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Thread: Best bang for your buck inline muzzleloader?

  1. #1
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    Question Best bang for your buck inline muzzleloader?

    Hey guys/gals. Lots of good information on this forum. Getting back into muzzleloader hunting for moose and bears, and was wondering what was the best muzzleloader for this without breaking the bank. I would love to get into a T/C encore or similar, but the funds just aren't there for that. What caliber is also the best for this, as there are alot of new ones out there. If I remember right, a few guys got some "walmart specials" or sportmans warehouse specials that worked great, were accurate and reliable!! Lets here it!
    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2

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    If I were going to recommend an inline muzzleloader for under $300, I would say the T/C Omega Z5. I paid $250 for mine and love it. I'm sure you can get some others for $150 and under, I think CVA has some cheaper models out there. A buddy bought a New England Sidekick for under $200 a few years back and has been very happy with it.

    Just personal preference, but I'll take the rolling block design of the Omegas over the Thumb Disc / Bolt design of the Knight rifles the State uses for the muzzleloader safety class. The falling block design is just much simpler and has less parts, in my opinion.

    As for calibers, stick with .50 or .54. If you're looking to use the muzzleloader quite a bit for hunting, you may find the .45 caliber will keep you from participating in several specific muzzleloader seasons. Unless you're looking to push the extremes of the muzzleloader's range at the shooting range, I can't foresee any advantage the .45 has over the .50 anyway. Even at extreme ranges, I'm not sure there's an advantage.

  3. #3

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    Yeah, I'd stay clear of 45 as Shearej sezz. I haven't seen too many 54 cal inlines around these days, but if moose and bear are on your list, I'd prefer it over a 50. My only remaining inline is a 54, BTW. I dumped the 50's.

    If you're trying to hold down on cost, that's another reason to keep your eye open for a 54. You can cast your own bullets using Lee moulds, which don't cost much more than a box of sabot bullets. You just get a whole lot more shooting basically for free when you cast your own. And I'm here to tell you that the right 54 cal all-lead conical is a geewhizz gamestomper and accurate as can be. That's the biggest reason I got rid of the 50's. Just too darned expensive to shoot lots of sabot bullets, and the lead 50's I cast myself just didn't hold up to what 54's were doing.

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    Default inline .54

    who makes an inline .54? love to check it out!

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by TBLOOMA View Post
    who makes an inline .54? love to check it out!
    Mine is an old Knight "carbine." It's got a 24" barrel and it's light as a feather. And it just about turns you inside out every time you launch a heavy conical over a stiff powder charge. In three years I'm yet to keep the forend in my hand when I light off a heavy load like that. Just goes with the turf when shooting it, because it's so light it's a joy to carry.

    I've seen 54's used on some of the auction sites, but I don't recall seeing any listings for new ones. Truth is though, I've kinda given up on inlines. Having way too much fun with traditional sidelocks. Just as easy to clean, and since you have to use open sights in the special primitive weapon seasons here in Alaska, they don't give up so much as a single foot of range to inlines. Just my take on things, and it doesn't mean I think you have to use traditionals to be "real."

    If you want a 54 on a budget, I'd sure look at the Lyman Deerstalker. They're under $300 ($278 actually) from Midsouth Shooters Supply, and they're unbelievably accurate. I got my wife one because she doesn't like the heavy weight and barrel heavy feel of my own guns. It comes in at around 7 pounds (about 2 pounds heavier than my Knight) and it balances just like a fine shotgun with the weight right between your hands.

    First time out with her new gun she started shooting with deer hunting loads at a 3" bull at 35 yards. She put 17 straight offhand into the black, then dropped 3 more shots just out of the black. Basically a big ragged hole with three just out of it. Said the heavy load was starting to get to her. I reset her powder measure for light small game loads and she put the next 10 shots into a ragged hole. She's a good shot with all her other guns, but that's the first time a muzzleloader has really shined in her hands.

