Gun Shop

Muzzeloading: Your Complete Guide

October 15, 2019

The first Flintlock Muzzleloader rifle dates back to the 1600s. Today you can find Muzzleloaders being used for historical re-enactments, hunting and target shooting. There are three types of muzzleloader rifles you might find: Flintlock, Percussion: Cap Lock also known as Side Lock and Modern Inline. Continue reading for your complete guide to Muzzleloading.

Modern Inline                                       Flintlock                                          Percussion


There are a few Black Powder groups that meet at outdoor ranges, this would be a great place to learn how to shoot and handle your muzzleloader. If you are interested in hunting, be sure to get fully outfitted with everything you need for your first outing. Hunting with a muzzleloader can give you an unforgettable experience. Setting up for your shot requires more skill with tracking, being stealthy, and accuracy as muzzleloaders perform best under 100 yards distance. Be sure to check out the Muzzleloader hunting season information for your area.

What is the price of a production muzzleloader rifle?

Production muzzleloader rifles are available in .45, .50 and .58 caliber ranging in price from about $270.00 – $1000.00. Thompson Center Arms has a great selection of quality Inline Modern muzzleloader rifles.

What propellant is used in muzzleloading?

Powder, or in some cases Pellet charges are used to propel the bullet. Powder is loaded into the muzzle before loading the bullet. In fact, true black powder like Goex can work well in all three types of muzzleloaders. However, synthetic powders like Hodgdon Pyrodex and Hodgdon Triple Se7en can only be used in Modern Inline Rifles.

You will then need a powder measuring device. By using a Powder Measure, you can adjust to the amount of grains needed and then pour it directly into the muzzle end of the barrel. There are also pellets available which make it easier to load but are not following the tradition of Black Powder. Pellets, on the other hand, are a substitute that can only be for Modern Inline Rifles.  Pellets usually come in 50 grain increments. For instance, most hunters find that 2 pellets (100gr) are perfect for most hunting.

What is the type of bullet for muzzleloading rifles?

Muzzleloaders use either traditional “round ball” or elongated projectiles. Each muzzle loading barrel is rifled with a twist appropriate to the style of bullet.

The grain of the bullets range from 245Gr. to 300Gr. the larger the game sought the larger the grain needed. If using Cap Lock or Flint you would use a “Sabot” which is a Lead Round Ball with a Round Ball Patch that is pre-lubricated and sometimes called a “wad” or you can use Maxi-Hunter ready to load Pre-lubricated lead bullets. In short, modern Inline muzzleloader rifles can fire with all types of muzzleloader bullets.

Ramrod and a Short Starter Rod for Muzzleloading

A T-handle Short Starter Rod is handy to start the bullet down the barrel followed by the Ramrod.

The Ramrod can set the bullet over the powder close to the same pressure each time. This happens by marking the Ramrod to insure proper installation of bullets. The mark accounts for the length of the powder column and the length of the bullet. By dropping in the rod, you can determine if the rifle is already loaded. You will need a Ramrod that is longer than the barrel fitted with a concave tip. Most ramrods have a working end that accepts different accessory tips.

Last-Load the Primer or Percussion Caps

A Modern Inline Rifle will need CCI Primer 209. Cap Lock/Side Lock will use CCI Percussion Caps No. 11. Flintlock will use black powder (Goex). Once the primer is in place, or the pan is primed the rifle is considered a loaded firearm. Now you are ready to shoot and have some fun.

How to clean a muzzleloader rifle

For Black Powder you should wipe the barrel after each shot. For non traditional black power, we recommend to clean the barrel after 2 or 3 shots. Any longer could make it very difficult to seat the bullet on the powder and the bullet may become jammed. To maintain accuracy use the Ramrod with the Jag tip and a wet cleaning patch, follow with a dry cleaning patch. Clean the breech plug at the same time.

When you are done shooting for the day, use the bronze bore brush to clean out the lead deposits. Cleaning the Inline rifles should only be from the breech end never the muzzle. Excessive wear on the muzzle could decrease accuracy. For Flintlock or Cap Lock, remove the barrel and place the nipple end down in a bucket of hot soapy water, the hot water will heat the barrel assisting in removing the moisture. Push the ramrod with a jag tip and a cleaning patch back and forth to scrub the barrel clean. When dry use the cotton bore swab coated with Bore Butter to lubricate and protect. Be sure to clean the breech plug as well. Never use petroleum based products!

Up coming classes

We are planning a class for spring 2020.

Please click this link to checked out our class schedule.

Happy Hunting and Muzzleloading!

Learning how to hunt with a muzzleloader can feel overwhelming at first. Hopefully, our guide gives you more confidence in how to start. You will be glad you did it once you’re feeling comfortable and having successful hunting days.

Here is a video firing a percussion cap lock for example:

Ready to pick up your own muzzleloader? Please visit our family-owned store where we can help you pick out the best gear for you. Above all, if you have any questions before coming in to visit – don’t hesitate to give us a call today!