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Best Muzzleloaders for 2021

Best Muzzleloaders for 2021

2020 was a year that none of us will forget anytime soon, and we are happy to look forward to new things in 2021! CVA and Traditions have both revealed their new muzzleloaders for 2021, so we are finally unveiling our list of best muzzleloaders for this year. While CVA has certainly shaken things up with the .40 caliber Paramount HTR, Traditions has proven that the NitroFire has been a popular and successful new addition to muzzleloading. With SHOT Show on haitus this year due to complications with COVID, the muzzleloading manufacturers went with staggered rollouts of new products, which was a nice change of pace.

Best New Muzzleloader for 2021

When considering best new muzzleloader for 2021, we have to look at a range of different factors. Primarily, we consider what muzzleloader is the most groundbreaking for the year. Last year, the Traditions NitroFire took home this award for the sheer innovation and ability to bring new people into the sport. This year, we believe that the CVA Paramount HTR .40 Caliber muzzleloader is the winner of Best New Muzzleloader for 2021.

The CVA Paramount HTR builds off the already successful Paramount platform with VariFlame ignition and Bergara barrel, but with a new hunter-friendly stock and CeraKote finish. When pairing the Paramount technology with the .40 caliber PowerBelt ELR bullet, this gun is capable of velocities over 2700 fps, with enough energy to take deer at over 400 yards. This gun will be the ultimate muzzleloader for the hunter looking to stretch the limits of black powder season.

CVA Paramount HRT Muzzleloader

Best Long Range Muzzleloader for 2021

When considering long-range muzzleloaders, our focus is purely on what gun is going to perform best at ranges beyond 250 yards. While centerfire rifles are capable of much more than this, we consider 250 yards long-range for muzzleloaders using black powder and bullets with lower velocities. Based on these considerations, we thought that the CVA Paramount Pro, CVA Paramount HTR, CVA Accura LR-X, Traditions Vortek StrikerFire VAPR LDR, and Thompson Center Pro Hunter FX were all contenders for this award. All of these muzzleloaders are capable of sub-MOA accuracy beyond 250 yards, and will deliver enough energy to ethically take game at those ranges. With all things considered, the CVA Paramount Pro .40 caliber muzzleloader was the clear winner here.

The CVA Paramount Pro .40 cal stands out from the rest because of the ability to produce high velocities, low bullet drops, and incredible accuracy at well over 300 yards. This muzzleloader is equipped with a Greyboe™ stock, TriggerTech trigger, VariFlame ignition, and Bergara barrel. With these features in mind, this gun is basically a custom muzzleloader, for a fraction of a custom price. If you’re looking for the ultimate long-range muzzleloader, the Paramount Pro .40 cal is the gun for you!

CVA Paramount Pro Muzzleloader 

Best Mountain Muzzleloader for 2021

With draw odds decreasing in western states, we have noticed a trend of more hunters applying for muzzleloader tags because of the better odds in high-demand units. With the technology of modern inline muzzleloaders, these guns are capable of longer shots than in the past, as well as being easier to use and clean. Mountain hunters are most interested in a lightweight gun, that is resistant of the elements and maintaining great accuracy. Based on these requests, our picks were the CVA Accura MR-X, CVA Optima V2, Traditions Pursuit XT, Traditions Vortek StrikerFire VAPR, and the Thompson Center Triumph Bone Collector. When considering all the features in these muzzleloaders, it really came down to a battle between the Accura MR-X and the Vortek StrikerFire VAPR. While these guns are both extremely capable, we had to choose the CVA Accura MR-X as the winner because of the Nitride-treaded barrel with a CeraKote finish.

The CVA Accura MR-X is the ultimate mountain muzzleloader with a lightweight design and durable finish. The adjustable cheek piece is a great feature that allows for the use of either open sights or a scope, so this gun is sure to fit your preferred optics. Additionally, the Nitride-treated barrel with exterior CeraKote is about as durable and weatherproof as a gun can get.

CVA Accura MR-X Muzzleloader 

Best Mid-Range Muzzleloader for 2021

The fact is that most hunters are not looking to shoot 300 yards, hike 10 miles in the mountains, or want to break the bank with their next muzzleloader purchase. Because of this, our most popular category of gun is the mid-range muzzleloader, which is also the most versatile category of muzzleloaders. Our qualifications of a mid-range muzzleloader is a gun that is capable of shooting 200 yards, but is under the $500 price point with a scope. The guns that we considered for this award are the CVA Optima V2 Nitride, Traditions Pursuit XT VAPR, and Thompson Center Impact !SB. With all things considered, we believe that the Traditions Pursuit VAPR is the leader of this group because of the lightweight and ergonomic design. While this gun does not have the added Nitride coating like the Optima V2, the lighter design, CeraKote™ coating, and overall feel of this gun make it an incredible value for the performance and features.

