About the Study Guide

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  1. Place the projectile into the end of the muzzle.
    • For a round ball, center a lubricated precut patch over the muzzle. You can lubricate the patch using a manufactured lubricant or using saliva by placing it in your mouth. Lay the ball on the patch with the sprue or flat side up, if the ball comes with this feature.
    • For a conical bullet, follow the powder manufacturer's recommendations.
  2. Seat the projectile, and push it into the barrel using the shorter part of the ball starter.
  3. Use the longer part of the starter to push the projectile as far as possible into the bore.
  4. Use the ramrod to push the projectile fully down and seat it firmly on the powder.
  5. Go to the firing line. Keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction, your finger off the trigger, and the safety on if you have one. Prepare to fire.
    • On a Flintlock Firearm: Pull the hammer to a half-cock position and open the priming pan cover. Check your flint, making sure it is sharp and the setting is tight and properly adjusted. Insert a vent pick or fine wire into the barrel's touchhole to make sure the opening is clear. With your pan primer, fill the pan about three-fourths full of priming powder. Close the frizzen and pull the hammer to full cock when you're ready to fire the shot safely.
    • On a Percussion Lock Firearm: Place the cap on the nipple.
    • On an In-Line Firearm: Place the cap on the nipple, or prime the pan.
  6. Be sure of the target and what is in front of it and beyond it.
  7. Fire the gun.
    • Raise the firearm to your shoulder. With your finger on the trigger guard, take aim, release the safety if you have one, and fire by squeezing the trigger.
    • If the gun fails to fire, keep the muzzle pointed downrange in a safe direction. The gun may have a delayed firing (hangfire). Wait for at least 30 seconds.
  8. If the gun has not fired after 30 seconds, follow this procedure.
    • On a Flintlock Firearm: Re-prime the pan, and try again. Wait for another 30 seconds.
    • On a Percussion Lock Firearm: Place another cap on the nipple, and try again. Wait for another 30 seconds.
    • On an In-Line Firearm: Place a fresh cap on the nipple. Try again, and wait for another 30 seconds.