Black Powder Rules

Unfortunately, Chabot Gun Club’s lease was not renewed by the East Bay Regional Park District and the marksmanship range is now permanently closed. We thank all of our tens of thousands of patrons for your support for more than fifty years at this important facility. There are no plans to open up at another location at this time, although we still are open to suggestions.

Chabot Gun Club Black Powder Rules

We welcome black powder shooters on our public lines and for special, monthly events. The words “Black Powder”, Muzzle-Loader”, “Flintlock” & “Percussion” seem to hearken back to earlier, simpler times. The reality is, however, that most of us need to learn the protocols of those times if we are going to shoot black powder, which can be rather complex, so a little instruction may be in order. We welcome new shooters to come to the monthly black powder shoots, held on the 4th Sundays each month, to learn the right way before coming to the public lines.

Range Safety Rules for Black Powder Firearms

Courtesy, Peter Krogh

Definitions:

“Powder” includes black powder and all substitutes.

“Closed” means tight fitting, spark-tight.

“Powder measure” is a small device holding about one shot worth of powder and not an attached part of a powder container. Usually not closed.

“Powder container” usually holds more than one shot worth of powder.

“Prime” means to charge the pan or install a cap.

“Pre-measures” are small, closed containers holding a measure of powder, and sometimes other components, for one shot.

General

No smoking on or near the line. Smoke only in designated areas.

A loaded arm must be pointed down range and closely attended at all times. Once primed, it must be held by the shooter until discharged.

When moving around with an unloaded arm, arm must be carried muzzle up.

Do not carry black powder, or its substitutes, up to the office or patio. When leaving the line, put powder in your range box or bag or in the storage houses provided.

Powder

Powder must always be in a closed container except when filling the powder measure or, for pre-measures, charging the arm.

Powder should be kept in the original factory containers until put in horn, flask, powder measure, charger or cartridge. No breakable containers such as glass.

No more than one, one pound,  container of powder per shooter allowed on the firing line. All other powder containers must be in a closed range box or bag kept behind the firing line.

Filling of horns, flasks, multiple pre-measure devices, etc., must not be done on the firing line. Move well back from the line.

Caps

Percussion caps must always be in a closed container except when priming the arm. No loose caps allowed; keep them covered.

Caps should be kept in the original factory containers until put in a capping device. No breakable containers such as glass.

No more than one tin of caps per shooter allowed on the firing line. All other cap containers must be in  a closed range box or bag kept behind the firing line.

Paper cartridges

Paper cartridges must be kept in closed containers until one is removed for use.

Taking a break

Powder or cap containers are not permitted off ranges or in smoking areas unless kept in a securely closed range box or bag.

Loading

Never load from a horn or flask. A powder measure must always be used to charge the arm. Pre-measured, individual chargers/cartridges meet this requirement.

Ramrods should be clearly marked for “empty” and “loaded”.

Never load while distracted; think about what you are doing.

Keep body parts well away from the muzzle while loading.

Be aware of your surroundings. Never expose powder if the adjacent shooter is ready to fire.

Clean firing bench of all spilled powder before continuing. Powder spilled on the ground must be well scattered before continuing.

Firing

Never prime until on the line, pointed downrange and ready to fire.

Cap & ball cylinders must be capped while in the firearm, at the firing line, pointed downrange. Do not carry capped cylinders around!

Flintlock shooters must notify shooters on the touchhole side well before firing. Calling out ‘flint’ a few seconds before firing is encouraged. Give the other person a chance!

Be aware of your surroundings. Never fire if adjacent shooters have powder exposed or are otherwise unprepared. Again. calling out “flint” a few seconds before firing is encouraged.

Flints must never be knapped in the cock when the arm is charged.

Do not try to beat the “one minute” warning. Don’t start loading after the “one minute” has been called. If you have charged the firearm with powder and bullet, or charged it with powder but not yet put the projectile in, and have not primed it, when the 1 minute warning goes off, and do not have time or desire to rush the shot(s), the correct procedure is to put the partially “loaded”  firearm, clamped vertically in the charging position, on or next to the bench

Problems

If loaded when a cease-fire is called, raise your hand and wait for the attention of the Range Safety Officer or Range Master. Do not fire without specific permission from the staff after the cease-fire is called! Keep the arm pointed down-range and follow the instructions of the range personnel.

Keep misfires pointed down range until the arm is made safe.

Loads that must be pulled must be brought to the attention of the range staff and handled according to their instructions. If possible, loads that must be pulled will be taken off-line for that purpose. Keep misfires pointed in a safe direction!

CO2 dischargers may be used to remove loads on the public firing line.

Management reserves the right to refuse admission, control occupancy or remove anyone whose conduct is deemed by management to be disorderly or who fails to comply with any safety regulation.