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Old July 11, 2010, 07:33 AM   #1
Nastrowie!
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New muzzleloader hunter

I moved to a shotgun/muzzleloader only area in southern NH and have some questions about my first muzzleloader. I'm leaning towards a Thompson Center as they are local and I like the models I've been playing with the last 2 weeks while trying to decide whats right for me. I'm considering 2 TC's, on the cheaper side is the black diamond, and the other is the omega. I have Q's about barrel length and 45 vs. 50 cal. Shorter bbls have issues finding the right powder/burn rate? Here are my thoughts on both:

Black Diamond
A regular at the trading post suggested the black diamond, he says its the most accurate he's ever shot with #11 caps, he hates 209's but he's an old coot! Its very affordable. Can be used with 209's or #11 caps. Available in 45 or 50 cal, and bbl lengths of 23" or the xr which I think is 28ish. Seems to be subject to weather. More difficult to clean. Not as pretty as the omega.

Omega
Weather tight, great trigger, looks great. Easy to clean. More expensive. Built after S&W acquisition. Not available is 45 cal. X7 with short bbl and peep sight looks nice. Heard the scope can't be moved forward enough, need to develop a slightly new hold or drill/tap receiver.

Any insight is appreciated.
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Old July 11, 2010, 07:55 AM   #2
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Lyman Great Plains sidelock.
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Old July 11, 2010, 08:39 AM   #3
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I have a Black Diamond in 50 cal SS with black composite stock. The gun does shoot very well. However, it is a pain to clean compared to my buddies Encore. If I had it to do over, I'd get the Encore and not just for maintenance reasons. The interchangable barrel system is an awesome feature. You can get the shotgun barrel as well and have both guns that you're allowed. As far as caliber, I heard the 45's are more accurate than 50's but, less popular and might make it harder to find components.
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Old July 11, 2010, 09:02 AM   #4
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There are several flavors of T/C omega. They all use the same receiver but some are blued, some are stainless and others are camo. The stocks vary as well from simple composite to fancy camo. They all shoot the same. I've got the most basic version - the Z5 Omega. Walmart frequently has these for about $250 and I've seen them on clearance after hunting season for less than $200.

As to caliber, don't bother with .45. Less power, less range, harder to find bullets and accessories.
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Old July 11, 2010, 09:15 AM   #5
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Take a look at CVA's Accura. Like you I went in the store looking to get a Omega or Triumph. The salesman pointed me to the Accura, better trigger, barrel, less expensive, and it has a 2 week return guarantee,( if it is not the most accurate muzzleloader that you have ever shot return it). I just bought one a month ago and I am very happy with it. I bought last years model and saved over $150 dollars from what I could have bought the Thompson for. The only thing different is that the new model doesn't need a wrench to remove the breech plug. I will caution you on a mistake that I made, while adjusting the rear sight, the screws are set screws, don't turn them like they are click adjustable sights, loosen them and move them by hand.

Shop on line and you will save even more money and depending on where you live, it will be shipped right to your house.

Also plan on spending about $150 dollars on bullets, powder, caps and accessories.

Last edited by redrick; July 11, 2010 at 09:20 AM.
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Old July 11, 2010, 09:20 AM   #6
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T/C Hawken!
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Old July 11, 2010, 09:32 AM   #7
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I agree with Doyle, stick with the .50

If you decide you just have to shoot a .45 bullet, you can use a .45 slug with a sabot in your .50

Don't worry about a 23 inch barrel, it will have plenty of power, it would be hard to tell the difference from a 28 inch barrel.
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Old July 11, 2010, 09:48 AM   #8
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Of the two you specifically mentioned, I would go with the Black Diamond, althought it is no longer a current model. As you have noted, the Black Diamond, is an open breech as compared to the the Omega which is a closed breach. Got to throw in with that "Old Coot" and with the B/D you have a choice of the three primers. I might suggest the musket and I too do not like the 209, which you would have to shoot in the Omega. I have owned, shot, cleaned both and both are good choices. I too would stick to the .50 but there are shooters out their that claim better performance from the .45. Welcome the the wonderful world of M/L's ......



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Old July 11, 2010, 12:21 PM   #9
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.50cal without a doubt. Why? A huge assortment of projectiles for a 50cal, if you ever hunt out of state for example, elk some of these states require a 50cal is minimum on these big animal.

I agree with the CVA Accura, its been the greatest, most accurate muzzleloader i have owned. The triggers on them are superb! Great stocks on them that allow you to use open sights and they shoot full bore projectiles great. Open sights/ Full bore conicals - these 2 things TC suffers on greatly. You can call TC and they will tell you that their rifles wont shoot conicals.
http://www.cabelas.com/cabelas/en/te...dexId=cat20815

Another rifle thats even easier to use and has a comfortable stock is the New CVA Optima,
http://rrarms.com/catalog.php?prod=PR2010S

I own both the Accura and the Optima and they are my 2 more favorite inlines ive shot so far.

And yet again, the New CVA Wolf, $169 and an awesome rifle for the money! I owned 3 of these as well but am down to only One.
http://rrarms.com/catalog.php?search...x=0&submit.y=0

$188 for camo ( i have this one)
http://rrarms.com/catalog.php?prod=PR2110
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Old July 11, 2010, 04:51 PM   #10
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I vote for the TC Black Diamond. I own an Encore .50 muzzleloader and it is a very fine gun. It is also expensive and heavy. Couple of years ago I bought a .50 Black Diamond. This is not the XR model, it is the older model with the 22 inch barrel.

