Nothing here for purists today, just a pair of modern, efficient in-line rifles to debate. It’s ancient muzzleloading history now, but back in 1985 Missouri gunsmith Tony Knight changed blackpowder hunting forever with the MK-85, a thoroughly modern take on what had been, theretofore, a market dominated by traditional sidehammer rifles. Knight’s inlines were more reliable, they were easier to clean, and they could be scoped like modern guns. While traditionalists wailed, lots of deer hunters suddenly became blackpowder shooters to take advantage of extra seasons, including today’s Gunfight contributors. Neither of these rifles resembles Tony Knight’s original, dare I call it “traditional” inline. The guns have continued to evolve. We’ve got a break action versus a bolt action.
Anthony’s CVA Accura
I call this CVA Accura my “neighborhood gun.” Houses have been built around the woodlots and fields where I hunt, but there are still deer there. I’ve felt increasingly squeamish about touching off a .308 in what is essentially a neighborhood, even though I usually shoot from an elevated position. This .50-caliber muzzleloader’s bullets shouldn’t fly as far as a high-powered rifle’s. I only acquired it at the end of our Alabama season and haven’t hunted with it yet, but it shows great promise on the range. I topped it with a Leupold 3–9×40. The best part is that I bought it from a muzzleloading nut who’d kept it meticulously. It looked brand new and had the box and papers. He’d upgraded to the newer Accura MR. This rifle retailed for $450–$500 new. I got it for $175.
Alexander’s Remington 700
We all have guns we won’t ever part with. The first time I realized this was the day I shot my first deer with this Remington 700 muzzleloader. My dad bought this sometime in the mid 1990’s, when we were still living in Nebraska. It never saw any serious use until we moved to Iowa. I hunted unsuccessfully for a couple of years before I finally got a shot at a doe and missed with a smoothbore slug gun. After that I suggested to dad that I use something with rifling. Two days later, I shot a nice 5×4 whitetail buck with this muzzleloader. It was my first deer.
I’ve never read a good review for this gun. It’s not the most accurate smokepole I’ve seen come down my side of the Mississippi, just don’t tell that to the bucks that adorn my wall. Technically dad still owns this muzzleloader, but it lives in my safe until I bring it out for another season, and I won’t part with it for as long as I’m on the right side of the dirt.
There are your choices. Congratulations to Anthony, by the way, for finding a good, clean used muzzleloader. That’s not always easy to do, although it’s easier now in the days of stainless in-lines and Triple Se7en than it used to be. Anyway, vote and comment below, and keep the gun pictures coming to firstname.lastname@example.org.