Colonial Williamsburg black powder safety requirements

Black Powder Safety Requirements

Several times a year the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation (CWF) hosts reenactors in the historic area. Reenactors are required to meet current rules and regulations involving the use of black powder and must exhibit safe handling in the use of black powder.

In addition to the above, there are four special requirements specifically applicable to reenactors participating in programs at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. They are as follows:

1. The Safety Officer must be notified at least three weeks in advance of a Colonial Williamsburg event of any variations in loading and firing procedure. This allows the Safety Officer to review and approve or disapprove of procedures used in individual units.

2. At least one Safety Officer must be present at all firings, and has the power to stop or modify programs to provide a safe firing environment for our visitors and the units participating in Colonial Williamsburg programming. The Safety Officer should appoint other personnel to help with safety when necessary.

3. All black powder brought onto Colonial Williamsburg property must be in the form of prepared cartridges. Prepared cartridges must conform to Colonial Williamsburg regulations concerning size. Muskets will not use any more than 125 grains ffg. Artillery will use no more than 1 ounce per 1/2 inch of bore diameter. The size of rifle and pistol cartridges will be determined at the time of inspection, due to the variety of bore sizes. All programs involving firing must be policed for cartridges after each program. Individuals policing the area must be assigned before the program begins.

4. All members of reenactment units participating in Colonial Williamsburg events must submit to an on-site safety inspection by a Safety Officer appointed and trained by the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. Each weapon, both Musket and Rifle must have a frizzen cover and flash guard. Weapons, cartridge boxes and other appropriate equipment will be inspected before individuals are allowed to participate in any firing demonstrations at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.

5. A safe firing zone will be determined for each program by the Safety Officer. The officer will use visitor safety, area of demonstration and participant safety as guides, along with past program layouts.