Modern muzzleloaders are a far cry from the frontstuffers of yore, with the Traditions Pursuit G4 leading the technology charge
by Brad Fenson
The research and development team at Traditions Performance Firearms has revolutionized the inline muzzleloader with groundbreaking advancements. The StrikerFire was the first hammerless, break-action, .50 caliber inline with an easy-to-use sliding button behind the receiver to cock or uncock the rifle. Traditions Performance Firearms was the first company to improve the velocity, downrange energy, and effective range of a muzzleloader by going to a 30-inch barrel on its Vortek Ultralight LDR (Long Distance Rifle). The extra barrel length allows a magnum powder charge to burn completely in the barrel and maximizes the energy of the propellant. This year, the new NitroFire will once again turn the muzzleloader world on its ear, with an encapsulated powder charge, easier cleaning, and consistent accuracy.
Traditions Performance Firearms was started in 1984, producing several models of sidelocks through the 1980s. The first inline was the Traditions In-Line (yes – that was what it was called) and then the Buckhunter series. The Pursuit line has been the best-selling Traditions rifle, with the most units purchased. The popularity of the line is due to the number manufactured and length of time on the market. New technologies overshadow the entire Pursuit line, but it still gets lots of attention at the gun counter.
The Pursuit G4 Ultralight series is comfortable to load, clean, disassemble, and maintain, which makes it effortless to own and use. Traditions has focused on producing quality firearms designed for hunters. The first thing noticed when picking up the Pursuit G4 Ultralight rifle is balance and maneuverability. Newer models of the Pursuit G4 Ultralight feature a wider forend, improving the grip and hand position when shouldering the rifle. Along with the new forend, the receiver was slimmed down and the hinge pin concealed, which allows for a more streamlined look.
The Pursuit G4 Ultralight is a contemporary, break-action, muzzle-loading rifle with sleek lines and a sporting appearance. The straight lines of the stock and receiver complement the lightweight LT-1 alloy frame and allow the shooter to manage recoil exceptionally well, considering the rifle weighs only 5.75 pounds. Even with magnum loads, this gun does not punish shooters with extreme recoil or barrel lift. They are produced with a proprietary recoil pad that further reduces felt recoil, making it comfortable to shoot the maximum, magnum loads.
The Pursuit G4 Ultralight loads easily with pellet or loose powder and performs well with different charges. The barrel tolerances are balanced to provide a consistent gas seal with a sabot and bullet. The barrel and finish make it easy to use the ramrod to push the bullet the entire length of the barrel to seat on the powder charge. Consistent pressure is required to seat the bullet in place, but it is never a struggle to put enough pressure on the ramrod to keep it moving. The ramrod is solid aluminum, making it durable under different conditions and temperatures.
The rifles in the series have a 1:28-inch twist to maximize bullet stability. The barrel and components are made in Spain and are extremely well-machined and finished, explaining the consistent and accurate results. The single-action trigger is factory set at four pounds or less, making it easy to shoot and stay consistent. The trigger is crisp and breaks clean, without creep, for reliable and repeatable results.
Traditions is the only muzzleloader company to offer a dual safety system, making this gun one of the safest on the market. It is ideal for hunters and shooters with little experience, never having to uncock a gun without having it safe. Besides having to engage the cocking spur, the rifle also has a trigger-block safety. The safety system allows the user to hunt ready, with rifle cocked and safety on. When a big buck shows up, quietly disengage the safety to make the gun ready to fire. The break-action rifle can be opened with the safety engaged, so it is easy to remove the primer when unloading.
The barrel release is situated on the front of the trigger guard, is easy to activate, and closes tight when ready to shoot. If the breech plug is not threaded all the way in, the rifle will not fire. The properly threaded breech is another safety feature to make sure the rifle is never fired under unsafe conditions.
The Pursuit G4 was designed with inline ignition and uses a 209 shotgun primer for consistent powder burn. Primers load into the breech without a capper and remove with a finger and thumb after the shot.
The Accelerator Breech Plug and CeraKote finish make this gun simple to clean and maintain. CeraKote is a proprietary coating added to external parts of the gun to prevent rust. The breech plug can be removed with three turns by hand without the aid of a tool and is quickly cleaned in a solvent bath. The ignition system allows both loose or pelletized powders to be fired. When inserting the breech plug, cover the screw threads with breech plug grease to keep it lubricated, even after multiple shots. The barrel swabs clean without extra work and, with the exceptional finish, there is no worry about rust during storage.
The trigger has a single screw and drops out easily for complete cleaning. Being able to completely clean the trigger assembly at the end of the season will ensure there is no rust or fouling the next time you take the gun out to shoot. The molded stock is durable and helps fend off nasty weather when in the field. The rifle is ambidextrous, being used by left and right-handed shooters by screwing the hammer spur into either side of the cocking lever.
Traditions added a model with a Nitride finish to the Pursuit G4 Ultralight in 2016, providing extended protection inside and out and more options for consumers. The finish protects the rifle from corrosion, provides increased accuracy, and extends the life of the muzzleloader.
The suggested retail stays fairly consistent. The Pursuit G4 Ultralight series ranges from $389 to $553, depending on stock, scope, finish, and camouflage patterns.
TRADITIONS G4 ULTRALIGHT SPECIFICATIONS
- Caliber: .50 caliber
- Action: Hinged break-action
- Twist Rate: .50 cal. 1:28 inch
- Barrel: 26-inch, Chromoly with Cerakote, or Nitride
- Ignition: 209 shotgun primer
- Weight (unloaded): 5.75 pounds
- Other Features: solid aluminum ramrod, extendable jag, soft recoil pad, sling swivels
- MSRP: $389.00 – $553.00