1

While seeing the series Black sails, there's an episode where two guys face each other in a pistol duel. While preparing the weapons, it is clearly seen that the assistants put a piece of cloth wrapping the bullets. Why is it done?

  • 2
    So the bullet will fit. Google wadding (IIRC) – Mark C. Wallace Jun 12 '16 at 1:12
9

Not sure about wrapping a bullet entirely, but muzzleloading firearms do generally require a patch of some kind (typically some sort of cloth or paper) between the ball and the powder. This is because the ball is made to be a slightly smaller diameter than the barrel, so it doesn't get stuck in the barrel while loading. If the gun was fired without a patch, the gases could escape around the ball, greatly reducing the velocity imparted to it. The patch provides a seal to keep the expanding gases trapped behind the ball, so the only way they can escape is by pushing it outwards.

  • This is the origin of "buckskin coats"; the leather strips were for torn off for padding of the musket balls. Clearly only dudes would have ever been caught in a pristine buckskin coat. – Pieter Geerkens Jun 27 '16 at 21:46
3

To elaborate on Patrick N's answer, the cloth is called "wadding."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wadding

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