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Muzzle Loader = high maint or not

1561 Views 17 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  bgood
Hi guys,

I am about to sell off my beloved Ruger Red Label 12 Ga for TC Encore 50 cal ML - I want more time deer hunting and I already have an 870 for bird and small game hunting. I'm thinking I can buy rifle barrels for it if I ever get to hunt anywhere outside of NJ. The Ruger was pretty much only used for skeet anyway - but it's so damn sweet - it's hurting me to sell it.

So, what I want to know is....are muzzleloaders a real pain in the behind from a maintenance perspective? I read about cleaning them with a bucket of water and all this bore butter blah blah blah etc. What's the straight dope? How much extra stuff do you need, how long does it take to clean them up after shooting?

I clean my guns this way:
spray the bore with Remington Bore Cleaner, pull a bore snake through it 2-3 times, run a patch with oil on it if I won't be using it for a week or so rub down the outside with a gun rag - done. Takes a minute.

It also seems like you need all this paraphenalia (SP?) with them, tools, jags, CO2, lubricant.

Any advice from the board? thanks
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how much for the red label ?????????? i have to omega, nice shooter, with the right loads i can touch 3 at 50, very accurate, no problem cleaning. love it, never use a shotgun for deer anymore, 200yds is NOT out of the question. how much for the rugar red label, i may be interested.
Hey Bgood what are you looking to get for the Ruger?
hey guys,

Rather than use the board for that kind of stuff can you guys send me an email to [email protected]? I'll let you know what I am thinking about asking for the Ruger.


I have the TC omega. It is every bit as accurate as they say it is. I use the triple 7 pellets which burn much cleaner than regular pyrodex. Cleaning is really no big deal. All you need is TC bore cleaner solution and some cleaning patches. The Omega is very easy to take down and cleans up in minutes.
Thanks NJ archer. I put my hands on one today at the store and I could see how it would be very easy to clean. On the range it's no big deal to back out the plug and swab it every 4-5 shots. I plan on shooting Sabots so the concept of lead and copper fouling is probably not an issue (I think). I've read all kinds of info about cleaning rituals guys go through and it seems there are as many cleaning regimens are shooters. My expectation is to swab the bore every few shots on the range to maintain consistency and validity of the sights setting. Give it a patch cleaning, bore brushing and light oiling at the end of the session and then in the field it really doesn't matter since I won't be taking more than one or two shots in a given day (hopefully).

Do you find that you need to swab the oil out when you take it out into the field and/or do you fire a primer to foul it in advance? Or, do you just load it up and wait for Mr. Brown?
I agree with bloodtrails my omega shoot's powerbelts the best .And she also likes to be a little dirty ..I mean she shoot's best on the second or third shot...Good luck[up]
I shoot a T/C Encore 209x50 and it is fairly easy to clean.It's a great gun and I can switch barrels instead of switching guns.
when at the range and sighting in, just moisten a patch in your mouth to swab the barrel, no need to take out the breetch plug, they shoot better a little dirty, what you want to do is, be consistant when sighting in, DO NOT USE BORE CLEANER between shots, just moisten the patch, when at home clean good, then before a hunt fire 2 primers, then load and your ready to go. been shootin blackpowder a long time, any questions e mail me, and i like pydrodex pellets and tc shockwave nice combo
I've shot more than a dozen shots with 777 pellets and powerbelts without even putting a patch down the barrel. Very clean shooting and accuracy was just as good on the last shot.
one other thing, when done cleaning, don't oil the inside of the barrel, use bore butter, good stuff, then before shooting run a dry patch down the barrel, one thing is you'll use a lot of patches when you shoot often. and buy a good scope, optics is as important as a good inline nuff said
I may be a little OCD about it, but I believe that running a spit patch down your barrel after EVERY shot, followed by a thorough cleaning every 4 or 5 shots, will make for EXTREME accuracy and will prevent the dreaded crust ring from forming which would make your gun a Bit** to load. Using standard Pyrodex rather than 777 will also minimize the occurence of crust rings.

Remember that when you take your shot at that dream buck, more than likely your gun will be spotlessly clean and that is the condition that should be mimicked for each and every shot that you take down at the range.

I shoot a CVA Kodiak, great gun and is very similar to the TC Omega. I prefer it because the internal berrel diameter is slightly tighter than the Omega which in my opinion makes for increased accuracy. The down side of that is that its harder to ram your shot down the barrel. Powerbelts work wonderfully however.

I have a 3X9 Leupold on it and will not think twice about taking a 150 yard shot. Don't skimp on optics as many guys do. Optics are every bit as important, if not more so than the gun itself.
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stealthy bowman before you hunt, fire a couple primers before you load, clears the nipple of any fouling from bore butter, and you'd be suprised how dirty they make the barrel, or put 1 pellet down the barrel, put one primer on the nipple, and fire into the air away from anything flamable, makes very little noise because of no backpressure, and dirtys the barrel nicely, also looks like a tracer :D
No Oil!! Only use bore butter. I use the triple 7s w/ Hornady SSTs, unbeleivably accurate.
this is the nice thing about shooting muzzleloaders, going out to the range, and finding the best load, bullet, that YOUR perticular gun shoots best. so many sabots, powder, to choose from, the best part is the shooting, i shoot my muzzle loader so much more than my other guns, it's a lot of fun.
Thanks guys - this is great info for someone who knows absolutely nothing about ML shooting. I'm pretty psyched to get started - I hope to have the new Encore in a couple weeks. That will give me plenty of range time before hunting season to get it shooting great. If any of you guys shoot at Cherry Ridge - look for a complete rookie down at the ML end of the 100 yard range - it will be me.
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