Most black powder muzzleloaders come with instructions that emphatically warn you to not use anything other than black powder, and any seasoned shooter will tell you that swapping powders can be a recipe for disaster. The Indiana Department of Natural Resources recently put up a photo of a completely shattered muzzleloader on its Law District 7 Facebook page. According to officials, this was one accident was not caused by a malfunction, but rather a lapse in judgement. The incident occurred in Martin County, where an unidentified man poured smokeless powder into a black powder-only muzzleloader. What resulted was the firearm exploding like a grenade and ripping off the man’s fingers.

OutdoorHub spoke with Corporal Eric Doane, who responded to the incident. Doane said that the malfunction occurred in the man’s backyard after several family members brought it over for practice. Indiana’s muzzleloader season runs from December 6 to December 21.

“The man who fired the gun loaded the muzzleloader with smokeless powder which had been taken from 20 gauge shotgun shells,” Doane said over the phone. “He had run out of black powder and had actually cut open the shells and ended up pouring 75 grains of powder into that muzzleloader. Once again, smokeless powder is several times more powerful than black powder, so it would be like putting a 300-grain charge of blackpowder into a muzzleloader.”

The gun had essentially become a pipebomb and exploded as soon as the shooter pulled the trigger.

“His offhand was right there with the breech and the barrel come together and when it blew, it took the tips of his fingers off,” Doane continued. “He ended up losing parts of two fingers on his left hand, but was able save to save a third, which they sewed back on.”

Indiana officials warn that shooters should always follow the instructions on their firearms, but Doane commented that many people have misconceptions about black powder firearms.

“A lot of people just don’t understand it,” he said. “Even though it’s called a black powder gun and the instructions say to only use black powder, people open up a box of powder and they see that it’s a black color, so they think it’s okay.”

Thankfully for the shooter, he was otherwise uninjured. Officials described him as an experienced shooter and hunter, so it just goes to show that these kinds of mistakes do not happen only to those unfamiliar with firearms. Doane added that one of the man’s sons claimed to have previously shot the muzzleloader—successfully—with smokeless powder.

“There’s a good chance that if he shot it before, it may have weakened the seam where the breech and barrel came together,” Doane concluded.

Smokeless powder can be three to four times more powerful than black powder. This allowed for smaller cartridges, which in turn meant that soldiers were able to carry more ammunition for the same weight. Other advantages, such as the ability to burn when wet and the lack of smoke produced by a shot, meant that smokeless powder eventually came to replace black powder in modern firearms.

Image from Facebook

Which GT’er was it. Fess up.

Ya’ll hold ma beer and watch this!

When black powder is supposed to be used, the end result will be fun if loaded correctly. If you use Smokeless powder in a muzzle loader, the ending blast would probably be like you see here. I would not recommend using any other powder than what is supposed to be used. I am a reloader, and can reload several different types of hand gun, and shotgun shells and cartridges. Finding the right “Recipe” for any of them is easy, but you must be willing to read, and follow directions carefully, or the end result will catastrophic, maybe even deadly.

My thoughts, too. I reload just like you, and I am meticulous about weighing charges, triple checking recipes and bullet weights, etc. It’s a fascinating hobby, but like with skydiving, check your junk, check your chute then check it again.

This was a pretty rare occurrence before those stupid inline fakes showed up. People had to learn a little bit when it was patched round balls and black powder. Of course, since most stores that sell inlines don’t carry real black powder, the dufusses think they can get away with a little foolishness.

If he really did use 75 grains of shotgun powder, he’s lucky that his head is still attached. If primitive weapon seasons were eliminated, stupid people would stick to hunting with smokeless weapons, and the people who like real muzzle loaders could engage in their sport safely.

Why is an inline a fake?? Because they’re more efficient and accurate at longer ranges than you could ever get with your average old side lock frontloader?? Don’t get me wrong, I’m 57 years old, and I’ve been around the hunting world for 45 years now, and I remember when my friends all got interested in muzzleloading, and in this state you were restricted to a sidelock, single barrel, open sighted, patched round ball muzzleloader. Back then there were no inlines, pyrodex pellets, 209 primers, or sabots and jacketed bullets. You had two choices, the round ball, or the Buffalo bullet; cap lock, or flintlock. But I now hunt with a CVA OPTIMA V2, loaded with Powerbelt bullets, powered by IMR white hot preformed pellets, and ignited with a 209 shotgun primer. It’s WAY more efficient, and also with a 3-9×40 scope on her, she’s deadly out to 250 yards on a standing deer. Inever got tgat kind of eefficient accuracy out of any Hawken or Pennsylvania long rifle. I would never presume to bad mouth your choice of gun, and I find it rather juvenile that because you choose not to avail yourself of the latest technology that you feel it necessary to belittle those of us that choose to use the new BETTER muzzleloaders. 😉

Which really means that inlines are a cute trick to get around the Primitive Hunting regulations in some states. The whole reason that there’s a special season for muzzleloaders is because it’s much more difficult/requires greater skills to kill something with a true muzzleloader.

Which really means that inlines are a cute trick to get around the Primitive Hunting regulations in some states. The whole reason that there’s a special season for muzzleloaders is because it’s much more difficult/requires greater skills to kill something with a true muzzleloader.

Which really means that inlines are a cute trick to get around the Primitive Hunting regulations in some states. The whole reason that there’s a special season for muzzleloaders is because it’s much more difficult/requires greater skills to kill something with a true muzzleloader.

Actually, sir, if you will study firearms history, they actually had very good inlines developed in the late 1700’s and early 1800’s.

