How to clean a muzzleloader

How to clean a muzzleloader

Proper maintenance is a linchpin to ensuring that your muzzleloader is on top of its game all the time. We want to help you do the cleaning routine as easy, fast, and safe as possible, so here are the simplified and practical steps on how to clean a muzzleloader .

Table of Contents

7 Steps to Follow When Cleaning Your Muzzleloader

1. Prepare Your Tools

Before we clean our muzzleloader, first things first. Set up the workspace and get all the supplies and tools you need. You may use a high table and lay down newspapers or scratch papers on top of it to protect it from scratches and stains. Make sure to have an adequately ventilated work site.

Your muzzleloaders should be unloaded, and all pellets and their residues are wiped out. Secure the following materials and tools:

  • Black powder solvent
  • Anti-seize grease/lubricant
  • Jags
  • Bore cleaner (Bore Butter)
  • Copper brush/old toothbrush
  • Patches
  • Ramrod or range-rod
  • Breech wrench (if available)
  • Hot water
  • Dishwashing agent (optional)

How to clean a muzzleloader

2. Disassemble Your Rifle

Again, make sure your weapon is unloaded. Never ever tinker or clean up a loaded muzzleloader. Disassemble the rifle carefully.

You may need to consult a manual or look at a diagram to disassemble the muzzleloader. Here are the simple steps:

  • Remove the barrel first.
  • Remove the breech plug and then the primer-nipple. Unscrew the breech with your finger. Using the breech wrench will also help in removing it.
  • Remove the rifle action. Doing this will expose all the interior parts. You can also remove the stock and trigger assembly, especially if they are filthy.

3. Mix the Cleaning Solvent

Some gun owners prefer hot soapy water mixed with a tad of dishwashing soap. But for stubborn dirt, a black powder solvent would be a better help.

Put a powder rifle solvent in a cup and let the breech sit for a while on it while you’re cleaning the other parts of the firearm.

Using natural cleaning products or solvents is highly recommended to prevent any corrosion build-up and fast degradation of muzzleloaders.

The mountain men in the old times cleaned their weapons by swabbing them with water and seasoning the bore and exterior with the fat from the animals they hunted. In modern times, we already have natural lubricants and cleaning solvents directly from tubes.[1]

How to clean a muzzleloader

4. Swab & Heat the Rifle Barrel

Apply a solvent to the barrel and leave it for a little time. Always read beforehand the specific instructions on the particular solvent you are using.

Attach a patch jag on the end of the barrel using a ramrod or a range-rod.

Put the muzzle in the bucket of hot water. Place the breech end in the water.

Wrap a wet cleaning patch around the jag and start swabbing the bore. Push the patch down to the barrel’s interior, and then pull the rod back-up to remove the hot water. Change patches and repeat this process as many times as needed. You will notice that the barrel is heating up.

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5. Season the Barrel

Wipe the bore with a dry patch. The bore will dry up with the help of the hot water as it evaporates quickly. You may need some heavy-duty gloves if the water is too hot. The hotter the water, the better.

Seasoning the barrel is much like seasoning cast iron skillets. Soak a patch with Bore Butter and then swab the barrel several times while it’s still warm. Lubing the bore will soften any remaining fouling, which makes it easy to remove the corrosive residues.

After the bore has been cleaned up, put some lubricant and then set it aside. After the barrel cools, run dry patches all the way through the barrel to absorb any grease residue. Use the same patch with the Bore Butter to wipe down the exterior metal.

How to clean a muzzleloader

6. Clean the Tiny Parts

Clean the breech plug and nipple, scrub them thoroughly using a copper brush or toothbrush. This way will remove any final fouling, carbon, rust, and corrosion.

Check the breech hole for any clogging and remove the remaining particles. Dry them thoroughly, and then wipe them down with Bore Butter.

Coat the thread with the grease or lubricant compound before threading the nipple into the breech plug.

Coat a lubricant or grease on the threads of the breech plug before threading it back into the barrel. Tighten the breech plug and nipple but don’t overdo it.

