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Thread: Strange Incident with Muzzleloader Rifle

  1. #1
    Boolit Bub
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Posts
    55

    Strange Incident with Muzzleloader Rifle

    Went to the range today and took my CVA inline muzzleloader with me. Dropped two 50gr White Hots pellets down the bore and stuffed a cast 360gr minie on top of it. Put in a 209 primer, closed the breech, took aim, pulled the trigger..... Nothing... I continued pointing the rifle down range for a few minutes in the event of a hangfire. Nothing. I opened the breech, inserted another 209 primer, aimed, squeezed the trigger.... Again, nothing except a small puff of smoke from the primer. Repeat the hangfire drill.

    So now I open the breech and remove the breech plug. No pellets, no bullet. Well I have had squibs before. However, this wasn't the case. I am 110% sure I put the White Hot pellets in. As a matter of fact, I had three pellets in a clear plastic tube when I sat down at the bench and I looked to see that there was only one left. I had a full box of White Hots in my range bag but I only put the tube with three pellets on the bench. Strange.

    I go about my business and shot about a dozen rounds from my muzzleloader and everything functioned fine. I aimed at a steel gong approximately 100 yards away and hit it every time.

    At the end of my range day, I went out to retrieve a target stand when I found a 360 grain minie on the ground about 50 yards out from the bench. There was no mistaking it was my mine. There were grooves from the rifling but no other marks.

    Had it not been for my certainty about inserting the pellets and some powder residue in the bore, I'd swear it was a squib but I know it wasn't. Anyone have any theories as to what the heck happened?

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
    bigted's Avatar
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    Mar 2009
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    In this case, I would be suspect of your powder pellets in that clear tube. Moisture or something to degrade those pellets to the point of giving just enough sputter to launch the 50 yards and lay on the ground.

    I have VERY small experience with my TC Encore 209x50 rifle shooting maybe 5 or 10 pellets in it. Never developed any love for them. I always use lose Old Eynsford 2F powder.

    Not sure if my consideration is worth any more then you paid for it. Just seems likely to me based on your explination.
    WHEN ALL IS SAID AND DONE...MORE WILL BE SAID THEN DONE

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by DiverJay View Post
    Went to the range today and took my CVA inline muzzleloader with me. Dropped two 50gr White Hots pellets down the bore and stuffed a cast 360gr minie on top of it. Put in a 209 primer, closed the breech, took aim, pulled the trigger..... Nothing... I continued pointing the rifle down range for a few minutes in the event of a hangfire. Nothing. I opened the breech, inserted another 209 primer, aimed, squeezed the trigger.... Again, nothing except a small puff of smoke from the primer. Repeat the hangfire drill.

    So now I open the breech and remove the breech plug. No pellets, no bullet. Well I have had squibs before. However, this wasn't the case. I am 110% sure I put the White Hot pellets in. As a matter of fact, I had three pellets in a clear plastic tube when I sat down at the bench and I looked to see that there was only one left. I had a full box of White Hots in my range bag but I only put the tube with three pellets on the bench. Strange.

    I go about my business and shot about a dozen rounds from my muzzleloader and everything functioned fine. I aimed at a steel gong approximately 100 yards away and hit it every time.

    At the end of my range day, I went out to retrieve a target stand when I found a 360 grain minie on the ground about 50 yards out from the bench. There was no mistaking it was my mine. There were grooves from the rifling but no other marks.

    Had it not been for my certainty about inserting the pellets and some powder residue in the bore, I'd swear it was a squib but I know it wasn't. Anyone have any theories as to what the heck happened?
    So this event happened as the first shot of the day? Was there any oil in the barrel that would have pooled at the bottom and contaminated the pellets? Maybe allowing them to burn but just barely...enough to shove that minie out but not enough to really send it sailing. Sort of like a squib that actually sent the bullet out of the barrel because the powder didn't burn correctly for one reason or another

    Sent from my Moto G Play using Tapatalk

  4. #4
    Boolit Master



    curator's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    Fort Myers, Florida
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    1,370
    My experience with White Hot pellets is that they are easily contaminated by oil or high humidity. I suspect you loaded the first shot without popping a couple of 209s with an empty barrel to clear the flash channel first. Oil from the bore had run down onto the breech and flash channel when you stored the gun upright sitting on its butt, not muzzle down. When you loaded the first two pellets, and fired the primer, the oil in the flash channel prevented a full burn of the pellets resulting in just enough energy to propel the slug about 50 yards. I have seen this many, many times when muzzle loading rifles do not have their flash channels cleared prior to loading. To prevent this from happening, ALWAYS pop a few primers with an empty barrel before loading. It is a good idea to pop the primer with the barrel about 6 inches away from some grass or loose soil so you can observe a puff of air when it is fired. That is a clear indication that the flash channel is clear. Some shooters pop the first primer or cap with a loading rod and cleaning patch down the bore to soak up any oil. Storing your properly oiled muzzle loader barrel muzzle down can also help to prevent oil from clogging the breech but one should still pop a few caps and be certain the flash channel is not plugged up before loading.

  5. #5
    Boolit Bub
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
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    55
    Gentlemen, between all you all, I'd say the mystery has been solved. For a minute, I thought I was losing my mind. Thank you!

  6. #6
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    232
    Yup, 209 primers are pretty hot. Could easily be that the primer was hot enough to eject the load, but the pellets were too contaminated to ignite.
    I bet if you found the projo at 50yds, that you walked right past the pellets.
    I had a similar issue with my inline using #11 caps (oil contaminated, not the projo part) After that I always snapped a few caps after dry patching, and store it muzzle end down out of an abundance of caution. That way, in the slight chance that oil remains, it'll run out the end.
    Haven't had any issues in the 20 or so years since I've started doing that.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
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    1,073
    I had so many misfires or hang fires in my early days of muzzle loading that I developed a kind of phobia about getting ready to shoot. That included a swabbing of the bore and a squirt of alcohol down the fire path. Inlines would get the breech plug pulled and flushed.

    I never had much trouble with Pyrodex pellets, except they weren't particularly accurate. Most of the time I use Pyrodex Select in my rifles.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master



    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Posts
    1,063
    Thatís good advice about storing muzzle end down. First time I heard about it. It makes sense.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check