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I've used muzzleloaders for years without a problem, but heard that the nipples can fail catastrophically, causing injury to the face. Is there a way to tell when it's time to replace them?

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I've only been shooting traditional muzzleloader for the last few years, so I'm not an old hand with them. But I would suspect that you'd begin to see cracks around the top edge. I frequently remove mine and make sure it's clean inside and out. Honestly, I've never heard of that level of failure on one.

I hunt and shoot with guys that have used them for decades and I don't ever recall ever seeing them even replace the nipples. If there's an ML/BP club in your area, it might be worth it to look them up and ask around there. I'll check in with the gentlemen who is helping me build a rifle currently and ask him about it.

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Thanks. My dad and I got our first M/L from Dixie Gun Works in the 70s, and I still have that one, but don't shoot it much. The one I shoot almost exclusively has been in use since I made it from a Cabela's kit about 20 years ago. There aren't any visible cracks, and I remove it, clean it and oil it after every outing. –  Don Branson Oct 7 '13 at 20:32

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