I’m interested in getting an inline muzzleloader to take advantage of an early deer hunting season.
My state requires a minimum of .44 cal.
I have zero experience with inlines and have no clue where to start looking. I want something easy to use and clean.
From what I understand once you load a muzzleloader the only way to get the bullet out is to shoot. Are there any new rifles which allow for the bullet to be removed?
I don’t plan on shooting past 100yrds and would like to keep the price below $500.
What are some features I need to look for and stay away from? Thanks
They make Co2 cartridge dischargers to blow the bullet and powder out.
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No rail wear will be painless.
This information below applies to Thompson/Center Encore rifle and pistol inline muzzleloaders. I own both, two frames, (one rifle, one pistol), and a pile of interchangeable barrels.
I have barrels in .50 caliber muzzleloader (rifle and pistol), 30-06 (pistol), .270 (rifle), .500 S & W Mag. (carbine, 20" long)
The rifle frame (as described on the 4473 form when purchased new) will only ever be able to be used as a long gun. (rifle, muzzleloader rifle, or a shotgun)
The pistol frame (as described on the 4473 form when purchased new) can be used with pistol, rifle, and shotgun barrels, swap grips/stocks/as needed.
There is no difference between a rifle frame and a pistol frame, other than manufacturers part number. Buying used, this can become a problem.
So it is very important to buy the correctly 4473 labeled frame, it's a federal law violation that the rifle frame cannot be used for a pistol, if it was a rifle frame when first sold.
This basically means it's illegal to turn a rifle into a pistol, if it was sold the first time retail as a rifle.
This can be difficult if not impossible to figure out if you are the third or fourth owner.
These inline T/C guns have a removeable breech plug, they use 209 shotgun primers for ignition. It's just like a cartridge firing gun, no time lag from trigger pull until the BOOM.
To unload without shooting, break the action open, (like an over/under shotgun) remove the 209 primer from the breech plug, remove the breech plug, raise the muzzle vertical,
and the Pyrodex powder pellets fall out the breech. Then using a ramrod, push the projectile (a Hornady XTP .44 mag pistol bullet in my case) and it's enclosed in a plastic sabot, and push it out the breech from the muzzle end. If you didn't shoot that day, no cleaning required. I flush the used/removed but not fired Pyrodex pellets down the toilet. They dissolve in the bowl, so flush them fast.
You can reuse the projectile again if not fired, but the plastic sabot is trash. The projectiles surface may discolor from close proximity to the powder when you unload, but has no issues with reuse,
other than the discoloration.
I will take a 1" by 1" square of 3M black electrical tape and place it on the muzzle end of the barrel after loading.
DO NOT run the tape down the sides of the barrel, the tape must only contact the end of the barrel.
This will keep rain/snow out of the barrel, away from the black powder substitute which when damp/wet, will not go BOOM.
When you shoot, the air compressed in front of the projectile as the projectile moves towards the muzzle, just blows the 3M electrical tape square away, off the muzzle.
I run a Aimpoint tube style red dot on my T/C Encore muzzleloader rifle. It will place an endless quantity of projectiles under a clay pigeon at 100 yards.
After 3 or 4 shots, it needs to be wet patched. Water from a puddle, spit, or melted snow will suffice. Wet patch the bore, dry patch the bore, then "pop" a primer only before reloading.
It almost cheating with a inline muzzleloader!
Stainless steel is your friend, it is somewhat more corrosion resistant than blued carbon steel. It will rust, just not as badly or quickly.
Black powder, Pyrodex, and several BP substitutes are still quite corrosive.
Cleaning... Clean the damn thing after each time you shoot it. On a T/C Encore, the barrel is removeable. I remove the barrel, and place the muzzle end in a plastic wastebasket.
Fill the wastebasket about 3/4 full with HOT tap water and dish soap. I will brush the bore with a bronze bristle brush about 30 strokes.
Clean the breech plug in the hot soapy water with an old used toothbrush. Also, clean the ramrod and any ramrod attachments.
