How long to leave BP in you barrel? - The HuntingPA.com Outdoor Community
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-15-2019, 04:15 PM Thread Starter
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How long to leave BP in you barrel?

Just wondering,, if I load my T/C Hawken and leave it outside or someplace cold and dry, how long could I leave it loaded with real B.P.?
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-15-2019, 04:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Waynzee View Post
Just wondering,, if I load my T/C Hawken and leave it outside or someplace cold and dry, how long could I leave it loaded with real B.P.?

If the rifle is in a dry place you can leave it about as long as you want to. Black powder is not corrosive until its burned.
As for will the charge go off, yup. Long as its dry it would fire in a hundred years. BP has no shelf life. Now I'm talking about the black powder we load our rifles with. Not the Black Powder that can be found posting here abouts. He may well have a shelf life. You'd have to ask Mrs. BP about that.
Here is something else to consider. Some guys like to use prelubed and cut patches like OX Bow makes. Nothing wrong with them there fine. But I have seen where that lube and other lubes can effect powder over time left down the bore. What I do is when loading, say the night before buck season or flintlock, I dump in my powder, then take a small piece of brown paper and fold it over so its two layers just large enough to stay right going down my bore. I put my patched round ball on top of that. The tiny bit of moose milk I use on my patch wont ever effect my powder and it does not change accuracy a bit. Not at the ranges I can shoot a deer anyway.

Some like to put a toothpick in the touch hole while the rifle is stored. I do that. I don't know if it helps or not but it doesn't hurt and the tooth pick will come in handy some time after you eat a steak.

Just my opinions for what they are worth. Maybe somebody else will weigh in.
Good luck. Good hunting.

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Last edited by Buckskin Dave; 12-15-2019 at 04:45 PM.
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-15-2019, 05:16 PM
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Heck, at 62 I am in my prime
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-15-2019, 05:36 PM
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So many variables to consider: Is there any oil or lube residue in barrel, is the patch resting on charge heavily lubed, is gun stored in dry environment, is it taken from cold to warm conditions etc etc. If your loaded charge is as airtight/dry as your black powder can(likely not)....no time limit. Personally, I find it ok for a week or so but hesitate storing beyond that as I always strive for optimum ignition on that hard earned shot. Good question/pointers here!!
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-15-2019, 05:42 PM
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If the bore is cleaned and lubed, no powder fouling, a long time. I had one sit for 7 years loaded, touch hole plugged, and it fired first try.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-15-2019, 06:03 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Buckskin Dave View Post
If the rifle is in a dry place you can leave it about as long as you want to. Black powder is not corrosive until its burned.
As for will the charge go off, yup. Long as its dry it would fire in a hundred years. BP has no shelf life. Now I'm talking about the black powder we load our rifles with. Not the Black Powder that can be found posting here abouts. He may well have a shelf life. You'd have to ask Mrs. BP about that.
Here is something else to consider. Some guys like to use prelubed and cut patches like OX Bow makes. Nothing wrong with them there fine. But I have seen where that lube and other lubes can effect powder over time left down the bore. What I do is when loading, say the night before buck season or flintlock, I dump in my powder, then take a small piece of brown paper and fold it over so its two layers just large enough to stay right going down my bore. I put my patched round ball on top of that. The tiny bit of moose milk I use on my patch wont ever effect my powder and it does not change accuracy a bit. Not at the ranges I can shoot a deer anyway.

Some like to put a toothpick in the touch hole while the rifle is stored. I do that. I don't know if it helps or not but it doesn't hurt and the tooth pick will come in handy some time after you eat a steak.

Just my opinions for what they are worth. Maybe somebody else will weigh in.
Good luck. Good hunting.
I'll run a dry patch down the bore before I load it to make sure most of the oil is out the barrel, then pour powder down followed by a prelubed patched round ball. I like the idea of a piece of paper between the patch and powder that'll help and I've been putting a tooth pick in the touch hole for a few years now. Thanks for the tip. Also I kind of thought that you could leave your muzzle loader with the powder in it so long as it was stored in a dry cool place but wasn't quite sure. At the end of the season I'll shoot it and clean it real good unless I get the sights on a deer before that.
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Last edited by Waynzee; 12-15-2019 at 06:14 PM.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-15-2019, 06:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buckskin Dave View Post
If the rifle is in a dry place you can leave it about as long as you want to. Black powder is not corrosive until its burned.
As for will the charge go off, yup. Long as its dry it would fire in a hundred years. BP has no shelf life. Now I'm talking about the black powder we load our rifles with. Not the Black Powder that can be found posting here abouts. He may well have a shelf life. You'd have to ask Mrs. BP about that.
Here is something else to consider. Some guys like to use prelubed and cut patches like OX Bow makes. Nothing wrong with them there fine. But I have seen where that lube and other lubes can effect powder over time left down the bore. What I do is when loading, say the night before buck season or flintlock, I dump in my powder, then take a small piece of brown paper and fold it over so its two layers just large enough to stay right going down my bore. I put my patched round ball on top of that. The tiny bit of moose milk I use on my patch wont ever effect my powder and it does not change accuracy a bit. Not at the ranges I can shoot a deer anyway.

Some like to put a toothpick in the touch hole while the rifle is stored. I do that. I don't know if it helps or not but it doesn't hurt and the tooth pick will come in handy some time after you eat a steak.

Just my opinions for what they are worth. Maybe somebody else will weigh in.
Good luck. Good hunting.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-15-2019, 06:08 PM
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That indefinite shelf life of BP is one of the hazards of handling old flintlocks, particularly if you hang them over the fireplace mantel. It has happened that flintlocks loaded over a hundred years before have cooked off.

Always a good idea, when dealing with old muzzleloaders, to measure the length of the free bore and then use that to check whether the bore is truly empty. It was common practice to leave them loaded. To measure, run the ramrod down the bore until it stops, then mark where the ramrod exits the muzzle. Next, remove the ramrod from the bore and lay the ramrod alongside the outside of the barrel with the mark you made even with the muzzle. See where the other end of the ramrod winds up. If it's all the way down to the breech, you're unloaded.

FWIW, a gunsmith friend up here in Maine was called in to get an old muzzleloader found in the attic of a 200 year-old house. The muzzle was plugged with a couple inches of goose grease. Behind the grease, the bore was perfect. It also was loaded.

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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-15-2019, 06:39 PM
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"I've been putting a tooth pick in the touch hole for a few years now."

Try using a bird feather. Cut down the quill where the feathers are and shorten it to the point where it fits into the touch hole then nip of the feathers just leaving a very fine stubble. That stubble will act as a brush when you take it out of the flash hole giving you (hopefully) a nice path way for the pan flash to travel down to the main charge.
I was using a toothpick for a while then a buddy had one break off in the flash hole so I switched to bird feathers.

Just a thought.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-15-2019, 07:06 PM
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As some posted you can leave loaded for many, many years and it will still go "bang"!! When mine goes "bang" on a hard earned shot it will have a reasonably fresh load providing optimum performance. To each their own but considering miniscule cost of a reload...a nobrainer to me.
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