Several years ago, I was invited by to hunt desert mule deer on Clayton Williams’ West Pyle Ranch out in the Trans Pecos region of Texas.

I asked Paul Henderson, the wildlife manager on the ranch, if I could bring my muzzleloader. I could tell he was a bit hesitant, but agreed —providing I could prove how well it shot at the range before the hunt.

West Texas cowboys served as guides on the West Pyle and they were all intrigued with my old west looking TC SCOUT 50-caliber. They were also impressed at the two-inch groups the rifle was shooting at 100 yards.

Just before it was time to go hunting, I was circled by six or so of the guides, all intent upon learning how to load and cap the muzzleloader. The wind was blowing a gale and I made the mistake of looking away from the task of pouring powder into the rifle’s bore for an instant.

A few hours later, I was putting the sneak on a tremendous 10-pointer that was with a herd of 12 or so does; the rut was going strong. Walt was watching me with binoculars as I stalked from rock to rock. When about 100 yards from the buck, I eased behind a big rock, scooted the Scout over the top of the rock, cocked the hammer and settled the sights on the buck’s shoulder.


I (and Walt, through binoculars) watched the big 350-grain conical bullet kick up dust way short of the buck. I realized I had just fired a very light powder charge (remember the wind was blowing hard when I loaded and I made the mistake of looking away from the task at hand).

I slumped behind the rock, reloaded as quickly as my shaking hands could work, placed the #11 primer on the nipple eased back over the rock. and to my amazement, the buck had only moved about 20 yards; he was still within range.

With a full charge of 90 grains of Pyrodex pushing it, the big conical bullet found its mark and I had my buck on the ground.

Back at the truck Walt said something like, “You don’t reckon the wind blew the powder away before you could get it down the bore, do you”?

I replied, “I reckon it did”!

Thompson Center has always stayed on the cutting edge of muzzleloading technology.

When the company came out with the Omega a few years ago, I was convinced there was little room for improvement. With an easily removable breech plug, I found the time it took to clean the Omega was greatly reduced from the smokepoles I had shot in the past.

Enter the TC Triumph!

This revolutionary rifle breaks down like a single shot shotgun, making access to the breech plug very easy. It’s a “rifleman’s rifle”, well balanced with a crisp, clean trigger pull. It’s also deadly accurate.

The breech plug can easily be removed by one’s fingers with a 90-degree turn. Being able to run a patched ramrod or cleaning brush into the muzzle and clean all the way to the breech is a big plus when it comes to removing fouling.

I spent the past couple of hours near my home at my make shift shooting range back in the woods testing the Triumph. I was impressed with the groups and the ease of loading and priming (209 shotgun primers assure quick ignition).

Back home, cleanup took only about 10 minutes, a far cry from the hour or so I used to spend cleaning my muzzleloaders. I no longer shoot black powder, mainly because of the residue it leaves in the bore.

A few years ago, I switched to Pyrodex Triple Seven, a much cleaner burning propellant made by Hodgdon Powder Company. This powder is not only much cleaner, but every bit as accurate as standard Pyrodex RS or Pyrodex Select or, black powder.

When I get a new rifle or bow, I always devote some time to getting acquainted with my new shooting tool. Shooting muzzleloaders is really very simple but the process of loading, priming, etc. does require concentration; one has to stay focused.

When sighted in properly, muzzleloaders such as the Triumph are truly 200-yard rifles. For many years, I considered a 100-grain powder charge heavy, but many of today’s rifles can handle 150 grain charges.

My friend Larry Weishuhn instructed me several years ago how to turn my TC Omega into a 200-yard game getter.

“Luke,” Weishuhn instructed, “here’s the formula to cleanly take big game out to, and maybe a tad beyond, 200 yards: 150 grains of powder, 250-grain TC Shock Wave sabots shot in three inches high at 100 yards.”

After spending much time shooting with this formula and later hunting, I proved my muzzleloading expert buddy’s words to be right on target. Sighted in with this formula, a 50-caliber TC Omega or Triumph becomes a very efficient harvester of deer-sized game animals out to 200 yards.

Three-inch groups above the bull at 100 yards equates to groups about 3-4 inches low at 200 yards. Thus, a center of shoulder hold on game from close in out to 200 yards works perfectly, no need to guesstimate how much to hold over on shots over 100 yards.

This makes a BIG difference under hunting conditions when a big buck, wild hog or bull elk gives you the shot opportunity. On a 10 scale, I rate the new TC Triumph an 11! Check it out and I believe you will be equally impressed.