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Old December 4, 2008, 02:09 PM   #1
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Snap! ... My powder got wet?

I'm a couple of seasons new to black powder but I’ve gotten along fine with my TC Encore until this morning. A respectable 8 pointer (nicer body than rack) ran across the pasture after a doe and both of them stopped about 30 yards below my stand. I put the cross hairs behind his shoulder and, "Snap!" All that went off was the primer. That was a first for me and now I'm wondering about how I take care of my rig and what other people do?

I've been doing what I've done in the past and end each day by removing the primer, leaving the powder and bullet in place, and putting the gun away until the next day. The only thing I can come up with is that I had one day of hunting in the rain this season. Last Saturday, the gun got wet but the breech was protected by my coat and I kept the muzzle down. I assumed this would be sufficient.

My only guess is the Triple 7 pellets either got wet without me realizing it or the dampness and humidity was enough to do them in. When I got back to the house this morning, I pulled the breech plug to inspect them but they apparently got launched with the bullet when the primer went off. Needless to say, this was a far cry from the cloud of smoke and dead buck I was expecting. I bet the look on my face was “priceless.” The things that came out of my mouth were “colorful.”

Obviously, I screwed up. I’m wondering what others do to ensure they have a working load, day-to-day, during the season? Do you fire it off at the end of the day? Or, pull the plug, empty, inspect? Start with fresh powder everyday? Or, everyday it rains? What about while hunting in the rain... rubber band some plastic wrap over the muzzle?
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Old December 4, 2008, 02:43 PM   #2
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I either shoot everyday, or pull the breech and push the powder and bullet out, then clean the barrell and start anew. next morning I still pop one or two caps before loading to make sure nothing may be in the way. while this may seem excecive to some it assures me the gun will go bang when needed. P.S. I only use black powder never got into the imitation stuff. also in your post you said only the primer went off, if this is so how could the pellets disapear with the bullet. a primer alone whouldn't have enough pressure to blow a seated bullet out.
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Old December 4, 2008, 03:27 PM   #3
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A 209 shot gun primmer will push it all out the end of the barrel ...I`ve had wet shotgun shells do the same thing duck hunting gun went pop and the wad and shot made a nice pattern 15 ft in front of me in the water .
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Old December 4, 2008, 03:42 PM   #4
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"Put your trust in God and keep your powder dry."
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Old December 4, 2008, 04:34 PM   #5
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also in your post you said only the primer went off, if this is so how could the pellets disapear with the bullet. a primer alone whouldn't have enough pressure to blow a seated bullet out.
Well, I just tried it to see what would happen and the bullet didn't leave the barrel, firing only the primer. We could guess that some nominal portion of powder went off, but, believe me, it couldn't have been more than needed to clear the barrel. I can't say the shot was as loud as a .22. If not for all the fall leaves, I could probably find the bullet somewhere in front of the stand.

And don’t think I didn’t already back track through my own memory. I know right when and how I loaded it, I’d know if I’d fired it, and there’s no chain of custody beyond me. I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about the hereafter, as in, “What did I come in here after?” so I’m going to rule out senility today.
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Old December 4, 2008, 04:56 PM   #6
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I had a similar incident with a sidelock T/C. bang! Deer calmly walks off cursing me for making a lot of noise in the woods.

That was after a day of rain, where I thought I had carefully protected the cap and muzzle. I watched both all during the day, but either humidity or some water got in somehow.

Anyway, now I coat the cap and tape the muzzle when heading out to hunt in the rain. But I also fire my rifle after a rainy day. Clean it well and reload fresh.

Since the Encore is an inline, you shouldn't have cap worries, but also consider that perhaps coming into to a humid house after being out in the cold weather a few times MAY have caused some condensation inside the barrel, and affecting the powder.
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Old December 4, 2008, 05:30 PM   #7
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For a cheap fix for hunting muzzleloader in the rain ...pick up a bag of baloons at Wally World or somewhere and use one over the muzzle when it rains ..I`ve also streched one over the cap on a side lock rifle ....wouldn`t think there would be a problem from the rear on an inline rifle though .
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Old December 4, 2008, 05:38 PM   #8
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on my sidelocks I'll take some 91% rubbing alcohol & swab the bore & then dry it as normal with clean patches.

