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"Smokepoles" and "Black magic"

The history of all shooting sports began with black powder and muzzleloaders. The man, or for that matter the nation responsible for the discovery of black powder has never been proved.

Muzzleloading firearms use either black powder or pyrodex as the propellant. Smokeless powder CAN NOT be used as a substitute in muzzleloaders. Black powder has remained virtually unchanged for more than two centuries. It is a mixture of 75 parts potassium nitrate, 15 parts charcoal and 10 parts sulfur. Pyrodex on the other hand is a 20th Century product, which offers black powder qualities without some of the black powder problems. Pyrodex fouls the bore less than black powder. However, it functions best when the bore has been properly dressed, meaning after 3 to 5 warm up shots have been fired.

There are the modern "in-line" muzzleloading rifles which resemble contemporary center fire rifles or there are the various traditional offhand rifles which are typical of those commonly available prior to 1840. A muzzleloading shotgun is capable of producing the same pattern and ballistics as a modern scattergun.

Increasingly more sportsmen are turning to black powder firearms as a way to expand their hunting opportunities and to hone in on their hunting skills. Because of the muzzleloaders range limitations, sportsmen are finding black powder hunting to be a challenging test of their abilities. With the correct gun and load, practically any game can be taken by black powder. Hereunder are the basic guidelines and regulations to be followed when one plans to hunt with a muzzleloader in Namibia. But, before the sport begins, there are Do's and Don'ts that MUST be taken into consideration when handling black powder and a muzzleloader 
STORAGE:
For the storage of nitrocellulose products, only persons who are in possession of one or more valid firearm licenses issued in terms of the Arms an Ammunition Act, 1969 (Act 75 of 1969), may in respect of each such license keep on their premises 600grams of nitrocellulose propellants for the private reloading of cartridges of small arms only and not for sale or any other trade. The total amount of nitrocellulose propellants so kept shall not at any time exceed 2400 grams in mass. Included in this amount is black powder, which, even on its own, may not exceed 1000 grams in mass.

PERMITS AND TRANSPORTATION:
The transportation of black powder by private individuals without a valid permit is illegal and EXTREMELY DANGEROUS. Black powder is highly flammable! Prior to a client departing for their hunting destination, the professional hunter who will be guiding him/her, must, on their behalf apply for an ACQUISITION, CONVEYANCE AND STORAGE OF GUNPOWDER PERMIT. The permit will be made available within 24hrs of the application to the Office of the Chief Inspector of Explosives, and will be valid for the period stipulated in the permit.

The following information must appear on the application form, which can be obtained from a gun dealer or the NAPHA Office:

  • Name and address of the professional hunter as well as that of the client.
  • The quantity of black-powder that the client wishes to purchase.
  • This is NOT to exceed 1kg.
  • The make and serial number of the firearm.
  • Arrival and departure dates.
  • A copy of the professional hunters identity document.
  • A copy of the clients passport and a copy of the firearm license.

Storage:

The black powder is to either be stored in a lockable safe or steel cabinet. Black powder can be stored in conjunction with other propellants. The container is to be tightly sealed so as to avoid the black powder from becoming moist. Due to the volatility of black powder, extreme caution must be taken to avoid contamination thereof.
AVAILABILITY and DISPOSAL OF BLACK POWDER IN NAMIBIA:

We regret to inform you that at present there is no black powder available in Namibia, but please watch this site for further updates. 
MINISTRY OF ENVIRONMENT AND TOURISM - REGULATIONS REGARDING HUNTING WITH A MUZZLELOADER:

The Ministry of Environment and Tourism (M.E.T) under the Nature Conservation Ordinance 1975: No.4 of 1975 in the section Restrictions in regard to fire-arms and capturing apparatus:

42. (1) No person shall use a revolver, pistol or automatic fire-arm when hunting game or use a fire-arm of which the bullet has an energy at the muzzle of the barrel which is lower than the following when hunting the species of game indicated there under:

a. 5400 joules Buffalo
b. 2700 joules: Eland, Kudu, Oryx, Wildebeest, Hartebeest, All species of exotic game.
c. 1350 joules: Springbok, Duiker

This section prescribes a minimum muzzle velocity that is allowed for certain species of game. Heavier calibers with higher muzzle velocities may be used.