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I recently purchased a Hawkens 50 Cal. muzzleloader and am a newcomer to black powder shooting. What is the threaded opening beneath the hammer for? Is it supposed to be closed during firing? Thanks.
 

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It sounds like you're missing the nipple.

Otherwise, where is this threaded opening, exactly? "Under the hammer" is a big place. Some have a cleanout hole, which is supposed to have an Allen screw in it. The cleanout hole is an extension of the flash channel on some caplocks, and goes at a right angle to the nipple.

In any case, an illustrated operator's manual is in order. You should call the manufacturer, who I am sure would be glad to supply one.
 
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