A muzzleloader is a type of firearm into which the propellant charge and projectile are loaded from the forward part of the gun’s barrel, particularly its open end called the “muzzle” of the gun, hence the muzzleloader.
What is a safe way to unload a muzzleloader? This article tackles the answer to this question along with other important safety measures regarding the use of a muzzleloader.
A muzzleloader is distinct from modern guns as the latter which are mostly breech-loading, harder to make, and more high-tech.
The term “muzzleloader” could refer to both smoothbore and rifle type muzzleloaders. The same term can also apply to the marksman who specializes in using that particular firearm.
Getting to Know Muzzleloaders
The thing that makes muzzleloaders manlier is they are more challenging to use than modern firearms. It will also take more knowledge than just conventional shooting skills to be able to use muzzleloaders.
Muzzleloaders also come with greater risks. With that in mind, it’s important to adhere the following safety rules when using a muzzleloader. Following these rules gives you an assurance of a safe operation.
Unless you have an equally safe substitute, it’s important to use ONLY black powder in a muzzleloader. It’s unwise to use just any powder you can find; choose the right powder for your firearm. Remember that no other powder is compatible with muzzleloading firearms; only black powder.
Other shooters give in to the temptation of using smokeless powder in their muzzleloaders. As a result of this careless act, you can actually injure bystanders and fellow shooters. Moreover, other types of powder can damage your firearm.
Just like in shooting bow and arrows where you are reminded not to point your bow to your fellow hunter, the
same principle applies to the world of firearms shooting. Always and always keep your muzzle pointed in a safe direction. Do not point it in the general direction of a fellow shooter.
Apart from that, it’s also vital to keep in mind not to blow down, stand in front of, or lean over the muzzle at any cost. A muzzleloading firearm is not a toy you can play with.
When shooting with a muzzleloader, it’s a safety rule to wear ear protection to defend your ears against the raging decibels that could put your sense of hearing in jeopardy. In a lot of cases, ear damage from being exposed to too much noise could be permanent.
Apart from ear protection gears, you’ll also need shooting glass. It’s a must! Your eyes are as valuable as your life. You can’t just damage (or worse, lose) it just because of some careless shooting. You can purchase eye protection gears at your local stores.
It’s also recommended to wear long sleeves for extra protection for your skin.
Be Ready Before Priming
Before you cap or prime your muzzleloader, make sure that you are ready to fire first. Wait until you’re all set to fire before capping and priming.
There is a calibrated powder measure – only use this when loading a muzzleloader. The calibrated powder measure is sure to follow the standardized measurement compatible with the firearm. If you use your own measurement through using other mediums such as flasks, horns, or other containers, there’s a high chance of having inaccurate quantity.
The erroneous measurement could mean danger. A glowing ember or a mere loose spark in the barrel is enough to make the powder explode.
Do Not Smoke
A fan of cigarettes? You might want to consider forgetting it for a while when you are shooting with a muzzleloading firearm. You won’t notice that tiny ember make contact with the powder when you are loading.
So no smoking at both loading and shooting your firearm. You might trigger an explosion even if you don’t intend to.
Also, do not leave your muzzleloader when charged. Stay with it at all times.
One At A Time
Do not try to load more than one charge at a time. One of the golden rules of muzzleloading is to load only one charge at a time.
Unload After Shooting
Do not wait till you’re already on your doorstep to unload your muzzleloader. Discharge your muzzleloading firearm after you shoot or before you go back to your vehicle, or camp. Doing otherwise will pose possible dangers and risks regarding unloaded muzzleloaders.
What is a Safe Way to Unload a Muzzleloader?
There are the ways to unload a muzzleloader:
Using a Co2 Discharger
You can clear your barrel through the use of a CO2 discharger, and the way to discharge depends on the type of muzzleloader you use. When you use a flintlock muzzleloader, put the discharger against the touchhole. If you use a percussion lock muzzleloader, just slip the discharger over the nipple.
You can also discharge your muzzleloader into an appropriate backstop. A backstop is a thing placed behind or at the rear as a barrier or reinforcement. It’s important not to fire the muzzleloader into the ground as the projectile could ricochet. Aldo, do not shoot into the air as the projectile could freefall, posing a threat to anyone who’s on the ground.
Modern In-Line Muzzleloader
A lot of shooters, probably including you, wouldn’t be needing the previous two ways of unloading a muzzleloader because be using modern in-line muzzleloaders.
If that’s the case, all you need is to remove the breech plug simply. After which, push the powder and projectile out the barrel’s rear.
Once the muzzleloader is unloaded, put your loading rod or your ramrod in the barrel. Do this importantly before you lean your muzzleloading firearm against a good rest. Remember to this step always. Doing otherwise will allow debris to fall in the barrel and block the touchhole.
Important Note When Unloading Your Muzzleloader
If you muzzleloading firearm has not fired in half-a-minute, prime again the pan and try once more. Stand by for another half-a-minute and observe if the muzzleloader still hasn’t fired. If it didn’t, you could then use the CO2 discharger to get rid of the powder charge and projectile.
In any case, your CO2 discharger fails, try to read your owner’s manual and read how to safely unload your muzzleloader as specified by the manufacturer itself.
Clearly, unloading a muzzleloader probably requires more attention than actually firing it. And it’s your responsibility to know the proper ways to unload it. I hope this article have helped you.