Clean and dry other parts of the cocking mechanism and firing mechanism. Wipe them down with Bore Butter.

7. Reassemble Rifle

After getting the weapon dry, put it back together. Start with the breech, then the rifle action.

Wipe down the reassembled muzzleloader one last time.

Check function, and if everything’s fine, then you’re all set for another round of hunting.

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Contents

  • 1. Cleaning a Muzzleloader2. Step 1: Prep the Area and Supplies3. Step 2: Breech and Rifle Action4. Step 3: Barrel5. Reassembly6. Conclusion

About the Author

Avid outdoorsman who loves to spend his time fishing, hunting, and golfing or just about anything outdoors! If he can’t make it to the woods or water, chances are you can find him walking his dogs. Follow Alex P. as he tackles questions, and read his reviews of todays new products!

    Gun Cleaning Gun Cleaning Kits Muzzleloaders

1. Cleaning a Muzzleloader

Modern muzzleloaders have come a long way from the old days of loose powder and the required raccoon hat! Today’s muzzleloaders are much more user friendly and also far more accurate. Through the use of new powders and breech designs these “smokepoles” are now easier to operate and clean than ever before.

If you haven’t ever tried to go on a muzzy hunt I highly recommend it. Most states have extended seasons or annual seasons just for muzzleloader use. For anyone looking to get a little more time in the woods give it a shot. For fairly cheap you can purchase a very high quality rifle that’s accuracy will blow you away. The new sabot slugs and rifled bores combined with pre-packed powder pellets really take out a lot of the work and guessing that was involved over the years past.

It’s essential to keep these guns clean to maintain reliability and accuracy. Cleaning a muzzleloader is not much more difficult than cleaning any other gun in fact the simplicity behind these guns makes it rather easy. Most of the top brands in the game all have pretty similar designs and parts making cleaning them almost universal as far as cleaning and re-assembly.

There seem to be two common approaches to the process of cleaning a muzzleloader. The all natural process, and the solvents approach. I think that I more frequently follow the natural process, but there is always a time to implement some of the black powder solvents available. Everyone has their own little ways of cleaning their muzzleloader and opinions about what is the best process and this how to guide will present you with a blend of the two styles.

How to clean a muzzleloader

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How to Remove Rust Inside a Gun Barrel

How to Clean a Gun With Kroil

Rust is the archenemy of a firearm, and this is especially true for muzzleloading weapons. The black powder or powder substitute used to fire the ball from a muzzleloader is of high potassium salt content, which in turn sucks moisture from the air and absorbs water. This will cause rust and pitting inside the barrel if powder fouling is left unattended. The rust can eat away at the steel and cause poor accuracy. Cleaning your rusty barrel can be done, though this may involve a bit of sweat to scrub the rust away.

Items you will need

Gun cleaning solution/rust remover

Stainless steel sponge — bore tip

Bore cleaning patches

Bore polisher tip

Step 1

Visually inspect your muzzleloader to ensure its completely unloaded.

Step 2

Remove your barrel from the stock if possible. Pour gun cleaning/rust remover solution into a tub. Soak it in the solution for one week. If you can’t remove the barrel, ensure the breach is closed and pour the solution into the barrel and fill it up. Leave the weapon standing upright for one week.

Step 3

Inspect the barrel after removing it from the solution. Look for any large rust pits and target areas to scrub.

Step 4

Attach a stainless steel sponge bore tip to your bore plunger. Wet the sponge with gun cleaning solution.

Step 5

Remove or open the breech. Insert the plunger into the bore and scrub vigorously. Inspect the bore every 20 stokes to check for rust removal. Attach a new sponge tip if needed or if the tip begins to wear while cleaning. Continue scrubbing vigorously until the rust is no longer visible.

Step 6

Attach a cleaning patch tip to your bore plunger. Insert the plunger into the barrel and remove any metal shavings that might have came off of the steel sponge. Reapply cleaning patches as they become worn or dirty. Wipe all oily cleaning residue free from the bore once the rust is removed.

