Tony Smotherman on Why He Still Uses Loose Powder 15

Tony Smotherman on Why He Still Uses Loose Powder

Tony Smotherman on Why He Still Uses Loose Powder

I prefer loose powder because I want to shoot as accurately as I possibly can. A blackpowder substitute pellet will group fine for most hunting shots. However, I am a fanatic on accuracy and I always want to make sure that my gun shoots as accurately as it possibly can. One thing you must remember when trying to get your muzzleloader to shoot as good as it can… “consistency” is accuracy when dealing with a muzzleloader. I know that loose powder delivers better accuracy than pellets because when you pour the loose powder down the barrel, it fills-up the entire powder column or lower 2 inches of the barrel that lays next to the breech plug and leaves no open air voids or variables which equals a “consistent” load every time. When you load with pellets there is air space between the inside of the barrel and the outside of the pellets and there is no way to make the pellets line-up the same way every time, i.e. a uncontrollable variable each time you drop them down the barrel. This type load will give you a good hunting style group at 100 yards, but it is not as consistent as loose powder thus not giving you the types groups that your gun could be capable of. I normally can get an inch or better 3 shot group at 100 yards with loose powder and the 300 grain PowerBelt AeroLite bullets.

Some hunters may say, “It takes more time to reload my speed loaders when I have to pour loose powder and measure it accurately before I put it in my speed loader.” Well, I agree to a point. This process does take an extra 30 seconds to reload with a loose black powder substitute rather than pellets. However, when you’re in the field and have to load quickly.. the same amount of time is required to pour loose powder down the barrel as it is to drop pellets down the barrel. I would rather spend those extra 30 seconds to measure my powder  while in camp if it increases my accuracy…especially since us muzzleloader guys have only one shot and it needs to be as accurate as it possibly can be.

Before I close, I want to remind you to swab the bore of your muzzleloader with 1 damp patch and one dry patch after every shot while on the bench. Doing this can be a pain in the rear I know, but it keeps your barrel fowling to a minimum and very consistent shot after shot. While in the field if you are in need of a follow up shot, this swabbing procedure is not necessary unless you plan on shooting multiple times and lets hope that will never be the case.

by Tony Smotherman, CVA Pro Staffer and Host of “Travelin’ Hunter”


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15 thoughts on “Tony Smotherman on Why He Still Uses Loose Powder

  • Bill McKinley

    The best muzzle loading powder ever created was not black powder. It was GOLDEN POWDER, invented by Skip Kurtz. I shot some of the original powder back in the early 80’s and not only did it shoot ballistically more accurate, it was extremely CLEAN! I fired over 100 shots through my Hawken with no problems. Nothing compared to Clean Shot, or any of the Pyrodex powders which are highly corrosive despite claims to the contrary. I wish Mr. Kurtz’s story had been different. I just finished reading “The Real Golden Powder Story” available on Amazon and what he endured with the crooks like Brett Epstein and others who now sell these powders is incredible. Any interested should take a read. This IS NOT what AMERICA was supposed to be like. Damn Liberals!

  • Bondo

    Tony is right……if you have ever chronograph loads from loose powder vs pellets (especially using 209 primers) the extreme spread is ALWAYS lower using loose powder. I had a Knight 52 long range hunter and tested with both the stem breech plug (for loose powder) and cupped plug for pellets. Accuracy and spread were more consistent with loose powder. Great point made Tony!

  • rudy

    Not only this a pellet weight is difference with every one .I weight them 3-7 an pirodex don’t matter from 28 gr to 44 gr not if u put a 36 gr. an 30 gr then load the next shot with 2 pellets of say 46 gr that a big difference. Loose powder 60 gr is 50 gr. 100 gr is 100 gr .Better go loose

  • Don Rumbles

    Don’s thoughts
    Yes couldn’t agree more RE: loose powder vs pellets as it relates to accuracy. More accuracy is very rewarding for us ML guys, especially since it’s my only deer rifle. However, one more not so unimportant point: loose powder is less expensive.

  • nelson

    question; reading your print helps my thoughts;well if I would use 3 pellets shots or 1 and use same amout of weight with lose powder to take out the air space?that put out the same power on firing an mag that takes tripe 7 pellets. Useing lose power.just an thought safty 1st it may work using both lose and powder together.

  • Jeff Hayden (@hayden1_j)

    After Review and reading all your Articles’ you really have something good going on hear with your powder choice and grain’s , bullet grain and the CVA I am going to try this out , thanks’ Tony for sharing all this good Material , Good Luck and Safe Travels’ Jeff Hayden

  • Jody LeClair

    I bought a Optima in December, have not shot it yet but bought White Hots pellets 209’s 245gr. powerbelt hollow point. CVA recommended. Is this wrong or should I go back to loose.

  • Dudley McGarity -- CEO

    Jody: There are a lot of options in loads. Some people like loose, some like pellets. We use and endorse White Hots because they have always worked well in all of our testing. Go ahead and try them. If you are not satisfied, you can then try something else. Dudley

  • Eric

    Volume measured (loose) Blackhorn 209 powder. Easily 30+ shots in a row without swabbing or cleaning your barrel. Try that with 777 or Pyrodex pellets!!! Consistently accurate. Blackhorn 209 is more expensive but it’s ease of use makes it well worth it! My CVA shoots like a dream with it!