Loading my new flintlock gun at first seemed a little complex and time consuming, but with the practice of around 30 shots I have become much better at the process of loading. The process I have developed so far is information from what people have told me, what I have read, and what I have learned from my small experience. The loading process is as follows:
- put ramrod in the gun to check against the unloaded ramrod mark to be sure the gun is unloaded.
- run a rubbing alcohol soaked patch, cut from a T-Shirt, down the barrel followed by a dry patch of the same material. (This removes oil or if the gun has just been shot it helps remove the fowling.)
- measure powder from my powder horn into the powder measure. (It is important for both accuracy and safety that an exact amount of powder is put down the barrel, which is partly why a powder measure is used.)
- after closing the powder horn, pour the powder from the powder measure into the barrel, being careful not to miss the barrel any, since a lighter powder load might affect accuracy. (In addition to the aforementioned reasons for using a powder measure, it is also important that it is used for safety. Safety, because if powder were to be poured directly from a powder horn or flask and an ember from the previous shot is still present the resulting explosion would not be pleasant.)
- tap the gun butt(end of gun stock) lightly on the ground to settle the powder.
- align the lubricated patch over the muzzle the same way for consistency. (Note: a patch is never used on a conical or sabot bullet only on round balls.)
- place the round ball over the patch.
- start the patch and ball with the ball starter.
- push the patch and ball down the barrel until it is seated on the powder charge. If fowling is present it often takes a little extra pressure to get it down to the mark.
- put hammer at half cock and prime with a small amount of priming powder (around 1/4 of a pan), then close frizzen.