"MUZZLELOADING IN THE NEW MILLENIUM" by Luke Clayton
Its a pretty good bet that if Davy Crockett had access to todays muzzleloaders, Ole Bessie would have remained on its rack above Crocketts fireplace. He would probably have been shooting a smokepole with removable breech plug, fired by a hot 209 primer that was capable of consistently shooting three inch groups out to 200 yards, and in the hands of an experienced shooter, a bit beyond!
Ive enjoyed shooting muzzleloaders for years but I used to detest the arduous chore of thoroughly scrubbing my old style rifles after each hunting trip. Muzzleloading has come a long way since I first began shooting that old 50 caliber Hawkin style rifle with black powder and patched round ball!
For the past couple months, Ive been shooting and hunting with my new 50caliber muzzleloader by MDM Muzzleloaders (www.MDM-Muzzleloaders.com). Topped with its Buck Tracka scope, also by MDM, this little rifle is a joy to shoot and-clean! I have a range set up not far from my home and Ive had the opportunity to really get to know my new rifle. Sighted in 3 inches high at 100 yards, the 200 yard groups are printing 4 inches below the bulls eye, plenty good for cleanly harvesting game at this extended range. Ive been shooting a sabot (sleeved) 222 grain tungsten bullet by MDM that Ive found to be not only extremely accurate but highly efficient on game.
The MDM muzzleloaders lead the way in break open muzzleloading. The barrel actually pivots away from the stock/receiver, just like a single shot, break open shotgun. This feature makes the removable breech plug easy to access, which makes cleaning the barrel a breeze.
If youve been contemplating purchasing your first muzzleloader, a bit of thought before making your purchase is in order. You might wish to shoot traditional rifles with black powder and patched round ball rather than inline rifles with cleaner burning black powder substitutes and conical or sabot rounds. A word of advice: If you do decide to shoot black powder, be prepared to devote time to thoroughly cleaning your rifle after each shooting session. Granted, black powder substitutes leave a sooty residue in the barrel that must be cleaned, but clean up with these cleaner burning propellants is much easier than with black powder.
I made the switch from traditional muzzleloaders to modern inlines years ago for several reasons. Since I use my muzzleloaders for hunting, I found myself passing up shots at game past 100 yards when shooting traditional muzzleloaders with iron sights. Ive heard the argument that Why not just shoot a centerfire instead of a muzzleloader that can kill game out to 200 yards? To achieve such accuracy, you have to do your homework, experimenting with different powder charges and bullets until you find what shoots best in your rifle. For me, shooting and experimenting is what muzzleloading is all about.
Photo courtesy Luke Clayton
The author with some prime pork he harvested with his new muzzleloader.
When you cleanly harvest your first deer or wild hog at 200 yards, or shoot a tight group at this extended range, with a muzzleloader you have spent much time shooting and experimenting with, you will fully understand why so many of us enjoy muzzleloading.
BIG STRIPER LANDED
Imagine striper fishing at your favorite lake and hooking into a 73 pounder! Fred Barnes recently caught what is possibly the 3rd largest striper ever landed in the U.S. while fishing off the Virginia Coast. Striper fishermen at Lake Texoma, located about 1.5 hours north of Dallas on the Texas-Oklahoma border probably cant expect to catch a striper of this size but guide Bill Carey with Striper Express (877-786-4477) says now is a good time for connecting with double digit fish. His last trip produced good action on stripers with several fish in the 10-13 pound range, all landed on half-ounce Roadrunners and Riptide Curltailers. Fishing has been best in water 2-12 feet deep, in close proximity to deeper water.
TURKEY HUNTING PROSPECTS EXCELLENT
My rancher buddies out near San Angelo are eager for the spring turkey season to begin. With a very good hatch last year, the number of birds is high with lots of year old Jakes. There was a good carry over of mature toms from the excellent hatch three years ago.
Its not a minute too soon to begin getting your turkey hunting gear together, just another month and it will be time to go prospecting for a big Tom or good eating Jake. It seems of all my outdoor gear, I misplace my turkey calls, vests, blind and decoys the most. After the close of turkey season each year, the various items seem to get scattered from my truck to the RV to my storage building which has basically become a storehouse for hunting and fishing gear. Its time to take inventory and replace lost or worn out items. The closer to the opening of turkey season, the more difficult it is to locate the items needed for turkey hunting.
Its also a good idea to pattern the shotgun you plan to take to the turkey woods. Make sure and do your testing with the same shells you plan to hunt with.
Contact Luke at [email protected] . Listen to Outdoors
With Luke Clayton at www.catfishradio.com