Muzzleloaders Face Explosive Situation
Smokeless powder muzzleloaders, a new product developed for muzzleloader hunting, could potentially cause confusion and injuries in the field this year in Nevada.

A major firearms manufacturer has brought to market a muzzleloader that is designed to use "smokeless powder." As such, the often-repeated safety message of "never use smokeless powder in a muzzleloading firearm" no longer applies.

While many may see this new technology as a significant improvement to muzzleloading, muzzleloaders that are capable of using smokeless powder can also potentially create dangerous situations. The problem arises from possible confusion in the minds of shooters who may try to use "smokeless" powder in the muzzleloader they already own.

Until the introduction of the new "smokeless" powder muzzleloader, all the muzzleloaders on the market were designed for black powder and black powder substitutes that produce internal pressures of 10,000 -15,000 pounds per square inch (psi). Modern "smokeless" powders produce pressures in the 50,000 psi range. Use of "smokeless" powder in a muzzloader designed for black powder or black powder substitutes will very likely cause a catastrophic failure of that firearm, with serious injury or even death to the shooter or bystanders possible, if not probable.

The Nevada Division of Wildlife is concerned for the safety of owners of muzzleloading firearms who may now be confused and tempted to use smokeless powder in their black powder muzzleloaders. Muzzleloader hunters are warned to never use smokeless powder in a muzzleloading firearm unless that firearm is specifically designed for smokeless powder. Muzzleloader owners must get this message loud and clear before serious accidents or deaths result.

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