11 Best Muzzleloaders For Hunters In 2021

What is the best muzzleloader for you in 2021?

I think most hunters will likely agree that the wide variety of different muzzleloader options currently available, combined with the confusing hunting regulations in many states, can make choosing the best muzzleloader for hunting season an overwhelming task. This is particularly true for hunters just learning how to hunt with a muzzleloader or those hunting in a particular state for the first time.

To make the situation even more bewildering, not only are the big manufacturers constantly discontinuing old models and rolling out new muzzleloaders each year, but it also seems like many states are continuously updating their regulations as well. So, there can be a big swing in which muzzleloaders are legal to hunt with from year to year. Additionally, one of the few constants in this situation is the fact that it can be really tough to cut through some of the marketing speak a lot of companies use to sell their products.

From one hunter to another, trust me when I say that I’ve experienced a lot of that same frustration myself.

Since I first started hunting with a smoke pole, I’ve used out several different muzzleloaders. Fortunately, I’ve generally had very good results with the muzzleloaders I’ve hunted with, though I’ve had some close calls.

For instance, I was on the verge of purchasing a particular northwest legal muzzleloader to hunt with up in Washington several years ago, but some unrelated life events intervened before I could actually buy the muzzleloader in question. When I was ready to make the purchase again a couple of weeks later, I discovered that the manufacturer had discontinued the model I was about to buy during the interim. They made that decision for several reasons, but I discovered later that the muzzleloader suffered from overall poor quality and subpar performance afield.

The last thing any hunter wants is to purchase a poor quality muzzleloader or one that’s not legal to use during muzzleloading season where they hunt.

For that reason, I’m sharing my picks of the best muzzleloaders for hunters in 2021 so you can make an informed decision and choose the best muzzleloader for your specific hunting situation.

Remember: rules and regulations regarding hunting with a muzzleloader can vary quite a bit from state to state. Certain muzzleloaders may be legal to hunt with in one state, but illegal to use during muzzleloader season during a neighboring state. It’s up to you to check local regulations in order to verify that you’re using legal equipment.

Before we get started, here’s a disclaimer: some of the links below are affiliate links. This means I will earn a small commission if you make a purchase.

This commission comes at no extra cost to you. This helps support the blog and allows me to continue to create free content that’s useful to hunters like yourself. Thanks for your support.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s get started.

CVA Paramountpicture of best muzzleloader cva paramount

The Remington 700 Ultimate Muzzleloader (UML) was the best option for a long range muzzleloader for many years. However, the brand new bolt-action CVA Paramount may very well dethrone the UML the best long range muzzleloader. CVA markets the Paramount as capable of taking big game at ranges over 300 yards due to the incredible accuracy of the muzzleloader and the comparatively flat trajectories that hunters can obtain while using it.

How do they do it?

First, the Paramount is a .45 caliber muzzleloader designed to use up to 140 grains of Blackhorn 209 powder. Second, the muzzleloader uses special adapters that permit the use of large rifle primers for hotter, more consistent, and faster ignition than with standard 209 primers. Third, unlike most muzzleloaders, the Paramount has a 26″ free-floating Bergara barrel (it uses a collapsible ramrod that fits in an included pouch for use afield). Fourth, the Paramount has Bergara HMR stock that has adjustments for length of pull and cheek height and an internal aluminum chassis for rigidity.

CVA also teamed up with PowerBelt to develop a new, extremely aerodynamic muzzleloader bullet specifically for the Paramount: the 280gr PowerBelt Extended Long Range (ELR) bullet. The PowerBelt ELR has a very high BC (for a muzzleloader bullet) of .452. Combined with the high velocities (over 2,200fps) that can be obtained by using 140 grains of powder, this results in a very flat bullet trajectory for a muzzleloader that rivals the trajectory of some centerfire rifle cartridges.

It’s also advertised as being exceptionally accurate and CVA claims their shooters have consistently obtained sub-MOA accuracy at 300 yards.

So, if you want the absolute best muzzleloader for long range hunting, then you should really consider the CVA Paramount. Though the model shown here lacks a scope, it’s also available in packages that include a mounted and bore sighted scope from either Leupold or Vortex.

