General Rules for Use and Handling of Thompson Center Black Powder Muzzleloading Firearms

1 If you are unfamiliar with muzzleloading firearms seek professional instruction. Qualified organizations such as local gun clubs, The National Rifle Association, The National Muzzleloading Rifle Association and state Hunter Safety Programs offer approved courses which teach safe gun handling and proper hunting procedure. Those who are unfamiliar with muzzleloading firearms should seek guidance from an instructor who is qualified by one of these organizations.

2 If you are uncertain of the terminology or meaning of any word used in this booklet, write to Thompson/Center Arms. Throughout this booklet the term "Prime" or "Primed" applies to the act of placing a percussion cap on the nipple of a cap lock rifle or the pouring of priming powder into the pan of a flint lock rifle. "Unprime" or "Unprimed" refers to the opposite condition and indicates the percussion cap or primer (cap lock) or priming charge (flint lock) has been removed or is not in place. In addition, the frizzen on the flint lock must be open and the hammer at half-cock to put the firearm in an unprimed condition. "Charge" or "Charged" applies to the presence of a propellant powder charge and projectile in the bore of the rifle. "Uncharge" or "Uncharged" refers to the opposite condition and indicates that the powder charge and projectile have been either fired or removed and that the bore is completely clear.

3 Know the muzzleloading firearm before attempting to use it. The overall functioning and safety features of a muzzleloading firearm are different from modern rifles, shotguns, and pistols. Because of these differences the user must exercise caution and skill in the use of a muzzleloading gun. You must read and understand the workings of the muzzleloading firearm as explained in this booklet before attempting to use it.

4 Use Black Powder or Pyrodex only to load your muzzleloading firearm. WARNING: The use of smokeless powder, or a mixture of smokeless and Black Powder (duplex loads) or the wrong type or granulation of Black Powder or Pyrodex or overloading may cause serious injury and/or death to the shooter or bystanders and damage to property. See section on "Black Powder and Pyrodex" in this booklet. Thompson/Center muzzleloaders are designed and intended to be used only with a commercially manufactured Black Powder or Pyrodex propellant of the specific granulation or type called for in this booklet. By Black Powder we mean a powder which is manufactured specifically for use in muzzleloading firearms as opposed to smokeless powder which is manufactured for use in metallic cartridges or shotshells. NO smokeless powder, even those which appear black in color, should ever be used in a muzzleloading firearm. Be sure you know what type and granulation of powder you are loading. Never buy or use powder unless you have seen it poured from the original manufacturer's container which is clearly identified on the label. Use Black Powder or Pyrodex only of the type and granulation specified in this booklet and never load charges heavier than those listed.

5 Always point the muzzle of your Black Powder Gun downrange. The possibility of accidental discharge is a constant danger when using a firearm. If the muzzle is pointed downrange, away from yourself, other people, domestic animals or property, then injury and/or death and damage to property from an accidental discharge is less likely to occur.

6 Be sure of your target. Never fire a muzzleloading firearm unless there is a backstop behind your target. Never fire your muzzleloader in the field unless you have a clear view of your target. Never fire at noise or movement in the brush. If hunting with companions or in an area where there are other hunters, know where members of your party and/or hunters are located. Never fire your muzzleloader if there is a possibility that other hunters are downrange. Never shoot at flat, hard surfaces such as rocks or water. WARNING: A projectile may ricochet off these surfaces and may cause serious injury and/or death to the shooter or bystanders and damage to property.

7 Never prime your muzzleloading gun until you are ready to fire it. Your muzzleloader should remain unprimed until the instant before firing. After you prime the firearm, your full concentration should be on the target and the act of firing. WARNING: Failure to follow this rule can result in an accidental discharge which may cause serious injury and/or death to the shooter or bystanders and damage to property. Uncharge the firearm by firing it into a suitable backstop before returning to the road or vehicle.

8 Never transport or carry a charged muzzleloading firearm in a vehicle. WARNING: Uncharge the firearm by firing it into a suitable backstop before returning to the road or vehicle. Failure to follow this rule may cause serious injury and/or death to the shooter or bystanders and damage to property. Due to the large number of firearms accidents which occur in or near vehicles, this is a most important rule. The game laws in most states prohibit the taking of game from a road or vehicle. The rules of sportsmanship and common sense dictate that the firearm should not be charged until you are a safe distance away from the vehicle, road and companions. Never prime the firearm until you are actually ready to fire.

9 The T/C in-line muzzleloader is a modern "striker action" cap lock rifle, and does not have the half-cock notch that traditional cap locks have. There are two striker handle positions for the in-line muzzleloader; they are; "Cocked" and "Fired". In the "Cocked" position, the striker is held rearward by the trigger sear which is in turn blocked by the manual thumb safety. In the "Fired" position the striker will be at rest against the nipple once the thumb safety is pushed fully forward and the trigger is pulled to the rear. WARNING: The in-line muzzleloader should be carried with the striker handle in the "cocked" position, with no cap or primer on the nipple and the thumb safety in the rearward most position. The safety lever should be moved to the "Fire" position only after a percussion cap has been installed and you are ready to fire. Failure to follow this rule may cause serious injury and/or death to the shooter or bystanders and damage to property.

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