Pros: Hardwood, Quality, Fun
Cons: More people should take up muzzleloading
Thompson Center Muzzleloader Short Starter
As a muzzleloader you quickly learn you need a lot of paraphernalia to shoot beyond the gun, powder, and ball; which are all important but to load the rifle and clean it several other items are necessary.
Of course you need the ramrod, but that is an integral part of the muzzle loader. I shoot patched round ball as it is more economical than shooting the purposely made Maxi Balls that load easy but kick hard and put a dent in your wallet.
Just to clarify, Maxi Balls are a product of Thompson/Center and are sold in boxes of twenty at a fairly hefty price. The Maxi Ball is a conical ball similar to a rifled slug that is shot from a shotgun during deer season. It is a cylindrically shaped piece of lead with a slightly oversized driving band that loads easily but still needs the short starter here. The Maxi Ball is loaded over the powder charge and expands on firing to fill the bore and take the rifling, so it loads easy because it is smaller than bore size but expands on firing through gas pressure.
Round ball is a lead ball slightly under bore size but used with a greased patch that makes it a tight fit in the bore to take the rifling. Upon firing, the patch takes the rifling and gets dropped behind as the ball exits the muzzle to fly to the target.
The Short Starter like this is made of hardwood and is a ball that has two tips attached as shown in the picture; one about 1/4 of an inch long and the other about 4 inches long attached to the central ball about two inches in diameter.
The rifle ball is placed on the patch centered atop the muzzle of the rifle and the ¼” tip is used to start the ball into the bore. Usually it takes a blow from your palm to start the ball into the bore. It will go in and take the patch with it and once it is in you switch to the 4” tip and a smart tap on the ball drives the ball into the rifling. You put the starter aside and use the ramrod to ram the ball home to the bottom of the bore so it sits firmly atop the powder charge. The final step is to prime the firearm; either put a cap on the nipple or prime the pan on a flintlock like I use.
After that, you have one shot to fire and then it’s time to reload. Muzzle loading is a lot of fun and it is quite involved so it makes quite an interesting pastime.
This starter will work with any caliber and one starter will do all your rifles so you just need one in your kit.