Minnesota Adult Hunter Safety Course


Muzzleloading firearms use a special type of propellant, commonly referred to as black powder. However traditional black powder is a corrosive material which can cause the barrel of your firearm to rust quickly. There are also brand-name substitute powders, such as Pyrodex®, Clean Shot® and Hodgdon's Triple Seven®. All these powders are safe to use when handled properly. They are sold either in granulated or compressed pre-measured form. Modern muzzleloading firearms can now fire both black powder and smokeless powder. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions for propellants to use in muzzleloader firearms. Using modern smokeless powder in a firearm that is not designed to handle it can result in serious injury to the shooter, and damage to the firearm.

Black Powder Comes in Six Granulation Sizes





Coarse grain powder.

Used for cannons


Referred to as single-F. Coarse grain.

Used for shotguns 10-gauge and higher.


Referred to as double-F. Medium grain.

Used in rifles, single shot pistols (.45 caliber and larger) and shotguns (12-20 gauge).


Medium-fine grain.

Substitute for double-F powder.


Referred to as triple-F. Fine grain.

Used in rifles and handguns that are under .45 caliber, as well as shotguns smaller than 20-gauge.


Referred to as four-F. Extra-fine grain.

Used only to prime flintlock muzzleloaders.

Safety first! NEVER pour black powder into the barrel of a muzzleloader directly from a powder flask or horn. There may be a small ember inside the barrel that will detonate the powder on contact. ALWAYS use a powder measurer to put black powder or its equivalent into the barrel of any muzzleloader.