Muzzle loading safety

Always PROVE the firearm safe


Point the firearm in the safest direction possible


Remove all cartridges or ignition components


Observe the chamber


Verify the feeding path


Examine the bore

Ensure that the firing mechanism (lock) is rendered safe before proceeding to load the firearm.

Before loading the firearm, use a rod with a tight fitting patch to check the bore, and fire a persussion cap to remove oil from the flash hole and bore.

Never use smokeless (nitrocellulose) propellant in a muzzle loader.  Never use black powder in a modern cartridge firearm not designed for it.

Always use a volumetric measure to put powder into the muzzle, preferably with a funnel.  NEVER pour directly from the main powder measure or container.

Do's and Don'ts

Do .........

  1. Do have old muzzle loading firearms dismantled, examined and declared safe by qualified individuals before using them
  2. Do handle the muzzle loader with the same respect due to all firearms
  3. Do use ONLY black powder or black powder substitutes (i.e. Pyrodex) in your muzzle loader; never use smokeless or nitrocellulose propellant
  4. Do keep black powder far away from all cigarettes, matches or anything with an open flame, embers or anything that may cause sparks or heat
  5. Do always use a powder measure to pour black powder directly into the muzzle.  Never use the powder horn or flask
  6. Do carefully follow the manufacturer's recommendations for maximum powder charges
  7. Do mark your ramrod to indicate when the barrel is unloaded and when it is loaded.
  8. Do wipe the bore clean of oil and excess grease before you load
  9. Do make sure the ball or bullet is seated firmly on the black powder charge
  10. Do place grease in front of each projectile in a black powder revolver to prevent "chain firing"
  11. Do treat a misfire as a hangfire that could fire at any second.  Wait at least 60 seconds with the firearm pointed in a safe direction
  12. Do wear safety glasses and hearing protection
  13. Do reseat your second charge after firing and reloading a single barrel on a multiple barrel black powder firearm. Recoil can move the charge foward

Don't ......

  1. Don't carry or handle a muzzle loading firearm with the hammer at full cock and primed, unless you are ready to fire
  2. Don't lean over or stand in front of the muzzle at any time
  3. Don't load one chamber of a muzzle loading multiple barrel or revolving handgun unless the percussion caps on the nipples of the other barrels or chambers have been removed
  4. Don't store a muzzle loader with black powder in it

          (with acknowlegement to Department of Justice Canada)