Editor’s note: Andy Weichers of Waterloo, Iowa, one of the hosts of Campfire Stories, a TV show on the Pursuit Channel, enjoys muzzleloading for deer and turkeys.

This past season, I took one of the landowners of a farm where I hunt hunting with me, and he used my CVA Apex .45 caliber rifle. He’d hunted squirrels and other small game but never had hunted a deer. Before the hunt, we went out and he shot the gun several times. He was a little bit nervous about shooting a muzzleloader, because he’d never done it previously. So, I wanted to make sure that he would be comfortable with the rifle, if he had an opportunity to take a deer with it. The first hunt we went on, he took a doe with my CVA Apex. A couple of weeks later when we went again, he took a buck. We didn’t have a single trail-camera picture of this buck, but after the buck was harvested, we learned there was a trail-camera picture of him taken on another farm about half-mile away from where we were hunting. I like to shoot a .45 caliber blackpowder rifle and that’s the gun that the landowner used to take both the doe and the buck.

I never had shot a .45 caliber, until I met Dudley McGarity, the president of CVA. He asked me and my team to just try the .45 caliber. I wasn’t really sure I’d like shooting a .45 caliber blackpowder rifle, but I was willing to give it a try. When I started shooting it, I found that I preferred it over a .50 caliber muzzleloader. I load with Buckhorn loose powder by weight. I shoot 67 grains, because many of the shots we get in Iowa are less than 100 yards. Now, I know that 67 grains is a very light load to shoot deer with, but I know that I’m effective out to about 150 yards. Another reason that I only shoot 67 grains is that my wife shoots the same rifle I shoot. Many other people use this gun, and I film them. I don’t want to have a maximum charge that’s uncomfortable for anyone to shoot, including the 70-year-old landowner who took his first buck and doe with me last season. He can hardly wait to get his own .45 caliber rifle and hunt deer this year.

I’ve got plenty of buddies who will shoot three pellets, which have quite a bit of recoil, make a lot of noise and create plenty of smoke. That’s fine, but the way I’m loading, anyone can shoot my CVA Apex and not have an uncomfortable experience with it. You have to remember that a blackpowder rifle is a scary weapon to many people who never have shot one before. Because there’s an explosion inside the barrel when the cap ignites the powder, some people, who don’t know or understand the blackpowder rifle, are concerned that something may go wrong. Therefore, when I take a newcomer hunting or shooting with a muzzleloader for the first time, my concern is that they have an enjoyable experience and that they learn not to be afraid of the gun.

Although I’ve had many people make fun of me, because I shoot such a light load, I’ll compare the groups that my Apex shoots at 250 yards with anybody’s group from any other rifle or any other load. The speed the bullet is traveling and the amount of knock-down power the bullet has will have very little value if you don’t shoot accurately. So, I have formulated the load that I believe produces the best accuracy for the terrain I hunt and the shots I may be called on to make. At 250 yards, I can put a group of 3 shots in a 2-1/2- to 3-inch circle, consistently out of a .45 caliber Apex.

The winner of the CVA Facebook Giveaway will receive a new limited edition CVA Wolf .50 caliber muzzleloader with special Campfire Stories TV flame pattern! This new pattern dipped on the CVA Wolf Stock by our friends at Campfire Stories TV is one of a kind. Entries only valid for contestants within the contiguous United States. Entry period from October 1st, 2012, thru October 31st, 2012, 12pm Noon. Drawing and the winner announcement on or about November 7th, 2012. (No Purchase Necessary, Click here for complete CVA Facebook giveaway sweepstakes rules.

For more deer hunting tips, check out “How to Hunt Deer Like a Pro,” a new eBook for Kindle by John E. Phillips. You also can go to http://www.amazon.com/kindle-ebooks and type in the name of the book to find it. Too, you can download a free Kindle app that enables you to read the book on your iPad, computer or smartphone.

Images courtesy John Phillips/CVA

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