Muzzleloading rifles have been around since the sixteenth century and even though breechloaders replaced them in the military, muzzleloaders are still the top choice for hunters. And with the development of more efficient mechanics, improved materials, and the latest ammunition, muzzleloaders have only grown in popularity.
There are a few things you need to consider while choosing the right muzzleloader for you. The first thing is the price, which needs to be in your budget and not just for the rifle. Rather it’s better to save some room for accessories like a range rod, short starter, patch puller, cleaning jag, or a powder measure.
The next thing you need to ask yourself is what you want to use it for. Do you want a range use gun only or you want to go hunting with it? And if you do want to go hunting then what are the restrictions and laws regarding the caliber, powder, and bullets in your region.
Another important thing to consider is the kind of design you prefer. A muzzleloader that is traditional in style and a classic beauty or a more modern model with a great range and “magnum” powder charges.
Whether you favor a classic side hammer design or ones that shoot equally good as the centerfire long-range rifles, a muzzleloader is a must-have for hunters. Here’s a list of the eight best muzzleloaders with a detailed description of all the specs.
On number one we have:
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1. Thompson/Center Strike .50 Caliber
Thompson/Center has been leading the muzzleloader game for a long time now and their latest long-range rifle the Strike has all the attractive features you can think of.
Featuring an externally threaded breach to reduce the blowback from burnt powders in the barrel so that the seized threads can be eliminated and the rifle can be cleaned easily. The .50 caliber Strike employs a threadless primer adapter instead of an old school breech plug and a retaining collar which speeds up the ignition by holding 209 primers in at a time.
Its tang-mounted top lever assists in loading and maintenance of the breach by providing easy access. The rifle comes with two primer adapters, one for loose and pelletted powder each. Stealth Strike has been deemed the most innovative design because the traditional hammer is replaced by a simple mechanism to fire by sliding the tang-mounted Striker forward.
Decocking the rifle and returning the hammer to a rearward position can be achieved by simply pressing the decoding button. It is simple, reliable, and functional for both right and left-handed shooters.
Its match-grade trigger comes with a wide blade and an oversized trigger guard. And the 24-inch, 1:28 twist barrel, an Armornite protective metal coating makes it durable and reliable. The Quick Load Accurizor muzzle system allows consistent and efficient loading.
The Strike is available in three different stock options, walnut, black composite, and the Next G2 Camouflage. It also features a 209 primer ignition and comes with a weaver-style scope base. At $550 it is the most affordable and advanced muzzleloader you will get at this price.
2. CVA Paramount .45 Caliber
This one is an expensive option but once you get to know its features, you too will agree that Paramount has earned its spot on this list. With its fifty-year-long legacies of producing the best muzzleloaders, CVA has not disappointed with this cutting-edge muzzleloader that exceeds all expectations.
It’s probably the best long-range muzzle-loading rifle in the market right now. At .45 caliber it can handle “super magnum” propellant charges which means it has a muzzle velocity of 2,200 feet per second. It also boasts a new Power Belt ELR muzzleloader hunting bullets.
Its Bergara steel barrel is treated with 416-grade nitride and is free-floated to achieve maximum accuracy. Its Variflame breech plug employs a large rifle primer and it is designed to be used with Blackhorn propellants. Its stock features an aluminum chassis which can be used to adjust the length of pull and comb height.
The Paramount is not just all looks and speed, it is equally accurate. It’s hunting oriented stock and the adjustable comp promises eye-to-optic alignment. It truly is the kind of hunting muzzleloaders and once you start using it, the $1100 price tag seems to be worth it.
3. CVA Accura LR .45 Caliber
Another one by CVA is the Accura LR but unlike the Paramount this one is pretty affordable. This is an efficient, inline break-action muzzleloader with a long list of exceptional features.
Its 30-inch, 1:22 twist-fluted Bergara barrel comes with a choice of two different types of finish, nitride, and stainless satin. This allows for a speedier and more precise reload with Bergara Bullet Guiding Muzzle.
It has an ambidextrous composite stock and a quick-release breech plug which makes its maintenance easier because it can be removed after firing several shots. To enhance the balance and accuracy this rifle comes with a DuraSight Dead-on one-piece scope mount.
Shooting could not be any easier with its crush zone recoil pad and the Quake claw sling. With its solid aluminum palm saver ramrod and a reversible cocking spur the Accura LR weighs only 6.25 pounds. If you’re looking for a reason to doubt its durability let us tell you there isn’t one because this rifle comes with a lifelong warranty by CVA. It may be a pricey one but not as much as the Paramount and its features truly give you the value of your hard-earned $750.
4. Traditions Vortek Strikerfire .50 Caliber
This one is a traditional take on the muzzleloading rifles exactly like its name. The Vortek Strikefire does not have an exposed hammer but comes with a fairly big 30-inch barrel so that you can make the most of those magnum powder loads.
