Hornady FPB Muzzleloading Bullets Review

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A few weeks ago we took a look at Powerbelt muzzleloading bullets and for this review we thought we would take a look at another popular non-sabot muzzleloader bullet: the Hornady FPB. Hornady has been designing ammo, bullets, and muzzleloader supplies (such as the Great Plains series of lead conical bullets) for a long time and the FPB offers a unique design.

The FPB in side profile looks more like a bullet that would be stuffed in a center-fire cartridge rather than down a blackpowder rifle. However looking at the base of the bullet reveals a large concave dome that reaches into the interior of the bullet. This concave dome slightly expands when fired engaging the rifling down the barrel, thus improving accuracy and consistency. Indeed the FPB bullets are capable of excellent accuracy with Hornady stating on the packaging that the FPB is capable of 1" groups at 100 yards.

In order to achieve this accuracy the loader needs to be certain that the bullet is started down the barrel correctly and it is not canted to one side or the other. Like the Powerbelt bullets we recommend using a conical bullet starter that does not deform the tip and places a centered force on the bullet when loading.

Hornady 50cal 300gr FPB bullets. The ballistic tip is flexible like Hornady LeverRevolution bullets.

The FPB are a little harder to start than Powerbelts, owing most likely to the fact that Powerbelts have a plastic skirt that helps to center the bullet and gets the rifling cutting the sides of the bullet. The FPB also has a thicker and thus harder jacket. The upside to the harder jacket is more controlled expansion than a thin jacket or solid lead projectile. This means that the bullet will generally not rupture dramatically on impact across a range of impact velocities.

The base of the FPB is a concave dome that is completely jacketed.

One downside to the FPB is that it is currently only available in 50 caliber in 300 grain or 350 grain. If you like to shoot 45 caliber or 54 caliber, you'll need to look elsewhere for an appropriate projectile.

The trajectory of the FPB is excellent owing to their relatively high ballistic coefficients of .245 for the 300gr and .285 for the longer 350gr bullet. The high ballistic coefficients translate into more retained downrange velocity and energy. For instance the 300gr FPB will leave the barrel at roughly 1800 fps with a 100 grain charge of Triple Seven and is still moving at just over 1200 fps at 250 yards, which is still supersonic and well beyond the range of most muzzleloader shots.

In conclusion the Hornady FPB is a high tech muzzleloader projectile that is relatively easy to load and offers superior ballistics over standard lead conical bullets. If you hunt in a region that does not allow the use of sabots or just want something easier to load, Hornady FPB is worth testing out in your smokepole.

For more information visit www.hornady.com.


JodyStomper's picture

Copper Streaks

I tried these bullets when they first came out, before I'd latched onto Blackhorn 209 powder.  With Triple Se7en, I found myself having to use a water-based cleaning regiment to remove powder fouling, then Sweet's 7.62 solvent to remove the copper fouling, then another round of T/C water-based products just to make sure I'd neutralized any powder fouling that the 2nd & subsequent shots might have forced into fissures or other bore imperfections.  What I found is that it took 3 repetitions of this regimen to finally start getting patches to come out clean. 

Conversely, using Blackhorn 209, I just go right to the Sweet's and my rifles are no more difficult to clean than any other single-shot firing jacketed bullets.  I know the FPB is plated, not jacketed, but copper fouling persists in my guns nonetheless.

Interestingly, my muzzleloader from which I am able to obtain my most impressive groups using the Parker 300 Match/Hunter, and very good (3/4" @ 100 yds) groups with ordinary Hornady SST-ML 250s in Harvester Crush Rib sabots, does not seem to like these bullets.  My H&R Sidekick with an aftermarket sealed ignition 209 breech plug, which regularly registers sub-2" 5-shot groups at 200 - not a typo, I mean Two Hundred - yards with the Parker bullet, has yet to keep 5 of these FPB 300s inside of 3" at 100 yards, though it can marginally do it with 3 shots as often as not.  That's still acceptable accuracy for many muzzleloading hunters; it's just not as good as some other bullets do in my particular rifle.  

On the other hand, loosely following a Russel Lynch tip, I fired 45 of these through an Encore barrel that didn't do particularly well with any of a variety of bullet/sabot combinations.  I fired 5 shots, then cleaned the bore thoroughly, and repeated until I have 3 empty FPB 300 15-packs on the bench.  It took me 3 hours to go through that process, but the FPB groups got better and better.  The last 3 groups were at or under 1.5" at 100 yards.  But shooting these must have worked well to break in my barrel more quickly than plastic sabots could have done, because afterward that Encore's accuracy with SST-ML bullets and Harvester Crush Rib sabots improved significantly.  It went from 3", 3-shot 100 yard groups, to 3 shots at or under an inch, and 5 shots under 1.5".  So whether or not your rifle likes this bullet as a primary projectile choice, Russel Lynch's suggestion that they work to more quickly break in a barrel holds water with me. 

