This month thousands of hunters will be hitting the woods with their muzzleloaders in anticipation of a smoky puff and a dead deer dropping when the cloud clears. It’s a great time of year to be in the woods and it’s even more special when using a fine black powder firearm. The unique challenge and tradition involved with black powder or similar propellants makes this hunt especially exciting for many of us this time of year. So all this being said, I figure I ought to offer my two cents  in regards to muzzleloader hunting and also share some handy resources with you all.

In the interest of time, I would offer just 4 quick tips for you to remember next time you grab the ole thunder stick.

  1. Make sure to clean your muzzleloader before taking it out hunting and then immediately after shooting it once or twice in the field. (I’ve committed the mortal sin of forgetting to clean my muzzleloader after the season, this resulted in my gun being unable to break open and in the end a hefty gunsmith bill.)
  2. Choose your shot carefully. With a muzzleloader you most likely have only one shot opportunity, so wait until an ideal shot presents itself. Don’t take chances.
  3. Moisture causes misfires. So if you are hunting in cold weather, make sure to keep your rifle cold. If you bring it inside, that change in temp can cause condensation and dampening of your powder or pellet. This spells disaster.
  4. Watch the muzzleloading safety video below. All guns are dangerous if not treated with respect and care, muzzleloaders need even more caution when handling.

These are but a few key things I would urge you to remember each time you bring out your muzzleloader, but there is in fact much much more you need to consider when hunting with a front loading firearm. Here are a few helpful resources for you to dive into when the need arises.

Muzzleloading Safety

A lot can go wrong with a muzzleloader if you don’t take the necessary precautions, so proper care is really important to ensure the safety of yourself and your companions.

Check out this link, which leads to a very thorough video on muzzleloader safety. It’s a must watch. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nAOGFLNQ898

Here’s another handy list of Muzzleloader safety rules from Remington. http://www.remington.com/safety/safety_center/muzzleloader_safety_rules.asp

Muzzleloading Cleaning

Like I said earlier, cleaning your muzzleloader is incredibly important, possibly the most important thing to ensure accuracy in the field. Here is another helpful video from CVA explaining how to clean your muzzleloader. (You can skip to about 1:45 to get right to the how-to. And be warned, this video does pitch some products a little heavily. But still some helpful content.)

Here’s another video showing some additional tips…

I hope a few of these tips and resources will help you this winter as you bring your muzzleloader into the woods. Clean your gun, be safe, and knock down a monster with your .50 cal!