Side lock muzzleloading will apply to side lock muzzle-loading rifles that have either a flintlock or percussion lock gunlock. It involves the use of loose gunpowder as the propellant, a projectile, as well as a separate method of ignition or priming the rifle, ie; flint or percussion cap ignition. The powder, wad and projectile are always loaded from the muzzle end of the rifle barrel. Side lock muzzleloading is usually done with the use of gunpowder or black powder for a reliable propellant charge such as Elephant, Goex or Swiss brands black powder.
Side Lock Rifle Loading Sequence:
The sequence of loading your side lock muzzleloader after checking to make sure there are no obstructions in the barrel and that the flintlock touch hole is clear and the percussion lock nipple is clear is to do the following:
1. Charging With Gunpowder:
Pouring in loose volume measured powder, gunpowder used is typically black powder or black powder substitutes like Pyrodex, I prefer black powder because it has a very long shelf life unlike substitute powders if exposed to air to long will loose their power over time, black powder does not have that problem.
Safety Rule: Always pour your powder from its container into a flask, use the flask to pour your powder into a powder measure and then use the powder measure to pour the powder down the barrel.
Safety Rule: Always wear cotton clothing when working with black powder as this will reduce static electricity, reducing the risk of an accidental ignition of black powder, black powder ignites fairly easy.
2. Projectile Loading Or Bullet Loading:
Only one at a time is loaded.
a. Patched round balls, the patch is wrapped around the base of the ball, the purpose of which is to grip the rifling and impart spin to the loose fitting ball.
b. Pre-Lubed bullets, no wad is used as the projectile has a hollow base or gas rings which expands to grip the rifling and is already lubed, however using a wad at the base of the bullet does in some cases increase accuracy.
3. Seating The Charge:
This is accomplished with a tool called a "ramrod", it is used to push the items down the barrel and then seated firmly together against the breech, at this point the muzzle-loading rifle has been charged with powder and bullet and not fully loaded.
Accuracy Tip: Always use a slow, steady, even and firm pressure on the ramrod to seat the bullet against the wad and powder charge.
Priming the sidelock rifle muzzleloader, completes the loading process.
a. The side lock caplock rifle is now primed by placing the hammer in half-cock position which exposes the nipple and a cap is placed on the nipple.
b. The side lock flintlock rifle is now primed by placing the hammer in half-cock position which exposes the frizzen pan which is now charged with priming powder.
5. The Side Lock Muzzle-Loading Rifle Is Now Fully Loaded:
Accuracy Tip: After each shot fired, run one moistened patch down the barrel followed by one dry patch to maintain maximum accuracy while on the rifle range.