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John's Journal... Entry 176, Day 1


The Benefits of Powder

EDITOR'S NOTE: Steve Puppe of Hamilton, Montana, promotions director for Knight Rifles and longtime avid hunter, lives on the edge of the Bitterroot National Forest with its abundant elk, mule deer and white-tailed deer.

Question: A lot of people use pellets when black-powder hunting for elk. Why do you use loose powder?
Answer: Many people think pellets are easier to use, but in a hunting situation, the work and preparation you do at home makes your hunt easier. If you use speed loaders, which we're using on this elk hunt, you can use either the pellets or the loose powder. I've been shooting the Hodgdon Triple Seven Powder, and the gun has shot real well. We're getting about a 2-inch group at 100 yards with three shots. The gun performed real well with the loose Triple Seven powder. I just loaded it up at home and prepared several speed loaders ready to go. Most people shoot the pellets because of ease. Like I said, if your preparation is done at home, it doesn't really matter one way or the other.

Question: How many grains of powder do you use and why?
Answer: In any of these guns, you can shoot up to about 150 grains of the Pyrodex pellets. A Triple Seven powder is a little hotter. So in equal, we'll be shooting about 110 grains of powder to match 150 grains of pellet. We're shooting 100 grains, so we're shooting just shy of 150 grains. Sometimes, with a little less powder, you seem to get better accuracy out of it. Every gun is different. You need to shoot the gun and see what patterns or groups are best for your gun.

Question: What primer are we using, and why?
Answer: We're using a 209 shotgun primer, which is what the gun is designed to shoot. It has a full-plastic-jacket disc that encompasses the 209 primer, making the gun completely waterproof. When you've loaded the gun with a sabot, the barrel is waterproof from anything penetrating because it is a tight fit. With the Knight Disc Extreme, which has a full-plastic jacket around the nipple on the gun, the rear part of the breech is sealed up, and you have a completely waterproof gun.

Question: Tell me about the stock we're using and why we're using it.
Answer: The gun we're shooting today has a composite stock. There's one bolt, which screws onto the barrel so it is pretty much like a free-floating barrel. The barrel only contacts the stock in one point. With the composite stock, we don't have to worry about any weather conditions affecting that stock or swelling like a wood stock possibly against the barrel, creating accuracy problems.

Question: One of the advantages to this Knight Disc Extreme gun is that it can be cleaned quickly and easily. What do you do to clean it?
Answer: Well, it's very simple to clean. Most people's perception of black-powder is that it is difficult to shoot and to work with. Again undoing one screw will pull the barrel off of the stock on this gun. If you undo one other little screw, you can pull the bolt out of the gun and pop the breech plug out. So you can disassemble the gun by unscrewing two screws. Remove one more screw, and you can pull the trigger out. You can put the whole barrel in the bathtub in hot, soapy water. Just take a ramrod and run some patches down through it. Or, run a cleaning brush with some solvent or hot, soapy water through it. Then, dry the barrel completely, and lightly oil the outside and the inside. Before you reload, dry that oil out of the barrel.

I don't want the oil in the barrel because it can cause accuracy problems. I take a clean, dry patch and run it around the barrel a couple of times to get that oil out. On the ramrod, I have a cleaning jag. I run that patch down all the way to the end and put a primer on the gun. Then I fire it with the ramrod in. When you pull it out, you'll see your patch has a completely burned-through hole, and now you know your breech plug is clean as well.

To learn more about Knight Rifles, call (641) 856-2626, write them at Knight Rifles, Customer Service Dept., 21852 Hwy J46, Centerville, IA 52544, or visit their Web site www.knightrifles.com. You can contact Scott Boulanger, a dependable, expert elk guide in this section of Montana by writing him at P.O. Box 733, Darby, Montana, 59289. You can call him at (406) 821-0017, e-mail him at elkhunter@circlekbl.com, or visit his Web site www.circlekbl.com.




Check back each day this week for more about PREPARING FOR AN ELK HUNT ...

Day 1 - The Benefits of Powder
Day 2 - Puppe's Tracking Technique
Day 3 - The Advantages of Truck Hunting
Day 4 - Hunting Tracks
Day 5 - Choosing Hunting Locations

John's Journal