The rifles carried by hunters on foot were long barreled. The rifle was not always fatal from the first shot. The hunters preferred a rifle that put the muzzle near the shooters nose. The idea being the gun could be loaded while the shooter watched his target.
The heavy barreled short Hawken type rifle referred to as a "Yeager" by Western hunters was designed for the horse back hunters of the open plains. The Hawken did not need the balance of a Long rifle. It was heavy barreled and thick wristed for dangerous Western game.
The art of speed loading any muzzle loader was to simply pour the powder don't measure and spit a naked ball down the bore. Men like Wetzel could and did load their flint locks on a dead run.