaning towards the Vortek or Accura and spending a little more money. 

Thanks for the info on sighting it in...never thought about using a scope to start. 


Joined: 05/31/2012
Posts: 10
TC,CVA and Traditions all

TC,CVA and Traditions all make good, reasonably priced guns that will shoot well with the right powder,bullet combination. I highly recommend a break open with removable breech plug. I just bought a Traditions Vortek UL and love it.

Critter's picture
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!
Location: Western Colorado
Joined: 03/26/2009
Posts: 3771
If you plan on using it for

If you plan on using it for hunting I would recommend that you check and see what is legal in the state that you plan on using it to hunt in.  Some states will not allow a in-line style of ML to hunt with along with what kind of sights can be used.  Some states allow 1x scopes and other allow any power while there are others that do not allow any scope of any kind. 

The big thing about accuracy out of a ML is to find what your rifle likes.  Some like plain old black powder while others like the more modern styles of powder, some like a sabot-ed bullet while others like just plane old round balls.  There is a lot of experimenting to be done when you pick up a smoke pole. 

rdean28's picture
Joined: 04/03/2011
Posts: 29
more info

Critter, I'm planning on hunting in Colorado mainly. In Colorado inline muzzleloaders are legal but pelletized powder systems are prohibited. Also, it cannot be loaded from the breech and only open or iron sights (fiber optics are fine on open sights).  Sabots and smokeless powder is illegal.  Only black powder or black powder substitutes are allowed.

Joined: 05/31/2012
Posts: 10
I've been having good results

I've been having good results on paper with my new Vortek with 95 grains BH209, 300 grain Hornady FPB, CCI209m primers shooting with a peep sight. getting ready for my CO elk hunt this fall.

FrontierGander's picture
Location: Boncarbo,CO
Joined: 12/01/2008
Posts: 87

rdean28 wrote:

Critter, I'm planning on hunting in Colorado mainly. In Colorado inline muzzleloaders are legal but pelletized powder systems are prohibited. Also, it cannot be loaded from the breech and only open or iron sights (fiber optics are fine on open sights).  Sabots and smokeless powder is illegal.  Only black powder or black powder substitutes are allowed.

For colorado you want to go with either CVA or Knight. CVA Accura V2 or CVA Optima "non thumbhole" will be perfect.

Location: Colorado
Joined: 07/13/2011
Posts: 791
Hard to beat the accuracy of

Hard to beat the accuracy of the CVA Accura, and it does well with conicals which you'll have to shoot.

This bullet is hard to beat for a full bore bullet. Along with BH 209 powder, and you have a deadly combo.



Location: Southern NH
Joined: 09/13/2006
Posts: 379
CVA Accura

CVA Accura is a great muzzleloader. I leave my Remington 700 MLS in CO at my friends house so I don't have to schlep it through the airport every year and pay the baggage fees they charge these days. I drew a NH moose tag in 2010 and wanted to get another muzzleloader for the moose hunt due to restictions in the unit I drew. I bought an Accura out of Cabela's on close-out for $169. It is blued, not SS. The SS was another $100 and since it was an "extra" muzzleloader I didn't want to spend the extra $$. I was pleasantly surprised by how well it handled and shot. I now wish I'd bought it in SS as I would swap it out with the 700 MLS in CO. The 700 MLS is a pain to clean, the Accura, a piece of cake. In any case, if you can swing it, buy SS.

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