Sorry late in on this topic, I have been busy sorting out all my teenie parts for ebay.
The 7pdr RML, was not a paticularily difficult animal to load and the rate of fire whilst being monitoired by Smith, would be to suit the situation. you have to look into the firing drill, then think of adrenalin, jittery nerves etc.
So load the cartridge, The 7pdr RML had three charges 12oz, 8oz and 6oz contianed in a silk bag, (also serge) we refer to the steel gun in N5's so it would be the 12oz, size was 5.75-6.25 inches long, diamter <2.5 inches. This is rammed home.
The shot is then loaded, there was three options
1) Case: Mark 1V (approved 26/2/72) which was a 5 inch long x 2.94 inch diamter three part case containing 70 lead and anitmony balls, weighing 4.4lb, packed in clay and sand (later pattern had bone meal), simply ram home the cylinder, insert friction tube, aim and fire.
b) Shrapnel, either MkV or MkV1 by 1875. This is a conventional shell shape, with copper driving studs. The bombardier would set the fuse, done by pricking the fuse nose with holes to set the explosion times by increments of .5 seconds.This in turn is ignited by a trailing fuse that is lit by the propellant. The fuse is knocked in and the shell is rammed home. This process would take probably take 20 seconds to carry out.
c) Common shell, shape as the shrapnel, however the bombardier would need to firstly line up the shell wih the rifling, push part home, then remove the safety pin to arm the fuse, which is screwed into place. The ramrod would then force home the shell ready for firing.
A friction tube of brass is pushed into the firing hole, this punctures the silk bag. The Gunners lanyard would be used to pull the ring and set off the charge.
After firing, the bombardier would use the worm to check no burning pieces of the silk or serge is left in the barrel, before ramming home the next charge.
As with any experience gun team, drill, drill drill, makes it a fine tuned machine, with the commander calling out the next round, range, with which the bombardier would be pre-thinking what he needs to do.