Today’s Gun Fight is the matchup I was hoping for when I called for muzzleloaders. Tim Platt’s utilitarian inline Knight rifle, beaten by the gorgeous Austin & Halleck inline, goes up against a traditional CVA sidehammer today. This gun fight raises the question: Why do you shoot a muzzleloader? Traditional shooters want to experience a little bit of what it was like to hunt 150 or more years ago. Inline shooters want every modern convenience as they take advantage of extended seasons.

Jeff Semmens’ CVA Kit Rifle


I built the CVA Mountain Rifle from a kit in the 1980’s. It is a .54 caliber with an American made barrel. I refinished it about ten years ago. It has accounted for some deer, a bunch of jack rabbits, and hundreds of primitive and paper targets at rendezvous. The hunting load has been a patched round ball with 95 grain measures of Pyrodex RS.

Who needs a center fire rifle for big game when a .54 caliber muzzleloader is available?

Tim Platt’s Knight Rifle


This is an old LK-93 Knight inline with a Swift 3-9X40 scope and Weaver mounts. I still use Pyrodex RS, not the pellets, and Hornady XTP .44 caliber bullets in a Hornady sabot. I have killed more deer with this gun than any other… at least 20. I have never oiled the bore or soaped it up, it has lived on bore butter for many many years…

The only deer I ever shot with a sidehammer rifle was with a .45 caliber CVA rifle my cousin built from a kit, just like Semmens’ rifle. Those kits were quite popular in the early days of the blackpowder boom and you could outfit yourself for muzzeloading for very little money if you were handy with tools. Upon receipt of a patched round ball that deer ran all of 80 yards and fell over. I have shot Knight rifles quite a bit, and actually killed my only big deer on Tony Knight’s farm a few years ago.

Enough about me. Here’s the fight: traditional vs.inline. Vote, comment and keep the gun pictures coming. Regulars like Tim Platt and a few others – and you know who you are, and thank you – are keeping this segment going. I could use a lot more gun pictures sent to