Muzzleloader Review: Traditions StrikerFire LDR

The Traditions Vortek Strikerfire LDR is a cutting-edge muzzleloader that offers accuracy and consistency while being easy to use and maintain.

Muzzleloader Review: Traditions StrikerFire LDR

Traditions Performance Firearms has introduced the Vortek StrikerFire LDR (long distance rifle), a .50-caliber inline muzzleloader, as the newest model in this popular line of rifles. The hammerless cocking system minimizes lock time while the 30-inch barrel design improves downrange performance.

Over the past five years, Traditions has introduced five new Vortek rifle models and one pistol model, offering an incredible diversity of features to suit any shooter’s wants, needs and budget. The Vortek Ultralight started the popular line, and it’s also available in a Northwest Magnum model — legal for hunting in states with breech and nipple restrictions. The Ultralight LDR pushed barrel length to increase downrange velocity and accuracy. The Vortek StrikerFire was the first hammerless muzzleloader to hit the market and offers fast, silent lock-down when time is of the essence. The new Vortek StrikerFire LDR is a combination of old and new features of the most popular models all rolled up into a state-of-the-art muzzleloader.

Traditions Firearms is celebrating 30 years of business in 2014 and has produced several models of sidelocks and inline muzzleloaders over that time. It has strived to produce a quality firearm offering accuracy and consistency on the performance side of the equation, further balanced with ease of use and maintenance. The company continues to come up with new innovations, like protected storage for speed loaders in the butt stock. The magnitude of little details is what adds up to great value when all the features are compared to the price.

The new Vortek StrikerFire LDR is loaded with new features that set it apart from anything else on the market. The simple, silent cocking button allows the shooter to slide the striker button forward until it locks, putting the gun in fire mode for instant use. It takes a split second to shoulder the rifle and have it ready to shoot, allowing quicker target acquisition. A red dot is uncovered when the slide is locked into place, letting the shooter know the gun is ready to fire. To uncock the rifle, simply push the spring release button behind the slide to let the mechanism glide back to the safe position. Because there is no external hammer, hunters benefit from a faster lock time and a silent operation that won’t spook game. The slide mechanism is much easier to use when cocking or uncocking the rifle in cold conditions or when wearing gloves. The ease of operation makes it safer for novice hunters to use, feeling confident in their abilities, especially when uncocking a loaded rifle.

Without an external hammer to get in the way, hunters can mount their scopes closer to the barrel. This streamlines the alignment when shouldering the StrikerFire for quick target acquisition. The rifle is truly ambidextrous, with the same operation whether mounted for a left- or right-handed shooter. Even the trigger is designed with a straight blade, for comfortable use by multiple shooters or for situations where you need to shoot with your alternate hand.

The oversized hinge release, or barrel catch mechanism, on the front of the trigger guard can be used by either hand, and is easily operated when wearing gloves or dealing with cold or wet fingers. The mechanism is wide enough for two fingers, making it straightforward to locate and use without looking. If the release device is activated when the gun is cocked, it will automatically release the slide and put the rifle back in the uncocked and safe position. This is an important safety feature to ensure the gun can never be opened when ready to fire.

The trigger might confuse some shooters the first time they try it. It is a two-stage, competition-style trigger, and when you understand how the trigger works, the advantages will become clear. When you initially pressure the trigger, there is some pickup without resistance, but once a little resistance is detected, the trigger is ready to break clean. It is set with a lightweight 2-pound breaking point right from the factory. It is fully adjustable, with no creep, and it breaks clean for dependable and repeatable results. If you understand the concept of the two-stage design, you will embrace the advantages for consistent results with tighter groups.

Traditions is one of the few muzzleloader manufacturers to offer multiple safety features in all its rifles. The StrikerFire LDR includes a dual-safety system, with a manual trigger-block, which can be engaged when the gun is cocked, preventing it from going off. A simple bolt above the trigger is slid to the left to put the gun in fire mode or pushed tight to be safe. A red line exposed on the block when the rifle is in the fire position is used as a visual indicator and check. An internal striker block is built in as a secondary safety. Even when shock- and hammer-tested for striker release, the firing pin will not move forward. The only way to engage the firing pin to the primer is by releasing the striker with trigger pull. Even if you dropped this firearm from a treestand in the cocked position, with the safety off, it would not fire.

