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Top 9 Traditional Muzzleloaders for 2022
Traditional muzzleloading is a discipline that we are passionate about and today, we are going to bring you our list of the Top 9 Traditional Muzzleloaders for 2022. There has always been two sides to black powder shooting and hunting: Modern Muzzleloading and Traditional Muzzleloading. On one side, muzzleloaders are advancing rapidly to push the limits of black powder technology. On the other side, muzzleloaders are intentionally kept as traditional as possible in order to preserve the original experience. The traditional side of muzzleloading will provide you with a shooting experience that has been consistent for hundreds of years and it can be very satisfying to challenge yourself. While these traditional style muzzleloaders are still produced with modern manufacturing techniques, the rifles still feature the same fit and finish as the original percussion and flintlock rifles.
This article is intended to outline the best traditional muzzleloaders in 2022. Whether you are looking to engage in a reenactment or to challenge yourself on an upcoming hunt, there are plenty of high-quality muzzleloaders to choose from. This list is in no particular order as each of these muzzleloaders offers unique strengths and options.
3 Muzzleloader Categories
We have sorted these muzzleloaders into three different categories to show their individual strengths. These categories will indicate if the rifles are optimized for rendezvous, reenacting, or hunting/shooting:
1. Hunting/Shooting Muzzleloaders
Hunting rifles are designed to take down big game animals in the most efficient way possible and will have features to accommodate this. Fiber optic sights and faster barrel twists are common in these muzzleloaders.
2. Rendezvous Muzzleloaders
Rendezvous muzzleloaders are required to be historically consistent with muzzleloaders from the early and mid-1800s. This is important because some muzzleloaders will have an original design but with slight modern upgrades, which may render them ineligible for some rendezvous.
3. Reenacting Muzzleloaders
Reenacting muzzleloaders are designed to be historically consistent with the muzzleloaders of the specified battle reenactment. Most reenactments are from either the Revolutionary War or the Civil War eras.
Top Traditional Muzzleloaders
(In no particular order)
Traditions Kentucky Rifle
The Traditions Kentucky Rifle is one of the most iconic muzzleloading rifles in United States history, and Traditions Firearms has kept the legend of the long rifle alive. The Traditions Kentucky Rifle can be found in both percussion and flintlock models and for those looking for the complete black powder experience, it is available as a build-it-yourself kit. It features a slower 1:66” twist rate, allowing it to shoot patched round balls up to and beyond 100 yards. The long rifle measures 49” in overall length with a generous 33.5” barrel, which looks nice mounted on the wall or in the field. The Traditions Kentucky Rifle is the only muzzleloader on our list that meets the conditions for all three of our hunting, reenacting, and rendezvous categories.
You can also upgrade to the new Traditions Deluxe Kentucky Rifle, which has added brass furniture in the stock and a double-set trigger.
Traditions Hawken Rifle
The Traditions™ Hawken series has been specifically designed to be efficient in the field while maintaining the classic styling of the famous Hawken rifle. The Hawken Woodsman is available in both percussion and flintlock and in a build-it-yourself kit. The 1:48” twist rate is compatible with both round balls and conical projectiles, which provides added versatility and shooting options. The 28” barrel will drop the weight down to around 8 pounds, which makes it a great lightweight option compared to the other long rifles on this list. The added brass furniture on the stock and the double-set trigger adds another layer of quality to this muzzleloader.
Traditions PA Pellet
The Traditions PA Pellet is a revolutionary muzzleloader that allows a flintlock ignition system to utilize modern pelletized powder. Specifically designed for the Pennsylvania flintlock seasons, the PA Pellet has a removable breech plug for easy cleaning and is the only flintlock able to use pelletized powder. It has a 1:28 twist rate to accommodate modern conical bullets and the Chromoly steel barrel makes it the lightest weight flintlock on the market. The additional Cerakote finish on the outside of the barrel protects against rust and pitting. While the PA Pellet is ideal for hunting in a flintlock season, you probably won’t see this at a rendezvous or reenactment.
Pedersoli Missouri River Hawken
The Pedersoli Missouri River Hawken is based on the original plains rifle manufactured in the mid-1800s and is now precision-rifled with a quick 1:24” twist barrel. The 30” octagonal barrel is designed for superior accuracy and is able to shoot sabot and conical bullets, which is very uncommon in the traditional rifle scene. This model is only available with a #11 percussion ignition, however, it is available in .45, .50, and .54 caliber. It is also available with a maple stock for added quality and elegance.
