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  #1  
Old 01-08-2013, 02:40 PM
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So I have a muzzle loader... now what?


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Hi all,

For Christmas I got a .50 Knight BigHorn Muzzle loader, cleaning supplies, a tin of 777, musket caps and some 348 PowerBelts.

I've been doing a lot of research but I still have a few questions.

So far I have 4 little containers filled with 100 grains of 777 and a PowerBelt. I changed out the original nipple with one to fit the musket caps. ...... Now what?

Can I just put the powder down the barrel, push the PowerBelt down, then place the primer on the nipple and go for it? Is it really that simple? Do I need some kind of wad or patch between anything?

I don't want to blow myself up when trying this thing out. I wish I knew someone to show me how this whole thing works but I don't know anyone else who uses a muzzle loader.

Thanks for your help, any and all responses are welcome.

-Coors
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  #2  
Old 01-08-2013, 03:18 PM
nsb nsb is offline
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Before I add anything, could you tell me why you changed out the firing system to accept musket caps? I assume that since you changed something, you went from 209 primer to the musket caps.
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  #3  
Old 01-08-2013, 03:36 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2012
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I switched from percussion caps to musket caps many moons ago. I too am curious as to why one would downgrade from the more reliable 209s.
Where did you find musket caps these days my supply is getting low and I'd like to restock but havent hunted them down yet.
Yes it really is that easy. Pour in your measured by volume powder charge place a bullet on top and push it down firmly onto the powder leaving absolutely no airspace. Place a cap on the nipple aim and fire. I would suggest using an appropriate bullet or ball starter to push your bullet down the bore a bit before using the ramrod to finish seating the bullet. Also it is a good idea to mark your rod at the muzzle once the bullet is seated as a reference point for furure loadings.
Every couple of shots I run a damp patch down the bore followed by a couple dry ones to help reduce fouling.
Clean well as soon as possible after your range session to prevent rust and dont forget to lube.
Have fun.
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  #4  
Old 01-08-2013, 05:26 PM
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My thinking is that 100 grain load of 777 is way more than is needed or wanted for 348 grain PBs. I'd suggest you reduce loads to about 70 grains until you get the hang of things. Then you can experiment with bigger loads.

You state you've been doing research, so you probably already know this. But it never hurts to double check. Your loads should be based on volume using a standard black powder volumetric measure - not a scale (unless you do a volume to weight conversion). A 100 grain volume load of Triple Seven powder will weigh about 77 grains.

And you're correct. No wad is used under a PowerBelt. They are typically used under flat base lead bullets like the MAXI-BALL.
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Last edited by OneEyedJack; 01-08-2013 at 05:36 PM.
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  #5  
Old 01-08-2013, 05:54 PM
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Thanks for the quick replies!

@ NSB - I am in Washington and we are not allowed to use 209's here, from my understanding musket caps are easier to handle because they are bigger and they are a little hotter than the other caps on the market aside from 209's.

@ GLADESMAN - I found my musket caps under the tree..... I think they came from wholesale sports (The old Sportsman's Warehouse). Also, did you down grade from percussion caps to musket caps?

and Thanks!! I'll go shoot it on Thursday and let you know how it all goes.

@OneEyedJack - Good call, I'll reduce the load a bit for starters, until I figure out how things work. I used one of those brass powder measuring things. One thing I found is that you need to tap them out to settle the powder down to get a consistent load. Is that a good idea, or should I just go off of my first initial reading before settling it out?
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  #6  
Old 01-08-2013, 07:31 PM
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To tap or not to tap... don't matter. As long as you do it the same way each and every time.

This is taking for granted you have cleaned the rifle very well, and then oiled the barrel to protect it from rusting.

LETíS SHOOT A RIFLE

Inline...

Make sure the rifle is clean and empty. Also, be sure that you have taped up or greased the breech plug. If you do not take and grease the breech plug you might have trouble getting it back out at the end of the day. Now we will start to load and shoot.

You have already decided on the powder and projectile already. So take a patch, lightly apply some isopropyl alcohol and swab the bore of the rifle. When you swab, put the patch over the end of the barrel and push the ramrod with the cleaning/loading jag into the patch. As you work the patch down the bore, work the patch in short strokes. Work from the muzzle to the breech. This is done in the beginning to remove any gun oils in the barrel. Later, you do this between shots to remove the fouling from the bore. After the damp patch, then work two dry patches through the bore. This will remove additional fouling and also dry the bore.

At this point I like to push a dry patch to the bottom of the breech on the ramrod jag. Then put a 209 primer into the breech plug. Now fire just that primer off. This blows any oil, etc that might have accumulated in the breech plug onto the cloth. Also it will indicate when you pull the patch and see the burn marks on it, that your fire channel is clean. When you see the burn marks, thatís what you want. Youíre ready to load and shoot.

