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Ardesa Pursuit Black Powder

Ardesa Pursuit  Black Powder

Modern Muzzle Loader

Marketed under their own name in Europe and sold under the Traditions banner in the United States, Ardesa of Spain manufacture a number of excellent value for money reproductions of earlier muzzle loading pistols and long guns, in both flintlock and percussion varieties. Their line also includes a group of scale model, live firing cannons for which a firearms certificate, with the appropriate variation, is required in the UK. To cater for today’s American hunters who prefer using a muzzle loaders, but who also wish to have the advantages of a modern firearm, both in terms of use and maintenance, they produce a range of in-line rifles that fit the bill admirably. The subject of this review, the Pursuit XLT, is one of that group of rifles.

Food or War?

It would probably be difficult to say whether firearms were invented as a hunting tool or as a means of attack and defence in times of conflict, but my guess would be the latter. As soon as it was realised that gunpowder could be used to throw a projectile, it would likely have been seen as a superior alternative to the spear, the bow or the slingshot, and as guns became larger, cannon would oust the large stone-throwing catapults as siege weapons.

Nevertheless, it would have been realised very early that here was a tool that could also be used to put food on the table, and later as a way of providing sport in the form of target competitions.

The need to provide meat for the table, through hunting, was paramount as people ventured ever further into uncharted territory on the five continents.

A reliable firearm, and the skill to use it, would mean the difference between survival and death, not only by providing food but as a means of defence against wild animals and indigenous peoples. Nowhere would this be more evident than on the North American continent as the early settlers pushed further west in search of a new and better life. As civilisation, in the form of towns and cities, caught up with this rolling tide of humanity, the need to provide their own food diminished and hunting became entwined with sport.

Among the civilised nations today the requirement to provide your own food through hunting has all but disappeared, but hunting as a sport is probably more popular than ever. While most of the game hunting will be carried out using modern high powered rifles, there are still those who relish the challenge of taking their quarry using the more primitive guns of their ancestors in the form of a muzzle loading rifle. Centred principally in North America, many of the participants will use reproductions of the early frontier guns but a growing number want the reliability and function of a modern firearm while still retaining the challenge of a muzzle loader with its limited range. To this end a number of companies, including Ardesa, have produced a variety of long guns using up to date technology, design and ease of use. The Pursuit XLT is a perfect example of how the manufacturers have provided a suitable tool for the job.

Big Bore – Light Weight – Good Looks

Mention ‘.50 calibre’ among a group of shooters and many will conjure up visions of the modern sniper rifle, or those with a historic leaning will have in their mind a picture of the ‘Big Fifty’ Sharps buffalo rifle. Both of these rifles are large, heavy pieces with a not inconsiderable barrel. By contrast the Pursuit .50 calibre muzzle loader is a lightweight offering with a barrel of no greater diameter than some of the heavy .22 rimfire models, and indeed the XLT is no heavier than some of these small calibre weapons, tipping the scales at a mere 6¾lbs. Helping to keep the weight to a minimum is the composite furniture, with the stock and action, together with the fore arm, contributing only 2lbs 2½ozs to the total.

story continues below...

There are no visible screws holding the action to the stock and instead the connection is made via a hexagonal headed screw inside the hollow butt, removal of which will require a long driver. The butt is topped off with a rubber pad. Given that the fore arm weighs only 3.6oz, I would estimate the total weight of the furniture is no more than about ten to twelve ounces. Although this may sound quite flimsy, the rifle feels very solid when assembled. Both the fore arm and the pistol grip have a nice impressed checkering which provides a comfortable hold without feeling too sharp. The two-piece, black finished aluminium ramrod is held in place by two pipes screwed on to the barrel and a spring inside the fore arm. The 28” steel barrel, which is fluted for around half its length, and ported, has what Ardesa calls a “nickel guard” finish – also on the receiver – reminiscent of the brushed stainless finish I seem to remember on some handguns, albeit a little darker. The whole package has a very pleasing eye appeal.

