Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Seems muzzleloading has taken a back seat to a lot of things these days. One thing is for certain, when it comes to INNOVATIVE... HOT...NEW things for the muzzleloading hunter - the 2013 SHOT Show, held in Las Vegas, NV January 15 thru 18, was a real bust!
The one truly bright shining star is a new rifle model from Traditions Performance Firearms - the VORTEK StrikerFire.
In a sense, this new .50 caliber VORTEK model has gone hammerless. At least, there's no swinging hammer sticking up out of the receiver. Instead, there's what the company refers to as the "StrkerFire System Button". By pushing this forward with either the right or left thumb (the rifle is truly ambidextrous), the shooter cocks the internal striker (a.k.a. firing pin) system. Once the rifle is cocked, the cross-block manual trigger safety can be engaged, allowing the rifle to be carried safely. To add an additional level of safety, the internal mechanism can be un-cocked by pushing the small silver release on top of the StrikerFires System Button. The trigger safety can also be switched from right to left handed. Operation of this new system is effortless.
Traditions president Tom Hall is shown here proudly holding the new hamerless VORTEK StrikerFire model
The new model will be available this spring. I should be test shooting the rifle in May, and will publish an indepth report on the NORTH AMERICAN MUZZLELOADER HUNTING website.
Easily some of the best shooting sabots and bullets out of the three VORTEK break-open hammer rifles that have become my primary test rifles have been the 240-, 260- and 300-grain Scorpion PT Gold polymer-tipped spire points and the black .50x.45 Crush Rib Sabots - from Harvester Muzzleloading. Shooting my favorite 110-grain charge of Blackhorn 209, the rifles have delivered exceptional accuracy - with a fair share of the 100-yard clusters staying inside of 1-inch across center-to-center. And that is the load I plan to start my testing with once the snows of Western Montana begin to diminish.
To stay updated on the availability of the VORTEK StrikerFire, check occasionally at this link -
Watch for this report before the end of May. The new 28-inch barreled .50 caliber Traditions VORTEK StrikerFire was easily the most exciting new muzzleloader hunting product at the 2013 SHOT Show. - Toby Bridges, HARVESTER MUZZLELOADING HUNTER
NOTE: Hopefully, this spring we'll also be able to do some test shooting with another new break-open .50 caliber rifle model known as the Redemption. Ths rifle is now being produced by a new in-line rifle making operation known as LHR Sporting Arms. When Smith & Wesson became the parent company of Thompson/Center Arms, and moved the gun making operation to Springfield, MA...they left behind some fine rifle makers. A handful of those who worked so hard to make T/C successful and the company's muzzleloaders popular have launched this new effort to give their old alma mater some competition in the muzzleloading big game rifle market.
The company did not display at this year's SHOT Show, but says they may try to exhibit at the 2014 SHOT Show. For a look at the Redemption, go to the following link -
Wednesday, January 9, 2013
My favored load for hunting just about anything "big" in North America has become 110-grains of Blackhorn 209 behind the saboted 300-grain Scorpion PT Gold bullet offered by Harvester Muzzleloading. Simply put, this load has shot very well out of just about every .50 caliber No. 209 primer ignition in-line rifle I've loaded it into.
Most 28-inch barreled rifle models feature a 26 to 26 1/2 inch "working bore". The load tends to get out of the muzzle at right around 1,970 f.p.s. - with around 2,580 f.p.e. The 30-inch barreled Traditions .50 caliber VORTEK Ultra Light LDR I shoot and hunt with mostly these days has a 28-inch working bore, and the load leaves the muzzle at 2,009 f.p.s., with right at 2,690 f.p.e. Out at 200 yards, this rifle and load is still good for 1,460 f.p.s. and about 1,420 f.p.e. - and that's good enough to take any North American big game animal.
If you are now hunting with Blackhorn 209, in the comment section of this blog post, share with others the rifle and the load you shoot - and how well it performs for you. Or you can send it to us in an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Through 2013, the NORTH AMERICAN MUZZLELOADER HUNTING website will be publishing a series of pages that will thoroughly cover every apsect and quality of Blackhorn 209. The first of those pages can be found at the following link -
On these pages we will try to cover every aspect and quality of this powder. In February, we will even ask the question, "Is Blackhorn 209 Too Good?"