After about 2 minutes I'll pour my powder, give the barel a slight wrap to settle the powder into the firing chamber.
Ram my PRB down the bore.

I'll put a strip of electrical tape over the muzzle & keep a rubber vacuum cap over the nipple.

When I'm hunting I'll take the vacuum cap off & place a percussion cap on with wax over the cap area.
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Old December 4, 2008, 07:19 PM   #9
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That happened to me this year. All four deer didn't even notice, and they were 15 yds away!!!! Too much bore butter ruined the powder.....
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Old December 4, 2008, 08:17 PM   #10
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Once my m/l and assec. go outside they don`t come back in till after season is over.That includes my spare charges I`ll carry that season. Condensation is a killer of b/p and substitutes. If season`s dry and not a big change in temp. I`ll leave load in. If its raining the balloon,electrical tape over end of barrel is a very good idea. I cut portion of a finger out of a surgical glove and it fits nicely over end of bore. Removing charge is also good idea. Make sure the next morning when loading you run a dry patch down bore. Also cut a spare and put it in your possibles bag. Again, bad,bad idea to take m/l and powder in and out of house everyday. Goodluck and hope you get that buck.
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Old December 4, 2008, 09:00 PM   #11
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Rest assured, the 209 primer has plenty of power, all on its own, to force the bullet and powder out of the barrel.
I shoot the Savage with smokeless. I have left my rifle loaded for ten months and had it fire fine, and accurately. In fact I have done this on 3 occasions.
When I bring the rifle into the house, I put a strip of cloth into the bore. This cloth is 1 inch wide and 12 inches long. I shove 9 inches into the bore, and leave 3 inches exposed for a "flag" to warn me to remove before firing.
This prevents warm moist air from circulating in a cold bore.
I have never had a misfire.
I also have left a TC Hawken loaded in this fashion for 6 weeks without a misfire. This was loaded with black powder.
I left that Hawken loaded for 6 weeks one year, 5 weeks another year, and 4 weeks on two years. No problems.

As for hunting in the rain, all bets are off. I don't hunt in the rain, 30-06 or muzzleloader, so what all precautions are needed I don't know.
I do know that 777 is real bad about absorbing moisture.
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Old December 12, 2008, 06:42 PM   #12
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i've rarely hunted in the rain. unless it starts a few hours after i left the house and i'm in my hunt spot, i won't go out m/l hunting if its raining or downpouring when i'm going to leave.

but what i have done when its snowing or a light drizzle is. i put a finger cot (looks like a condom) over the muzzle, carry the rifle close to level or muzzle down. and use a slip over red cap band to help keep moisture out of the nipple and cap. (can't think of the proper name at the moment) .

i never left the ranger loaded overnight. i've thought about it. or load it before leaving the house and leave the cap off the nipple. the inline i did once. other than that one time. i discharge it at a tree stump, when i'm within sight of my vehicle, then case it and leave for home.
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Old December 12, 2008, 11:24 PM   #13
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I use Pyrodex powder, and I have percussion ignition. I shoot my rifle after every hunt and pop a couple caps on the nipple before loading it again. I also take a plastic sandwich bag and tape it over the action if it's raining. Knock on wood, no failures to fire yet. I can't get around as good as I used to, and if I get close enough to shoot, I want that boom, flop scenario to happen.
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Old December 13, 2008, 11:54 AM   #14
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Interesting. I generally hunt with my flinter and plain old FFF black powder under a round ball. Rain or shine. No ignition problems with proper care. In the rain I use a well greased elk hide cows knee to protect the lock, ready to flip to the side and change out the prime once in a while. A grease dam along the barrel keeps and drops from running downthe barrel to the lock. Over the years I have had exactly 1 misfire in the field which ended up being a charge that was grease fouled due to my own inattention. The pan went off just fine. Believe me, don't believe me, whatever. A good flintlock properly managed is far more reliable than a percussion rifle, and this is especially so in humid or rainy weather.
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Old December 13, 2008, 12:00 PM   #15
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I will second that about the Flint. Have been shooting Flintlocks for over 40
years and they are more reliable than a cap. Or inline is offline  

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