muzzle loader hunting

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Just wondering, is it still "hunter orange" for muzzle loader deer season?

How late does muzzle loader (or is it "black powder"?) season go in Massachusetts?

I just got a used one, but it might take me a bit to get proficient on this thing.

Also, once deer season ends, this can still be used on coyote, right? Is orange still necessary? I'd prefer snow, with white winter camo (sheet as poncho, with rope belt), but not sure, as this is all new.

Thanks.
 
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It's open season until the end of the year (12/31). Yes orange is required. Same requirements as shotgun.

After the year ends Coyote runs until March. No orange required. Rifles okay by day but .22LR or Shotgun only at night until 12:00. There are shot size requirements. You'll have to look them up. I think it's T shot for Coyote which is tough to find.

Muzzleloaders are fine by day but not at night..

regs:
Coyote hunting regulations
 
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BrianWilson

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Bought one this year...inline type. Definite learning curve. Tried every bullet, powder and primer known to man. I can't comment on the killing power yet, but as far as shooting,here's a few things I found, for what little they are worth....disclaimer..far from an expert.

You absolutely have to bust a cap or two after cleaning and before putting in the powder and bullet. Absolutely, or it will misfire every time.
The Federal primers in the black box marked "Muzzleloader" seemed to burn much cleaner. So much cleaner it's worth looking for them.
I haven't tried the Blackhorn powder yet, that's the next step, but for pellets the White Hots seem to burn somewhat cleaner than the rest.
For me the kit with every thing you need from that big online Muzzle-Loader store was worth every penny to get started.
No expert, but I would suggest just going right to one of the saboted all copper bullets and skipping the Powerbelts. I found the Barnes 250 TEZ to be the best shooters by a good margin in my gun, and anecdotal evidence is fairly strong against the PB's terminal effectiveness. None of them are cheap.
I'm reasonably confident with the thing out to 50, and most of where we hunt you don't have a decent shot much farther anyways. I'd definitely pass on anything over 100, even a rested shot at a standing still Mr. Big.
It takes for ever to get the thing sighted in...shoot,clean... shoot, clean....shoot,clean. Frickin PIA.
 
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I got one this year too. My experiences are similar in some ways. Differ in others.

I've never had a problem with poor ignition. No need to pop a primer before loading. I do use blackhorn 209. I don't clean between shots at the range. Maybe every 3rd. I use Federal 209a primers. They've been reliable. The Barnes 250 grain T-EZ has been the best performer for me as well. Group about 2 maybe 2.5" at 100 yards.

You absolutely have to spend some time at the range. They're temperamental for sure. What shoots well for one person may not for another..... In the exact same gun...

For me:
TC triumph
100 grains BH 209
Federal 209a
Barnes 250 grain T-EZ

....shoots the best so far.
 
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Just read the regs. Jack.
Was hoping for the "Reader's Digest" version until I could find them.


It's open season until the end of the year (12/31). Yes orange is required. Same requirements as shotgun.

After the year ends Coyote runs until March. No orange required. Rifles okay by day but .22LR or Shotgun only at night until 12:00. There are shot size requirements. You'll have to look them up. I think it's T shot for Coyote which is tough to find.

Muzzleloaders are fine by day but not at night..

regs:
Coyote hunting regulations
Thanks. About the night thing, what about muzzle loaders loaded with shot?



Bought one this year...inline type. Definite learning curve. Tried every bullet, powder and primer known to man. I can't comment on the killing power yet, but as far as shooting,here's a few things I found, for what little they are worth....disclaimer..far from an expert.

You absolutely have to bust a cap or two after cleaning and before putting in the powder and bullet. Absolutely, or it will misfire every time.
The Federal primers in the black box marked "Muzzleloader" seemed to burn much cleaner. So much cleaner it's worth looking for them.
I haven't tried the Blackhorn powder yet, that's the next step, but for pellets the White Hots seem to burn somewhat cleaner than the rest.
For me the kit with every thing you need from that big online Muzzle-Loader store was worth every penny to get started.
No expert, but I would suggest just going right to one of the saboted all copper bullets and skipping the Powerbelts. I found the Barnes 250 TEZ to be the best shooters by a good margin in my gun, and anecdotal evidence is fairly strong against the PB's terminal effectiveness. None of them are cheap.
I'm reasonably confident with the thing out to 50, and most of where we hunt you don't have a decent shot much farther anyways. I'd definitely pass on anything over 100, even a rested shot at a standing still Mr. Big.
It takes for ever to get the thing sighted in...shoot,clean... shoot, clean....shoot,clean. Frickin PIA.
Hmmm. I think I did 4 shots at the range, no cleaning, and then went home. Not only did I not hit the target, I am not sure if I even hit the cardboard. There were a few holes high left which MIGHT have been mine, but I was basically just getting a feel for using it, and the mechanics of loading/shooting/safety/etc. Maybe I'll hit the range again tomorrow.

