The modern muzzleloader
Ever since Tony Knight first introduced the MK-85 in 1985, the modern in-line muzzleloader has undergone major improvements and advancements in technology. Every year, it would seem, manufacturers are making their rifles easier to use and clean. Not only that, today’s smokepoles shoot with amazing accuracy, even at great range.
Of course, such changes mean there’s a lot to consider when buying a new muzzleloader, as the features can differ from model to model. To give you an idea of what’s out there, what follows is a comparison of the top three modern muzzleloaders on the market today.
It would be unwise to buy a new muzzleloader without first picking up the various models and checking the fit, feel and balance of each one. There’s a big difference in weight and stock design among them, so shouldering each rifle will give you the confidence to buy just the right match for your personal preferences. There’s a distinct price difference among all the different muzzleloaders, too, and unless you’re loyal to a particular brand, you’ll want to consider every feature to determine which rifle offers the most value.
The Triumph is Thompson/Center’s muzzleloader for the hunter who demands top performance, offering all the bells and whistles for ease of use, cleaning and shooting. It features a unique tip-up barrel with toggle-lock action that makes it completely weatherproof. Further adding to the durability of this firearm’s 28-inch fluted barrel is the Weather Shield, an advanced proprietary metal coating that protects against corrosion. It also makes the gun easier to clean and keep in good working order.
You’re a southpaw? No worries. A reversible hammer extension allows the Triumph to be cocked by either left- or right-handed shooters. And the rifle’s Speed Breech XT is the fastest breech on the market; just rotate it 90 degrees to remove it. One of the nicest features, meanwhile, is the pivoting handle on the ram rod to help with loading. As well, the Triumph has special shock and vibration reducers in the stock and recoil pad that reduce felt recoil by 43 per cent—an important consideration when you’re shooting 150-grain Magnum loads.
The Vortek Ultralight is easy to use, clean and shoot, and is by far one the lightest modern muzzleloaders on the market. Featuring a break-open action with a 28-inch tapered, fluted and ported chromoly steel barrel, it weighs just 6.25 pounds. The rifle is treated with a Cerakote metal finish on both the barrel and frame, creating an extremely durable protective barrier that’s impervious to corrosion. And the Accelerator quick-release breech plug system comes out with just three turns—no tools are required.
Another handy feature is the factory-set 2.8-pound trigger and unique quick-release trigger assembly that can be removed with just one screw, enabling you to clean the entire trigger assembly, as well as inside the receiver. Over-moulding on the stock and forearm, meanwhile, gives the shooter a comfortable, sure-handed grip in any weather condition. The Ultralight is designed to take 150-grain Magnum loads and features Tradition’s PAS (projectile alignment system) for easy loading without the need for a bullet starter. Finally, the durable Williams metal fibre optic sights promise to enhance the sight picture in low-light conditions.
CVA continues to develop new technologies and designs to create a level of accuracy and overall performance in muzzleloaders that hunters want and demand. Such is the case with the Accura V2, which can be completely disassembled by removing just one screw. And the breech plug is easily removed with your fingers—no tools required—even after dozens of shots. The break-action design, meanwhile, is easy to open with a breeching lever built into the trigger guard.
As for other features, the Accura V2 boasts a 27-inch stainless, fluted, Spanish-built Bergara Barrel, complete with a bullet alignment system recessed into the barrel for quick loading. Smooth to load, the rifle takes up to 150-grain Magnum loads. CVA does a great job of packaging this rifle with everything from a quality recoil pad and sling to the one-piece scope mount. This is one gun that’s ready for the range the day you buy it.