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Why the ban on Smokeless powder in muzzle-loaders?


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Does anyone really know why our legislators put the ban on smokeless-powder use in muzzle-loaders during the muzzle-loader season?

Is it to keep the season traditional?

Is it to prevent use of a specific HIGH POWERED muzzle-loader?

Is it to prevent a company from developing a muzzle-loader that has the range of a high powered rifle?

Our government does not always tell us why, just tells how it is going to be.

My thoughts are that the legislators did not think about this one very much, and passed the rule because of pressure by a lobbyist, without knowing how it really affects the majority of weapons that use this powder.

I shoot the savage muzzle-loader that is capable of using smokeless powder. The performance specs when using nitro are not noticeably different than when using other powders. So why the ban? Now I have read about a muzzle-loader that brags about MARKED improvement in range and knock down power. This is accomplished according to them by using a jacketed bullet and a sizeable charge of nitro powder. Is this the reason the ban was passed, which means the legislators just couldn't think of a better way to ban this type of weapon?

My thought is that if we want to prevent the use of high powered muzzle-loaders, we should control the use of the projectile being used. Sabbots can only be pushed so hard or fast before accuracy diminishes. Same goes for ball and patch.

I know it is only human nature to try to get the most performance from a product, but to prevent a majority of people from using a product because someone has modified it is not right. Ban the modification or combination of modifications that makes the product dangerous or unsafe. Do not just blindly ban all the components simply because they have some similar use.

If you can be checked for the powder you are using, I believe it is just as easy to check which bullet you are using.

I have also read that black powder substitutes contain components used in nitro powder. How else can they claim to have better performance than black powder? Should these also be banned?

I think that this could be a good topic to discuss if we can keep it civil.

The main reason I bought the savage was because it used nitro powder that made weapon maintenance easy. Noncorrosive to be exact.

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I have not paid any attention to this lately, but when the Savage came out with their ML that was advertised as being strong enough to shoot smokeless powders, there were some serious safety issues with that particular gun and shooting powders that created those massive internal pressures in the firearm. This was compounded by "user error" of shooting too heavy of loads or improper bullets and improper bullet seating, or even worse -- using smokeless powder in a ML not designed for smokeless powder. Many shooters were concerned that this combination was a serious / deadly accident waiting to happen. I've seen several photos of guns literally blown to pieces by improper use of smokeless powders (the savage as well as others).

So......I would surmise that the ban was done for safety reasons.

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Muzzle loader season was created to give user's of the more primitive blackpowder gun more time to get their deer. Being considered a more primitive weapon you need to get closer cleanly bag the animal. Which like bow hunting can take some time to do. However in-line muzzle loaders came into favor and they are trying to equal a scoped centerfire rifle for accuracy and range. Just watch the so called blackpowder hunts on TV where they are bagging whitetails at 175 to 200 plus yards. Since we all ready have a general firearms season use your scoped inline muzzle loader with smokeless powder during that season. The muzzle loader season should be kept iron sights black powder or substitute black poweder such as pyrodex/ Shockey's gold etc. Otherwise it is becomming a regular rifle season. Just my opinion. I would like to get an inline scoped to use for shotgun zones then you have a distinct advantage over most shotguns.


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Hey Perchjerker,

Sorry to hijack the post...but I'm wondering if I could have a chat with you about your Ranger 1850 you have. I have been searching around for owners of the 1850 reata and saw your post of yours. I am looking to pick one up this year at the boat show and I'd like to talk with some owners of reatas to get the scoop (especially you since you have the 175 opti which is the setup I'm thinking about).

Please contact me at [email protected] if you can. I tried to send you a message thorugh the board but I couldn't figure it out so I thought I'd try this.

Again....sorry to hijack the thread!

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I was among the primitive black powder shooters that first agitated for the muzzle loading season. It was intended to give the primitive weapons shooters a season when they didn't have to compete with the modern guns. The in-line and other so called 'zip guns' have pretty much hijacked the season. I still know guys who go out with flint lock smooth bores and use hunting skills instead of modern technology to get their deer. Some of them look down on me for using a rifled, round ball, 1840's percusion Hawken( I built it myself and not from a kit) instead of a flinter. I still think that using altered modern guns in a primitive hunt is against the true spirit of the intended hunt. If you like the modernized front loaders, why not hunt the modern seasons? I'm not trying to be holier than thou, I just think the season should be left to the primitive smoke poles.

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There were ZERO safety issues with the Savage ML. The only reason they came out with the ML-II is because the BATFE changed it's mind on how it was ruling the firearm, saying it could to easily be converted to a centerfire gun, thus require the NICS check.

As far as safety I would be willing to put any savage ML or ML-II against any other muzzleloader(except possibly the Encore) and keep running charge weights up until one Kaboom'ed and I promise it won't be the savage going kaboom. Most muzzleloaders sold in the US(minus the T/C's and Knights) are made in Spain, using questionable steels, and they have no proofing requirements. The Savage is made on what amounts to a centerfire rifle receiver, using centerfire rifle grade barrels, and proofed with loads that you wouldn't believe if I told you!!! Something along the lines 3 times a "magnum" load of triple Se7en... Imagine dropping nine pellets down the barrel of your substandard spanish made ML.

Many of the negative press about the Savage product was started by their competitors, and Toby Bridges, whose reputation is about as good as the ice on the lakes around here right now, in other words not too good.

As far as the Savage being an unfair advantage- I do believe they are a more accurate gun as Savage has mass producing accurate factory barrels down to a science. The smokeless loads that Savage endorses don't produce any more speed or energy than what the guys using 150gr of 777 are getting so it can't be that the Savage is more powerful or flatter shooting...

Also, as far as smokeless powder goes- When Pyrodex and 777 were first introduced they were both advertised as being a smokeless blackpowder substitute. Accurate Arms promotes their 5744 powder as a modern blackpowder subsitute. Where do you draw the line of what is smokeless and what is a blackpowder substitute??? I have corresponded with Lou Cornicelli and he stated that this law was cooked up by the legislature and the DNR wasn't the one requesting it. Not sure who introduced the bill, or why it was introduced.

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Personally, I think it was cooked up by the industry, sans Savage, because of the "unfair" advantage the 10ML and 10ML-II posed to the competition.

I've read a lot on that 10ML and it is built from the same barrel blank used for some of their big-bore (think elephant gun) high powered rifles. EVERY barrel is proof tested and made from certified gun-barrel quality steel. It is the ONLY muzzleloader that can pass SAMMI centerfire standards. It has been tested up to at least 129,000 PSI without action or barrel failure which is 250% over the maximum recommended load.

I'm probably going to buy one of these and likely will use it slug season with smokeless and ML season with Pyrodex/777.

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(I'm probably going to buy one of these and likely will use it slug season with smokeless and ML season with Pyrodex/777.)

One thing about the State that I thought was lame was we didn't find out about the ban until the New Regs came out. Not much time to get comfortable with a new charge before the season. A lot of us work seasonal jobs which doesn't leave us much extra time to prepare without making trips to rifle range due to open seasons.

In a shotgun slug posting, I am reading that guys shooting sabots over 300gr do well over 100yds. Smokeless powder and a sabot from a shotgun. You maybe are unaware of the muzzle-loader that IS trulely like an Elephant gun. This company does not use a sabot (use their bullet) and triple the charge Savage recommends. Now there is an unfair advantage and a weapon that should not be used in the areas muzzle-loaders are now allowed.

Sounds like the way they can get this performance is to do away with the sabot( its plastic, it will melt if it gets tooo hot) and use their patented bullet with a 140gr charge. A little hot maybe?

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