Introduction: How to Load Your Black Powder Rifle

Picture of How to Load Your Black Powder Rifle

Hunting and shooting with a black powder gun (muzzleloader) is lots of fun. It is a bit more time consuming than using a modern rifle or shotgun. It is very important to learn how to load your weapon properly, so as to prevent misfires and accidental overloads.

Hunting with these old-style guns helps you understand how it was done by men like Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone. I even killed two deer with one shot last year! My dad was a little mad because he had to clean and dress both of them, but he still brags about it to his friends.

Even though standard muzzleloaders (usually) just give you the opportunity for one shot, they can still be very effective hunting tools. They can also be very dangerous when not handled properly!

Remember: SAFETY FIRST! Gun Safety

1) Keep black powder and Pyrodex away from open flames and

2) Always measure your black powder/Pyrodex carefully.

3) Follow all instructions found in your owners manual.

4) Carefully follow all rules of safe gun

Step 1: Measure Your Powder.

Picture of Measure Your Powder.

It is very important to measure your powder correctly. Not enough, and the projectile will not have adequate velocity. Too much and you could damage your weapon and injure yourself.

Get a proper powder measure, and learn how to use it. Read your instruction manual to find out the recommended powder charge. Most rifles fire well with 75gr-120gr of black powder. Never EVER substitute (or mix) modern smokeless powder for the appropriate powder (BP or Pyrodex).

Pour a little powder onto a piece of paper. Put the cap back on the black powder container. Then, pour the powder from the paper into your powder measure. I use an old school brass one, but modern clear-plastic ones are good to. You can skip the paper step if you use a small funnel, and pour the powder direcly into a measure.

Step 2: Charge the Weapon. (Put the Powder In.)

Picture of Charge the Weapon. (Put the Powder In.)

Carefully pour the black bowder into the muzzle of the gun. Never do this immediately after firing the weapon, as there could still be hot embers inside which could ignite, with terrible effects.

If you have to reload quickly after firing. First swab the inside of the barrel with a lightly lubricated patch to remove/extenguish any remaining hot embers.

Step 3: Load the Projectile.

Picture of Load the Projectile.

Make sure you have the appropriate projectile (bullet) for your type of weapon. We use pre-lubricated conical bullets. A round ball requires a lubricated patch to make a good fit and seal. Saboted slugs are also a good projectile, and require no type of lubrication.

1)Place the projectile (nose pointing outward), on the tip of your

2)Use a ball-starter or similar tool to press the bullet a little
way (an inch or so) into the barrel. You may have to tap on the
starter several times if the projectile is a particularly tight
fitting one.

3)Use your ramrod to push the projectile all the way into the
barrel, until it fits snugly up against your powder charge.
This is no time to use brute-force, and definitely NEVER hammer
on the ramrod to make the fit super-tight!

Step 4: Priming Your Rifle.

Picture of Priming Your Rifle.

This step is best done once you are sitting in your hunting spot. It could be dangerous to walk with a loaded and primed weapon.

My rifle uses modern "209" type primers. They are the same type of primer used for reloading shotgun shells. The old-style copper primer fits over the nipple. (I'll ad pics soon).

1) Open action/breech of your weapon.

2) Place primer in position.

3) Push in finger-tight, making sure it seats properly.

4) Close the breech of your weapon.

Your weapon is now fully loaded. It is as dangerous as any modern shotgun or rifle. Treat it with respect and never point it anything you do not wish to kill or destroy. Be safe!!!


zappenfusen (author)2014-01-11

Taught my kid sound and lighting. He's making a good living at it. How to kill? Have yet to find it necessary.

sk24 (author)2013-07-20

I do like hunting deerthough

sk24 (author)2013-07-20

I'm not being mean you look like a good kid But clean your muzzleloader barrel

MakarovII (author)2012-11-01

Well you shoot your eye out kid.. i advice that be careful cause when it spark you burn like hell....

skimmo (author)2011-02-15

whats the average load time? seems like you only get one go at it then you need to set it all up again? but very informative good job:)

KentsOkay (author)2008-11-10

Finally! Stuff on guns that aren't knex... Good job, got any recommendations on where to get BP firearms and what brands/model?

