“The will to plan to succeed is more important than that will to succeed,” says well known Hunter Bob Foulkrod. This phrase has never been more true than with muzzleloading bullets. Center-fire hunters know the importance of time on the range, yet this preparation is important-times-ten for muzzleloaders, since the selection of bullets, powder, patches, sabots, primers, and percussion caps all play important roles. Add the fact that the actual bore diameter of your “50-caliber” rifle may vary a thousandths or two, and preparation importance magnifies ever further. Since every rifle has individual performance characteristics, experimentation is the best way to optimize performance. Here’s a quick look at some of the most popular bullets on the market, and a few old-school projectiles as well. More than just product information, most websites offer extensive insight into bullet selection.
Barnes: A leader in copper bullet technology, these bullets penetrate with devastating ability and are now available in several variations. www.barnesbullets.com
Hornady: Aside from accuracy and an easy-loading sabot bullet, Hornady offers the SST-ML, which is designed specifically for those who use pelletized powder; it also doubles as a speed loader. www.hornady.com
Power Belt: One of today’s most popular bullets, the Power Belt loads easily; users can opt for maximum bullet expansion or penetration. www.powerbeltbullets.com
Thompson Center: T/C’s Shockwave bullets are designed to deliver as their name implies, with excellent aerodynamics and hard hitting knock-down power. It comes in standard and easy-to-load sabots. www.tcarms.com
Muzzleloading Bullets.com: If you’re looking for more traditional lead bullets, this site is a great source, and includes bullets from 41–54 caliber. The site motto is “no excuses,” so there’s no reason you can’t down a bull elk as huge as the one pictured above (which was felled with these bullets). www.muzzleloading-bullets.com