Step 7

Attach a bore polishing tip to the plunger. Buff the inside of the bore until no residue is present and a shine is seen.

In part two of Welcome to Knight Series we will be discussing some proper care and cleaning techniques to ensure that your Knight Rifle stays pristine and in working order. Keeping up with your muzzleloader will guarantee that you have a rifle that will last and can be handed down for generations to come. Now on to Welcome to Knight – Care and Cleaning!

Always clean and lubricate your muzzleloader after each day’s shooting. A muzzleloader must be free of rust, dirt, grease, and powder residue to function safely and reliably. Careful maintenance, which includes inspection of all components to determine if they are in proper working order, is absolutely essential. Muzzleloaders use Black Powder FFg and industry approved black powder substitutes that are highly corrosive, and when fired will deposit corrosive particles and residue in the bore, breech plug, hammer, receiver, trigger and other parts of the rifle.

How to clean a muzzleloader

Rifle grade stainless steel is more rust and corrosion resistant than blued steel, but it is not rust proof. To insure your stainless steel rifle remains in superior condition, clean, oil, and store it in the same manner as a blued steel rifle.

Basic Cleaning Equipment Needed:

  • Ramrod with Bore Brush (Fiber or Brass)
  • Cleaning Jag
  • Cleaning Patches
  • Powder Solvent
  • Breech Plug Grease
  • Water Displacing Oil
  • Small Lint-Free Cloths
  • Pipe Cleaners
  • Toothbrush

WARNING: Before cleaning, be certain that the rifle is unloaded and that no primer is in the receiver. Cleaning a loaded or primed rifle may result in accidental discharge.

How to clean a muzzleloader

Instructions for Cleaning

1.) Disassemble your rifle as described in your specific model’s section of this manual. Take care to put all small parts and similar components in a tray.

2.) Clean rifle with soap and water or an approved solvent. Do not use soaps with chlorides, lye, or bleach in them; the chemicals may remove blueing on your barrel.

3.) Clean your rifle from the breech end. Place your breech plug and hammer in hot soapy water of Knight® Solvent™. Do not use water to clean triggers for DISC Extreme™, Long Range Hunter™, Mountaineer™, Bighorn™, Littlehorn™, and TK2000™. Only a solvent should be used to clean these Knight Rifles. Clean with appropriate material and lubricate sear. Don’t allow barreled action and other rifle parts to soak in soapy water or solvents for extended periods.

4.) Use a Knight® Ultimate Range Rod™ or a ramrod with a Knight® Bullet Starter™ handle and an attached cleaning jag. With the muzzle still in the hot soapy water, place a patch over the rear of the receiver and push into the barrel. Scrub the bore vigorously to completely remove all foreign matter, powder residue, and fouling. Repeat this as many times as necessary to get a clean bore.

5.) Thoroughly scrub and clean the breech plug threads in the receiver. A toothbrush, bottle brush, or bullet starter with adapter and 20 gauge shotgun brush work well for this task.

6.) Using a toothbrush or pipe cleaner, thoroughly clean the receiver, hammer, breech plug, trigger and other components of all residues, fouling, etc.

7.) Thoroughly dry all metal surfaces and generously lubricate your rifle inside and out using Knight® Oil™ with rust inhibitor.

8.) Reassemble your muzzleloader according to the instructions in your model’s section of this manual.

Next week in part three of the Welcome to Knight Series we will discuss loading and proper firing techniques.

In part two of Welcome to Knight Series we will be discussing some proper care and cleaning techniques to ensure that your Knight Rifle stays pristine and in working order. Keeping up with your muzzleloader will guarantee that you have a rifle that will last and can be handed down for generations to come. Now on to Welcome to Knight – Care and Cleaning!

Always clean and lubricate your muzzleloader after each day’s shooting. A muzzleloader must be free of rust, dirt, grease, and powder residue to function safely and reliably. Careful maintenance, which includes inspection of all components to determine if they are in proper working order, is absolutely essential. Muzzleloaders use Black Powder FFg and industry approved black powder substitutes that are highly corrosive, and when fired will deposit corrosive particles and residue in the bore, breech plug, hammer, receiver, trigger and other parts of the rifle.

