(Kinda) New to the Industry: LHR Sporting Arms

Up until now only a few muzzleloader manufacturers dominate the industry (Thompon Center, CVA, Knight, Traditions) with Thompson Center taking a majority stake.  There is now some competition that may stir things up: LHR Sporting Arms. This newcomer may hit Smith and Wesson a little close to home as it is made up of former TC employees.

Founded in May of this year (2012), LHR Sporting Arms was the result of the Smith and Wesson acquisition of Thompson Center Arms back in January of 2007. In November of 2011 Smith and Wesson closed the Rochester, New Hampshire plant that manufactured TC firearms and moved operations to it’s Springfield, Massachusetts plant due to its capacity and to reduce costs (and improve the bottom line).  That’s when Micheal Garland (former CFO of TC), Mark Laney (former director of research and development at TC), Karl Ricker (former engineer at TC), and Patrick Hanley (fomerly in Sales at TC) got together to form LHR Sporting Arms.

With over 80 years of combined experience in the industry this foursome is looking to bring quality firearm manufacturing back to Rochester, New Hampshire. They are doing so by rolling out their first model on January 13, 2013.  That model, appropriately named Redemption, sports a number of innovations never seen in the muzzleloader industry and will surely be duplicated by the competitors.

BASIC STATS:

Calibers: .50

Overall Length: 41 Inches

Barrel Length: 24 Inches

Length of Pull: 13.5 Inches

Weight: 7 Pounds

Twist Rate: 1:28

Starting MSRP: $599

FEATURES:

Walnut Stock: It’s become common knowledge that if you have a muzzleloader and it has a walnut stock, it has to be a sidelock. Why did we stray from the beauty of a wood stock? LHR is bringing it back along with the conventional black synthetic stock and a sweet camo synthetic stock.

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Armonite Protection: LHR is the first company to provide a protective coating INSIDE and OUT. Thompson Center and CVA only coat the outside of the barrels – which generally is not the problem. Rust and pitting occur on the inside of a muzzleloader barrel. The outside of a barrel is much easier to see and prevent corrosion. In addition, Armonite is infused with the metal, not a ceramic coating that can chip and flake off. Other advantages:

  • Lower friction on the inside of the barrel to reduce loading pressure. This means you can use tighter-fitting sabots which generally give better accuracy.
  • Corrosion Resistance: Their testing shows 140 hours of a salt spray treatment resulted in almost no rust while a competitor’s barrel shows substantial rusting.
  • Easier cleaning

Cloverleaf Barrel by Green Mountain: Green Mountain is well-known in the muzzleloader industry for it’s accurate replacement barrels. Redemption comes standard with a Cloverleaf barrel made by Green Mountain. The unique feature of the Cloverleaf barrel is it does not have a false muzzle, also known as a Quick Loading Accurizer by a well-known muzzleloader manufacturer. QLAs actually do the opposite from what they are intended to do if they are not cut to exact tolerances. LHR eliminates that possibility by rifling the entire length of the barrel.

Stealth Striker cocking mechanism while a true innovation in a front-stuffer, borrows from the safety design on many over/under or Mossberg shotguns. It’s a much more natural “forward” motion that isn’t impeded by a scope.

Breech Release: The breech release is actuated using a mechanism similar to that found on an over/under shotgun. This is a change of direction when compared to most break-actions on the market that are actuated via a mechanism on the trigger. Considering most muzzleloaders have scopes, I’m not sure how well this will work. But kudos for not playing copycat to the big brands. If you currently shoot an over/under, I’m sure this style of breaking mechanism will remind you of your favorite upland gun.

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Adapt Breech System: The Adapt Breech System is a huge revolution in muzzleloading and has several features with unique advantages:

External threads: All other breech plugs on the market have the threads inside the barrel. This causes breech plug seizing and corrosion if the threads are not properly cleaned.

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Propellant Specific Primer Adapters: The LHR comes with a universal primer adapter (that inserts in the barrel) that will work with all major black powder substitutes, including pellets. For optimal ignition performance, LHR offers primer adapters specific to the propellant you are using. No more basement breech plug machining! In addition, the retaining collar on the primer adapter creates a pressurized seal that prevents blow back in the breech.

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The first Redemption rifles will be shipped on 1/1/2013.  It will be exciting to see how they are reviewed in their first year in production and to see other designs from the guys at LHR.

Check out the LHR Sporting Arms website to read up on all the features and check out their Facebook page.

http://www.lhrsportingarms.com/index.html
http://www.facebook.com/LHRSportingArms

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Last Minute Muzzy Hunt

Yesterday, December 8th, I was planning on going back to southeast Minnesota to hunt the morning and then pull stands out of the woods. The night before we had our first real snowfall so I was pumped to get over there and see some deer in the fresh snow. My excitement waned around 6 AM as I was driving through Rochester and realized THEY DIDN’T GET SNOW! 2.5 hours east of my home everything was dry and brownish green. On the bright side, I won’t need to test out how good my new tires are in snow and mud.

I got out to the stand around 7:30 AM, a little later than I wanted. I sat for about 2 hours without hearing or seeing anything so I figured I might as well get to work on getting the stands down. I first took a loop down the bluff and back up and found some potential stand locations for next year. I got the ladder part of the stand out to the truck and then my cousin showed up.

We went back in and grabbed the upper half of the ladder stand and hauled it out. As we were heading back into the woods for the second stand he said “Let’s grab the guns and do a drive”. I headed east of the cart trail and walked the edge of a creek at the bottom of the ravine. To the left of me was thick with young growth. I found a massive scrape and rub along with a well-worn game trail that will most likely be overseen by a tree stand next year.

As I pushed along the creek I heard a crashing head out of the thicket but saw nothing.  I came to the top of the ravine and met up with my cousin who said he saw four deer head “That Way!” We each climbed to the top of a bluff to see if we could see where they went. I took a bluff further to the north. As I walked to the edge of the bluff I looked down to my right and there stood a doe, just staring at me, about 25 yards away. I cocked the hammer put the sights on the shoulder and squeezed the sweet trigger of the CVA Accura and 110 grains of 777 FFG sent the 240 grain Harvester Scorpion PT Gold flying to hit it’s mark dead on. She dropped immediately, but being a bluff, began to roll downhill. I yelled “STOP!!!” as if that would do anything and luckily she rolled into a fallen tree to stop her from falling even further.

What an awesome deer season it’s been – all the way up until the second to last day of the muzzleloader season but we filled 5 of 5 tags.

Lessons learned from deer season this year:

  • Never pass up an opportunity to hunt just because you have “a couple hours”.  Opportunities present themselves in seconds and minutes so be ready when  the situation occurs.
  • For off-season preparation, include a number of ‘hunting scenario’ shots as well as shooting at deer targets. Black circles are fine to shoot at when finding groups but you need to prepare for deer and the multitude of angles they present themselves in. This includes the positions you may have to be in in order to make the shot. Very rare is the time when you get a straight off shot at a broadside deer.
  • If party hunting, set the rules, roles, and responsibilities prior to the hunt.
  • After the shot, immediately load a second shot. Even if your shot was on the money, you may have a shot at another deer.