Son, This is a Muzzleloader

I had a job to do. Angus is going deer hunting on his own this year. However, we still had not gotten his muzzleloader together. We were all down for a camp-out this past weekend. Sunday afternoon, after Moose and MooseMama left with their friends, Angus and I sat down to take care of things.

The rifle is an early 80’s Lyman Deerstalker with a stainless barrel. It is a half-stock, percussion rifle of the standard Hawken variety with double triggers. Last year, I started to get it ready for Angus, and the ramrod stuck. After trying everything (soaking in pentrating oil, freezing, you name it) I got the ramrod removed by a ‘smith. Afterwards, it was one of the rifles I prepped with Dyna Bore Coat over the summer. The problem with the ramrod was caused by the crud ring that forms in the barrel by Hodgdon Triple-7. Yeah, I knew there might be a crud ring. Yes, the patch was a little tight going down. Yeah, I know all about it . . . NOW! Where were y’all last year?

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My reason for writing this is two-fold. First, I wanted to give y’all the method I used for introducing Angus to the rifle. This will be his first time out on his own as a deer hunter and as a smokepole hunter at that. Second, I wanted to give you my impressions pre- and post- Dyna Bore Coat.

I did not take pictures, because this, above all discussions a father has with his son, is one of those deadly -serious things. I would put it between chainsaws and electric winches. The subtleties of front-stuffers is something they do not teach in Hunter Ed. Furthermore, when it is going to your son’s life on the line, it is a good thing to keep this sober and solid. Vince Lombardi started with “This is a football.” My spiel was something along those lines, and despite Angus, having been shooting front-stuffers since he was a wee one, was glad for the refresher.

We sat down with two kitchen chairs and a low table in the shade, looking out towards the pond. I arrayed the various pieces of equipment and explained them. I had Angus fill his flask, I handed him three bullets and bade him remove 3 primers from the tin. I explained that we would first fire three half-strength loads. The first load went off without a hitch. On loading the second, I stopped him in the middle of getting the bullet started and showed him how he was starting to point the barrel at his head. That was a quick lesson. I don’t think I will have to show him that one again. On the next round, I explained the necessity of doing all actions associated with starting the bullet and ramming it home in precise smooth movements– no half-efforts. The bullet is started with a single hit on the starter. The ramrod is forced down the barrel in one motion. For cleaning we used a spit patch sent down twice.

On the second, I stopped him after he had presented the rifle and set the trigger, and had him work the action to drop the hammer without firing and to return it to half-cock. No problems there.

By the third round, he had everything down. We moved from 60 grains to 90 grains. On this rifle and this bullet this is still not a full-house load, but for deep woods and close ranges, it is perfectly deadly. Angus loaded, stood, presented arms and gave fire flawlessly. Two more rounds, and we called it quits. By this time the barrel was getting a little grimy and so we gave it one more spit patch and put it away, mission accomplished. The young man did just fine. He has already become quite smitten with the rifle. I agree. It is a beauty, and frankly I am no happier than when I am in my stand in October with my TC Hawken.

Next weekend, we will both fire for effect at targets.

In regards to the Dyna Bore Coat, the results on this rifle were just short of miraculous. The crud ring was non-existant. Oh sure, it has to still be there, but it does not stick to the barrel. The patch just nocks it loose. In one instance, I wanted to experience what Angus was feeling, and it was perfectly smooth going down. I also noticed that the spit patch was considerably more dirtly on the first pass than the second. In the past, true with my own Hawken as well, the first and second patches were much closer in griminess. That tells me the Dyna Bore Coat is keeping more of the Triple Seven from adhereing to the barrel.

One other kudo: I bought some new Remington #11 primers this year and misplaced them before I could get down to the farm. I found a tin of Remington’s from 2009. They were just as good as new. Angus had good solid ignition on all his shots. On the other hand I tried some Winchesters last year and they were abysmal– two hits on each primer to get a spark. I went out last night and bought some more Remingtons along with a fresh pound of Triple Seven.

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