In lay man terms, a muzzleloader is defined as a gun that is loaded with ammunition or projectile, through its muzzle. In other words, it is loaded from the forward, open end of the weapon’s barrel. With its growing power and accuracy, this black powder weapon is very popular and is among most hunter’s first choice.
The modern muzzleloaders are basically with the inline style however, there are quite a number of products, utilizing the traditional flintlock style. Compared to the traditional ones, the latest muzzleloaders went through a lot of improvements which results in its long range capabilities of beyond 200 yards.
So, how is the ammo loaded into the muzzle? To answer your question, there are various ways to load in your ammo (make your own ammo using a reloading press!) including putting it in using a powder flask, solid propellant pellets or cartridges according to your preference. The factors that affect the performance of the best muzzleloader is the type of caliber it fits, style and varying lengths and sizes.
Moving on, it is mainly used on special hunt seasons. Hunters love and will always be up to the challenge of getting close to your target for a shot. Not only that, it can be used to shoot down both small and large games. Having a muzzleloader gives you an upper hand of being able to hunt in primitive-weapon seasons or special season events.
Best Muzzleloader for the Money 2019
Here are the best muzzleloaders of 2019…
|Name of Product||Weight||Overall Length||Barrel Length||Price|
|CVA Optima V2||6.65 lb||41 inch||26 inch||$$$|
|Thompson Center Pro Hunter||7 lb||40.5 ich||26 inch||$$$|
|Remington 700 Ultimate||8.5 lb||47 inch||26 inch||$$$|
|CVA Wolf Gun||6.25 lb||39 inch||24 inch||$$$|
|Thompson Center Pro Hunter||7 lb||40.5 inch||26 inch||$$$|
|Thompson Center Triumph Bone||6.5 lb||42.5 inch||28 inch||$$$|
|Thompson Center Strike||7.5 lb||41 inch||24 inch||$$$|
|Thompson Center Triumph||7 lb||47.5 inch||28 inch||$$$|
1. CVA Optima V2 Muzzleloader
First and foremost, this product utilizes the break-action style in which you need to push the breech button causing the barrel to break open and reveal the breach plug. This process comes in handy for ease of cleaning, priming and unloading the weapon. That being said, it is equipped with a quick-release breech plug.
The breech plug on the other hand is removable even after multiple shots, without requiring any additional tools to do so. Apart from that, it includes either a standard or thumbhole stock which is fully ambidextrous (really user-friendly!) as it can be utilized by both left and right-handed users. It other words, it comes with an ambidextrous composite stock.
For further clarification, the standard stock version is suitable for open sights or scope meanwhile the thumbhole stock comes with a comb height which is optimized to allow perfect alignment when a scope is attached. Its solid aluminum palm-saver ramrod on the other hand comes in handy to push the powdered pellets into the barrel with maximum ease.
Moreover, this black powder firearm includes Dura Sight Z2 alloy fiber optic sights upon purchase. Not only that, it has a crush zone recoil pad as well as a reversible hammer spur feature. That being said, the recoil pad reduces the felt recoil and absorbs impacts when the rifle is fired meanwhile the hammer spur allows you to capitalize on the ambidextrous stock. Also, you can easily pull the hammer back even with the scope mounted on it.
The bullet guiding muzzle system assists for excellent pinpoint accuracy. Furthermore, this product comes with a 416-grade stainless steel barrel which measures 26 inches. Conversely, the overall length measures 41 inches. That being said, the stainless steel material resists corrosion on the interior and exterior of the muzzleloader.
In other words, it has a stainless steel finish together with a matte black synthetic stock. The trigger on the other hand is extremely crisp and precise therefore contributing to a simpler trigger pull, for your added convenience. All in all, this upgraded unit replaces the original Optima version and is able to accommodate cartridges with .50 caliber.
Suitable for :
- Dura Sight fiber optic
- Stainless steel barrel
- Quick-release breech plug
- Ambidextrous composite stock
- Break action weapon
2. Thompson Center Pro Hunter Muzzleloader
The T/C center pro weapon features the famous pro hunter break-open action which involves the barrel breaking open to expose the breech. Moving on, it comes with hand-removable speed breech feature which includes 3 breech plug. The quick speed breech plug comes in handy for easier reloading as well as convenient cleaning of the barrel.
