As my Colorado muzzleloader mule deer hunt nears, the truck is loaded, wife & kids are settled, and the clear blue September sky is calling.

Before I hit the highway, I thought I’d give you the final results of the Knight Mountaineer 45 Cal. Muzzleloader I started testing this summer (they are ultra sweet!)

For those of you new to the Rok Blog, this is my third year hunting Colorado’s muzzleloader mule deer season.  You can view the last two seasons here 2012 Live Hunt and 2013 Live Hunt

I’ve longed for a good 45 caliber muzzleloader that could accurately comply with Colorado’s full-bore conical requirement (no sabots).  As I showed in the previous post on my Knight Mountaineer 45 Cal, I’ve found the accuracy I’m looking for.  Here is another great 100-yd group I’ve shot with the gun since that post (with an XS Ghost Ring Peep Sight):


She performs and is a testament to Knight’s accuracy potential.  I wanted to give you a quick summary on why I think, for deer, a 45 caliber muzzleloader is a better choice than a .50 or a .54 in the open country of the West.  Besides milder recoil (really nice when forced to shoot conicals) the .45 has a flatter trajectory and similar energy at all practical yardages.

Here’s a quick video demonstrating trajectory.

I don’t own a chronograph, so I pulled some information from Precision Rifle’s website to give you an idea of kinetic energy and drop.  I’m shooting 110 grains of Triple 7, so I’m a little less than shown:

Ultimate 1 QT .45 Polymer Tip – 360 grain – 120 grains powder – BC .320
Distance (yards) Muzzle 25 50 75 100 125 150 175 200 225 250
Velocity (fps) 1600 1551 1504 1459 1414 1371 1330 1292 1256 1221 1190
Kinetic Energy (ft lb) 2046 1924 1809 1701 1599 1503 1415 1334 1260 1192 1131
Trajectory 0 1.2 3.1 3.8 3.6 2.4 0 -3.6 -8.6 -14.9 -21.6

Compare this to the 50 cal I was shooting these last two years:

ULTIMATE 1 QT Polymer Tip Spitzer 450 gr – 120 grains powder – BC .323
Distance (yards) Muzzle 25 50 75 100 125 150 175 200 225 250
Velocity (fps) 1550 1503 1458 1414 1372 1331 1293 1257 1223 1191 1163
Kinetic Energy (ft lb) 2400 2258 2125 1998 1880 1770 1670 1578 1494 1418 1352
Trajectory 0 1.6 3.7 4.6 4.4 2.8 0 -4.2 -9.6 -17.3 -26.5

In my testing, I found my Knight 45 caliber demonstrated a flatter trajectory, as predicted in the tables.

In my 50 caliber, my bullet rises to a max height of 8″ at 50 yards and falls to 24″ at 200 yards.  In my 45 caliber, my bullet rises to a max height of 5″ at 100 yards and is dead-on at 200 yards!  I never shot the 50 cal to 250 yards, but I guarantee that bullet is in the dirt while the 45 caliber posted  posted a POI of -33″ at 250 yards.

That my friends, is why I was so happy to see Knight offering a 45 caliber rifle.  I can enjoy less recoil, flatter trajectory, and comparable energy as a 50 or 54 caliber.

So, I hope to get leveled on a big Colorado mule deer and in the words of Hank Williams Jr. “and shoot him with my ‘ol 45″.

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1/9/15 Update.  See the results of that Colorado muzzleloader hunt, recorded live starting here: Live from Colorado, It’s Deer Season!   Opening day through day 9 can be found by clicking on “Blog” link, top of page.

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Robby Denning
Robby Denning started hunting mule deer in the late 1970’s, only missing one season in 35 years. At 25, he gave up the pursuit of all other big-game to focus on taking the best bucks possible. He began hunting the West on a DIY budget hunting an average of 30 days a year for mule deer. Robby loves the hunt as much as the kill and the entire process from research to scouting to hunting. He’s killed four bucks over 200 inches in the last 15 seasons, mostly on easily-obtained tags. He owns a public-land scouting service and runs a private-land outfitting business helping other hunters in their pursuit of deer and elk. Robby has scouted and hunted literally thousands of square miles of mule deer country and brings a wealth of knowledge about these experiences with him. To him, the weapon of choice is just a means-to-an-end and will hunt with bow, rifle, or muzzleloader – whatever it takes to create an opportunity to take a great mule deer. He is also the author of "Hunting Big Mule Deer" available on Amazon. Robby believes all of creation is from God for man to manage, respect, and through which to know its Creator


  1. When you get back I have a chronograph you can use to satisfy the inner statistical nerd we all have inside us. 🙂 I enjoy the parameters you select and the thought you put your equipment through to illustrate it’s usage.

  2. OOPs sheets did not show I will try again…

    500×350 Lehigh 120 grains T7


    .503×460 MTNex Bull Shop 90 grains T7


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