Part 1 of 2
• In-Line Firearms are Safe, Affordable, Accurate
• In Line Firearms are Handsome, Easy to Clean
By Forrest Fisher
All across America, hunters and game management groups have brought the considerations for ancient firearms and science closer together for the fun of new and exciting blackpowder hunting options.
Most states have held public meetings to discuss big game season restructuring options and for several years a new kind of curiosity and buzz hovered amidst circles of hunters talking all about new hunting season possibilities. Today, many states allow the new blackpowder firearms for hunting and there is a definite advantage with the modern blackpowder firearms, among them is safety.
There were debates everywhere, some were friendly, some hunters felt infringement on “their” sacred short season ritual with powder and ball, but one thing seems sure, many more sportsman are going to try black powder shooting with one of the new in-line muzzleloader firearms very soon.
The new in-line muzzleloaders use a 209 primer ignition system that offers a sure-fire shot (even in the rain), they are easy to clean and they offer extremely accurate shooting of a sabot-lined copper bullet. As I learned in my first year, “The shotgun is out and the new in-lines have become the preferred choice for many hunters on opening day of the regular firearm season.”
It’s all about one-shot safety and accuracy at longer distances. Many hunters add a scope to their muzzleloader for optical distance advantage and simple eyesight assist. Lately this is most useful when there is a lack of opening day snow across many northern hunting zones.
From this group, there are stories of 150 yard shots and more, and surprising complaints from hunters waiting for a deer to get within 45 or 50 yards when someone from across the field drops the deer from 200 yards away. Yes, that can be an eye-opening surprise.
One very good part about this new hunting trend is that blackpowder hunters are one-shot shooters. They can’t fire off 4 or 5 rounds at a running deer, so they aim slowly and deliberately, and can only take one good shot. One-shot shooting is very safe. I like safe. There is time to look beyond the target. Required planning is much like an archer, except longer than a 15 yard shot is possible. That is not only safe, it is very efficient.
I must admit that all the jawboning in the first year of arguments among the old time blackpowder shooter helped push me to the edge of the “one-shot trend” in considering blackpowder. So the next year, I splurged for purchase of an Optima™ Pro 209 magnum break-action in-line blackpowder rifle made by Connecticut Valley Arms. I added an affordable Bushnell Banner 1.5 – 4X variable power scope to expand my aging vision. The gun was inexpensive and even today, more than a decade later, is one of the most beautiful items in my locked firearms safe.
The full mossy oak camo rifle features a handsome high neck stock for a total cost of about $400, then add another $100 for the Bushnell (same color) camo scope. Today you can buy this same model in a version 2, (V2) for about $400 with the scope, see the Cabela’s kit for a total cost of under $400.
Unlike conventional in-line muzzleloaders, there is no receiver on the Optima™ Pro, just a break-open action orifice at the end of the breech plug where the 209 primer fits. Close the break action and the primer stays dry forever. To learn about this visually, check out this one minute video at this link: https://youtu.be/Q3AYL-0bY94.
One thing to note: NEVER put regular high power smokeless powder from your usual high power firearms into your blackpowder firearm. You must ALWAYS use simple muzzleloading propellant powders such as Pyrodex or Triple-7 at the recommended volume.
In Part 2, you’ll learn more about powder loads, options with optics and advice from experts.