Safety and the Savage 10ML-II
Safety has never been a particularly popular topic, but the only good shooting session is a safe shooting session, and the only good hunt is a safe hunt. The "Music of the Woods" remains the same.
Sadly, the Savage 10ML-II has come under what I feel is vindictive attack by those who have seen this revolutionary firearm as a tremendous threat to their company profits. The Savage 10ML-II is superior to all other muzzleloaders on the market today in terms of strength, quality, and design. It has a safety track record now spanning some fourteen years via "modern smokeless muzzleloading."
In the fourteen years that Henry Ball, Bill Ball, and their associates Bobby Mabe and Dennis Boyd have been enthusiastically enjoying smokeless muzzleloading, they have damaged not one single rifle in any way, and no single barrel has been "ringed." That is fifty-six years of regular, contiguous experience due to the efforts of these four gentlemen alone.
In the 4 1/2 year production history of the Savage 10ML and 10ML-II there has not been one single incident where a Savage 10ML series gun has been so much as damaged by a consumer of which I, Bill Ball, or Henry Ball are aware, when "operated properly using Savage recommended loads." Not one. That is a development history and track record to which very few rifles can lay claim, and scant few muzzleloaders.
For the new Savage 10ML-II owner even remotely knowledgeable about firearm design and materials, there is no muzzleloader made today any safer than the Savage 10ML-II. From 416R (or 4140C) certified Gun Bar Quality barrels, to the Accu-Trigger, to the 300% service factor design parameters, to the inherently safer, non-corrosive propellant that nitrocellulose-based powder is both to use and store, no other muzzleloader made today incorporates so many safety features. That is why this gun was made in the first place; you can read its remarkable story right here on this web site in the article "Instant Slamification: The Savage 10ML Story."
Did you know that every single Savage 10ML-II has a 100% proofed barrel? No other muzzleloader available today can make that claim. No Savage 10ML-II leaves the factory without a barrel that is proofed to well in excess of 40,000 psi. Not just a test sampling of barrels are so proofed, all of them are.
Also, every single Savage 10ML-II is test fired prior to shipment. No other muzzleloader made today can make that claim, either.
The Savage 10ML-II has been tested with massive charges of #4227 powder sufficient bring the piezoelectric radial transducer to 129,000 psi. Stocks were broken and recoil lugs bent, but the barreled actions survived, intact and functional. For the record, the standard Savage 10ML-II service load is from approximately 33,400 to 36,000 psi with a 250 grain saboted projectile. Follow manufacturer's recommendations, as per the Savage Owners Manual.
Nevertheless, any firearm can be abused. Whether military artillery pieces or Coastal Artillery 6-inch guns with a "medium" range of fifteen miles, any gun can be destroyed through neglect, misuse, bore obstructions, etc., and they have been. The completely idiot-proof gun (or car or airplane) has yet to be devised.
The use of "reloads" voids the warranty for most modern firearms; that is standard fare. No 12 gauge shotgun can withstand the old "20 / 12 burst;" nor are they designed to. Yet, it still happens. The refrain from the firearms industry has been very simple, clear, concise, and consistent: "Follow ONLY manufacturers recommendations."
Once you deviate from that, you are on your own. No firearm manufacturer allows otherwise. How tough is that to understand? Of course, it is a free country and part of the experience, responsibility and satisfaction derived from reloading and muzzleloading is working up loads that suit you and your perceived needs. That is obviously best left up to the more experienced, knowledgeable reloaders.
For the brand new Savage 10ML-II owner there is no safer way to muzzleload, no more maintenance-free way to muzzleload, no simpler way to muzzleload, and there is no muzzleloading rifle designed or built to a higher standard. The loads that have shown to be so tremendously effective over the last 4-1/2 years (make that 14 years) are even better, with stronger Triple 7 inspired sabots and more ballistically efficient bullets available today than ever before.
As a bonus, did you know that the Savage short action has the fastest lock time in the industry, at about 1.60 milliseconds? That, combined with the award-winning Accu-Trigger, makes the Savage 10ML-II one of the easiest muzzleloaders ever made to shoot accurately.
A misused 10ML-II can be damaged; so can every other firearm made today, regardless of manufacture. As it is, the Savage 10ML-II is the safest platform from which to muzzleload--not by accident, but by design. As previously mentioned, that is precisely why it was built in the first place. If there is any doubt about the condition of your firearm, any firearm, seek the services of a competent gunsmith immediately.
Savage Arms is a very safety oriented company, continually striving to produce improved and safer products. CEO Ron Coburn, one of the good guys in the firearms industry, flatly states:
"Stressing a product above its design capabilities by pushing the envelope with hot loads and mixed powders will ultimately destroy any firearm. Savage Arms stresses that the owner of any muzzleloader be fully knowledgeable of the product and its components and takes full responsibility for loading and discharging the firearm."
Copyright 2004 by Randy Wakeman. All rights reserved.