Please don't be offended, but this IS LONGrangehunting.com! I don't begrudge a flinter or bowhunter for their choice of weapon, and they should not do the same should someone choose a 300WSM. That would be like saying that all rifles should be limited to 28,000psi since the 50-140 is!
Onto why other major manufacturers are not making smokeless muzzleloaders.
IMO, there is only one reason, and safety is NOT it!
Every year Knight and the others come out with new hyped advertisements for their new super BP rifles. IMO, people keep trying to reach long distance with ML rifles and they are being spoon fed a few yards at a time to sell more rifles.
IMO, Properly made Smokeless rifles shooting sabotted bullets are MUCH safer than BP!
IMO, Knight and the others have smokeless rifles ready for production and once another major manufacturer comes out with one the entire industry will change overnight.
In the Savage ML community there is considerable experimentation along the lines taken on this board all of the time. Perhaps distances are not as great, but the challenge is the same. I personally have replaced my Savage barrel with a Krieger 505 Gibbs 1:20 twist barrel and shoot a 150 grain 8mm Sierra bullet. Many others have added Pac-Nor barrels of varying bores and twists to improve their performance.
Smokeless may be in its infancy, but it will be the future of long range muzzleloading.
PS Pyrodex was invented in the 1970s and smokeless in the 1880s. Duplex loads involving smokeless have been around in ML's for a hundred years, so I don't think that the idea is really new!
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Smokeless has not gone over the way that some companies hoped, therefore Knight, T/C, Traditions and CVA are not rushing smokeless rifles to the market. Believe me, they all looked at it and decided against it for safety reasons,
Please don't forget where muzzleloading came from - 300 yards is a good challenge but so is getting in to 15 yards with a flinter. My heart beats way faster when I am in close, one blink can blow it. Sometimes it is good to take a step backwards instead of foreward.
Guys, you are forgetting that Hodgdens sells smokeless powder that would work, they are also manufacturing Pyrodex and 777 because that pressure level is what many existing muzzleloaders were designed for. Safety is it, the industry has to consider that there are some incredibly poorly designed in-lines out there from the past and they cannot take the chance of some guy loading one of those rifles with smokeless. Totally different pressures involved. The muzzleloading industry does not support smokeless, that is a hard fact. The major companies in the industry were unanimous in a letter expressing that fact a few years back.
I liken smokeless to souping-up cars to go very fast, yet our speed limits are set and they are not going to change.
Might be wrong, the industry might do a flip-flop but I would not hold my breath. There is some new stuff coming, I will be shooting some of it shortly at a factory but - it ain't smokeless.
You are correct, this is long range hunting and we can enjoy the challenge of long range hunting with muzzleloaders using any propellant. Bottom line is we only get one shot at a time. If the industry lets velocities and performance get too close to centerfire then I believe the game agencies will react and shut down nitro-cel based propellants. Question will be "Why not hunt with a Ruger #1 if you want to shoot a single shot?" and there is no good answer. I would enjoy the smokeless performance but keep it low-key so stupid rumors do not get rolling. Remember what happened in Colorado several years ago - still not fixed.
1) Hodgdon T7 loose powder in a magnum loading costs 2 to 3 times as much as a magnum loading of smokeless = +++ $$$
Chris Hodgdon is ROTFL His AO when you buy pellets cuz the cost per shot goes through the roof!
2) Safety is dependant on the shooter. Shoot what YOUR rifle says to shoot and you will be safe. We don't outlaw 20 gauge shotshells because they could lodge inside of a 12 Gauge shotgunby accident. If someone decides to shoot a wrong cartridge in their firearm it is not the Mfg's fault, it is the responsibility of the shooter to know what he is doing.
I suppose that if you gave the Ammunition companies the option they would outlaw RELOADING by saying that it is dangerous, but it would really be for their bottom line! IMO.
I'm not a fan of smokeless because of long range capabilites. I really do not think that it extends effective range all that much. I a fan because it adds consistency due to it cleaner burning capabilites. You can clean it like a Centerfire.
Game agencies will not stop smokeless. The idea is to lessen the deer population. If states tried to make it tougher the insurance companies would go beserk. The power of the NRA is nothing compared to the power of Insurance companies. They want guns and hunting more than most because of animal/car damage.
Safety? Shooting pyrodex is a safety hazard in itself. Many new ML hunters do not clean these highly corrosive powders then fire the gun a few months later with 3 50 grain pellets. Its riduclous to say that shooting a properly built smokeless is more dangerous.
If you are a ML shooter than you are a re-loader. Reloading of any kind can also cause accidents if too much powder is used. How many post have been on this board where a guy says that there bolt was stuck because of a hot load?
Another fact that cannot be ignored is that Hodgkins says "never use more that 100 grains" of Pyrodex or T7, but knight and T/C say to use 150???
Inline ML's have really taken off, and if we follow the trend then smokeless is inevitable. When someone with a "Mathews" marketing blitz starts selling smokeless Knight is in trouble.
(Mathews Bows market there product like there is no tomorrow)
The hunting mags and shows are not about to promote smokeless because Knight and T/C are major sponsers. Gun shops are in the same boat because they make a lot of money selling T/C and Knight.
Bottom line is that claiming smokeless muzzleloading is bad because people load improperly and hurt themselves, then the same holds true for pyrodex, T7, real Black Powder, or any other smoking propellent AND ammo reloaders. They are ALL capable of overloading.
Lastly, the DOT and BATF both consider Pyrodex "Smokeless Powder"
Birdman - I seriously considered going with a SMI barrel for my encore but was having some issues with the hinge pin tolerences. At any rate, I went with the swinglock. I've been completely satisfied with it so far as it will shoot the 250gr sst at over 2800fps with what looks to be a mild load, manual has a upper end load at over 3100fps. The 2800fps load will consistently group at 2" at 300 yards.
These smokeless guns are awesome for the simple fact that since one should foul their gun before hunting, just like practicing/sighting-in, you won't have a rust bucket in a day or two. I haven't had much luck hitting anything with a rusted barrel, well much past 100 yards.