To remove the breech plug, all you need to do is turn it 3 times, with 3 full rotations and voila, it comes out with no problem. Priming would be super easy with the handy breech plug, which you can remove without needing any additional tools.
Apart from that, this product includes a weather shield finish with a fluted barrel measuring 26 inches (total overall length is 40.5 inches). The fluted barrel is important as it contributes to weight reduction and a thicker barrel hence improving the stability of the barrel.
The weather shield finish on the other hand is a rather unique coating which functions to protect the metal parts of the muzzleloader from undergoing corrosion, hence being very weather-resistant.
Another plus point is that the new and upgraded weather shield coating can be hard baked onto the regular carbon steel material, therefore giving you a good enough, reliable and durable finish instead of using the stainless steel material. The best thing is that it delivers the same excellent performance but with cheaper price, for your convenience.
That being said, the matte silver weather shield finish comes with the matte black Flex-Tech composite stock. Not only that, it includes the fancy QLA muzzle system to ensure easy cleaning as well as reloading. In other words, the QLA system prepares each bullet to get ready fast and loaded for the next shot.
Furthermore, it has a rugged and almost recoil-free Flex tech stock and forend which stands up for rough use and able to handle powerful impacts from recoils. This product also comes with a steel, adjustable fiber optic sight and scope. This combination makes it a great addition for long range shooting.
This muzzleloader is able to accommodate .50 caliber cartridges. It is able to produce an accurate shot with tighter groups, at longer ranges. Not only that, it is equipped with a ramrod holder outside the stock which is important to push down the pellets or gun powder into the barrel with ease.
Suitable for :
- Hand-removable speed breech
- Recoil-reducing Flextech stock
- Includes fiber optics and scope
- Weather shield finish
- QLA muzzle system
3. Remington 700 Ultimate Muzzleloaders
The Remington 700 muzzleloader is rather easy to operate. In other words, you just need to simply drop in a piece of prime brass into the loading port, push the bullet forward and rotate the bolt handle downwards followed by sliding the 2 toggle safety forward, pull the trigger and voila, fire the shot. Those are the steps, briefly at least!
Instead of relying on the 209 primer for ignition, this product utilizes the Magnum rifle primer similar to the one found in a centerfire cartridge. The Magnum primer on the other hand is a shortened and modified cartridge case that interfaces with a specially designed plug for smooth shooting operation. In other words, it features the UML ignition system for 300-yards performance.
Furthermore, the receiver is machined from solid steel bar stock as well as matte stainless steel finish which further contributes to its durability. In addition to that, it includes a 26 inch stainless steel fluted barrel. The stainless steel material prevents corrosion on the barrel whereas the stability of this product is improved with the fluted barrel.
You are given the choice to choose between the Belt and Carlson medalist M40 laminated wood or synthetic stock which solely depends on your personal preference. The stock on the other hand has a raised comb that provides a solid cheek weld when looking through the scope. All in all, it is built from the legendary model 700 receiver.
In addition to that, this product comes with hard case with 24 pieces of primed brass as well as 24 Remington Premier Accutip 250 grains saboted ammunition. The muzzle velocity is said to be about 2400 feet per second (fps). Also, it fits a .50 caliber and has a barrel twist of 1 in 26 inch.
The bolt has an extractor, however it has no ejector. As a result of that, you will have to pluck the used and fire case from the bolt area. Moving on to the breech plug, it is rather easy to remove them quickly for easy barrel cleaning as well as reloading.
Besides that, the rigid stock comes with a bedding system. That being said, the bedding system allows the barrel to remain free-floating therefore improving the precision of your shot. All in all, the Remington muzzleloader is able to contribute to the accuracy of your shot, especially at longer ranges.
Suitable for :
- UML ignition system
- Stainless steel fluted barrel
- Quick removal breech plug
- Solid steel bar stock with raised comb
- Matte stainless steel finish
4. CVA Wolf Gun
First and foremost, the CVA Wolf firearm is a great and suitable choice for young and small-framed shooters. It is basically a break-action rifle, where the barrel and the breech plays an important role in the working mechanism of the rifle. To be more specific, the barrel and receiver are joined by a pin that makes the assembly a pivoting hinge.
