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Women and Muzzleloaders, a Rossi Review

Wanda Garner, © January 2005

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I was not introduced to hunting until I was an adult. In fact, I had teenage boys at home who thought it was just a hoot that MOM was going to attire herself in camo and go to the woods. None of their friends' moms hunted and they were sure that I'd last... well... maybe one day in the woods.

When I made the decision that I wanted to hunt, my husband was thrilled with having a new hunting partner and set out to make my first deer hunt one that would insure I'd return to the woods again and again. His plan was to take me hunting the first day of muzzleloader season, when there had been little hunting pressure, I'd be sure to see lots of deer, and give me the best chance of actually shooting one. This meant hunting the first day of muzzleloader season... with a muzzleloader!

After shooting the muzzleloader several times and allowing me to rid myself of all fears of the primitive weapon, he then taught me to load the gun. I wanted to learn and became an eager pupil. By deer season, I was ready.

My husband had chosen our hunting location wisely, did his homework, and put me in a blind where I watched deer all day long, as well as turkeys and an assortment of other wildlife. I was having the time of my life. I found myself in a simpler time, away from the hectic pace of life, away from the demands of society, and in touch with the natural world.

It was late in the evening when I finally decided to shoot my first whitetail and to this day, it is a trophy that I will always cherish. A whole new world had opened up for me and hunting with the muzzleloader brought me one step closer to my hunting heritage and the "me" I had been searching for.

My first hunt with the ole smokepole changed my life and I chose the muzzleloader as my weapon of choice and continued hunting with it for the next several years- even during modern gun season. Horrifying enough though, when I started reading hunting magazines, I discovered... women do not hunt with muzzleloaders! I read statements such as, "Muzzleloaders aren't made for women", and "Women can't use muzzleloaders". Of course, those articles are written by men who apparently do not know any better!

This past year during a radio interview, the male host of the outdoor show was stunned to find out that I hunted with a muzzleloader. "You're kidding?" was his response. I had to laugh. Of course, a muzzleloader!

Women are now major consumers in the black powder market. With organizations like BOW (Becoming an Outdoors Woman) and WomenHunters, women are becoming more aware of the ease of hunting with a muzzleloader, and how inexpensive it is to get started. In addition, gun manufacturers are taking notice that more and more women are taking up the shooting sports and that includes hunting with blackpowder.

Rossi makes some of the best guns on the market for women and youth, taking into consideration their smaller size, their need for often lighter weapons, and shorter stocks and barrels. Deciding I wanted a new muzzleloader for this next season, I contacted Rossi in search for the perfect gun. I was pleased to hear that they had a nice selection of muzzleloaders from which to choose. They are all reliable, accurate, and designed for use with Pyrodex™ pellets, solid copper sabot bullets, and 209 shotgun primers.

One of the most recent additions to Rossi's selection of guns is the MiniLoader youth size muzzleloader. It is a full-featured version of the Rossi inline muzzleloader, scaled to perfectly fit the smaller and/or younger shooter. I knew I had to have one of those and was not surprised to find that it has a similar "feel" to the Rossi Matched Pair, of which I own a .243 center fire and 20 ga. combo.

Rossi also offers full-size .50 caliber inline muzzleloaders available with either a matte-blue finish or matte stainless finish, both with wooden stocks. The muzzleloader has a 23-inch barrel, with an overall length of 38 inches and has adjustable TruGlo® sights on front and rear. I had to have one of those too and could not be more pleased with this beautiful walnut-finished gun. The overall weight is only 6 pounds and 3 ounces and light enough for even me to hunt with.  

"Muzzleloaders were not made for women." To that comment, I beg to differ. I asked a good friend of mine his opinion of that statement. His response was, "Any gun can be a girl's gun, if she wants it to be". I agree. Muzzleloading is an exciting part of the shooting sports and I applaud Rossi for making high quality muzzleloaders small enough and lightweight enough for even us small folks!

Visit Rossi’s website at www.rossiusa.com

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