Last fall the guys down at Clark Brothers gun shop recommended I try Blackhorn 209 loads in my new Thompson Center Triumph. Designed for 209 primer in-line rifles, it’s a high-performance propellant that delivers accurate loads with superior velocity and energy. Plus, in this test, it blew away the competition as far as igniting in damp or wet weather.
Another big thing, Blackhorn is a low-residue powder that burns hotter and cleaner than Pyrodex, Triple 7 and others. It is supposedly so clean that you can shoot some 22 to 40 shots at the range all morning without wiping the bore once, and still shoot accurate groups. I don’t know about the 20 shots, or all morning, but in the limited test-shooting I have done so far with the loose grain powder (6 to 10 shots each session), Blackhorn has been amazingly clean. Saboted bullets have been easy to push down the barrel, plus my TC has been fast and easy to clean at the end of the day.
I did run into a major problem last fall: availability, or lack thereof, of Blackhorn. As I was flying into Illinois last December for the gun season (you can’t carry any muzzleloader propellant in checked airline baggage) I asked buddies I was hunting with to pick me up a canister of Blackhorn. Figured it would be no big deal. But they hit all the major gun shops and retailers in western Kentucky and southern Illinois within a 75-mile radius of our camp but could not find one canister of Blackhorn. Since my TC was sighted tight with that powder and I didn’t want to change propellants midstream, I switched to a slug gun for the hunt (and killed a weird buck that you’ll see on TV this fall).
So in my experience, availability can be an issue with Blackhorn. If you’re hunting around home and have a supply, no big deal. If you’re traveling, plan well ahead and make sure you have a can of Blackhorn in camp when you get there.
Anybody shot Blackhorn and have more to add? Bigger picture, how many of you hunt with a muzzleloader these days? Seems you don’t hear about muzzleloader hunting as much as you did even 5 years ago.