What do you mean by "bust a cap or two after cleaning and before putting in the powder and bullet"?
 

gerrycaruso

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When he says "bust a cap" he means shoot a couple of percussion caps (or shotgun primers if you're using that system) before you load the powder charge to clear any solvent, oil or water that may be down there.
 

HorizontalHunter

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You shouldn’t have any ignition problems with an inline.

In general ignition problems are caused by:

1. Using a substitute powder instead of real black powder in a flintlock or percussion rifle. (All substitute powders have a much higher ignition temperature than real black powder.

2. Contaminated powder. Excessive oil in the barrel can contaminate the powder.

I have never “popped a cap” in my inline ( always in my percussion though) before loading. I do run a dry patch before I load it. On an in-line you should be able to see through the flash hole.

Bob
 

BrianWilson

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I found the cleaning solution collects in the flash hole/breech plug as well as the bore, and when you drop in the pellets not only do you douse the outsides with whats left in the bore, when you fire the gun the primer blows this gunk into the hole in the center of the pellets, and they don't go off. Little nerve wracking taking the breech plug out to remedy the situation as well. This has happened pretty much every time I forget. It's pretty obvious what happened as the center of the pellets look as though coated with tar.

Firing just a primer, no powder or bullet , blows whats left of the cleaning process out and burns it up. If you oil the barrel when storing this is good practice as well.

Most of my hunting is done in Maine, and the regs specifically state the gun is not considered loaded if the primer is not in place. Since some of our hunt takes place in my sons wood lot outback, or I don't feel like loading on the side of the road in the dark @ 10 below if we are going somewhere else I typically put the pellets and bullet in at the house. In order to snap a cap or two @ 4AM in his basement I've found wrapping an old towel or something around the muzzle and sticking it out the basement door to be pretty much soundless.
 

Bt74

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My take on this: I shoot a TC Scout Carbine, maybe 30 years old, their first inline. Early version, has the twist rate that won't stabilize sabots or maxi hunters. I shoot 370gr Maxi Ball, "for penetration of thick skinned animals" because they are long enough to stabilize with the rifling. #11 caps and 100gr of FFG black powder. Shot placement is everything. Use soapy hot water to clean it, and it has never been touched with a petroleum product to lube or clean it. Strictly TC Natralube. (See cast iron pan thread). After shooting, I clean it, run a patch with Natralube and put it away. Next season, I run a dry patch and DO "pop a cap" and then load it. I have never had a misfire, and have taken ...probably 11 of the 17 deer I've taken, with this rifle.
Now to piss off the purists, if I don't shoot it that season, I leave it charged until the NEXT season, and continue to hunt with it! I have NEVER had a FTF, and being an inline , you can see right down the bore and it is flawless. There is NO rust or corrosion inside nor on the finish!
 

HorizontalHunter

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I found the cleaning solution collects in the flash hole/breech plug as well as the bore, and when you drop in the pellets not only do you douse the outsides with whats left in the bore, when you fire the gun the primer blows this gunk into the hole in the center of the pellets, and they don't go off. Little nerve wracking taking the breech plug out to remedy the situation as well. This has happened pretty much every time I forget. It's pretty obvious what happened as the center of the pellets look as though coated with tar.

Firing just a primer, no powder or bullet , blows whats left of the cleaning process out and burns it up. If you oil the barrel when storing this is good practice as well.

Most of my hunting is done in Maine, and the regs specifically state the gun is not considered loaded if the primer is not in place. Since some of our hunt takes place in my sons wood lot outback, or I don't feel like loading on the side of the road in the dark @ 10 below if we are going somewhere else I typically put the pellets and bullet in at the house. In order to snap a cap or two @ 4AM in his basement I've found wrapping an old towel or something around the muzzle and sticking it out the basement door to be pretty much soundless.
I take the breech plug out when cleaning and I clean the barrel and breech plug separately. I use Q-tips on the breech plug and occasionally a welding wire tip cleaner for the flash hole.

