Old Saybrook, CT 06475 860-388-4656
Traditions Pursuit Ultra Light Muzzleloader/Redfield Scope Combo
- Premium Cerakote Finish
- Speed Load System
- Dual Safety System
- Accelerator Breech Plug
Barrel length: 26".
Over all length: 42".
Weight: 5.15 lbs.
Size: .50 caliber.
Featured: Cerakote/Mossy Oak® Treestand®."
I really thought that I had sworn-off muzzloaders. Don't get me wrong, I have several, everything from some original Hawken rifles to some "modern" models, including a beautiful inline muzzloader shotgun. I even built one from a kit in the 1970s that I used to take several whitetail deer in Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois. I liked the novelty of shooting one...when I had the time.
Time has become a big factor in my life and frankly, I just no longer enjoyed spending the time that it took to manage a muzzloader. There was of course all of the time necessary to build the load. The time spent at the range trying several powder charges (black powder or Pyrodex and later many others) and how many different bullets are there anyway?
Then there is the question of caps, musket caps, primers, etc. The list grew too long and it just became too involved.
It also seemed that just when I had the latest and greatest, you guessed it, something later and greater came along. Finally, I just quit the muzzloader game, or at least I thought I had.
Then, recently, I was gently guided to the Traditions brand of muzzloader rifles and to the latest addition to their line, the Pursuit Ultra Light Muzzleloader/Redfield Scope Combo. It comes in the box with everything you need to go to the range, except a few bullets, some 209 primers and some "black stuff" to power it all.
This gun reminds me of my first break-open single shot 20 gauge that accounted for many gray squirrels in my early teens. It's simple to operate, easy to keep safe and when you need to call it into action, it's just a matter of cocking the hammer and pulling the trigger.
Okay. I need to add here that anyone, regardless of experience level, needs to read the owner's manual and diligently follow the use instructions. This is a powerful firearm and commands the respect of anyone who uses it.
I spent some time doing just that. I pulled the breech plug and cleaned the bore. I spent some time becoming familiar with the safety system and in general just becoming acquainted with the rifle.
This is a very light gun and it balances well in the hand. I really like the Soft Touch stock. It has a great feel and really lets you get a grip on the gun.
It's also a great looking rifle. The looks may not add to its performance but being easy on the eye never hurts. I like the contrast of the Mossy Oak Treestand camo stock and the Cerakote finished barrel. Speaking of finish, that Cerakote is reportedly 50 times tougher than stainless as far as corrosion goes. That's always a good thing when you're dealing with black powder or even one of its substitutes.
Frankly, I gave up on black powder years ago. It was just too much trouble and one of the reasons that muzzloaders were absent from my life for a while. When Hogdon's Triple Seven pellets came along, I gave away all my black powder. Those pellets just make it so much easier to load and they are so much cleaner burning that clean up is not such a chore.
One of the great features of any inline muzzloader is the ease of clean up. The Pursuit Ultra Light takes that to the extreme. It really does. This is just not a marketing claim.
It's almost as easy as cleaning that break open single shot that I used to reduce the squirrel population years ago. You just break it open, twist out the breech plug and clean the bore. It's really that simple.
Right now you are probably asking yourself, "Is he ever going to tell us how it shoots?" Well, yes I am and the report is very positive.
A trip to the range was in order and since the firearms deer season in Illinois was just around the corner, it gave me an excellent opportunity to get this gun ready for the season.
I had a pretty good supply of 209 primers, plenty of Triple Seven pellets and an assortment of bullets left over from shooting muzzleloading rifles a few years ago. I did not want to get too fancy, this is meant to be a hunting gun, I just wanted a load that would reliably take down a Southern Illinois Whitetail cleanly and reliably.
I decided to use loads combining 2 Triple Seven pellets (110 grains) and some lead bullets that I had in inventory. I had a pretty good supply of 370 grain "Maxi-Ball", 350 grain "Maxi-Hunter" bullets and some XTP 240 grain hollow point "Cheap Shot Sabots", those combined with traditional 209 primers would be my loads for the Pursuit Ultra Light both at the range and in the deer woods.
