The Ultimate Muzzleloader is a Remington?

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After firing, the case slides back, but doesn't eject.

After firing, the case slides back, but doesn’t eject.

Remington released their newest muzzleloader back in April and we got one in time to put it to the test before hunting season here in the South. Remington claims it is the most advanced muzzleloader made to date. I am not going to argue with that statement. This is unlike any front loader I have had my hands on. It is as close to a Remington 700 as you can get, which should open more doors for early season hunters who may have doubts about muzzleloaders. But is it the ultimate?

Bolt Action?

This is not the first bolt action muzzleloader that Remington has made. The earlier versions of the 700 Muzzleloader, which got mixed reviews, have been replaced with the new Ultimate line. One big difference is the ignition system. The new Remington uses primed cartridge cases. That is right, a muzzleloader that uses a cartridge. It is using what is essentially a cut down .308 centerfire cartridge. This case holds a large magnum rifle primer to touch off the charge (with the charge being in the barrel on the other side of the breech plug). The case fits tightly to the special breech plug to form a gas seal. The idea is that you get the fast and reliable lock time of a bolt action rifle, and you will have something larger than a cap to hold when setting up the gun.

The Ultimate Muzzleloader goes to extremes to look, feel, and function like a traditional centerfire.

The Ultimate Muzzleloader goes to extremes to look, feel, and function like a traditional centerfire.

Remington sells these special cases in a bag of 24. If you have reloading equipment, you can easily pop out the spent primers and seat new ones. The cases are nice and heavy and should hold up to for a long time. And they’re meant to be reused—there isn’t an extractor to rip them free and toss them into the woods. When cycle the bolt, they slide back and are easily retrieved with ungloved fingers. My only hesitation with this proprietary system is that the rifle won’t work without it. While it is easy enough to find them now, it may not always be so. You can reload and/or make them yourself, but it removes the convenience factor.

The bolt is easy to access, and the safety is in an ideal place on the stock.

The bolt is easy to access. The safety is in an ideal place on the stock.

FFL

Since the 700 UML uses a standard short action Remington bolt and receiver you have to go through an FFL and do a transfer on this rifle. This is the only muzzleloader I am aware of that you have to do this. The thinking behind it is that all you would need to do to make this a standard cartridge rifle is replace the barrel.

I find this rational dubious, as this is not something the average Joe can do in his garage. I would think getting the head spacing right would take a bit of work and tools. But whatever—you have to do a 4473 when buying new. No shipping this one to your door. Will that deter sales? Personally, I doubt it. But it is one more hurdle for a hunter will have to cross. And those of you who may not be able to negotiate the 4473–keep shopping.

Specs

Remington offers the UML in two different models. There is the standard model and the LSS. The LSS sports iron sights and has a laminate stock. Those are the only major differences. The review model is the standard UML which has an MSRP of $999. Is it worth the price tag? If it truly is the Ultimate Muzzleloader—sure. Why not? One thing I will say for the gun up-front is that it feels really good. Still, price is a consideration for many, and you can buy a good Remington 700 centerfire for much less than this. So it will appeal to a niche who really want what the UML provides, which is more time in the field (with the promise of better results).

There is a lot of room around the trigger. I'd like to see tighter tolerances here, if only to keep out dirt.

There is a lot of room around the trigger. I’d like to see tighter tolerances here, if only to keep out dirt.

Both models come with a 26 inch stainless barrel. It is fluted and uses a 1:26 twist. They are .50 caliber and both weight in around 8.5 pounds. The UML sports a Bell and Carlson synthetic stock and is tapped for scope mounts. It uses standard Remington 700 bases. All of this keeps it in line with what I’d expect from a Remington 700.

The two models are outfitted with the Remington X-Mark Pro externally adjustable trigger. It is adjustable from 5 to 2.5 pounds. The review model broke at just under 5 pounds out of the box. The trigger is nice and crisp with no creep.

Fit and Finish

The fit and finish on the UML is great in some places, and just OK in other spots. The stock is nice and has a good texture to help give a positive grip. The satin finish on the stainless is well done and uniform. The area around the safety lever is a little rough. Take a look at the pictures to see what I mean. The stamping on the S and F is different than the other places on the gun. There are also tool marks around the hole under the rear of the bolt. It looks kind of like the hole was cut with a Dremel or something. Other than around the safety, the fit and finish of the rifle is nice and what you expect from the current Remington lines.

200 grains feels like a lot of powder when you load each pellet by hand.

200 grains feels like a lot of powder when you load each pellet by hand.

The Loads

Remington claims that you can get 2400 f/s or more from the muzzle using 200 grains of Triple 7 powder. This is pushing the Remington branded Barnes 250 gr Spit-Fire sabot bullet. The UML ships with 24 of these bullets.

I fired a number of rounds through a chronograph to see how close these claims are. I also tried some loads with 150 grains of Triple 7 pellets. With 200 grains I averaged closer to 2,500 FPS and with the 150 loads it was around 2,100.   Not a whole lot of gain with the extra 50 grains, but it changes the arc of the bullet at farther distances, allowing the gun the reach out farther.

Remington is marketing the UML to be effective out to 300 yards. When taking a muzzleloader out to those distances, every little bit counts. More on the quest for distance below….

Optic

http://www.nikonsportoptics.com/Nikon-Products/Riflescopes/INLINE-XR-3-9×40-Matte-BDC-300.html

The Nikon XXX.

The Nikon INLINE XR 3-9×40, ideal for the UML.

The review gun did not come with sights so a scope was in order. I picked a Nikon Inline Model that is designed for muzzleloaders. It is the Nikon INLINE XR. The glass is nice and clear and the picture is crisp. The reticle is sharp and the adjustments are in 1 /4 inch clicks. Once everything was set and zeroed, it held shot after shot. This is a good solid scope that has preset open points especially designed for muzzleloaders. If you are in the market for a scope for black powder you could do a lot worse than the Nikon Inline. The MSPR is around $200.

Shooting

OK, back to the Remington. Once the scope was mounted up, I worked on the zero. It took about 5 or 6 rounds to get it close at 50 yards. Once that was done, I moved out to 100 yards for more realistic adjustments. 3 or 4 more shots at 100 and we were getting consistent kill shots, if not stellar accuracy. Every 3 shots I ran a number of patches down the barrel to keep everything nice and clean.

