By Mark Fike
Years ago, when modern inline muzzleloaders became the go-to for early season or “primitive” weapon seasons for deer, I purchased a Knight Rifle. Knight was the standard in accuracy and many hunters carried them and untold numbers of deer were taken to the skinning shed because of them.
New, inline rifles were further enhanced by new designs in bullets, namely the saboted bullets. Sabot bullets are simply bullets that are smaller in diameter than the actual bore of the rifle but have a sabot—a plastic sleeve if you will—that the bullet tucks into when loaded.
As the bullet travels down the barrel, the sabot fills the gap between the bullet and rifling and upon exiting the barrel the sabot drops off within 20 yards, often sooner. Saboted bullets made loading so much easier than buttering your barrel and shoving a ball or full lead bullet down the barrel.
However, saboted bullets were not and are not without some negatives. Getting that sabot to sit the same way around the bullet can be tricky, particularly in the dark, when you are reloading upon needing a follow up shot or when conditions are cold or wet.
For that reason, I switched to an all in one bullet that had the “sabot” –a plastic base—on it some years ago. These bullets were easier to load and all in one piece. However, they also had some problems associated with them. I have heard of them getting loose when in rifle barrels used in extreme cold for long periods of time. Think upper northern regions of our country and even Canada when sitting outside for many hours.
Although the bullets were very accurate for me, I made a decision to find something better after having multiple experiences with the bullets not penetrating both sides of the deer. When I had to track a deer it was often difficult and I lost a few deer which I absolutely hate to do. I also had another issue with my previous bullets that I will save for another article.
What did I find to replace those bullets? In short, I found THOR. THOR bullets are nearly 100% copper, patented self-sealing and travel faster. In other words, no lead, and they seal to the bore very well. I have used these bullets for two seasons so far and love them.
They are easy to load and kill game very humanely. The first deer I shot was a doe at approximately 70 yards. It was very close to the end of legal light. I would provide a photo but it was too gory to publish. Let’s just say that the late, great Ray Charles could have tracked the deer the 20 yards she managed to run on pure adrenaline with no heart and very little lung left.
I shot a very mature buck with a THOR bullet and a smaller buck so far with great results as well. My range tests show that the bullets are as accurate as the previous bullets I was using and just as easy to load. I feel very confident using the THOR bullets and have set up every muzzleloader in our house to use them.
All our rifles shoot them very well and I know with confidence that the THOR bullets will get the job done for us. We depend on our hunting to fill our freezer with meat for the year so my confidence is not easily given to a product that we use to hunt with.
I get my THOR bullets from http:http:////http:www.muzzle-loaders.com/catalogsearch/result/?q=THOR