This rifle comes with the Redfield Revolution 3-9x40 scope that is bore sighted at the factory. That's a big help when it comes to sighting-in a rifle but since I was using 3 different bullet weights, I knew that it would take some adjustments, once I saw which one was the most consistent performer. Bore sighting is meant to get you on the paper and save some time, not be right on the money.
I started with the 370 grain Maxi-Balls and was able to put 3 holes in an 8" x 11" target, high left but in a 2" group, at 50 yards. I did not thoroughly clean between shots but did run a dampened clean patch down the barrel.
Next, I took the gun back to the shop and thoroughly cleaned it, a very easy task given the way the gun breaks down and the 3 turns it took to remove the breech plug. Most of the bore was pretty clean but I had a good bit of carbon on the plug and in the forcing cone area. Traditions recommends removing and cleaning the breech plug only every 10-15 shots but I wanted to do it more often than that so I could see just how easily it was done and how much carbon build-up occurred.
In just a few minutes, I had everything cleaned, I greased the threads on the breech plug with non petroleum grease as recommended and was ready for the next round of shooting with the 350 grain "Maxi-Hunter" bullets.
I had pretty much the same results but these printed about 2" lower than the Maxi-Balls with about the same grouping. Again, I only ran a dampened patch down the barrel before each subsequent shot.
The bore looked pretty much the same as before but I did not have as much carbon on the breech plug or in the forcing cone this time. I believe that the Maxi-Hunter bullets were better lubed than were the Maxi-Balls. The lubrication appeared to be fresher.
I took a little break after cleaning the Ultra Light the second time to reflect on just how pleasant this gun is to handle and shoot. It is of course very light, just over 5 lbs. and it's easy to hold in any weather condition with the soft touch finish. The bore sighted scope makes sighting it in very easy and quick to get ready for the range, field or woods.
Loading is very simple, just drop a couple of the Triple Seven pellets down the bore and then put the bullet into the muzzle. The "speed load system" allows the shooter to start the bullet by hand, a nice feature and then to complete the process with the supplied ramrod. Lastly, loading the 209 primer which could not be simpler and you're ready to shoot.
This gun makes muzzleloader shooting fun again!
Back at the range it was time for me to try the 240 grain Cheap Shot Sabots. They turned out to the the real winners. I can remember when I would not have used the words "flat shooting" and "muzzleloader" in the same sentence. That's before I shot this rifle with those bullets.
Using the owner's manual as a reference, the 240 grain sabot, powered by 100 grains of Triple Seven should have a muzzle velocity of something like 1900 feet per second with close to 2000 foot pounds of energy. That will certainly work for any whitetail deer.
It was also a flat shooter. Three shots produced a 1" group just to the left to the point of aim and with just a few clicks of the scope, I was right at point of aim for an additional 3 shots.
When I returned to my workbench to clean the bore after the final round at the range, I was very pleased to see hardly any residue left from the last round of shots. I attribute this to both a seasoning of the bore using non-petroleum based lubricants and the use of the sabots. Clean up was a breeze.
I carried the Pursuit Ultra Light for 3 days in the deer woods of Southern Illinois. This is where this gun really shines. It is exceptionally well balanced even with the scope, very light, exceptionally accurate with a variety of loads and comes to the shoulder smoothly. The finish makes it almost impervious to the elements, as does its tight lock up system and as already mentioned, clean up is very quick and easy.
If you are in the market for a muzzle loading rifle I would certainly recommend that you consider the Pursuit Ultra Light from Traditions. It's the gun that changed my mind about shooting muzzleloaders again.
To learn more about the Pursuit Ultra Light and other products from Traditions, please visit http://www.traditionsfirearms.com and to read more "Product Test" articles, please visit http://www.allaboutshooting.com