Leaving a Muzzleloader Loaded or Charged Between Hunts
While leaving a charge in your black powder rifle for several days is generally ok, I prefer to discharge mine at the end of each day. Here’s why: black powder and the black powder substitutes absorb water and when they do they lose their potency.
On a recent hunt I had a failure to discharge for not only the first but second cap on the nipple, it had snowed earlier in the day when I was on stand, the snow must have melted either on the barrel or on the cap itself. When the moment of time came, I got the cap to detonate twice, but the primary powder charge wouldn’t ignite until the third primer, needless to say it is store bought meat this year.
This example was from rain and snow, but what about the condensation you get when you bring the rifle inside for the evening from the cold to warm inside air. All that moisture forming on the outside is also forming on the inside including around the powder charge.
I will be the first to say that cleaning a muzzleloader every evening of the season is a chore, but missing an opportunity because of a failure to discharge is worse. Powder, caps and bullets are cheap compared to the time we spend in the woods and joy it brings us. Shoot it everyday and be safe.
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