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Nothing says "I Love You, Dear" like screaming lower back pain!

Sometimes Wrong but rarely in doubt!

19 April 2010

Traditions Vortek

Mrs Bugbear was kind enough to watch the kids Saturday morning so that I could go to a gun show.  Now, unbeknownst to Mrs. Bugbear I was heading to the gun show with a shopping list.  Top of the list was a set of reloading dies for .45-70 government so that my cousin can work up some loads for the Ruger #1 that I purchased last year.  Second on the list was an in-line muzzle-loader.

In-line muzzle-loaders exploit a kinda/sorta loop-hole in the deer hunting regulations.  In Ontario there is a muzzle-loader only season which I believe may have been drafted with the idea that people would be using reproduction muzzle-loaders (think flintlock and cap-lock rifles).   However, under the regulations any muzzle-loading firearm is kosher.  Thus is the market for inline muzzle-loaders sustained. 

For those that are familiar with inline muzzle-loaders you can skip this section.

The original muzzle-loading rifles had a lock on one side of the rifle which in the earliest iteration held a piece of flint in the cock which was driven against the frizzen above the pan.  The pan was primed with a finely ground gunpowder which readily ignited and would flash down the touchhole.

Cap-locks removed the flint frizzen and pan and replaced it with a hammer and a nipple which a cap was placed on.  But the lock was still mounted in the side of the gun.  Some of the later cap guns and early cartridge guns moved the hammer and nipple to the center of the gun above the base of the barrel.

Inline muzzle-loaders move the primer to the center of the barrel base and use a more modern shotgun primer to ignite the powder.  The inline muzzle-loader also uses blackpowder and blackpowder substitutes with equal ease and have features likes stainless steel barrels and composite stocks and forestocks.

Overall I was a bit disappointed by the gunshow, most of the vendor offerings were used rifles and new shotguns neither of which I was really in the market for.  The selection of muzzleloaders was small and there weren't any guns there that I had shortlisted in my research of inline muzzle-loaders over the last few weeks.

On my route from home to the gun show I passed by two gun shops, one of which was a vendor at the show.  So I decided to visit each one. At the second gun shop I found two of the three short-listed guns on my list and eliminated one because when I looked at the the actual gun I decided it was a piece of crap ergonmically (if you're going to produce a thumbhole stock it should be big enough to accommodate a paw-sized thumb like mine).  So decided to purchase a Traditions Vortek.  The Vortek has some features that I quite liked:
  • Matte finished stainless steel barrel 
  • Barrel porting to reduce muzzle jump
  • To place the firing cap, the loader is a break-action which means Bugbear sized fingers don't have problems getting the 209 primer in place.
  • Tool free removal of the breachplug.
Overall, I'm pleased with the muzzle-loader except for two flies in the ointment.  One of the safeties doesn't work and the trigger mechanism is not as robust as I'd like.  The two flies might be related and considering that the safety is mated to the trigger mechanism it might even be incestuous.

The trigger guard is made of a composite material (plastic of some sort) and the trigger mechanism is sandwiched between two plates that extend up from the trigger guard.  Pins that the sear and other parts rotate about are set in the composite material.  Overall the trigger mechanism seems a little less robust than I'd like.

I spoke to the vendor and I'll be taking the gun back on the weekend, he believes that he has one in stock so I'll get a replacement for the one I purchased.  If not then I get to test the factory warranty.

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