Christmastime always makes me think about muzzleloaders. Not the flimsy, stupid excuse for a muzzleloader ones, but the real flintlock deals. I personally think so called “inline muzzleloaders” are humanities cruel joke. If aliens ever land, I’m going to apologize for our planet having such miserable excuses for muzzleloaders on it. I will grudgingly admit that maybe inline muzzleloaders have their place in regular firearm’s season. Some states won’t allow you to use regular rifles, but will allow inline muzzleloaders. In such a situation I might use one. But for a muzzleloader only season? Come on, lets be real men and bring out the flintlocks.
The reason Christmas invokes thoughts of muzzleloaders is that Pennsylvania’s muzzleloader season opens the day after Christmas. And this is flintlock only. Which means you really hope it doesn’t rain. The expression “keeping your powder dry” stems from the use of flintlocks. If it is raining out, well your gun usually doesn’t go off. You could dump gasoline on it, light a match, and it would probably just smolder a little bit. Unless the gun is pointed at something illegal or expensive, in which case it will probably go off underwater.
In a rare reversal of roles, Pennsylvania actually has less restrictive laws on muzzleloader hunting than Alaska does. Part of the reason is that the game in Alaska will tear you to pieces, or stomp you flat if you don’t hit it right. Pennsylvania white tail typically are not so aggressive. Alaska requires you take a special muzzleloader hunting course and get certified before taking your single shot out and shooting at brown bears. My opinion is if people are stupid (or in rare cases, skilled) enough to go shoot at bears with muzzleloaders, just let them.
So today I took out the old “smoke pole” and blasted a few shots. At first, I couldn’t hit anything. Dirt and leaves would fly up in front of the target on some shots, and other shots would knock branches down. Finally I switched to the old “patch and ball” bullets. The first shot took out the “bulls eye”. The following two shots were close enough. Below is a picture of my target, which I shot free hand at 40 yards. It might not win awards, but should be plenty accurate for deer hunting.
So Merry Christmas! And happy muzzle loader hunting.