The Anytime, Any Muzzleloader Ramrod from Spinjag
Factory muzzleloader ramrods can be a hassle, often when you least want it. Things happen when hunting, mostly good things, but there are times when Murphy's Law kicks in. Sometimes, the object of Murphy's wrath is the ramrod. All kinds of things happen to otherwise innocent ramrods. Evil trees and bushes can silently snag them out of your rifle. You can easily spot a muzzleloading hunter that has been the repeated victim of “ramrod snag” a mile away. He normally has his ramrod secured with a pile of black electrician's tape to his rifle. That might seem like a good idea, until you try to quickly remove your ramrod. It isn't a pretty sight.
Ramrods get placed in box blinds and aren't picked up. Ramrods are sometimes left at the range, ramrods somehow don't always get packed in with your rifle. Out in the field we might be left looking for the “little ramrod that wasn't there.” If not us, then it might be our hunting buddy that asks with soulful eyes, “Hey, have you seen my ramrod by chance?” It happens more than you might think. Plastic factory muzzleloader ramrods often break. Naturally, they break at the wrong time. I've had ramrods on review guns break repeatedly the first time out. I was starting out with a spinning rod, but I ended up with a Popiel “Pocket Fisherman.”
Ramrods don't do a thing to help accuracy. As a result, I normally hunt with the ramrod out of the gun. I'd like my range work to simulate field conditions and my range work is with the ramrod out of the gun. Ramrods jumping out of ferrules is distracting. Ramrods don't always disturb accuracy, but the accurizing effect of a ramrod is one I've never seen. Maybe it is something like the “meat seeking sabot?” In the case of many break-action muzzleloaders, the ramrod isn't long enough. It can only go to the where the action opens and then we are fresh out of room. It may way be long enough to seat a bullet, but not long enough to swab or clean a barrel.
The Spinjag people now offer what they have dubbed the “g3RAMROD.” It is a three piece solid aluminum ramrod that is beautifully, evenly black anodized. With a Spinjag attached to the shorter section, you have three ramrod sections about 9-1/4 inches in length (9.33 inches). Spin them together, you have a 28 inch ramrod that is as tough as they come. If you pop the three pieces in your backpack or range bag, you'll never be without a ramrod ever again, nor will your hunting buddies. It is small enough that you alternatively can carry it in cargo pants, a zippered hunting coat pocket, and so forth as you prefer.
The Spinjag itself rotates with your sabot as you seat it, so the ramrod in your hand remains stationary. It inhibits canting or cocking a bullet upon loading as well as deforming the bullet nose. The short, stubby types of bullets (Hornady XTP) aren't particularly prone to canting when loading. The better flying, more ballistically efficient spitzer, semi-spitzer, or polymer-tipped bullets by comparison certainly are. When you do clean your barrel with a cotton patch, it isn't all that uncommon for a stationary jag to lose the patch in your barrel. This is another “Murphy thing,” it only happens when you really don't appreciate it. Rather than trying to snag a patch with a patchpuller worm attachment that nobody ever carries, it is far better not to lose a patch in the first place.
Some folks hunt with the Spinjag Loader on a ramrod in their rifle, as the Spinjag Loader is larger and a closer fit to most muzzleloading bores. If you're using Blackhorn 209, you never spit-patch between shots anyway. The Spinjag loader is not knurled, though, and is no cleaning jag. The g3RAMROD with the standard Spinjag attached takes care of any cleaning issues that might come up.
Personally, I hunt with an original Spinjag-equipped giRAMROD in all my rifles. Gunn Innovations makes them to match most all ramrod diameters and lengths. In the case of the T/C Encore, for example, you have a tapered end that helps secure the ramrod to your rifle. Gunn Innovations offers those as well, just tell them what make and model of muzzleloader you are using and they will take it from there. With a Spinjag-equipped rod in your gun and a g3RAMROD in your backpack, you may or may not be ready for Freddy. But you are ready for Murphy, as the g3 rod is the solution to plastic ramrod pollution and the haunted forest that grabs ramrods in the early morning or after sunset when you least expect it.
Copyright 2010 by Randy Wakeman. All rights reserved.