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Safe to Shoot A Muzzleloader That's Been Loaded for Years

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xcrider2

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Hello all,
Forgive if this is a dumb question but I used a pedersoli rocky mountain hawken rifle on a hunt 4 years ago and didn't fire it or clear the breech. So its been loaded sitting in the safe for 4 years.

Does anyone have any reason to believe that this could be unsafe to fire at this point? I mean... I doubt it. But just want to be sure that lead doesn't have tendency to bind with the barrel over time or perhaps the powder could go bad with the lube or something.
 

Griz44Mag

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If I was not the one that loaded it - absolutely not -
It's pretty easy to pull the ball - clean it good and go back knowing that it is not going to blow up in your face...
 

griffiga

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Just to be safe, I’d pull the ball and clear out the powder
 

Greg Blackburn

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I read about a flintlock pistol, loaded for centuries, fired off by accident (negligently) by a book author when a girl at the author's party couldn't understand how the thing worked.

He primed the pan, shot it into the wall (didn't expect that to happen) and if I recall correctly, "....as the smoke cleared he lowered the weapon and asked the young lady, 'now do you understand?'"

Sounds like you loaded it. Fire that thing off.
 

tenngun

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Powder is real stable so it will be good for lifetimes. One question. Did you shoot it before you loaded it. In that case you could have some rust issues. Inside the bore it’s unlikely rust could weeken the bore. However you could be unsafe around the nipple or drum
 

Grenadier1758

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A bit depends on the patch lubricant. An oil, wax and oil, or greased patch in a clean bore should be good to fire after 4 years in the safe.
 

Carbon 6

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If you have to ask, then the answer is definitely NO.
Why did you leave it loaded in the safe for 4 years ? was it intentional or inadvertent ?
What was it loaded with ?
How was it prepped storage?

Long term storage of a loaded gun is certainly doable, IF you know what you are doing.
Do it wrong and you end up with a charge that won't fire or a ruined barrel.

I'd attempt to pull it first.
 

renegadehunter

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It is way easier than most folks that haven't pulled a load before realize to pull a load with a ball puller, especially on a clean barrel.
If you don't already have one, get one with the brass ring that keeps the screw centered in the barrel. Screw it in and pull it. It will come out easy if the barrel was clean when it was loaded.
The powder will likely be very compacted and won't come out very easy, so give the barrel the bucket of soapy water treatment after that.
 
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Sidney Smith

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I've never left any of mine loaded that long, but I have routinely left one loaded for the entire deer hunting season, which is from the start of rifle at the end on November. I fired and killed a deer with it the last day of Flintlock season near the end of January.
 

Zonie

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If the gun was loaded with real black powder, there is no reason it would be unsafe to fire.
If it was loaded with Pyrodex, 777, or any of the other synthetic muzzleloading powders it would be a good idea to pull the ball/bullet and scrape the old powder charge out.

The synthetic muzzleloading powders do not age well, even in their sealed containers. Outside a totally sealed container like it is when it is loaded into a gun, the powder will absorb moisture from humid air and the powder will deteriorate often to the point that it will "hang fire" or fail to fire.
 

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