Traditions simplified its breech plug several years ago by integrating the ignition port into the device and eliminating the nipple altogether. The entire ignition system for the gun operates through an easy-to-remove Accelerator breech plug, which can be inserted or removed without the use of tools. The primer is inserted directly into the face of the breech, which is clearly exposed when the rifle is open. Primers fit snug so they won’t fall out, yet are easy to extract after being fired. There is no need for a priming tool, and the 209 primers can be placed with fingers only. The breech system has a set of O-rings which seal the powder in the barrel and reduce blowback and residue when firing. Yet another safety feature built into the breech plug means the gun can’t be cocked if the plug isn’t completely screwed in. The threads only have to be finger tight, but if the breech plug is not fully screwed into the barrel it could be dangerous to the shooter. If the rifle is properly cleaned and maintained, the breech plug can be removed by hand in just three turns without the need of a tool, as long as the threads are properly lubricated before assembly.

There is a Vortek StrikerFire Northwest LDR model that comes equipped with a Magnum Musket Ignition and open sights, making it legal to use in Washington, Idaho and Oregon. It has all the features of the regular StrikerFire LDR with modifications to ignition and breech for the specific legal requirements.

The LDR portion of the name comes from the 30-inch barrel made of chrome-moly steel, recognized in the firearm industry as the best barrel material for strength and accuracy. The long barrel is what makes the rifle shoot long distance accurately and consistently. The barrel length ensures complete powder burn even with maximum magnum loads. With 1:28 inch twist rifling, the barrel ensures bullet flight is stable when combined with the extra length. Fluting for reduced barrel weight prevents the gun from being heavy and unbalanced on the front end. Even with a 30-inch barrel, the rifle weighs just 6.8 pounds. The barrel helps give it a modern look with overall appeal for a multitude of shooters. The Traditions projectile alignment system includes a recessed barrel for quick bullet starts. There is no need for a bullet starter, with the shooter being able to seat the sabot and bullet with a finger or thumb.

The forearm of the rifle can be removed with a 4mm Allen key to extract a simple screw holding it to the barrel, so the rifle can be completely stripped down for cleaning or maintenance. A single pin needs to be taken out to remove the striker mechanism and firing pin for cleaning. This allows you to clean all parts and lubricate the striker mechanism for increased reliability.

The StrikerFire’s Stow-N-Go removable butt pad and hollow buttstock double as convenient storage for patches, speed loaders or extra primers. It is a convenient, dry location to store loads, so they will always be with you in the field. The Soft-Grip Stock with Hogue over-molded grip panels on the palm swell and forestock are comfortable to handle, letting you confidently hold the gun in any weather. It is available in black or Realtree Xtra camouflage. 

The entire Vortek line loads effortlessly with pellet or loose powder and performs well with a variety of powder charges. The bullet can be dropped into the end of the barrel and started with a single finger, keeping it straight for better accuracy. The solid aluminum ramrod is durable and can be used under different conditions and temperatures. The simplicity of loading makes this rifle ideal for young shooters that might not have the strength to load rifles with tighter tolerances.

Exposed metal parts on the rifle are treated with a Cerakote finish, which adds durability, corrosion resistance, hardness and complete weatherproofing.

This rifle will stand out at the range with tight shot groupings beyond 200 yards. It is extremely well machined and finished, easy to use and maintain, and is value priced.


Model: Vortek StrikerFire LDR

Caliber: .50-caliber

Length of pull: 13½ inches

Overall length: 46 inches

Weight: 6.8 pounds

Action: Hinged break-action

Twist rate: 1:28 inch

Ignition: 209 shotgun primer

Trigger: TAC2 trigger set at 2 pounds

Barrel length: 30-inch tapered, fluted, magnum chrome-moly barrel

Cocking mechanism: StrikerFire slide button or mechanism

Stock: Ambidextrous, standard soft-grip stock available in combinations of black/stainless, Realtree Xtra/Stainless or full Realtree Xtra

Finish: Cerekote corrosion resistant (internal and external barrel and all critical components)

Sights: Drilled and taped for scope and with Williams Fiber Optic Metal Sights on Northwest Magnum model

Other features: solid aluminum ramrod, extendable jag, soft recoil pad, sling swivels, hollow buttstock for storage

MSRP: $524 for the matte black stock and $614 and $693 for the camouflage

For more information:; (860) 388-4656


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