Join Date: Mar 2014
Looking at the Matchlock's drawing on the top of page 1, the left man has a bore-diameter rod with a thin extension that he stuck through the hole in the projectile.
Matchlock's theory was that the holes in the shot were used to transmit the ignition to the superimposed loads in the barrel. But since you clearly see numerous touch holes in the barrel, it just doesn't make sense. There would be gases escaping from these holes, reducing the pressure and velocity. If Matchlock's theory concerning the center holes in the projectiles was to be believed, the barrel would have had to be solid without any touch holes.
I want to propose another theory - the holes in the shot were used to measure the distance between projectiles to ensure that the powder charges properly line up with the touch holes. That is why the man on the left has a "measuring probe" inserted through the center hole in the clot shot.
I would love to have discussed it with Michael, but unfortunately it is not to be. Hopefully he will get the proper explanation from the real gunners depicted in the drawing up there.