The Muzzle-Loaders.com team has once again compiled a new list of top muzzleloaders for 2020! We have compared muzzleloaders from every major manufacturer and intend to provide an unbiased list to help customers make their own choice when choosing their new muzzleloader. This list is segregated into different categories in order to allow shooters and hunters to find the best muzzleloader for their needs. There are so many great muzzleloaders on the market and the winners often boil down to the very small details that push a certain muzzleloader to the top.
For more information on any of these muzzleloaders listed, please contact our knowledgeable and courteous customer service team at 1-855-236-5000 or at email@example.com.
Best New Muzzleloader for 2020
With so many new and updated models presented this year, we found it important to include a new category for Best New Muzzleloader for 2020. The main feature of this category was innovation, performance, value, and overall fit and finish. The muzzleloaders that were considered included the CVA Paramount Pro, CVA Accura V2 PR, MR and LR, the Traditions Nitro Fire, and the Traditions Kentucky Deluxe Muzzleloader. While most of the models on the list are updated models of previously released models, it was an easy pick to decide what the best and most innovative new muzzleloader would be. The updated models are well received, however, the Traditions NitroFire muzzleloader was the clear winner in this category.
The Traditions® NitroFire™ Muzzleloader caused a big splash at SHOT Show 2020 and was highly praised by industry colleagues and writers for its innovation to the industry, amazing accuracy, and ease of use. The best new feature is the simplified loading process, which makes it easier to clean and incredibly safe. It also uses a brand new ignition component called the Federal® FireStick™ which completely revamps muzzleloading. The NitroFire muzzleloader has a proprietary ‘shelf’ built into the barrel which separates the bullet from the powder charge. This allows the bullet to be loaded down the muzzle at any time during the loading process. The bullet will hit this shelf, letting you know that it is fully seated to the appropriate depth.
Best Long Range Muzzleloader
The Best Long Range Muzzleloader has quickly become our most popular category due to the influx of shooters and hunters getting into the long-range industry. With higher quality barrels being produced with the ability to reach out beyond 300 yards, the main features in this category are velocity, accuracy, value, and overall fit and finish. The muzzleloaders that we considered were the CVA Paramount, CVA Paramount Pro, Remington 700 UML, T/C Triumph Pro Hunter FX, and Traditions Vortek LDR. After breaking down the accuracy and working up the correct powder loads, these muzzleloaders were able to maintain a 1” group or better at 100 yards. We found that the Paramount Pro™ and Paramount™ had similar accuracy, however, the new innovations on the Paramount Pro™ made it a clear winner.
The CVA® Paramount™ Pro Muzzleloader Rifle features the new VariFlame® ignition system and the updated .45 caliber Bergara barrel. It also features a TriggerTech® trigger, custom Greyboe™ stock, and a Nitride/Cerakote® barrel. Just like the Paramount before it, the Paramount Pro also features a self-deploying compact ramrod, a Quake Claw® sling, and some starting accessories need to load and maintain the muzzleloader. The free-floating barrel is also threaded to accept the new Paramount muzzle brake. When used with the CVA Paramount Muzzle Brake, it will greatly reduce the felt recoil put off by the larger powder charge. The brake also features an enlarged first port, so patches do not get stuck in the brake when cleaning, as well as an extension jag for the ramrod due to the additional length of the barrel. For those in Colorado, the Paramount Pro will also be available in a .50 Cal application which has a Williams Peep Sight set already installed.
Best Mountain Muzzleloader
When trying to traverse the rugged terrain on an all-day mountain excursion, the elements can throw everything at you while trying to track down your big game. Hunting in the west can be demanding and having a lightweight muzzleloader platform is extremely important. Every pound matters when packing into the mountains and this category is based on the overall weight, the ease of cleaning and maintenance, and overall accuracy. The muzzleloaders that we compared based on western hunting was the Traditions Vortek StrikerFire BackCountry, Thompson Center Bone Collector, and CVA Accura MR (Mountain Rifle). When it came down to it, the Traditions Vortek BackCountry was the lightest and easiest to clean.
The Traditions® Vortek StrikerFire™ BackCountry features a Chromoly steel barrel, which makes rifle less than 6 pounds. The StrikerFire mechanism performs especially well if you are using a scope or if you are using gloves. The StrikerFire mechanism needs to be pushed up to engage and is easily disengaged by pressing the de-cocking button found on the hammer. This special design is very safe as you won’t ‘slip’ off of it like a traditional hammer and you won’t have to compete with the eyepiece to pull the hammer down. The lightweight design and the innovative StrikerFire mechanism make this the best Mountain Muzzleloader, with or without a scope!
Best Mid-Range Muzzleloader
The most popular category on this list is the mid-range muzzleloader, as it combines great features with affordability. The mid-range muzzleloaders often feature similar quality to their higher-end counterparts but are generally at a reduced price point. The qualities that were considered in this category were accuracy, range, value, affordability, and overall fit and finish. The muzzleloaders that we compared were the Traditions Pursuit G4, Traditions NitroFire, T/C Triumph, and CVA Optima V2 LR. While all four models are easy to clean and maintain, the CVA Optima V2 LR features a 28” barrel that allows better velocities at longer ranges and the Quick Release Breech Plug allows for quicker disassembly.
