18TH CENTURY LIVING HISTORY, HISTORICAL TREKKING, AND PERIOD WILDERNESS LIVING.
The British army soon realized there was a safety problem when priming first with the paper cartridge, thus the invention and issue of the "hammer Cap" or what we call today a 'Hammer Stall" a leather cover for the hammer or frizzen that prevents an accidental spark in case the cock falls accidentally. Totally safe and the true period correct way to prime and load a military musket.
I guessn safety took second place when people were shooting 3/4 inch lead balls at you from a hundred yards.
In the 1812 reenacting community (North America) we use the "prime first" method for muskets. I've fired thousands of rounds this way without incident, and have only heard of one accident occurring in our hobby. Nor do most of us use frizzen stalls. The bottom line is that if your firelock does not have a safe half-cock position then it is not safe to load period, no matter when you do the priming.
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