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The 40 Caliber SpinJag Bullet Starter

I used my first SpinJag eleven years ago on a muzzleloader hunt for the Persian Ibex. I was shooting a 50-caliber Savage Model 10 at the time and fitted its ramrod with a SpinJag. The bullet starter and ramrod ensured that my bullets were not canted or deformed as I seated them over the powder.

I can go on and on as to how easy it is to load a bullet with sabot using the bullet starter followed up by seating with a ramrod equipped with another spin jag. So, I'll make it simple... Jim killed a trophy class Persian Ibex at 187 yards with one shot to the back of the head. From that day forward, we have used the SpinJag bullet starter and SpinJag on the ramrod of all of our 50 and 45 caliber muzzleloaders.

“Six simple steps to use the SpinJag Bullet Starter:
1. Place the bullet in the barrel.
2. Slide the polymer guide over the bullet.
3. Hold firmly down and around the barrel and guide at the same time.
4. Slowly push down until wooden ball reaches polymer guide.
5.Follow up with your ramrod to finish loading.”

We believe that one of the reasons that folks believe that muzzleloaders are not as accurate as conventional centerfire rifles is that the bullets become canted or deformed upon loading. Over the past decade we have reviewed and tested several muzzleloaders from all of the major manufacturers. In addition to using the SpinJag bullet starter and SpinJag ramrod, we weigh out each powder charge prior to going to the range or on a hunt. In combination with good saboted-bullets (Harvester or Barnes), we obtained 1MOA groups with all of them.

It is obviously not the guns. They all shot about the same. That left two possibilities: The SpinJags or the powder. So, we decided to stop using the SpinJag bullet starter and switched to the cheap plastic bullet starters available online and the ramrods that came with the guns. We weighed our powder charges as we normally do and headed to the range.

What a difference. The MOA accuracy was gone. Now we were getting 1.5” to 3” groups at 100 yards instead of under 1”. And, the groups were not consistent... sometimes they would be close to 1” and other times, almost off the paper. We couldn't see inside the barrels as the bullets were seated, but it was obvious that either canting or deformation (or both) of the bullets was occurring.

From the above discussions, one can conclude that we are “sold” on SpinJags. Thus, when we received the new CVA Paramount HTR muzzleloader in 40 caliber for testing we went to the SpinJag website to purchase a bullet starter. Alas, there were no 40 caliber SpinJag bullet starters available.

Several reasons for that. First and foremost, several states require that muzzleloaders must be 45 caliber and up for hunting, as “conventional” 40 calibers are just too weak. As such, there was/is not much of a market for 40 caliber muzzleloader items.

The Paramount HTR is a game changer for .40 caliber muzzleloaders . It throws out a 225 grain ELR bullet at velocities matching the .308 centerfire rifle. Just what you would expect from a 140 grain charge of Blackhorn 209 powder. The new ELR bullet for this gun is longer that the conventional ML bullets and it utilizes a gas-check rather than a sabot. As such, the chances for canting or deformation are reduced. However, to guarantee that it did not happen, we wanted a SpinJag bullet starter. We asked the folks at Gunn Innovations if they would put together a 40-caliber SpinJag bullet starter for use in our Paramount tests and evaluation. Long story short, they agreed.

Loading the 225 grain ELR bullet into the Paramount HTR with the SpinJag was smooth and fast. Time after time, without swabbing between shots, the SpinJag started the bullet with ease, and the giRAMROD which they sent along finished the job by seating the bullet properly. And the accuracy? Most folks wouldn't believe us it we told you, so we will simply say that we always obtained sub-MOA groups with the Paramount HTR using the SpinJags.

The giRAMROD is an ideal range ramrod, but it is is impractical for hunting with the Paramount HTR. (It comes in three pieces that screw together) The Paramount has a free-floating barrel with no thimbles to secure a ramrod. The Paramount's field ramrod is shock-corded, carried in a pouch on your belt, to be deployed when needed for reloading.

The Game Departments in those states which currently prohibit .40 caliber muzzleloaders for hunting are reviewing the ballistics data on the Paramount to determine if they should alter their regulations.
If the 40 caliber Paramount HTR 40 muzzleloader catches on, I am sure that Gunn Innovations will make a SpinJag bullet starter in 40 caliber and possibly a shock-corded giRAMROD for hunting. But, for now, we will have to wait and see how the market develops.

In any event, we are fortunate to have a SpinJag bullet starter for our 40 caliber Paramount HTR. Thank you Mr. Gunn! In the meantime, you can order SpinJags and their bullet starters for your other muzzleloaders on the Gunn website at:, or call Gunn Innovations at 804-271-7059.

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