from The Century Dictionary.
- noun In gunnery, a pointed wire used through the vent of a cannon to prick the cartridge when it is home, and after discharge to extinguish any ignited particles. [Eng.] In the United States service called
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When the gun was loaded the gunner filled the touch-hole with his priming powder, from a horn he carried in his belt, after thrusting a sharp wire, called the priming-iron, down the touch-hole, through the cartridge, so that the priming powder might have direct access to the powder of the charge.
"for the cold snuffe into the nosthrill," and priming-iron.
"Run in the gun, lads; and be smart with it; that's your sort; sponge it well out; that'll do; now in with the cartridge; three strokes with the rammer; now home with the shot; run out the gun again; bear a hand with the priming-iron, you Ned; muzzle to the left -- a little more yet; well with that.