The loaded weapon rules are the same here.

I always load in the house and I also tape off the muzzle. It will stay loaded until the season is over. When I hunt I discard the primer at the end of the hunt so I am always hunting on a fresh primer.

Bob
 
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I use Hoppe's #9 to clean the breech plug and barrel. Since I'm using BH209 powder - I follow what their recommendation is to use (regular powder solvent). I give the breech plug a bath in it, scrub out what I can with a Q-Tip and pipe cleaners, and then blast it with chlorine free brake cleaner. The acetone in the brake clean is a degreaser. It removes all oil, dries quickly and residue free. The force of the spray also blows out the fire hole of any remaining debris. It's squeaky clean, dry and 100% reliable after doing this. No popping a cap in its ass required. The barrel gets the same treatment. Hoppe's #9 and cleaning patches until they come out clean, then brake cleaner down the bore. One or 2 more patches and she's done.

If storing it for a while I may put a light coat of rem oil or clp on it. But before shooting it gets another round of brake clean to remove. Always use breech plug grease though... But just a little bit. It doesn't take much.
 
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Now to piss off the purists, if I don't shoot it that season, I leave it charged until the NEXT season, and continue to hunt with it! I have NEVER had a FTF, and being an inline , you can see right down the bore and it is flawless. There is NO rust or corrosion inside nor on the finish!
That's impressive considering how corrosive actual black powder is...
 

Al-Jim19

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That's impressive considering how corrosive actual black powder is...
The powder needs oxygen, or exposure to air and moisture, to corrode the metal parts. If you have a seated the bullet well it’s basically air tight.

Think about it, a lot of cowboys used to load their cap n ball revolvers, drop em in holsters and ride off into the sunset. How often do you think they unloaded and cleaned?
 
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whacko

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The powder need oxygen, or exposure to air and moisture, to corrode the metal parts. If you have a seated the bullet well it’s basically air tight.

Think about it, a lot of cowboys used to load their cap n ball revolvers, drop em in holsters and ride off into the sunset. How often do you think they unloaded and cleaned?
I dont know? Have you talked to any cowboys that had cap and ball revolvers in their holsters?

After the debacle I encountered a few years ago with wet pellets costing my buddy a deer.....I use a fresh load every time. Condensation is a bitch!
 

Al-Jim19

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I dont know? Have you talked to any cowboys that had cap and ball revolvers in their holsters?

After the debacle I encountered a few years ago with wet pellets costing my buddy a deer.....I use a fresh load every time. Condensation is a bitch!
I don’t doubt that condensation can occur. The point is that if you choose not to unload the ball and powder charge you’ll probably be fine.

Cowboys definitely did not unload and clean every day. Their pistols still went bang. Colonial trappers did not unload their rifles every day. They still harvested a load of skins and fur by the gun.
 

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I just figure since I can't go hunting on Sunday morning I might as well take my Dunks to the range and shoot off 10 or 15 shots, shooting being a highly perishable skill and all. This typically results in a fresh load for each trip. Lot less nagging about chores and stuff at the range as well.
 
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1. Once you find a load bullet or ball combination that's accurate stick with that forever to keep it simple.
2. Keep it clean as possible. I always clean after five shots. You can use just hot water but I prefer some type of solvent. They say you shouldn't use hoppes but it works fine. I would recommend after cleaning to put a patch in the front of the muzzle and bust a cap 1 or 2 times WITH NO POWDER The patch should shoot out a few feet ensuring good combustion through the nipple.
3. If you're using a traditional side lock then don't use pyrodex. It will work fine but not always in very cold weather late in the season.
Good luck muzzleloader season is great usually less people in the woods. It's fun to see how our forefathers had to hunt.
 

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When hunting, be sure to load the gun. Son Lance had a deer in his sights the other day. He pulled the trigger and all he got was a shower of sparks from the muzzle. He just plain forgot to load the gun. The deer watch him reload and took off just as he was putting a new cap on. Jack.
 

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I don’t doubt that condensation can occur. The point is that if you choose not to unload the ball and powder charge you’ll probably be fine.

