2014 March

  • 09 Dec 2012 4:21 AM | Marc Bowen (Administrator)

    Purpose: The purpose of these rules is to ensure that everyone has a safe and enjoyable experience, marchers and public alike.

    bullet Firelocks
    As each of you know, firelocks are lethal weapons. Many years of safe re-enactments can be ruined with a single accident. Each marcher under arms is expected to understand and follow common safety rules for muskets, such as never pointing the firelock at anyone, keeping powder away from fire and sparks, not leaving weapons or powder unattended where someone could get at them, and so forth. If there are any questions, please ask, rather than assume. Also, even the most conscientious of us can slip up. If you see any unsafe condition, a gentle reminder is in order. Park Service training is that you are to imagine that there is a powerful laser coming out of the muzzle of your musket, and that there is no "Off" switch. Keep that in mind, especially in crowds. You may know that your musket is unloaded, but those in the crowd don't. Let's help defuse, rather than fuel, the fear of firearms among some segments of the public.


    1. OVTA will provide gunpowder, in the interest of maximizing safety and maintaining control of the powder. You may bring a small quantity of priming powder in a metal priming flask, capable of dispensing only one priming charge at a time. Other than that, no powder should be brought by an individual on the march. We are quite serious about that; anyone who brings powder in a horn or in cartridges will be required to flush it down the nearest sink or toilet. We don't even want it locked up in your car. Don't bring it.
    2. Loading and firing will be done only by command, unless prior arrangements have been made, such as for a skit. The designated safety officer will issue cartridges just before the firing. Any unused cartridges shall be promptly returned to his care after the firing exercise. You will pick up your used cartridges afterwards; occasionally, there is a small amount left, and we don't want some child to pick it up and get into trouble with it.
    3. The marchers of 1780 carried powder in a horn. For purposes of authenticity, you are welcome to carry a horn; however, for modern safety reasons, it must be completely emptied of powder at all times. We will load only from cartridges, and (at the discretion of the individual), you may prime from a metal flask, as noted above.
    4. Unless we are at a place where we can safely target-shoot, nothing but powder is to be put into the barrel when we are conducting a firing exercise. Remember, if you don't put it in the barrel, it can't get accidentally shot out. This includes wadding, paper, and ramrods.
    5. Firing demonstrations will always be done with muskets pointed in a safe direction, and at a 45 degree angle up. If you don't have a flash guard, tilt your pan to the left, so the vent blast doesn't hit the man on your right.
    6. A safety inspection will be held each morning before the march, to ensure that all muskets are in good order, and that they are unloaded. Any musket that will be carried at any time during the day should be present at this morning parade. Those who join the march during the day should report immediately with his musket to the Safety Officer for inspection. The inspection includes:
      bullet Your pan is empty.
      bullet Your barrel is empty.
      bullet Your lock will not go off half-cocked.
      bullet Your flint is in good condition (ONLY FLINTLOCKS are permitted on the march--percussion cap muskets are not correct for 1780, and serve to confuse the educational message that we are presenting to the public).
      bullet Your horn, if any, is empty, and your priming flask, if any, is in good condition.
      bullet Your musket is reasonably clean and in good working order.


    bullet Edged Weapons
    1. Swords, knives, tomahawks, and suchlike will be sheathed securely when carried, for your safety and the safety of those around you. There should be no exposed cutting edges.
    2. When unsheathed for use or for demonstration, be careful!
    3. If your edged weapon is prone to fall out if you sit, lie, or stumble on the trail, please tie it in place. This may not only prevent an injury, but may also keep you from losing a treasured item.
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