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.