Thompson Center Encore Pro Hunter with EGW Rail, one-inch medium height Weaver 4 screw tactical bases and 1x20 Nikon scope.
Thompson Center Encore Pro Hunter 100 yard group with a 1x20 Nikon Scope, Hornady 250 Gr SST bullets and two Triple Se7en pellets.
Thompson Center Encore Pro Hunter 200 yard shots with a 1x20 Nikon Scope, Hornady 250 Gr SST bullets and two Triple Se7en pellets.
I always loved the muzzleloader season in Utah back in the day when you could hunt in November. Since they moved the season to the end of September I haven't been as fond of it.
This year I didn't draw my first choice of hunting with a rifle for mule deer here in Utah. So hunting with a muzzleloader was my second option. Knowing how hard I work to get into areas to hunt I decided it was time to step up from my CVA muzzleloader to something better. After mulling over all the different muzzleloaders on the market I finally decided the Thompson Center Encore Pro Hunter was what I felt would best fit my needs, within the price range I could come up with the funds for.
Sportsman's Warehouse had both camo and black stainless version in the rack and I walked out with the black one for $680.
Trying to decide on what powder, the charge, and bullets has been a challenge. There are a lot of options... To start with I tried going with two Triple Seven pellets of powder behind a 250 Gr Hornady SST sabot bullet. This had pretty decent accuracy considering I am restricted to a one power scope in Utah.
Deciding optics has been an interesting challenge. There are very few options in the one power range, especially when it comes to a turret that you can dial in the shot. Yes, I would like to range the deer at 185 yards, dial in the scope and take the shot.
I ultimately chose the Nikon 1x20 scope but the other two options were a Vortex 1x scope and a Night Force 1x scope that is custom-built for Gun Werks. The Night Force would be the best but not for $1700. Not a chance for me to get.
I went back and forth between the Vortex and Nikon. Ultimately I went with the Nikon because I already had one from my old CVA and I felt the optics were a little clearer. Neither scope is exactly what I would like. I feel that both scopes have way to heavy of cross hairs. The cross hairs cover up a six inch circle at 100 yards. I wish they would make the cross hairs ultra fine with an illumination option for low light conditions like on the Vortex Viper PST scopes.
After getting an EGW rail and Weaver four screw tactical rings for my X-Bolt last year and loving them I decided to get some from SWFA.com for my new muzzleloader.
After doing some more research I am going to try Triple Seven FFG loose powder with these bullets. I think I will start with this powder in a 100 grain charge on my next trip to the range.