IMR White Hot Muzzleloading Pellets
IMR brand’s White Hot pellets were introduced at the 2009 SHOT Show. Billed as "the only white gunpowder," the original press release claims:
“Delivers faster velocities than the competition for more knock down performance on game, shoots consistently with pinpoint shot to shot accuracy, is cleaner burning for faster follow-up reloading and easy clean up.”
White Hots were tested with both a T/C Encore and a T/C Omega. Their performance is virtually indistinguishable from Hodgdon Triple Se7en pellets. If anything, they give slightly lower velocities.
There are a couple of troublesome things about White Hots; not the actual product, but the marketing approach. While Hodgdon prints warnings about using two pellets only, stating that the “maximum load should never exceed a total of two (2) Preformed Charges,” at the same time they have published and advertised comprehensive ballistic charts using many common projectiles and three pellets.
Checking Cabela’s current pricing, I find that you can get 72 White Hots for $26.99, or you can opt for 100 Triple Se7en pellets for $24.99. If you are a three pellet shooter, you’ll spend about $1.12 per shot using IMR White Hots and about $.75 per shot using Triple Se7en pellets. The net result is that your propellant costs go up by about 50% per shot, while achieving about the same performance levels.
What this means to the consumer is transparently obvious: IMR White Hots are nothing more than an attempt to sell old wine in new bottles, offering nothing of benefit except a higher profit margin for Hodgdon by trying to make a few extra pesos off of the IMR brand. Savvy consumers will be able to see through this little charade.
Nevertheless, it is a good muzzleloading product. If you want to use pellets, Hodgdon is the only company that has ever developed good ones. I don’t want to give the impression that this is poorly performing or erratic product: it isn’t. There is bad, erratic stuff out there, as I’ve previously reported, and it goes by the name of Shockey’s Gold (or American Pioneer) powder or shaving sticks. If you want lousy stuff to burn in your muzzleloader, Shockey has you covered.
Admittedly, I don’t care for pellets. However, two pellets will certainly get the job done at the most common muzzleloading ranges and I have hunted quite successfully with both Triple Se7en pellets and T7 loose powder. There are a couple advantages of pellets, as Tony Knight pointed out to me, one being that you can load and reload a muzzleloader easily from a hidden, prone position that would be more cumbersome with loose powder. As for general speed of reloading, though, emptying a speed loader with pellets in it or powder in it makes no difference. Of course, if you need to reload quickly, you likely didn’t do your homework in the first place, getting away from the “one shot, one kill” that defines competent muzzleloading.
White Hots are not exactly as advertised. They hardly produce the best velocities from two pellets; Hodgdon’s own Triple Se7en Magnum pellets spank White Hots quite soundly in that department. Nor are White Hots cleaner burning than other products, nor are they easier to clean after use. Western Powders’ Blackhorn 209 beats White Hots in all four categories of being less corrosive, cleaner burning with no swabbing required between shots, easier to clean and offering better velocity.
White Hots are good product, despite being essentially a rebranded version of Triple Se7en pellets. As to the rest of Hodgdon's hyperbole, all I can say is that, “It’s Mighty White of Them.”
Copyright 2009 by Randy Wakeman. All rights reserved.