While at the Shot Show 2010, one of the many items I was looking for was new bullets. Over this last year, there doesn’t seem to be much that is new or different.
In the past, Barnes (an outstanding bullet by the way) has been, and still is, selling their main line of muzzleloader bullets with the boat-tail shape and yellow sabots. I have found that this bullet-sabot combo is very accurate and performs well on big game. My favorite choice from them is their TMZ. I think Barnes may have been having some complaints on the combo as being hard to load, but my finding was that the bullet was just nice and (very) tight, which I like. I could see where the bullet would be hard to load in a dirty barrel, but on the range, after cleaning between shots (which I always do) I had no problem whatsoever. I further found no problem loading this bullet while using the new Blackhorn 209 powder.
In any case, Barnes now offers a new bullet-sabot combo called their TEZ Line. The difference is that the bullet has a flat base and a blue sabot. The blue sabot is just a few 1000’s thinner for easier loading. The bullet having a flat base vs. a boat-tail should not have any effect on it’s accuracy because the fact is, a boat-tail on a bullet of this size is, in my experience, not really helping much in the aerodynamics at 2000 FPS + anyway. In short, I believe this was a good move on Barnes’ part.
Other than that, there is nothing new and exciting out there that I could find. Thompson Center has come out with a new 250 grain bullet that is an all copper called the “Copper Crusher”. It looks like it is made by you-know-who!
I did make it around to all the companies that produce muzzleloader bullets, all were helpful in answering any of my questions. The Hornady Company people were an especially knowledgeable group.
As always, we are on the search for new bullets, even though there are a lot of good ones already out there. If any of you knows of anything new that we missed, or something you’d like to see us research, please let us know. Till then, we will continue to watch the muzzleloading industry for information on new and exciting products to pass on to you!