SJB, gotta laugh at that one. Did the same thing as a kid taping a shotgun shell to the end of a daisy BB gun. After the string went well, put it to the shoulder. Next came a piece of conduit the 12 gauge shell would fit inside, then taped the BB gun....Fun times..
JZZZZ - in my teens, I worked for my uncle who had a gun shop. When we would get a request like yours, and not sure how the gun would shoot, or had safety concerns, we would take the gun, load it, place a string on the trigger, point in a safe direction and get behind the shed. Then pull the string. If the barrel exploded, no harm to us.
On the cleaning question, make sure you "season" the bore of the muzzloader with Bore Butter. TC makes a good product and never use oil inside the barrel. You will be amazed at how easy it is to clean your barrel after following these instructions.
1. Shoot your muzzleloader.
2. Swab the bore with a patch seasoned with bore butter. You should be able to get a completely clean patch after only swabbing with 3 or so patches.
3. Apply bore butter to a clean patch and thoroughly swab the bore. The next time you shoot just repeat the procedure. You will be amazed at how easy it will be to clean.
4. Wipe the outside of the gun with regular gun oil.
silly question maybe, several years ago I built a cva .50 cal Hawkins rifle, turned out really nice, I have not shot it due to the fact that I am not an experienced black powder guy secondly I am a little uneasy about the condition of the gun, do any of you more experienced guys know of a dealer or gunsmith that could look over the gun and make sure I built it correctly and safely possibly even shoot it a few time to make sure it wont explode on me, haha any help is very appreciated!
With most powders/pellets, other than B209, use a hot soapy water solution to clean. Once that is done, go with the oil coat.
With B209 powder, Hoppes 9 does it all.
If the gun sits a bit in the off season, take it out every 4-5 months for a light oil coat replenishment.