I shot the UML from my shoulder a number of rounds to get the feel for the recoil. The 150 grain loads felt about like a Remington 700 in .308 while the 200 grain loads upped the recoil to between 30-06 and 7mm Mag levels. I know this is not the most scientific of measurements, but that should give you an idea. Neither load was uncomfortable but it would get fatiguing after awhile. Of course, this is a muzzleloader so loading it for every shot gets more fatiguing than actually firing it.

200 grains makes a nice cloud of smoke. It creates some suspense, since you have to wait for it to clear in order to see where you've hit.

200 grains makes a nice cloud of smoke. It creates some suspense, since you have to wait for it to clear in order to see where you’ve hit.

All shots made for groups where made off of a bench and led sled. I shot 5 different 3 round groups, cleaning between each group. The best 3 round group was just over 3 inches. This was with a 150 gr load of Triple 7. The 200 gr loads shot closer to 4 inches. This is still within the kill zone on a deer, but frankly I expected a bit more out of this rifle (if only because of the hype). As often as I tried, even from the sled, I wasn’t getting the point of aim impacts at 100 yards, and the margin of error wasn’t consistent. With the same loads, even from the sled, one shot would drift left. The next, with the exact same hold, would drift right. Like I said, at 100 yards the impacts were consistent enough to hunt with the gun. But beyond 150 yards?

Remington advertizes that this is a muzzleloader that is capable of taking game out to 300 yards. The exact line is this: the 200 grain charge produces “lethal 300 yard performance.” That statement is absolutely true. The giant bullet, moving fast, will kill at 300 yards. Yet you have to get the bullet there effectively. If the bullet were to hit a deer at that range, I have no doubt that it could prove lethal. Still, with the 3-4 MOA groups I was getting at 100 yards, I didn’t any need to take it out to 300.If this were a .308, say, I’d have set up a 4’x4′ target at 300 and see just how accurate it is at 300. But with the limited resources (the primed cases, for one), there wasn’t any need to prove the point. I can anticipate the criticism now–“but you didn’t shoot it at 300, so how do you know?” Yeah. The bullets aren’t going to drift wide of the mark at 100, and come back at 300.

At 300 yards the groups should open up to 9-12 inches. That is bigger than where you want to hit on a deer for a lung and heart shot. Once again all of the shots for groups at 100 yards were from a bench rest. Real world hunting is rarely that stable. The UML may well be the Ultimate Muzzleloader for realistic ranges, but I don’t yet have the confidence in the gun to pull the trigger on a whitetail outside of 150 yards.

From 50 yards, the group was consistent. No problems there.

From 50 yards, the group was consistent. No problems there (using the 9 as point of aim).

This is representative of our 100 yard targets. The accuracy just doesn't inspire 300 yard confidence.

This is representative of our 100 yard targets. The accuracy just doesn’t inspire 300 yard confidence.

We’re not finished with this testing. Not by a long shot. I’m not ready to say that it can’t connect at 300 yards, as the advertising suggests. We’re going back out this week with all of the guns we’re going to field this fall. We’ll examine all of the variables again, bore-sight again, and sight in again. If we get predictable impacts in the 2 MOA range at 100 yards, close to point of aim, we’ll stretch it out and update review. As is, we’ll be fielding the UML in a rough patch of Arkansas scrub oaks and secondary growth. The lanes we’ve scouted reach out about 150 yards, tops. We’ve got narrow runs and stable stands, so the UML should perform well enough. And I’m still counting on the 200 grain performance dropping a whitetail or three.

This is a high-tech way to touch off powder. And keep track of these cases--it won't work without them.

This is a high-tech way to touch off powder. And keep track of these cases–it won’t work without them.

If you’re really looking for long range muzzleloading accuracy, give it a shot. Remington claims that the rifle “consistently shoots groups rivaling centerfire rifles.” I’m an old cynical bastard, and I’m inclined to say that most centerfire rifles don’t perform all that well. But that’s me. The UML is supposed to shoot flat out to 150 yards, and have 23.6 inches of drop at 300 (with the 200 grain powder charge). Maybe that’s true. And even if it isn’t, the UML would seem to have a lot more potential than most of the other muzzleloaders I’ve seen (most of which top out at 150 grains for a recommended charge).

Cleaning

Like all things that shoot black powder or substitutes, you have to clean them after every trip to the range. And I mean clean them. The Triple 7 is a lot cleaner than rear black powder, but it still leaves a big mess. With most inline muzzleloaders, you simply pull the breech plug and start pushing a brush all the way through the barrel. Remington does not recommend pulling the breech plug every time you clean the UML. I can understand why. It is a pain to do. You need a thin walled, deep, 5 /16 socket, an extension, and a wrench. Once you have it out and cleaned, you need to coat the threads with anti-seize and reinstall the plug using a torque wrench to tighten it to 100 lbs. I agree with Remington. I don’t what to do this every time it gets fired. If you are only going to use this rifle seasonally, I’d think you’d be fine to treat it like a traditional muzzleloader and really break it down only after you’ve bagged your limit.

Other than not pushing the brush or patches all the way through the barrel, the UML cleaned up with ease. The way the priming system works and seals, there isn’t a whole lot of crud to clean up behind the breach plug. After a number of passes with a solvent soaked brush to loosen everything up, it didn’t take too long to start pulling clean patches.

Final Thoughts

This is a beast of a rifle. I like the idea behind the priming system. Using the cut down cases is a lot easier then fumbling with a shotgun primer. I can see the ease of the cases being even more useful on cold morning hunts with numb fingers. And that part of the rifle works great. We had no hang fires. The shots went off just as quickly as if it was a centerfire rifle.

That said, the accuracy left a lot to be desired. This rifle was designed and tested with the supplied Barnes bullets. Barnes makes great bullets, so I won’t blame them at all. But there might be a different weight or design that would perform a little better out of this rifle. 3-4 MOA isn’t bad as long as you are hunting around the 100 yard mark. But Remington claims this is a 300 yard hunting rifle. I do not feel that the rifle would do its part at that range. For me, that isn’t enough to dismiss its other qualities. For some it will be.

The Nikon scope is a great addition to the UML. And you'll need a scope, as it doesn't come with irons.

The Nikon scope is a great addition to the UML. And you’ll need a scope, as it doesn’t come with irons.

The cut here allows the bolt to cycle all the way back.