skunkbait (author)KentsOkay2008-11-12

Young Skunkers is out hunting with Mrs.Skunkbait. I'm waiting for the rain to stop. Anyway, Pawnshops and gunshops are a good place to start. Some Walmarts carry some pretty decent ones. On-line, you can go to . Unless you're just really into cowboy/frontier stuff, I'd reccomend going with a modern inline or breakdown muzzle-loader. CVA, Traditions, and Knight make perfectly decent BP guns. But when you want (middle)high-end stuff, Thompson is the way to go. Also, if you can find one, H&R;/New England Arms used to make one based on their single-barrel shotguns. You can't get any more plain/simple/reliable than that!

AnarchistAsian (author)skunkbait2008-11-13

you'd get guns from walmart?

skunkbait (author)AnarchistAsian2008-11-13

They mostly sell the guns you'd find in a gunshop, but few (to none) medium-high end ones. For any gun I'd carry around in the truck, or leave by the front door, a Walmart gun is fine. I've only bought a .22 rifle and a muzzleloader from them so far, but I've got no complaints.

badideasrus (author)skunkbait2011-01-07

actually, walmart has an over 100 page special order catalog with tons of guns, and they are usually cheaper than at gunstores because they are bought in bulk.

on a completely unrelated note, if you, like me, prefer the oldstyle guns (for whatever reason) CVA no longer makes those kinds of guns. only modern inlines from now on..... Curse those who shun history and deprive markets of their valueable income.!! lol. it makes me sad. if i want a nice black powder kentucky rifle or a hawken, i'm forced to go with traditions......

skunkbait (author)badideasrus2011-01-14

I did notice the old style guns were gettin scarce. Fotunately I bought a double triggered hawken-style a couple years ago. My youngest boy hunts with it. I certainly can't afford another decent one!

Didn't know that about walmart! Of course I can remember when they sold handguns from behind the counter.....

badideasrus (author)skunkbait2011-02-11

i wish they still did. there are practically no gun stores around where i live...:(

Rishnai (author)AnarchistAsian2009-01-07

Fun fact, though: depending on precisely WHERE the Walmart is built, it may have a great selection or nothing at all. All based on the side of the street (and therefore the local jurisdiction).

AnarchistAsian (author)Rishnai2009-01-07

ohhhh, i didn't know that... most are HUGE tho...

KentsOkay (author)skunkbait2008-11-12

Thanks! What about flintlocks?

AnarchistAsian (author)KentsOkay2009-01-07

ooohh, can't you get those at teh alamoh? i saw some replicas there, not sure if they work.....

KentsOkay (author)AnarchistAsian2009-01-08

That's what I thought + they are bloody expensive...

AnarchistAsian (author)KentsOkay2009-01-08

well, 200-300 dollars isn't much for a gun, but IT'S LIEK DUDE, W T F, Y IS DAT SOOO EXPENSIVE??? for a model...

KentsOkay (author)AnarchistAsian2009-01-09

>.> <.< I'm thrifty...

skunkbait (author)KentsOkay2009-01-09

Me too. You can usually get a decent usable BP gun for $175-$300. But shop around. I've bought them at pawnshops for less than a hundred. On the other hand, If you want collectible ones, they start at around $800 or so, with the sky as the limit!

AnarchistAsian (author)KentsOkay2009-01-09

ha ha, ok...

skunkbait (author)KentsOkay2008-11-12

Those are lots of fun. They're a bit less reliable, but still neat to shoot. I know there are some individual gunsmiths that still turn those out (although the're quite expensive), for "Mountain Man" clubs and Revolutionary War reinactors. I wouldn't be surprised if there are a few Italian and Spanish companies still making them. Those companies have been cranking out pretty decent "historic replicas" for 30 years, and they are usually fairly inexpensive.

KentsOkay (author)skunkbait2008-11-12

Hmm... what about taking a piece of pipe and making a mega cap gun? IT wouldn't fire bullets, but the flash and roar of BP is always fun...

skunkbait (author)KentsOkay2008-11-12

I've played around with that sort of thing a little. Unfortunately, I don't have time to play with that sort of thing much lately. Also, SkunkbaitJr. and Skunkpunk are a little too busy DOING that sort of thing to post uch stuff on iBles!