I converted my Black Diamond to use musket caps: The nipple is the old one with one flash hole. The gun does not get nearly as dirty with the musket cap nipple. My Black Diamond shoots much better than I can hold it. On our last trip to the range; a USMC friend made a 5 shot group at 100 meters that measured just under 7/8".
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Old July 11, 2010, 06:27 PM   #11
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The Omega requires the hammer to be manually cocked to full just before firing it, while the Black Diamond simply has a safety to slide forward to fire.

There's also an inexpensive weather shroud/breech cover for the Black Diamond:
http://www.shopwiki.com/Thompson+Cen...+Cover+%237337

One complaint about the Black Diamond is that finding a wood or laminated stock for one is extremely difficult.
I don't doubt that the Omega has the more modern design and is probably a better shooting rifle that's also available in more stock configurations. And if I were you I would probably buy one.
But since I like the option of being able to use either a #11 percussion or musket cap, I would still choose to buy the Black Diamond.

Last edited by arcticap; July 11, 2010 at 06:38 PM.
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Old July 12, 2010, 07:10 AM   #12
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Thanks for all the insightful responses! I did take notice that most of the sabots/powerbelts are 50 cal, and will stick with that. A couple of the trade in black diamonds were .45 and in great shape so that was my reason for consideration.

I will check out the CVA accura, I had played with it previously and liked the stock/comb but it seemed to weigh 9+ lbs w/out optics. I will most likely stick with open sights for the first season. I can get these much cheaper then the omega. The CVA rep was at the shop for a sale in June and we talked about deals on some demos, close to what I almost spent on a black diamond. He also was pushing the new v2 accura. We will see.

I'm aware of the startup cost with all the equipment, and have budgeted for that. Its funny I imagine between new gear/rifles/gas/resident and non resident tags that venison I put in my freezer to help "save money" must avg out to $15/lb. I guess there are other reasons we do it. I look forward to muzzleloader season and I will let you know what I end up shooting.

Another note, what do you think about the powerbelt bullets? I like the idea.
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Old July 12, 2010, 08:03 AM   #13
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Another note, what do you think about the powerbelt bullets?
Accuracy with them tends to be very gun-specific. Some rifles shoot them well. Others won't group worth a crap with them. I use Hornady SST's in low-drag sabots. They are exactly the same round as the T/C Shockwave (Hornady makes them for T/C) but they have a different color tip and they sell for about half the price.
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Old July 12, 2010, 09:16 AM   #14
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Another note, what do you think about the powerbelt bullets? I like the idea.
FrontierGander is an expert on them. While CVA highly recommends them for use in their rifles, there are 2 opposing camps.
One camp likes them but acknowledges that if they're pushed too fast that the bullets tend to fragment and not deliver enough penetration to pass through deer. They recommend using the heavier weight Powerbelts and not loading much more than 80 grains of 777 powder or it's equivalent (777 is 15% more potent than other powders by volume, which is about 94 grains).

The opposing camp doesn't like the performance of Power Belts and thinks that they're totally unreliable for deer hunting and that folks should choose any other bullet to hunt with but them. Some might concede that it's okay to use them only for a follow up shot due to their ease of loading, but not for much else.

Last edited by arcticap; July 12, 2010 at 02:12 PM.
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Old July 12, 2010, 10:08 AM   #15
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The opposing camp doesn't like the performance of Power Belts and thinks that they're totally unreliable for deer hunting and that folks should choose any other bullet to hunt with but them. Some might concede that it's oaky to use them only for a follow up shot due to their ease of loading, but not for much else.
Yep, That's my camp alright but then, that might be another post. You can do better for less money ...




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Old July 12, 2010, 10:26 AM   #16
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While CVA highly recommends them
Doesn't CVA own (or at least have a significant financial interest in) Powerbelt? That alone would explain their pushing them.
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Old July 12, 2010, 11:46 AM   #17
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i can highly recommend the powerbelts in the CVA Accura, actually the entire cva line up. If you get the Accura try 90gr blackhorn209, cci 209m primers and a 300gr powerbelt platinum.

Another bullet thats actually cheaper than the powerbelt platinum are the Thor conicals. They run about $20 per 15 but are solid copper and make a beautiful flower shaped mushroom. www.thorbullets.com
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Old July 12, 2010, 02:16 PM   #18
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If you go the Cabela's website, there's a lot of [favorable] user reviews on their Powerbelt product pages.

http://www.cabelas.com/cabelas/en/te...entId=cat20712
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Old July 12, 2010, 04:20 PM   #19
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I used the 295gr. hollow point copper powerbelts with 2 of the 50gr. white hot powder tabs and winchester 209 primers. I don't know how it is going to do on a deer yet, but at 50 yards I can make 1 hole in the paper. I might try the platinum series next with 3 of the 30gr. 777 powder tabs, but I was pretty satisfied the first time.
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Old July 12, 2010, 04:36 PM   #20
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i'll be getting some more primers in a couple days. I will shoot some 300gr platinums in my Accura with 100gr white hots and post the results. Just keep in mind though that with the white hots, i still get a crud ring so swabbing is a must. I'll see what the store has for primers.
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Old July 12, 2010, 06:30 PM   #21
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Take a look at the Savage 10 MLll.
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Old July 12, 2010, 06:32 PM   #22
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Take a look at the Savage 10 MLll.
Take your heart pills before you look at the price.
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