Additionally, current production CVA Paramount muzzleloaders come with a threaded barrel that can accept the new Paramount muzzle brake (brake sold separately). The Paramount does not have brutal recoil, but it will certainly get your attention. So, the new muzzle brake (which is specifically designed for use on the Paramount) will be a welcome accessory for many hunters.

Note that while the CVA Paramount can accept a standard Remington Model 700 scope mount, the muzzleloader does not have iron sights. On the other hand, certain models of the brand new CVA Paramount Pro DO come with good iron sights for use in states like Colorado.

Finally, the CVA Paramount is not considered a firearm under federal law. State law can vary, but in most places, you can have a Paramount shipped directly to your door.

The CVA Paramount is an outstanding muzzleloader that delivers incredible performance. If it’s legal to use where you hunt, then I HIGHLY recommend purchasing one.

  • Sighting System: Accepts Remington 700 Pattern Scope Mount
  • Caliber: .45 Caliber Magnum
  • Ignition System: Vari-Flame Ignition



The CVA Paramount also made cut for my holiday gift recommendations. To see what other stuff is on the list, check out the following article:

101 Best Gifts For Hunters

CVA Wolf

picture of best muzzleloaders cva wolf

After I had the close call I mentioned earlier, I did some more research on good muzzleloaders and discovered the CVA Wolf. I ended up buying a Northwest Legal model of the Wolf a few years ago and I’ve been extremely pleased with that purchase.

The Wolf is CVAs entry level muzzleloader below the CVA Optima V2 and Accura V2. However, while it is indeed an excellent break action muzzleloader for those who are new to the muzzleloader world, it’s still a very capable muzzleloader and is not limited to new hunters and will work perfectly for the vast majority of muzzleloader hunters. Indeed, the CVA Wolf is one of the best selling inline muzzleloaders in the United States for good reason: it’s well designed, user friendly, reliable, and accurate.

Featuring a QRBP (Quick-Release Breech Plug), which is really easy to remove without tools, the CVA Wolf is very simple to clean and maintain. It’s also compact, lightweight, and easy to carry.

Finally, the CVA Wolf is very reasonably priced and is one of the best value muzzleloaders in North America.

The version of the CVA Wolf pictured here features a Durasight scope mount, which is permitted for use in most states. However, CVA also makes an otherwise identical Wolf variant with iron sights for use in states where scopes are not permitted.

CVA also produces a Northwest Legal model of the Wolf for use in the states of Idaho and Oregon that require the ignition be exposed to the elements and do not permit the use of 209 primers.

So, regardless of where you hunt, there’s probably a CVA Wolf muzzleloader that will work for you!

  • Sighting System: Includes One-Piece Scope Mount
  • Caliber: .50 Caliber Magnum
  • Ignition System: 209 Primers


muzzleloader ignition tips E-Book article

CVA Accura V2 Long Range

picture of best muzzleloaders cva accura lr

Are you looking for a muzzleloader that’s less expensive than the CVA Paramount, but with more bells and whistles than the CVA Wolf? If so, then you should really consider the CVA Accura V2 Long Range with its unique thumbhole stock.

This is one of the best muzzleloaders CVA currently produces for all around elk and deer hunting.

This muzzleloader features a 30″ Bergara barrel. Bergara barrels are constructed using 416 grade stainless steel and are renowned as some of the most accurate mass produced barrels in the world. With this in mind, the CVA Accura V2 LR allows hunters to really maximize the accuracy potential and maximum effective range of a muzzleloader with typical bullets, primers, and powder. This model of the Accura also uses a fast 1:22″ rifling twist, so it can shoot the extremely aerodynamic PowerBelt ELR bullet.

In fact, CVA even offers a full money back guarantee for their Accura rifles if they aren’t the most accurate muzzleloaders you’ve ever shot.

Finally, the barrel is also treated with Nitride finish technology (also known as Salt Bath Nitride) for even better corrosion resistance than a typical stainless steel barrel. Though it’s not totally corrosion proof, this Nitride finish is still extremely durable and resistant to corrosion, which is especially nice for hunters who live in wet climates.