    Wish I could tell you first hand how it shoots, but she won't let me shoot it. "Get your own Deerstalker" is all she will say.

    I think I'll do just that, as a matter of fact.

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    Default brown bear

    Thanks for all your help!!! That deerstalker sounds nice! Have you ever made a gun out of one of these kits? Sounds like alot of guys praise the great plains?!? I was thinking of maybe building one this winter (even though I am an avid snowmachiner/skier!) I am pretty good with wood, just not too sure about the metal working part. BUT lots of guys make it sound easy.
    brownbear, you live anywhere closer to birchwood range? Maybe I could meet you down there and see how these sidelocks work? I literally live 1/4 mile as the ultra lights fly thru the woods from birchwood!

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by TBLOOMA View Post
    Thanks for all your help!!! That deerstalker sounds nice! Have you ever made a gun out of one of these kits? Sounds like alot of guys praise the great plains?!? I was thinking of maybe building one this winter (even though I am an avid snowmachiner/skier!) I am pretty good with wood, just not too sure about the metal working part. BUT lots of guys make it sound easy.
    brownbear, you live anywhere closer to birchwood range? Maybe I could meet you down there and see how these sidelocks work? I literally live 1/4 mile as the ultra lights fly thru the woods from birchwood!
    I've built the Lyman GPR kits, and dang, do they ever turn out nice. Better by far than the factory GPRs because you get to make them look the way you like. You're right about the wood work. Dead easy. Metalwork is easy too, though. I prefer browning to bluing, and that's dead easy with Laurel Mountain Forge browning solution. If you prefer bluing you can use the same stuff to produce a beautiful rust bluing. Just never tried that myself.

    It's all common household hand tools to do the work. The only electricity I used was the light overhead, and I probably only had 20 hours in the whole project. And I was taking it slow and easy.

    If you prefer conical bullets you can get the fast twist Great Plains Hunter barrels for the GPR. They're a direct drop-in with no sweat. A bud has both for his GPR 54, and he's getting ragged hole groups at 50 yards with conicals he casts himself.

    You've stumbled onto a sincere fan of the GPR here. If you go that route I can give advice plus provide links to a whole bunch of other folks' build projects.

    I'm out on The Rock, so Birchwood is out of the question. If you're ever over this way, give a holler though.

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    Default sounds great!

    If ya wouldn't mind send those links along for the GPR, I'll start my research now!! Sounds great for a project for me in the winter! I would probably like to try what you buddy has, two barrels, just to see how they work. Are conicals more accurate at longer ranges? That might be for me!

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by TBLOOMA View Post
    If ya wouldn't mind send those links along for the GPR, I'll start my research now!! Sounds great for a project for me in the winter! I would probably like to try what you buddy has, two barrels, just to see how they work. Are conicals more accurate at longer ranges? That might be for me!
    Here you go. Go to the forums and scroll down about half way through the page to The Gun Builders Bench. You can either do a search for GPR or simply browse back through the pages. There are numerous GPR threads ranging from problem solving to customizing and bragging photos of finished builds. It's a popular build and you'll find lots of fans.

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    Default bang for your buck......

