New inline technology
There is good news for today’s muzzleloaders. However, there are so many duplicating components in the marketplace that it’s sometimes confusing. As a range safety officer I enjoy helping others zero in their rifles. Off the gun range I help many friends and acquaintances clean and prep their rifles for off season shooting/storage. Unfortunately, there is a lot of misunderstanding in this black powder shooting/cleaning business. I know, I was there initially as a confused novice, more than a few years ago.
Today there are some great new rifles available, all with some very admirable traits. Undoubtedly, however, the new Remington model 700 Ultimate inline is the standard to judge all others. Originally designed by Ken Johnston, from Okemos, this is the only muzzleloader to completely burn four pellets pyrodex (200 gr.) and drive a 300 grain bullet over 2400 fps. with no blow back and clean-up is a breeze. (Review at www.remingtonultimatemuzzleloader).
I shot my first deer with an original Ultimate BP Xpress back in 2004. I love that rifle and trained with it regularly; but that is another story.
Today’s focus is on a few of the fundamentals and the components of good shooting. Much of this information and knowledge was mostly taught to me by the leading experts. These are the technicians from the companies that made the product. (Most good companies have their own website.) Years ago, as a competitive round ball shooter, I was sponsored by
Thompson Center Arms. Technical support was only a phone call away, thank goodness.
Always bare in mind that no inline muzzleloader is any better than its maintenance and its loading format. In fact, consistency in loading, shooting and maintenance are major keys to good ignition and down range accuracy. A solid one piece range rod with a universal fitting jag and muzzle protector is an absolute necessity. All good black powder shooters use one.
“The rifle ram rod is only a secondary tool when hunting.” My 36″ range rod with a solid “T” handle minimizes the difficulties of wiping between shots and after shooting cleaning.
It also simplifies exact loading; (almost) perfectly aligning the bullet. A strong, one piece range rod is the only tool to pull an uncharged bullet. Wiping between shots promotes safety and eliminates short load syndrome. Therefore, cold barrel one shot kills are the basis of a clean harvest. For safety’s sake, when hunting always approach a downed animal cautiously with a loaded weapon. Quick reloading a just fired rifle is always easier with a previously cleaned rifle.
• Hodgdon Triple Seven magnum pellets, two 60 gr. 50 cal. pellets in 209 guns, very accurate moderate pressure @ 2000 fps (I shoot three of these in my BP Xpress www.hodgdon.com)
• Harvester crush rib sabots very are accurate and 50% easier reloading www.harvestermuzzeloading.com
• Barnes (all copper) Mz Expander 300 gr. Bullets provide deep penetration, double diameter expansion, 100% weight retention. They are very accurate with all loads. 1-800-574-9200 www.barnesbullets.com
• My preferred cleaning solvent SP3 is a penetrating oil and an ideal solvent for cleaning and wiping between shots. www.sp3sales.com
• When bench shooting I carry three small glass jars that don’t blow off the bench like plastic bags. They are as follow: One; 3 oz. flat jar (i.e. pickle relish jar) filled with about fifty 2″ dry patches. Two; 3 oz. flat jar filled with “wet” saturated patches for cleaning between shots. Three; 5-8oz. jar for the dirty patches. Some lightly soiled patches can be washed and recycled.
Expect to use 25-50, 2″ round/square cotton/flannel patches for every shooting session. You may need more for final clean-up. Factory 2″X2″ cleaning patches can cost over 10 cents each purchased in small quantities. I make most of mine out of old flannel, pajamas, bed sheets, etc. Ordering large quantities saves money if you don’t make your own.
• Flash hole pick to clean out clogged flash hole. A clogged flash hole prevents good ignition.
• Heavy duty bullet puller can be used as a patch puller as well.
This tool is a must!
• Tipton chamber cleaning tool, to use with paper towel strips cut 3″ wide. Cut or tear absorbent sheets approximately 8″ by 3″. Twist the strips into the chambers. After spraying chamber recesses with solvent like SP3. Repeat until clean.
• Small flexible goose neck auto (repair) light to checking bore after cleaning. Available at auto supply shops. A good source of cleaning components is: Midway USA 1-800-243-3220
• I Never put “bore butter” inside the barrel of an inline. Use a good cleaning solvent; follow the instructions. Never clean an inline with soap and water. Use a good bore cleaning solvent (containing a minor preservative). Years ago a technician from Thompson Center who first told me “never use bore butter in an inline” stated “that if I had nothing else, use WD 40” as a cleaning solvent. He was right, it works.
• Read/Reread your owner’s manual of your rifle. They are the technical designers of their product.
• Never use a dry patch inside a dirty gun barrel. Always start cleaning with a wet (solvent) patch. Then wipe dry before loading.
A good way to completely clean the bottom of the combustion chamber, the head of the breech plug and the top of the flash hole when cleaning/wiping between shots, is as follows:
1) Initially push the center of the cleaning patch part way down the bore with your finger tip, creating a nipple shape to the patch.
2) Center the jag and depress ram rod as normal. Twist the ram rod 360 degrees several times when it bottoms out on the top of the breech plug.
3) After cleaning, examine the bore with the goose neck flashlight for easy examination.
This produces a clean bore without removing the breech plug. On a 209 gun, you must pull the breech plug for complete cleaning, i.e. at the end of the hunting season.
In closing, allow me to reaffirm that black powder and all substitutes, are to be considered very caustic. After shooting even just one shot, clean your rifle. Keep your powder dry and your rifle clean for good shooting and better hunting.