How to Load Your Black Powder Rifle




About: 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 skate and bike. I have an old go-cart and a 1970 Kawasaki 90. When it's hu...

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
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.

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!!!



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    109 Discussions


    Question 1 year ago on Step 4

    I've always used (for around 18 years) pellets in my Winchester Apex. I want to use Blackhorn 209. When I look at your pictures and read, I see that you just put the powder down the barrel of your rifle. Does any powder go through the hole in the breech plug? Remember, I've never used loose powder before. Thanks! Also, remember there's no such thing as a dumb question :-)


    5 years ago on Introduction

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


    5 years ago

    I do like hunting deerthough


    5 years ago

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


    6 years ago on Introduction

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


    8 years ago on Introduction

    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:)


    10 years ago on Introduction

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

    13 replies

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    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!


    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.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    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......


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    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.....


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    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).


    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...