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Traditions Pursuit Pro Rifle

By Randy D. Smith

Traditions Pursuit Pro
Illustration courtesy of Traditions PerformanceFirearms.

Several weeks back I was sent a Traditions Pursuit Pro to try out for the fall hunting season. I asked the company if I could review it because I liked the looks of the design and I have a twenty year history of using and enjoying the performance of Traditions products.

I specifically requested a black stock model with blue metal. I am planning an American pronghorn and mule deer hunt this fall and I wanted a black rifle to reduce glare over sun lit grassland. I also wanted a model with specific features for accurate long-range shots. Mule deer and American pronghorn muzzleloader hunting ranges are challenging, often with strong winds to contend with. I prefer a rifle that is balanced heavily enough to hold on target and reduce recoil from heavy loads. I want a longer barrel for maximum performance, and yet not so heavy that it is a burden to carry.

The Traditions Pursuit Pro is a break-open muzzleloader that is available in .50 caliber. 12 gauge shotgun and .45 caliber barrel options will soon be available. It has a synthetic stock, 28" fluted barrel, 1:28" twist rate, recessed muzzle projectile alignment system, steel Williams fiber optic sights, and weighs 8.25 pounds. The entire package is 44" long from butt pad to muzzle. It uses a 209 primer ignition system.

The breech is exposed for primer insertion by tripping a latch in front of the trigger guard, which tips the barrel down. The rifle is cocked by a nicely styled ambidextrous hammer that is also equipped with a reversible hammer extension for scope use. The ramrod is black aluminum with a clever reversible jag extension for either loading or cleaning.

My black Pursuit Pro rifle package has a suggested retail price of $279. The Pursuit is not a reworked design of a converted cartridge rifle. It is a from-the-ground-up break action pattern with a lot of innovative features.

The Pursuit Pro is the best design of the break action 209 inline that I have seen to date. The Monte Carlo style synthetic stock design is excellent. The eye comes into natural alignment with the sights and the elbow comes naturally to a proper 90 degree angle from the rib cage. The length of pull is a nice 14" and the pistol grip wrist design is natural and comfortable.

The Pursuit Pro is well balanced. Most people handling it would be surprised that it is an eight pound rifle. It comes to the shoulder naturally and swings through in excellent fashion. Even though I planned to use it on the plains, I believe that it would make an exceptional woods rifle.

The breech release in front of the trigger guard is located in an easily accessed location and will not pinch the fingers. The hammer is such that it can be easily cocked with a gloved thumb, and there is plenty of room for a gloved trigger finger. A transfer bar safety and a cross-block safety in the back of the trigger guard provides for two-stage security. The projectile alignment system allows for excellent bullet management.

The Williams steel fiber optic sights are the best I have used. On some sights the dots are too large and glow too harshly, actually interfering with, rather than enhancing, precise long range sighting. Many of those sights are also too wide in the V for optimum accuracy. The Pursuit Pro sights are precisely cut and the dots are not obtrusive. I shot some of the best fiber optic groups I've ever managed because of the superior Williams design. I had ordered some WGRS receiver sights for the Pursuit Pro before I received the rifle and almost sent them back because the standard open sights were so good.

I can reload the Pursuit Pro in less than twenty seconds using Triple 7 pellets and either the TCP or Hornady sabots. The 209 primer is easily placed into and removed from the breech without special tools. The breech snaps shut smartly without "wobble" or misalignment in the mechanism. There is virtually no contamination from the spent primer to the breech system. And not one bit of the dreaded "blow black," I might add.

The trigger was a bit heavy when I first began shooting the Pursuit Pro, but has lightened with use to pleasant levels with a minimum of creep. It is not as good a trigger as on the Evolution, however.

So, there you have it: a rifle that is well thought out without being overly complicated. A rifle that has outstanding balance and is easy handling with a good trigger and excellent open sights. An accurate rifle that shoots with a minimum of contamination, is easy to clean and offers perfect shot to shot dependability. And best of all, these features are present in a reasonably priced package.

Note: Complete reviews of the Traditions Pursuit XLT and Pursuit Pro rifles can be found on the Product Review Page.

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Copyright 2004 by Randy D. Smith. All rights reserved.