Worcester Yeomanry Cavalry

A living history unit
Carbine Drill
Worcester Yeomanry Cavalry

The cartridge is taken from the leather cartridge box on the cartridge belt.
Re-enactors use real black powder in their cartridges but no lead ball.
The swivel on the cartridge belt can be seen clearly.
The top of the paper cartridge is torn off.
This was often done with the teeth.
Holding the cartridge in one hand the pan cover is lifted.
In this picture the pan, touch hole, pan cover, frizzen and the cock can all be seen clearly.
The pan holds the priming charge of powder and when the priming charge is ignited by sparks from the flint and frizzen the explosion travels through the touch hole and sets off the main charge.
The pan is loaded with a pinch of powder and the pan cover is replaced.
The carbine is shown at half-cock. This means that the cock is out of the way of the frizzen and pan cover to allow this stage of loading.  In theory the trigger cannot be operated at half-cock. In guns of the period the mechanism might get worn and the gun may be dropped. This could cause the gun to go off "half-cock".
With the pan closed loose powder is blown off the lock.
With the butt carbine resting of the ground the remainder of the charge is ready ....
.... to be placed down the barrel.
The ramrod is removed from its holder underneath the barrel.
Carbines had a notch to hold it in place, even if upside down, when riding. This notch can just be seen above the right thumb.

The charge and paper is rammed home.

Notice that the rod is held in such a way that if the charge goes off when ramming the rod will not pass through the users hand (or face).

The ramrod is removed.
The carbine is lifted to the shoulder.
The carbine is placed at full cock. The carbine is now ready to give fire.
Muskets and carbines were not accurate enough to aim and did not even have a back site. In most cases they were pointed in the right direction. Soldiers of the day would have faces covered with black powder residue after just a few firings.
With the trigger pulled the flint on the cock hits the frizzen. The cock knocks the frizzen and pan cover away exposing the priming charge.The frizzen is made from hardened steel and sparks shower onto the priming charge in the pan. The powder in the pan ignites. This always makes the user blink.
There is a very slight delay a the explosion runs through the touch hole.
If the flint does not spark or the powder is damp a misfire results.
If the pan ignites but the touch hole does not carry the explosion you get a big flash but no bang. The most common reason for this is that the touch hole is blocked from ash from previous firings. This is what is called a "flash in the pan".

The pan fires and the main charge  explodes. In the real thing the lead ball is propelled from the barrel.

In the larger version of this picture sparks can be seen coming from the flint.
The carbine recoils on the shoulder with a sharp kick.
Black powder produces a lot of smoke.