The Traditions Load it/Shoot it/Clean it kit is meant for someone who's new to muzzleloading. It includes some accessories that a shooter can hang onto and use for years to come, along with some consumable items. It contains a good supply of cleaning solvent, but only a mediocre supply of patches and bullets.
This kit will likely suffice for your first trip to the range, but don't expect it to provide you with everything to get you from out-of-the-box to the deer hunting woods with confidence.
- Contains some commonly-needed items for muzzleloader shooting.
- The anti-seize stick is a great way to package anti-seize for breech plugs and touch hole liners.
- Pre-treated patches work well for cleaning, and EZ Clean solvent has a pump-spray top so it's easy to use.
- T-handle for ramrod works well. It can be used as a bullet starter as well as a ramrod handle, and the cleaning jag attached to it is also useful.
- Double-ended toothbrush-style cleaning brush works well and is a nice touch.
- Bore brush is bronze, instead of the wimpy plastic ones sometimes sold for muzzleloaders.
- Made in various countries from Taiwan to USA; some components not marked as to country of origin.
- The speed loaders are lame (flimsy and slower to use than some).
- The capper isn't very useful (it's pretty cheap, and I'd expect it to lose my primers).
- Should include more plain patches; has about 25 plain & 40 treated patches (and the package has those numbers reversed).
- Only includes eight bullets.
- Kit for loading, shooting, and cleaning .50-caliber muzzleloading rifles.
- Contains 4 oz. bottle of EZ Clean solvent with spray top, two "fast loaders," 209 primer capper...
- ...T-handle ball starter/ramrod extension, 8 Smackdown SST bullets with EZ Load sabots...
- ...Plain patches, pre-treated patches, Anti-Seize stick, .50-caliber bronze bore brush...
- ...DVD on loading/shooting/cleaning muzzleloaders, and a double-ended toothbrush-style cleaning brush.
- All in one clamshell package. Part number for kit is A5103.
- Also available with musket capper; part number for that kit is A5103NW.
- Package claims it has "everything you need - except the powder and primers."
Guide Review - Traditions Load it/Shoot it/Clean it Kit
First, let's talk about the good stuff. It comes with a nice large four-ounce bottle of EZ Clean solvent, which has a plain cap on it. A pump spray cap is included in the package, and it never leaked a drop after I put the spray cap on the bottle, even though the bottle was simply stuck in a plastic bag with a bunch of other stuff and rode around in the back floorboard of my truck for weeks.
The EZ Clean solvent does a pretty good job. Nothing earth-shaking, but it works - and I like the spray bottle. A pump sprayer makes it easy to wet cleaning patches without wasting the product or contaminating the remaining solvent in the bottle.
Next, we have the T-handle bullet starter/ramrod extension. Although it's largely made of plastic parts that are pinned together, it seems sturdy and should last pretty well. The included jag is concave for starting the pointed bullets that have become very popular among muzzleloader hunters. I found the cleaning jag to be a good size for cleaning a .50-caliber bore with standard cleaning patches.
This bullet starter is also long enough to be used with tube-style speed loaders, which is a definite plus.
The double-ended cleaning brush is nothing unusual, but its inclusion in this kit made me happy. It is of the old faithful toothbrush-like design, with one narrow end for getting into nooks and crannies. It works.
One of my favorite things about this kit is the Anti-Seize Stick. It works like lip balm (think "Chap Stick") and provides a very nice way to apply non-seize to the thread of a breech plug or touch hole liner.
Moving on to other included items, there are some that I'm neutral about. The square cleaning patches work fine, although more should be included. The round pre-treated patches do a good job, and there are plenty included for a few trips to the range. I followed each shot at the range with a treated patch, followed by a plain dry patch.
The bore brush is fine, but it's nothing special. I do appreciate that it's bronze instead of the bronze/colored plastic that many try to pass off as good muzzleloader bore brushes, and that's a good thing. After one or two uses, though, the brush is a tad loose in its threaded base - so it evens out.
The Smackdown SST bullets with their EZ Load sabots loaded well and shot well with most loads. I can't get particularly excited about them; they are simply hollow-point jacketed bullets, with Hornady's SST plastic tip filling the hollow. The sabots and SST points were both yellow. I think they should do a fine job on a critter.
And the Ugly
I didn't like the capper that came in this kit. Mine is supposed to be for 209 primers, so I can't testify to the effectiveness of the musket capper included in another version of this kit. I crammed some 209 primers into this capper and I didn't feel like I could expect the primers to still be there when I dug the capper out of my pocket.
I also dislike the speed loaders that came with the kit. They appear similar to a style that I like very much, but inside the tube, there is a divider. I prefer a tube without a divider; that way I can pop the cap off the powder end, pour the powder into the barrel, stand the loader on the gun's muzzle, pop the other cap off, and shove the bullet through the tube and into the muzzle. Then I can use the ramrod to finish ramming the ball, and I'm done.
With the dividers, one has to remove one cap, dump the powder/pellets out and into the barrel (if Pyrodex pellets are used, make sure the correct end is pointing downward), then open the other cap, take the bullet and sabot out, put them back together if they have come apart, stick them into the muzzle, discard the loader, start the bullet with a bullet starter, and then ram the bullet home.
In short, it's slower and more awkward - and I don't need anything making me more awkward than I already am when I have the adrenaline shakes after shooting at a deer.
The molded-on plastic pocket clips are also flimsy, and don't hold on very well.
This kit contains some useful stuff, but at the suggested retail price of $39.95, it seems overpriced. Yes, I know that prices for individual components of the kit can be frighteningly high these days, but I don't feel that this kit provides $40 worth of value.
If you can catch it on sale at a low price, jump on it.
- Russ Chastain