Yeti

Muzzleloaders (how they ruined my life and will yours’)

Benfromalbuquerque

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In an attempt to not derail others threads explaining further the all out evil nature of muzzleloaders and those who use them I decided to tell a story and add a PSA. As a young man growing up I took up every form of hunting I could. I hunted deer with bows and rifles and as fate would have it…. A muzzleloader. At the age of 14 I was swindled by a neighbor that told me a muzzleloader was an effective weapon to hunt with. The same time period there was a buck in the area dubbed the “Hartford Buck”. Everyone had seen him, conservative guesses placed him as the new world record typical white-tail falling in that 230” area. All the hours men spent chasing that buck and only 1 person ever got a chance at him……….


On December 13, 2003 a muzzleloader turned the trajectory of my life around, from rising hunting superstar to woeful pathetic curmudgeon. Mid morning that day my dad was making his rounds checking cattle when he seen the buck with about 20 does bedded along a creek near the cows. He came home to get me and my new muzzleloader. I snuck a hedgerow downwind of where the buck was and waited. Barley an hour had passed and the does were starting down the tree line right to me, world record buck in tow. My heart was pounding, I imagined my face on outdoor life, all of my dads hunting buddies carrying me on their shoulders like I just scored the game winning touchdown. There would be a parade in my honor, streets renamed, and women throwing themselves at me. Finally the moment came, the lead doe was 10 steps from me, the buck about 50 yards. I put the iron sights right on his heart, took a deep breath………….. then pop. The percussion cap snapped but nothing else, I fumble for another cap, the deer not sure what’s happening, again snap. Panic now sets in as the deer start moving. Visions of the beautiful girls at my high school lining up to date me were fading! As I get the 3rd cap on I line up on a now moving target at 100 yards and snap………boom. As I wait the mandatory 10 minutes for the smoke to clear, obstructing any view I would have had to determine a hit everything was gone. No blood, no hair, nothing. My dad drove up to me and explained he watched the whole thing and it was a clean miss. The buck ran into the deep dark timber behind our farm never to be seen in the daylight again.


So instead of being a hunting celebrity on IG and YouTube, with banquets and parties thrown in my honor, sailing catamarans around the Caribbean with scantily clad IG models basking in the sun all around me. I’m just a commoner, a nobody, typing a sob story on an online forum to others like him.


Remember, friends don’t let friends muzzleloader hunt. In the immortal words of Nancy Reagan “when it comes to muzzleloaders; just say no”
Brother, it goes both ways. My first whitetail fell during muzzleloading season approximately one year earlier, 12/27/2002. I did not deserve that deer because I had been poorly still hunting for hours (with no regard to wind). At the time I was fighting with a frozen power bar crinkly wrapper and drinking nalgene slush water. The reason the deer ran over near me was because a more skilled hunter snapped a cap!
Dragging out my deer, I walked in a big loop through the snow then finally left it to get later once I could walk on the road, found my vehicle that way. There was a guy in the parking area (no deer) packing up for the morning and I told him about my deer. He asked if I had let out a big yell (I did when I walked up on the dead deer). Then he shared his own story about a misfire, deer ran off, heard KaBOOM and then some scream. The guy was happy for my first deer and to have been part of the dynamics that morning.
 

elkduds

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After my 1st hangfire I got religious about nipple picking (less painful than it sounds), popping a cap to test airflow before loading for a day of hunting, using one of these, and not leaving a load in overnight.
1652627174718.png
 

BrentD

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After my 1st hangfire I got religious about nipple picking (less painful than it sounds), popping a cap to test airflow before loading for a day of hunting, using one of these, and not leaving a load in overnight.
View attachment 222591

I use one of those too. More for safety than anything else, but they are a cheap and worthwhile invention.

But to your point about cap reliability, managing your fouling and cleaning methods is all it takes. I do pick flashholes on flinter. I never pick nipples, but it works for elkduds, and it might work for Stocker, but I doubt he would try. Stocker's problem (boy, he sure has a lot of them!), is probably in how he cleans and stores his guns, and how he preps and loads them for hunting. I had my share of misfires early on, but I listened to guys that knew what they were doing and learned how to overcome the issue to the point where it just does not happen any more. Whether my rifle has been loaded for an hour or a couple of months, it will fire, the first time, every time.

Muzzleloading is supposed to be challenging. It is supposed to require some skills. Those who insist on not meeting the challenge and not acquiring the skills, continue to have problems, and they continue to blame everything but themselves. If your gun won't fire first time, every time, it is incumbent on you to find out why and how to prevent that problem.
 

Benfromalbuquerque

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Jul 15, 2020
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399
The flint ignition off the frizzen has never been a problem for me because I don’t own one. 😆 As for percussion, #11 percussion caps are great for when it does not matter like on the range. Then in the field swap out to a musket nipple, make big fire 🔥 on that powder.
 

BrentD

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The flint ignition off the frizzen has never been a problem for me because I don’t own one. 😆 As for percussion, #11 percussion caps are great for when it does not matter like on the range. Then in the field swap out to a musket nipple, make big fire 🔥 on that powder.
Ben,
You have something that works. You figured it out. I don't do it that way, but if that works for you, that's fine.

As for the flinter, you may someday find it quite comforting to be able to pick up a rock and make your rifle fire. They are an acquired taste with another set of skills, but there will never, ever be a shortage of rocks or runaway price gouging. :)
 

Benfromalbuquerque

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Jul 15, 2020
Messages
399
Ben,
You have something that works. You figured it out. I don't do it that way, but if that works for you, that's fine.

As for the flinter, you may someday find it quite comforting to be able to pick up a rock and make your rifle fire. They are an acquired taste with another set of skills, but there will never, ever be a shortage of rocks or runaway price gouging. :)
Oh for sure! Someday when the kids are older I’ll get to making kit MZ. Been dreaming of making a Kentucky long flinter for some time. Probably .40-45 cal. And those large bore Jaegers are magnificent too, have to have that. Both will need to be tiger maple.
 

BrentD

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Oh for sure! Someday when the kids are older I’ll get to making kit MZ. Been dreaming of making a Kentucky long flinter for some time. Probably .40-45 cal. And those large bore Jaegers are magnificent too, have to have that. Both will need to be tiger maple.
A friend of mine made a rifle for each of his two kids. You could get started now! :)

The Kibler kits have great reputations and are supposed to be incredibly easy to do. There was a class at Friendship last March where a bunch of guys put together rifles in under 5 days (albeit - 8 hr days more or less). I have heard that Kibler will start putting out percussion kits very soon, or even already.

Nothing like white smoke, lead in the air, and hope in your heart. :)
 

Nicoli7153

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Sep 9, 2021
Messages
44
Think my cap and ball New Englander has almost 50 kills to it's credit! Two of my three boys shot their first deer with it while I sat next to them. Great memories and a few memorable malfunctions!!!!
 
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