How to clean a muzzleloader

Rifle grade stainless steel is more rust and corrosion resistant than blued steel, but it is not rust proof. To insure your stainless steel rifle remains in superior condition, clean, oil, and store it in the same manner as a blued steel rifle.

Basic Cleaning Equipment Needed:

  • Ramrod with Bore Brush (Fiber or Brass)
  • Cleaning Jag
  • Cleaning Patches
  • Powder Solvent
  • Breech Plug Grease
  • Water Displacing Oil
  • Small Lint-Free Cloths
  • Pipe Cleaners
  • Toothbrush

WARNING: Before cleaning, be certain that the rifle is unloaded and that no primer is in the receiver. Cleaning a loaded or primed rifle may result in accidental discharge.

How to clean a muzzleloader

Instructions for Cleaning

1.) Disassemble your rifle as described in your specific model’s section of this manual. Take care to put all small parts and similar components in a tray.

2.) Clean rifle with soap and water or an approved solvent. Do not use soaps with chlorides, lye, or bleach in them; the chemicals may remove blueing on your barrel.

3.) Clean your rifle from the breech end. Place your breech plug and hammer in hot soapy water of Knight® Solvent™. Do not use water to clean triggers for DISC Extreme™, Long Range Hunter™, Mountaineer™, Bighorn™, Littlehorn™, and TK2000™. Only a solvent should be used to clean these Knight Rifles. Clean with appropriate material and lubricate sear. Don’t allow barreled action and other rifle parts to soak in soapy water or solvents for extended periods.

4.) Use a Knight® Ultimate Range Rod™ or a ramrod with a Knight® Bullet Starter™ handle and an attached cleaning jag. With the muzzle still in the hot soapy water, place a patch over the rear of the receiver and push into the barrel. Scrub the bore vigorously to completely remove all foreign matter, powder residue, and fouling. Repeat this as many times as necessary to get a clean bore.

5.) Thoroughly scrub and clean the breech plug threads in the receiver. A toothbrush, bottle brush, or bullet starter with adapter and 20 gauge shotgun brush work well for this task.

6.) Using a toothbrush or pipe cleaner, thoroughly clean the receiver, hammer, breech plug, trigger and other components of all residues, fouling, etc.

7.) Thoroughly dry all metal surfaces and generously lubricate your rifle inside and out using Knight® Oil™ with rust inhibitor.

8.) Reassemble your muzzleloader according to the instructions in your model’s section of this manual.

Next week in part three of the Welcome to Knight Series we will discuss loading and proper firing techniques.

WARNING: BE SURE THAT YOUR RIFLE IS UNLOADED PRIOR TO CLEANING. ATTEMPTING TO CLEAN A LOADED OR PRIMED FIREARM CAN CAUSE INJURY OR DEATH TO THE SHOOTER OR BYSTANDERS.

Thorough cleaning of the bolt assembly, barrel, breech plug, nipple, receiver and trigger assembly are necessary for proper function of your firearm.

WARNING: AN IMPROPERLY CLEANED AND LUBRICATED RIFLE MAY BE DANGEROUS AND COULD RESULT IN AN ACCIDENTAL DISCHARGE AND SERIOUS INJURY OR DEATH TO THE SHOOTER OR BYSTANDERS.

To disassemble the bolt assembly for cleaning:

  1. Remove the assembly from the firearm.
  2. Pull the bolt assembly away from the firing pin assembly by hooking the notch on the firing pin over a metal edge and pulling (See Picture 1). Insert a coin into the slot that will become visible in the side of the firing pin head.
  3. Holding the bolt assembly, unscrew the firing pin assembly and slide it out of the bolt body. CAUTION: Clean the firing pin assembly as a unit. No further disassembly is required.
  4. Clean all parts with Remington All-Natural Bore Cleaner and dry with a clean cloth.
  5. Apply a light coating of Rem™ Oil to all parts. NOTE: The bolt assembly should be lubricated with Rem™ Oil instead of Remington Wonder Lube paste for black powder. The use of a non-recommended lubricant could cause serious function problems, possibly leading to accidental firing.

