Getting Ready for New Hampshire Muzzleloader Deer Season?

I have been getting ready with my muzzleloader here in New Hampshire for quite a while. Opening day for Muzzleloader is October 29, 2016.  Season details can be found at along with a hunting video there.

I feel very optimistic and you should too if you hunt in the southern half of NH where the deer are plentiful… provided you have done your homework. No you just can’t walk in the woods and get one. Yes, if you do everything right and you shoot straight, it can happen.

First and foremost you should be shooting your Muzzleloader now, not just at the bench, but how you are going to use it in the woods.  I shoot standing and freehand at 50 yards or less or better yet…use a tree to stabilize my rifle. Using shooting sticks such as a monopod, bipod and tripod do work. I have a monopod with a telescoping v notch that I have used on occasion. I will be hunting with the TC Encore Pro- Hunter Rifle with Muzzleloader barrel as you could certainly guess from the numerous articles here at New Hampshire Rifleman Magazine.

Time to load? Loading black powder or a substitute in the muzzle and then your bullet (with or without a separating sabot) being sure that the bullet is fully seated atop and against the powder. Recall that it requires some technique. I have found some plastic sabots make it very hard to load and reload as the provide too much resistance in my particular rifle.  I use a bullet with a built in sabot base, and they shoot, and reload easily with good accuracy. You can purchase a speed loader tube to hold bullet, powder and primer for your back up shot.

The archery season and muzzleloader season is a huge leg up on hunting deer that have not been spooked or shot at all year. But the most important part is that if you want to hunt bucks, there is no better time to call one in or rattle one in than during muzzleloader season because the first does will come into estrus and drive the bucks crazy and they WILL make mistakes. It has been my experience that if you hunt from the ground or even in a tree, you need to be ultra clean and scentless. On the ground you must walk into or quarter into the wind. Tree stand hunting is great when you know unspooked deer movement patterns and active trails or you are going to call or rattle. Remember when calling, less is more. Scouting should be high on your list in prep for the hunt. Use a compass and map. Have a drag rope or wheel carrier, license, knife, pen for filling out your tag, flashlight, first aid kit, water, a snack, and TP (I use orange or camo toilet paper if nature calls), a phone… and let someone know where you are hunting.

Be Safe and Practice, Practice, Practice.

Shoot Straight, Shoot Often.

Good Hunting!

© 2016


NH Fish and Game : Do Not Use Urine Based Attractants While Hunting. Update

The use of urine based scents and lures have been used by hunters here in NH for more than a century with no ill effects to produce Chronic Wasting Disease. But F&G argues that the lure industry is not regulated and that CWD animals have appeared in penned deer who produce urine based scents for hunters. Yet no link has been clearly established by scent urine and CWD: See

Meanwhile every hunting shop in NH has an isle full of these urine base lures because they remain legal…for now.

NHFG strongly advocates against use of these urine based lures to protect the Deer herd.

My preliminary research shows that some lure companies are on board with testing their urine based lures and have openly participated in CWD research and testing via the Archery Trade Association’s Deer Protection Program.

“With help and advice from the nation’s top CWD experts and state wildlife agencies, the ATA spent the past two years working with its Scent Manufacturers and Urine Providers committee to self-impose protective restrictions on their products and the deer/elk facilities that provide urine for those products.”

Those that comply with the strict adherence to collection methods and testing are allowed to display the ATA√ logo .  Lure companies are a billion dollar industry but shrinking due to states that have outlawed the urine based lures.

What do I make of NHFG recommendation? It is simply a protective approach. Once the CWD label is put on a State it sticks forever.

Are there synthetic lures that are not urine based?  Yes there are several online but most hunters trust the real thing. You can go on line and look for them.  I will go the synthetic non-urine lure route if readily available… I went to two stores this morning who sell urine based lures. It revealed that there are few to none of synthetic Doe-in-Estrous lures on the shelves, however most urine based lures do participate in ATA Chronic Wasting Disease prevention and have the ATA√ Logo. That leaves little choice for synthetic unless you buy off the web. I have created awareness in my area regarding the NHFG position. I will have some Kirshner’s Synthetic Lure soon to try. I have been a fan of Silvertop Lure over the years and took a nice buck with it a long time back. It is now made synthetically with no urine. . I spoke with Bob Kirshner moments ago and his herd of deer are USDA HMP Herd Certified (No CWD). He does not believe the ATA logo is much to shout about and he has been in the business for decades. So lets try the Synthetic lure…


Shoot Straight, Shoot Often.

