I am going to buy a encore muzzleloader for hunting in ohio. I would also like to buy a custom barrel for long range hunting out west and Alaska. Any input on a good long range caliber would be appreciated.
I have done a lot of shooting with the Encore in-line (initial field testing of the prototype barrels - we made a few bear rugs) and they make for one of the nicest in-lines on the market. Have seen some Encore barrels consistent shoot 3-shot groups under 1" at 100 yards - this was with factory guys who know how to make an in-line perform.
We hunted with several Encores in Montana this fall, calibers were .243, 280, .308 and .300 Win. mag. The .300 Win. is probably one of the best factory chamberings available for long range.
The factory has a very real concern about after-market high performance chamberings (barrels for the Weatherby boomers etc.) for the Encore. Not a good idea, T/C would be offering those hotrods if they though it was safe but they do NOT recomment them. Just weren't designed to operate with such pressures. You take your chances if you go with a barrel other than a T/C.
I would talk to the T/C custom shop to discuss their offerings, they have a lot of calibers that are not in the catalog. Otherwise get a .300 Win. mag., practice with it to whatever range you can keep your shots in the proverbial pie-plate and kill some critters.
I recently shot a heavy barreled .308 and a varmint barreled .243 and both shot between 1/2 to 1 1/2 moa with factory ammo - had no problem hitting 15-20" gongs out at 600 with the Encores.
Good luck with your decision.