Muzzleloading Ballistics By Brad Fenson Posted August 7, 2017 Muzzleloaders have changed drastically in the last two decades, offering hunters reliability and accuracy in well-crafted firearms. Barrels machined to precise tolerances, and ignition sources have essentially done away with misfires. Bullets and powders offer better velocities and energy, allowing shooters to stay on target at distances previously thought unachievable. Traditions Performance Firearms has been engineering longer barrels for its muzzleloaders, providing greater effective range and performance. For instance, the Traditions StrikerFire LDR has a 30-inch Chromoly barrel that provides down-range accuracy and reliability as well as increased velocity that is easy to measure. In other words, it provides improved ballistics, with more barrel to burn powder and stabilize the bullet in flight. The rifle also has a hammerless cocking system, lightweight design, and alloy frame. The StrikerFire LDR is enjoyable to shoot with a two-stage trigger factory set at a mere 2 pounds, and even though it only weighs 6.8 pounds the recoil is well managed. The lightweight trigger is important for anyone wanting to shoot accurately at longer range. The rifle shot impressive groups when tested at the range and never failed under any of the strenuous checks and assessments it endured. The proof is in the chronograph, which showed a stark velocity difference, with the 30-inch barrel producing speeds about 200 fps faster on average, over a similar rifle with a 28-inch barrel. Velocities were another 50 fps slower on average from a muzzleloader with a 24-inch barrel. In short, long-barreled guns were consistently the most accurate, and with many loads, they provided a velocity advantage. Today, the better the rifle scope on your muzzleloader, the farther you can shoot accurately and confidently. Although there is a wide range of powder and trajectory options for front stuffers, most hunters have chosen to use maximum or magnum loads. Using 150-grains of Pyrodex or Triple 7 powder and a 250-grain Smackdown bullet in a sabot is standard. There are several variations of a magnum load, but most compare to Pyrodex or Triple 7. Optic companies recognized most hunters were using magnum loads and designed optics to appeal to the masses. They developed reticles for a direct hold on target out to 250 or even 300 yards. The calculated bullet drop, built into the scope, offers a point of impact at 50-yard intervals with a reticle bar, dot or crosshair. That is, there is a point for 50, 100, 150, 200 and 250 yards in the scope. The range-specific scopes use the second focal plane for the reticles to work, meaning the scope must be at maximum power for the shooting systems to work. The assorted products are extremely easy to use, and shooters simply need to sight in for 100 yards, and the hold-over points in the scope will line up. It is recommended hunters test the point of impact at the different distances, at the range, before going hunting. Knowing exactly where your bullet will hit provides the confidence to make anyone a better shooter. With inevitable variations in powder and bullet options, it is always best to confirm all points of impact identified in a scope by testing at the range. Shooting at 25-yard intervals will show you exactly what your bullet is doing, and how much it drops over a specific distance. For more information on Traditions Performance Firearms, Click Here.