The cut here allows the bolt to cycle all the way back.

Cases, after firing. Time for new primers.

Cases, after firing. Time for new primers.

The cases look a lot like .45 acp that has been stretched out, or a .308 that's been cut down.

The cases are .308 that’s been cut down. The UML stamp will help reloaders.

With 200 grains of powder, speeds topped 2,500 FPS.

With 200 grains of powder, speeds topped 2,500 FPS.

150 grains produced speeds closer to 2,100.

150 grains produced speeds closer to 2,100.

How much powder is enough? 150 grains works. 200 grains works better.

How much powder is enough? 150 grains works. 200 grains works better.

The trigger on this UML performed well, and came in at close to 5 pounds.

The trigger on this UML performed well, and came in at close to 5 pounds.

Even from the bench, we had difficulty with the long range shooting that would truly make this the Ultimate Muzzleloader.

Even from the bench, we had difficulty with the long range shooting that would truly make this the Ultimate Muzzleloader.

The UML has a fancy touch here and there, like the engine turning on the bolt.

The UML has a fancy touch here and there, like the engine turning on the bolt.

Branding is minimal, and subtle.

Branding is minimal, and subtle.

Remington 700 scope mounts work on this 700, too.

Remington 700 scope mounts work on this 700, too.

The plug on the back of the bolt lets you know if it is cocked or not.

The plug on the back of the bolt lets you know if it is cocked or not.

The trapdoor that hides the extra cases.

The trapdoor that hides the extra cases.

The trap door holds three extras, just in case.

The trap door holds three extras, just in case.

The barrel is fluted to help reduce some of the weight.

The barrel is fluted to help reduce some of the weight.

If you want irons on the UML, adding them should be easy.

If you want irons on the UML, adding them should be easy.

{ 59 comments… add one }
  • Rob G. October 1, 2017, 10:37 am

    Buyer Beware!! If you plan on buying a Remington 700 Ultimate Muzzle Loader, and you plan on shooting iron/open sights, DO NOT purchase model 86960 with the Bell and Carlson stock. If you live and hunt in Colorado or Utah where it is against the law to hunt with a muzzle loader using any optics or sight system other than iron sights, this model may not be for you. I opted for the Bell and Carlson stock as a more weatherproof, lighter option (model #86960) after reading several product specs stating both models came with iron sights.

    This model (#86960) does NOT come with iron sights (regardless of what ANY website or distributor advertises).

    Simple solution right?! Just order/buy the sights designed for the model #86950! Well, after hours and hours of research with Remington Customer service, I found that the rear sight on the model 86950 is a standard Williams WGRS-700 peep sight item #1451 retailing for approximately $39.95 from Williams Gun Sight Co. HOWEVER, the front sight on the cannot be obtained…PERIOD!! Remington Customer Service Reps and I were BOTH educated on this new weapon. The front sight on the #86950 has three part numbers. The ramp #F28512; the sight F201985; and ramp screws (2) #F28505. The ramp screws can be obtained most anywhere using this part number. The dovetail HIGH sight post can be found but at limited locations on the web. HOWEVER, the ramp is a custom machined part designed for the Remington 700 Safari .458 Rem Mag rifle which comes from Remington’s custom shop. Per Remington Customer Service, these parts are NOT AVAILABLE to the public and the weapon must be sent to Remington to be purchased and installed. If you want the model #86960, and you want to use Remington iron sights, plan on paying another $100-$150 to use iron sights AFTER you purchase the rifle!

    Now, here’s the rub! Remington offers both the laminated stock (#86950) and the Bell and Carlson stock (#86960) on this rifle. Remington advised (after weeks of constant phone calls by yours truly) that the weapon was test fired after fitting the Bell and Carlson stock, only to find out that the Bell and Carlson stock has an higher comb than the laminated stock, WHICH PLACES THE SIGHT PLANE TOO HIGH FOR THE REMINGTON IRON SIGHTS, making the Remington iron sights unusable on the model #86960! Remington decided to simply replace the iron sights with Weaver bases rather than spend additional money in R&D for a second iron sight system for this specific model.

    After learning all of this, I contacted Williams Gun Sight, the manufacturer of the rear peep sight for the model #86950. All the measurements were provided to WGS, and after a trial run of their tallest sight package, there were unable to provide an iron sight system that worked with the model #86960.

    I refused to give up and replace my model #86960 just so I could hunt in Colorado. After searching for more than a year, I came across XS Sights based in Ft. Worth Texas. I reviewed products on their website and gave them a call. After spending a half an hour with XS Sight Tech William Cobb he provided me with a tall, weaver-mounted ghost ring mount (rear sight) to obtain the height I needed, and a tall front sight base with several test posts for sighting in. (I was able to use the rear Weaver mount supplied by Remington with the #86960). After only a few rounds, I was able to determine the front sight height had to be almost exactly 1 inch high (including the sight base).

    XS Sights provided me with a a .650 high front dovetail post and now the rifle is PERFECT for hunting in Colorado or Utah!

    The XS sights are very well made, milled out of steel stock with great attention to a very nice, finished product.

    The sights required for the Remington UML #86960 are specifically:
    Tall Weaver Backup ghost Ring, part #WB-2001N-T
    #6 x .605 C to C .39 R .340 H – Front Base, part #12-2031A-039-1
    3/8 Dovetail Trapper Center Dovetail White Stripe Front Post- .650 H, part # 11-2072C-650-2
    Cost for these sight parts totals $140 including shipping.

    I hope this helps those who require iron sights on their #86960 but have yet to find any!

    Regards!

    Rob G.

  • Slanter September 19, 2017, 6:43 pm

    What do you have to say about the number of these guns exploding and destroying peoples hands?

    • Dave September 23, 2017, 2:32 am

      Apparently you aren’t supposed to load it, forget it’s loaded and load it again!

  • Ron Watterson December 28, 2016, 12:13 pm

    I have been shooting my Remington uml quite a bit, even out to 300 yards. The accuracy isn’t horrible, but isn’t great either. I ran out of the Remington branded Barnes accutips and now shooting Barnes spit-fire Tmz with 200 grains of triple seven loose and pellet powder. I’m not sure if the spit-fire tmz are the exact same as the accutip? I’ll get two or three to group nice, then can’t even hit the target @ 150 to 250 yards.

