Re: Need loading advice for Harpers Ferry 69 cal
No problem in firing these old weapons, IF they are in good condition (we do it all the time). Make certain that it's NOT loaded (from a forgotten firing, way-back-when), and that your primer channel is not obstructed.
Place shooting glasses on face. Ear protection is recommended, also.
Fire a couple of PRIMER only rounds, while pointing the barrel at the GROUND. You should notice grass, twigs, leaves, etc. moving about when the primer ignites. This indicates that your primer channel is clear, a very good sign. Load 50 - 65 grains(well under a service load) of FFG BLACKPOWDER, not a substitute. Some use a foil patch (I do). Tamp this firmly (but don't beat it to death) in the barrel. Place primer, aim, and fire. There will be a significant recoil felt.
If you decide to fire again, you can skip the 'in the ground' phase, mentioned above. However, be certain that no body part covers the barrel, or the end of the ramrod during the loading process. Cook-offs are no fun under the best of circumstances.
Clean with hot water and soap. Lightly oil, inside and out; afterwards. Place on wall, enjoy!
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