PREPARING FOR AN ELK HUNT
The Benefits of Powder
NOTE: Steve Puppe of Hamilton, Montana, promotions
director for Knight Rifles and longtime avid hunter, lives on the edge
of the Bitterroot National Forest with its abundant elk, mule deer and
Question: A lot of people use pellets when black-powder
hunting for elk. Why do you use loose powder?
Answer: Many people think pellets are easier to use, but in a hunting
situation, the work and preparation you do at home makes your hunt easier.
If you use speed loaders, which we're using on this elk hunt, you can
use either the pellets or the loose powder. I've been shooting the Hodgdon
Triple Seven Powder, and the gun has shot real well. We're getting about
a 2-inch group at 100 yards with three shots. The gun performed real well
with the loose Triple Seven powder. I just loaded it up at home and prepared
several speed loaders ready to go. Most people shoot the pellets because
of ease. Like I said, if your preparation is done at home, it doesn't
really matter one way or the other.
How many grains of powder do you use and why?
Answer: In any of these guns, you can shoot up to about 150 grains of
the Pyrodex pellets. A Triple Seven powder is a little hotter. So in equal,
we'll be shooting about 110 grains of powder to match 150 grains of pellet.
We're shooting 100 grains, so we're shooting just shy of 150 grains. Sometimes,
with a little less powder, you seem to get better accuracy out of it.
Every gun is different. You need to shoot the gun and see what patterns
or groups are best for your gun.
Question: What primer are we using, and why?
Answer: We're using a 209 shotgun primer, which is what the gun is designed
to shoot. It has a full-plastic-jacket disc that encompasses the 209 primer,
making the gun completely waterproof. When you've loaded the gun with
a sabot, the barrel is waterproof from anything penetrating because it
is a tight fit. With the Knight Disc Extreme, which has a full-plastic
jacket around the nipple on the gun, the rear part of the breech is sealed
up, and you have a completely waterproof gun.
Tell me about the stock we're using and why we're using it.
Answer: The gun we're shooting today has a composite stock. There's one
bolt, which screws onto the barrel so it is pretty much like a free-floating
barrel. The barrel only contacts the stock in one point. With the composite
stock, we don't have to worry about any weather conditions affecting that
stock or swelling like a wood stock possibly against the barrel, creating
Question: One of the advantages to this Knight Disc Extreme
gun is that it can be cleaned quickly and easily. What do you do to clean
Answer: Well, it's very simple to clean. Most people's perception of black-powder
is that it is difficult to shoot and to work with. Again undoing one screw
will pull the barrel off of the stock on this gun. If you undo one other
little screw, you can pull the bolt out of the gun and pop the breech
plug out. So you can disassemble the gun by unscrewing two screws. Remove
one more screw, and you can pull the trigger out. You can put the whole
barrel in the bathtub in hot, soapy water. Just take a ramrod and run
some patches down through it. Or, run a cleaning brush with some solvent
or hot, soapy water through it. Then, dry the barrel completely, and lightly
oil the outside and the inside. Before you reload, dry that oil out of
don't want the oil in the barrel because it can cause accuracy problems.
I take a clean, dry patch and run it around the barrel a couple of times
to get that oil out. On the ramrod, I have a cleaning jag. I run that
patch down all the way to the end and put a primer on the gun. Then I
fire it with the ramrod in. When you pull it out, you'll see your patch
has a completely burned-through hole, and now you know your breech plug
is clean as well.
To learn more about Knight Rifles, call (641) 856-2626,
write them at Knight Rifles, Customer Service Dept., 21852 Hwy J46, Centerville,
IA 52544, or visit their Web site www.knightrifles.com.
You can contact Scott Boulanger, a dependable, expert elk guide in this
section of Montana by writing him at P.O. Box 733, Darby, Montana, 59289.
You can call him at (406) 821-0017, e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org,
or visit his Web site www.circlekbl.com.
TOMORROW: PUPPE'S TRACKING TECHNIQUE