On memorial day weekend, I finally got to fire my rifle. It was awesome.

I knew that we had our annual family cookout over in Arkansas so I just waited for this opportunity. I also knew that we were going to have a skeet shooting session on Steve’s property so I felt free to take my muzzle loader along.

When the time came, I got conservative and used zip-ties to lash the thing to the mower deck of his tractor. It ended up being aimed at some dense forest and I was assured that nobody lived downrange within a mile anyway. I tied a string to the trigger and set it off from a safe distance and VOILA, it fired flawlessly.

Actually there was a fraction-of-a-second between the cap ignition and the gun firing but I count this as a success due to the fact that the barrel did not explode.

I proceeded to load and fire it normally several times. I’m was having that annoying problem of the caps not firing upon ever drop of the hammer. I have since replaced the nipple and this seems to have cured that ill. So I’m pretty excited about having a working muzzle loader. Now I need to find a regular place to go shoot and maybe some other like-minded folks.

I’ve slowly been refurbishing my muzzle loading rifle and finally managed to get up to the store where you can buy such supplies.  I am now furnished with lead balls, patches, miscellaneous gear, and powder (not the real black powder by Pyrodex – a “propellant”).  To call gunpowder a “propellant” seems a ridiculous legal distinction but there it is.  Real black powder is classified as an explosive and is hard to get; “propellent” can be sold off the shelf more easily in small amounts.

Anyway, I’m ready to shoot – I just need to run some tests first and need to go somewhere that I can do them.  I don’t think I can get away with any testing in my neighborhood; firing a gun without a lead ball (simply wadded with patches) will still make a bang and I can imagine getting in trouble over that.