There are several pieces of equipment that will help you safely operate muzzleloaders.
Powder Flask- you should carry your powder in a powder flask or powder horn. Never charge a muzzleloader directly from the flask or horn, Use a powder measure.
Powder measure- a powder measure allows you to accurately measure the correct amount of powder to charge your muzzleloader. Many hunters use a measure that is preset to the charge they use when hunting.
Ball Short Starter- is used for rifles to make loading easier. It has two parts, a seater and a short ramrod. The seater is a brass cap that is used to push the ball and patch into the opening of the muzzle. Next the short ramrod is used to push the ball and patch several inches down into the barrel. This makes it easier to use the rifle’s longer ramrod to push the ball fully down the rest of the barrel and seat it firmly on top of the powder charge. Always tightly grip the ramrod and use short strokes to seat the ball firmly on the powder charge.
Capper- percussion caps are small and sometimes difficult to handle. A capper allows you to properly attach the percussion cap to the nipple.
Nipple wrenches allow removal of the nipple for cleaning or replacement.
C02 Discharger – Uses a charge of C02 directly into the nipple to dislodge the powder and ball when a misfire occurs, is improperly loaded or to unload the firearm at the end of the day.
Balls- lead balls are most commonly associated with muzzleloaders. The ball is a smaller diameter than the bore of the muzzleloader and is seated on a patch when loaded. This allows a snug fit and for the rifling in the barrel to spin the ball when it is fired.
Bullets- sometimes called “maxi-balls” are loaded without a patch and are usually lubricated. The rear of the bullet is conical and expands when the muzzleloader is fired. This expansion allows the rifling in the barrel to contact and spin the bullet as it passes out.
Sabots allow firing a bullet that is a smaller caliber that the bore of the rifle. A cup fits around the bullet to correctly match the caliber of the rifle.
Powder for muzzleloaders comes in two forms, black powder and synthetic. They should only be used in muzzleloading firearms. Smokeless powder should never be used in muzzleloading firearms. Always read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions before using any muzzleloading firearms.