Using a muzzle-loading firearm to hunt is a challenge. Muzzle loaders are more susceptible to rain, snow and moisture due to the less advanced ignition system used. Most muzzle loaders have one shot, and take a minute or more to reload. The use of black powder as the propellant causes fouling that will slow down reloading and is corrosive. A muzzle loader is more sensitive to improper cleaning and maintenance. The average range of a muzzleloader is about 200 yards, closer if you are using a smooth bore. This forces the hunter to possess better than average field craft and stalking techniques. Hunting game with a muzzle loader is not for everyone. So why do people still use muzzle loaders to hunt?
Muzzle loaders have been used for hundreds of years. War has been fought, empires destroyed and freedoms defended from the business end of a muzzle loader. The firearm is still usable today. It is a simpler weapon, cheaper to use on a regular basis than a modern cartridge firearm and it still gets the job done. Once you understand its usage and limitations, it is a pleasure to use.
Black powder firearms are deadly. Make no mistake about that. HOWEVER, they are not recommended for self defense. The possibility of a misfire is too great to risk your life or the lives of those you love. Hunting game is fine, but do not use black powder firearms for self defense unless you are in dire need. Always follow proper safety procedures when using black powder.
The term ‘lead’ is used to describe the round ball or Minie ball rounds used in a muzzleloader.