If you’re like most other hunters, then you’ve probably used a muzzleloader already. Most likely, you’ve tried it with scopes from https://adventurefootstep.com/vortex-optics/ as well. With today’s advancements in powder composition and bullet/sabot combination choices, it has become an increasingly complex field. This is why it’s important to understand a few things that can improve your rifle’s performance, and lead to a lifelong hobby without frustration.
Most muzzleloaders bought today are the modern breech types, featuring in-line ignition from manufacturers like Knight and Savage. They produce higher velocities and set up is cleaner with the use of Pyrodex pellets. However, Pyrodex is very corrosive if left in the barrel even overnight. While this goes for all powders, after using Pyrodex especially, you should clean the barrel thoroughly before you put it away. Muzzleloaders have a tendency to be ruined very quickly due to neglectful cleaning practices.
Another point to take in consideration is that using very hot primers like Winchester 209 can literally melt a sabot cup before it eve leaves the barrel. This causes gases to escape around the bullet and substantially reduces velocity, and sometimes can lead to not having enough energy to push the bullet through the barrel. If you’ve ever experienced this, it would be wise to place either fiber wads or certain other manufactured gas checks between the powder and sabot cup. This will ensure the sabot cup doesn’t deform as well when it is being pushed out of the barrel.
Today’s choice of bullets makes it possible to use reduced loads and still maintain effective energy levels. If you feel the need for reduced recoil, and are planning on taking shots within 100 yards, then consider using 2 pellets of Pyrodex or Triple Seven instead of three. You’ll still maintain velocities around 1600fps, which is just about the same as using a shotgun slug. However, when using hollow point bullets, it may be better to stay with 3 pellets, as there is more air-resistance. There really is no need to load 3 pellets when shooting smaller game within 100 yards, unless you’re comfortable with the recoil and can maintain accuracy.
During colder months, it would be wise to dismantle your rifle and thoroughly grease any parts that could be subject to seizure. This is especially true for the breech nut because it’s very difficult to get it out once it’s stuck. However, don’t go crazy lubricating the bore because it’s unnecessary and can in some cases raise internal pressures. Another tip which has almost become necessary is to use the pre-measured canisters for Pyrodex pellets with the bullet starter built into it. This has resulted in very easy and quick reloading that you don’t have to carry one of those big round handled bullet starters.
Lastly, using the manufacturer’s sights normally won’t help even out to 100 yards, as the smoke blown out the muzzle will cause you to lose your aim point. Even though the same happens when using a scope, it’s advisable to get one because precision means everything out in the field. This is especially true if you want to maintain accuracy to within 2 inches at 100 yards. Just make sure to use something higher than 3 inch relief because you may end up with unpleasant scope eye. Don’t use regular rifle scopes as they are not built to withstand the massive recoil of some .50 and .54 caliber muzzleloaders and the internal mechanisms could be damaged.