How to clean a muzzleloader

To assemble the bolt assembly:

  1. Slide the firing pin assembly into the rear of the bolt assembly.
  2. Tighten the firing pin assembly by hand only.
  3. Pull the coin from the slot in the firing pin head.
  4. Align the firing pin head with the small notch in the rear of the bolt assembly. The bolt is now cocked. See Picture 2. NOTE: The bolt must be cocked to assemble the bolt assembly in the receiver.
  5. Assemble the bolt assembly in the receiver.

How to clean a muzzleloader

To clean the barrel, breech plug, and nipple:

  1. Keeping the muzzle pointed in a safe direction, put the safety to the ‘S’ position, open the bolt, and be sure there is no percussion cap or percussion cap residue remaining on the nipple.
  2. Use the ramrod to be sure there is no charge in the barrel. WARNING: If there is a charge in the barrel, do not attempt to remove it by shooting it out if you are unsure what the charge is or if you are unsure if the charge is safe. Instead, remove the charge using the instructions in your instruction book.
  3. Remove the bolt assembly.
  4. Remove the nipple.
  5. Remove the breech plug.
  6. Soak the nipple and breech plug in Remington All-Natural Bore Cleaner.
  7. Using a small brush and Remington All-Natural Bore Cleaner, clean the breech plug threads in the rear of the barrel thoroughly. Use a cleaning patch or clean cloth to wipe the breech plug threads clean of all residue.
  8. Insert the bore cleaning tube through the receiver, and thread it into the breech plug threads by hand only. This is required to protect the breech plug threads and trigger assembly from fouling and debris. WARNING: Fouling and debris from the bore may fall into the trigger assembly if the bore cleaning guide is not used. This could impair the function of the trigger assembly and may result in serious personal injuries or death to the shooter or bystanders.
  9. Attach the cleaning jag to the ramrod. Assemble the ramrod extension and handle and place a cleaning patch soaked with Remington All-Natural Bore Cleaner evenly over the cleaning jag.
  10. Insert the jag into the bore cleaning tube, and push it firmly into the barrel from the breech. Swab the bore with short strokes for best results. Push the patch through the barrel and remove the cleaning patch at the muzzle.
  11. Using the same method, push a dry patch through the bore.
  12. Repeat steps 9-11 until the dry patch is clean.
  13. Place a cleaning patch with Remington Wonder Lube paste for black powder evenly on the jag and push it into the bore from the breech. Swab the bore with short strokes to uniformly apply the paste.
  14. Repeat step 13 several times to properly condition and preserve the bore.
  15. Thoroughly clean and dry the breech plug and nipple.
  16. Sparingly apply Remington Wonder Lube paste for black powder on the threads of the breech plug and nipple. NOTE: Avoid putting Remington Wonder Lube paste for black powder on the front face of the breech plug and nipple and in the flash hole of the nipple. Excess Remington Wonder Lube paste for black powder may foul the powder charge and possibly cause a misfire or hangfire.
  17. Reinstall the breech plug and the nipple.
  18. Wipe the exterior of the barrel and receiver with a cloth treated with Remington Wonder Lube paste for black powder.

To clean the receiver and trigger assembly:

  1. Keeping the muzzle pointed in a safe direction, put the safety in the ‘S’ position, open the bolt, and be sure there is no percussion cap or percussion cap residue remaining on the nipple.
  2. Use the ramrod to be sure there is no charge in the barrel. WARNING: If there is a charge in the barrel, do not attempt to remove it by shooting it out if you are unsure what the charge is or if you are unsure if the charge is safe. Instead, remove the charge using the instructions in your instruction book.
  3. Remove the bolt assembly.
  4. Turn the rifle upside down.
  5. Remove the three screws, and remove the barreled action from the stock. See Picture 3.