© 2016



TC Encore Pro-Hunter Rifle 30-06 Powder Tests w/ Nosler Partition

As I mentioned in an earlier test on the TC Encore Pro-Hunter Rifle, the first rifle bench-rest test produced a one inch group with H4350 Powder and Sierra 150 grain bullets making a fine group. But I believed that this barrel could shoot sub-Minute of Angle (MOA) so I hand-loaded them as an experimental test.

Today I tested Nosler 165 grain Partitions with three powders, and the following three shot groups were recorded at 100 yards. I chose Nosler Partitions in part because I had access to them as a supreme hunting bullet.


Powder Type   Powder Wt        Bullet               3 Shot Group

IMR 4350         56 grains        165g Partition     1.0″

H4350              57 grains        165g Partition      3/4″

W760               52 grains         165 Partition        1 3/4″


As you can see the hand-loaded H4350 (upper left) seems to shoot the best with this bullet and powder level. Each square is one inch. Both of the 4350 powders are listed as great powders by Nosler Manual #6. I was searching for a load that really puts this TC barrel at its best and I believe that the H4350 reveals the winning group. The bullets are nearly touching!

W760 powder was on the can do list but did not maximize bullet speed but was best rated at 52g powder. The bullets were much slower than the IMR4350 and the H4350 and grouped poorly at 1 3/4 inch but acceptable for hunting if one had to use that powder.

We owe it to the game we hunt to shoot accurately and ethically for a quick humane kill and to enjoy such fine venison as table fare by your own hand.

Shoot well, Shoot often!

© 2016



Score Two for the Pheasant Hunter


Hunting after 12 pm was the ticket today. The weather was just fabulous as if late summer at 72 degrees, blue sky and crimson leaves on the maples and little wind. Like a slice of heaven for a few hours.

The bird release was in the morning, I think, with no hunters or dogs present.  Today the release official did his job safely and left. We hunters gathered like a gaggle of geese waiting for 12 Noon. The birds released were mostly in the woods. The grass in the release field was so short, I could almost play golf. The birds would be sitting ducks if they landed there. Dogs were aplenty but for me with no dog was funny as there were dogs everywhere around me, just not mine. A walk in the woods listening to the call of a cock pheasant drew me forward. These rascals were hard to put to flight but the dogs eventually put them up. Here I took my two beautiful cock pheasants for the day with my goose barrel on my 870 Rem. Pump.

I plucked them, gutted and saved the tail feathers. I halved each bird and will do final prep for cooking soon. If there is a chance for longer grass in the field during pheasant season that would be better to work the dogs and put the birds up but I understand that harvest of the most hay is necessary.

Tips for cooking I am told by some is to brine your meat for at least 4 to 8 hours as the meat can dry rapidly. I will use some whiskey in a salt/sugar brine.

Cook at 500 degrees skin-on, with 1/4 apple and or 1/4 oranges as stuffing and/or as a baste with some honey or maple syrup in the apple/orange juice. Garnish with apples and oranges and parsley. Watch the bird as it cooks fast.

For a fast savory stuffing use the best prepared stuffing like Pepperidge Farm and add your favorite mushrooms. If you have time make stuffing from scratch.

© 2016

Zero Your New Scope and Rifle

It is so often that I see and hear at the range of shooters that haven’t got a clue how to get their scope and bullets on paper. That was perhaps most of us years ago. Here is a refresher for a bolt or break action rifle.Otherwise purchase a laser boresighter cost $30 to $99 dollars.

First, make sure your scope is mounted correctly and that the crosshairs are vertical and horizontal.  I sometimes used the weaver rings that tighten from only one side on my deer hunting rifle so when the screws are tightened the crosshairs rotate toward the tightness of the screws. You may have to play with the scope body by turning the crosshairs further off the vertical so that when you tighten the screws it will end up plumb. If you intend to shoot long range to 300 yards or more then use a plumb-bob (an inexpensive tool) on your target at 25 yards and verify at 50 or 100 yards and align the vertical crosshair with the string on the plumb-bob.

Second, Bore sight your rifle and scope. A friend can be helpful but not necessary to make adjustments. On a bolt action rifle, remove the bolt. Set your rifle in a bench rest device or sand bags so that you can see through the bore to a 25 yard target. Without moving the rifle or scope look through the scope to see where the crosshairs are. If crosshairs are high move them to agree with the bore. If left or right move the windage adjustment to agree with the bore. Once you are satisfied that the bore and scope are in agreement then take your first shot. Ok, Wow! You are on paper. Nice Job!

