How to Load a Traditional Muzzle Loading Black Powder Rifle


Here are the very detailed instructions on loading a traditional black powder rifle. You must follow them exactly and wear safety equipment. Always assume you have a loaded gun. Have the safety on. With a muzzle loader, the safety is where the half cock notch is. Position it and if you can still pull the trigger and the hammer moves GET IT REPAIRED. Do not use until it is fixed. Follow these instructions exactly.

  • Always inspect your gun. Half cock, nipple, touch hole liner, flintlock.
  • Use rubbing alcohol to clean off any excess oil off the face and the flint
  • Check barrel for bulges and the breech area. If you see a white ring this means you have a gas leak and the gun should not be fired. Take it in to be repaired. If you do this check every time you use your gun, you will get used to the differences and know when something is not right.
  • Now take your ramrod, attach your jag, attach a clean patch, and run it down your bore. This removes any lube left behind. For caplock shooters, remove the nipple and run a pipe cleaner through it to clean it and then reinstall the nipple.
  • Set the desired setting on your powder measure.
  • Pour out your powder and gently tap and add more if necessary. Never pour directly into the barrel!
  • Now pour your powder into your barrel. Now turn the rifle lock side down and give it a few taps to settle your powder so it falls into the breech.
  • Now take your patch and line it on top of the barrel and then take your round ball and put it right in the middle of the patch. Take your ball starter and give it a good ram to get it started. Then use your ramrod to get it into position all the way, so it sets on top of the powder charge.
  • Now you can prime your gun. If you have percussion install a cap on the nipple. For flint shooters, put the priming powder into the pan. Flint shooters should tap on the opposite side of the lock to even out the powder.
  • There you go! Make sure you have your target and fire away!