Being old school however does not render it inefficient, for in our opinion this should be your go-to gun if you want to hunt large game at long distances. You can buy this in three different designs depending on your requirement and preference.
The Backcountry model boasts a 25-inch pipe that is carefully crafted for defensive hunting and close cover where lighting speed and effective manipulation are necessary.
There’s also a middle way here with the third style of Strikefire that supports a 28-inch barrel. This one is our favorite among the three because it’s a standard model designed to provide an accurate long-range targeting capability in combination with more effective handling of the rifle itself.
All three models are highly corrosion resistant due to the fluted chrome moly barrels and the nitride finish on external and internal parts. The trigger is set at 2 pounds and operates with the TAC-2 trigger system.
Its accelerator breech plug and comfort grip over-molding renders it easier to handle and allows you better control. of the rifle. It might also interest you to know that there’s a further advanced model of the Strikefire with exposed breeches and iron sights and it’s called the Northwest version.
5. Gunwerks Gen 2 .50 Caliber Muzzleloader
Gunwerks is known for revolutionizing centerfire hunting rifles. They’ve achieved the highest level of efficiency by crafting guns that are specifically designed and rigorously tested for shooting with the utmost precision at large extreme distances.
Their Gen 2 muzzleloader is no different than their other products and it has been declared the A-lister of muzzleloading rifles for all the right reasons. This Black powder loader shoots MOA easily across 500 yards and sometimes even more. Incredible right?
This model hasn’t been manufactured simply like the others, rather a lot of time and expertise has been invested by the engineers at Gunwerks to make it happen. It is super convenient and easy to use because of its matched BDC turret and variable, customized rifle and scope combinations.
Loading is fairly simple because of the bolt-action design. It’s even easier to reload owing to the use of a common cartridge case primer. The BDC reticles of the optics ensure extreme accuracy making it one of the topmost accurate rifles ever made.
Its two-piece ramrod has limited the need for a barrel and allows the barrel to float free. The synthetic Magnus stock boasts a frontal Picatinny rail and an adjustable recoil pad which you can alter according to your need.
The only drawback with Gunwerk’s rifles is that they are excessively expensive. Their standard entry-level muzzleloaders retail at around a whooping price of $5000 and they also take some time to deliver your customized rifle. The Gen 2 .50 caliber costs more than $8,800 and it’s not an affordable option for everyone. However, if you choose to spend this huge amount on it, we can guarantee it’s a one-time investment that you will not regret and you will be using this rifle for life.
6. Thompson/Center Triumph Bone Collector
This is a much more affordable rifle as compared to Genwerk’s models. This line muzzle loaders by Thompson/Center features two exemplary rifles, the Triumph Bone Collector Realtree Edge and Realtree Original Camo.
Their Speed Breech is easily removable, all you have to do is turn the breech at 90 degrees. Cocking has been made much more efficient by the reversible hammer extension designed for ambidextrous shooting.
The four recoil arches help reduce the kick meanwhile the LimbSaver recoil pads further their impact on the shooter. Therefore these are famous for being the most low-impact .50 caliber rifles.
Their durable aircraft-grade aluminum frame has rendered them the highest of the lot. Employing the loose black powder or black powder substitute charges, the 28-inch barrel allows you to propel them at maximum velocities.
The forearm, grip, and comb are equipped with soft-touch inserts to make it more comfortable and weather-friendly. One of the best-known muzzleloaders for hunting deer, the Triumph Bone Collector retails at about $650 in the market.
7. Remington Model 700 Ultimate Muzzleloader
Another expensive rifle is the Ultimate Muzzleloader by Remington that is built to replicate the formidable Model 700 action with greater finesse. The rifle uses pre-primed cases to fire around 200 grains of powder.
Its bolt-action inline design provides an epic range of around 300 yards is probably the safest off-the-shelf muzzleloader for long-range shooting with its two-position safety and a hinged floorplate that contains extra pre-primed cases to allow a shorter reload time.
Their stainless steel finish and the 26-inch fluted barrel promise longevity and reliability. Something you want when paying $1000 for the rifle. The stock is composite black with a beavertail fore-end. The comb is elevated for better eye alignment with its scope allowing you to fire accurate shots at long distances.
8. Thompson/Center Impact! SB
The last one on our list is Thompson/Centre .50 caliber rifle with a break-action design and a 26-inch barrel. It has a modern, efficient, affordable, and comes with its optic sight. Equipped with Thompson/Center’s signature speed breech system ensures fewer seized breech plugs and fast and convenient cleaning.
This model is sturdy with a heavier barrel allowing it to easily handle up to 150 grains of black powder. But do not worry because despite being on the heavier side, this rifle does not more than 7 pounds and can be easily carried uphill.
It is by far the most versatile muzzleloader in the marker with its break-action ambidextrous design. These rifles also come with a blued or silver weather shield making them ideal for year-round outdoor use. If that wasn’t enough, brace yourself for the shocking price of this epic muzzleloader because you can buy it for under $350. What a steal!