The Blackpowder Journal

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...for the blackpowder enthusiast

Which Gadgets Do I Really Need?


The black powder shooting sports are "gadget rich". There seems to be no end to the tools and toys that go along with a muzzleloading rifle. In order to keep things simple, I feel the following accessories are important.

1. Cleaning Jag & Sturdy Rod - Most guns come with a cleaning jag, but often the rod that comes with the gun is not very durable.

2. Capper - To avoid handling a separate percussion cap (a challenge with gloves or cold fingers) use a capper. Cappers cost from $1.50 to $20.00 and hold from 10 to 80 caps. They will easily save their cost in lost caps alone. Inline rifles with a scope are nearly impossible to cap without a capper.

3. Speed Shells - A speed shell holds a pre-measured powder charge and a bullet to make reloading in the field fast and safe. They range from a simple tube with removable caps to complicated rotary systems that dispense 3 or more charges. Price can range from $6.00 /pack of 5 shells to $20.00 or more for the elaborate systems.

4. Bullet Starter - A simple short rod usually with a ball handle used to run the bullet from a speed shell into the bore. The starter is also used when loading direct to seat the bullet part way down the bore. This reduced the chance of breaking a ramrod during loading and makes it much easier to load a very tight patch & ball.

Powder Measure - It is very important that powder charges be accurately measured and consistent. Any adjustable measure is important when working up the proper load for a new rifle. Adjustable powder measures cost from $6.00 to $20.00.

Never Load Directly from
A Horn or Flask!!!