    I see you are leaning towards the more traditional guns which is GREAT!!! But one not to overlook is the Remington Genesis- Blued and synthetic from cabelas is $99... Yes I said ninity-nine dollars! I have had one for a while and I love it. I have been moose hunting with it a few times in some fairly unfavorable weather and it still wirked just fine. I have worked up a couple of loads for it with VERY good success. 100 grains of 777 and 250 grain hornady sst's- that recipe is good for 5 shot strings that touch at 100 yards! I thought it was a fluke and I replicate it almost every time I go to the range! It also shoots heavier conicals very well if you dont care to spend 50 cents a piece every time you pull the trigger. (they work better anyways) For $100 it is a very ecinomical way to see if you like shooting blackpowder or not. And oh by the way, it has the best stock trigger of all the guns in my safe........ Hard to believe.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by aknewbie View Post
    I see you are leaning towards the more traditional guns which is GREAT!!! But one not to overlook is the Remington Genesis- Blued and synthetic from cabelas is $99... Yes I said ninity-nine dollars! I have had one for a while and I love it. I have been moose hunting with it a few times in some fairly unfavorable weather and it still wirked just fine. I have worked up a couple of loads for it with VERY good success. 100 grains of 777 and 250 grain hornady sst's- that recipe is good for 5 shot strings that touch at 100 yards! I thought it was a fluke and I replicate it almost every time I go to the range! It also shoots heavier conicals very well if you dont care to spend 50 cents a piece every time you pull the trigger. (they work better anyways) For $100 it is a very ecinomical way to see if you like shooting blackpowder or not. And oh by the way, it has the best stock trigger of all the guns in my safe........ Hard to believe.
    That IS good to know. I haven't tried them, but who can argue with performance like that! I've also got to say that as much as I prefer traditional guns, if you could even find one for $99 it wouldn't be much of a gun.

    Have you tried casting your own conicals and using them with a lubed felt wad underneath? All my inlines and every other one owned by friends shoots the all-lead versions just about as well as jacketed bullets in sabots, but cost almost nothing to shoot. Even if you prefered sabots/jacketed bullets for hunting, you could sure do a lot more shooting between seasons with the home built version. And if you feel weight is important in performance on game, those all lead versions without the sabots come in some real heavyweights.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post
    That IS good to know. I haven't tried them, but who can argue with performance like that! I've also got to say that as much as I prefer traditional guns, if you could even find one for $99 it wouldn't be much of a gun.

    Have you tried casting your own conicals and using them with a lubed felt wad underneath? All my inlines and every other one owned by friends shoots the all-lead versions just about as well as jacketed bullets in sabots, but cost almost nothing to shoot. Even if you prefered sabots/jacketed bullets for hunting, you could sure do a lot more shooting between seasons with the home built version. And if you feel weight is important in performance on game, those all lead versions without the sabots come in some real heavyweights.


    I have recently tried no excuses 495gr conicals and settled in at 80gr of 777 and I am getting 1.5" groups @100 yds. Also tried felt wads and there was no difference in accuracy so there is no need to add an extra step in loading of it isnt worth it. I was having some real problems getting ANY conicals to work and it was getting really close to moose opener; I was getting pretty nervous until I pulled my head out of my you know what and remembered that 777 is about 15% hotter than black powder and pyrodex. I lightened up the charge and voilla!!! Now I have a flying brick load that I am very confident with. I didnt like the choices on any of the saboted loads with pistol bullets in them- good for deer and the like, but when you need lots of penetration you just cant beat a big piece of lead.

    I would LOVE to try my hand at casting my own bullets but one thing at a time. And speaking of which, I just read Richard Lee's second edition reloading manual and the chapters about bullet casting and muzzleloader bullets was great!!! It got me all fired up about blackpowder again. Anyways, it is pushing time to go chase down bullwinkle (the beauty of living on FT. Richardson and drawing a blackpowder tag), but if anyone is interested in that rifle, I shoot at birchwood from time to time of you want to check it out or shoot it.


    BTW, I just bought the stainless and synthetic model from cabelas for my father in law and had $4.95 flat rate shipping!!!!! CANT BEAT IT!!! Also the blued model isnt on the website so just call them to see if they still have them in stock.

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    Default WOW!! You got me all fired up!

    I actually was all set and almost pulled the trigger on a used T/C, amd the wife called home and said she had just got laid off. Well there went any disposable income. So now I have to watch the peenies for sure! Newbie, I would love to see that rifle work! I today just passed the state muzzleloader class, and am anxious to go moose hunting with a smoke pole!! I currently am hunting fort rich with an archery tag (any bull) but would like to try the muzzle loader world over there! Maybe I will get drawn next year, and then I HAVE to get a smoke pole!! Thanks for all the advice guys, keep it coming!

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