Cotton or linen patches are used when firing with round balls and are unnecessary when using conical bullets or shot.
- The patch is lubricated and then wrapped around the ball during loading. This removes pockets of air in the load and serves other purposes:
- Increases accuracy and rotation
- Improves safety due to firm seating on the powder charge
- Helps to scour fouling from the bore
- Pre-cut, pre-lubricated patches are available and convenient for loading.