Modern muzzleloaders have come a long way from the old days of loose powder and the required raccoon hat! Today's muzzleloaders are much more user friendly and also far more accurate. Through the use of new powders and breech designs these "smokepoles" are now easier to operate and clean than ever before.
If you haven't ever tried to go on a muzzy hunt I highly recommend it. Most states have extended seasons or annual seasons just for muzzleloader use. For anyone looking to get a little more time in the woods give it a shot. For fairly cheap you can purchase a very high quality rifle that's accuracy will blow you away. The new sabot slugs and rifled bores combined with pre-packed powder pellets really take out a lot of the work and guessing that was involved over the years past.
It's essential to keep these guns clean to maintain reliability and accuracy. Cleaning a muzzleloader is not much more difficult than cleaning any other gun in fact the simplicity behind these guns makes it rather easy. Most of the top brands in the game all have pretty similar designs and parts making cleaning them almost universal as far as cleaning and re-assembly.
There seem to be two common approaches to the process of cleaning a muzzleloader. The all natural process, and the solvents approach. I think that I more frequently follow the natural process, but there is always a time to implement some of the black powder solvents available. Everyone has their own little ways of cleaning their muzzleloader and opinions about what is the best process and this how to guide will present you with a blend of the two styles.