First off, I want to say that this post isn't directed at anybody. It's just something that I should of posted back when this forum was created. Sorry I didn't do it sooner. Sometimes, I assume that everyone has been shooting these things since 1974 like I have. Guess that's the old age creeping up on me. #1.......When loading your muzzleloader for the first time after it was last put away, run a patch with denatured alcohol down the bore to get rid of any oil in there from storage. #2......While pointing the gun at the ground, always fire a cap / primer or two. This will burn out any oil left in the flash chamber. When leaves move by the bore, it's clear. Primers are cheap, it just makes sense to have the peace of mind that everything is clear. #3.....After making sure you have the right powder, load your measured amount down the barrel. Give the barrel a rap with the palm of your hand by the breech. This ensures the powder is down all the way. No need for this step if you use pellets. #4......Start the projectile down bore gently. You don't want to deform it. You should never have to "hammer" it down. If you have to do that, it's too tight. #5.....Using the ramrod or better yet, a range rod, push the projectile onto the powder charge. There is no need to "bounce" the rod to make sure it's down. If you haven't done so already, mark the rod so you always know if the load is down or gun is loaded. #6.....Prime the gun with the proper cap or primer and shoot something.:way: #7.....This one is personal choice. If the gun is to be kept loaded, leave it outside in cold weather. Bringing a cold gun into a warm environment can cause "sweating". The excess moisture can cause problems. If I was hunting with a modern M/L like most of you, as easy as it is to remove the breech, I'd unload them if I had no place to leave them safe outside. #8......Clean when you are done! No excuses, period! It seems everyone has there own cleaning procedure so there's no need to go into the how to's of cleaning. Just clean and oil, put away in safe place. Muzzleloading can be and is a lot of fun. Unfortunately, with all the new powders, primers, etc. that keep coming out, they have become more complicated that simple. Always follow the manufactures recommended loads.