I have a simple rule-of-thumb for selecting muzzleloader bullets: If you’re shooting a Knight rifle, then use Knight bullets. If you have a CVA, Traditions or Thompson/Center, then use bullets from that manufacturer and you’ll usually obtain good performance.
Slug hunters fall into three camps: those who shoot the same smoothbore shotgun they use for upland birds and waterfowl; those who invest in rifled barrels and scope mounts; and those who get into pushing the limits of slug performance with custom slug guns and specially loaded ammo.
The smoothbore shooter is likely to pick the cheapest ammo he or she can locate. Typically, this hunter doesn’t shoot long distances and is looking for meat. The hunters with special slug barrels and cantilever scope mounts are likely to test a few brands of ammo to determine which one shoots best in their slug gun; saboted slugs aren’t cheap, but they perform well out to 150-200 yards. The hunters with custom slug guns are usually locked into shooting certain loads intended for high performance; believe it or not, accurate shots of 250 yards are attainable with some of their rigs.
Whitetails get more projectiles fired at them than any other big game species in North America. Regardless of where they’re hunted and how big or heavy a deer might be, shot placement using appropriate bullets is the key to putting a trophy on the wall and venison on the table.