KentsOkay (author)skunkbait2008-11-12

Doof!! Tell em to at least post a slide show...

skunkbait (author)KentsOkay2008-11-12

I'll tell 'em. Look at Skunkbait Jr.s profile. He has an ible using black powder. He never did get the video added though, so it's not spectacular.

KentsOkay (author)KentsOkay2008-11-12

Or I'll talk to there dad.... LOL

zombiehunter96 (author)KentsOkay2010-04-27

Wait so i'm not the only one who would like to see more gun ibles' ? If so I'll post some!

AnarchistAsian (author)KentsOkay2008-11-13

knex should be banned, that's how annoying they are...

Why are they annoying? you should have installed the anti-knex script...


Just search anti-knex script in the search bar...



DJ Radio (author)AnarchistAsian2008-11-23


KentsOkay (author)AnarchistAsian2008-11-14

meh, they add color and views....

AnarchistAsian (author)KentsOkay2008-11-14

views that get in the way of the things we really want to see...

lukkbox (author)2009-03-14

a heavy conscience leads to a heavy body man is not a natural born killer

skunkbait (author)lukkbox2009-03-28

A diet of mainly vegtables is certainly healthier. But I feel kind of sad everytime a plant has to die for my dinner. Historically, men have eaten meat alongside their veggies long before you or I were here, so I'll stick to "everything in moderation". At least twice in the Bible, men are told to "kill and eat". I don't believe in wasteful hunting, but subsistence hunting ties us to our ancient roots.

lukkbox (author)skunkbait2009-05-16

your version of history is incorrect, brother

The bible your reading these days, bares no relation to the original text

its not a question of morality, i am not bothered by you killing anything, except yourself

thats a pretty silly thing to do

its a question of anatomy

here, educate thyself brother ...

read it all, and inwardly digest whats presented ..

good luck

p.s. God is your inner child, death is a point between two lives at which you pay your taxes for your sins, the end leads to a new beginning ... your inner child is who you meet upon death, .... the more grown up you are, the greater your fall is

how do i know?

im the man of time and the river, the one who died while still alive, the beardless boy with a sword

anything else you want to know?

Daniel x

badideasrus (author)lukkbox2011-01-07

i pity you. god is most assuredly a real being. if god was your inner child, how then did he create the universe? your version of the world presents no purpose. you belive that we will just keep spinning round in some never ending cycle? what happens to your soul if the whole of the human kind ceases to exist? some biological bomb kills us all, what then? are you just going to magically pop out of the air? suppose ALL life ends? where do all those pent up endless souls go (not that i'm saying animals have souls or anything)?

no, this life is the only one we've got, and we have to use it as best we can. God made us to be with us, but we screw it up. by all rights we should go to hell when we die, so great are our crimes against him. but God loves us. that's why he made us, to love us. and because he loves us, he sent his only son, who was a part of himself, to become flesh and bone so that he could die for us, so that we wouldn't have to pay that price. all we need to do is to believe in Jesus, that he came to earth to die for us, and ask to be forgiven and to repent of our sins. that last bit is important, by the way. we need to REPENT. this means that we need to stop commiting these crimes against God. God says if we do this, he will take us to him and we will be with him forever.

tonic (author)lukkbox2009-06-03

lukkbox, the article you link to even admits that man is an omnivore, that he eats meat. That humans evolved primarily as herbivores is a myth in vegetarian circles.
Here's a better, more in-depth article that debunks those myths and gives clear reasoning why man is and has always been an omnivore:

lukkbox (author)tonic2010-02-01

your too stupid to continue breathing, kindly go outside and shoot yourself

man is a herbivore, anatomically

by your reasoning your saying that if a lion began chewing cud he would be a herbivore?

jesus wept lol

skunkbait (author)tonic2009-06-03

Thanks for that link! I'm a big fan of vegtables. And I am a bit concerned about a lot of the commercial meat that's out there. However, I feel the level of "risk" posed by healthy meat is worth it!