Though the Accura is a little larger and heavier than the Wolf, it’s still pretty easy to carry. The Accura also has a lot of the same features that make the Wolf a great muzzleloader like the Quick-Release Breech Plug, fully ambidextrous stock, and simple break open action.

The version of the CVA Accura pictured here features a Durasight scope mount, but it’s also drilled and tapped for open sights. So, if you live in a state that does not permit scopes, you can just install a set of iron sights yourself.

  • Sighting System: Includes One-Piece Scope Mount, Drilled/Tapped For Open Sights
  • Caliber: .45 Caliber Magnum
  • Ignition System: 209 Primers


Traditions Vortek Strikerfire LDR

picture of best muzzleloader traditions ldr

While most of the really popular muzzleloaders these days (even modern inlines) still use a traditional external hammer for ignition, the Traditions Vortek Strikerfire LDR incorporates an internal striker for ignition (similar to those used by many modern firearms). This results in noticeably faster lock times and also allows hunters to mount their scope closer to the bore. This muzzleloader also has a great, adjustable two-stage trigger that comes from the factory set at two pounds.

Add it all up, and the Traditions Vortek Strikerfire LDR is a very well designed modern muzzleloader that’s lightweight, easy to carry, and is capable of excellent accuracy. Oh by the way, it also has a Cerakote finish for corrosion resistance.

  • Sighting System: Drilled/Tapped For Scope Mounts
  • Caliber: .50 Caliber Magnum
  • Ignition System: 209 Primers


Traditions NitroFire

picture of best muzzleloader traditions nitrofire

The new Traditions NitroFire is a revolutionary development in muzzleloader technology. This muzzleloader uses Federal’s new FireStick system which is touted as being incredibly simple, easy, and safe to use when compared to the traditional way of loading a muzzleloader.

How does it work?

Well, the muzzleloader does not have a normal breechplug. Instead, the user simply inserts the FireStick, which is basically a container with a pre-measured powder charge, in the breech. The bullet is loaded through the muzzle as normal and seated against the FireStick with a ram rod. Finally, the user must simply insert a regular 209 primer in the base of the FireStick before firing.

This whole process is designed to be much easier, faster, and safer than measuring and loading a charge of loose powder or even pre-formed pellets. The FireStick contains an optimized load of powder designed specifically for use with the Federal BOR bullet, so the NitroFire is capable of outstanding accuracy. It also requires far fewer tools and accessories than other muzzleloaders.

Finally, it’s also very easy to unload and clean.

For all those reasons, the Traditions NitroFire is billed as the ideal choice for hunters who are just learning how to use a muzzleloader.

Note: the Traditions NitroFire is a great muzzleloader, but many states do not allow hunters to use it during dedicated muzzleloader seasons. Verify that it’s legal to use in your state before purchasing. 

  • Sighting System: Drilled/Tapped For Scope Mounts
  • Caliber: .50 Caliber Magnum
  • Ignition System: Federal FireStick


Remington 700 Ultimate Muzzleloader

picture of best muzzleloader remington uml

Speaking of the Remington 700 Ultimate Muzzleloader (UML), it’s still a great option for a long range muzzleloader. The Remington UML made a giant splash when it hit the market a few years ago and was easily the best long range muzzleloader in mass production for many years.

This was due in large part to the innovative ignition system the muzzleloader utilizes. Instead of a musket cap or a standard 209 primer, the Remington UML uses a special brass magnum rifle casing and a standard magnum rifle primer. This system allows the muzzleloader to safely use up to 200 grains of black powder substitute, which is significantly more than most other muzzleloaders.

This results in higher velocities, flatter trajectories, and a longer effective range than standard muzzleloaders.

The Remington Model 700 Ultimate Muzzleloader uses 250 grain Barnes Premier muzzleloader bullets that have a special sabot designed to handle those exceptionally large powder charges. However, aside from the new sabot, the bullet is not very different from run of the mill muzzleloader bullets.

So how does the Remington muzzleloader stack up next to the CVA Paramount?

Well, if you’re thinking that the two muzzleloaders have similar capabilities that are achieved through slightly different methods, then you’re correct.

