The DIY Hunter

Let me start with saying that I just love this muzzleloader. The system is absolutely amazing. Here are a few things I have done with the setup of my muzzleloader.

Deer hunting with my CVA Paramount muzzleloader

Deer hunting with my CVA Paramount muzzleloader.

Rifle Scope
I went with a Vortex Viper 4-16x44 HST (#ad) with MOA reticle. I'm happy with this choice. Dialing for wind at range is nice to have on a scope with ballistics much less than my 28 Nosler I am used to shooting at distance. A Viper HS-LR would also be a great choice as well maybe even better with 24 MOA in a single rotation of the turret. I put a 20 MOA rail on the muzzleloader but honestly, it really doesn't need it. With a 100 yard zero, at elevations I shoot at, a 450-yard shot is only a 12 MOA adjustment. With a 0 MOA rail, I could likely still dial-up shots out to 800 yards maxing out my Vortex Viper HST (#ad) with 34 MOA adjustment for this distance. This is incredible for a muzzleloader. 

Ballistic Coefficient
Using a 0.33 G1 BC in my Strelok Pro app I have been able to easily and correctly dial-up long shots. It just blew me away when on my first shot past 100 yards I drilled a 382-yard target... with a muzzleloader. That's insane! 


Adjustable Stock
I added an extra 4th shim to the stock to get more length of pull and keep the scope off my forehead. To do this I only needed to get some longer screws from the hardware store. Being really tall and having a long neck I have to add length to all my rifles and it was easy to add the extra length with this system.

Powder Funnel
The funnel that comes with the Paramount is built well and looks nice but the pan is a little too small for my liking. I wanted something a little larger to make sure that I don't spill powder. What I found is a white gas funnel (#ad) from the camping section at Walmart. It works great.

Blackhorn 209 says to times the weight by volume of powder by 0.7 to get the charge by weight in grains. 150 grains by volume then equals 105 grains by weight. This works great and my velocity average is 2470 fps with 105 grains of powder. What I found and others I know have the same experience is that 105 grains by weight is showing about 135 grains by volume in the powder charge tubes.

I bought a 20 pack of standard charging tubes (#ad) that come with a nice molded transparent case to hold the tubes in. These tubes only hold 120 grains by volume of powder so I ordered two 10 packs of the magnum 150 grains by volume tubes and I place them in the molded case I got with the smaller tubes. The case makes it nice to carry 20 premeasured charges in my pack with me hunting. I also carry a couple of loose powder tubes in my bino pack on my chest along with bullets and Variflame primers.

Collapsible Ramrods
The collapsible aluminum ramrod that comes with the Paramount is easy to break. I broke my collapsible ramrod on the second bullet I seated. I was seating a bullet from a seated position at the bench and the last section of the ramrod easily bent and snapped over the muzzle of the barrel. I cleaned up the edge of the broken section and reassembled the ramrod now with one shorted section. The overall length of the ramrod is now only sticking out an inch from the muzzle when I seat bullets making it so I can't snap the ramrod over the end of the barrel like I did the first time.

On social media, I have heard of many people breaking their ramrods as well. One thing I now do when seating bullets is grab the shaft of the ramrod near the bottom (close to the muzzle) when I start to seat the bullet. As I press the bullet in further I move my hand up the shaft and push until I have the bullet seating halfway or so down the barrel then I place my palm on top of the ramrod and finish seating the bullet.

I was afraid the pouch that holds the collapsible aluminum ramrod could fall off by getting snagged on some brush while hunting so I sewed the pouch to my sling.

To be extra safe I bought a backup collapsible ramrod that I keep in my pack. On this ramrod, I have wrapped the section that sticks out of the barrel when seating bullets with a spiral twist of Gorilla Tape to help strengthen it to keep it from snapping. I also only load from a standing position so as to be able to compress the load pushing perfectly straight down on the ramrod.

Paramount powder funnel and magnetic capping tool

White gas camping funnel (#ad) I use as a powder funnel and the magnetic Variflame capping tool.

Capping Tool
Get the magnetic Variflame priming tool if you didn't get one with your muzzleloader. They work great and are much better than the tool that comes with the muzzleloader and is stored in the magazine well.

With muzzleloaders of the past, I used to use water in the sink to clean them. Now that I am using Blackhorn 209 powder I clean the muzzleloader using special Blackhorn 209 cleaning solvent and then run a patch of oil down the barrel and wipe down all the parts with oil.

Browning X-Bolt 6.5 PRC Magazine.

Top view of an X-Bolt 6.5 PRC magazine showing how the magazine will accommodate the 6.5 PRC with a 2.955" COAL.

To accommodate the SAAMI specification max overall length of 2.955" of the long 6.5 PRC cartridge, Browning made a few modifications to the short action length X-Bolt magazine. It should also be noted that the same general modifications have been made to the 300 PRC magazine as well except in a long action magazine.

The X-Bolt in 6.5 PRC is built on a short action rifle platform. There are great benefits with having a short action over a long action rifle (that's an article for another time) so Browning modified the magazine design to keep the 6.5 PRC in the short action length and take advantage of those benefits.  

Two major modifications were made to the magazine. First, the front of the magazine has a deeper channel cut to allow for the longer length of the bullet tips. Second, with the channel cut is so close to the front of the magazine the latch spring has been moved from under the center of the latch being offset to one side.

Browning X-Bolt 6.5 PRC Magazine.

Bottom view of an X-Bolt 6.5 PRC magazine showing how the latch spring has been moved to the side of the latch.

With these modifications, the 6.5 PRC cartridges fit nicely into the magazine with a little room to spare and feed ever so smoothly in the X-Bolt rifle.

My hand loaded 147 Gr. ELD-M bullets at the longest COAL I have loaded have been 2.9490" and they fit with room to spare in my magazine. See: 6.5 PRC Handloads

I like shooting from a sitting position. It is very difficult for me to get down into a prone shooting position. Often it is not possible to even be able to take a prone position shot because of the terrain. In a prone position grass and sagebrush can be blocking your view. Shooting from a sitting position is much more comfortable for me and gets me above the grass and sagebrush, but how do I get steady enough to take long-range shots from a sitting position?  Here's what I have found to work best for me.

For the past few years, I have been tinkering with different shooting sticks and techniques. From my tinkering, I have found a great way to get prone accuracy from a sitting position and with equipment that is light to carry.

I use High and Heavy Outdoors Double Cross Shooting Sticks combined with Browning's ultra-light shooting bag that is attached to the top of my Alps Outdoorz day pack. What I do is set up on the sticks (as seen in the photo below) and I then stuff a shooting bag that is attached to the top of my day pack under my right armpit. When I am locked in this position it rivals the steadiness of shooting prone and is so much more comfortable for me.

High and Heavy Outdoors Shooting Sticks.

Prone position steadiness in a sitting position with High and Heavy Outdoors Shooting Sticks and a backpack with ultra-light shooting bag under my right armpit.

X-Bolt Hell's Canyon Speed with Browning ultra-light shooting bag.

Having an ultra-light shooting bag also gives you options to get steady shots off terrain like cliffs.