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Things To Do

Interactive Activity: Flintlock Musket

Tool Demonstration: Loading and Firing a Flintlock Musket

Wait for the file to download, then click the arrow to play the movie.


Transcript of movie: The flintlock musket works by using a type of stone called flint to strike a piece of steel and create a spark. This spark ignites a small amount of gunpowder which sets off the main charge of gunpowder inside the barrel of the gun. Here’s how it works… The soldier removes a pre-made cartridge from his cartridge box. These cartridges are gunpowder and lead ball securely wrapped in paper. He pulls the hammer to half cock, providing access to the flashpan and positioning the flint. He tears open the cartridge with his teeth and pours a small portion of the gunpowder into the spoon-shaped flashpan. He covers the flashpan to prevent the powder from spilling out and also to position the steel so the flint can strike it and ignite the powder. Connecting the barrel to the flashpan is a small hole which the spark will travel through to ignite the main charge. Next the soldier casts the musket about and pours the remaining gunpowder down the barrel followed by the lead ball or bullet and lastly the paper of the cartridge which acts as wadding to prevent the ball from rolling back out of the barrel. He uses the ramrod to pack these materials down to the base of the barrel opposite the small hole near the flashpan. He then replaces the ramrod to its holder. Now the gun is loaded and ready to be fired. The soldier shoulders the prepared musket. On command, he poises the musket before his face, pulls the hammer to full-cock, aims and fires.

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