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  • Black powder and its substitutes leave a corrosive residue inside the barrel. The build up of residue, called fouling, destroys accuracy and weakens the gun. Always clean the muzzleloader at the end of a day of firing to prevent rapid rusting and pitting.
  • Modern chemicals and products make cleaning black powder fouling easier. Unlike smokeless residue, black powder fouling is water-soluble. Always use mild, soapy water or products made specifically for black powder.
  • The procedure for disassembling and cleaning varies due to a number of factors, including the type of muzzleloader you own.
  • Consult your owner’s manual for the specifics of disassembling and cleaning your firearm. The general procedure for cleaning a muzzleloading firearm involves these steps.
    1. Disassemble the firearm, and soak all miscellaneous parts except the trigger assembly and lock in a bowl of warm, soapy water (water and liquid dish soap).
    2. Wipe down the trigger assembly with a clean, dry cloth and set it aside.
    3. Scrub both sides of the lock with an old toothbrush and warm, soapy water. Make sure the entire lock is completely dry. Then lightly oil it and set it aside.
    4. Place the breech end of the barrel in a partially filled bucket of warm, soapy water. Pour soapy water down the barrel. Run a cleaning rod with a tight-fitting patch up and down the full length of the bore repeatedly.
    5. Lift out the barrel, rinse it with clean water, and run fresh patches through the bore until they come out clean and dry. Run a seasoned lube patch down the barrel.
    6. Make sure all parts are completely clean and dry.
    7. Reassemble, lubricating the breech plug and nipple.
  • If possible, store your muzzleloader horizontally or with the muzzle down to keep dust and other particles from falling into the barrel. Also, storing your gun horizontally keeps the lubricant from running to the breech end and leaving the bore unprotected.
Cleaning a Muzzleloader diagram
Cleaning a Muzzleloader diagram