Hunting season for me, is in full swing. I recently departed to Oklahoma to chase whitetails with the ol’ muzzleloader only to find a very angry swine and a valuable lesson in reloading.
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The morning hunt started like any other. My buddy Jeff and I debated where we were going to sit and what the rest of the day was going to hold. We sat glassing a big drainage ditch where deer funnel, heading to bed and going to feed. I looked up to see a big buck sauntering just above the drainage directly behind our position. Go time. We pressed our luck with this deer. He’d mixed in with a group of does that found our presence obtrusive. We’ve all been in that moment when you hear a doe blow and then a flash of white. We demonstrated a textbook way to ruin a stalk, nothing new from us.
The hunt didn’t end there. Jeff looked up to see a giant boar heading in our direction, and he wasn’t stopping. We hunkered down, waiting to unleash a fury of smoke and 50 caliber rounds. Just as the boar came into view, I pressed the trigger. It was as if the hog was blasted out of my T/C Strike. The boar took off at a full sprint. Jeff shot next without any luck…at least we didn’t think he’d hit him. Eager to track the giant, Jeff suggested we move to check the trail. I hesitated and suggested we reload our guns first since we weren’t carrying any sidearms.
My reload took forever. The adrenalin dump and exhilaration of a giant boar bearing down on us took its toll. We crested the hill where I witnessed the wild pig disappear, but we didn’t see any trace. He had vanished.
As we were about to leave, Jeff noticed a big ball of fur laying 20 yards ahead of us. Holy crap, one of us had actually connected. What an end to a weekend of hunting. I wish the story ended there.
Just as we walked up on this monster, he bolted to his hooves and turned. Blood poured from his snout and mouth. He was unimpressed with the lead treatment he’d received and was eager to reciprocate. As fast as he stood up and faced us the guns were up and Jeff placed a clean shot dropping the critter once and for all. After all the high fives and cheers, Jeff and I thought about what would have happened if we didn’t reload. Well, I’m glad none of our scenarios played out.
Reloading and making ready when tracking a wounded animal is a wise decision. How often do you practice your reloads? It doesn’t matter whether you’re working a bolt gun, semi-auto, muzzleloader or revolver, practicing reloads can’t be over preached. Keep working, and I beg you to practice those reloads. ~ KJ
KJ’s Gear Bag
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Muzzleloader - T/C Arms Strike
Optic – Leupold VX-Freedom
Simple and clear. I’m not extending my range with a muzzleloader so an optic that is simple fits the bill. The Leupold VX-Freedom is quality through and through.
Powder – Blackhorn 209 Muzzleloading Powder
Which do you shoot? Loose powder or pellets? I have better consistent velocity with loose powder than I do with pellets. Plus, Blackhorn 209 is easy to clean up after a successful hunt.
Sabots – Barnes Spitfire TMZ
Muzzleloader hunting can be complicated science so why risk a hunt using crappy components? Barnes Spitfire TMZ shoots great and has tremendous knock down power. Seems to be all that matter when chasing big game.
Primers – CCI 209M Shotshell Primers
I could shoot regular CCI 209 shotshell primers and probably not have an issue. On a 2014 deer hunt, I had a hunter fire three regular 209 primers and none of them ignited. I slid him a 209-magnum primer and the gun fired immediately. He was shooting Blackhorn 209 powder. When using Blackhorn 209 it needs more fire to ignite so a 209-magnum primer fits perfectly.
Kevin Jarnagin (KJ) hails from Oklahoma, but quickly established Louisiana roots after joining the Gun Talk team. KJ grew up as a big game hunter, and knows his way around a bass boat. Whether it’s making his way to British Columbia for elk or training with pistols, Jarnagin always seems to find a gun in his hands and adventure on his mind.
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