New muzzleloader...sort of

White Smoke

Black powder rules!
May 2, 2011
Encinitas, CA
I've been shooting a 45 caliber Thompson Center Hawken for several years. From the threads on this site, I became good friends with Blkpowder Hunter. We met at the range a while back to do an eyeball meet. Shortly afterwards, he got me interested in match shooting. My first meet was interesting, and a real eyeopener. I am a hunter and have never participated in shooting matches. This one required me to shoot offhand, something I RARELY do. I always use a rest of some kind, mostly sticks. Anyway, the match consisted of three targets at three different ranges. As I recall, the steel animal cutouts were set at 25, 50 and 75 yards. You get two shots at each target and repeat it three times. If you knock the silhouette off the stand on the first shot, you get 2 points. If you miss, but get it on your second shot, you get 1 point. If you miss that, you get a zero. A score of 18 (nine first-shot hits) would be a perfect score, something I had the pleasure of watching Dan do a month later.

I approached the first target, a hog, with a bit of a "WTF am I doing" feeling, especially shooting offhand. I was totally amazed when I set it spinning off the target stand. I think I hit it in the nose, but that was still worth 2 points. Anyway, the match continued on and I amazingly got more hits than misses. At the very last target, Dan and I were tied. We stood side by side to shoot the final target, a ram. Dan got it with his first shot. I got mine with the second. He beat me by one point! However, he had me hooked.

After the match, he mentioned he had a spare 50 caliber Green Mountain barrel that would fit my Hawken. I later tried it out and eventually bought it. That was a sweet-shooting setup. I had a hunting peep sight on the Hawken, but soon ordered a Williams FP-Hawken tang peep sight with target knobs for it. After a LONG wait, the sight finally arrived and I slapped it on the rifle. Dan and I went to the range last Friday. I shot it at 50 and 75 yards to get it sighted in, but I couldn't get the pattern to drop below being 4" high. The rear sight had bottomed out.

I took a quick trip down to a local muzzleloader shop and picked up the tallest front sight he had. The one on the rifle measured 0.471 and the new one measures 0.571. I brought it home and switched front sights. I'm hoping that the 0.1-higher front sight will at least bring the pattern down 4", hopefully a bit more. We are going to the range again on Tuesday and I will find out then. If that doesn't work out, Plan "B" is to get a taller brass front sight that I can shoot and file down to the proper height. The next match is the 23rd and I'm itching to get it sighted in and zeroed. Wish me luck.
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