Beware of That Old Muzzleloader!

Muzzleloaders left for long storage or as wall hangers may pose risks. Here’s how to restore them while remaining safe.

by Paul Mazan

Just because it has been hanging over the mantlepiece for as long as you can remember does not mean it is safe!

We all know that the first thing we must do when we pick up any firearm is to personally check that it is unloaded. In most cases that is easy enough. You just open the action and verify that the chamber is empty and that the hole goes all the way through to the muzzle with no obstructions. However, that doesn’t work so well with muzzleloaders. Because they are slow to load many originals were loaded and kept by the back door just needing to be primed or capped in order to be ready to shoot. As these have passed from generation to generation, owners of many of these old guns have never checked to see if they are still loaded.

I recently ran into this very situation with an old flintlock musket I purchased. The easiest and fastest way to determine if a muzzleloader is loaded is to…

Read more in the February 2022 issue.

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