Paper-Patching Your Inline Muzzleloader



Shooting a paper-patched bullet in your inline muzzleloader, using Blackhorn 209 powder behind it, opens up a whole new way to shoot your rifle. Your .50 caliber muzzleloader can shoot a 500 to 550 grain paper-patched bullet and in some very fast twist muzzleloader you can even shoot up to a 700 grain bullet. A .45 caliber inline muzzleloader can shoot a 325 to 400 grain paper-patched bullet .




Paper-patching Adds a New Dimension to In-Line Muzzleloaders

By Roger Johnson

mag-spark72My name is Roger Johnson. I am a retired Registered Nurse living in rural northwestern Nebraska. My hobby for many, many years has been building and shooting muzzleloaders. I have used all the different types of bullets a muzzleloader can shoot. I always used black powder as it was the most accurate and reliable powder out there for muzzleloaders until Blackhorn 209 came along.
All my muzzleloaders are fast twist with side locks, except one. I had an inline built for my youngest son by Smokeless Muzzleloader Inc. It is a 1 in 32″ twist and made for saboted bullets. My sidelocks all use the Mag-Spark Nipple system. Mag-Spark is a sidelock nipple that holds a 209 shotgun primer. This nipple allows me to use Blackhorn 209 powder in all of myside locks. Blackhorn 209 is as accurate consistently, as real black powder. The best thing about it is that you don’t have to clean between shots
You will see by my chronograph results that Blackhorn powder had only a slight variation in velocity from shot-to-shot. Those loads were done using poured volume and not weighing each charge. The other black powder substitutes are not going to be mentioned in this article as I feel they are not even close to real black powder or Blackhorn 209 powder in any way.


paper72Shooting a paper-patched bullet in your inline muzzleloader, using Blackhorn 209 powder behind it, opens up a whole new way to shoot your rifle. Your .50 caliber muzzleloader can shoot a 500 to 550 grain paper-patched bullet and in some very fast twist muzzleloader you can even shoot up to a 700 grain bullet. A .45 caliber inline muzzleloader can shoot a 325 to 400 grain paper-patched bullet .
These bullets put your .50 caliber muzzleloader in the same class of gun as the .50/90 Sharps straight. With an inline .45 caliber rifle, you are in the same class as the .45/70 or .45/120. Here are the benefits of shooting paper-patched bullets in your inline:

1. Now you can cast, or as I do, swage your own bullets and shoot for a lot less cost.

2. They are very easy to load and are very reliably accurate.

3. They are hard hitting and can be used at much longer ranges.

4. You can now afford to use your inline to just have fun; target shooting out to 500 yards and beyond. Shooting store bought ammo is too expensive for most of us to use for target shooting. Making your own paper-patched bullets brings the cost way down.


roger #172I’m going to use stats assuming everyone’s .50 and .45 caliber rifles are true .50 and .45 caliber bores. I know this won’t always be true and that all guns vary. Every one of mine does. You will have to adjust the size of the bullet to be wrapped with paper to match the top of the lands bore size of your gun.

1. The bullet size will be .492″ for the .50 caliber and .440″ to .441″ for the .45 caliber.

2. For those of you with .50 caliber 1 in 28″ twist rifles, use a bullet at least 530 grains in weight and up to 550 to 570 grains. If your rifle is a 1 in 32″ twist .50 caliber, use a 500 to 530 grain bullet.

3. If your rifle is a .45 caliber with a 1 in 28″ twist use a 325 grain to a 400 grain bullet.

4. There are a few .50 caliber inlines out there that are 1 in 22″ twist . You will have to use at least a 600 grain bullet and a 700 grin bullet will usually shoot very well in your gun also. The lighter weight ones are too small to be accurate in that fast a twist.

5. If you have a .45 in a faster twist that 1 in 28″, all the better. There are a lot of moulds for the .45 out there. I have one .45 in 1 in 18″ twist. I shoot a 500 grain bullet in that one and it drives tacks at any range.

6. Use a push through reducing die to downsize the bullet you mould to the size you want. A push through reducing die cost about 30 dollars to make and is money well spent.