lukkbox (author)skunkbait2009-08-24

there is no such thing as 'healthy meat' sorry youve decieved yourself

lukkbox (author)tonic2009-08-24

no you effin moron! just because he eats meat doesnt make him an omnivore! its an anatomy question! just because a cow chooses to eat meat doesnt make it a carnivore! it makes it one very effin stupid cow! like your one effin stupid herbivore! peas on earth! lol

skunkbait (author)lukkbox2009-05-18

Thanks for your input. I agree that man was not originally designed to eat meat. And vegetarian/vegans tend to be quite healthy. However, for at least 5000 years, men have pursued beasts to feed their family. For one reason or another, I feel very much tied to that tradition. I'm not a big fan of commercial meat. But wild meat, and the hunt are good for those who participate. We grow lots of veggies too, but supplementing it with wild game is very much a part of our heritage. BTW- I spend a lot of time on Biblical criticism. I read koine greek, and genuinely seek the ancient manuscripts. But I definitely appreciate your views!

lukkbox (author)skunkbait2009-05-31

The irony of course is that in killing the animal then eating it, the animal has its revenge by clogging up your intestines and arteries with its tissue and fat which was never intended for humans beings as food and so the animal kills you Did you know that it's impossible for a natural meat eater to get clogged arteries? As a man that reads scriptures you should be well versed with the phrase "the presence of death in the human body completely prohibits the influx of the holy spirit" God, is the god of the living, not the slowly dying Look at the picture of the poor kid on this instructable Are you going to honestly tell me the diet you are feeding him is good for him? Brave enough to break with tradtition on this one brother? Just because man is smart enough to catch an animal and kill it, does not mean he is smart enough to keep its dead, rotting, fried carcass out of his mouth ... yet! Anatomically, man is a herbivore Just because he eats a wide variet of foods these days, does not change that It simply makes him a herbivore that is sick in the head Thats the truth, and i told you because i love you, as i love all my brothers Let the firing commence! lol read the essene science of fasting, google it, it will explain everything peace be with you

skunkbait (author)lukkbox2009-05-31

I feel pretty confident that men where herbivores early on. It seems that Noah's generation was the first to recieve meat as food. It's also interesting that around that time, man's lifespan plumetted from 800-900 years down to 120 or less. About the Essene fasting. I had read something similar years ago. I'm very much on board with fasting. It is spiritually healthy and physically beneficial. I don't fast as much as I used to, and really need to get back to it. As far as (moderate) meat consumption goes. It's not a matter of morals to me, but a matter of practicallity. Gluttonous meat consumption is a moral issue to me. All food/drink intake should be done for strength/healt and not for gluttony/drunkedness. Two of my best friends are strict vegans (mostly raw). They are extremely healthy, so I can't dispute the benefits of that lifestyle. The boy in the ible, is actually not that much of a meat eater. He is an avid hunter/fisherman, but eats very little meat. I think his "issue" is probably refined sugars and dairy products. I myself don't do dairy or eggs. Once again, I appreciate your viewpoint. I consider a modified fast (a fast from meat), for extended periods a wise thing. But total, permanent abstinence from flesh is not my idea of enjoyable/practical. If animal flesh gets the best of me at age 70 or 80, I can live with that. But if animal flesh causes me to be chronically unhealthy, and less effective, I will have to abandon it. Peace to You as well.

lukkbox (author)skunkbait2009-08-24

a fast from meat is not a fast just as the muslims fasting during daylight is not a fast ill put it another way perhaps this will enlighten you if you starve a plant of food and water, its visible body will die, then just a few drops of water will allow its root(the essential invisible part of the plant) to grow itself a NEW BODY you have this ability too just leaving chikken out your diet isnt fasting brother not eating anything for 21-40 days is fasting, you really should try it i wouldnt be here getting shot down for fun if i didint think you were worth saving perhaps, as a great man before me too, thinks all you lot are worth saving because im making you in my own image and prehaps you lot are making me in your image :D

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Bio: I am homeschooled. I used to go to a Christian school, but we got tired of all the unneccessary rules and stuff. I like to ... More »
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