How many times did you feel too lazy to unload your muzzleloader? Well, I bet it was a lot. Because the same thing happens to me every time. But are you sure what you’re doing is safe?
So, how long can you leave a muzzleloader loaded?
You can leave your muzzleloader loaded for up to two days. After that, the black gun powder will start to deteriorate. This can make the gun extremely dangerous. It will also hamper the accuracy of your shot and make the gun unreliable. Never leave your muzzleloader loaded for more than 1-2 weeks.
Still confused? Not to worry. We have explained everything in detail that will help you understand these things better.
Go and have a read!
Is It Okay to Leave Your Muzzleloader Loaded?
Every muzzleloader owner knows that his gun isn’t one for the future. And once you load one bullet, you tend to keep it in the muzzleloader. This is mostly because of its old-fashioned structure as you can’t take the bullet out anyway.
It is not like a 4 or 6 arrow quiver where you can put the arrows back in if you need to.
Yes, we know that most people do this. They leave their muzzleloader loaded. But is it actually safe to do so?
Technically speaking, you can leave your muzzleloader loaded given that you have a properly functioning gun. If you have one that’s faulty then it’s better you don’t leave your muzzleloader loaded for a long time.
However, some hunters load their muzzleloaders in one season and keep them loaded until the next season. So is it also okay to do so? Well, let’s find out in our next section.
How Long Can You Leave Your Muzzleloader Loaded?
Suppose you’re a seasonal hunter and you left your muzzleloader loaded for an entire season. Now you are confused if it is safe to use or not.
Well, the right amount of time would be 2-3 days. It’s better if you don’t exceed this time limit. Now let us tell you why.
Even when unfired, black powder is hygroscopic. That is not conjecture; it is well-known: Over a 24-hour cycle, black powder retains roughly 1.5 weight percent liquid at a temperature of 21.
1 degree Celsius and 75 percent relative humidity. There’s a chance that if black powder absorbs enough humidity, it won’t burn as quickly.
Unpredictable behavior can be caused by high humidity levels. The liquid may allow potassium nitrate to move out of the black powder. And cause the metal parts to corrode.
This is why it is extremely important to clean your muzzles once you’re done with hunting.
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Now if you’re using black powder substitutes which are synthetic then this can be even worse. It is organically water-soluble if it cleans up with “ordinary tap water.”
Any product with a sugar base will absorb moisture.
The unpredictable speeds or misfires that ensue are dependent on a number of factors. For instance humidity, temperature, ignition type, and rifle category.
A packed muzzleloader could go off the next day, or perhaps the following year. It could happen, or it could not. But are you willing to take that chance?
Guns are nothing to be trifled with. It’s now like using a bow where arrows wobbling in a fight are your biggest problem.
Now even if we don’t consider the safety problems, there can be other problems including accuracy. Since the gunpowder gets soaked after some time, the next shot you’ll take will be mostly inaccurate.
Over time, pellet packs or powder containers that have been unsealed lose their efficacy.
If you give the dry powder a sufficient chance on a warm day, it will begin to clump. If you fire through a chronograph, you can easily notice the deterioration in efficiency.
Double-loading a muzzleloader is much harder than loading one that isn’t already loaded. If you leave a muzzleloader loaded, you are accountable for the situation. And also whatever happens as a consequence.
There’s no assurance your rifle won’t misfire. Also, there’s no certainty an idle powder charge won’t damage your barrel. There are too many factors to ensure any particular velocity reduction.
So what we’re trying to say is, that there’s no benefit in leaving your muzzleloader loaded. If you absolutely need to then don’t leave it for more than 2 days.
Otherwise, you won’t be able to guarantee the safety of yourself and others.
Besides this, we suggest you understand the maintenance of muzzleloaders properly. This will ensure more safety and longevity of your gun.
How Frequently Should a Muzzleloader be Cleaned?
After every shooting practice, properly clean a muzzleloader. If left overnight, black powder buildup might cause severe damage to the barrels. Wipe the gun’s lock on a regular basis. It’s usually secured in place using one or two screws.
What is the Range Of a Muzzleloader?
There are a lot of good muzzleloaders out there these days. Some of them can even hit 200 yards with pinpoint accuracy. However, muzzleloader precision is harder to achieve than rimfire rifle precision.
How Might a Hunter Empty a Muzzleloader in a Safe Manner?
Discharge a muzzleloader into a good barrier to empty it. If the missile bullets ricochet, do not shoot into the sky. And not to mention, into the earth at your boots. To empty the barrels, use a CO2 discharger.
By now you should know how long can you leave a muzzleloader loaded. We have told you what safety issues can occur.
Remember there’s nothing called too safe when you’re handling guns.