Basically, the Remington muzzleloader can handle larger powder charges, but the Paramount uses a bullet with a much higher ballistic coefficient. Their capabilities are similar, but all things considered, the Paramount has a slight edge with its external ballistics. 

That doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with the Remington 700 UML though. It’s very accurate, highly regarded among muzzleloader hunters, and is still a capable tool for hunting situations out to approximately 300 yards.

If you want a good muzzleloader for long range hunting, then the Remington Model 700 Ultimate Muzzleloader is another good choice. Though you can purchase one without a scope and mount your own (or use iron sights), it’s also available in a packages that includes a mounted and bore sighted Leupold scope.

  • Sighting System: Iron Sights & Drilled/Tapped For Scope Mount
  • Caliber: .50 Caliber Magnum
  • Ignition System: Remington UML Ignition


Traditions Pursuit G4

picture of best muzzleloader traditions pursuit

The Traditions Pursuit G4 is unique among most modern inlines for having a wood stock (it’s also available with other stocks too). Weighing it at just 5.75 pounds, this is an incredibly lightweight and easy to carry muzzleloader that’s perfect for carrying in really thick or rough terrain.

  • Sighting System: Drilled/Tapped For Scope Mounts
  • Caliber: .50 Caliber Magnum
  • Ignition System: 209 Primers


Traditions Buckstalker Youth

picture of best muzzleloaders traditions buckstalker youth

If you’re looking for the best muzzleloader for youth hunters, then look no further than the Traditions Buckstalker Youth. Weighing in at just 6.35 pounds and with a short 13″ length of pull and 39″ overall length, this is great compact muzzleloader for a small framed hunter. Incorporating a manual safety that incorporates both a hammer block and trigger block safety, the Buckstalker Youth is also incredibly safe.

The Traditions Buckstalker Youth comes factory with iron sights and is drilled and tapped for a scope. Especially when the very reasonable price of the muzzleloader is taken into account, the Traditions Buckstalker Youth is clearly one of the best youth muzzleloaders out there.

  • Sighting System: Truglo Fiber Optic Sights & Drilled/Tapped For Scope Mount
  • Caliber: .50 Caliber Magnum
  • Ignition System: 209 Primers


Traditions Kentucky Flintlock Kit

picture of best muzzleloaders kentucky rifle

No list of the best muzzleloaders for hunters would be complete without a traditional muzzleloader. Well, it’s doesn’t get much more traditional than a flintlock Kentucky Rifle, which is about as different from the CVA Paramount as you can get. In addition to helping you channel your inner Daniel Boone or Davy Crockett, this kit also gives you the full hands-on muzzleloader experience by building it yourself.

The kit comes with all the necessary parts to build an authentic Kentucky Rifle along with easy to read, step-by-step instructions on exactly how to put it all together. The finished product is a fully functional Kentucky Flintlock Rifle with a full-length walnut stock, beautiful solid brass furniture, an octagonal 33.5″ rifled barrel, and a case hardened lock.

Note that this rifle is designed for use with true black powder and the 1:66″ rifling twist rate is best suited for patched round balls, so you’ll get the full traditional muzzleloader hunting experience with this Kentucky Rifle. Sabots and conical bullets probably won’t shoot very well in this muzzleloader, but part of the fun that comes from using a primitive muzzleloader is hunting with a plain ol’ round ball.

When all is said and done, it’s the perfect muzzleloading rifle to display above the mantle or to take afield in pursuit of game with your coonskin hat. As a flintlock muzzleloader, it’s also legal to use in virtually every state, to include the Pennsylvania primitive weapon season.

Traditions also produces this exact hunting rifle in a kit with a percussion ignition system. Additionally, if you don’t want a kit, you can also purchase both the flintlock and percussion cap ignition models of this rifle as finished products.

  • Sighting System: Open Sights
  • Caliber: .50 Caliber
  • Ignition System: Flintlock


Thompson Center Impact

picture of best muzzleloader tc impact

The Impact is T/Cs entry level muzzleloader. However, like the CVA Wolf, while the Impact is a great muzzleloader for those who are new to the muzzleloader world, it’s still quite capable and will work very well for the vast majority of muzzleloader hunters.

