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Heavy-Hitting Lightweight: Traditions Vortek Ultralight LDR Review

by Layne Simpson   |  February 15th, 2013 0

Traditions recommends 120 grains of Triple 7 loose powder or two 60-grain pellets as a maximum charge, but with Swift 300-grain A-Frames and sabot, accuracy was better with two 50-grain pellets.

The inline muzzleloader I’ve hunted most with for the past few years weighs nine pounds, two ounces, scoped. That’s heavy when compared with the heft of the Spanish-built Vortek Ultralight LDR from Traditions. It has an advertised weight of 6.8 pounds, but the one I received actually weighed only 61/2 pounds on my postal scale. Most of those ounces are trimmed away by using a lightweight synthetic stock and machining the receiver from aircraft-grade aluminum rather than steel. Using a one-piece aluminum base and Weaver steel rings to mount a scope put the rifle’s field-ready heft at a couple of ounces shy of eight pounds.

Less Weight, More Barrel
But any way you look at those two rifles, a 20-ounce decrease in weight will increase actual recoil, but we all know that differences in stock shape, design and material can make a big difference in felt recoil—a shooter’s perception of how hard a rifle kicks. That’s the only way I know to explain why I found the new Traditions rifle to be more comfortable to shoot from the bench than my old one. It has to be due to the shape of the Hogue Comfort Grip synthetic stock, along with its Quick Relief recoil pad. Rubber panels at wrist and forearm offer a no-slip grip for slippery hands. Color options are black and camo. And, as any hunting rifle should, the stock has quick-detach sling-swivel posts.

As far as I know, the Ultralight LDR is the only inline muzzleloader presently available with a 30-inch barrel. That, along with its extremely thin lines, makes it one of the best-handling inlines I’ve ever carried. Of chrome-moly steel, the exterior of the barrel is protected by a Cerakote finish, but since the bore contains no protective coating, it must be thoroughly cleaned soon after the rifle is shot to prevent rusting. This is not always convenient to do during a hunt. While a stainless steel barrel also has to be cleaned, it doesn’t rust as quickly, and including that one improvement in the rifle would make it even more appealing to serious hunters.

The eight-groove rifling has a twist rate of 1:28—typical for today’s inlines. A bore diameter of .501 to .502 inch along with rifling groove depth of .009 inch puts groove diameter at .519/.520 inch. Recessing the rifling .300 inch at the muzzle prevents it from being dinged when the barrel is accidentally banged against a rock or metal tree stand in the field. Called the Speed Load System by Traditions, the counterbored muzzle also holds a saboted bullet in alignment with the rifling during the loading process. The barrel contains no sights but is drilled and tapped for scope mounting. Two hangers at the bottom of the barrel hold an aluminum ramrod in place.

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