A muzzleloader is any firearm into which the projectile and usually the propellant charge is loaded from the muzzle of the gun (i.e., from the forward, open end of the gun's barrel). This is distinct from the more popular modern (higher tech and harder to make) designs of breech-loading firearms. The term 'muzzleloader' may also apply to the marksman who specializes in the shooting of ML Firearms. The term of art is not meant to connote anything about whether the weapon's barrel had received the further machining step of rifling the barrel, so there are two broad classifications: rifled muzzleloaders and smooth bore muzzleloaders. The firing methods, paraphernalia and mechanism further divide both categories as do caliber (From cannons to tiny caliber palm guns).
Contributions by Historyphysics, John Nevard, and Johnbod.