  • tweedmus July 15, 2016, 1:20 pm

    I suspect a .45ACP case would work fine in this rifle. The headspace seems to be on the inside of the case head, so case length shouldn’t matter, unless it’s too long. Another option would be to cut down any standard rifle case (’06, .308, 7 or 8mm Mauser etc.).

  • Bob Luzitano June 25, 2016, 5:24 pm

    Just bought a Remington 700 Ultimate and put a Leopold VX-III CDS scope on it. Shot it yesterday using the Remington 250 gr Accutip bullets and 200 grains of Tripple Seven powder and got a muzzle velocity of 2262 fps. Shot three three-shot groups at 100 yards off a lead sled and was disappointed in the consistent four inch group. Sighted in at 3 inches high at 100 yards and was only 2 inches low at 200 yards, but the group went to eight inches. Also, I could not get the trigger pull down to what I like and latter took measurements at home with a very accurate scale. Even with the adjustment screw completely removed my ten-pull measurements ranged from 4 lbs 4 oz to 4 lbs 11 oz. This gun is not doing what was advertised.

  • Daniel Hess March 14, 2016, 2:29 pm

    This is the only dedicated Muzzleloader that requires an FFL In That it requires special tooling to convert it out of being a Muzzleloader. The others that require an FFL are normal firearms in themselves. The T/C Encore has its whole range of swapable barrels, and there is a Muzzleloader AR 15 upper assembly that can be had. Both of those don’t require any major tools to convert to a Muzzleloader and vice versa

  • Daniel Hess March 14, 2016, 9:03 am

    The only other Muzzleloaders that require an FFL transfer would be any of the single shots that can be converted to a Muzzleloader by swapping out the barrel, Thompson/Center encore probably being the most prominent. I think CVA has one and Rossi too.

  • Francisco Guerra July 27, 2015, 12:18 pm

    I have heard contradicting statements that the Remington 9 1/2 mag primer is not as hot as 209 shotgun primers, therefore the Remington 700 ML should not use Black Horn powder and will not build up pressure as well as 209 shotgun primers. I have read in the Remington manual that the 700 ML, should only use Triple 7 or Pyrodex. Is this an accurate statement?

    • Daniel Hess March 14, 2016, 2:37 pm

      I’m curious as to how they determine what is hottest. There’s a large rifle Magnum primer and the 209 Magnum primer. Most sources say that the Large rifle Magnum primers are hottest. I’ve also heard of Blackhorn being used successfully in black powder cartridges, like the 45-70

  • Bill Sample February 25, 2015, 8:03 pm

    I am planning a 2015 elk hunt using black powder. This new Remington looks like a dandy elk rifle. I doubt I will take any 300 yard shots, but a large bull at 200 yards can take a lot of killing. I will probably develop some loads using heavier bullets.
    I will repost when I get some results.

  • Rob G. January 22, 2015, 2:18 pm

    Buyer Beware!!
    If you plan on buying a Remington 700 Ultimate Muzzle Loader, and you plan on shooting iron/open sights, DO NOT purchase model 86960 with the Bell and Carlson stock!!
    I live and hunt in Colorado where it is against the law to hunt with a muzzle loader using any optics other than iron sights. I opted for the Bell and Carlson stock as a more weatherproof, lighter option (model #86960).
    This model does NOT come with iron sights (regardless of what ANY website or distributor advertises).
    The rear sight on the model 86950 is a standard Williams WGRS-700 peep sight item #1451 from Williams Gun Sight Co.(requires two ramp screws listed below) retail price of $39.95 plus tax and shipping.
    HOWEVER, the front sight cannot be obtained…PERIOD!!
    I have spent hours on the phone with Remington customer service where we were BOTH educated on this new weapon. The front sight has three part numbers. The ramp #F28512; the sight F201985; and ramp screws (2) #F28505.
    The ramp screws can be obtained most anywhere using this part number.
    The dovetail HIGH sight can be found but at limited locations on the web.
    HOWEVER, the ramp is a custom machined part used on the Remington 700 Safari .458 Rem Mag rifle which comes from Remington’s custom shop. These parts are NOT AVAILABLE to the public and the weapon must be sent to Remington to be purchased and installed.
    If you want the model #86960, plan on paying another couple hundred bucks to use iron sights AFTER you purchase the rifle!

    I am currently working with Williams Gun Sight Co to find a suitable front sight for this weapon. As of right now, I have a very expensive paper weight that, at this point I do not wish to return.

    I also have a call into Remington’s custom shop, but I was already told this would be a futile effort by their customer support. We will see……

    • John Moore January 13, 2016, 4:24 pm

      I can see the poor group at 100 yds. I bought mine and it was worse then yours. Bet group I could get was a 12″ group. You couldn’t hardly even load the sabot. Sent gun to a Remington service facility and found the bore was to tight and had numberious tight spots on top of a bad bore. I’ve been waiting 9 days for it to arrive at the factory “which is a whopping 29 miles from the service facility that it was sent to. Remington is clueless to any and all progress that as or hasn’t been made to my gun. 5 weeks has passed and I’m so far out $1000 dollar gun and missed the 1 week muzzleloader season we had. Just notified the gun is going to New York to be reevaluated to verify that they Remington authorized service is correct in the gun being bad. So I’ll be waiting another 2 weeks to find out any more info. Remington really need to consider upgrading their service department and I customer service department.

    • DN May 18, 2016, 12:39 pm

      How did this play out? What did you do for the front ramp? I’m trying to purchase sights.

  • Wade January 2, 2015, 12:08 pm

    I have the older version of the 700M and have many years of experience in the field with it. First of all mine does not like the Triple 7 powder! I had similar results as your test gun at 100 yards. I had to go back to my old stinky powder and with heavy bullets it will shoot 1 1/2 at 100 most of the time, these rifles are finicky!

  • Wade January 2, 2015, 12:07 pm

    I have the older version of the 700M and have many years of experience in the field with it. First of all mine does not like the Triple 7 powder! I had similar results as your test gun at 100 yards. I had to go back to my old stinky powder and with heavy bullets it will shoot 1 1/2 at 100 most of the time, these rifles are finicky!

  • Russ November 26, 2014, 11:27 pm

    I also forgot to mention, I had this rifle shipped directly to my door. Not sure how I got around the FFL thing, but I can tell you it came from a reputable wholesaler that deals primarily with Muzzleloaders and Muzzleloader accessories.