The Traditions Pursuit VAPR is an updated version of the popular Pursuit G4 series of muzzleloaders. The new VAPR barrel features a 1:24” twist rate to better stabilize heavier bullets at higher velocities. This allows the Pursuit to shoot further distances with better accuracy. Additionally, the XT Trigger in the Pursuit VAPR is one of the lightest weight and crisp triggers in this price range. The trigger safety is one of the features that we like most, as this is something that many muzzleloaders do not offer. This muzzleloader is perfect for the hunter looking for a lightweight and versatile gun that won’t break the bank!

Traditions Pursuit VAPR XT Muzzleloader

Best Budget Muzzleloader for 2021

It’s no secret that gun prices have increased in the past decade. This is partially due to new technology, but also the increase in raw materials. New muzzleloaders costing over $1,000 can be hard to justify for many hunters, especially with limited seasons in some areas. Guns in this category are offered with or without open sights and are offered with scope combos as well at under $300. The ability to offer a muzzleloader with a scope for under $300 is important to our company and is one of the reasons that we designed our own Muzzle-Loaders.com Genesis scope, to help bring better value to our customers. The guns that we considered for this award are the CVA Wolf and Traditions Buckstalker XT. Between these two guns, we believe that the Traditions Buckstalker XT offers more features for the money.

The Traditions™ Buckstalker XT is a refreshed version of the Buckstalker, at the same price as the 2020 model. The XT Trigger is the same premium trigger that is found in the Pursuit VAPR muzzleloaders. With the XT Trigger, affordable price point, and great fit and finish, we consider the Traditions Buckstalker XT the best budget muzzleloader for 2021.

Traditions Buckstalker XT Muzzleloader

Best Northwest Muzzleloader for 2021

Northwest muzzleloaders are a niche market in which there are only a few models that are legal in Oregon and Idaho. To be legal in these states, an inline muzzleloader has to have a percussion cap ignition, that is also open to the elements. This requires manufacturers to design a different firing pin and breech plug to comply with these two states. Additionally, both Oregon and Idaho muzzleloader regulations restrict hunters to open sights only. With these requirements in mind, we considered the CVA Optima V2 Northwest, CVA Accura MR-X Northwest, Traditions Pursuit Hardwoods, and Traditions Pursuit Northwest LDR. Because of the price point and features of the Pursuit VAPR LDR, we chose that muzzleloader as the Best Northwest Muzzleloader for 2021.

The Traditions Pursuit Northwest VAPR LDR is certainly a mouthful to say, but this gun is an excellent option for any Idaho or Oregon muzzleloader hunter. With a 30” barrel featuring a 1:24” twist rate, this gun is lightweight and capable of longer shots that are needed in the mountains of Oregon and Idaho. Additionally, this gun comes in at under $400, which is a great value.

Traditions Pursuit Northwest LDR 

Best Youth Muzzleloader for 2021

Unfortunately, the youth muzzleloader selection is quite slim, however, there are still a couple of great options available. The Traditions Buckstalker XT Youth, TC Impact! SB, and CVA Wolf are three muzzleloaders that are capable of shorter lengths of pull for youth hunters. The CVA Wolf is not available in a shorter length of pull from the factory, but we do offer a replacement stock that allows for a 13” length of pull. The TC Impact!SB has a removable spacer, which allows the gun to grow with the youth shooter. The Traditions Buckstalker XT Youth is the only true youth-dedicated muzzleloader available today. Because this gun is purpose-built for youth shooters, we decided that this is the best gun in the category.

The Traditions Buckstalker XT Youth has all of the features that make the Buckstalker XT a great muzzleloader, with a shorter stock that fits youth shooters better and promotes better shooting form. This gun is lightweight and nimble, but also has a trigger safety, which we consider a huge asset for youth muzzleloader hunters.

Traditions Youth Buckstalker XT Muzzleloader

Honorable Mentions

With this list of great muzzleloaders, there are a lot of guns that didn’t capture the top title in any category, but we still consider incredible muzzleloaders. Because there is a myriad of options when considering which muzzleloader is right for your budget and application, here are two other guns that we think are worth considering for your next purchase. Of course, our team is always happy to walk you through the process of picking out your new gun! 

Traditions NitroFire

The Traditions NitroFire is an excellent gun for a new shooter looking to get into muzzleloading. With the ease of loading and ultra-safe design, the NitroFire was a huge hit in 2020 and continues to see high demand as we launch into 2021. Utilizing the Federal Firestick, the NitroFire is the cleanest and safest muzzleloader on the market.

Traditions NitroFire Muzzleloader

CVA Paramount

At this point, the original CVA Paramount muzzleloader has been overlooked because of the new Paramount HTR and Accura LR-X muzzleloader. The CVA Paramount is still an incredible gun that is capable of shooting long ranges with extreme accuracy. If you’re looking to shoot out to 300 yards and want an accurate muzzleloader, the original Paramount is definitely worth looking at.

CVA Paramount Muzzleloader

Overall, 2021 has something for any muzzleloader hunter, regardless of experience or price point. If you’re interested in learning more about any of these guns, or any other muzzleloading information, feel free to reach out to our friendly and knowledgeable customer service team at sales@muzzle-loaders.com, or 1-855-236-5000.

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