In other words, the breech button in front of the trigger guard is pressed causing the barrel to pivot or break open hence revealing the breech plug. This in return makes it a whole lot easier and assists in cleaning and reloading. Also, the breeching button is located in front of the trigger guard.
Speaking about breech, this product features a quick-release breech plug. You can remove the breech plug easily and that’s not the best part; you get to do so tool-less, in which it can be removed with your fingers itself. Apart from that, the sleek combination of the bullet guiding muzzle system as well as the dead on single piece Durasight scope delivers excellent pinpoint accuracy.
Safety tip : Always keep the gun’s muzzle pointed in a safe direction, away from you.
Moreover, this muzzleloader is rather user-friendly because it comes with an ambidextrous stock, where it is able to be utilized by both left and right-handed users. Also, it includes a reversible hammer spur which acts as a reversible cocking spur, further contributing to its ambidextrous purpose.
Not only that, it features a crushzone recoil pad as well as a palm-saver aluminum ramrod. The recoil pad is located at the end of the butt-stock and comes in handy to reduce the recoil felt when the gun is fired whereas the ramrod assists in pushing down the gun powder (.50 caliber cartridge) into the barrel. Also, it includes a sling swivel stud at the front and rear of the weapon so you can attach slings to it, according to your preference.
The barrel, measuring 24 inches on the other hand is constructed from 16 grade stainless steel, therefore ensuring that it is resistant to corrosion which further contributes to its durability. Also, it is equipped with a recessed muzzle for easy and quick ammo reloading. All in all, it comes in a blued finish with a matte black synthetic stock.
Suitable for :
- Quick-release breech plug
- Bullet guiding muzzle system
- Crush zone recoil pad
- Break-action rifle
- Stainless steel barrel
5. Thompson Center Pro Hunter with Scope Combo
One unique thing about this product is, it includes a scope and gun case combo. In other words, you are entitled to receive the muzzleloader itself, together with a scope and gun case upon the purchase of this product. The scope is none other than the factory installed and bore sighted Vortex Crossfire II 3-9x40mm.
That being said, the scope has a dead hold BDC reticle, with fully multi-coated lenses, fast-focus eyepiece as well as a waterproof and nitrogen-purged one-piece tube. This scope is rather a great scope, and the best thing is buying this product will save you another trip to the store to get a scope individually. Also, it includes a soft-sided and padded gun case so you can store your weapon in securely.
Like the other T/C pro hunter, this product comes with a weather shield finish. This type of finish allows for the use of the muzzleloader during any weather conditions, rain or shine. For your information, the weather shield finish is a lot cheaper compared to having a stainless steel finish. Despite being cheaper, it delivers almost the same superior performance as the latter.
Moving on to the barrel, it measures 26 inches and has a 1 in 28 inch rate of twist. The barrel is fluted to improve the stability of the firearm. Not only that, it is equipped with the famous pro-hunter break-open action which basically involves the barrel breaking open and revealing the breech plug.
Furthermore, it includes a rugged and over-molded Flex tech stock and forend. This stock comes with a recoil pad at the back which comes in handy to absorb shock and reduce the felt recoil. The aluminum ramrod on the other hand can be tucked into the side of the weapon and functions to push down the ammo pellets down the barrel.
It comes with a triple lead breech plug that can be removed with your hands, for your added convenience. In other words, any form of tools are not required to remove the plug. The quick-release plug contributes to simple priming, reloading and cleaning. To remove it, you simply have to turn it 3 times with 3 full rotations and voila, it’s out.
Apart from that, it comes with a 209 primer ignition where the 209 primer is placed into the breech area before firing your weapon. The swing hammer on the other hand allows for easy breech access with maximum convenience. All in all, this firearm is rather rugged as it comes with a matte silver weather shield finish with a realtree (camo) AP Flex Tech composite stock.
