Muzzle Loader Ready?

Now is a great time to dust off your muzzle loader for this deer season. It is important to always verify that your muzzle loader does not have a powder charge in it.  Drop your rod inside to see if it is empty or take it to the range and fire it down range. If its an in-line then look down the primer hole if possible to verify it is clear or remove the plug.

I use solvent, cotton cloth patches and my cleaning/Loading rod to clean the barrel because I use a non-fowling powder substitute such a the new BlackMZ™ by Alliant Powder.

For my Hawken years ago I used soap and boiling water and sucked the water up in the barrel with plunger action of my cleaning rod. I stopped using all lead bullets years ago. Everyone has a slightly different technique.

All is fine as long as the barrel is clean. I finished my barrel cleaning after the long winters nap with a bore polishing cream in J&B Compound. Looking down a clean bore makes me smile!

I am using TC 300 grain sabot-ed Copper jacketed (yellowpoints), bought them last year, they are designed to expand rapidly in deer and bear. I chronographed the 300 grain heads using 100 grains of Black Powder substitute at 1638 fps which provides a muzzle energy of 1787 ft-lbs. At 50 yards energy is 1560 ft-lbs and at 100 yards it was still 1363 ft-lbs. That’s a lot of whump for deer! Energy minimums for deer are 1000 ft-lbs and it was still over that at 200 yards ( I limit shots to around 100 yards max).

I zeroed the muzzle loader for 100 yard so 50 and 75 yards were an inch high. My trigger breaks harder than my rifle but it does not creep.

I have to swap a scope to this muzzle loader each year. Use a good scope don’t get chincy here. The chances of getting a deer with Muzzle Loader are excellent in New Hampshire. You can get your License on line too at

Remember that most scopes are 1/4 inch per click at 100 yards, 3/16 inch at 75 yards, 1/8 inch at 50 yards and 1/16 inch movement across the paper per click at 25 yards.

As an example my shot was 2 inches low and three inches left at 25 yards. To correct this at 25 yards each click moves the crosshairs just a 16th of an inch with each click.

So move the vertical adjustment (top of the scope) up 32 clicks and your windage adjustment 16 x 3 = 48 clicks to the right. Seems like alot? It is!

Now move your target out to 100 yards and shoot again.

You should be on paper. Use the 1/4 inch rule to finish.

Many hunters today use the black powder pellets. They work fine.  I like the powder but that is likely because I am used to doing it that way. I tried the pellets but they’re not for me.

I use tubes designed for pre loading your bullet, powder and cap. Buy them anywhere muzzle loader gear is sold.  I take three extra’s with me when hunting. If I shoot, then I just pop the cap pour the powder in the muzzle, use the rod to push the bullet into the bore, grab the cap on the end of the tube and there you are. Good Hunting! © 2013





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About Ed Hale

I am an avid hunter with rifle and Bow and have been hunting for more than 50 years. I have taken big game such as whitetail deer, red deer, elk, Moose and African Plains game such as Kudu, Gemsbok, Springbok, Blesbok, and Impala and wrote an ebook entitled African Safari -Rifle and Bow and Arrow on how to prepare for a first safari. Ed is a serious cartridge reloader and ballistics student. He has earned two degrees in science and has written hundreds of outdoor article on hunting with both bow and rifle.