How to clean a muzzleloader

If, like many of us Santa brought you a new Muzzleloader or muzzleloader kit, you’ll be spending the next few weekends tinkering with it. This list is brought to you courtesy of the NMLRA Facebook group to give you the best tips and tricks to break in your new muzzleloader safely.

#1 Read the manual

Whether you are familiar with modern firearms or not, muzzleloaders are a different animal.

We recommend that you read the manufacturer’s manual that came with your new muzzleloader, if one is not available, please go online and find the digital version at your manufacturer’s website. Manuals will give you correct loading procedure and load data for your firearm.

If you have added a new custom built muzzleloader to your collection, be sure to communicate with the builder about safe load measurements. If your builder is not available, please reach out to some online forums or facebook groups and ask the folks there

#2 Don’t assume your local sporting good stores know black powder

It can be hard to find real black powder, but it is very important to remember that Pyrodex, Trip 7, etc is not blackpowder. We don’t advise ever using smokeless powder in your traditional muzzleloader. Smokeless Powder is more explosive than traditional black powder. Using Smokeless in your traditional muzzleloader can result in serious injury or death.

If you are having trouble finding real black powder in your area, as it is not carried in many gun shops or sporting goods stores, be sure to check out the list of authorized dealers from both Schuetzen Black Powder , and Goex Black Powder . NMLRA Members also receive a discount on black powder from both Goex and Swiss if you purchase on NMLRA Grounds.

#3 Keep your Powder away from your shooting area

It’s important to remember that any container holding black powder is highly explosive. Many newcomers make the mistake of leaving their black powder can near there firing position or bench, not realizing that a percussion or flintlock firearm can throw sparks around the area. If one of these sparks hits your powder can, you won’t want to be within 50 yards of it!

#4 Of all the laws you must recall. First the powder, then the patch and ball.

It can seem very simple, 3 steps between shots, nothing fancy, just a lot of ramrodding, but you’ll be surprised how often you can mix them up if you aren’t focused.

Always pay attention when you are loading your new muzzleloader, you don’t want to accidentally double load your powder, patch or your ball. It won’t just mess up your grouping, but it could seriously injure your rifle and you!

On our ranges though, the most often forgotten step in the powder, resulting in a fair amount of heckling as we work to pull the ball.

#5 Load Safely

Remember, you are handling an explosive powder each time you load your muzzleloader.

Never load a muzzleloader’s powder straight from your powder horn or powder can, always use a measure. This ensures a repeatable load for more accurate shooting, but it also keeps you safe from any rogue sparks that could ignite your powder.

#6 Mentorship

If you haven’t been around muzzleloaders much it can be very daunting. Don’t hesitate to reach out to a local shooting club or gun shop for some help. We’ve got a list of Official NMLRA Charter Clubs as well as Field Representatives all over the United States that are trained to answer your questions.

Our facebook group is packed with over 4,000 members of all skill levels, reach out there anytime and you’ll receive many great responses.

#7 Is it loaded?

Like all firearms, it is paramount you behave that every muzzleloader is always loaded. If you aren’t sure, there are a couple steps you can follow to check.

Point the Muzzleloader in a safe direction

Flintlocks – Open the Frizzen and place the hammer in the down position.

Percussion Locks- Ensure there is no percussion cap or remains of a percussion cap on the nipple. Keep the hammer in the down position over the nipple or put the hammer on Half cock with a washer over the nipple.

Remove your ramrod and place it down the barrel until the ram rod cannot go in any further. Mark the spot on your ramrod flush the muzzle. We recommend a permanent marker or a piece of tape for accuracy.

Remove your ramrod from the barrel and place it alongside the barrel of your muzzleloader so the line you marked is in line with the muzzle, and the base is pointed back towards the area described below

Flintlock Firearm: The touch hole, or flash hole, located on the side where the ignition spark reaches the charge

Percussion Lock Firearm: The drum area, located on the side of the breech

In-line Firearm: The breech plug

You should be familiar enough with your firearm to know if there is a cavity in the breech plug that will allow powder between the rod tip and the flash hole.

