Traditions Buckstalker Review

I purchased this rifle in Nov. of 2014 to go in my states muzzle loader hunting season.  I had one shooting day before the season started to get the rifle sighted in and ready for its first hunt.

I consider myself a novice hunter. I hunted 3 seasons as a teenager with a .30-30 in MN then didn’t start hunting again until 3 years ago.  I had been hunting only Bow and Rifle seasons (using the bow in ML season), but I wanted to hunt with a rifle in this year’s ML season.

The rifle was purchased from Bass Pro Shops for $220.00.  After adding in a cleaning kit, black powder, bullets and a sling I was out the door at just over $300.00.

The Buckstalker is an “inline” muzzle loader that utilizes the 209 shotgun primer.  It comes pre-drilled and tapped for scope mounts and has sling studs already installed.

After reading the user manual and cleaning the gun as instructed I eagerly waited for the upcoming Saturday so I could go out and shot the rifle.

I purchased IMR “White Hot” black powder. This is pre-formed black powder charges in 50 grain increments.  For the bullets I went with PowerBelt 245 grain HP copper plated bullets.

Using the rifle manual as a reference I started with 100 grains of BP and the target at 25 yards.  Also per the manual for the rifle, for the first several shots I cleaned the bore after each round fired.

My first 3 rounds at 25 yards resulted in a 2.5” grouping, about 1” off the bullseye.  Time to move to 50 yards (my current max distance on my range).  Another 3 shots, cleaning between each one.  A 3” group again about 1” to the left of the bullseye.  Time to shot 3 rounds without cleaning between each one.  From 50 yards and not cleaning between shots yielded the same 3” group.

Overall thoughts after nine shots was that the rifle was accurate enough to take big game on my property.  There is only one spot where I hunt that I would have a shot greater than 75 yards, and I don’t hunt there except for archery due to the location of the neighbors.  Time for ML season J

The rifle has one flaw, and I see it as a biggie.  The “Iron sights” are plastic.  In household temps they hold fast and are good, but in the field I managed to knock the rear sight completely off the block it’s on.  Now this happened the first night of opening weekend of ML season. I put the sight back on and “eyeballed” it to its original location.  Test fired and I was a bit low, so I moved the sight up.  The rifle comes drilled & tapped for a scope mount, so I am going to look into putting a scope on it over the winter/summer.  Additionally, to load the rifle you have to remove, flip and re-install the jag on the end of the ram rod.  This makes for slower reloads.  It appears the barrel is too short to allow a full length ram rod

The following weekend I managed to get a small doe with one shot, double lung.   My only concern is not with the rifle but with the bullet/powder combination.  The bullet went through the deer with little to no expansion.  I will either need to bump up the powder to switch to a new bullet, but I have next summer to work on the ballistics of the round I choose.

Review of youth Rifles (22lr)

This is just a quick run down of a comparison of 2 youth rifles.  The Crickett by Keystone Arms and the Savage Rascal.  There are advantages and disadvantages to both rifles, but both are worthy of being a kids first gun, and something they will cherish for years to come.

My daughter has had her gun, a pink Crickett, for 4 years now and it that time she has become quite a good shot. My son just received his Rascal for his birthday.

Both guns are the same overall length and weigh approx. the same, with the Rascal coming in a few ounces lighter.  The Length of pull on the Crickett is 12″ while the Rascal is 11.25″.  Both come with peep sights and have mounting holes for adding a scope.  The Rascal has swivel mounts for a sling or bi-pod while the Cricket has pre-drilled holes in the forearm and stock for adding swivel mounts.

Both rifles are available in a variety of colors to suit most kids likes.

One advantage the Rascal has over the crickett is a spring loaded feed ramp.  This allows you to put the cartridge in the rifle without having to start it in the chamber. When an adult is putting a .22lr in the chamber of the Crickett, big fingers don’t work so well.  I also like the trigger on the Rascal, it has a better “feel” to it.

The Crickett must be cocked for every shot, this is helpful for a new shooter when you are emphasizing  safety.  The Rascal is ready to fire when loaded and safety must be manually set on or off.

All in all both rifles are excellent options for the young shooter.  If I had to pick one over the other, I would probably go with the Rascal for the ease of loading and overall feel of the rifle.