One of the simplest, but most important tasks of muzzleloading is reproducibly measuring out a set charge of muzzleloading propellant. Over the years there have been a variety of powder measure designs with some manufacturers even offering preformed powder pellets that can simply be dropped into your smoke pole with a minimal amount of fuss. However some states disallow the use of preformed charges during muzzleloader season thus leaving the need to reproducibly measure out a black powder charge. For this review we'll take a look at three different powder measures offered by Thompson Center Arms.
Thompson Center Arms (T/C or sometimes TCA) has been in the muzzleloading business for decades and it should come as no surprise that they offer a variety of muzzeloading accessories. For measuring granular blackpowder they offer several powder measures. For this review we will be taking a look at the Rifle Powder Measure (#7040), the Field Powder Measure (#7152) and finally the Hunter's Powder Measure (#7048). Each measure accomplishes the same basic task but each goes about it with progressively more refinement.
Three T/C Powder Measures. From Left to Right the Rifle Powder Measure,
the Field Powder Measure, and the Hunter's Powder Measure.
The most basic Rifle Powder Measure is a simple brass device that when completely collapsed measures out fifty grains of powder. Expanding out the measure will allow up to 120 grains of powder to be measured in 10 grain increments. Sliding out the measure moves in 10 grain clicks and can't easily be set to in-between increments.
The Rifle Powder Measure (#7040) uses a brass ring to move between 10 grain increments.
The Field Powder Measure is made of plastic and brass and works similarly as the Rifle Powder Measure. However the Field Powder Measure uses a set screw to hold the measure in an extended position, where the Rifle Powder Measure just uses pressure and can accidentally be collapsed. The Field Powder Measure can measure out 20 to 120 grain charges of powder. Furthermore it is easy to set in-between charges of an additional 5 grains, rather than being bound to only 10 grain increments. The exact charge being measured can be read off the side of the slide in 10 grain increments.
The Field Powder Measure (#7152) uses a set screw to lock down a precise charge.
Finally the Hunter's Powder Measure is the most advanced. Like the Field Powder Measure, it can be set for 20 to 120 grain charges and the plastic slide is graduated in 10 grain increments. To set a specific charge the Field Powder Measure uses a locking collet as opposed to a set screw. In addition the measure has a sliding funnel on the end that allows the shooter to load powder exactly to the top, and then slide over the funnel for easy and precise pouring into the muzzleloader barrel.
The Hunter's Powder Measure (#7048) uses a locking collet to lock in an exact load.
Close up of the Hunter's Powder Measures' integrated sliding funnel.
A traditionalist will appreciate the simplicity of the basic Rifle Powder Measure, although a true traditionalist will pour directly from the powder horn to the barrel and "just know" the right amount of charge. For those that like control of the powder charge and find the basic measures difficult to pour powder from, the Hunter's Powder Measure will be the easiest and most precise to use. At around $20, the Hunter's Powder Measure is more expensive than the $10 or so for the more basic powder measures; however the convenience and precision could be well worth the asking price.