The DIY Hunter

Thompson Center Encore Pro Hunter 3 shot group

Thompson Center Encore Pro Hunter 1 5/8" three shot group at 100 yards with a 1x scope! I was shooting 300 Gr. Hornady SST bullets, in front of 100 Grains of Triple Seven FFG powder.

Velocities for these three shots were 1842, 1870, and 1821. I also recorded a 1841 on another shot to verify the scope adjustment before taking the 200 yard shot below.


Thompson Center Encore Pro Hunter 200 yard shot

Thompson Center Encore Pro Hunter 200 yard shot with a 1x20 Nikon Scope, Hornady 300 Gr SST bullets and 100 grains of Triple Se7en FFG powder.

There was a left to right wind so the drift right of center would be expected.


Thompson Center Encore Pro Hunter, EGW Rail, 1x20 Nikon Scope

The EGW rail, medium height Weaver four bolt tactical rings and 1x20 Nikon scope fit the Thompson Center Encore Pro Hunter nicely.

There is just enough clearance to move this extra long eye relief scope forward, still clear the hammer spur and keep the scope nice and low.


After my first time out with my new TC Encore muzzleloader I wasn't super happy with the accuracy. It shot the 250 Gr. SST bullets pretty well but not as good as I would have liked. I'm betting that the bullets were not to fault but the Triple 7 pellets.

After researching more on the web going with loose powder appears to be the ticket for consistent velocities. For this time out to the range I decided to try the 300 Gr. SST with Triple 7 FFG loose powder.

I went with 100 Grains of Triple Seven FFG powder and the first three shots with this load produced a 1 5/8" group at 100 yards. Awesome! This really amazed me as it is with a 1x scope. This is the accuracy I was looking for when I upgraded to the TC Encore Pro Hunter this year. I'm happy with the accuracy now. I also noticed that the velocities are more consistent with the loose powder over the pellets.

I wonder what kind of groups this combination could do with a scope that had some magnification? Hmm...

I researched a lot of muzzleloaders this past summer. I looked at all sorts from Knights to Gunwerks' 5k muzzleloaders. After all was said and done I felt the Thompson Center Encore offered the best accuracy and quality for the price. And to be quite honest the Encore is a pretty nice looking modern muzzleloader. So many of the modern muzzleloaders have such a goofy look to them.

After shooting the three shot group I adjusted the scope to get the point of impact dead on for 100 yards. I then plugged in the conditions, velocity etc into my Android Strelok app and came up with 5.46 MOA for a 200 yard shot. I dialed up 5.5 on my Nikon 1x20 scope and took a 200 yard shot and hit a 5 inch diameter bullseye. Awesome! Just what I want to be able to do in the field like I do with my high power rifles. I love dialing up the shot and holding dead on.

One thing I found while shooting this muzzleloader is that Winchester primers which includes the shotgun and Triple Seven primers are just a hair too long for the action on this muzzloader. When you try to cock the hammer it won't cock. I have to open the action and shut it a couple times to bend the primer enough to allow the hammer to cock. I may have to pre-bend some primers before I hunt with them so I am not opening and shutting the action over and over in the field.

Less than a month to go till the Utah muzzleloader deer season. I'm feeling pretty confident with this setup.

Here's what I saw on my first mule deer scouting trip.