Go ahead, name one. And I do study firearms history: I built my own Ferguson Rifle, so I have some experience.

Go ahead, name one. And I do study firearms history: I built my own Ferguson Rifle, so I have some experience.

Go ahead, name one. And I do study firearms history: I built my own Ferguson Rifle, so I have some experience.

Agree with Mike: inlines are a cheat to allow less talented hunters use scopes and other paraphernalia during Primitive Hunting season. Nothing at all is left to chance to make the hunting as close to a Gun season weapon as possible.

Real primitive hunters load from the front!

Agree with Mike: inlines are a cheat to allow less talented hunters use scopes and other paraphernalia during Primitive Hunting season. Nothing at all is left to chance to make the hunting as close to a Gun season weapon as possible.

Real primitive hunters load from the front!

Agree with Mike: inlines are a cheat to allow less talented hunters use scopes and other paraphernalia during Primitive Hunting season. Nothing at all is left to chance to make the hunting as close to a Gun season weapon as possible.

Real primitive hunters load from the front!

Real primitive hunters load from the front!

Real primitive hunters load from the front!

Real primitive hunters load from the front!

Real primitive hunters load from the front!

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“Stupid is as stupid does,sir!” Forrest Gump

Famous last words from many, MANY stupid rednecks—> “HAY! Ya’ll WATCH isss , rat hare!”

Cornbread, there you go talking about me again, but of coarse you got it wrong anyway!

It actually goes more like this,(hold my beer and watch this $hit)!

hahaha! You da’ man, Glenn!

Maybe a muzzleloader safety course certificate should be required before you’re allowed to buy a muzzleloader, to protect dumb asses from themselves? But if you’re so stupid that you don’t know that you have to use black powder or an approved black powder substitute in your black powder only muzzleloader, then maybe this is just a case of natural selection. Bass Pro Shops hunting show recently did a couple of clips where they setup a muzzleloader (CVA OPTIMA) in a vice, with a guy made out of balistic gel next to it, loaded it with smokeless powder, and remote fired it. It completely blew up into many pieces, and many pieces of the shrapnel embedded themselves into the little balistic gel shooter, including one long piece of the barrel that totally impaled the guy. The did another experiment as to what would happen if a muzzleloader loaded correctly, was then jammed into the mud, so that the barrel had about 6 inches of mud stuck in the barrel. Again, pipe bomb situation. These videos should be required viewing for EVERY muzzleloader owner, and prospective owner.

Stop trying to protect dumb asses from themselves, Darwin works hard and feels cheated when do-gooders get in the way of his just bounty… At least the idiot only hurt himself!

Yeah, but if you read the article, the dumb ass let his son shoot it first, it could have been the son that got hurt or killed. I really can’t believe anyone could be so stupid, but it seems to happen somewhere at least once a year. Wake up morons!! It usually says right on the barrel “Blackpowder only”!!!

I guess things do not change much over the years. My Dad ( I am 79 now and was a kid at the time) was out with friends shooting muzzle loaders. this guys blew up in his face, all kinds of trauma to his face and neck, cool out so he/we had heavy jackets on. The only thing that saved his eyes was he on very thick glasses wich were ruined.Do not remember shooting glasses in those days. If I remember right, he loaded the gun with “Remington high speed express” powder

i dont understand the concept of muzzleloaders when theres so many modern firearms available

Different (longer) seasons

It’s the process, the relative simplicity, Tinker factor, historical memories, the smell, the smoke. Basic kits to build are inexpensive yet you can spend thousands on the “real” weapons that were in use at our country’s beginning and even before if ancestry takes you to a region of the world where the use of firearms for game and war and sport were all part of growing up. People engage in activities incomprehensible to me but there must be something to it – don’t you think?

Great question. The idea is to relive the traditional hunting/shooting experience. Many of us use a flintlock rifle that we built or had made. There are often monthly shooting matches to improve skills and add a social aspect. This sport is a lot of fun! Some even make the ball or bullet by pouring molten lead from a ladle into a mold. Some carry all period correct items such as powder horns and leather shooting pouches for the hunt. Most primitive hunters can kill deer more effectively when using a cartridge gun and many have gotten to the point where there is no longer a challenge to that type of hunt. You see, the taking of an animal is only part of the experience – actually a smaller part than you might understand. Traditionalists choose to accept the limits; learn them and then enjoy the challenge of working within them. There is a greater challenge with the originally styled arms from history and also a richer experience in doing the hunt in a traditional manner. Some of us also have a higher developed sense of fair chase.

The point is that we have tried to preserve and encourage the primitive methods by lobbying for primitive seasons, but those seasons are routinely transformed into longer basic seasons by those equipped with what truly is modern equipment.

OMG! My younger brother did exactly the same thing with a .410 shotgun shell and a .41 caliber percussion derringer 35 years ago,he was lucky……the nipple blew out and only gave him a bad “scratch” across the back of his hand!

Don’t get me wrong I’m not complaining. The ATF doesn’t classify most muzzle loaders and cap and ball pistols as firearms so I can have them shipped to my door with no transfer thru an FFL dealer and of course no background check. I wonder what the occupants of all the Civil War cemeteries would have to say about ~not being a firearm~

I think that they would likely wonder how we got to the point where a person cannot walk into the local hardware store and purchase a gun on demand just as they would a hammer or any other tool. There have been a lot of changes in technology and in society which have caused us to make compromises and adaptations. You brought up the history and the answer is that they were a different people in a different time which caused them to have different views. For better or worse, we have changed.