    Additionally, when using BH209 powder, you hardly ever have to clean the barrel and Remington told me removing the breech plug for cleaning is NOT necessary….

  • Russ November 26, 2014, 10:51 pm

    My Remington Ultimate shoots sub MOA groups at 100 yards all day long with 110 grains by weight of Blackhorn 209 (Just under 160 grains by volume) using a Parker 300 grain Ballistic Extreme. It shoots even better, almost same hole every time with the supplied 250 grain Barnes bullets (This really surprised me to be honest). I have spent many hours shooting this rifle over the last week or so and gone through several bottles of BH209. There has been NO deviation on accuracy. I have not had a chance to test the Parker Match Hunter bullets yet because they are on backorder; however, Randy Wakeman has had excellent results with them! Check out his reviews on YouTube or RandyWakemanOutdoors. For you to be getting 3″ groups at 100 yards with this rifle from the bench makes no sense to me. Even using Triple 7, guys are still getting sub MOA groups with this rifle and the supplied bullets. Like James S. mentioned, putting a $200 scope on a $1000 rifle is probably the cause. I am running a Leupold VX-II with CDS and there is no creep. It holds its zero every time unlike the Konus Pro I tried and knew wouldn’t work well. If you are going to spend the money on this rifle, you need to also spend the money on good quality glass. I can’t stress that enough. With the exception of not being able to get this rifle shooting to its potential, this was a great review!

  • Steve Walker November 2, 2014, 10:45 am

    I have harvested 3 deer this year already, all neck/head shots, one of which was 100yrds, no need to track deer when they drop on the spot. I use Powerbelt Platium 270 gr bullets with a very fouled barrel which increases accuracy. Very please with gun.

  • Edward F October 13, 2014, 6:22 pm

    Can’t believe it would meet the definition of a muzzle loader, to be legal to hunt with as a muzzle loader, at least in Wisconsin. You can’t use a Navy Colt revolver as a muzzle loader because the bullet and powder is loaded into the cylinder and not through the muzzle. Same logic with the cartridge and powder not loaded through the muzzle.Any thoughts, or legal opinion?

    • Sub MOA October 14, 2014, 11:09 am

      Not sure what regulations Wisconsin has, but it is perfectly legal in Michigan. Uses black powder or black powder substitute. Loads from the muzzle. Other than the bolt action and using a modified brass cartridge as a primer holder it’s all muzzleloader.

    • Don October 17, 2014, 12:34 pm

      In the recent past, Wisconsin has relaxed portions of it regulations as it pertains to muzzleloader hunting. While it use to be considered a “primitive season”, it’s now just called a “muzzleloader season”. Addressing comments from some others, and being a roundball/flintlock traditional muzzleloader, I for one have no problem with the use of modern inlines. To each his own. I can tell you that my aging eyes are starting to get to the point where the use of iron sights is getting increasingly difficult. That doesn’t bode too well for my love of hunting with a traditional Hawkens flintlock. I’m glad that a few years back, Wisconsin did away with the no magnified optics requirement, as I see the day coming soon when I’ll be forced to change to optics. Thank goodness I’ll still be able to enjoy the ML season.

      To get to your question, this new Remington Ultimate is legal for use in Wisconsin as it meets all of the requirements. Take a look in the hunting regs and you’ll see the few restrictions they place on defining what a legal ML is for use in the WI muzzleloader season.

    • Rob G. January 22, 2015, 2:28 pm

      The cartridge and powder are loaded through the muzzle as like any other muzzle loader. The only significant difference is instead of fumbling with a tiny little 209 primer, the primer is pre-seated in a shortened .308 casing, dropped into the chamber and then fed into the breech plug with the bolt. The breech plug is seated inside a magnum bore which allows for greater pressures.

  • Sub MOA October 13, 2014, 10:59 am

    My setup is the synthetic stock Remington Ultimate, Seekins base, Vortex 30mm rings and a 4×16 Viper PST scope. I got 7/8″ – 100 yard three shot groups with the factory recommended load of 4 pellets of 777 and Remington Accutip. I followed the cleaning between shots procedure on “Ultimate Muzzleloader” website. Not saying it will work for you but it works very well for me. I tried Barnes 250gr and 290gr TEZ with supplied sabot, Harvester Crush sabot and MMP HPH-12 sabot. 3″ – 4″ groups with supplied sabot and Harvester Crush ( The Crush loaded way to easy). The MMP shot both to 1.5″ – 2″. The only other bullets I would like to try are the Parker Ballistic Extremes. I plan on shooting some 200 yard groups with the factory recommended load and if groups are acceptable then 300 yards.
    To address smokeless powder issue. I Wish I could but where I hunt it’s illegal so the Remington Ultimate works for me. Also why all the gun bashing? Guns are a personal choice! I think the Savage is a fine muzzleoader as is Thompson Center, CVA and Traditions. So are flint locks and percussion caps. We all shoot what we like best for us.

  • Bob October 7, 2014, 6:54 pm

    Looks like a gun registering loving socialist has infiltrated the ranks of remingtons CEO department, and is pushing for all their manufactured guns to be registered. WHY else would you create a front end loader, that can’t use smokeless…screw that my vortex is moa at 300 yards using 45/70 gov bullets, and black horn 209.

  • Ed Clapper October 6, 2014, 10:56 pm

    Red, I hear you and your point is valid. But different strokes for different folks, remember? I hunt with a crossbow but not because I want some sort of advantage – I use one because arthritis prevents me from drawing my vertical bow without severe pain so rather than not hunt during archery season, I use a crossbow. Does that make me an unethical hunter?

    These modern muzzleloaders are just another way to hunt and if that puts more licensed hunters in the woods and more license dollars in my state’s Game Commission coffers, I’m all for it. The Pennsylvania Game Commission owns over 14 million acres of game lands all bought and maintained with ZERO tax dollars – just revenue from hunting license sales of which our residents alone buy just under a million every year. However, our muzzleloader-specific seasons are flintlock-only so inlines see most of their use during the normal firearms season which opens for two weeks on the Monday following Thanksgiving every year. They also can be used during the third week of the first archery season, which opened last Saturday, for antlerless deer only and then only by hunters holding a valid antlerless license for the Wildlife Management Unit in which they are hunting. Those hunters must wear 250 square inches of florescent orange like any other Pennsylvania firearm hunter, not the camo archery hunters may wear.

