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Best Muzzleloader Bullets for 2022

Best Muzzleloader Bullets for 2022

After thorough shooting, testing and customer feedback, our team has assembled what we think are the Best Muzzleloader Bullets for 2022. Advancements in bullet technology over the years have left muzzleloader projectiles almost unrecognizable. Blackpowder bullets started with a round ball and over the course of a few hundred years, have developed bullets like the PowerBelt ELR and Thor Lightning. More options and increased efficiency are helpful, but can also complicate the process of finding the right muzzleloader bullet for your rifle.

It is our passion to simplify muzzleloading and make the sport easily accessible. That is why our team assembled a list of the top muzzleloader bullets for 2022. In this article, we will separate these bullets into seven different categories so you can discern and educate yourself on which bullet will best fit your needs.  

 

Best Long-Range Muzzleloader Bullets

Best Long Range Bullet

Long range muzzleloading has exploded onto the scene in recent years due to the addition of muzzleloaders like the Remington 700 UML and CVA Paramount. Our team is passionate about long range shooting and we are particularly excited about this addition to our sport. When considering bullets for long-range muzzleloading, ballistic coefficient and gas seal are most important. The combination of these two characteristics allows a bullet to have shot-to-shot consistency and long-range stabilization. With these factors in mind, there is one bullet that stands out, the PowerBelt ELR.

The ELR bullet made its debut in 2019 alongside the CVA Paramount. This bullet has stood the test of time and proven its worth in the field and at the range. The .40 caliber version boasts a ballistic coefficient of .360, which is remarkable for a muzzleloading projectile. For reference, most muzzleloader bullets have a ballistic coefficient from .200 to .275. It is also available in .45 and .50 caliber allowing you to utilize this bullet regardless of your caliber preference. Combine this with the quality PowerBelt gas seal and you have a bullet that is unmatched at longer ranges. 

SPECIFICATIONS
POWERBELT ELR
Bullet Weight
225 GRAINS
Bullet Tip
POLYMER TIP
Package Quantity
15 PACK
Bullet Caliber
.40 CALIBER
Construction COPPER PLATED

 

 

Best Muzzleloader Deer Bullet

Best Deer Bullet

Whitetail deer are the most pursued big game animal in the United States, so the need of a muzzleloader bullet for deer hunting at some point in your muzzleloading career is very likely. To be considered a good muzzleloader deer bullet, we are looking for a projectile in the 230-270 grain weight range with excellent expansion and accuracy. There are many options available that meet these criteria but we narrowed the list down to three options; the Thor Hammer, Traditions Smackdown Carnivore, and PowerBelt AeroLite. In terms of muzzleloader deer bullets, we consider these to be the best options, with our pick for 2022 going to the PowerBelt AeroLite. 

The PowerBelt AeroLite has been one of our most popular bullets for many years and for good reason. This bullet is designed for low-velocity and rapid expansion making it perfect for deer hunting. Like the ELR bullet, the PowerBelt AeroLite also features the iconic PowerBelt gas seal so you can count on shot-to-shot consistency. All of these features make this the best deer hunting bullet.

SPECIFICATIONS
POWERBELT AEROLITE BULLETS
Bullet Weight
250 GRAINS
Bullet Tip
POLYMER TIP
Package Quantity
15 PACK
Bullet Caliber
.50 CALIBER
Construction COPPER PLATED

 



Best Muzzleloader Bullet for Elk

Best Elk Bullet

Whitetail might be the most hunted big game animal in the United States but Elk are the most coveted. The sound of a bull elk bugling is enough to make even the most experienced hunter's heart race. Elk hunting is something that our team is passionate about and we are excited to give you our muzzleloader elk bullet recommendation. For Elk hunting, we are looking for a bullet in the 300-grain weight range with high weight retention for additional penetration. The Hornady BoreDriver, Thor Hammer, PowerBelt Platinum, and Barnes SpitFire T-EZ all fit the bill. Ultimately, we gave the award to the Barnes SpitFire T-EZ. 

The Barnes Spitfire T-EZ is light, weighing in at 290 grains, but its incredible expansion and nearly 100% weight retention make up for the deficit in weight. The bullet is also 100% copper making it one of a select few bullets that are legal in California. The Barnes bullets also come with easy-to-load (EZ) sabots. If you are looking for a muzzleloader elk hunting adventure, the Barnes SpitFire T-EZ is the bullet for you.

SPECIFICATIONS
BARNES T-EZ BULLETS
Bullet Weight
250-300 GRAINS
Bullet Tip
POLYMER TIP
Package Quantity
15 OR 24 PACK
Bullet Caliber
.50 CALIBER
Construction ALL COPPER

 

 

Best Saboted Bullet

Best Saboted Bullet

Saboted bullet technology is not new but has been perfected in recent years. In this category, we are looking for a bullet that is easy to load and does not compromise gas seal or bullet performance. The Traditions Smackdown XR, Barnes SpitFire T-EZ, and the Hornady SST are all contenders for this award. A strong case could be made for any one of these bullets but we give the award to the Traditions Smackdown XR. 