Suitable for :
- Weather shield finish
- 26 inch fluted barrel
- Hand-removable triple lead breech plug
- Includes scope and gun case
- Flex Tech composite camo stock
6. Thompson Center Triumph Bone Collector
With only 4 moving parts, the gun cleaning process is rather simple. Therefore, there is no need to remove the trigger group, disassemble or use any sort of tools to clean the rifle. Besides that, the gun is made from an ultra-light frame and comes with a tough aircraft grade aluminum construction that further contributes to its durability.
Furthermore, it comes with a weather shield finish with a realtree camo stock which is rather rugged and easy on the eyes, might I add. The weather shield finish is a cheaper version than having the stainless steel finish however both delivers the same excellent performance. It can be used under all weather conditions, whether rain or shine.
The stock on the other hand is made from a camo finish which provides excellent camouflage especially if you’re hunting in the wilderness, because the stock will successfully blend in the terrain and trees. The stock comes with a Flex Tech feature in which it has a recoil pad at the back of the buttstock which functions to reduce the felt recoil when the gun is fired.
This product is equipped with an adjustable fiber optic which comes in handy for better aiming at your target and will most probably land you an accurate shot. Meanwhile, the ramrod is a great addition to this product as it pushes the powder and bullet into the barrel with ease, for simple reloading. Another plus point is that this built-in ramrod can be tucked away when not in use.
Besides that, the breech plug is rather easy to remove with your hands itself, instead of using tools to do so. You just have to turn it a little to the quarter and voila, it’s out in your hands. The breech plug is removed for simple cleaning of the barrel to prevent fouling from occurring as well as for simple reloading and priming.
The speed breech feature further contributes to the speedy reloading of the bullets before firing a shot. Also, here is another important tip for you to ponder; cock the ambidextrous hammer only when you’re ready to fire the muzzleloader. Also, the ambidextrous hammer is really user-friendly because it acts as a reversible cocking device that can be utilized by both right and left-handed users.
Suitable for :
- 4 moving parts
- Weather shield finish
- Ambidextrous hammer
- Speed breech feature
- Flex Tech stock
7. Thompson Center Strike Muzzleloader
First thing first, the T/C Strike gun comes with a new stealth striker ambidextrous cocking system, replacing the standard hammer. The sliding striker comes in handy as it is quieter and less intrusive compared to the hammers. Not forgetting, it is ambidextrous as it can be reversibly cocked to accommodate the needs of both left and right-handed users.
Apart from that, its new adapt breech system on the other hand moves the thread to the exterior of the barrel therefore eliminating seized breech plugs as well as simplifying the cleaning process. The quick-removal of breech plug comes in handy for simple and fast priming and reloading.
This product includes a pair of threadless primer adaptors that holds the 209 primer. Since it comes in a pair, one of the adaptor is used for loose powder meanwhile the other is used for pellet propellants. In terms of appearance, it includes an armor knight metal finish which has a nitride coating that further extends the barrel life in the long run.
Moving on to the stock, the stock has a walnut finish which is rather attractive, in my opinion. Not only that, it incorporates the QLA (Quick Load Accurizer) muzzle system. That being said, this muzzle system allows projectiles to be seated evenly for maximum accuracy potential, therefore most probably landing you an accurate shot.
Equipped with a limited lifetime warranty, the total length of this black powder gun is 41 inches meanwhile its barrel measures 24 inches. The barrel has a rifle twist of 1 in 28 inches and is designed to accommodate high performance projectiles.
The trigger on the other hand provides a clean and crisp pull, at about the pull weight of 3.5 pounds. Also, it includes an adjustable fiber optic sight with a weaver scope base. To cock the gun, you need to push the safety, also referred to the cocking slide, forward. The red dot shows that you can fire.
Suitable for :
- New adapt breech system
- New stealth striker cocking system
- Adjustable fiber optic sights
- Clean and crisp trigger pull
8. Thompson Center Triumph Weather Shield Muzzleloader
In terms of construction, this muzzleloader comes with an ultra-light frame, constructed from aircraft grade aluminium material. That being said, the all alloy receiver reduces the weight and balances the rifle for natural handling. In addition to that, it is equipped with an advanced metal coating for excellent corrosion protection.
