Posted by: 1SHOT-1KILL - 12/6/2001 (9:21 p.m.) - 188.8.131.52
In September 1990, we were at the range, for final sighting in of muzzleloaders for the upcoming season, in October. He was shooting a Lyman percussion .50 Cal trade rifle. He shoots left handed and was shooting it when the bolster drum cleaning screw blew out, enter his right forearm just about 2" above the wrist and traveled up his forearm about 3/4" deep, and lodged about 1" behind his elbow in the lower tricep. Any way, he got back to the shop, examed the trade rifle, and found the threads had stripped out of the bolster drum, were the screw was screw into it.
We had many discussions over what was the best design out there, what was available, etc. We decided to built a new design. First and foremost was, we wanted the strongest design ever. I decided that the use of a centerfire bolt action be the strongest design. To keep it light, we chose the Mini-Mk X actions for this design. Using the concept of saboted shotguns slugs, we concluded that we should be able to achieve the same results out of a muzzleloader, with pretty much the same powders and charges. The only difference is ours would be loaded from the muzzle. The biggest hurdle we had to overcome was to prevent blow back. We conclude that some type of carrier would hae to hold the 209, to ignite the smokeless powder, yet it would have to prevent any blow back. We chose to copy the case design of the .223 Rem. case, except it would only be 1" long, have a tapered nose to match that of the angle inside the breech plug. These modules would be made .001-.002" longer to create positive headspace, so that whe the bolt was closed it would be forced to mate tightly, steel to steel, inside the breech plug. the breech plug was 2" long fully threaded. the concept was, that with the 2" breech plug, a tight fitting moduel, and locked together with the bolt locking lugs it should safely hold up to the pressures of smokeless powders.
August 1991, the guns were built, the modules were exact, and the powder were chosen. We chose powders that were suitable for heavy shotgun and big bore pistol loads. We started out with 2400 and Win 571. We decided to start out with about 24 grains of each and work up from there. I forget what sabots we were shooting then, but we chose the Speer .451 260gr Mag-HP. Off to the range.
Let me tell, that the pucker factor on that first shot was off the scale. The gun was loaded, the target sighted, but I must have sat there for 5 minutes squeezing the trigger. It seemed like and hour. The trigger finally broke, and I barely felt the recoil. I was happy as could be, my head was still there, were it was supposed to be. Now it was time to get down to serious shooting.
In 1992, we filed for patents, and on prior art, they went back to initial designs drawn back in 1990. We spent the next few years building these cstom smokeless muzzleloaders for customers, in just about every design you can think of, Remington #2 Rolling Blocks, Ruger #1's, H&R break open's, Martini's, many different bolt designs, and even Winchester M-94's.
In 1996 we started soliciting major arms manufactures about this design. We sent examples to Remington, Weatherby, Browning, and Knight. They shot it a little but declined. But, one high ranking employee at Knight, took notice and tried a little to hard to pursade Knight to take it, Knight tried to imitate the design and failed. This employee tried to hard to get knight to accept this design, contract patent production rights, and go with it. Knight made his life there a living hell and he left Knight on bad terms. This employee would become one of our closest freinds and the systems biggest champion, his name is Toby Bridges.
For the next couple years, we solicited, thru Toby Bridges, this design to Remington again, Austin & Helleck, Marksberry, Marlin, and Knight again. No takers. At the 1999 Shot Show, Toby Bridges approached Savage about this design, as he had heard thru the grapevine, that they were considering getting into the muzzleloading market. Savage sent us a 10FP Tactical in .308 Win to convert to a muzzleloader. We got the 10FP
in April 1999, made the conversion and tested it. IMR-4227 and the .452 300gr XTP performed the best, so that is what we carried to Savage in July 1999 for the demonstration. Savage conducted testing for the next few months and began tooling up. The contract was signed in February 2000. The first 10ML's hit the market in July 2000. But there was still 2 major hurdles to overcome. The first was the BATF, concluded that this what not a true muzzleloader and gave Savage an exemption of the BATF form 4473 requirement, til March 2001. Back to the drawing board. The other major hurdle was that Savage could not keep or was having trouble keeping the moudles within tolerence. The new design did away with the modules, the bolt face, and locking lugs. This design was approved by BATF as a muzzleloader and total exemption of the 4473 form requirement. Thus the 10ML-II was born.