Measure out the amount of powder you wish to shoot in your rifle. Most modern inline rifles handle 100 grains of 2f grade powder and a modern projectile real well. Your powder might be in pellet form. So in this case, drop two pellets down the bore. With loose powder, set your measure and then fill to the top. Level the load and then dump that volume measure of powder down the bore. Some people will tap the butt of their rifle on their toe to level the powder charge. It is not really needed with the modern inline rifles but does not harm.

Now select your sabot and bullet. Put the bullet into the sabot. Put the sabot/bullet combination onto the muzzle or into the false muzzle of the rifle. Now with your short starter, push then sabot/bullet into the barrel as far as you can. Now with the ramrod, seat the bullet down the barrel onto the powder charge firmly.

You then put a primer into the back of the breech plug, and you are ready to shoot. Have fun. After you have shot, you need to swab the bore again like described earlier. Then load as described. And shoot again. Just repeat this procedure.
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  #7  
Old 01-09-2013, 01:06 PM
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Smile

Coors, couldn't add much to what advice you've been given here, except to clarify one thing, muzzleloaders are just like any other rifle, they will prefer one load/or specific bullet/or specific powder or charge. So you start like you would a center fire, pick a bullet(you have) and a powder(done). Cayugad has laid out the process. Now, pick a starting load like 70 gr by volume, get used to things, then fire a group of five or so, doing everything exactly the same. Then increase the powder charge by 5 gr and repeat. If you get what you want, great, there are flat based bullets, powerbelts, maxiballs, maxihunters, and sabots, all of which might perform differently. It's all part of the fun of shooting. Keep records of what you shoot, group size, etc and pretty soon you'll have the load you want. Good luck with it.
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  #8  
Old 01-09-2013, 04:51 PM
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Thanks everybody for your help. I have some free time tomorrow so I think I'll get started assuming the weather will cooperate.

@Cayugad - that step where you fire only a primer off, do you do that with and empty barrel, or do you leave a dry cleaning patch in there and blow it out with the cap?

also I'm not allowed 209 primers, will a musket cap be strong enough?

@ Oldbrass33 - what are the differences between a "Flat based bullet", and a sabot?

Also, why are there so many different types of sabots/sabot casings? why aren't there just .45, .50, .54. sabot casings? Is there any real difference aside from the caliber? I know I haven't quite reached this level yet, seeing as how I haven't even fired this thing. But I have been confused about this for a while now, and I haven't been able to find an answer.

I'm sure I'll have a lot more questions once I start firing this thing.

Last edited by Coors; 01-09-2013 at 04:54 PM.
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  #9  
Old 01-09-2013, 06:33 PM
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Dumb question??
Why in the devil can't you use 209,s ???
I promise you there are retriever trainers up there that shoot em everyday. Can't wrap my head around what idiot dreamed that one up.
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  #10  
Old 01-09-2013, 07:10 PM
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All I know is what I've been told by the people at the shops and this


Washington Muzzleloader Regulations
1 Definitions
a Muzzleloader: A firearm that is
loaded from the muzzle and uses black powder or a black powder substitute as recommended by the manufacturer for use in all muzzleloading firearms

b A muzzleloading firearm shall be considered loaded if a powder charge and a projectile, either shot or single projectile are in the barrel and the barrel or breech is capped or primed

3 In addition to the above requirements, it is unlawful to participate (hunt) in a muzzleloading hunting season using a firearm that does not meet the following specifications for a muzzleloader As in the past sabots are allowed Any type of projectile is allowed

A) modern handgun may be carried for personal protection Modern handguns cannot be used to hunt big game or dispatch wounded big game during a big game hunting season for muzzleloading firearms
a Ignitionistobewheellock,matchlock, flintlock, or percussion using original style percussion caps that fit on the nipple and are exposed to the weather "Exposed to the weather" means the percussion cap or the frizzen must
be visible and not capable of being enclosed by an integral part of the weapon proper Primers designed to be used in modern cartridges are not legal


b Sights must be open, peep, or of other open sight design Fiber optic sights are legal Telescopic sights or sights containing glass are prohibited
c A muzzleloading shotgun, rifle, or handgun used for all other big game must be 45 caliber or larger
d Persons lawfully hunting small game with a double barrel, muzzleloading shotgun may keep both barrels loaded
e A muzzleloading handgun must have a single or double barrel of at least eight inches, must be rifled, and must be capable of being loaded with forty-
five grains or more of black powder or black powder substitute per the manufacturer's recommendations
f A muzzleloading handgun used for big game must be 45 caliber or larger
g A handgun designed to be used with black powder, including black powder percussion revolvers, can be used to hunt forest grouse, cottontail rabbits, andsnowshoehares
In addition to the above requirements, it is unlawful to participate (hunt) in a muzzleloading hunting season using a firearm that does not meet the following specifications for a muzzleloader As in the past sabots are allowed Any type of projectile is allowed


