How long do you keep it loaded?

If I stored a muzzle-stuffer even partially loaded (powder and projectile), I'd put a note on it with tape or a rubber band or bit of string or something, and the note would have the date and say "LOADED: XXX gr. Ball, XXX gr. YYYYY powder. Date: ZZ/ZZ/ZZ"


Senior Member
Myself, I have always removed the cap from the nipple and wrapped fluorescent orange plastic surveyors tape up the barrel.
Stevie Wonder could see it. LOL.
I always shoot it at the end of the season and thoroughly clean it.
For what its worth, my regular routine has always been shoot the first shot to verify the sights. Let it cool for hours. Clean the crap out of it and dry thoroughly before reloading.
Reason being, my first (cold) shot on a really clean barrel is always 2+ inches from a swabbed/reloaded barrel.
I sort of like to know where that cold clean barrel shot is going.
Probably an overkill. And I havent hunted muzzleloader in awhile but cranked back up this year.

Jack Ryan

Senior Member
I shoot a T/C Hawken side lock percussion rifle.

I'll shoot mine to confirm zero at the start of the season. Probably shoot it a few more just having fun. Clean it thoroughly. Lube it. Then if it's to be stored like a week before the season starts, always set it so the muzzle is lower than the lock. Other wise lube/oil may collect in front of the flash hole.

First day to hunt or night before, I'll pop a cap or two on the nipple of the gun just to ensure the charge area and nipple are clear. Load up a charge, greased wonder wad, ram home a bullet. Then I'll pull the hammer back and drop it on a lead round ball between the hammer and nipple so it seals the nipple. Then the powder charge is sealed between the ball and bullet.

I shoot 90 grains of FFF, greased wonder wad, and a 240 grain T/C maxiball 45 cal greased with bore butter or crisco either one.

To hunt I'll pull the hammer back to cock, pocket the lead ball, and cap the nipple. Setting the hammer all the way down on the cap to seat it on the nipple good. That is how I'll carry it to hunt until I see a deer, down on the cap.

If I don't shoot it, I'll pull the cap off and toss it replacing the lead ball.

I'll repeat that until I shoot it, never just shoot it because the load is stale or something.

At the end of the season I'll fire the gun to empty it and do a through cleaning and lubing for storage.