Three types of projectiles— the bullet, the round ball, and shot—are used in muzzleloaders. Most are cast from pure lead. The ethical hunter experiments with several projectile types and weights to see what will work best in a particular firearm for the game being hunted.
- Conical Bullet: Many types of conically shaped bullets are available.
- The modern conical muzzleloader bullet is often preferred to the round ball because it retains its velocity and kinetic energy at reasonable hunting distances for deeper penetration.
- Bullets can be encased in sabots—plastic sleeves that fit the bore of the firearm so that a smaller-caliber bullet can be shot from a larger-caliber firearm.
- Round Ball: This is the traditional projectile used in the muzzleloader.
- Rapid loss of velocity and energy reduces their efficiency compared to the bullet.
- Hunting success relies more heavily on skills and proximity to the game.
- These projectiles require the use of lubricated cloth patches, which slows down loading.
- Shot: Muzzleloading shotguns use the same pellets used in a modern shotgun.
- The main difference between hunting with a conventional modern shotgun and the muzzleloader is in loading.
- The size of the game and the shooting circumstances determine the load you choose so that you can control the pattern of the shot better.