How do you load your muzzleloader?

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When I started shooting in the early 70s there were no loading benches or supports at the club range. We loaded using our legs to support the rifle so both hands could be used to draw loading items from our pouches.
Now, when I go to a non muzzleloading range I bring a 1 x 2 x 16" chunk of wood with a V in the end. I clamp the wood on the shooting bench and then lean the rifle into the V for support. This post is curious as to what other members do about loading their front stuffer under various conditions, and for sure while hunting. Hope I don't offend anyone, but hanging on to the gun with one hand and trying to load with the other does not work for me.
Larry
 
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The best way I found is to take along to the range a vertical stand with a square base.
Just 2x4's and scrap lumber construction. That's for big, long and shooting heavy cast bullets.
For round ball guns I'd rather load as in the field.
 

hanshi

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I always had to load the old/tough/awkward way in the woods and can still do that without spilling more than just a few balls and a couple measures of powder. I don't like placing the butt of the rifle on the bare ground and use my foot if necessary. All my shooting is now at a club range and rubber mats are available to protect the butt plate and benches to lean the barrel against.
 
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When at the range, I'm seated with the rifle between my knees.
My Virginia rifle has a 46" barrel, better have a very high stool if your going to load it seated :p

My club has notches cut in the bench and old rubber conveyor belting to set the butt of the rifle on and that's great when shooting a match.

However, in my opinion everyone should learn to load from the pouch using just your body to support the gun, I, like others, nestle the barrel in the crook of my arm and the butt rests on the ground or my foot depending on soil conditions (gravel and sloppy wet are non starters). I have been doing it for so many years I actually had to think about it, after awhile it just comes naturally.
 

deermanok

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My Virginia rifle has a 46" barrel, better have a very high stool if your going to load it seated :p

My club has notches cut in the bench and old rubber conveyor belting to set the butt of the rifle on and that's great when shooting a match.

However, in my opinion everyone should learn to load from the pouch using just your body to support the gun, I, like others, nestle the barrel in the crook of my arm and the butt rests on the ground or my foot depending on soil conditions (gravel and sloppy wet are non starters). I have been doing it for so many years I actually had to think about it, after awhile it just comes naturally.
My rifles have relatively short barrels. 26 inches down to 19 inches for my carbine.
 

SwanShot

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Butt is on the ground by my left heel rifle is upside down, ie, ramrod uppermost held to my body with left arm, load with my right hand. still got enough use of left hand to hold the short starter etc.
 

dave951

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If I'm doing load development, our range has notches in the shooting tables for resting a muzzleloader. If I'm practicing for a N-SSA competition, I shoot in the same way we compete- all on the line from the cartridge box.
 
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I set the butt on my left foot, crook my left arm to cradle the barrel so it leans away from me and load with my right hand.
i hate fumunda on the butt plate or scratches so it goes on top of my left foot.
I do the same. This being said there are a couple of regular shooters at my club who used to shoot muzzleloaders that keep pointing out they drilled holes along the edge of the benches to insert short pieces of dowel to hold their rifle, back when they shot matches.

I'm with Deerstalkert on this one, there usually isn't a provision in the field to rest a rifle to load so I've learned to load "freehand" for lack of a better term.
 

Tom Compton

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😁😁 Powder first. Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

My shooting box has a hinged front with a u notch lined with leather. A rubber square of rubber goes on the ground.

Hunting or trail walk butt on the left foot, barrel supported in left elbow or propped safely against a tree or … and pulled to my hand.
 

dave951

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I do the same. This being said there are a couple of regular shooters at my club who used to shoot muzzleloaders that keep pointing out they drilled holes along the edge of the benches to insert short pieces of dowel to hold their rifle, back when they shot matches.

I'm with Deerstalkert on this one, there usually isn't a provision in the field to rest a rifle to load so I've learned to load "freehand" for lack of a better term.
Our competition is designed to replicate a "battle line" without the 2 way component and as such, there is no bench. Better learn to do without.
 
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I'm with the stand-up-and-hug -the- rifle school . I like rhe idea of a looped strap / hook on the possibles bag as a third hand. All I might add is it helps to park the ramrod in the top thimble briefly while your fingers are starting the bullet ( i.e. with a rifle musket or a cylindrical bullet gun where you use the ramrod right away without needing to punch down on a short-starter first). Since card wads are commonly sewted over thr powder on those, the ramrod gets used twice in loading, hence the brief parking in just the top end of the rsmrod channel....
 
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