Black powder firearms, also known as black powder guns or muzzleloaders, are weapons that, instead of being loaded from a side-loading breech like with modern firearms, are loaded from the end of the barrel. The history of black powder firearms is linked with the development of the gunpowder. Until nitrocellulose and smokeless powder were both created during the nineteenth century, gunpowder was the only chemical explosive produced in the world. The invention of gunpowder is often considered to be Chinese. The precise moment when it was created still remains unclear, but voices have argued that gunpowder may have been made since the ninth century during the Tang dynasty.
Gunpowder was turned into a weapon and served the conquest purposes of the Mongols during the thirteenth century. The Mongols reportedly acquired the gunpowder technology and used it to attack and invade the Chinese city fortifications, and then furthered with the conquest of Japan. The gunpowder technology permitted to develop an arsenal of weapons such as rockets, canons, guns, grenades, as well as other types of bombs. How gunpowder became available in Europe is a question that is still to be answered. Many theories have indeed been advanced but none of them has ever been confirmed. The one that implied that gunpowder came to Europe because of the diplomatic and military relationships that the French had with the Mongols is perhaps the most plausible.
For centuries, gunpowder was loaded into black powder guns for warfare. The early versions of black powder guns were longer than those that were later created. Thanks to the advancements in technology, the first models of black powder guns became the blunderbuss, which was mainly used during the seventeenth century. Sometime later, the rifled muzzleloading black powder firearms became largely accessible. As one may know, black powder firearms played a critical role in shaping the world history. It all started with the Mongols in the Asian continent. Then later, European armies learned how to use this warfare invention and started fulfilling their dreams of conquest. Colonialism was eventually applied all around the world. Because of their advanced technology of warfare, European nations gained power and started to dominate the entire world. The new weapons that had been created for warfare became a precious commodity.
Black powder firearms have been divided in three principal categories: the flintlock muzzleloader, the percussion cap muzzleloader, and the modern & breech-loading variety. The flintlock muzzleloader is equipped with a piece of flint as part of the hammer housing which creates the fire through a spark. The percussion cap muzzleloader is made with a small cap fitted to the percussion nipple. The modern & breech-loading variety includes the modern rifles. Today, black powder firearms have sizes that range from 10 caliber for the shotguns to 58 caliber for the largest black powder firearms. Black powder firearms are very resistant items. They may endure damage without decreasing their performance. Yet, once the black powder firearm gets dirty, it must be correctly cleaned otherwise its accuracy is affected.
A black powder firearm is composed of 3 main parts: the barrel, the lock & trigger mechanism, and the stock. The barrel of a black powder firearm is the tube from which the power or the projectile is released. The barrel of a black powder is usually made with steel. The lock mechanism of the black powder gun is the small piece on the top of the weapon that the user must press prior to pulling the trigger mechanism. The stock is the body of the black powder firearm. Black powder firearms can also be customized based on the artistic tastes of the owner.