September 29, 2022
What do a Kansas whitetail hunt, a Montana elk hunt and a Nevada bighorn sheep hunt have in common? Very little, but one thing all these hunts do have in common is that modern muzzleloaders will work for each of these game animals, and in some cases using a smokepole might be your best shot for drawing a tag for these species. As more hunters have accumulated points toward drawing coveted tags for species like elk, sheep, moose, and mule deer, we’ve witnessed point creep—an increase in the overall number of points required to draw. In some places, it may take up to 20 years before hunters have a legitimate chance of drawing a rifle tag for species like elk and sheep. Will you be able to climb steep mountains 20 years from now when you finally draw that tag you’ve been waiting years to obtain?
That’s why most licensing agencies and outfitters suggest that their clients purchase a quality muzzleloader and learn to shoot it well. The odds of drawing a muzzleloader tag are much better for most species since the pool of applicants is smaller. What’s more, muzzleloader seasons often run outside of the rifle season, and often before it. In Colorado, for example, elk seasons run through mid-September when the bulls are starting to rut and before any rifle hunters have set foot on the mountain.
There’s no question that muzzleloader hunting affords hunters outstanding opportunities across the country, but that’s just what they are—opportunities. If you don’t have the right rifle, optics, and muzzleloader bullets, you may find yourself eating tag soup.
How Berry’s Blue Diamond Has Become the Favorite Bullet of Serious Muzzleloader Hunters
There are lots of muzzleloader bullets on the market but not all are created equal. Berry’s Blue Diamond bullets have become a favorite of hunters around the country because they offer excellent consistency from a hunting bullet. The flat-base bullet features an open nose with a polycarbonate tip, and this helps improve long-range performance. The more aerodynamic design bucks wind and resists drop better than traditional round- and flat-nose muzzleloader bullets, and the tip and bullet’s open-nose profile initiate expansion at moderate velocities and great distances. Whether you’re shooting a doe or cow for meat, or a ram or bull for the record book, you must have a bullet that expands and can transfer energy properly at great distances.
The Blue Diamond bullet is paired with Berry’s proprietary sabot. Poorly designed sabots make loading the bullet difficult. Worse yet, inferior sabot designs allow gas to escape and this can lead to variations in muzzle velocity, which can cause erratic performance and poor accuracy. That’s not a problem with Berry’s sabots; you can expect a consistent seal and excellent terminal performance.
Berry’s Blue Diamond .50-caliber bullets are available in three grain weights: 250, 275 and 305 grains. This variation allows you to customize your hunting load for the conditions. If you’re hunting antelope or mule deer in the open plains of Wyoming, the 250-grain bullet will provide the flattest trajectory possible, perfect for hunting medium-size game at longer distances. For elk, moose and bear, the heavy 305-grain Blue Diamond is a great option since the added bullet weight is ideal for larger game. The 275-grain Blue Diamond is the all-arounder, borrowing the best traits from its lighter and heavier mates.
Berry’s Blue Diamond muzzleloader bullets are sold in 25-round hard packs for $26.99. That’s a superb bargain for one of the best .50-caliber muzzleloader projectiles on the market.
Performance at the Range
For testing, I used Traditions’ Pursuit XT muzzleloader with a Traditions 3-9x scope pre-mounted and bore-sighted. Using 80 grains of Blackhorn 209 powder, which is my go-to deer hunting load for eastern whitetails, the Blue Diamond bullets performed extremely well. The consistency in the design of these bullets and their sabots led to superb accuracy, with three-shot groups at 100 yards hovering around 1.25 inches. That’s great accuracy for this rifle, and it’s one of the reasons that Berry’s Blue Diamond bullets are so popular with hunters.
After a few shots without cleaning, muzzleloaders start to gum up, but there was never any issue loading and seating the Blue Diamond bullet. This becomes very important in the field because if you take a couple of shots and need to reload a bullet that doesn’t seat properly, it can cost you. That’s not an issue with Blue Diamond Bullets.
It’s time to start planning for the hunt of a lifetime, whether that means connecting with that big whitetail buck on public land near your home or drawing a tag for bighorns in the west. Either way, your odds of success will be improved when you’re shooting a muzzleloader with the right bullet, and the right bullet is Berry’s Blue Diamond.
For more information on Blue Diamond bullets or any of Berry’s other products visit their website at www.berrysmfg.com.