Third, your bullet hit 2 inches high and 2 inches left at 25 yards. Now comes the remember part. How many clicks (1/4 inch at 100 yds) does it take to move the crosshairs 2 inches. It takes 16 clicks at 25 yards to move your bullet one inch up/down and left/right. So you are going to adjust the crosshairs down 32 clicks and right 32 clicks. Sounds like a lot of clicks doesn’t it. You may want to adjust the scope 1/2 to 1 inch below the bull as the bullet can hit a bit high at 100 yards.

Fourth, shoot your target at 100 yards. So you shoot and hit 3 inches high and left by 1 inch. Pretty good! Make adjustments 4 clicks per inch =1 minute of angle as you like

Notes: If you half the distance to 50 then it takes 8 clicks to move 1 inch. If you half the 50 to 25 it takes 16 clicks to move the crosshair one inch. Got that! If you half the distance then you double the clicks.

Advanced Stuff, If you want to shoot long range to say 250 or 300 yards you can calculate Max Point Blank Range if you know the actual bullet speed and Ballistic Coefficient by using an online calculator. I use JBM Ballistics or you can create a drop table for longer ranges by using MOA. charts and wind drift charts. Further you will need a level on your scope at longer distances as I did shooting at 1000 yards and breaking 8 inch balloons.

Shoot straight – Shoot Often

C 2016


Student Hunter/Writer Contest by New Hampshire Rifleman Magazine

New Hampshire Rifleman is offering  up to $100 to the winner of the Outdoor Hunter/Writer Contest. (New Hampshire Residents Only) It will run from now to the end of November 2016.



  1. There must be at least 5 New Hampshire student participants (grade school to high school) who write and publish an article in New Hampshire Rifleman Magazine to be eligible for up to $100. Four students published will be $80 reward for best article. Three articles will get $60 as reward for best article and so on.
  2. The student must write about shooting or hunting as adventure ( kills are not necessary for the article) and the value it provides in their life and family e.g., gets me away from TV and Video Games, Love the Forest and fall colors, like shooting with mom and dad, or went deer hunting or duck etc.e.g.,  Maybe about your hunting dog too. What life lessons did hunting or outdoors teach you? How to stay warm? Standing still for deer is not easy. Hard to sleep when thinking about hunting the next morning. Describe the sun and sky at dawn in a Duck Blind, are examples.
  3. The length of the article needs to be 200 words or more and must have pictures. It can be submitted via email to the Editor, Ed Hale at as “NH Rifleman Contest.” Please provide your name, age, school attending, grade and phone number with parent permission name/email address.
  4. Grammar is very helpful but less important than content and describing the adventure and your feelings and senses of the moment.
  5. Winner will be chosen by the Editor by December 10, 2016 and a photo op presentation shortly after. There can be a tie, in which case the authors will split the prize.
  6. Please begin the article:
  7. My Name is__________, I am ______years old and live in _________town, NH. My parent(s) _______________, Phone # ____________has given me permission to write this article. I attend __________school in _______NH. The title of my article ( write it as a header) then body and any images. Good Luck!
  8. Note: We dropped number of words to 200 or more from original 500 to increase participation. Please try to use software like MS Word or e-mail to write your article with images.

TC Encore Pro Hunter in 30-06 Rifle “Continued”

A few days ago I cleaned the barrel and was impressed with how fast the barrel cleaned.

Today, I fired new loads with 165 grain Nosler Partitions using 58 grains of IMR 4350. This is supposed to be a fast accurate loading according to Nosler Reloading Manual #6. I did not chronograph the round but the loading table suggests it is well over 2800 fps. It appears to shoot well near MOA or bit larger but a tack driver load has not yet appeared, likely in-large-part due to the 7 lb. 8 oz. trigger. Recoil was very manageable even at the bench, which speaks to the terrific stock and its built in recoil system.

I am sure to find a sub-MOA loading for this barrel but a lighter trigger, I believe will be the ticket to stardom for this very versatile rifle. A friend of mine adores his TC Encore Pistol (same frame) but had the trigger lightened to 3 pounds. Nice!

There are folks that sell trigger spring kits that can lower the trigger pull weight but will discuss later at some point.  The ejector lifts the case and makes it easy to remove and reload.

So far… how do I rate the rifle and system? I giv’em’ an A.