Williams Sight

Sighting arrangement is a set of Williams fibre optics, orange at the front and green at the rear, an excellent set up which appears illuminated in daylight. The front is fixed while the rear has both windage and elevation adjustment, effected by two small screws. The top of the barrel is also drilled and tapped for a scope mount base. A small extension screw is provided which will enable the hammer to be cocked when a scope is fitted, a similar arrangement to that sometimes seen on lever action rifles. The barrel has various markings including the name, calibre and serial number while the receiver has the name, and what appears to be an antler design, on both sides with the serial number on the bottom. Proof marks are found on the barrel under the fore arm and on the removable breech plug but not on the receiver.

Break Barrel Design

The Pursuit in line rifle is a break open design like a conventional shotgun and the action is opened by depressing the button on the front of the trigger guard. Again like a shotgun, removal of the fore arm allows the gun to be Model Ardesa Pursuit XLT rifleType Single shot in-line muzzle loading actionCalibre .50O/all length 44”Brl length 28”Pull length 14¼”Weight 6¾lbsPrice £360.00Distributor Henry Krank tel. 01132 569163 www.henrykrank.combroken into two sections. The arm is held on to the barrel by a single allen-headed screw and a key is provided. Opening the action exposes the “accelerator” breech plug which accepts a standard 209 shotgun primer for ignition. The plug is knurled around its rear circumference and can be removed by hand (a tool is provided should this become difficult) for cleaning. At the rear of the trigger guard is a safety catch which, when in the ‘on’ position, will prevent the hammer from being cocked, or if the gun is already cocked, prevent the trigger from being pulled.

Ease of Use

Basic muzzle loading instructions are provided in a small booklet and a certificate from the Italian proof house at Eibar gives the maximum loads which should be used with this rifle; a bullet weight of 35 grams (540 grains) and a powder charge of 8 grams (123 grains) or 6 grams (92 grains) for BP substitutes. Given that I was only trying to “kill” a piece of paper at 50 metres, I settled on a load of fifty grains of Henry Krank black powder behind a .490” lead ball wrapped in a lubricated cloth patch.

Despite the rifle’s light weight this combination proved extremely manageable to shoot, no doubt aided somewhat by the rubber pad, and I felt as though I would have no problem shooting this rifle all day. As stated above, the grip is very comfortable and the sights are as good in use as I imagined they would be. Shooting three-shot groups, seated with a rest, I was eventually able to get a clover leaf group, with all three holes touching. The rifle will probably perform at its best using a heavier powder charge and a lead bullet within a plastic sabot – unfortunately the latter were not available for the test. The rifle was shot for an hour before its first wipe through (OK, guys I know, but this was not intended to be serious target work) and I had no more difficulty ramming home the last ball than I did the first. I did use a metal ramrod rather than the fibre glass one supplied with the gun.

Clean Sweep

Cleaning the rifle is a dream. Unscrew the breech plug, drop it into a container of boiling water and pour a pint or so of the same down the barrel, followed by a couple of dry patches and a lightly oiled one. The plug was cleaned with a tooth brush, the touch hole blown out with an air duster, dried and rubbed with an oily rag – fifteen minutes from start to finish.

With black powder hunting being a no-go area in the UK, and serious muzzle loading target shooters using more traditional weapons, both original and reproduction, the Ardesa Pursuit would seem to be a bit of a white elephant. But its low price compared to its counterparts puts it firmly in the “fun gun” category, and here it does not disappoint. If you are looking to dabble in black powder rifle shooting, with a gun that is reliable, simple to use and maintain, you’re not too bothered about historical accuracy, and you don’t want to break the bank, then the XLT merits serious consideration. GM

  • Ardesa Pursuit  Black Powder - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Ardesa Pursuit  Black Powder - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Ardesa Pursuit  Black Powder - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Ardesa Pursuit  Black Powder - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Ardesa Pursuit  Black Powder - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Ardesa Pursuit  Black Powder - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Ardesa Pursuit  Black Powder - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Ardesa Pursuit  Black Powder - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Ardesa Pursuit  Black Powder - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

gun
features

  • Model: Ardesa Pursuit XLT rifle
  • Type : Single shot in-line muzzle loading action
  • Calibre: .50
  • O/all length: 44”
  • Brl length: 28”
  • Pull length: 14¼”
  • Weight: 6¾lbs

