Ignite Your Blackpowder Sales

Traditions NitroFire leads the charge for a new generation of muzzleloaders

Ignite Your Blackpowder Sales

Blackpowder rifles have evolved significantly over the past few decades, and perhaps no gun exemplifies that evolution better than the Traditions NitroFire.

The NitroFire has received much attention for the FireStick system, where a plastic cartridge holding Hodgden Triple 8 powder and a 209 primer is loaded through the breach and only the bullet is packed down the muzzle. It simplifies both the loading and cleaning processes with no loose powder and no breech plug to remove. It also eliminates the fear of wet powder in foul weather.

On Target

I received my test gun, along with a mix of 100- and 120-grain Federal FireSticks and .50-cal Trophy Copper bullets, about a year ago. On first sight, the gray CeraKote finish on the fluted chromoly barrel jumps out against the black composite stock and gives the gun a clean look. It also feels solid and substantial, without being big or heavy. It’s comfortable to carry and would be right at home in a tight treestand. 

At the range, I switched between the lighter and heavier charges on my initial few shots while getting a feel for the gun and system. I was immediately impressed by how easy it was to seat the Trophy Copper bullets — probably the smoothest loading bullets I’ve used. 

There’s a pretty significant report with the 120-grain charges, but the gun is comfortable to handle. I quickly began to appreciate Traditions’ Elite XT trigger system with its manual cross-block trigger safety. The Elite XT trigger allows the action to be broken open with the cross-bolt safety engaged, which allows you to load or unload your muzzleloader and view the chamber. You can also cock the hammer and keep the safety engaged, which is a great feature at the range and in the field. 

After a few test shots I knew I had to start the sight-in process at 25 yards. I settled on the 120-grain FireSticks and got to work. It didn’t take long to move out to 100 yards, but I eventually started running low on the 120-grain FireSticks. And before I could get the gun fully dialed in, I was out of Trophy Copper bullets. I knew plenty about ammo shortages at the time, but I never thought all the muzzleloader bullets would have been gobbled up too. Unfortunately, that was the case and testing came to a halt. 

So this past fall when I jumped back in, I went about it like a new hunter with limited time and supplies needing to get a new gun dialed in before the blackpowder season. I wasn’t taking a whole lot of extra shots, trying to whittle tenths of an inch off my groups. And I needed bullets left to hunt. 

This time around I used my remaining 100-grain sticks and the 245-grain Aero-Tip bullets I’d been using in my hunting gun. The lighter charge required some additional adjustment, but after eight shots I was right at the top of the 1-inch bull’s-eye at 100 yards. The process was swift. The gun was consistent. The trigger felt good. 

My only knock isn’t with the gun itself but the Traditions 3-9x40 scope, which didn’t quite measure up to the quality and capability of this gun, in my opinion. I definitely think a better optic would have tightened my groups even more.

Easy Sell

Explaining the advantages of the FireStick system will go a long way in selling these guns. Fit and finish help too.

If you took a brand-new blackpowder shooter — or anyone who hasn’t fired a muzzleloader in 30 years — to the range with this gun, especially with an upgraded optic, they’d be blown away. Clean, simple, accurate. 

There’s a lot to like about the NitroFire. It looks nice. It’s easy to load and easy to clean. It’s accurate and comfortable to shoot. It has a good trigger and a cross-block safety. 

You can use that as an advantage, however, because the NitroFire is worthy of a more expensive optic and that presents opportunity to upsell. And don’t forget to mention slings, cases, powder, bullets and cleaning supplies. Those new to blackpowder shooting will appreciate any guidance and advice you can provide, and walking them through proper cleaning methods will give them confidence. It’ll also generate accessory sales. 

Flintlock afficionados might balk at refinement leaning into centerfire territory, but that’s not your market with this gun. It’s practical hunters. Late-season fanatics looking for a leg up on pressure-weary whitetails. New blackpowder shooters who aren’t concerned with the purity so much as safety and reliability. 

Unfortunately, the gun isn’t yet legal for dedicated muzzleloader hunting seasons in all states. About 20 states allow it, while others are reviewing their regulations to clarify legal hunting use. Even in those states where the NitroFire isn’t yet legal for muzzleloader seasons, it’s perfectly fine for standard rifle seasons, and plenty capable.


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