The Traditions Ridgeback sabots are engineered with horizontal ribs to improve gas seal and are easy to load. The XR bullet technology features a high ballistic coefficient and is designed to perform at any range. If you are looking for the best saboted bullet for your next muzzleloader hunt, you cannot go wrong with the Traditions Smackdown XR.

SPECIFICATIONS
TRADITIONS SMACKDOWN XR
Bullet Weight
200-250 GRAINS
Bullet Tip
POLYMER TIP
Package Quantity
15 PACK
Bullet Caliber
.50 CALIBER
Construction COPPER PLATED

 

 

Best Full Bore Muzzleloader Bullets

Best Full Bore Conical Bullet

A full bore conical is different from a saboted bullet in that the diameter of the bullet is the same as the diameter of the bore. With certain states like Colorado requiring full bore conical bullets during muzzleloader season, we think it important to share our recommendation for the best full bore bullet. The Thor Hammer, Hornady BoreDriver FTX, Federal B.O.R. Lock and PowerBelt ELR are all contenders for this award, but with all things considered The Hornady BoreDriver FTX wins this one. 

The Hornady BoreDriver was introduced in 2021 and our testing has indicated that they are one of the best bullet options on the market. The BoreDrivers weigh in at 290 grains which makes them an excellent option for both elk and deer. Hornady’s InterLock ring paired with their FlexTip technology produces a bullet that has both excellent weight retention and expansion. If you have a Colorado muzzleloader hunt scheduled, we highly recommend the Hornady BoreDriver FTX.

SPECIFICATIONS
HORNADY BORE DRIVER FTX
Bullet Weight
290 GRAINS
Bullet Tip
POLYMER TIP
Package Quantity
20 PACK
Bullet Caliber
.50 CALIBER
Construction COPPER PLATED

 

 

Best Northwest Muzzleloader Bullets

Best Northwest Legal Bullet

The Pacific Northwest and specifically Oregon and Idaho are known for having the most strict and complicated muzzleloader regulations in the country. Because of this, we are going to choose two bullets for this category, one for Oregon and one for Idaho. The options are limited when you are hunting in the northwest but there are still some heavy-hitting bullets for hunters looking to chase animals with a smoke pole. 

The Oregon winner is the Thor Hammer. We have tested these bullets extensively and in our opinion, they are the best option for anyone looking to muzzleloader hunt in Oregon. The Thor Hammer offers a custom gas seal that is unique to your muzzleloader providing you with the best possible shot-to-shot consistency. Its all copper design boasts nearly 100% weight retention and excellent expansion making it perfect for any big game animal. 

SPECIFICATIONS
THOR LIGHTNING BULLETS
Bullet Weight
247-297 GRAINS
Bullet Tip
HOLLOW POINT
Package Quantity
15 OR 50 PACK
Bullet Caliber
.50 CALIBER
Construction ALL COPPER

Our Idaho winner is the PowerBelt Pure Lead. Idaho regulations state that the muzzleloader must be “loaded only with a patched round ball or conical non-jacketed projectile comprised wholly of lead or lead alloy” and they must also be full bore. This rule is particularly restrictive as there are not many modern projectiles that comply, however, PowerBelt created a bullet that provides a unique edge for those looking to muzzleloader hunt in Idaho. PowerBelt integrated their unique belted design with a lead projectile in a way that is compliant with the Idaho regulations. This design allows hunters to have a more efficient gas seal for additional consistency. In our opinion, this is the best muzzleloader bullet in Idaho. 

SPECIFICATIONS
POWERBELT PURE LEAD BULLETS
Bullet Weight
295-405 GRAINS
Bullet Tip
HOLLOW POINT
Package Quantity
15 PACK
Bullet Caliber
.50 CALIBER
Construction LEAD

 


Best Muzzleloader Bullet

Best Overall Bullet

We have examined many different bullets in this article, all of which have proven themselves in their respective categories but that begs the question, what is the best overall bullet? When considering which of these bullets is the best overall, we have to take into consideration legality, versatility, and performance. We could make a strong case for the Thor Hammer, PowerBelt ELR, and Hornady BoreDriver FTX but with all things considered, the award of best muzzleloader bullet of 2022 goes to the PowerBelt ELR. 

The PowerBelt ELR bullet’s caliber diversity and high-ballistic coefficient give it superior versatility and performance at long range which distinguishes it as the best muzzleloader bullet for 2022. If you are looking to try a new muzzleloader bullet but don’t know where to start, the PowerBelt ELR is what we recommend. 

SPECIFICATIONS
POWERBELT ELR BULLETS
Bullet Weight
270-325 GRAINS
Bullet Tip
POLYMER TIP
Package Quantity
15 PACK
Bullet Caliber
.50 CALIBER
Construction LEAD


Conclusion

In conclusion, it's hard to go wrong when choosing a muzzleloader bullet in 2022. We think that the diversity of options is a good thing for muzzleloading and believe that it will lead to more engagement in our sport. If you are interested in any of these bullets, they are all available on our website and you are welcome to contact our friendly and knowledgable customer service team at 1-855-236-5000 or you can send us an email at sales@muzzle-loaders.com if you have any questions. 



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