Additionally, the Thompson Center Impact is reasonably priced, so it’s a great muzzleloader for hunters of all experience levels and budgets.

  • Sighting System: Truglo Fiber Optic Sights & Drilled/Tapped For Scope Mount
  • Caliber: .50 Caliber Magnum
  • Ignition System: 209 Primers


T/C Triumph Bone Collector

picture of best muzzleloaders tc triumph bone collector

Thompson Center has long been known for producing some of the best muzzleloaders around and their Triumph line is one of their best selling models (no disrespect at all to the Thompson Center Pro Hunter FX, which is also a great muzzleloader). Though Jim Shockey is one of the most famous hunters who uses T/C muzzleloaders, this particular model has a stamp of approval from Michael Waddell.

The T/C Triumph Bone Collector has all the same features as other T/C Triumph muzzleloaders: a 28″ fluted barrel, a Weather Shield finish for corrosion resistance, and an easy to remove breech plug. However, the Bone Collector also incorporates black traction grip panels on the forend, a great recoil pad, and what T/C calls a “Flex Tech” stock. Thompson Center claims that the stock compresses slightly during recoil and can reduce felt recoil by 43%.

So, if you want a rugged and accurate muzzleloader with reduced recoil, even when shooting magnum loads, then you should really check out the Thompson Center Triumph Bone Collector.

  • Sighting System: Truglo Fiber Optic Sights & Drilled/Tapped For Scope Mounts
  • Caliber: .50 Caliber Magnum
  • Ignition System: 209 Primers


While this post covers choosing the right muzzleloader, that’s only a single part of the equation when hunting with a muzzleloader. For more detailed information on choosing the right primer, propellant, bullets, sights, and scopes, check out these other articles:

15 Of The Best Muzzleloader Primers For Igniting Your Powder

Blackhorn 209 vs 777 vs Goex Black Powder: Which One Should You Use In Your Muzzleloader?

These Are The Best Brands Of Black Powder and Black Powder Substitutes You Should Be Using In Your Muzzleloader

13 Of The Best Muzzleloader Bullets For Hunters

9 Best Muzzleloader Scopes For Hunters

These Are The Best 9 Best Muzzleloader Sights For Hunters

5 Best Traditional Muzzleloaders For Hunters

Essential Muzzleloader Supplies Every Hunter Needs

11 Best Hunting Ear Protection Options For Hunters

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8 thoughts on “11 Best Muzzleloaders For Hunters In 2021”

  1. 45 caliber cva acurra lr or cva paramount:
    Both have 1:22 twist for ELR bullet, but do they shoot other powerbelt bullets well? Or are these 1 bullet guns?

    • They will probably both shoot .45 cal PowerBelt bullets well. I haven’t done it myself, but I’d wager the Paramount will shoot the ELR more accurately than anything else, but it’s likely that you’l get acceptable accuracy with other bullets. The only way to tell for sure is to try it out for yourself.

  2. I use a .54 for elk and bear. I don’t understand why this larger caliber was ignored at the expense of longer shooting .45, which isn’t legal in my state. State regulations are so frustrating! I haven’t gone to casting my own bullets yet, but do you have any old wheel weights?

  3. A couple years ago, I built the Traditions Kentucky rifle (percussion). It’s a lot of fun to shoot. Although it’s a slow twist, I have found that it will adequately shoot the 320gr Maxi-Ball. I’ve gotten 1″ -2″ patterns from that combo at 50 yds (from a bench). But, as expected, the patch and ball with GOEX is the best combo – accurate and lots of smoke!

  4. Please check your state regulations regarding the Nitro Fire. This system is NOT legal in the state of Wisconsin. I was excited to enter the muzzleloader world and contacted the WDNR about this rifle. I was told, due to not having a breach plug, this system is not allowed.

    • That’s a good point Cris. I’m sorry to hear what happened with you and the Traditions NitroFire.
      For anyone else who is considering purchasing the NitroFire, here’s a link where you can learn if it’s legal to use where you’re hunting.


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