7. Your bullet can be a smooth sided bullet or it can be a grease- grooved cast bullet. It can be cupped based or flat based. They will all shoot one as good as the other.

There are two ways to paper patch a bullet:


dblwrap72FOR THE DOUBLE WRAP SYSTEM, I use #9 all wood fiber paper. There is no need to go to the extra expense of 25 percent cotton paper in this weight. Also do not wet wrap the bullet. You can wrap it real tight around the bullet with two wraps without wetting the paper, so dry wrap only. The paper to be wrapped around the bullet can be rectangular in shape or cut at a 45 degree angle on the ends. I’ve shot both and they both shoot well. You don’t have to use #9 paper for the double wrap, thinner works as well as thicker as long as the finished size of the wrapped bullet goes down your barrel easily but not sloppily. You want it to stay on the powder once it is seated. It should never go down the barrel hard either.
The best way to cut the papers is to make a template out of plastic the thickness of a credit card. Use a ruler and a pen to lay out the lines and cut it out with a good pair of scissors. Make sure your paper is long enough over the base of the bullet so you can grip it easily to twist the tails tight. Also you might want to buy a pair of curved blade cuticle scissors as this blade allows cutting closer to the base than straight bladed scissors.

Always use a fiber or poly wad between powder and the base of the bullet. Mine are .060″ thick. I used to buy them from Buffalo Arms, but now I cut my own with a cutter I bought from that same company.
You can lube or not lube your bullets. I lube some and others I don’t. They both seem to shoot the same. Lee Alox is the best lube if you’re going to lube. It doesn’t soak into the paper but just coats it nicely and dries on the paper’s surface.

singlewrap72THE CHASE SINGLE WRAP SYSTEM For this system I use the same diameter bullets as I would for the double wrap system. The only difference is I use thicker paper and go around the bullet only once. I wrap as I load.
The paper shape is rectangular and it is just long enough to fold over on to the base about ¾ of the way across it. To use this system, put the paper on the bullet and fold the ends onto the base. Place the wrapped bullet in the muzzle on top of a fiber or poly wad. The wad and the bullet will go down onto the powder together. The wad under the base of the bullet will hold the paper onto the bullet. I use 20 pound computer paper, 18 pound artist paper or poly coated freezer wrap. My .50 caliber bores are of different sizes so I use the paper that works best for the gun I’m shooting that day. My bullet remains a .492″ for the .50 caliber.


.45 caliber, 1 in 30″ twist, 30 inch barrel, 335 grain bullet, .440 diameter single wrapped bullet, 80 grains by volume Blackhorn 209 powder, .060″ poly wad and magspark 209 primer ignition. This load developed 1600 fps as it left the barrel.

.45 caliber 1 in 18″ twist, 36 inch barrel, 486 grain .440″ double wrapped bullet, 80 grains of Blackhorn 209 powder by volume with a .060″ poly wad between bullet and powder using a Mag-Spark primer ignition system. This load produces 1376 fps. as it leaves the barrel.

.50 caliber 1 in 23″ twist, 31 inch barrel, 670 grain .492″ single wrapped bullet, 80 grains by volume of 209 powder created 1200 fps.
.50 caliber Inline 1 in 32″ twist, 28 inch barrel, 500 grain .492″ double wrapped bullet, 90 grains of Blackhorn 209 powder measured 1458 fps at the muzzle.

.45 caliber 1 in 28″ twist, 24 ¾ inch barrel, using a 335 grain .440″ double wrapped bullet that was then down sized to .438″ so it would fit this tighter bore. 80 grains of 209 powder produced 1600 fps. 90 grains of 209 powder produced 1750 fps. 100 grains of 209 powder produced 1870 fps. 110 grains of powder produced 1970 fps.

These are all good for hunting; the .45 caliber for deer and antelope and the .50 for deer, antelope and everything else in North America.

If you want to contact me you can look up You can find there how to contact me and feel free to ask me any questions you want. I like sharing information. We can talk by phone or email, whatever way is best for you.

Have fun, be safe and contact me for any question. Also please post your success on this Blackhorn 209 powder blog so the rest of us can learn and enjoy what you have done.
Thank you,  Roger V. Johnson