I have a CVA Express rifle, a side by side .50 cal with #11 cap ignition and also a T/C Black Diamond .50 cal with a Leupold 2.5x8 on top & 219 primer ignition.
I've shot at two 8 pointers and taken them both with the T/C, (one scores 140 inches B&C). I was ready this ML season, but didn't see a decent buck to shoot.
I shot many deer with the CVA side by side, including a doe off-hand at 97 yards with a head shot (luck mostly). I figured if I miss, I miss clean & if I hit, game over. I guessed right.
About 15 years ago, I was also hunting with the side by side one day at a piece of property I used to lease not far from the house. It was an old farm that would eventually be turned into a sub-division & I could hunt it until that happened. I was set up in one of my favorite archery stands about 30 yards into the woods off a powerline right of way. There was an old barbed wire fence that ran parallel to the powerlines through the woods & where the fence crossed the lowest spot in the terrain, the deer used it as a regular crossing. During the previous winter, I clipped the section of fence where the deer perferred to cross, making it a deer super highway as they no longer had to squat to get under or jump over the fence. There was a few large oaks right at the crossing spot the deer already fed heavily at, so all I needed to do was to get in my stand in one of them without getting busted and be ready to shoot.
On the Saturday of Muzzleloader, rain was forecast, but since it was the only day that week I had to hunt & I would go until I got too wet. Just after dawn when the deer usually crossed that gap in the fence, a fox ran through from behind me and his rustle of the leaves got my heart pounding. No deer though. By about 9:30, I wondered if some dogs might have stirred the place up at night, 'cause I hadn't seen the first deer.
About that time, I saw a doe coming to my left from up the hill & her tail was wagging out straight behind her. I knew there had to be a buck behind her. Suddenly behind her, there was a loud crashing of antlers and I saw the tops of small trees shaking and whipping around. As the doe walked forward toward the gap in the fence, the fighting would stop. Every time she stopped and looked back, the others would fight like crazy.
The two bucks were both good ones. One was a tall-racked 8 point a little wider than his ears that had a long, lean body and was not as mature as the other, but had a lot of fight in him. The other buck was a stocky, short-coupled 9 pointer with a lower, but wider, heavier rack and they were both very serious about getting with that doe.
Since the wind was in my favor and they were already headed toward me, I held off until they got closer. It was incredible how savagely these guys were fighting, but every time the doe would walk, they would quit scrapping and follow until she stopped. By the time the doe was about 30 yards out and the bucks were around 50, I couldn't stand it anymore. I decided to take the bigger bodied buck as the other had some growing to do and looked like he might get huge if I let him grow into his frame. He had the kind of deer genes I wanted to keep in the area. I drew down, rolled the right hammer back, held just behind the shoulder of the 9 point & the CVA spoke. Since it was a still day with rain coming, it took the smoke a bit of time to clear. When it did, the doe was standing where she had been and both bucks were still facing each other. I'd missed! A 50 yard slam dunk broadside shot with a rifle I shot at least 3 days a week over the summer. I quickly pulled the left hammer back, took careful aim a little higher & let it roll. When the smoke cleared, everything looked the same as it had before I shot. NO WAY! Missed again!!?
I grabbed a speed loader from my pocket, re-charged the right barrel and rammed the patched round ball home. I was trying to be as quiet as possible and the deer were not bothered by my sounds. Except, when I put the cap on the nipple, my in-line capper made a tiny "plink" noise & the doe freaked out. She ran towards me and stopped directly under my tree. Both bucks watched her and started to follow. I shouldered the rifle and waited for the buck to clear from behind a holly tree. Just as I pulled the hammer back, he wobbled & fell over in the trail. The 8 point looked at him, then looked toward the doe under my tree. He started trotting as she headed out toward the powerlines. He stopped broadside 4 yards from my tree & since I already had the hammer back, I drew down on him. I already had one deer down and this guy was too good looking and would only get bigger. I let him pass.
The 9 point on the ground had two holes in him, EXACTLY where I'd been holding about an inch and a half apart. He weighed around 235 pounds on the hoof and since I'm 155 soaking wet, it was quite a struggle for me to get him (field-derssed) into the back of my truck. I drove the truck as close as I could and got the rifle back in the case before the bottom fell out. I was sopping wet when I checked that deer in, but I did so wearing a huge grin.
From the time I first saw the doe to the time I shot, it was just under 15 minutes, even though it seemed like an hour in slow motion. I wish I had that whole episode on tape, because it was the most severe buck fight I've ever witnessed and it was also a most impressive display of how much fight a mortally wounded buck has in him. Now that property has houses built all over it. One night last year while driving my way past there I saw a magnificent buck eating the shrubs in front of one of the houses. I'd like to think he was the off-spring from the one I let go. The land was developed before I could hunt there the next season, but I'm sure I did the right thing for the herd.
___*Try these tricks for capped muzzleloaders* ____
Here is a trick to get your cap-fired muzzleloader to fire more consistently; Once you load the charge of powder in the barrel, remove the nipple, run a pick through it to make sure it is totally clear, but before you screw it back in place, put just a few kernels of smokeless powder on top of the powder charge. A few flakes of smokeless will ignite fast & easily and burn hot enough to get your black powder to have a more positive ignition and will help guarantee a shot when you pull the trigger. Don't go hog-wild with the smokeless powder as Muzzleloader barrels are not built to withstand the pressures...4 or 5 flakes of smokeless is enough to do the trick. Hope that helps. I've never had a miss-fire or a hang fire with this trick.
You can also put the corner of a clear sandwich bag over the already capped nipple and wrap a bread twist-tie over the bag around the base of the nipple to hold the bag tightly in place. That will keep the cap drier, help hold it in place, and not affect the hammer fall when you shoot.
Luck Counts, good or bad