    This is only my assumption but I’d wager that Remington did not make this muzzleloader capable of using smokeless powder because the very fine rifle that Savage marketed didn’t sell well enough to warrant continued production. And there might have been states that disallowed it because it could burn smokeless fuels – that again is just my theory which could be flawed. But the reason there are two versions of this Remington rifle – one with sights and one without – is because there are three states that disallow scopes on muzzleloaders, so anything is possible.

    I applaud any gun maker that brings something different to the marketplace. Even though we already have a wide variety of choices in firearms, you never can have too many. Oh – and to address the “Ultimate” name, the company Ultimate Firearms Incorporated (http://ultimatefirearms.com/) originally developed the ignition system used by the Model 700UML for their rifles, which sell for a LOT more than Remington’s. Their slogan is “Put ’em in a pile at a quarter-mile” and I’m guessing that when Remington arranged to use that ignition system, the use of the word “ultimate” might have been a requirement. But anyway, that’s where the name originated.

    Ed

  • Red Badger October 6, 2014, 8:06 pm

    What part of Traditional hunting season do these folks not get? Muzzleloaders are the guns that gave birth to this country. INLINES are not traditional (with certain exceptions) why should the regular hunter get an edge that we traditionalists don’t? I hunt with my TRADITIONAL M/L during the M/L season and if I need more meat I then go to a traditional Remington 700 in .280 Rem to get my meat during rifle season…

  • jcsabolt2 October 6, 2014, 6:06 pm

    Can you shoot true smokeless powder, not substitute, in this ML? If so, PLEASE give it a go! Also, try taking some shots without the ramrod on the rifle. This should help remove any issues with interfering with barrel harmonics.

    • Ed Clapper October 7, 2014, 5:55 am

      I prefer to get my rifle shooting its best in hunting condition. I don’t plan to remove the ramrod before shooting at game.

      Ed

  • Ed Clapper October 6, 2014, 5:27 pm

    I’d like to address a few of the comments above.

    First, the breechplug removal procedure is nothing different than that of my T/C Omega – a 1/4″ drive socket wrench, 6″ extension and a socket are all that is needed along, of course, with a small tube of anti-seize. Or in the case of the Omega, you can use the wrench provided but I used the same tools on that rifle with a different size socket. Remington does not include a tool for that purpose because the plug does not have to be removed to clean the rifle due to the cleanliness with which the much hotter flame from a large rifle magnum primer burns powder compared to a 209 shotshell primer. If you do remove it for any reason, please be advised that the correct torque measurement for any firearm part is INCH-POUNDS, not foot-pounds. And before someone gripes about the cost of such a torque wrench, they aren’t much of a rifleman if they don’t already have one for tightening action screws and Harbor Freight sells click-type ones for a very reasonable amount of money.

    Accuracy with the Remington/Barnes 250-grain bullet apparently is subjective by rifle as another writer got good accuracy with them in his. Mine won’t shoot tighter than three-inch groups with them, however, and likes heavier slugs much better than lighter ones. The Remington’s 1:26 rifling twist rate is faster than my Omega’s 1:28, which might account for the Omega shooting accurately with 250-grain bullets and the Remington preferring heavier ones.

    Anyone who doesn’t experiment with different propellants and projectiles in this rifle is not doing his homework completely. For example, I found mine to shoot better with Pyrodex pellets than T7 pellets but better with loose T7 than loose Pyrodex. Loose powder in both cases outshot pellets and I feel that is because of the weight variation in pellets. I want to try heavier powder charges as well but I can hunt with my rifle right now using 295-grain powerbelts over 90 grains of loose T7 FFFg or FFg. Interestingly, the group sizes with either powder are the same and the chronographed muzzle velocity average is only one foot per second different! That tells me the rifle is burning ALL of the powder in the barrel.

    I do agree with the comment about the rifle’s weight. I’ve already told Remington’s rifle product manager that it needs to loose some weight. However, we all know how hard that sucker would kick if it was two pounds lighter, especially if you are leaning toward using 200 grains of powder. If you don’t want to shoot a rifle off a bench enough to become good with it because it is ugly to shoot, your field accuracy will not be good either. But for my style of hunting – from a ground blind or ladder stand – it’s fine as is.

    I like mine a lot and believe it has more accuracy potential that needs to be untapped. That’s no different than any other rifle. I have a .25-06 that caused me to spend a LOT longer than I like shooting test loads but since I found the magic recipe, it shoots one-hole groups. We’ve all been there and done that so why should this rifle be held to any other standard?

    Ed

  • Mark October 6, 2014, 1:32 pm

    They got it wrong. The accuracy issue is being caused by the large primer. I upgraded my TC Encore to a .25 brass primer breach plug years ago, and the accuracy greatly improved over the 209 primer. The 209 would dislodge the sabot from sitting firmly on the charge causing poor groups. Since using the .25 breach plug, my group are tighter and consistent. It’s easier to load than a 209, burns much cleaner too. It’s also not a “cut down” shell like this one, so I can use factory brass and reload the primers myself.
    Here’s the best source. http://www.eabco.com/

  • KBB October 6, 2014, 12:16 pm

    I had accuracy issues beyond 100 yds myself – initially.

    As it happens, the last thing I tried solved my problem. The action screws were very loose. After cranking them down to 50lbs from where they were shipped (about 10lbs) this gun shot a 1 MOA 3 shot group at 200 yds. That works for me. Your mileage nay vary. For the record, that was using recommended factory load of 4 Trip7 50/50 pellets and the Remington-branded Barnes 250gr solid copper sabot. Using Leupold “Ultimate Slam” 3-9×40 glass and Talley one piece rings. I was pleased to find the scope reticle holdover marks were close enough for whitetail, even though the muzzle velocity is hotter with 200gr of Trip7 than the 150gr for which the scope was designed.

  • John Bombaci October 6, 2014, 11:40 am

    I have hunted with ml for years in the past. I have one of Remington’s first mlr changed system to use 209 primers this gun is deadly. Use 120 grs of black powder and Hornady 240 gr xtp in sabot shoots around a inch at 100yrds. I also found that fresh bp to be much more acc.