A modern handgun may be carried for personal protection Modern handguns cannot be used to hunt big game or dispatch wounded big game during a big game hunting season for muzzleloading firearms
a Ignitionistobewheellock,matchlock, flintlock, or percussion using original style percussion caps that fit on the nipple and are exposed to the weather "Exposed to the weather" means the percussion cap or the frizzen must
be visible and not capable of being enclosed by an integral part of the weapon proper Primers designed to be used in modern cartridges are not legal
b Sights must be open, peep, or of other open sight design Fiber optic sights are legal Telescopic sights or sights containing glass are prohibited


c It is unlawful to have any electrical device or equipment attached to a muzzleloading firearm while hunting
d Those persons lawfully hunting
big game with a double barrel muzzleloader may only keep one barrel loaded
4 Hunters with disabilities who meet the definition of being visually impaired in WAC 232-12-828 may receive a special use permit that would allow the use of scopes or other visual aids A disabled hunter permit holder in possession of a special use permit that allows the use of a scope or visual aid may hunt game birds or game animals during muzzleloader seasons Contact the Department’s ADA manager for further information
5 Muzzleloading firearms used during a modern firearm season are not required to meet ignition, sight, or double barrel restrictions

I'm not quite sure what that all means, but My understanding is no 209's

Last edited by Coors; 01-09-2013 at 10:19 PM.
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  #11  
Old 01-10-2013, 11:00 AM
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SUCCESS!!! Thanks again for all of the info. Due to the weather I only shot one time just to make sure it all worked.

I ended up shooting 80 gr. of 777 with a 348 PB. I had to run 3 damp patches through the bore and one dry one untill it was clean. removing the breach and cleaning that out also. I'm not sure that I would want to push anything tighter than a PB down the bore of that thing, it was kind of difficult to get it going.

However, I now have a few questions on cleaning.

1) Do you have to remove the breach plug every time to clean out the barrel?

2) what is the best way to clean out the nipple?

3) Is it common to have flakes/crusties come out when cleaning everything out? I was expecting more soot and not so many crusties.
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  #12  
Old 01-10-2013, 02:39 PM
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Coors,

This may sound like a dumb question, but didn't you get an Instruction book with your muzzleloader? If not, I suggest you call the company and get the book and read it. If Knight is out of business, the Instruction book for your arm should be available online. In addition, I suggest you buy the Lyman Black Powder Handbook and read it cover-to-cover for a very good background on muzzleloading and to focus future questions.

Webley
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  #13  
Old 01-10-2013, 10:31 PM
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I have the instruction book and read it. Like I said, I don't know anyone else who muzzle loads, and I just wanted to make sure I was doing everything right.
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  #14  
Old 01-11-2013, 05:27 AM
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Lots of good sabot bullet combos on the market today. You can also order bulk sabots from MMP and Harvester and pick up pistol bullets at a reloading supply house. Saves money going the bulk route. Also a lot better bullets than those Power belt ones. I don't have enough fingers and toes to count all the horror stories I've heard and read about thos power belts.
Some common popular bullets are the Hornaday XTP's and Speer gold dots all in the 250 to 300 grain area.

A short starter makes loading much easier also.
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  #15  
Old 01-11-2013, 10:13 AM
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On an empty rifle barrel, before you go shoot, you can push a dry clean patch on the jag end of the ramrod, leaving the ramrod in the barrel, and pop a primer, cap, musket cap, what ever. All this is going to do is blow the crud out of the breech plug and in your case nipple onto that clean cloth. It will also show you by burn marks, whether fire is making it through the nipple and breech plug, into the fire chamber.

Do you remove the breech plug when you clean..
yes. But this is the end of the day cleaning. Not swabbing in the field. In the field or on the range, leave the plug in. Just lightly dampen a patch with something like spit, water, Windex, or other cleaner.. not solvent if your shooting sub powders..I personally use a cleaner called Simple Green. And then swab the bore of the rifle in very short strokes, from muzzle to breech. Remember, the patch just needs to be damp, not wet. After the damp patch then a couple dry patches and load as normal.

I have three LK Knight Rifles, very much like your Big Horn. Try the following load... "sabots are allowed Any type of projectile is allowed"

90 grains of Pyrodex RS + 300 grain XTP Hornady + Harvester sabot. Get the .452 XTP and the short harvester sabots. I think you will be very pleased with the accuracy and knock down powder. Plus they are much cheaper to shoot then powerbelts.Being unsure of how tight your bore is, I am basing my guess off mine. If no Harvester short black sabots then some MMP HPH 24 sabots.

In the final cleaning a great way to clean the nipple is to wipe out the outside of course, free of fouling. Soak it a little in a solution. Then with an air compressor, blow air through it. It not only blows any liquid out but any thing you might have missed. Hold the nipple up to light.. you should be able to see through it.
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  #16  
Old 01-14-2013, 07:27 PM
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Cool, I'll give it a try. Thanks everyone for all of your help!
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