Take a look at the Savage ML-I0 Smokeless muzzleloader. Better velocity, better range, terminal accuracy.
I have 5 traditional muzzleloaders, all Thompson Center. They are all very good, but don't compare to the Savage.
Love my TC Pro Hunter!! Bought thumbhole stock an several rifle barrels. Don't need anything more!! 90gr Blackhorn209 powder with 200gr Shockwave and it will cut holes at 100yds. My next favorite weaon next to my 210 or 220F slug guns(and that's here in rifle country), when I can't get one with the bow of course!!
I like the fact that the Savage can use smokeless powder but bought a Thompson/Center Omega before the ML-10 came out. I don't find removing the breech plug for cleaning a problem at all - I use a 1/4"-drive ratchet wrench with a 4" flexible extension - but agree that a break-open gun like my son's Encore is easier with the factory wrench.
But both our T/Cs deliver good accuracy - 1-1/4" three-shot groups at 100 yards - with three pellets of Triple Se7en under a Hornady 250-grain SST/ML bullet and sabot. They also have good triggers, an important part of accuracy. Both of us are happy with our rifles and don't feel a need to go to another one.
It really all depends on your price range, here in ohio I've used a muzzleloader for firearms season for the last 20 years, just a lot flatter shooting and more range.If your looking at the lower end then a good cva is what I would get, had quite a few and they all shot outstanding. Middle of the road id get a knight, had a couple and same thing...... shoot fantastic and great quality.Higher End you cant go wrong with a T/C or the savage but I would stick with the pyrodex in the savage at first unless your grandson is a little more familiar with smokeless powder,its a whole different ballgame.I shoot smokeless in a custom Remington 700 pacnor .45 and ill never look back but ive got quite a few years under my belt with blackpowder subs before I made the move, now ill never shoot anything other than smokeless,...
Any one of the above will effectively give you under 2" groups at 150 yards if you do your part....my smokeless .45 gets me a shade over 3" at 300....
I am a huge fan of Bergara barrels. The CVA Accura comes standard with a Bergara barrel. The CVA breach plug can be removed by hand instead of tools. The CVA Accura also comes standard with an adjustable trigger. See the link above for more information on the CVA muzzleloaders.
The Thompson Center Encore is another good break open muzzleloader. Bergara makes a direct replacement muzzleloading barrel for the TC Encore.
Regardless of which brand you buy, I wound recommend using two powder pellets instead of three. Also use the 209 primers made for muzzleloaders instead of the 209 primers you reload your traploads with.
Garry, both of our rifles shoot tighter groups with three pellets. I think that's contrary to what common sense would dictate but they do! Of course, if a rifle is not made to be able to shoot three pellets safely, two should be the limit.
Top choice would be the Savage ML-II using smokeless, I've used nothing else the past 12yrs and would never care to use anything else. If that doesn't appeal to you then use Blackhorn 209 in it, it'll smoke like real bp but clean up as easily as smokeless powder. If you want a conventional inline I'd buy something from T/C. I've owned an Omega and my son has the Encore PH, we use 100grs volume of BH209 with 300gr SSTs and it will hammer dear quite nicely! The Savage has longer range capability but if your shots are under 200yds the standard inlines will work fine.
I have a T/C Omega that shoots great with everything I put through it. Easy to load and easy to clean. I also have a T/C Hawken that I shoot for fun. Patched round ball with 70 grains of pyrodex makes for light and inexpensive shooting. T/C is also made in USA.
My Encore shot terrible with 3 pellets. It may have been me though. The recoil with 150grs kicks considerably more than 338 win mag. I finally setteled on 90gr of pyrodex. I haven't found a great load for groups, but out to 175yrd it's a dead deer. I don't know anything about the Savage, but I guarentee there isn't better customer service than Thompson Center has. Larry
thank you everyone for your imput. I was looking at savages then found out that they no longer produced them. The prices are now out there on the ones I am seeing for sale. Keep your knowledge coming and I will keep looking for a reasonable savage unless forced to do otherwise. If anyone hears of one out there please let me know. Thanks, RICK
Savage ml10. Deadly accurate and you only have to clean the breech plug every 100 shots. Vitivouri 110 powder works extremely well. Plus, no big puff of smoke , so you can watch your deer drop! Head shots on does are very easy up to 75 yards or better if you practice a little. Well worth the extra cost and a pound of powder will last twenty years. Great gun!
Thompson Center Bone Collector. Shoots almost any combination of powder and bullets you want well. Breech plug comes out by hand with a 1/4 turn. I use 110gr of blackhorn 209 powder, a 240grn xtp, and cheddite or win 209 primers. It has a redfield 4x12x40 scope mounted on it and sighted in at 150 yds. Dropped a decent buck on the first morning at about 150 yds. It took 3 steps and dropped dead.
I shoot a CVA Optima Pro. It is priced accordingly. Not excessive just because of a name or who they sponsor. It has functioned flawlessly for about 10 years. As with all muzzleloaders you will have to try a few different loads to see what it likes best. I shoot 3 - 50 gr. Triple 7 pellets with a 240 gr Hornady XTP. I've taken probably 15 deer and 2 elk with it. One elk at 178 yards. After a heart shot, he only went 10 yards. Whatever you decide, I suggest you select either a stainless or nickel plated barrel and one that uses 209 primers. You will appreciate it when it comes to cleaning. I have owned both blued and nickel plated barrels and the difference is unbelievable.