Long-Range Muzzleloading


The big buck’s antlers contrasted sharply against the prairie grass as the big 9-point moved steadily closer from one coulee to another, appearing and disappearing like a small boat on giant waves. Kristi Draw took a deep breath and waited for the buck to finally step into range as she settled the Traditions muzzleloader on shooting sticks. Instead of coming closer, the mature whitetail turned at the last moment, paused, and was about to disappear when white smoke filled the air and the heavy Hornady bullet hit home. As the huntress approached her harvest, the young woman was all smiles as her biggest buck to date lay before her.

SD Muz Deer 2013 373The impact mark on the front shoulder of the deer pictured above shows a textbook impact at 171 yards, well beyond what many would consider for a muzzleloading rifle and red dot scope. As marketing director for Aimpoint, Draw was quick to point out that more and more hunters are choosing the wide field of view and instant aiming solution of a tiny red dot. “We have many hunters share successes of 200 yards or more,” she said.

Traditions was the muzzleloader of choice, due to its longer barrel and its ability to make shots at 200 yards. Team it with three Triple Seven pellets and a Hornady SST bullet, and you have a hard-hitting combination. Others in the camp were using new Vortek StrikerFire rifles from Traditions. In development since 2008, this SD Muz Deer 2013 297patent-pending rifle eliminates the external hammer and uses an internal StrikerFire System. To cock the gun, simply slide the striker button forward until it locks and fire. The recessed decocking buttons allow for quick and quiet decocking of the firearm. The gun is also equipped with an automatic decocking mechanism — when the gun is opened, it is automatically decocked. By eliminating the external hammer, this allows for faster locktime, give you the ability to mount your scope closer to the bore, and lets the gun operate with less weight. Traditions has equipped the StrikerFire with new features. The StrikerFire is outfitted with a two-stage trigger that’s set at three pounds and is creep free. The Stow-N-Go Removable Butt Pad allows the butt pad to be removed with the press of a button for convenient storage inside the stock.

For the latest information on Aimpoint, go to aimpoint.com; for Traditions information, check traditionsfirearms.com.

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Joe Byers
Joe Byers has more than 1,000 magazine articles in print and is currently a field editor with Whitetail Journal, Predator Xtreme, Whitetails Unlimited, Crossbow Revolution, and African Hunting Journal magazines. He’s spent the last three decades depicting the thrill of the chase and photographing the majesty of all things wild. Byers is a member of the Professional Outdoor Media Association and numerous other professional and conservation organizations.