Some people ask me why I hunt with a muzzleloader during the regular firearms season. Some ask why – period. So here are my top 10 reasons to use a muzzleloader, in no particular order.
10. It extends your hunting season. Many states have a late season muzzleloader hunt. Why end your deer hunting after the firearms season? If you like quiet in the woods the late season is where it’s at. Plus landowners will be more willing to let you hunt after the regular firearms season.
9. I choose the ingredients. I get to choose the bullet, powder, and primer. The load I choose was developed over hours on the range and it’s customized to my gun. It’s like grandma’s sugar cookie recipe. After she mastered it each bite is perfection.
8. More challenging than a modern firearm. No doubt muzzleloaders now-a-days have a lot of modern features, but they are still one-shot ponies. Knowing that you only have one shot to put that deer down increases the challenge of the hunt and makes the reward that much sweeter.
7. Forces discipline. When you have 5 rounds in the magazine you may be tempted to gamble on some shots. Running deer, long distance deer, deer in the brush are some of the shots I hear people taking that require follow up shots. You cannot be as cavalier with a muzzleloader. You have one shot, make it count.
6. The process. I love the whole process of shooting a muzzleloader. Clean it, pour powder in, start and load the bullet, prime it, fire, and clean it again. I feel it detoxes my system from stress.
5. More stuff. Yes, I get to buy more stuff. Muzzleloading requires a lot of stuff. And some of that stuff is trial and error, like bullets, powder, and primers. But the fun part is seeing how well those components work together.
4. Brings me closer to the game. It’s like baking your own bread versus buying it. You are involved with what goes into it and you hand-crafted the bread. Loading each component instead of just sliding a cartridge in the chamber makes me feel closer to the game that I take. And that makes me feel closer to nature, which is a purifying feeling after sitting in a desk in front of a computer all week.
3. Innovation. WHAT??? Isn’t a muzzleloader from the 1700s? True, the concept is, but there have been so many innovations in the past 30 years in regards to in-lines, powders, primers, bullets, and other components that it’s just a very exciting time to get into muzzleloading. Up and coming companies like LHR and rejuvenated companies like CVA are coming out with great products in some affordable price ranges. And then there are the smokeless options…sorry, starting to drool.
2. Affordability. I know this kinda contradicts the “More Stuff” point, but once you have all the starter components, the muzzleloader itself is pretty darn cheap compared to a rifle. For example, I picked up a CVA Wolf that didn’t appear to even have a shot fired from it for $100. I got a scoped CVA Accura V1, brand new, with a case, for $240. There are other brand new options out there from Traditions that will get you going for under $200. A new muzzleloader is a lot easier to get past the wife than a new rifle. The only thing that gets expensive is the components. So buy in bulk.
1. Great for new shooters! Muzzleloaders can be loaded with smaller powder charges so you can get your kids out shooting light loads. You can’t do that with grandpa’s 30-06. As they get older you can increase the charge accordingly.