Every year at this time, the leaves change, the deer begin to rut, and muzzleloaders across the country begin to rust.  Call a sign that fall is here, or that the Christmas season is upon us.  This mysterious phenomenon has made many a gunsmith a little extra Christmas cash.

To be truthful, I was a victim of my own neglect one upon a time as well.  I had taken my first deer with a muzzleloader, and in the excitement I simply put it away in my safe.  Two months later it looked like something that my kids had left outside to rust for a year.  I learned my lesson through a very long cleaning session.

Muzzleloaders use black powder of course which is much more harmful if not cleaned than the modern powders that are available today for rifle, shotgun and pistol cartridges.  If left uncleaned you will find yourself with a burnt orange mess on your hands.  The key is to clean soon after you are finished shooting.

You can use any type of cleaner you want.  I have even known a few country boys that filled the bath tube and used soap and water.  Hoppes, Bore Butter, Break Free, etc. all work fine.  If you are going to be sighting your muzzleloader in at the range, make sure to clean it every few shots.  This will make accuracy and loading a lot easier.

One final thought, your breach plug should be removed at least once a season and thoroughly cleaned.  While all of this is a lot of work, the muzzleloading season is well worth the extra effort involved, and for about $50 your gunsmith will clean it for you.  Hope you have a great deer season this year.