Muzzle loaders were any gun which is loaded through the barrel, or muzzle, of the gun. They looked much like a rifle except most of them had no rifling. Rifling are groves inside the barrel of a gun to spin the bullet as it is fired. This gives greater accuracy.
To load a bullet into a muzzle loader the operator had to pour gun powder down the barrel of the gun. Then he shoved a bullet, or ball, down the barrel using a long rod. The bullet was followed by a wad of paper or cloth to keep everything in the barrel. Next a little powder was put in the flash pan near the trigger. When the trigger was pulled, the powder in the flash pan was ignited and the bullet fired.
The muzzle loaders could shoot accurately to about 200 yards.
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Richard Wright Copyright 1999