Loading and Firing a Muzzleloading Firearm
Loading and firing a muzzleloading firearm can be a pretty impressive sight if you've never seen it done before. Make sure you have an experienced muzzleloader shooter around to show you and answer any questions you might have.
- Always read the owner's manual for any firearm.
- Always ensure the firearm is pointed upward and away from your face and body for loading.
- Use a stable rest for your firearm so it doesn't tip over.
- Check to see if the muzzleloader is loaded by:
- Remove the ramrod and insert it into the barrel
- Mark the rod at the end of the muzzle
- Place the rod along the outside of the barrel on the same side as the action and to the same depth as indicated by your mark
- If the ramrod tip reaches the flash hole in a flintlock, or within 1/4 inch of the breech plug (nipple) in a caplock or inline, the gun is unloaded.
- If the ramrod tip does not reach the breech plug, it is loaded. If it is loaded, take it to an experienced, reputable black powder gunsmith to unload.
- Check to be sure your muzzleloader is clean and dry by:
- Placing the firearm on half cock (safety) and running patches down the barrel until they return clean and dry.
- Cap the nipple, or prime a flintlock, and point the muzzle at the ground and fire it to complete the drying process. Do this at least two times.
- Now that you know the gun is unloaded, clean and dry you can begin the steps to load the firearm consistent with the manufacturer's instructions