The Percussion Cap
The next step in improving the gun was to make a simple brass cap to fit over the nipple and to put a thin film of fulminating mercury and chlorate of potash in the closed end. The percussion cap type of gun came into use about 1830.
Up to this time all guns had been muzzle-loading, that is, they were loaded from the muzzle of the barrel. This was done by pouring a charge of powder into the barrel and then ramming down a heavy wad of paper on top of it; the bullet or shot was then dropped in 6n the wad and another wad of paper was rammed down to keep the lead in place.
These operations were performed with a long, straight rod of iron called a ramrod which the gunner always carried along with him, and to get it out of the way when not in use it was slipped through a couple of rings under the gun.
Collins, A. Frederick. Shooting, for Boys,. New York: Moffat, Yard and, 1917. Print.
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