More soon…

© 2016


TC Encore Pro-Hunter 30-06 Rifle – Out of the Box by Ed Hale

If you are following my TC Encore Pro-Hunter testing, I received the TC Encore Pro-Hunter as a muzzle loader and wanted to test a rifle barrel with it. It requires the shooter to punch out the hinge pin after removing the forearm. The new rifle barrel received is in 30-06 Springfield. Yesterday I loaded up some 150 grain Sierra Game King boat-tails with 56 grains of H4350 powder and shot the barrel out of the box. The rounds loaded into the breech easily and… after firing the round was lifted by the ejector so I could remove it with my fingers. Nice! I removed the Leupold Scope from the muzzle loader and attached it to the 30-06 with the TC weaver base. Two knurled screws and it was on the rifle. I shot at 25 yards to see where it hit on paper. It was 5 inches high at 25 yards and dead center. Luckily, I was on paper. So how much to adjust the Minute of Angle – MOA down?

Doing the math; It takes 4 clicks/moa at 100 yards to move 1 inch, or 8 clicks at 50 yards to move 1 inch, or 16 clicks to move one inch at 25 yards. Correct? Sixteen clicks at 25 yards is equivalent to 4 moa on your scope elevation dial. Accordingly, 4 moa/inch x 5 inches equals 20 moa or 80 clicks to be on target at 25 yards and will likely be on paper at 100 yards. That’s a lot of clicks but use your scope dial numbers which are in MOA unless it is in Mil’s like a military scope.

Below is a three shot 100 yard group out of the box with the Sierra 150 grain head and the H4350. It is a bit over an inch. This is a great group given that the load was just created. It delivers 2700 ft-lbs at the muzzle and can drop a deer at 450 yards were energy is still above 1000 ft-lbs.  I will shoot more this next week and try different loads and bullets


The 30-06 barrel performed very well in the Out-of-the Box test.

More testing soon…

Shoot Straight, Shoot  often


Copyright 2016 All Rights Reserved





The Leupold dial numbers are written as moa so I turned the dial 20 moa and shot 2 inches or so low at 100 yards. Group 1 was

Then fired at 100 yards

TC Encore Pro-Hunter 30-06 Barrel and Forend


I have just received the 30-06 barrel and forend for testing. Nice packaging! I tried to swap the barrel of the muzzle loader which requires you to tap out the hinge pin which I did with a wooden dowel. I got the new barrel on and the hinge pin went in quickly. I added the new forend which did not come with mounting screws so I figured the screws from the muzzle loader forend will work. But they didn’t. They were only for the muzzle loader, larger in diameter and designed to attach to the ramrod standoffs. So I contacted TC folks who are sending the correct screws. I made the recommendation that all rifle forends be packaged with the correct forend mount screws. I will begin testing the rifle next week. I have already attached the second TC 7429 steel scope mount base (Weaver style) to the rifle and swapped the Leupold VX-III scope to it. It was very fast and easy to swap over the scope as it required loosening the two large knurled screws that hold the scope to the base.

While the screws are arriving I will load up some rounds for the 30-06 Springfield.

We wait…

© 2016



TC Encore Pro-Hunter Muzzle Loader with Leupold VX-III 2.5-8 initial shots by Ed Hale

Below this article is the detail Physical Exam on the T/C Encore Pro-Hunter Muzzle Loader.

In this article:

This afternoon, I went to the range to get the rifle and Leupold VX-III on paper. I tried a shot with the 300 grain Hornady sabot bullets at 25 yards to see if it was on paper, it was far away from the bull in the lower left. Accordingly, I chose to bore sight the rifle as the easiest way. So I took out the Speed Breech plug with just my fingers and a flip of the wrist and I could see through the bore and the scope. Nice! I dialed in the scope and two more shots later I was near the dead center but a half inch low. I moved the target to 50 yards, dialed up the vertical adjustment 16 clicks, approximately 2 inches, figuring some drop, and chose a 1 inch square in the lower right to aim at… and I hit it. “Guess I figured well. Wow! I thought,  ok now lets shoot at 75 yards with no further drop adjustment but I ran a bore snake in the barrel once before I shot.”  The first shot was an inch high. The second shot was way left as I likely pulled the shot for a myriad of possible reasons but the heavy trigger and newness to the rifle are likely reasons not the rifle itself or the scope.

I let that go and concentrated on the next shot and place that round within an inch of the first 75 yard shot which was just an inch high.  See the target below.


This was impressive but more shooting at 100 yards will tell more and for a three shot group. I pulled the Breech plug, wiped it clean and ran the bore snake in just a few minutes, ready for the next time. The Fox Tactical Butt Stock Cheek Rest pouch worked great to store the long jag.


Until then,

Shoot Straight, Shoot Often!

© 2016