The gun had essentially become a pipebomb and exploded as soon as the shooter pulled the trigger.
Most black powder muzzleloaders come with instructions that emphatically warn you to not use anything other than black powder, and any seasoned shooter will tell you that swapping powders can be a recipe for disaster. The Indiana Department of Natural Resources recently put up a photo of a completely shattered muzzleloader on its Law District 7 Facebook page. According to officials, this was one accident was not caused by a malfunction, but rather a lapse in judgement. The incident occurred in Martin County, where an unidentified man poured smokeless powder into a black powder-only muzzleloader. What resulted was the firearm exploding like a grenade and ripping off the man’s fingers.
OutdoorHub spoke with Corporal Eric Doane, who responded to the incident. Doane said that the malfunction occurred in the man’s backyard after several family members brought it over for practice. Indiana’s muzzleloader season runs from December 6 to December 21.
“The man who fired the gun loaded the muzzleloader with smokeless powder which had been taken from 20 gauge shotgun shells,” Doane said over the phone. “He had run out of black powder and had actually cut open the shells and ended up pouring 75 grains of powder into that muzzleloader. Once again, smokeless powder is several times more powerful than black powder, so it would be like putting a 300-grain charge of blackpowder into a muzzleloader.”