Introduction: 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.
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.)
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.
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
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.
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!!!