  • shootem October 6, 2014, 11:33 am

    Assuming average selling price should be $700 or or so that’s still a lot of money for a muzzle loader with a cul-de-sac barrel shooting black powder substitutes. Were I marketing this new release I would at least have included some info on the use of Blackhorn 209 given the cleaning method recommended and the supposed lack of solids left behind with Blackhorn. And loaded with a scope and mounts and sling it’s pushing 10 lbs. Priming system looks interesting, similar to the .32Auto case systems some have tried before. In the Remington system capturing the spark seems to depend on the nipple of the flash channel housing fitting firmly in the flash hole of the cartridge case; a matter of consistent “headspace”. I can see why frequent removal and replacement of the breech plug might not be a good thing there. Also wondering how much crud the flash channel will accumulate and how it can be cleaned while the plug is still in the barrel. As to the primer carrying case, “After firing, the case slides back, but doesn’t eject”, is it still held by the extractor or allowed to lay loosely as shown in the pic? For that matter what is used as an extractor? Dependability of extraction would be a virtue to say the least. Lots of questions but then I’m an amateur at this. Perhaps regular production guns will be prone to better accuracy at the 2400 to 2500 fps level and it will all be worthwhile.

  • Christopher Johnson October 6, 2014, 10:07 am

    Nice article, but as Ed Clapper commented, please do more testing! I also agree with JB that I would like to see Remington develop this into a smokeless muzzleloader too! 1:26 twist may not be the ideal twist rate, especially for the heavier bullets. Also, for the REALLY ULTIMATE and extended range, Large Game muzzleloader (for elk, moose, bear, etc.) Remington should consider the .52 caliber with a slightly faster twist rate so that the Barnes/Knight Red Hot .475″ 375 grain spitzer Red Hot all copper bullet could be used.

  • Donald Turner October 6, 2014, 9:48 am

    I do not think that this type of “muzzle loader” should be allowed as a primitive weapon hunting tool. Most states call for a flintlock or caplock rifle to hunt with and this rifle is certainly not either of those. I own a number of primitive weapons both flint and percussion , Kentucky style long rifle or hawken style rifle that i hunt with and would not consider owning a rifle like this to hunt with. I also hunt with traditional bows, recurve and long bows and would not hunt with a modern compound bow for the same reason. Thank you

    Don

    • Jim October 6, 2014, 11:25 am

      I agree 100%. There was a reason for the early hunting “primitive weapon” season. It gave guys like us who want a real challenge a chance to hunt before those of lesser skills invaded the woods. Now muzzle loaders require no more skill than a modern scoped CF rifle and do not get me started on the newest bows with 80% let off that any couch potato can hold indefinitely or, god forbid, crossbows! Please put the primitive back in the early hunting seasons! Limit them to flintlock and percussion lock (Hawkin type) BLACK powder rifles and long bows and recurves!

      • Matt December 4, 2014, 9:43 pm

        How about you hunt your way and let those who want to use new equipment hunt theirs? I see nothing wrong with 80% let off or inline rifles, the ultimate goal of an ethical hunter is to put the animal down as quickly and humanely as possible. That being said “magnum” rifles such as the .45-120 and .50-110 disappeared with the advent of smokeless powder and 80% let off bows still require the hunter coming to full draw with an animal close by. Too many hunters have an elitist attitude to their way of hunting.

    • Anon October 6, 2014, 12:22 pm

      I disagree completely. Your judging this or any other black powder rifle as not being qualified to be a real “Primitive” gun because it has a few modern features is as simple minded as politicians deciding that one rifle is more dangerous than another because it looks more dangerous. This rifle fires a single ball/projectile requiring hand loading through the bore using black powder; other than the way the spark is ignited it is the same as you Hawken or Kentucky rifle. Do you want to out law lighters because they are a more effective way of starting a fire than a match? Either way you can easily light a fire. If you prefer to use a flintlock or a rifle that has it’s cap on the side of the breach it is your right, but no one with an inline cap can fire faster, hit more or achieve better advantage than you just because of the ignition system they use to light the powder. Your way, caps and flint need to be outlawed and we must all go back to using a burning piece of string to light the powder in the flash pan; good luck with that. If you were really a primitive hunter you would use a sharpened stick; I’d pay to watch that.

      • Benjamin W Michel Sr October 7, 2014, 8:10 pm

        Savage a ml that shoot the new powder and will out shoot it at 100 and 300 yards

  • skeet October 6, 2014, 9:47 am

    I agree with the above comment. While I am Remington guy.. When it comes to Muzzleloaders I shoot what I consider the ultimate production rifle..the Savage ML II. No cleaning between shots.. very good accuracy. Ease of loading. and I get to shoot smokeless powder. 100 shot before cleaning. easy breechplug removal when necessary..and I get 2300 fps with 45 gr of powder and a 250 gr bullet. Those 4 pellet loads in the Remington mean the cost of shooting is very high.. Have shot a bunch of deer with my Savages..and there are a few little things we all like to complain about with any firearm..but the Savage is much closer to the Ultimate ML than the Remington..Smokeless powder would have probably gotten it(Remington) there..Unhappily the Savage is no longer made..but I am ok..I have 2 more new ones. Wish Remington had used a bit more forethought.. Also the Savage was a non 4473 firearm..much easier to buy and ship. If you had done a review on a Savage..it would probably have out shown and out shot the Remington you tested.

  • Chris Thomas October 6, 2014, 9:22 am

    How is a muzzleloader that uses BP or BP substitute the “Ultimate?” This is just another way of setting off the powder charge. There are plenty of reliable methods already. Call me when the thing uses smokeless powder. Then it may be eligible for the “Ultimate” title. Have yet to discover a muzzleloader that can outperform my Savage 10 MLB TSS muzzleloader that uses smokeless powder to incredible effect. Keep trying Remington because this is just another bell/whistle.

    • Kevin Adams October 3, 2015, 10:39 pm

      What bullet and smokeless powder do you shoot. Having a hard time getting mine to group under 3 inches at 100.

      Thanks,
      Kevin

  • tom October 6, 2014, 8:17 am

    any 1 spending 2 thousand to shoot a little tail,must be short on well u know

  • JB October 6, 2014, 7:31 am

    Why would Remington go to all that trouble and not make it a smokeless ML? What a waste of time. Based off the article (well written, BTW), I see little improvement over what’s already offered on the market through most any outdoor retailer for less money and can be shipped directly to my front door.