If there is a cavity, check to see if it is filled with powder. Insert a .22-caliber ramrod, made of brass or other non-ferrous metal, into the bore until it stops.

Remove the rod, and measure along the outside of the barrel to see if the rod tip reaches the flash hole of the breech plug. If the rod reaches the flash hole, the muzzleloader is empty and has no projectile or powder in the barrel.

If a projectile or powder is inside the barrel, use a CO2 discharger to clear the barrel. Then reinsert the range rod into the barrel to make sure the projectile and all powder have been removed.

After you are certain the firearm is empty, insert the range rod back into the barrel. Make a permanent “unloaded” or “empty” mark on the rod at the spot where the rod exits the muzzle. You now can use this mark to verify whether the barrel is empty whenever the range rod is inserted.

#8 Cleaning your muzzleloader

You can find countless online forums and comment threads discussing how often to clean your muzzleloader. Should I clean after every shot? After an hour? After a day?

Well, there isn’t really a rule. Many of our competitive marksmen will clean their barrels after each shot to make sure each shot is as accurate as possible. If you are plinking at your home range, you can get away with a few shots before cleaning.

Like all modern firearms, it’s important to clean your muzzleloader well after each trip to the range. Swab down the barrel with your preferred cleaner and wipe down the exterior as well to prevent rust.

#9 Always do your research

Youtube is a great resource for just about everything on the planet, but when it comes to handling black powder, always triple check the information presented in the video.

We recommend this video from The Black Powder Maniac Shooter as a good starting point for a flintlock. Hickok 45 also has several good videos on muzzleloaders.

#10 Safety Safety Safety

We all know Eye Protection and hearing protection are important when shooting modern firearms, with muzzleloaders you’ll hear the same. Eye protection is especially important when shooting a sidelock muzzleloader, the ignition explosion on the exterior of the firearm, and near your face. Shrapnel from percussion caps or your flint can easily find its way into your eyes.

We hope this helps you get started in the world of muzzleloaders! We hope you’ll find your new muzzleloader one of the favorites of your firearms collection, I know we do here at the NMLRA.

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Let me tell a little story. For many years I’ve been using vinegar to clean black powder cartridges (brass) and it does a very good job. Then one time I was having a terrible time getting some black powder fouling out of one of my muzzleloaders. I worked and worked, used soap and hot water and then used Hoppes #9 black powder solvent. The bore still wasn’t coming clean so I decided to use vinegar. It works for brass cartridges so it ought to work, maybe?

What a mistake that was. My two hours just got extended because the cleaning rag now didn’t come out with portions of it black, it came out totally rust brown. I ended up putting in several more hours on that bore ending with JB Bore cleaning compound. That was several hours of work I really didn’t want to do but once that vinegar hit that bore, I was doomed.

Don’t use vinegar in your muzzleloader’s bore.

Load fast and aim slow.

Sure – but by the time you did that either the acid damage would be already have happened or else not enough time for the acid to supposedly help in the cleaning.

Plus sodium acetate (the salt formed), like all salts, increases rust formation. So does the sodium bicarbonate (baking soda).

Best to forget the acetic acid (vinegar) altogether, IMHO.

OK well the person mixing Windex with Vinegar needs some High School chemistry. for Windex contains Ammonium Hydroxide, a base, and adding vinegar (acetic acid) then neutralizes the hydroxide and the vinegar, and as Walking Crow pointed out, it then forms a salt.

NOW Windex sells “Windex: Multisurface Vinegar” cleaner, which is NOT Windex plus vinegar, it’s a form of ammonia free cleaner that uses vinegar, sold for the folks that don’t like ammonia, so perhaps that’s what was being used?

Windex has long been known to be a quick solvent for black powder, especially for those shooting lots of blanks at a battle reenactment, and as it has water and ammonia in it, counteracts some of the acidic properties of the BP or Pyrodex residue, BUT. a good water rinse plus a rust reventative is needed after using it.

I always just used water and some soap.

It’s not what you know, it’s what you can prove