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Old May 27, 2009, 02:46 PM   #1
Primevalpapa
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Ever Have That Sinking Feeling

I have an older model of the Traditions Buck Hunter that was given to me by my father a few years back (maybe 7 years). I was visiting him in MI and he said to take it because he wasn't going hunting any more. I bought a locking case so that I could fly it back to AZ with me. I have never shot any BP weapon.

I have been getting discouraged with lack of big game drawing success here and thought that I might put in for BP hunts that have better odds of getting drawn. After reading up a bit, I thought that it might be nice to convert it over to use the 209 primer so that I could use the pellets or whatever. There are a lot of 209 primers around as I load shotgun.

The conversion kit arrived and I started the process of change over at the kitchen table. I pulled the nipple and then the breach but to my surprise, I could not see any light looking down the breach end. Yep - there is that sinking feeling knowing that you just dismantled a live one. I don't know how likely an old charge would be to discharge if you got a spark unscrewing the plug but I would really rather not find out.

Second thought was that I had flown a live one. Well that was old history but unscrewing the breach on a live one was not a happy thought. I soaked the breach end in soapy water and pushed out the wet plug of powder along with the sabot/bullet.

Dad always claimed that he shot it after a day in the field. I guess that didn't happen this time. Heck he hadn't been hunting in about 5 years when he gave it to me, so I guess that the load was about 12 years old. I now have the ramrod marked for empty.
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Old May 27, 2009, 02:55 PM   #2
TEDDY
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not to worry

That is a common way to empty a stuck load.if you are in habit of smoking when your play with powder,you need more insurance.if you dont smoke your good to go.
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Old May 27, 2009, 03:21 PM   #3
arcticap
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That's a nice story with a happy ending.
A little bit of breech plug grease on the threads helps too.
At least it didn't take a torch to remove your breechplug which reportedly happened recently with a BP rifle that was found in the trash by a guy who brought it home. Except his young son was standing in front of the muzzle when it went off and killed him.
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Old May 27, 2009, 03:36 PM   #4
Primevalpapa
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Teddy - I did not know that was a legitimate way to undo a load. Educate me - why would a load be stuck where you couldn't just clean out the nipple, reprime and fire?
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Old May 27, 2009, 03:49 PM   #5
arcticap
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One answer can be found on the Traditions technical advice - frequently asked questions page:

Quote:
21 What happens if I leave my muzzleloader loaded overnight?

Condensation may develop in the barrel because of the change in temperatures from outside to inside. The powder may become damp, and the chance of it not igniting the next day is pretty high. We recommend either pulling the charge with a ball puller (A1280), or removing your bolt assembly and breech plug to push your powder and bullet out through the receiver, and reload the next day.
http://www.traditionsfirearms.com/tips.asp#23
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Old May 27, 2009, 05:28 PM   #6
mykeal
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Quote:
Educate me - why would a load be stuck where you couldn't just clean out the nipple, reprime and fire?
I'm sure you noticed he did not know what the load was. While it was reasonable to assume that his father had left a legitimate black powder load in the gun, the fact that nobody recalled that there was ANY load in the gun makes that assumption a dangerous one. Perhaps the father really had emptied the gun and in the intervening years someone else loaded it, this time with smokeless powder. Unlikely? Yes, very, but you don't risk your face and hands on bets like that unless you're a fool.

Never, ever fire an unknown powder in a black powder gun.
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Old May 27, 2009, 07:32 PM   #7
olmontanaboy
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Quote:
Yep - there is that sinking feeling knowing that you just dismantled a live one. I don't know how likely an old charge would be to discharge if you got a spark unscrewing the plug but I would really rather not find out
I know the feeling, I had a couple of tables at the Missoula gun show years ago, A neighbor of mine, a young guy was walking around the show trying to sell a Hawken copy without much luck, he stopped by my table and asked if he could leave it on one of my tables and I said sure, just tell me how much you want for it and if anyone wants it I'll sell it for you. well, it sat on the table all day Saturday and on Sunday an older gentleman asked to examine it, after a few minutes he said to me in a rather loud voice: "You do know this thing is loaded don't you?" after inserting the ramrod down the barrel. Holy crap!! I couldn't apologize enough. the wife of the guy with the table directly across from me said "Holy Jesus, that thing has been pointed at me all weekend!!!! I took the gun out to my truck cursing my neighbor and MYSELF for not checking the dam thing. I saw the neighbor the next day and told him what happened and he just shrugged his shoulders and said whats the big deal I always leave it loaded and uncapped. I felt like wrapping it around his head. It was my own fault I know, I should have checked. No good deed goes unpunished.
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Old May 27, 2009, 10:15 PM   #8
fastforty
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Rule #1- Always treat all guns as though they are always loaded.
Rule #2- Never allow your muzzle to cover anything that you are not willing to destroy.
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Old May 28, 2009, 07:50 AM   #9
mykeal
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A little calming is perhaps in order -

A black powder gun charged with powder and ball is not 'loaded' in the sense of a smokeless powder gun with a cartridge installed. In most, if not all, states, a percussion gun is not considered loaded by the authorities until a cap is installed. Black powder (including synthetics) is very stable absent a heat source of considerable magnitude. Those are the facts.

Having said that, the rules in fastforty's post are still the best protection against an ND. The discovery that a black powder gun is charged should not change the way the gun is treated, nor should it change the judgment about how it was treated before the discovery was made. That same sentiment applies if the word 'charged' is changed to 'loaded'.

What should be different is the intensity of the reaction. Curses and hysteria about a charged and uncapped black powder gun are inappropriate hyperbole and do not promote an image of responsible gun ownership. They should be saved for the events in which the gun is truly loaded, as opposed to charged.

The transgression by olmontanaboy's neighbor was not in giving him a charged gun but in not telling him the gun was charged. olmontanaboy is absolutely correct in blaming himself for not checking the condition of the weapon, and his displeasure with his neighbor is warranted, although misdirected and perhaps overstated.
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Old May 28, 2009, 08:11 AM   #10
olmontanaboy
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Quote:
The transgression by olmontanaboy's neighbor was not in giving him a charged gun but in not telling him the gun was charged.
Yeah, at most gun shows it is the dealers responsibility to make sure all the weapons he has for sale or display are unloaded and safe. At that time only people bringing in firearms through the general admission gate (which he did) had their guns checked by the gun show staff. His obviously slipped through. I was at definitly at fault for not checking. My anger was at his attitude (no big deal) yeah, no big deal to him.
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Old May 28, 2009, 07:04 PM   #11
mykeal
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I understand why you'd be angry with that. He put you in a bad position.
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