0 Comments



Ardesa Pursuit Black Powder

Ardesa Pursuit  Black Powder

Modern Muzzle Loader

Marketed under their own name in Europe and sold under the Traditions banner in the United States, Ardesa of Spain manufacture a number of excellent value for money reproductions of earlier muzzle loading pistols and long guns, in both flintlock and percussion varieties. Their line also includes a group of scale model, live firing cannons for which a firearms certificate, with the appropriate variation, is required in the UK. To cater for today’s American hunters who prefer using a muzzle loaders, but who also wish to have the advantages of a modern firearm, both in terms of use and maintenance, they produce a range of in-line rifles that fit the bill admirably. The subject of this review, the Pursuit XLT, is one of that group of rifles.

Food or War?

It would probably be difficult to say whether firearms were invented as a hunting tool or as a means of attack and defence in times of conflict, but my guess would be the latter. As soon as it was realised that gunpowder could be used to throw a projectile, it would likely have been seen as a superior alternative to the spear, the bow or the slingshot, and as guns became larger, cannon would oust the large stone-throwing catapults as siege weapons.

Nevertheless, it would have been realised very early that here was a tool that could also be used to put food on the table, and later as a way of providing sport in the form of target competitions.

The need to provide meat for the table, through hunting, was paramount as people ventured ever further into uncharted territory on the five continents.

A reliable firearm, and the skill to use it, would mean the difference between survival and death, not only by providing food but as a means of defence against wild animals and indigenous peoples. Nowhere would this be more evident than on the North American continent as the early settlers pushed further west in search of a new and better life. As civilisation, in the form of towns and cities, caught up with this rolling tide of humanity, the need to provide their own food diminished and hunting became entwined with sport.

Among the civilised nations today the requirement to provide your own food through hunting has all but disappeared, but hunting as a sport is probably more popular than ever. While most of the game hunting will be carried out using modern high powered rifles, there are still those who relish the challenge of taking their quarry using the more primitive guns of their ancestors in the form of a muzzle loading rifle. Centred principally in North America, many of the participants will use reproductions of the early frontier guns but a growing number want the reliability and function of a modern firearm while still retaining the challenge of a muzzle loader with its limited range. To this end a number of companies, including Ardesa, have produced a variety of long guns using up to date technology, design and ease of use. The Pursuit XLT is a perfect example of how the manufacturers have provided a suitable tool for the job.

Big Bore – Light Weight – Good Looks

Mention ‘.50 calibre’ among a group of shooters and many will conjure up visions of the modern sniper rifle, or those with a historic leaning will have in their mind a picture of the ‘Big Fifty’ Sharps buffalo rifle. Both of these rifles are large, heavy pieces with a not inconsiderable barrel. By contrast the Pursuit .50 calibre muzzle loader is a lightweight offering with a barrel of no greater diameter than some of the heavy .22 rimfire models, and indeed the XLT is no heavier than some of these small calibre weapons, tipping the scales at a mere 6¾lbs. Helping to keep the weight to a minimum is the composite furniture, with the stock and action, together with the fore arm, contributing only 2lbs 2½ozs to the total.

story continues below...

There are no visible screws holding the action to the stock and instead the connection is made via a hexagonal headed screw inside the hollow butt, removal of which will require a long driver. The butt is topped off with a rubber pad. Given that the fore arm weighs only 3.6oz, I would estimate the total weight of the furniture is no more than about ten to twelve ounces. Although this may sound quite flimsy, the rifle feels very solid when assembled. Both the fore arm and the pistol grip have a nice impressed checkering which provides a comfortable hold without feeling too sharp. The two-piece, black finished aluminium ramrod is held in place by two pipes screwed on to the barrel and a spring inside the fore arm. The 28” steel barrel, which is fluted for around half its length, and ported, has what Ardesa calls a “nickel guard” finish – also on the receiver – reminiscent of the brushed stainless finish I seem to remember on some handguns, albeit a little darker. The whole package has a very pleasing eye appeal.

