Muzzleloading firearms use a special type of propellant, often referred to as black powder. But be warned: traditional black powder is a corrosive material that can cause the barrel of your firearm to rust quickly. There are brand-name substitute powders such as Pyrodex®, Clean Shot® and Hodgdon's Triple Seven®, which are all safe to use when handled properly. These are sold either in granulated or compressed pre-measured form.
Modern muzzleloading firearms now can fire both smokeless powder and black powder. However, using modern smokeless powder in a firearm that is not designed to handle it can result in serious injury to the shooter and damage to the firearm. Remember: always follow the manufacturer's instructions for propellants to use in muzzleloader firearms.
Black powder comes in six granulation sizes:
|Coarse grain powder||Cannons|
|Called single-F, coarse grain||Shotguns 10-gauge and higher|
|FF||Called double-F, medium grain||
Rifles, single shot pistols (.45 caliber and larger)
and shotguns (12-20 gauge)
|Cartridge||Medium-fine grain||Substitute for double-F powder|
|FFF||Called triple-F, fine grain||
Rifles and handguns that are under .45 caliber,
as well as shotguns smaller than 20-gauge
|FFFF||Called four-F, extra-fine grain||Used only to prime flintlock muzzleloaders|