The CVA® Optima™ V2 LR features a nitride or stainless steel barrel with a Realtree Edge thumbhole stock and is the 2020 Best Mid-Range muzzleloader. It is a great option for anyone who wants to reach beyond 200 yards while providing a great value to the customer. The CVA Optima V2 LR is fully capable of installing a sling and the break-action lever is built into the trigger guard, which is more durable and easier to use. The LR (long-range) 28” barrel provides better velocity than the standard Optima V2 barrel, so you can maintain proper knockdown power at the 200+ range.
Best Economy Muzzleloader
Many of the muzzleloaders that have been released in the last several years have been at increasingly higher price points. While these muzzleloaders are worth the price for some customers, there are plenty of entry-level muzzleloaders that will still perform great and provide an amazing hunting experience for most shooters. Black powder hunting and shooting can also be very daunting when you are just starting out. Some shooters would rather ease into black powder while not breaking the bank. In this category, we are comparing affordability, value, accuracy, and ease of use. The muzzleloaders that we considered are the Traditions Tracker, Traditions Buckstalker, CVA Wolf, and T/C Impact!SB. The Traditions Tracker is at the lowest price point, while the Buckstalker, Wolf, and Impact!SB has an easier to remove breech plug making it easy to clean and maintain.
The Best Economy Muzzleloader goes to the CVA® Wolf™ Muzzleloader as it is it has plenty of aesthetic options all right around $200. The Wolf is able to reach out to 150-yards with open sights or scope and features CVA’s QRBP™ Breech Plug, which can be removed with just your fingers. For hunters needing a shorter length of pull, the stock can also be manually changed to a compact stock, allowing more versatility for whoever is shooting.
Best Northwest Muzzleloader
In Oregon and Idaho, there are special northwest regulations that are required in order to hunt in these areas. Due to limited offerings for Northwest rifles, we only have a few different models depending on what extra features that you want. The Northwest regulations surrounding the muzzleloading rifle requires using open sights, a percussion style ignition, and an exposed breech. The categories that we considered were ease of cleaning, accuracy, value, and fit and finish while providing all of the components needed to hunt in Oregon and Idaho. The rifles that we considered for this category are the Traditions Tracker, Traditions Buckstalker NW, Traditions Pursuit G4 NW LDR, CVA Wolf NW, CVA Optima V2 NW, and CVA Accura V2 NW. The Traditions Tracker includes both a 209 and NW ignition system, so it can be changed between the two depending on where you are hunting, which provides a great value. The other 5 models are very comparable and provide great options and are also able to be converted to a 209 ignition if you plan on using this muzzleloader in another state that doesn’t require a northwest ignition system.
Even with the limited offering of northwest muzzleloaders, the Traditions® Pursuit™ G4 Northwest LDR is our 2020 choice for Best NW Legal Muzzleloader. The 30” Chromoly steel is extremely lightweight while still providing a great platform to reach out to longer ranges with increased velocity due to the longer barrel. It is fully drilled and tapped for open sights or scope and already has a Williams® sight set installed. The Pursuit G4 NW LDR can be easily converted to a 209 ignition system with Traditions 209 Conversion Kit, so if you wanted to use this same muzzleloader in different states or during standard rifle season there is an inexpensive and easy method to do so.
Best Youth Muzzleloader
While there are not a lot of options for youth muzzleloaders on the market, we do have a few options that will accommodate hunters and shooters requiring a smaller length of pull. The youth or compact models will feature a smaller length of pull which provides a more comfortable feel for smaller or younger shooters. We also considered affordability, value, ease of cleaning, accuracy, and weight. The muzzleloaders that we considered were the T/C Impact!SB, Traditions Youth Buckstalker, and Traditions Tracker. The Impact!SB and the Buckstalker feature an easy to remove breech plug and are fully drilled and tapped for open sights or a scope mount. The Impact!SB is a full muzzleloader rifle, however, it does have a removable spacer in order to reduce the length of pull.
The Traditions® Buckstalker™ Youth Muzzleloader has an extremely lightweight platform and a compact stock, effectively reducing the length of pull down to 13”. The Buckstalker can shoot out to 150 yards and is easy to clean due to the Traditions Accelerator breech plug, which can be removed in three rotations with just your fingers. The price point has been kept low, which makes it popular with children as they can always upgrade if they ‘grow out’ of their youth muzzleloader.
Best Youth Honorable Mention
It is important to mention the CVA Wolf as it has an option to manually change out the stock for a youth stock. Originally the Wolf had a compact model that was in production but has since been discontinued. CVA still makes a compact buttstock for the Wolf, so you are still able to make one yourself. We normally have the compact stocks available, just keep in mind that you will have to keep your original recoil pad, stock grip cap, and stock screws.
Best Inline Muzzleloaders of 2020
We do know that there are some brands that we have not discussed in this article and if you have a specific inline muzzleloader that you are curious about, feel free to reach out to us. This article is composed of data and opinions gathered by those working at Muzzle-Loaders.com and we do value all of our customers' opinions as well. Please reach out to us at any time and we will be happy to assist you. Feel free to check out last years article in the link as follows:
As there are so many great selections of muzzleloaders out there, it can be hard to narrow down what is going to be the best option for your application. We hope that this article will be insightful and will help point you in the right direction for what muzzleloader works for you! If you have any questions concerning any muzzleloaders listed in this article or need any advice concerning how to properly use and maintain your rifle, please give our knowledgeable customer service team a call at 1-855-236-5000 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.