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.