I won’t spend a lot of time here talking about the cleaning, and they definitely must be carefully cleaned after shooting. With all the black powder solvents we now have this is much easier than it used to be. All cap-and-ball sixguns operate the same way. The powder charge is placed in the cylinder chamber, a wad is placed over the powder if desired and an oversized roundball is seated using the built in rammer under the sixgun barrel. That’s the simple outline. Before any percussion pistol is loaded, especially after it has been stored in an oiled condition, percussion caps should be placed on each nipple and fired to clear the charge holes. Again this is before loading. If this is not done, there’s a good chance the loading will push oil into the nipple charge hole and the gun will not fire.

Pour powder from the flask into a measure before charging the chamber. I find the see-through powder flask and adjustable powder measure from Thompson/Center invaluable. The clear plastic may not be traditional but is certainly is handy. By pouring powder into a measure first, there’s no chance of an ember setting off the entire powder flask. Once the charge has been placed in the chamber, a lubed wad is then pushed into the front of the chamber by hand. A roundball is then placed over the wad, the cylinder rotated under the rammer and the ball seated solidly compressing powder and wad in the process. I then leave the rammer in the front of the chamber as it holds everything just right while I place the next powder charge, wad and bullet.