Federal FireStick
(top)The Federal FireStick contains a pre-measured charge of Hogdon powder. (middle) The rear of the FireStick accepts a standard 209 primer. (bottom) Here you can see the powder charge from the front. Joseph Albanese

Federal Ammunition, in conjunction with Traditions Firearms, has introduced a brand new way to charge a muzzleloader that could change the way you think of the firearm platform, and the way you hunt with them.

The new system still requires you to load a projectile from the business end—so it’s still a muzzleloader—but adding the propellant charge is much different and much easier.

The FireStick is a plastic tube that kind of looks like a slightly bigger, all plastic, .410 shotshell. It contains a load of Hodgdon’s new Triple Eight powder where it is completely stable and—get this—waterproof with an indefinite shelf life.

Federal FireStick NitroFire Rifle
Once the bullet is seated in the barrel, the FireStick is loaded into the breech of the NitroFire rifle. Joseph Albanese

The back of the FireStick accepts a standard 209 primer, which sets off the charge as normal. Once the primer is inserted, insert the FireStick into the breech of Traditions’ new NitroFire rifle, which was designed in conjunction with the FireStick, and you’re ready to shoot.

The powder charge is always protected from moisture inside the firearm and out, and if you don’t end up taking a shot, or need to cross a stream or hop a fence, you simply remove the FireStick from the breech and the only thing in the firearm is the projectile—no charge, no primer and completely safe. Then, you just reload the FireStick after crossing the obstacle or having lunch back at the truck and you’re ready to take a shot. Plus, while you’re hunting, the powder charge is sitting in a plastic hull, not in the barrel of your gun, leading to less corrosion.

Traditions NitroFire rifle
Traditions’ new NitroFire rifle firing the new Federal Firestick ignition system. Joseph Alabense

And if you strike out for the day, just remove the FireStick to unload the gun and make it safe, and push out the bullet with a rod when you get home or leave it in the barrel. The rep from Traditions at Industry Day at the Range also said a good amount of fouling from the shot actually stays in the expended FireStick, meaning there’s less to clean out of the bore.

This makes the entire process easier and more rugged for hunters—making extended hunting seasons much easier, and it also lowers the barrier of entry a bit into the world of muzzleloaders for those who are a bit intimidated by the whole idea, especially for hunting. The whole process also removes a pass with the ramrod, meaning reloads can be a bit faster, especially if you have a pocket of FireSticks with primers already in place.

Federal FireStick
Once fired, the FireStick is simply removed and discarded along with the spent primer. Joseph Albanese

The FireStick also adds a layer of safety, solving many of the problems that make some uneasy about using muzzleloaders. Removing a primer to make the gun safe is fine, and there is almost no way it can go off in such a state, but being able to easily see if there is a charge in the gun and being able to remove it is fantastic. Also, the combination of the FireStick and NitroFire rifle mean it’s impossible to accidentally double-charge a barrel.

Federal FireStick muzzleloader ignition system
The Federal FireSticks come in packages of 10 in either 100- or 120-grain equivalent charges of Hogdon powder. Joseph Albanese

The Federal FireStick is priced at $26.99 for a pack of 10. The .50-caliber Traditions Nitro is available in several color and barrel length configurations and scoped packages for $549 – $699 depending on options.