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Things To Do

Interactive Activity: Springfield percussion musket

Tool Demonstration: Loading and Firing a Percussion Musket

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Transcript of movie: The percussion musket was an improvement over the earlier flintlock muskets because of the simplified, more reliable and waterproof method of creating a spark. When the trigger is pulled, a hammer strikes a manufactured brass cap that contains a small bit of explosive. The spark that is created ignites the main charge inside the barrel of the musket causing it to fire. Hereís how it works in more detailÖ To load the musket the soldier first removes a cartridge from his cartridge box. After tearing off the end of the paper wrapper with his teeth, he pours the gunpowder into the barrel of the musket. He also puts the lead ball and the paper wrapper into the musketís barrel. Using the ramrod, he pushes these all down to the base of the barrel. Next the soldier removes a small brass or copper cap from his cap box. This cap contains a pressure-sensitive chemical called fulminated mercury. The cap is placed over a small metal tube that leads to the main charge inside the musketís barrel. The hammer is cocked back, the soldier aims and pulls the trigger causing the hammer to strike the cap, creating a small flame which travels through the metal tube igniting the charge and firing the bullet.

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