Re: Muzzle Loader for my kids.
I'd like to know what you bought, and how it worked out. I've shot Dead Centers for years and they are great out to 200 yards in the 340 weight. But for kids, I'd try the lighter 180grs. They make some in a .357 with two sabots that shoot better than anything else in my Kahnke muzzleloader. I think out to 100 yards, it would be the bomb. The pure lead on the 340 gr. usually expands to over an inch. Don't shoot at bone though. The first elk I shot in the shoulder joint, and it split the bullet. Cracked the bone, and fortunately one half of the bullet went through the neck and the other half through the lung. With muzzleloaders, penetration is always the issue. The higher the sectional density, the better the penetration. Dead Centers always expand.
As for cleaning, I took one of those 1/8" barbs for irrigation line, threaded one side and hooked a tube to the other (or you can drill out a worn out nipple). Put the tube in hot, soapy water and run your patch. It draws the water up inside the barrel and flushes it. I run a wire brush, a couple of dry patches, and an oiled patch, and I'm done. I take the breech plug out once a year just to check that everything is clean, and it always is. I find that faster and easier than cleaning a regular gun.