12 Tips for Keeping Traditional Muzzleloaders Functioning in Rain and Snow


Thompson Center Arms Gray Hawk and Brunswick Rifle with mule's knee.

  In Idaho, Washington and Oregon where exposed-ignition muzzleloaders must be used and on flintlock-only hunts in other states, is it considerably more difficult to keep these types of guns functional in rain or snow.  The following tips will help keep flint guns sparking and percussion guns popping.

A. Load your guns in a warm dry place.

B. Cover your guns whenever possible. You can keep in waterproof cases or even wrap them in waterproof materials on the way to your stand.

C. Use accessories like leather mule’s knees to cover the action parts.

D. If you have nothing else carry the gun with the hammer under an armpit – uncomfortable, but helpful.

E. Check frequently not only for snow in the ignition area, but also on open sights that could prevent you from making a rapid shot should you walk up on something.

F. Plastic sleeves are available from Traditions for no. 11 cap guns as are tiny balloons to keep snow out of the muzzle.

G. Use plastic electric tape to protect the muzzle.

H. Hunt from covered temporary blinds or built-up blinds – even some climbing stands like the Tree Lounge have covers.

I. In wet weather, fire the gun off each day, clean, dry completely and reload. Using alcohol can help speed the drying process and an alcohol-dampened Q-tip can clean and dry the pans of flintlock guns.

J. Seal the pan of a flintlock gun with a heavy grease or wax.  

K. Before reloading fire three caps to clear and dry the ignition passages.

L. Lay out your percussion caps in a warm place to air dry. Wet caps, or even black powder, can be restored to potency if  allowed to dry. Do not put them directly on a heat source.

  For more information on muzzleloading consult my book, X-Treme Muzzleloading, which will be available in Winter, 2010 and my blog entries at www.hoveysmith.wordpress.com on the Brunswick rifle and YouTube videos. For general information on deer and other backyard hunts, see Backyard Deer Hunting: Converting deer to dinner for pennies per pound  at www.hoveysmith.com.

8 thoughts on “12 Tips for Keeping Traditional Muzzleloaders Functioning in Rain and Snow

  1. I just found your website on Google and I must say, I’m impressed. I frequent a lot of blogs and yours is by far one of the best I’ve come across. The information you have here is concise and accurate and you have a very good writing style. Perhaps you should consider writing a book?

  2. I can see that you are an expert in this area. I am launching a website soon, and your information will be very useful for me.. Thanks for all your help and wishing you all the success in your business.

  3. I know this would be better suited to an email, but do you mind if I ask what WordPress theme you’re using for this website? With the right changes (colors, banners, etc.) it would be perfect for my blog.

    • The photography on the heading is my own. The theme is my version of a wordpress template that is called something like “Professional Journalist,” “Journalist” “Newswriter” or some such with my own selection of widgets.

  4. I love the fact that you used a synthetic stocked, stainless steel gun to illustrate an article on “traditional” muzzleloaders. Talk about irony…

    • True, True. Don’t look for rigid attention to categories in this market. It is information that I am trying to provide using whatever guns I have in hand. The synthetic stainless gun and other side-lock flinters with laminated stocks are not replicas of any historic gun, but are traditional in that they are not in-lines or 209 primer fired, etc. and are so considered by Fish and Game departments for hunting purposes.

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