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Five types of projectiles—the round ball, the bullet, sabot bullets, PowerBelt bullets, and shot pellets—are used in muzzleloaders. Most are melted and cast from pure lead.

Round ball and patch are traditional but lose power and accuracy at medium and longer ranges. They usually use a cloth patch to engage the rifling.

Bullets are preferred for hunting because of their greater accuracy and power. They may or may not need a patch or plastic sabot.

Sabot bullets have an enclosing case of “sabot” of plastic to engage the rifling and impart spin to the bullet.

PowerBelt bullets have a solid plug in the base which is driven into the bullet by the ignition of the powder, expanding the bullet sides to take the rifling.

Shot pellets are designed to spread, just as in a modern shotgun. Fiber wads hold them in the barrel.

Projectiles for a muzzleloader

The type of projectile you select depends on how you plan to use your muzzleloader.

  • Bullets are preferred for hunting because they are generally more accurate at certain ranges.
  • Shot pellets are designed to spread, just as with today’s shotguns.
  • Round balls are used mainly for target practice but also can be used for hunting.