    • Anon October 6, 2014, 12:10 pm

      I agree; if I have to go through an FFL anyway why not make this a smokeless? The main advantage of black powder, other than the extra hunting season, is not being bothered by big brother. If I am going to drop $1000 and fill out an FFL form they could at least make the rifle cleaner to shoot. My Hawken .50 shoots darn near MOA at 100 yards anyway and it only cost $50 at a yard sale when I was, admittedly, a few years younger. I would love to have a rifle like this one, but not at the expense of messing with the FFL form, and not for the cost of a good used truck. At least not until it can do something a lot better than the black powder rifles I already have; like shoot smokeless powder. Great review though; I enjoyed it a lot.

  • John Venter October 6, 2014, 7:19 am

    Seems like a lot of money for a unique ignition system with accuracy issues. I’m not a fan of the breech plug removal process either. Perhaps Remington would have some thoughts on the accuracy issue?

  • Ed Clapper October 6, 2014, 7:08 am

    I am a contributing editor for Shotgun Sports Magazine and have one of the laminated stock 700UMLs for testing. While my accuracy jury is also still out, I’m getting much tighter groups with heavier bullets. Having tried numerous Barnes, Traditions , T/C and Hornady bullets, Powerbelts have been by far the most accurate for me in 245, 250 and 295-grain weights. I’m on Federal’s waiting list for their new 270-grain Trophy bullet.

    As far as optics, I started with a Leupold VX3 UltimateSlam in 3-9x mounted in Leupold dual-dovetail bases and rings but changed to a VX2 A.O. in 4-12x to allow my 67 year-old eyes a better chance at 100+ yards. So far, I’m getting 1-1/2″ groups at 100 yards with 295-grain Powerbelts over 90 grains (by volume) of loose Triple Se7en FFFg or FFg powder. Fifty-yard groups are pretty much of the one-hole variety. Muzzle velocity is slightly over 1,700fps and given that 100 yards is a long shot in south-central Pennsylvania, I see no need to abuse my arthritic shoulder with hotter loads.

    I can tell you that gun shoots so cleanly that group size and POI won’t change with a dirty bore. I’ve shot as many as five consecutive shots without cleaning and the on-paper results were no different than with cleaning after every shot.

    You’ve only scratched the surface with your test gun. Try other bullets and loose powder – weigh some of those pellets and you’ll see a three to four-grain difference between them. What would a 10 to 12-grain difference in smokeless powder charges do for accuracy?

    Keep us posted!

  • Ron October 6, 2014, 4:55 am

    Thanks for your review, I was hoping that the accuracy would be much better, Like the real Ultimate ML that is custom built. I guess I will need to spring a bit to get one. My Encore 209 can do sub MOA at 100 yards with Blackhorn 209 and that’s without cleaning it after every shot! Many guys that I know have used that Nikon scope without any issues, but I use the Leupold ML scope, which works great! Nightforce optics go on my really long range/comp rifles, which I only clean when accuracy drops, usually between 300-400 shots!

    Thanks for your review, can’t wait for the next one!

    • James S April 26, 2015, 1:43 pm

      Lmao if u clean your rifles at 300 to 400 shots your a fool. All the damn copper and lead you will never get out I have one hundreds 0f long range matches 1800+ yards this past Feb we just won a modern muzzloader event with the Remington at 600 yards with groups under 5 inches. We also clean are Ar15 and 50 bmg after every shot . Anyone know s anything about guns a barrel creates a memory like any rifle they need to be cleaned after every shot.Im a certified gunsmith and we do this with all of our rifles maybe you don’t take pride in your rifles. Myself I be damn ed d if I’m gonna let my 10,000 dollar rifle set up get shot without cleaning between shots and I sure the hell will not have a barrel ruined because I wanna put 400 rounds thru it before I clean it .I spend hours and hours and hours getting fouling out after few hundred rounds in a AR . You think it’s clean when the patch comes out clean wrong!!!!

      • Brian w November 16, 2015, 12:15 pm

        Lol. I don’t know one single f class, high power, bench rest, or tactical shooter that cleans after every shot. You sir, are full of shit.

  • james S. October 5, 2014, 7:27 pm

    Man a 200 dollar scope on a 1,000 dollar rifle your crazy u have a 200 dollar gun my ultimate will punch sub moa at 100 yards with my nightforce scope and 160 grains of blackhorn 209 and a parker extreme 275 match bullet and hits 2500 fps. At 300 yards I can still put them in a 3 inch group on sand bags. I have shot long range since I was 20 im 38 and it will do exactly what it says. You must clean between every shot every shot of any black powder. Are your accuracy is way off I even clean regular rifles between shots. Trust me take that junk off the top of that gun and put solid steel bases and a 1000 dollar scope and see what you get. I used a nikon on mine at first and trashed it cause of the same problem

  • Sub MOA October 4, 2014, 1:04 pm

    When I shoot for groups I clean between shots with 777. What about barrel heating? If you didn’t clean between shots you probably didn’t let it cool.Not to mention those rings look like you took them off a 22 lr. If your trying to give a honest review please give a honest attempt

    • Dave Higginbotham October 5, 2014, 9:02 am

      Thanks for the tips. We did everything correctly. As we were reviewing other guns at the same time, we let it cool–completely. We cleaned regularly. The rings are clearly not the best rings, but that’s part of this process. We buy name brand named rings, just like any other shooter would who is outfitting a gun they pick up from their FFL. They were fitted appropriately. There is not a problem with the scope–or the mounts. We’re still in the process of diagnosing the accuracy issue. Thanks for your concern.

      • Chuck Naturale October 6, 2014, 5:27 pm

        Breaking in the barrel with bore butter will help you and so will switching to a non sabot bullet I own 6 powder poles and shoot hundreds of rounds and they always shoot better if you break them in right and run a patch after every round.

        • Muzzy Mike May 9, 2015, 4:55 pm

          I agree with you. Shooting muzzleloaders accurately requires a systematic approach that is followed with every shot. If a moistened patch is run down after each shot, it will maintain the one shot fouling residue in the barrel. I’ve found this is far more important than any other step. I have an Encore that is a ringer at 300 when I do this, but forget to follow the procedure and its sprays the target.

    • SUPER DAN November 27, 2014, 12:37 am

      NO, there be other muzzleloader ye need an FFL for!!!!!!……”Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus” God

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