Hodgdon Triple 7 – Best
Hodgdon Pyrodex – Better
IMR Whitehots – Good
The more simple and easiest powder to use is pelletized powder, which comes in pre-measured pellets. These pellets range in size from 30, 50 and 60 grains, depending on what combination of grains you prefer. All you have to do is drop these pellets into your muzzleloader, without the hassle of having to measure. The only drawback to these pellets is that fine tuning your grain usage is a bit difficult to accomplish.
Blackhorn 209 – Best
Hodgdon Triple 7 – Better
Hodgdon Pyrodex – Good
Loose Powder will always be more precise and accurate. With that being said, I have seen incredible groups shot at 200 yard with pellets. The optimal and most accurate loose powder on the market is Blackhorn 209. If you are looking for an advantage in the woods or on the range, then Blackhorn 209 is the powder for you.
The majority of muzzleloader shooters usually prefer a powder charge or load right around 100 grains, whether it be pelletized or loose powder form. Others prefer to max out their rifles for longer shots by using heavier projectiles. This means using 150 grains of loose or pelletized powder and 120 grains of Blackhorn 209. When loading your rifle with the maximum charge, you will tend to lose shot consistency and placement. I have heard of several folks hitting the bull’s-eye, then their next few shots being 12-18 inches off the mark.
Personally, I see the benefits of using both loose and pelletized powder. For me it is a question of cost, shot distance and ease of use when making my final decision on which powder to use. I think you can make an argument for all of the powders and each one has its place. If I were shooting under 150 yards then I highly recommend pelletized powder. Over that distance, you can still use pelletize powder, but loose powder is going to be a little more accurate.