Best Mountain Muzzleloaders 2021
The mountains are brutal, unforgiving, and treacherous, but with them comes adventure and some of the best hunting you will ever find. There is nothing that gets your blood pumping like a close encounter with a mature bull elk or the feeling that you get after dropping the hammer on a buck that you have chased for mile after grueling mile. We have seen more and more hunters taking advantage of opportunities like backcountry hunting. With this in mind, our team considered the best muzzleloaders for hunting in mountainous terrain. These muzzleloaders would need to be lightweight, resistant to the elements, capable of sub MOA groups at medium to long-range (200 yards and beyond), and be able to accommodate the use of both open sights and scopes. We narrowed this list down to 5 muzzleloaders that we believe best fit this set of criteria. These muzzleloaders are listed below in alphabetical order, with the winner announced at the end of the article.
CVA™ Accura MR-X
New for 2021, the CVA Accura MR-X is an obvious choice for this list. Not only is this muzzleloader named the ‘Mountain Rifle XTreme’, but it weighs in at 7.05 pounds and it is capable of holding an MOA group at 200 yards. This muzzleloader also features a Nitride treated Bergara barrel with Cerakote providing an extra layer of protection on the exterior. The adjustable cheekpiece is another very unique feature that will allow you to use either a scope or open sights with comfort. The Accura MR-X also offers a fully adjustable trigger so that you have the ability to set the trigger pull to your exact liking. If you need to reduce recoil, this muzzleloader features a threaded muzzle to accommodate a muzzle brake. The Accura MR-X is available in either .45 or .50 caliber so that you can choose the best caliber for your hunt and state regulations. MSRP for the CVA Accura MR-X starts at $570, which is a great deal for the feature set that this gun offers. All of these features combine to make the Accura MR-X one of the best backcountry muzzleloaders on the market.
CVA™ Optima V2
The CVA Optima V2 has been a longtime favorite of muzzleloader hunters due to its lightweight design, accuracy, and value. Weight is one of our biggest considerations when evaluating these muzzleloaders and the Optima V2 doesn’t disappoint in that category. The CVA Optima V2 weighs in at 6.65 pounds which is under our benchmark for a lightweight muzzleloader. With an overall length of only 41” it is one of the most compact muzzleloaders on our list, but that doesn’t impede its accuracy. The CVA Optima V2 will easily hold an MOA group at 200 yards, which we consider necessary for some openings and longer shots. The Optima V2 is also available with a Nitride treated stainless steel barrel which makes this muzzleloader extremely resistant to rust and corrosion. The Optima V2 is one of the more affordable options on our list coming in with an MSRP of $383. The CVA Optima V2 checks all of the boxes necessary to be a top-notch mountain muzzleloader and it has earned its spot on our list.
Traditions™ Pursuit VAPR XT
This year, Traditions took the already popular Pursuit G4 design and made it even better by upgrading to a 1:24 twist rate and the XT trigger. The Traditions XT trigger is set to 3.25 pounds and has no creep, which makes for a crisp and clean trigger pull. These are huge upgrades that will allow you to be even more accurate when taking those long range shots. The Traditions Pursuit VAPR also offers a trigger safety, which is a feature that is not widely available through other manufacturers. The Pursuit VAPR XT is the definition of lightweight coming in at 5.75 pounds and to top it all off, it has an ultralight fluted barrel with a Cerakote finish. The Traditions Pursuit VAPR XT starts at an MSRP of $349 and for a small increase in price you can choose different CeraKote colors and camo patterns bringing you another level of customization. The Traditions Pursuit VAPR XT is primed to make a big splash in the muzzleloader community and we think that it has earned its spot among the best mountain muzzleloaders.
Traditions™ Vortek StrikerFire VAPR
The Traditions Vortek StrikerFire VAPR takes the classic Vortek StrikerFire design and improves it by adding a 1:24 twist rate to the barrel. This will reduce your group size at long ranges and give you the extra edge needed when taking those 200 yard shots. The Vortek StrikerFire VAPR is one of the safest muzzleloaders on the market. It features a trigger safety and the hammerless StrikerFire system allows you to safely decock the muzzleloader with just the push of a button. This muzzleloader also features the TAC2 trigger, which comes preset at 3 pounds. This trigger is very crisp and has no creep, which only adds to the overall performance of this muzzleloader. The Vortek StrikerFire VAPR is almost as light as its little brother, the Traditions Pursuit VAPR XT. The Vortek StrikerFire VAPR weighs in at a feathery 6.25 pounds. It also features a lightweight Chromoly steel barrel with a premium exterior CeraKote finish making it extremely resistant to corrosion, even in the most severe weather conditions. The StrikerFire system is ideal for cold weather as it allows you to easily and safely cock the muzzleloader with a gloved hand. The Vortek StrikerFire VAPR starts off at $399 and similarly to the Pursuit VAPR XT, for a small price increase you can order it in a variety of CeraKote colors and camo patterns. The Traditions Vortek StrikerFire VAPR is a well rounded muzzleloader that will serve you well in any condition or terrain.
Thompson/Center™ Triumph Bone Collector
No list of mountain muzzleloaders would be complete without the Thompson Center Triumph Bone Collector. The T/CTriumph has everything that you could ask for from a mountain muzzleloader. It’s lightweight, weighing in at only 6.5 pounds, it will hold an MOA group at 200 yards, and it has the Weather Shield coating which makes it very resistant to rust and corrosion. The Bone Collector starts at an MSRP of $638 and is available in several different camo patterns for a small increase in price. This muzzleloader has been the bane of many elk and deer through the years and it has always been a customer favorite. The Bone Collector has stood the test of time and earned its spot on our list.
Muzzleloader technology has come a long way and in 2021 every muzzleloader manufacturer is producing top-notch products. It is the smallest details that give our winner an edge over the rest. When all is said and done, it comes down to two muzzleloaders that are in consideration for the best mountain muzzleloader. Those muzzleloaders are the Traditions Vortek StrikerFire VAPR and the CVA Accura MR-X. Both of these muzzleloaders have proven themselves to be excellent options but our choice for the best mountain muzzleloader has to go to the CVA Accura MR-X.
Though the CVA Accura MR-X is heavier than some of the other models and doesn’t offer some of the safety features that are found with the Traditions Vortek StrikerFire VAPR, we believe that there are a few things that the Accura MR-X brings to the table that put it over the top. Some of the deciding factors were overall length, versatility, and weather resistance. The CVA Accura MR-X is shorter overall by 3” which makes it easier to maneuver through dense vegetation. We also believe it to be the more versatile option as it is available in .45 or .50 caliber and the adjustable cheek piece allows you to have the best sight picture and comfort possible no matter what optic you choose. The adjustable trigger is a feature that many shooters enjoy for another level of customization. Lastly, the Nitride treated stainless steel barrel, with the additional protection of exterior CeraKote, makes this the most corrosion-resistant muzzleloader on the market. Corrosion and rust resistance is extremely valuable when you are spending long periods of time in the mountains. All of the muzzleloaders that were mentioned in this article are up for the challenge of backcountry hunting but, in the end, the CVA Accura MR-X takes home the prize.
If you’d like more information on any of these muzzleloaders, the images below will direct you to the individual product overview pages. Additionally, our friendly and knowledgeable customer service team is always happy to discuss muzzleloaders and accessories. Feel free to reach out to our team at email@example.com or 1-855-236-5000.