When you start getting ready to do your cleaning task, fill a tea kettle with water and put it on the stove to boil.
When done with the bronze bore brush, pour the tea kettle of boiling water down the bore and on exterior barrel surfaces.
Use whatever kitchen tool you can find to keep your barrel support hand away from the pouring boiling water!
I use a kitchen/oven "HOT" mitt to set that HOT barrel on a towel while it dries. When it's cool, oil the bore and reassemble the gun. It will be dry when it cools.
If you have an air compressor, use it. Any water remaining in breech plug threads or ramrod thimbles just blows away.
Oil the bore before storage. If going hunting the next day, I don't oil the bore. Clean and dry is fine
I use Brake Cleaner to remove the oil in the bore before loading if it's coming out of storage.
The bad new is that Thompson/Center is gone. Run into the ground by their parent company, Smith & Wesson.
I personally consider Thompson/Center Encore single shot rifles/pistols and muzzleloaders to be the Premier/Cadillac of what is/was available.
It's a shame what Smith & Wesson did to the T/C brand.
Today, you'll likely need to buy used.
NRA Benefactor Life Member
USPSA Chief Range Officer
CVA Accura is a break open and has a breech plug that just screws out with your fingers. Extremely accurate and super easy to clean.
I know nothing about muzzleloaders but, like the OP, have nearly identical interests.
I did find this USA manufacturer but it’s too much for my first go around. Randy Wakeman talked them up.
Following thread with interest …
That just generally means Randy got paid.
There lots of affordable options on the market. I'd look for something like the CVA that sandmatt mentioned. They're plenty accurate at 100 yards and the twist out breech plug makes cleaning fairly easy.
While I generally appreciate a healthy dose of skepticism as much as the next guy, when a company puts the owner’s phone number on their website for service issues…
“ Phone calls. For general product questions please call Tim Bolduc at 603-608-7218
For all other technical questions, issues, complaints, status updates, please call Mark Woodman at 603-234-7968. Be sure to leave a message with a name and number.”
On principle alone, I give them the benefit of doubt that they are a quality, responsible manufacturer of USA made rifles whether “Randy got paid” or not.
I like to take advantage of the early muzzleloader season to fill all of my antlerless tags. This is the setup I use and have been extremely happy with it.
Thompson Center Impact using triple seven pellets and Hornady 240 grain xtp sabots. I just have a weaver 40/44 scope on it.
The one property I hunt only allows shotguns and muzzleloaders. I tend to take the muzzleloader over my savage 220.
I’m well versed with M-L, started with side-locks in the 70’s. I now exclusively use Knight, the ‘Elite’ model to be specific. Years ago they were often on closeout for $200.
You can poke around the linked M-L site, oodles of info in past threads. There are often quality guns for sale in the classifieds.
My Elite 45 cal sends a 195-200 grain saboted bullet at 2218 fps average with B209 powder. I have a Zeiss scope, lack for nothing inside 140 yards or so. I just confirmed the zero at 50 yards, holes are touching. The Knight trigger is easily adjustable.
If buying any M-L used, be wary of poor care & corrosion. Yes, they take a little fiddling, but no biggie. I go off with 5-6 charged speed loaders, reloads are easy. After shooting, they need proper care.
Is .50 cal the standard? You can always shoot a smaller sabot bullet.
Yes, especially with in-lines, 50 cal is 90% of the market. Most accessories are made for the 50 cal.
I normally buy plastic sabots from Harvestor Muzzleloading, that’s the ‘crush-rib’ sabots. There are slight differences in bore diameters with various makes. One wants a proper bore fit with the saboted bullet, not to tight, or loose.
Normally one shoots a .451-.452” 45. Cal bullet in a 50 cal in-line, .400” in a 45 cal M-L. Once you get the sabots, you can buy any bullet you want that fits. I often use a Hornady XTP pistol bullet, Barnes copper are near the top for hunting.
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