I received a new muzzleloader and scope in preparation for my late season Iowa muzzleloader hunt with Jagermister Outfitters. We spent the entire day at the lodge sighting in the Thompson Center Bone Collector Triumph Muzzleloader mounted with the new Leupold Ultimate Slam SA.B.R. 3-9x40mm. I have to be honest and say that Richard nor I have ever sighted in a muzzleloader; however Richard has sighted in many rifles. I contacted an outfitter friend that I knew had extensive knowledge with muzzleloaders; Billy Henderson of Deep South outfitter.
We loaded up Hank the HuntVe with the Caldwell Lead Sled DFT, the Pro Ears Predator Gold ear protection, a pack of Birchwood-Casey Shoot-N-C self-stick targets, a Thompson Center T-17 Cleaning Kit, 3 packs of 2″ cotton swabs, Hodgdon Triple 7 Pellets, Winchester Primers, 250 grain TC Shockwave Super Glide Sabots, and 290 grain Barnes Spit Fire TMZ Sabots. We had everything required for the muzzleloader and everything we needed to shoot it.
Richard shot the Muzzy for the first 8-10 shots at different yardages getting the shot where it should be. This muzzleloader and sight combo had not been bore sighted so he was starting from scratch. I shot it three times…only to get frustrated…close but nowhere near perfect. We set the shooting table and Caldwell Lead Sled at 100 yards. Richard shot it again and was happy with his shot. Then it was my turn. My first shot of my next 8 was 2″ to the right of bullseye. I was somewhat pleased with that…but the next 5 shots were not great. Several times I punched the trigger. Errrr…. My last two shots were better and something I was satisfied with. Before we put the gun back in the case, Richard shot it 3 more times for good measure.
What we thought would take only a couple of hours ended up taking about 5 hours. It was recommended that I clean the gun after every single shot for accuracy. I was meticulous with my cleaning: 16 times with a bore cleaning absorbed 2″ swatch (4 times on each side), a dry patch ran through 4 times (twice on each side), a bore butter pad 4 times (twice on each side), followed with a dry patch twice (once on each side). Every 5th shot we pulled the breech plug and cleaned it. We also fouled the plug with a primer cap every other shot. METICULOUS? More like repetitive; at least 25 times in that 5 hour period.
At first I thought we had more cleaning supplies than I could use in a single season; on the contrary, I used over half of the cleaning supplies in a single afternoon. I felt like I spent the entire day cleaning a gun….well, actually I did. It all boiled down to being consistent with what we did for every shot to be as accurate as it could be.
At the end of the day, the muzzleloader was sighted in accurately and I was glad to clean it for the last time before putting it away. I had planned to head to the stand and hunt in hopes of harvesting a doe with this gun but it was too late by the time we finished up. So next Sunday will actually be my first time to try this muzzleloader in the field. In the meantime, I hope Santa brings me more cleaning supplies.