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"Exercitium with the ramrod" from manuals or handles of the infantry , illustration from a service regulation, around 1735

The ramrod served as a loading aid for a muzzle-loading weapon .

First, a certain amount was gunpowder in the gun - or guns run given. Then a felt was pressed into the barrel with the aid of the ramrod for damming and compacting .

Ball pullers , scrapers or eyelets could be attached to the ramrods provided for this purpose . Thus, the ramrod served not only as a loading aid, but also to restore the ability to fire and to clean and maintain the weapon.

With rifles, the ramrod is usually housed under the barrel, in a groove in the stock . He is held there by a ramrod spring. Some pistols had a ramrod hinge below the muzzle. The ramrod was permanently connected to the weapon and could not be lost.

The iron ramrod

The iron ramrod was introduced by Leopold I to his grenadiers in 1698 and to the Prussian army from 1718 . Before that, ramrods were made of wood, which often broke in combat so that the musketeer could no longer be used.

The iron ramrod was also an instrument of punishment when running the gauntlet . Therefore the term became a symbol for draconian severity and discipline.

Later the ramrod was made of steel.


  • Gottfried Erich Rosenthal : Encyclopedia of the war sciences of their history and literature. Seventh volume, fifth division, by Carl Wilhelm Ettinger, Gotha 1801.
  • General German real encyclopedia for the educated classes . Eighth volume, FA Brockhaus, Leipzig 1845.

Individual evidence

  1. Bernhard von Poten (ed.): Concise dictionary of the entire military sciences: Fifth volume: Ibrahim Pascha bis Krieg von 1859 , 1878, pp. 205–206 [1]
  2. Prince Leopold I of Anhalt-Dessau (1676-1747): "The Old Dessauer": Exhibition for the 250th anniversary , publisher Museum of Natural History and Prehistory , 1997, p.244 [2]