How to Load a Muzzleloader

By Gary Lewis

Gary Lewis Books and DVDs

How to Load a Muzzleloader

Gary Lewis loading a muzzleloader.jpgHere is how to load and shoot a traditional-styled percussion gun with a blackpowder substitute powder and a pre-lubed conical bullet. 

Before you load any muzzleloader, confirm it is not loaded already. Centerfire rifles and shotguns are easily checked by opening the breech. With a muzzleloader, you must use the ramrod. Insert the ramrod in the barrel. Compare the length of the ramrod with the length of the barrel and the breech. 

First Shot Thru a New or Used Rifle 

When you’re completely sure the barrel is unloaded, follow these steps: 

1. Make sure the rifle is unloaded and pointed in a safe direction. 

2. Fire one cap to make sure the nipple orifice is open and your hammer will fully strike the cap. 

3. Drop a pre-measured charge down the barrel. A suggested load for a rifle would be 90 grains of Pyrodex or Triple Seven. With the palm of your hand, rap the breech of the gun to settle the powder. 

4. Start a pre-lubed bullet by mounting it in the barrel crown, using the pressure of your thumb to get it started. Use a bullet starter to push the bullet down the barrel a few inches. 

5. Use the ramrod to seat the bullet against the powder charge. 

Note: When the rifle is loaded with a full powder charge and a bullet, put the rod back in the barrel and make a mark on the ramrod at the muzzle end. This indicator is called a witness mark. As a safety precaution, note the position of the witness mark when loading the gun each time. 

6. To make the gun ready to fire, ear the hammer back to half-cock and put a cap on the nipple. 

7. To fire, bring the hammer to full cock and touch finger to trigger. 

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