Superstitions and traditions

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Notchy Bob

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My dad used to insist that any shot spilled while charging a muzzle-loading shotgun must be picked up and loaded. "That's the one that'll kill the squirrel," he used to say.

Notchy Bob
 

Col. Batguano

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Wood from maple trees that have gotten regular bleedings (tapping for syrup) will shoot truer, as the evil spirits have been let out of them.
 

hanshi

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Demons get a bad rap. They make your car go, guns shoot and TV work. The only bad thing I know about demons is that they will cause your children to be born naked. In the South there are two closely related/sounding terms but that describe two separate things. "Naked" means "without clothes on"; "nekked" means one has no clothes on and is "up to something".
 

Billy Boy

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Ken told me that all muzzleloaders should have a "Hex" sign on the top of the wrist so you can rub it with your thumb when you shoulder the long arm to ward off Evil spirits. He said a weeping heart was preferred, but could be different depending on the owners faith.
We put a weeping heart on mine.
I heard this was a crooked heart, a hex sign to take the ‘crookedness’ out of he rifle.
View attachment 31422
 
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Billy Boy

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Sorry, didn’t see the keep off the grass sign. I understood the ‘weeping heart’
was a hex sign known as the ‘crooked heart’ which took all the crookedness out of the rifle
 

Whitworth

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Lick your finger and wet your front sight to "cut down the haze". So says Gary Cooper in the 1941 movie "Sgt.York" The gag is used in the movie "The Thing From Another World" 10 years later. In one desperate scene the man with the flare gun performs this ritual when admonished not to miss, he replies "I saw Gary Cooper do it in Sgt. York".
 

Belleville

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That one is a myth. The French government drilled a hole into the side of the rear of the stock and put in a (unblessed) dowel of boxwood. It was a government mark of ownership. The tale possibly began with priests blessing their military flock's guns with a sprinkle of Holy Water.

Post Revolution the Church and State were formally separated so no French government would allow an involvement by the Church in such a matter.
Your response logically answers this superstition, which I have heard for decades. Is there documentation? Would like to put this one to sleep.
 

Belleville

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Ken told me that all muzzleloaders should have a "Hex" sign on the top of the wrist so you can rub it with your thumb when you shoulder the long arm to ward off Evil spirits. He said a weeping heart was preferred, but could be different depending on the owners faith.
We put a weeping heart on mine.

View attachment 31422
May be something to this one as have seen INRI carved into the wrist? Also heard another, when rifling first developed, it was thought derived thru the devil and your thumb on a silver inlay in the wrist protected you. Come to think about it my first custom rifle has a silver wrist inlay.
 

Loyalist Dave

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I was under the impression that the "warding off" of demons regarding muzzleloaders was (outside of Germanic principalities) more to protect the shooter...., NOT from a bad shot, but from the barrel bursting while firing, and harming the shooter.

Similar to St. Barbara protecting artillery crews, especially from lightning.

LD
 

RAEDWALD

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Your response logically answers this superstition, which I have heard for decades. Is there documentation? Would like to put this one to sleep.
The latter is a matter of law in France. It would have precipitated a major crisis in government were the myth to have actually happen. Civil commotion and a fall of government plus legal actions would follow. This was, and is, a very serious matter in France. My great grandfather, as Mayor, had to build separate public laundry facilities in his town to separate the right wing catholics (who had their old one by the church) and the left wing protestants (who had a new one by the Mairie) as the women frequently fell to serious fighting over keeping the Church out of State business.
 

Sidney Smith

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Seasoning your barrel. Biggest bunch of horse hockey going with regards to muzzle loaders.
 

Bob McBride

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The only ‘seasoning’ I do to my barrel is to run a lubed patch down the barrel before my first clean bore load sequence. Seems to help control the first shot flier in a clean bore hunting situation and makes the clean bore load easier to load with the rifle’s ramrod. As has been said above one seasons iron, as one does a cast skillet. Seasoning doesn’t ‘take’ so much on steel as there aren’t many pores to fill.
 

Kansas Jake

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I wonder if the "seasoning" of a barrel for modern muzzleloaders came about due to some new barrels needing a hundred or so shots or some smoothing before they really shoot well? That has been discussed in different threads here on a number of occasions. Also, in the 1970s-80s the internet wasn't around to share information and folks were just passing along folklore from an earlier time.

"Gee, I've got a new gun and after I shot it a couple of hundred the shots if is finally seasoned and shoots great."
 
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