Early hunting muzzleloaders were less serious hunting tools than attractive replicas of historical firearms. There’s a lot to be said for hunting the way it was done 150 years ago but some hunters want to use the muzzleloader season to extend their season. Those hunters want accurate, reliable guns that are easy to maintain.
No category of firearms has improved as much in recent years as muzzleloaders. While accuracy has been improving for several years, the real growth has been in convenience and affordability. For the 2011 deer season, we used the Traditions Firearms Pursuit Ultralight Muzzleloader, a hinge action 50 caliber lightweight rifle that exemplifies what a modern muzzleloading hunting rifle can be. At less than six pounds and with a 26” fluted barrel, the Pursuit Ultralight has the feel of a conventional centerfire hunting rifle. My wife, Cherie, and daughter, Valarie, have both killed deer with it and it’s the favorite muzzleloader in our family.
It came mounted with a Traditions 3-9 scope and the first shot was perfectly centered, an occurrence that rarely happens in bore sighted rifle/scope combinations. After shooting a two inch, three shot group, I never moved the turrets. Most muzzleloader triggers in the past have been far from great but this rifle has a trigger that’s better than the average premium centerfire. With a removable breech plug that’s on a double helix thread, the plug comes out with just a few twists.
Accurate, with a good trigger, easy to clean and affordable, the Pursuit would more accurately be described as the leader. Priced at around $300, it’s a bargain.