I have been deer hunting with a Harrington and Richardson .45 cal modern muzzle loader with a break open action to put the percussion cap on it...and I had a bad experience. I had shot the gun, carefully cleaned it and used cleaning solution in the bore. I didn't get all the solution out and I didn't fire a few percussion caps to dry it before loading. What happened on a hunt was sad.
I loaded it up with a big charge of black powder, nice mini-ball bullet and ready to shoot. I waited in the early, cold November day and saw a fine multi-point buck at about 40 yards. I carefully aimed and fired. A short "poof" but no explosion or bullet. The deer was still there. I hastily put on another percussion cap and fired again. The same thing. "Poof!" The hunt was over and I lost a good deer because the powder right next to the nipple of the percussion cap was full of oil from the gun cleaner the night before and would not have fired under any circumstances. I sure learned from that. After cleaning your gun, put it up....that's fine. But before you charge it with powder for that first shoot, fire a few caps on the nipple to clean out the bore and chamber of any oil and residue to make sure it is ready to deliver a hot fire to the powder load in the chamber.
Case: Goex FFg Goex FFFg .38 Special 25.0 gr. 25.5 gr. .357 Mag. 27.5 gr. 28.0 gr. .45 ACP 27.2 gr. 27.8 gr. .44 Mag. 38.5 gr. 40.0 gr. .45 Colt 44.0 gr. 46.0 gr.
If you wish, you can solder a small handle on the side of the brass case to make it easier to scoop up charges of black powder. For a custom amount, just start trimming off sections of the brass case for smaller amounts until you have just the amount you want.
If you wanted 52 grains for a rifle load, you might cut down a .357 mag case to 26 grains and use two scoops of powder for each load. It is very easy with the cases to trim them down to a custom load. With black powder, you will find it is not as critical as smokeless powder charges in cartridges.
With the flintlocks, it's the same, except you have a piece of flint rock that hits a steel plate and causes a spark to set off a very fast burning powder that will ignite the black powder in the bore of the gun. FFFFg (four F's) is usually used for the primer.
With the revolvers, you can load up all six cylinders and fire them when you desire. After loading the charge and ball, it is good to put some lubricant over the ball to sort of seal it in the chamber and later lubricate the round when it is fired. Crisco is often used for this, but there are a lot of other lubricants that people use. You usually use a round ball that fits tight in the cylinder, so no patch is needed. There are some sized, lubricated, over-powder wads that work nicely as a lubricant and are not as messy.
Lyman makes many, many kinds of bullets for muzzle load shooting, they can be lubricated or not, and some use a patch while most do not. They fit tight in the barrel and have rings or groves that give a good powder seal when shot. These regular pointed or rounded bullets in a rifled barrel of a muzzle loading rifle are amazingly accurate.
Clean up is with good old hot soapy water. It cuts black powder residue
quickly. There are a number of cleaners on the market that do a good job
too. You can also just use a cleaner like Hoppe's #9 if you wish. Always
lubricate the entire gun and bore after cleanup to avoid rusting.
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