Pedersoli Brown Bess
The Brown Bess is one of the most famous muzzleloaders in history and Pedersoli has continued to replicate them to their world-class standard. The rifle itself stands right under 60” and boasts a 42” barrel. It has a large bore at .75 Cal and only shoots round balls with its smoothbore barrel. The Brown Bess musket is the perfect wall-hanger and reenactment piece. While you could potentially take it hunting, due to the lack of rifling it is less optimized for this task and we do not recommend it for anyone who is new to muzzleloading, however, it is ideal for anyone interested in revolutionary war reenactments.
Lyman Signature Series Great Plains
Lyman muzzleloaders have been a staple contender with their Great Plains rifle series and have recently partnered with Pedersoli to produce the new Lyman Signature Series Great Plains. The overall fit and finish has been upgraded while keeping the same familiar quality of the Great Plains rifles. The Great Plains has a 30” barrel with a double set trigger as well as adjustable metal iron sights and a European walnut stock.
The Lyman Signature series offers two models, the Great Plains and the Great Plains Hunter. The Great Plains rifle features a 1:48” twist rate, optimizing it for use with round balls and conicals, allowing it to be used in rendezvous. The Great Plains Hunter, however, utilizes a 1:24” twist rate for improved accuracy with modern projectiles making it an ideal option for muzzleloader hunters. Both rifles are available in a build-it-yourself kit as well as .50 and .54 caliber options for added versatility.
***The Great Plains Hunter rifle has a quicker 1:24 twist rate and a fiber optic rear sight for additional advantages while hunting. The Lyman Signature Great Plains Hunter model is not able to be used in most rendezvous due to the fiber optic rear sight.
Investarm Bridger Hawken
The Investarm Bridger Hawken is one of the best all-around muzzleloaders available and is named after one of the greatest mountain men, Jim Bridger. The Bridger Hawken is a classic Hawken rifle with a 1:48” twist rate and a 28” blued barrel. With its double set triggers and ornate brass furniture, this rifle will perform extremely well without sacrificing appearance. The Bridger Hawken is available in both percussion and flintlock ignition as well as build-it-yourself kits for each. It also is available in .45, .50, and .54 caliber options. The Investarm Bridger Hawken is available in a left-handed configuration and Investarm is one of the few manufacturers that produce a left-handed build-it-yourself muzzleloader kit.
Investarm Gemmer Hawken
The Investarm Gemmer Hawken is the younger brother to the Bridger Hawken. The Gemmer Hawken features a more traditional solid wood stock with black furnishings and features a 32” blued barrel with a 1:60” twist rate. The slower twist rate of the Gemmer Hawken allows it to perform extremely well with round balls. The Gemmer Hawken is available in both percussion and flintlock ignitions with build-it-yourself kit options for each. It also is available in .45, .50, and .54 caliber options for additional diversity. Similar to the Bridger Hawken, the Investarm Gemmer Hawken is available with a left-handed configuration in both the pre-assembled and kit versions.
Investarm Hawken Carbine
If you are looking for a more compact and lightweight setup, the Investarm Hawken Carbine is one of the best options. With a shorter 24” barrel, it is significantly lighter than the Hawken rifles that you may be familiar with and it is still capable of shooting accurately out to 100 yards and beyond. The Investarm Hawken Carbine has a single, non-set trigger and a 1:48” twist rate, allowing it to accurately shoot round balls and conicals. It is available in .45, .50, and .54 caliber so that you can choose the correct option for your application. Like the two previous models from Investarm, the Hawken Carbine is available as a build-it-yourself kit in both left and right-handed models.
The traditional side of muzzleloading has been maintained for hundreds of years and the muzzleloaders on this list allow you to be a part of the same hunting adventures that were experienced by our forefathers. At the end of the day, it is still important to pick the muzzleloader that fits your particular needs as well as what is comfortable for you. If you would like to look into some other options or have any questions regarding the rifles on this list, please give our knowledgeable and friendly customer service team a call at 1-855-236-5000 or send us an email at email@example.com.