The Best Muzzleloader? Answer: It Is a Rifle-Musket!
Some of the most beautiful firearms ever designed were the flintlock, Kentucky Rifles. Matter of fact, years ago I built one. Hawken Rifles (something of a variant of the Kentucky Rifle) are also great looking arms.
But when it comes to shooting-nothing beats the Good Ole G.I. Rifle-Musket.
Here are some of the reasons:
(1) "Knock Down Power" - Most Rifle-Muskets come in .58 caliber and use a conical "Minie Ball." When a deer is hit by a 500 grain, soft lead, .58 caliber Minie Ball propelled by 70 grains of FFFg black powder-the deer goes down as if he were hit by a freight train traveling at 80 mph.
(2) "Firepower" - Make up some cartridges using those plastic cartridge cases and carry them in a replica G.I. issue cartridge box along with a cap box and with a little practice you can achieve A RATE OF FIRE OF FOUR ROUNDS PER MINUTE!
Kentuckies and Hawkens using patched round balls take a lot longer to reload (sometimes four minutes per shot) and so do most "Modern" In-Line muzzleloaders. Why is "Firepower" important when hunting? Simple-sometimes you might get a second shot at a deer if your first shot missed.
(3) "Range" Most patched round balls start running out of steam at around the 200 yard mark. Round balls have a terrible "aerodynamic" shape. Minie Balls are good out to 600 yards and even sometimes further!
(4) Rifle-Muskets have a "Rugged Design." They were literally designed to bash in barn doors or skulls, whatever the case was. Drop a Hawken or Kentucky out of a stand, and you might have a broke rifle. Drop a Rifle-Musket out of a stand and 99 out of a 100 times it won't be damaged at all.
The "Best" Rifle Musket? Why, that is the replica P-58 Enfield Naval Rifle made for years by Parker-Hale in England. They had the "magical" 5 groove, "Progressive Depth Rifling" and the 1/48" twist. All things being equal they were the most "accurate" of all Rifle-Muskets.
Note that the Naval Rifle was a "2 bander" with a 33 inch barrel. Not to be confused with the general issue "three banders" with the 39 or 40 inch barrels.
I have been shooting rifle-muskets in North-South Skirmish Association competition since 1968, so I have a little "experience" with them and know what I am talking about!
Get a P-H Naval Rifle, glass bed it, tune the lock and then cast your lead Minie BAlls out of PURE lead only. Size them to be 2 Thousands of an Inch under bore diameter and use REAL black powder. You will be amazed at the accuracy and range you will get.