Muzzleloading's 2011 Blowback Awards

By Randy Wakeman

Some folks might rightly ask, “What happened to muzzleloading?” As Tony Knight has long lamented, it is the sport itself that is no longer being actively promoted. With the focus on who could sell the most boxes, the nurturing of the sport itself has been lost. With more accuracy and twice the range of most slug guns and a far lower cost per shot you might think that the “one shot and make it a good one” way would endure. It can, of course, but it will take renewed focus on promoting the sport and challenge of muzzleloading. Here are muzzleloading products recently reviewed that are worthy of your attention.


Clearly an entry level offering, the Thompson/Center Impact is exactly that: a very good value in an American-made inline, without any frills.This is a home run for Thompson-Center Arms. It is the best new muzzleloader introduced in several years and the best dedicated muzzleloader T/C has released since the Omega. It is well-balanced, great handling, has an exceptional trigger and is ridiculous easy to use. This example has more accuracy than you can use on most hunts, with a little help from both Barnes bullets and Blackhorn 209 powder. A $250 dollar street price for a 100% Made in the USA lifetime warranty T/C inline is a screaming deal. Most folks won't have much choice except to buy one for their wives and kids, or at least that's what you might want to tell them.

It shoots and functions beyond its diminutive price tag. It may well be the best $250 muzzleloader ever made. It is an enjoyable, affordable muzzleloader for the whole family, at the range or in the field.


The Parker 300 grain Match Hunter is this year's projectile of choice. Compared to the other bullets, you can see what an aggressive nose profile it has, making it the flattest-shooting, 300 grain, .45 caliber muzzleloading projectile ever offered. With a .028 in. thick jacket, it is an extremely tough bullet, ideal for high velocities, raking shots on large game, breaking down an animal or combinations of all the above. It is an industry-leading product from Parker Productions. The Parker Match Hunter is also available in a 325 grain version.


For the dollar, the new Burris Fullfield E1 scopes in either 2-7x35mm or 3-9x40mm configurations are best $200 and under scopes from Burris in years. Not only do the Fullfield E1 scopes have etched reticles, they are Ballistic Plex reticles. Beyond that they are E1 Ballistic reticles, meaning they are wind-compensating reticles, as introduced on the Burris SixX scopes. The adjustment caps on the Fullfield scopes have been redesigned; they are now oversized and easy to get on and off quickly, even with gloved or cold hands. Burris calls them “Hunter Knobs.” As with all Burris scopes, each scope is filled and purged at least 24 times with laboratory grade dry nitrogen. Each Burris scope is also proven waterproof by submersion in 122 degree F. water prior to final packaging and shipment. The Fullfield E1 2-7x35 has a street price of $180 or so, with the 3-9x40 E1 right at $200.

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Copyright 2011 by Randy Wakeman. All rights reserved.