Just when you thought muzzleloading rifles had reached their peak, new innovations break the mold.
It seems like you can only do so much to improve a rifle with roots in technology as old as 500 years. A spark or flame ignites powder, which creates pressure to push a projectile at high velocity. Rifle the barrel and add sights to make accuracy repeatable.
Companies like Remington, Traditions and LHR do whatever they can to make their muzzleloaders look, feel, and operate like a modern, cartridge-firing rifle. They also squeeze out as much velocity as possible to improve bullet trajectory.
These new muzzleloaders are 50-caliber, but they were never intended for 50-cal projectiles. The only way to achieve higher velocities and better trajectories is to load 44 or 45-caliber bullets in sabots. You can experiment with smaller caliber bullets using sabots or even full-bore, 50-caliber projectiles. However, the advertised performance from these rifles is based on 45-caliber bullets in 50-caliber sabots.
Each of these new muzzleloaders incorporates design features intended to make them reliable and easy to use, while getting the most down-range performance.
Check out the slideshow to see these rifles.
Remington Model 700 Ultimate Muzzleloader
Remington assures reliable ignition of up to 200 grains of powder with a unique system. The Remington 700 Ultimate Muzzleloader uses a brass case that holds a Large Rifle Magnum (LRM) primer. The brass casing forms a reliable breech seal, and the LRM primer offers a super-hot flame capable of igniting 4-50 caliber powder pellets or up to 200 grains of powder. A 26-inch barrel helps burn all the powder to maximize efficiency and achieve consistent velocity. The rifle looks like a modern bolt action and has a neat storage compartment for primer casings. It sits where the floor plate of a cartridge firing rifle would be.
Traditions StrikerFire Vortex LDR
With their StrikerFire LDR, Traditions Performance Firearms does away with a hammer traditionally used for cocking a muzzleloading rifle. This striker button slides forward until it locks and the rifle is cocked. A recessed de-cocking button allows for quiet de-cocking of the rifle. The gun also has an automatic de-cocking mechanism. When the gun is opened, it is automatically de-cocked. This system enables you to mount your scope closer to the bore, and the 30-inch barrel enhances velocity.
LHR Redemption Composite Muzzleloader
LHR Sporting Arms addresses the common problem with threaded breach plugs that often get stuck with their Adapt Breech System. This moves the threads outside of the barrel, where they are not effected by powder fouling or heat. An Armornite coating inside the barrel helps eliminate burned and eroded rifling and makes barrel cleaning easy. A Stealth Striker system uses a thumb lever to cock and de-cock the rifle. Push it forward to fire, and you can easily release it if you choose not to fire. It also makes scope mounting uncomplicated. LHR has been in business for only three years, and their American-made rifles are gaining in popularity.