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Two no fires while hunting

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Joined
Dec 2, 2018
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Location
Green Bay, WI
My son and I just returned from a 3 day deer hunt/camping trip. Prior to going, we spent several days at the gun range. He was shooting Pyrodex, myself black powder from 2 separate containers, one a few years older than the other. We had no problems with either powder or Pyrodex igniting. After the range we cleaned both guns in similar fashion, both getting a final, light swab of Bore Butter.

in camp, I realized I had forgotten my sons pyro, so he loaded 70 grains of the older Goex FFG black powder (which performed perfectly at the range) topped with a Great Plains conical bullet. He used a new percussion cap, bought the week before and tested at the range.

I loaded my rifle (we both were shooting .50 caliber Hawken style ) with 70 grains of black powder from the newer container (it, too, had performed flawlessly at the range), loaded the same bullet as my son and used the same brand cap from the same container. Every component we used we had range tested the week before and every component worked perfectly.

weather during our hunt dropped down to 13 degrees and on Sunday it snowed lightly all day. We did not have muzzle condemns on the guns, nor have I ever used one. However, at the close of hunting on the second day, we went to fire the guns to unload then, neither charge ignited, only the cap snapped. So, we are trying to figure out what went wrong. Both batches of black powder has been tested at the range, the can of caps had been tested, we loaded the same bullet, cleaned the guns before with the same products. I’ve been hunting with muzzleloader for about 50 years, not a newbie. But I don’t see why neither rifle fired. Any advice, ideas or theories? thank you.
 
I had a similar experience with a shotgun, except it was raining. When I went again and there was some light rain forecast, I was prepared. When the mist started, I pulled a piece of saran wrap and put the hammers at half-cock. I wrapped the breach area right over the capped nipples, about twice over. The gun fired and when I reloaded, I kept the muzzle out of the rain as best I could, capped quickly and used the saran wrap again. It worked the next time I fired too. Not HC but it works without cost, doesn't get in the way, and doesn't require removal to shoot.
 
My experiences are that failures to boom are a result of my own cleaning practices leaving some moisture contaminated residue behind. Bad while plinking and terrible at the conclusion of a skillful stalk.
That’s exactly what I was thinking. I know not how WR goes about it. However, I only had one misfire ever. And that was in pouring down rain.

My procedure is I always remove the nipple and shoot some lacquer thinner into the breach first thing. Then I follow up by shooting compressed air through the flash hole and out the barrel. This ascertains the flash channel is clear and oil free.

Before loading, I run a dry patch down the bore then snap a cap or two prior to pouring the powder down the bore. After adding powder I always, always lean the rifle over on the lock side and tap on the side of the stock a few times. Then seat the projectile.

It’s to my belief that ascertaining the flash channel is clear, snapping a couple caps, and tapping on the side of the stock after pouring the powder down the bore reduces the chances of misfires significantly.
 
So many variables no one will ever be able to definitively say why.
One thing stands out to me is pre bore buttering. I dont see where you swabbed out the bore butter before pouring powder down barrel. I coat all my pistols/rifles with anti rust products, but before I shoot them, i make sure every component is bone dry, no preservatives anywhere.
Just a guess.
 
My hunting guns whether cap & ball, percussion rifle, or flintlock, hunting prep is a squirt of contact cleaner in nipple/ nipples, or flash channel, followed with same on patch down barrel or cyl. chambers. also wipe flint, frizzen and pan with same then loaded for hunting. Contact cleaner evaporates very quickly and removes moisture and grease.
Hunting guns taken from cold damp conditions to hot/ warm conditions will cause moisture to collect inside as well as outside of gun. Once my hunting gun is loaded and outside in cold damp conditions it is never is taken in a warm car or hunting structure until my hunting time is over for what ever that time is. If it is raining I will wrap percussion or flint with some sort of flexible plastic (freezer/ refrigerator bags) and rubber band, yes I know it is not historically correct, but I have had better luck with it than correct cows knees.
 
Simple answer is that your barrel was contaminated with oil, water, fouling or whatever. I always use brake cleaner with a pulled nipple to clean, degrease and dry my gun before loading. If your powder was not contaminated, and the flash channel was clean and dry the guns would have fired.
 
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loose the bore butter.... :ghostly: did you remove the butter? likely pushed it into the pattern breech and nipple. bore butter gets very thick in the cold..
My thoughts exactly. A long time ago I used bore butter and it had a tendency to block the flash channel. When I finally figured it out, I threw the bore butter away.
 
My thoughts exactly. A long time ago I used bore butter and it had a tendency to block the flash channel. When I finally figured it out, I threw the bore butter away.
Yep, thought it was great stuff back in the 1980’s. Just didn’t know any better then.
 
Been there…..Iagree with BigStick. Never expose your loaded gun to temperature swings. Once loaded I usually store my gun in the truck.

Once loaded for a multi day hunt I also make it a practice to remove the nipple and inspect the flash area for moisture and the presence of some loose powder before heading out every morning or afternoon regardless of the weather. This also gives you the chance to inspect the nipple for any blockage. If in doubt I have never hesitated to add a few grains of fresh powder into the flash pan.

Good luck!
 
Gentlemen,
I have an answer. I went to the range this afternoon and removed the nipples from both rifles. Neither bolster had any powder in them! Not sure why because we did snap a cap before loading and poured in the powder with the rifles leaning to the right and then tapped them while we held them over to the right. The loads were definitely tapped down when we seated the bullets.
So, I put powder in the bolsters, fitted the nipples, new caps and both rifles fired off just fine. I have learned to throw away the Bore Butter. I never used it before, I had received it from my brother-in-law. I’ll go back to my old timey methods.
a big thank you to all for helping.
 
Been there…..Iagree with BigStick. Never expose your loaded gun to temperature swings. Once loaded I usually store my gun in the truck.

Once loaded for a multi day hunt I also make it a practice to remove the nipple and inspect the flash area for moisture and the presence of some loose powder before heading out every morning or afternoon regardless of the weather. This also gives you the chance to inspect the nipple for any blockage. If in doubt I have never hesitated to add a few grains of fresh powder into the flash pan.

Good luck!
Guns stayed on the unheated truck cab.
 
I had a mowery 45 caliber percussion. The way the breech was cast, you needed FINE grade powder to flow back under the nipple. 2f misfired all the time. I make it a practice to slap the breech area several times to settle the powder where it needs to be.
 

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