DLMinVA's picture

I think you're right, these

I think you're right, these things are best used a "break-in" tools.  I couldn't get decent groups, probably because it's not an easy task to center them uniformily each load.  I'm going back to T/C Shockwaves.

DLMinVA's picture

Hornady FPB

I'm a long time traditional muzzleloader hunter, primarily flintlock and roundball.  But age and poor eyesight convinced me this year to go to a T/C Pro Hunter with Leupold scope. I found that PowerBelt sabots on occasion would not hold gas pressure and the bullet would literally fall out the end of the barrel with an unsettling "Poof".  Limited time allowed me to work up a good group using 100 gr of Blackhorn and T/Cs Shockwave sabots.  I did harvest a deer, but in all honesty, I'm not 100% satisfied with sabots - passed right through the animal without the knockdown I'm used to seeing with a roundball hit.  So, I'm planning to spend the off-season working with Hornady's FPBs.

I'll keep you guys posted if you're interested.  I'd like to hear from others experiences.

numbnutz's picture

I have never been

I have never been muzzlelaoder shooting or hunting and know very little about the different bullets used, But these seem to be a nice bullet. The ones I hear the most on are the Power belts and everyone I know who shoots them seem to like them. Hornady make a great product so I would assume these would be worth the try. I know shooting a muzzloader is a bit like shooting a rifle as you have to try different types of bullets and powder combination untill one find one you gun likes. Nice to see another great product from Hornady. I would like to hear a review from someone on the forum to see how they preform.

COMeatHunter's picture

I like these bullets, but...

I like these FBP bullets.  The design is simple and looks like it should be very effective as a hunting bullet.  The only bad part is my gun doesn't like them.  I've tried the 300 gr. bullets and couldn't get good groups (less than 3") at 80 Yards.  They are also harder to load, even with a conical tip starter, than the power belts.  The power belt platinum 295 gr. bullets group at about 1.5" on the same target.  I haven't tried other powders yet, but I did vary the amount of powder from 85 to 110 gr. and didn't see any real differences in groupings.  I will probably just stick to what I know the gun likes.

The other issue for these bullets is the Colorado regs don't allow a bullet length over twice the bore diameter.  That means the 350 gr. bullets are not legal to hunt with in colorado and the 300 gr. bullets need to have the plastic ballistic tip removed to be legal.


hornady FPBbullet

was looking at cdow muzzleloader regs. bullet length rule is not in place. all others the same.went on the web to research this and read a blog that this reg was dropped last year here in co. will call cdow next week to find out if this is indeed correct.

Keep us posted on what you

Keep us posted on what you find out. Thanks!

co regs on bullet length for muzzleloader.

talked to cdow today, muzzleloader bullet length no more than twice diameter of muzzle caliber. rule has been lifted and is no longer an in effect . he said it was that way several years ago but not anymore. happy hunting!!

co. regs.

cdow website go to chapter 2,  BIG GAME article 1  page 5 manner of take. muzzleloading regulations are on this page and there are no regs. on length of conical bullet just min. calibers and min. weights. all other regs posted are the same. no scopes, no sabots, no pelletized powder, no rifles you can load from the breech,no electronic or battery powered devices incorporated or attached to a muzzleloading firearm. min 40 cal, on all big game but moose or elk, min 50 cal for moose and elk, all muzzleloaders from 40 to 50 cal. must use a min.of 170 grain bullet,all muzzleloaders over 50 cal. must use min of 210grain bullet. only muzzleloaders can be used during muzzleloader season.

SGM's picture

Thanks MeatHunter for the

Thanks MeatHunter for the info. Not sure if my gun will like them or not as I have not been able to do any hands on with the FBPs yet so any/all info I can get is helpful.  

SGM's picture

Bullet Performance

Plan on trying these next season as I am not happy with the performance of the Power Belts on game. Have hit two  deer with the Power Belts and both times the bullet fell apart  sending several small fragments in the deer. It did kill both of them but I want something that will hold more of its original weight and penetrate deeper. Have read several other comments with similar results about Power Belts. Have only read a few comments on the FPB but the comments were much more favorable. Anyone with good or bad info on the FPB penetration, killing power or how it retains its weight would be appreciated.