The Bob Parker Magical Mysterious Muzzleloading Bullet Selection

Idaho is the land of rumors, strange laws, and Bob Parker . . . not necessarily in that order. Apparently, it is illegal to fish on a camel's back and to ride a Merry-Go-Round on Sundays. In Boise, fishing from a giraffe’s back is also prohibited. In Pocatello, “The carrying of concealed weapons is forbidden, unless some are exhibited to public view.” I'm not sure how Bob has managed to keep on the straight and narrow all these years, particularly avoiding the wild temptation of the Merry-Go-Round, but it seems that he has managed it.

When it comes to Parker Productions' bullets, there are three basic categories: Ballistic Extreme, Parker Match Hunter, and bore-sized conicals that have special appeal for Colorado and other states where sabots are nonsensically prohibited.

The most popular Parker isn't Bob; it is likely his wife, Doloris. As far as bullets go, the #1 choice is the 275 grain Ballistic Extreme.

The Ballistic Extreme and the Match Hunters are all .451 diameter bullets, used with short black MMP sabots in .50 caliber muzzleloaders, with twist rates from 1:24 to 1:30 as a generalization. Both the Ballistic Extreme and the Match Hunters are offered in 250 grain, 275 grain, and 300 grain weights.

The Ballistic Extreme offers good expansion at typical in-line muzzleloader velocities, featuring a .015 in. thick C-120 copper alloy jacket over pure lead. Parker publishes the following static ballistic coefficients:

250 gr. - BC = .267, SD = .176
275 gr. - BC = .296, SD = .194
300 gr. - BC = .324, SD = .212

If you want a soft-shooting load, use 50 grains by weight of Blackhorn 209 and the 250 Ballistic Extreme for about 1650 fps muzzle velocity. All three weights are suitable for deer. For large hogs, elk, bear, and moose either the 275 grain or 300 grain Ballistic Extremes are more suitable.

The Parker Match / Hunter is the most aerodynamic .45 caliber muzzleloading projectile ever made. In the picture above, it is shown all the way to the right-- not exactly tough to spot. With a .028 in. thick jacket, it is suitable for the highest velocity loads in muzzleloading and the toughest game inclusive of Kodiak Brown Bear. It is also ideal for smashing shoulder bones and the “high shoulder” instant anchor shot. The 300 grain version is one of the most accurate bullets I've ever tested out of my Savage 10ML-IIs. The radical, high performance swaged in aluminum tip and steep nose profile requires the regular SpinJag .45 Cal BX 325 or the SpinJag Loader .45 BXL 325 for proper loading.

The 50 Cal./440 gr. Hydra-Con is the bore-sized “Colorado Conical” of choice, also available in 52 and 54 caliber versions. These are the basic Hydra-Con conical ballistics, provided by Bob Parker:

Bullet: 440 grain .50 Caliber Parker Colorado Legal Hydra-Con  

100 gr Pdx P - Vel. 1250 fps,
Trajectory (150 yard zero)
25 yds: + 1.5 inches 
50 yds: + 3 inches 
100 yds: + 3 inches 
150 yds: 0 
200 yds: 14 inches

110 gr Pdx P - Vel. 1300 fps, Trajectory (100 yard zero)
25 yds: 0 
50 yds: +1.5 inches 
100 yds: 0 
150 yds: -7 inches 
200 yds: -20 inches

So, what bullet? If the regs say bore-sized conical, then it is easy: the Hydra-Con.

If you want expansion in deer family game, the most common application, use the Ballistic Extreme in the weight that groups the best in your individual rifle. The 275 grain Ballistic Extreme is Bob's most popular bullet; less recoil than the 300s but more aerodynamic than the 250s, a very good, supremely effective compromise for most game inclusive of elk. Expect pass-throughs on deer most of the time with the 275, all the time with the 300 grain.

If you want the flattest flying muzzleloading projectile on the planet, want two holes in most everything, and / or like to break animals down as opposed to double-lung shots, go Parker Match / Hunter. It does make two holes in about everything, including Duane Dunham's record book Kodiak Brown Bear shown below.

Copyright 2012 by Randy Wakeman. All Rights Reserved.

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