I think you got the loading sequence for flintlocks backwards. The bullet goes down the barrel after the powder, not powder after bullet. The wadding serves to keep the bullet tightly in the barrel, so it would not fall out. There is a good description of the loading sequence here: firearmshistory(.)blogspot(.)co(.)uk/2010/04/loading-mechanisms-muzzleloader(.)html

Yup. These are the joys of midnight editing. I was literally correcting the post when you sent this. Worst thing is, I’ve actually fired a blackpowder musket before. I know better. *Facepalm*