Cowboys definitely did not unload and clean every day. Their pistols still went bang. Colonial trappers did not unload their rifles every day. They still harvested a load of skins and fur by the gun.
According to TC 30 years ago, according to my Scout Carbine manual, back then the corrosion issue was minimal, because they didn't use petroleum products. Bear grease and whale oil were used. TC claimed if you use petro products, it reacts with the black powder. They claimed using non petro products was the equivalent of seasoning a cast iron fry pan. Don't know, but my gun seems to prove this out. But, I never cleaned my chimney on my first house for 12 years, and haven't cleaned my current house's chimney in the 19 years since it was built. It's all in how you operate it.
 
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I hate cleaning these contraptions. Other than that they are fine. It’s 2018 someone can’t make a non corrosive substitute?
 
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When hunting, be sure to load the gun. Son Lance had a deer in his sights the other day. He pulled the trigger and all he got was a shower of sparks from the muzzle. He just plain forgot to load the gun. The deer watch him reload and took off just as he was putting a new cap on. Jack.
You mean he saved one for the rest of us....
 

Mark from MA

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I hate cleaning these contraptions. Other than that they are fine. It’s 2018 someone can’t make a non corrosive substitute?
Why? Do you have a break open with a breach plug?

CVA Optima here...finger removal breach plug. Break open, remove plug with fingers, three wet patches of BP solvent and one dry patch. Clean breach plug with brush in a little BP solvent, and pipe cleaner, and blow out with air. Done.

If I'm putting away for the season, I pull breach plug, store indoors in a clean dry area, push a patch with T/C bore butter down the barrel. Its probably overkill since the whole thing is stainless, but I've never had an issue with rust or gummed up breach plug.

I never bust a cap before loading....I use no oils near the breach plug, just BP solvent which is water based. I then use air to blow out the solvent, and a heat gun to dry it fully.

I'll never go back to breach plugs you need a wrench for in tight hard to get areas, and cleaning from the wrong end of the barrel. Never...I've used break opens long before they were legal.

The other good thing is I don't have to shoot it to unload it, just open it up and push the two pellets and bullet out.
 
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Mark from MA

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That's impressive considering how corrosive actual black powder is...
Its not corrosive until it's fired then the acidic residue sits in the barrel.

Many people leave them loaded, with no issues, of rust. However, my guess is condensation would ruin the powder after a while if left in an area that gets hot and cold.

I've very sure the cowboys used grease to cover their cap and ball revolver cylinders to prevent chainfire, and this likely helped season the barrel to prevent rust.
 

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Why? Do you have a break open with a breach plug?

CVA Optima here...finger removal breach plug. Break open, remove plug with fingers, three wet patches of BP solvent and one dry patch. Clean breach plug with brush in a little BP solvent, and pipe cleaner, and blow out with air. Done.

If I'm putting away for the season, I pull breach plug, store indoors in a clean dry area, push a patch with T/C bore butter down the barrel. Its probably overkill since the whole thing is stainless, but I've never had an issue with rust or gummed up breach plug.

I never bust a cap before loading....I use no oils near the breach plug, just BP solvent which is water based. I then use air to blow out the solvent, and a heat gun to dry it fully.

I'll never go back to breach plugs you need a wrench for in tight hard to get areas, and cleaning from the wrong end of the barrel. Never...I've used break opens long before they were legal.

The other good thing is I don't have to shoot it to unload it, just open it up and push the two pellets and bullet out.
This

I can clean my in line muzzle loader in 5 - 10 minutes with nothing more than tc muzzle majic and some bore butter. I also store mine with the breach plug out.
 

BrianWilson

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The only thing I would argue...I'm willing to bet there was more than one cowboy who his last words were "Oh $h!t" after he pulled that hog leg and the only thing he got out of it was a really loud click.
 

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For accuracy you have to match your projectile to the rifle's twist rate. The best accuracy is from patched ball in a slow twist barrel, say 1 in 60" (Like the Lyman Great Plains rifle). The best blood trails/terminal performance is from maxi balls and from sabots. These need a much faster twist as found in most in lines.

Remember inn muzzleloading that consistency in loading the rifle is key to accuracy. This includes not only measuring the powder but how the ball is positioned, and how much pressure is used in seating the bullet. The fit to the barrel is critical. The right combination of bullet diameter and patch thickness will feel just right with practice
ALWAYS MARK a new ramrod with a line to show how far it goes into the barrel with a powder/bullet charge in the rifle. This gives a quick check to see whether the rifle is loaded
 
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