Williams Sight

Sighting arrangement is a set of Williams fibre optics, orange at the front and green at the rear, an excellent set up which appears illuminated in daylight. The front is fixed while the rear has both windage and elevation adjustment, effected by two small screws. The top of the barrel is also drilled and tapped for a scope mount base. A small extension screw is provided which will enable the hammer to be cocked when a scope is fitted, a similar arrangement to that sometimes seen on lever action rifles. The barrel has various markings including the name, calibre and serial number while the receiver has the name, and what appears to be an antler design, on both sides with the serial number on the bottom. Proof marks are found on the barrel under the fore arm and on the removable breech plug but not on the receiver.

Break Barrel Design

The Pursuit in line rifle is a break open design like a conventional shotgun and the action is opened by depressing the button on the front of the trigger guard. Again like a shotgun, removal of the fore arm allows the gun to be Model Ardesa Pursuit XLT rifleType Single shot in-line muzzle loading actionCalibre .50O/all length 44”Brl length 28”Pull length 14¼”Weight 6¾lbsPrice £360.00Distributor Henry Krank tel. 01132 569163 www.henrykrank.combroken into two sections. The arm is held on to the barrel by a single allen-headed screw and a key is provided. Opening the action exposes the “accelerator” breech plug which accepts a standard 209 shotgun primer for ignition. The plug is knurled around its rear circumference and can be removed by hand (a tool is provided should this become difficult) for cleaning. At the rear of the trigger guard is a safety catch which, when in the ‘on’ position, will prevent the hammer from being cocked, or if the gun is already cocked, prevent the trigger from being pulled.

Ease of Use

Basic muzzle loading instructions are provided in a small booklet and a certificate from the Italian proof house at Eibar gives the maximum loads which should be used with this rifle; a bullet weight of 35 grams (540 grains) and a powder charge of 8 grams (123 grains) or 6 grams (92 grains) for BP substitutes. Given that I was only trying to “kill” a piece of paper at 50 metres, I settled on a load of fifty grains of Henry Krank black powder behind a .490” lead ball wrapped in a lubricated cloth patch.

Despite the rifle’s light weight this combination proved extremely manageable to shoot, no doubt aided somewhat by the rubber pad, and I felt as though I would have no problem shooting this rifle all day. As stated above, the grip is very comfortable and the sights are as good in use as I imagined they would be. Shooting three-shot groups, seated with a rest, I was eventually able to get a clover leaf group, with all three holes touching. The rifle will probably perform at its best using a heavier powder charge and a lead bullet within a plastic sabot – unfortunately the latter were not available for the test. The rifle was shot for an hour before its first wipe through (OK, guys I know, but this was not intended to be serious target work) and I had no more difficulty ramming home the last ball than I did the first. I did use a metal ramrod rather than the fibre glass one supplied with the gun.

Clean Sweep

Cleaning the rifle is a dream. Unscrew the breech plug, drop it into a container of boiling water and pour a pint or so of the same down the barrel, followed by a couple of dry patches and a lightly oiled one. The plug was cleaned with a tooth brush, the touch hole blown out with an air duster, dried and rubbed with an oily rag – fifteen minutes from start to finish.

With black powder hunting being a no-go area in the UK, and serious muzzle loading target shooters using more traditional weapons, both original and reproduction, the Ardesa Pursuit would seem to be a bit of a white elephant. But its low price compared to its counterparts puts it firmly in the “fun gun” category, and here it does not disappoint. If you are looking to dabble in black powder rifle shooting, with a gun that is reliable, simple to use and maintain, you’re not too bothered about historical accuracy, and you don’t want to break the bank, then the XLT merits serious consideration. GM

  • Ardesa Pursuit  Black Powder - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Ardesa Pursuit  Black Powder - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Ardesa Pursuit  Black Powder - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Ardesa Pursuit  Black Powder - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Ardesa Pursuit  Black Powder - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Ardesa Pursuit  Black Powder - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Ardesa Pursuit  Black Powder - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Ardesa Pursuit  Black Powder - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Ardesa Pursuit  Black Powder - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

gun
features

  • Model: Ardesa Pursuit XLT rifle
  • Type : Single shot in-line muzzle loading action
  • Calibre: .50
  • O/all length: 44”
  • Brl length: 28”
  • Pull length: 14¼”
  • Weight: 6¾lbs

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