Avoided a potentially dangerous situation today

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I wanted to share the experience I had today to prevent it from happening to any of you.
Yesterday morning, I loaded my Thompson Center New Englander with 80 grains of loose black powder and a maxi ball. I hunt behind my house so I had walked outside straight from the warm house (take note of that fact) and loaded it in the driveway before walking to the back of my property.
After hunting all day, I unloaded it with a CO2 unloader and it pushed the maxi ball out. This afternoon, I was about to reload before hunting this evening. As usual, I always run the rod down the barrel to make sure it's completely unloaded or nothing has fallen into the barrel. I noticed that the rod didn't make it to the unloaded mark I put on the rod. I pushed the rod down a few times and it felt kind of mushy/crunchy at the bottom. When I pulled it out, there was some powder sticking to the cleaning jag.
Turns out, the sudden change in temperature between the warm house and the cold outside caused condensation in the barrel and caused the powder to stick together and form a plug of powder. Part of it had blown out with the maxi ball when I had used the CO2 unloader, but a good 30-40 grains had stayed stuck in the barrel. Had I not checked with my ramrod as is my habit, I might have loaded another 80 grains of powder with it and then I'd had been shooting 120 grains of powder which is close to or exceeding the maximum load for that rifle. Anyway, I cleaned it out with a barrel scraper, reloaded and hunted this evening.

The moral of this story is to always check your rifle before loading to be absolutely sure there's nothing left down in the barrel and to wait a few minutes to load when moving your rifle between inside and outside.
 
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Great post, good idea and thanks for sharing. I nearly always also fire a cap after checking the barrel to insure the path is clear through the nipple into the chamber.
 
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