If you have not read this manual in its entirety, do so before attempting to load your firearm. IMPROPER LOADING AND USE OF YOUR FIREARM CAN CAUSE INJURY AND/OR DEATH TO THE SHOOTER OR BYSTANDERS AND DAMAGE TO PROPERTY.
The photo on page 31 shows a shooter in the process of loading a ThunderHawk®. Study this photo carefully and read all the captions before you proceed to charge your ThunderHawk®.
Before charging, insert the ramrod into the barrel and tap it up and down several times. You will hear the metal cap of the ramrod "clink" as it contacts the steel face of the breech. Note exactly how far the ramrod goes into the barrel and how much of the rod extends beyond the muzzle when the barrel is uncharged. Commit this exercise to memory and practice it every time that you handle a muzzleloading firearm. Before you attempt to load it - before you store it away - before you hand it to a friend or leave it unattended, always check to ensure that the firearm is unprimed and uncharged.
The next precharging exercise is to wipe the bore free of all oil. Be meticulous with your cleaning for the presence of any amount of oil in the barrel or chamber can dampen the powder charge and cause the rifle to misfire or hangfire (see section on "Cleaning"). Point the muzzle in a safe direction and snap several caps on the nipple before charging. This will ensure ignition and clear away any oil that may have accumulated in the nipple port.
Adjust the powder measure to the desired charge and fill it with Black Powder (or Pyrodex). To achieve accuracy, consistency in the powder charge is required. Fill the measure exactly the same each time. Set the rifle on its butt and hold the muzzle away from your face and body as pictured on page 31. Pour the measured charge down the barrel and strike the side of the barrel several sharp raps with the heel of your hand. This will settle the powder into the chamber area of the barrel.
IF YOU ARE LOADING A ROUND BALL WITH A CLOTH PATCH, PROCEED AS FOLLOWS.
Lay your lubricated cloth patch over the muzzle and place the round ball in the center of the patch. Uniformity is important. Be certain that the patch is centered and that the weave of the cloth is placed exactly the same each time. Also, the sprue mark (flat section on a cast ball) should be in the up position and carefully centered.
Place the stubby end of the bullet starter on the top of the ball, as shown
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