Take Apart A Muzzleloader

Inline muzzleloader assembled and dissasembled

Muzzleloaders are a gun of the past but still have a following today. Loaded by pouring powder down the muzzle followed up by a lead bullet, muzzleloaders give enthusiasts a sense of nostalgia while also being effective hunting weapons. And just as muzzleloaders are not loaded like a modern gun, they are not cleaned or disassembled like a modern gun either. In order to clean a muzzleloader it is necessary to completely disassemble the gun. This article will walk you through the process of taking your muzzleloader apart, either for cleaning purposes or for upgrades to the gun itself. The entire breakdown process should take no more than five or 10 minutes for a complete novice.


1. Begin by examining the owner’s manual that came with your gun. It will give you an idea of where to begin with your particular gun model and can even offer some tips or hints for the more difficult aspects of the gun breakdown. Assuming you are dealing with a “cap ignition” muzzleloader, cock the hammer and use a nipple wrench to unscrew the cap nipple from the barrel.

2. Locate the barrel mounting pin in the stock of the muzzleloader. Sometimes this exists as a screw and other times it is simply a pin which you will have to push out with a screwdriver. Remove the pin and place it somewhere you can easily find it later.

3. Lift the barrel up and forward, away from the gun stock. This will release both the stock mount and breach plug mount of the barrel. You can now disassemble the lock assembly by using a screwdriver to unscrew the assembly from the face of the gun stock.

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4. Place the barrel firmly in a padded gun vise. Using the padded pliers, grip the breach plug at the bottom end of the barrel and turn it counter-clockwise. It may take several tries and a lot of elbow grease, but eventually the breach plug will come loose. You now have disassembled the entire muzzleloader–lock, stock, and barrel.