For most of us, hunting seasons are now just around the corner - and this is also the time of year when many muzzleloading hunters finally decide it's time to try something new. When that "change" begins taking place, that's when NORTH AMERICAN MUZZLELOADER HUNTING begins to hear from hundreds of hunters who simply aren't getting the performance they anticipated ... or, in their mind, was promised.
Some of the more significant changes include the switch to a new rifle...a new bullet...or a new powder. To get that new addition thrown into the mix of everything else already on hand, many muzzleloading shooters don't pay much attention to "little things", like whether or not the No. 209 primer they have been using for several years is compatible with the changes being made, whether that change is to a different rifle, a different sabot and bullet, and especially to a new powder.
After all, all No. 209 primers are No. 209 primers...right? Well, maybe they are in configuration and size, but they are not all created equal when it comes to the ignition qualities.
With fall just around the corner, I have heard from dozens of muzzleloading hunters who have made the switch to Blackhorn 209, and who have been experiencing ignition issues. The first question I ask is, "What primer are you using?" Many times, the answer I get back is that they are using one of the special "Muzzleloading" primers. And that is the problem.
Winchester's Triple Seven primers, Remington's "Muzzleloading" primers, the Fusion 209 In-Line Muzzleloading primers, and the CCI 209 In-Line MZL primers just don't have the "OOMPH" to spontaneously ignite charges of Blackhorn 209. In fact, even some of the milder No. 209 shotshell primers often can't get the job done.
My good friend Keith Anderson, who heads ballistics for Blackhorn 209 actually designed this plug for CVA - around the powder. The new plug design is so efficient that with it installed, some of the so-called "Muzzleloading" No. 209 primers will consistently ignite Blackhorn 209.
This summer, CVA came on board as a sponsor of the NORTH AMERICAN MUZZLELOADER HUNTING website, and we now have two different Accura rifles in our collection of test rifles. When they arrived, both were fitted with the standard plug, and we shot Blackhorn 209 charges out of them without the benefit of the redesigned breech plug - and experienced absolutely no ignition problems.
Our 100% spontaneous ignition can be credited to the fact that we use only the hotter No.209 primers available for all of our test shooting with Blackhorn 209 - and that would be the Federal 209A and CCI 209M primers. Both are magnum strength shotshell primers. These are the primers we have used while test shooting with the Traditions VORTEK rifle models over the past four years. Those rifles have a breech plug that is very similar to CVA's standard flat-faced breech plug, and over the course of the past four years we have easily shot somewhere in the neighborhood of 4,000 rounds out of those rifles, most of them using Blackhorn 209. Thanks to the hotter Federal 209A and CCI 209M primers, we have never experienced a hang-fire during any of that shooting.
For a look at the comparative "strength" or "power" of today's selection of No. 209 primers, go to the following link - http://www.namlhunt.com/mlprimers.html
If making the switch to Blackhorn 209, and buying a new rifle, make sure the rifle comes with a breech plug that has been designed for best ignition with this advanced powder. While the powder is a bit more expensive than other black powder substitutes, keep in mind that the "Special" muzzleloader primers generally cost about twice what the hotter shotshell primers will set you back. If the other black powder substitute you are shooting requires use of a milder "Muzzleloading" primer - the added cost of those primers will more than make up the difference in the price between the two powders. - Toby Bridges
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