In other words, the weather shield coating provides protection from elements and all weather conditions. This product has 4 moving parts only so removing trigger groups, dissembling or using tools are not required, for your added convenience. In fact, it includes a new tip-up barrel with a toggle lock design which only boasts 4 moving parts for simple use and cleaning.
Furthermore, it features the QLA (Quick Load Accurizer) feature which comes in handy to allow shooters to quickly and easily load the muzzleloader by incorporating a false muzzle design into the end of the barrel.
Apart from that, by tipping the barrel upwards, the stock distance is increased therefore allowing the shooter greater access to the breech area for priming and cleaning. The barrel measures 28 inches meanwhile the overall length is 47.5 inches. Not only that, it has a great recoil pad that evenly distributes the weight of the muzzleloader as well as reducing the felt recoil when the rifle is fired.
Speaking about stocks, the muzzleloader comes with a durable, polymer stock together with the famous weather shield finish. In terms of safety on the other hand, this black powder gun incorporates an automatic hammer block version with all the triggers (fancy a replacement trigger?) coming factory set at 3 to 3.5 pounds (pull weight).
In addition to that, it includes the speed breech XT. This feature is classified as one of the most innovative designs in which the breech plug can be removed with your hands itself (without using any tools). You just need to make a 90 degrees rotation and pull it out with maximum ease.
The ground breaking design on the other hand eliminates the need to clean the breech threading where fouling usually accumulates. This is because 95% of the harmful blowback gas are eliminated by the 3 gas compression rings, which are here to save the day.
Suitable for :
- Aluminium construction
- Weather shield finish
- Toggle lock design
- QLA muzzle system
- Speed breech XT feature
- Ground breaking design
Key Features of a Muzzleloader
The barrel style refers to how the barrel is designed and its construction on the rifle. First things first, it is best to get a barrel with stainless steel finish because they are a lot easier to clean and handle. Its alloy construction enables it to be utilized under any weather conditions, whether rain or shine.
However, the Thompson Center muzzleloaders has an innovative weather shield finish that is a brilliant design, in my opinion. Since it doesn’t require the usage of stainless steel, it would be a lot cheaper but delivers great weather-resistant performance.
The twist rate of the barrel on the other hand is fairly important. In other words, they are defined as the rate of spin in the barrel, measured in inches per turn. Your barrel should have the right twist rate to stabilize your bullets when shooting. The common twist rates include 1:28 or 1:24 for best shooting performance.
The most commonly used caliber in all muzzleloaders are the .50 caliber. So what does a caliber mean? It is generally the internal diameter or bore of your bullet. In other words, the .50 caliber means that the rifle has a bore diameter of 0.50 inches. Apart from that, it is important you get updates and check out the legal calibers allowed in your state before further proceeding.
Also referred as the black powder gun, the ignition system in the muzzleloader refers on how the weapon ignites the black powder inside the barrel. There are various types of muzzleloaders out there, be it the traditional or modern type. Most products actually comes with the modern type which is the in-line ignition system.
For the in-line ignition, the sparks coming from the cap follows a direct line route, or also known as in-line for better access to ignite the firing mechanism of your rifle. In other words, the primer cap can be directly set behind the charge in the barrel of the gun. It is known to be an easy and reliable method.
For the traditional style flintlock ignition on the other hand, it is used in the early 1600s. Its operation is rather simple; you need to create a spark which will then light the black powder in the barrel of your gun. To create the spark, the ‘flint and steel’ method is utilized with the principle that if the sparks come near the black powder, it will be ignited.
Type of Action
The action is the part of the firearm that involves loading, firing and ejecting the cartridge. Most muzzleloaders utilize the break-action method. So, how does this method work? To answer your query, the barrel and receiver are joined with a pin that makes the assembly a pivoting hinge.
The breech button is pressed therefore resulting in the barrel to pivot or break open and revealing the breech plug for simple reloading as well as easy cleaning. The .17 HMR rifle on the other hand (previous article) uses the bolt-action method. That being said, the bolt is operated by opening and closing the breech with a small handle.
In a nutshell, a muzzleloader is rather simple to operate once you get a hang of its operation process. You just need to keep in mind an important tip; for the best performance of your gun, you need to properly maintain it by cleaning and oiling it regularly. That is the biggest secret behind every muzzleloader’s success.