How to Shoot a Flintlock

by Jack Burton
The accuracy and speed of rifled flintlocks made a decisive difference in the Revolutionary War.

The accuracy and speed of rifled flintlocks made a decisive difference in the Revolutionary War. Images

Daniel Boone, Davy Crockett, Lewis and Clark -- these men defined a time in America where the wilderness was still next door and an adventurous man with his trusted flintlock rifle could carve out a piece of it for him and his family. The flintlock was a major jump in technology from the matchlock, and made owning and using a rifle much more reasonable. The early American gunsmiths developed the flintlock rifle to a high art and a precision machine. Shooters today honor that legacy by continuing to use the black powder flintlock for serious hunting, competition and just plain enjoyment.

Items you will need

  • Black powder
  • Patch
  • Bullet
  • Ramrod
Step 1

Gather together all the loading equipment and have it close at hand. Loading a flintlock halfway and then stopping to look for a piece of equipment is not safe.

Step 2

Tilt the muzzle up and away from you or any other person and load it with a pre-measured amount of black powder. A period-authentic powder horn or flask looks cool to use but it should be left to experts to choose the amount of powder going down the barrel

Step 3

Center the patch in the barrel and place the ball on it, pushing in with your thumb until the ball is seated in the barrel. Trim any excess patch away.

Step 4

Push the ball to the rear of the barrel with the ramrod. Do not push the ball too tightly against the powder, just make it a firm touch.

Step 5

Prime the pan by pouring a small measure of powder into the pan. Do not cover the primer hole.

Step 6

Bring the flintlock to your shoulder and firmly seat it in your shoulder hollow. Lean forward slightly from the waist.

Step 7

Pull the hammer back into the full cock position, take aim at the target, and slowly squeeze the trigger.

Tips & Warnings

  • A .50 caliber black powder flintlock creates a loud noise and a considerable recoil when fired.

Photo Credits

  • Images