Muzzleloader 101
Safety Rules

Muzzleloaders are not toys. Treat them with the same respect due any firearm. All firearms safety rules apply to muzzleloaders, especially, muzzle control. The loading process makes it very easy to point in an unsafe direction. Then there are some muzzleloader only rules. None are hard, all are logical and all are important.

  • Use eye and ear protection.
  • Always keep your finger off the trigger and out of the trigger guard until ready to shoot.
  • Know your target and what is in front of and beyond.
  • Keep your muzzleloader unloaded until ready to use.
  • Do not cap or prime until you are on the firing line. Use of a capper is preferred.
  • Always check your muzzleloader to be sure it is unloaded before handling.
  • Never load directly from the horn or flask always use a separate powder measure. Breaking this can get you disqualified and asked to leave.
  • No open powder containers on the range.
  • While loading a flintlock, the frizzen should be open and the hammer down
  • Never fire a muzzleloader unless the projectile or shot charge is firmly seated against the powder.
  • Never use 4f powder as a main charge.
  • Never get any part of your body over the muzzle.
  • Never blow directly down the barrel to extinguish embers. You can use a damp cleaning patch on your cleaning rod, or use a flexible blow tube keep your head away from the muzzle.
  • Never use smokeless powder in a muzzle loading firearm - unless that firearm is specifically designed for smokeless powder. Always use black powder or approved black powder substitutes.
  • Never smoke while loading, handling or shooting black powder or black powder substitute.
  • Never exceed the manufacturer's recommended maximum loads or attempt to load multiple loads in the barrel.
  • If during a hunt only one barrel is fired----remove the cap of the second barrel during reloading---this will help prevent accidental discharge while you are reloading.

Range Rules

  • Shooters only in the firing area, except for range officials and/or coaches.
  • No one is allowed beyond the firing line except during cease fire.
  • At cease fire, assure all loaded guns are discharged before proceeding down range.
  • During cease fire, weapons should be laid down, at half cock, uncapped or frizzen open. Some ranges require a clear barrel indicator.

Muzzleloading 101 Classroom

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