Going Primitive

The Pros & Cons of Muzzleloaders

huntingwithkidscroppedMany hunters shy away from blackpowder guns thinking they are too cumbersome and unpredictable. Others can’t wait for the primitive firearms season starts. Here are some of the pros and cons of muzzleloaders. You be the judge whether or not this exciting form of hunting if for you. One word of warning. One of the common themes running through the forums seems to be, no matter the pros or cons, once you try this form of hunting, you will be hooked.

Pros

Extended Hunting Season: For many hunters, the extra days of hunting during the “primitive firearms season” means a chance to get a deer if you haven’t already. The extra days can also correspond to the rut, supplying more action then you might have seen during bow or shotgun season

Accuracy: Granted, a muzzleloader is not going to be as accurate as a centerfire 30-06 at 250 yards, but at 100-150 yards, it will out shoot a slug or buckshot. It will force you to improve your stalking skills as you might only get one shot. Gravity is you enemy when is comes to firearms, but your choice of bullet can help. The newer conical rounds can give you more distance and accuracy.

Range: Compared to slugs and buckshot, muzzleloaders rule as far as range in concerned. Buckshot is most effective up to about 50 yards, while a shotgun shooting slugs through a rifled barrel can be effective  to 125 yards. Scoped muzzleloaders shooting modern muzzleloader bullets can be accurate and effective to beyond 150 yards, with certain custom, semi-custom and smokeless muzzleloaders having effective ranges well beyond that.

Fair Game: As mentioned, you might only get one chance at that “buck of a lifetime” so you had better make it count. This will prompt you to respect the game, move in, stalk the deer to get into a range you are comfortable with and do you best sighting. Range time spent working with propellent mixes and bullets will dial you in so you will be ready in the field.

shutterstock_274291583More to Play With: If you like to tinker, muzzleloading offers endless opportunities and versatility with regard to loads as a result of the myriad powders, bullets and primers available. Many hunters opt for the convenience and ease of pre-formed powder pellets, but switching to loose powder allows custom loads to be developed and fine-tuned for maximum accuracy. You can also custom tailor your loads based on your particular needs at the time.

Cons

Extended Hunting Season: Let’s face it. If you’ve been out for bow season then shotgun season chances are your beat. Who wants to do more hunting. Its time to get ready for the holidays and pack your summer gear away. Who has time for more hunting. Not to mention the days getting shorter and there being less daylight.

Accuracy: Granted, muzzleloaders are more accurate then slugs or buckshot, they can’t compare to a 30-06. Scoped, rifled, high caliber long guns can be accurate up to much greater distances.

Range: Again, if you are looking to shoot further and more accurately, there are better ways then muzzleloaders.

Fair Game: With the problems with stalking and getting a good shot off with a muzzleloader, a rifle can be more deadly at a longer distance and produce a quicker, more humane kill.

More to Play With: Sometimes, when you want to go hunting, you want to go. Who has time for messing with powders, bullets and primer. Not to mention the hurdles you need to jump to make sure you keep you powder dry. Missed? Now see how quick you can get off a second shot. Not as easy as just chambering another round.

Okay, so we had some fun with that, but you get our point. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. If you are looking to just get out and hunt, take the easy shot from far away, good on ya. There’s a tool, time and place for that. But if you are looking to have more control of your ammo, more of a challenge during the hunt and the feeling that you are hunting the way they have for centuries, consider black powder guns. One thing most primitive gun enthusiasts say is try it you will be hooked. What some see as a challenge or obstacle can be something new to play with or over come. Come in and see Jada in the Goose Hummock Shooting Department and have him show you some of the black powder guns we have in stock.