Muzzleloaders take significantly more knowledge to operate than modern firearms. They also present greater risks. Several rules must be followed to ensure safe operation.

Hunter aiming muzzleloader in kneeling position
  • Keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction. Do not lean over, stand in front of, or blow down the muzzle.
  • Use only black powder or a safe substitute in a muzzleloading firearm.
  • Wait until you’re ready to fire before you prime or cap a muzzleloader.
  • Always wear shooting glasses and ear protection when shooting a muzzleloader; a long-sleeved shirt is also advisable.
  • Never smoke while shooting or loading or when near a powder horn or flask.
  • Load a muzzleloader directly from a calibrated powder measure—do not load from a horn, flask, or other container. A loose spark or glowing ember in the barrel can cause the powder to explode.
  • Load only one charge at a time.
  • Unload a muzzleloader before bringing it into your home, camp, or vehicle.
  • Stay with your charged muzzleloader at all times