January 20, 2020
By David Draper
For those who want to know how to hunt with a muzzleloader, getting started in the traditional pastime can be intimidating. Sure in-line muzzleloaders may look like modern rifles, but shooting them accurately and safely can be confusing. Measuring the correct amount of loose blackpowder or equivalent substitute, or loading pre-measured pellets without crushing them are just two of the many challenges new muzzleloader hunters may encounter when first learning the sport.
Federal Ammunition, along with Traditions Firearms, have teamed up to introduce one of the first truly revolutionary muzzleloading technologies since modern in-line muzzleloading rifles was first introduced more than 25 years ago. The Federal FireStick is a self-contained powder charged encased in polymer cartridge that’s similar in appearance to a shotgun shell. The FireStick is filled with Hodgdon’s new Triple 8 granular powder in both 100- and 120-grain charges. To accommodate the FireStick, Traditions Firearms has launched their newest .50-caliber muzzleloading rifle, the NitroFire, which is designed to maximize this exciting, new technology.
“Hunting white-tailed deer during muzzleloader-only season is typically a way to spend more time in the field for a rifle or shotgun hunter,” said Dan Compton, muzzleloader product manager for Federal Ammunition. “However, antique firearms and even modern inline muzzleloaders do have their frustrations and limitations. So much so, that the hassle of operating them can be a deterrent for some hunters and can be considered a barrier to enter the sport. The revolutionary FireStick was conceived by Federal in conjunction with Traditions Firearms to rejuvenate muzzleloader hunting.”
Instead of pouring powder down the muzzle and following it by a bullet, hunters simply load their chosen projectile from the front of the NitroFire barrel, seating it firmly on a shelf built into the rifle’s “chamber” just ahead of where the powder charge will sit. The FireStick slides into the breech, and is then capped with 209 shotshell primer, making the rifle ready for the hunt.
If all this sounds too easy, that’s because it really is. Having a pre-measured, encapsulated powder charges creates more consistent and more accurate muzzleloaders. Encasing the powder in its own capsule protects it from moisture and condensation, promising shot-to-shot consistency. It’s also ensures every powder charge is the same – no more loose powder spilling everywhere or accidentally over-charging a load with excess powder. No breech plug means no primer holes, which means no misfires due to dirty or corroded primer pockets.
The FireStick is also incredibly safe. Need to unload a muzzleloader to safely climb a fence or up a ladder stand? Simply pull the FireStick from the breech. No need to dig out a stuck primer with your thumbnail.
The FireStick system is also cleaner. The design of the rifle, with the bullet shelf, reduces the development of a crud ring that can affect loading follow-up shots, and because the powder ignites within the polymer capsule, there’s less build-up of carbon and unburnt powder within the barrel. And, with no breech plug, cleaning both the barrel and breech is easy. No more stuck breech plugs! And, Hodgdon Triple 8 burns clean, and wipes away easily with solvent.
Currently, Traditions new NitroFire muzzleloader is the only muzzleloader on the market compatible with this exclusive FireStick technology. The .50-caliber rifle features a 26-inch fluted, tapered barrel that has a 1:28” twist to get the best accuracy and performance from modern muzzleloader bullets at ranges out to 200 yards. Traditions also fits the NitroFire with a new Elite XT trigger system that has a captive half-cock and allows the action to open with the crossbolt safety still engaged, making it easier and safer to load and unload the Federal FireStick.
“As the leader in the muzzleloading industry, we are excited to partner with Federal Premium and Hodgdon on such as revolutionary system,” said Tom Hall, president and CEO of Traditions Performance Firearms. “The NitroFire and Firestick will change muzzleloading. Together, we’ve made it safe, easier, more reliable and more consistent.”