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Veronica W.





Joined: 05 Jan 2007

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PostPosted: Sat 05 Jul, 2008 9:47 pm    Post subject: You never hear the shot that kills you?         Reply with quote

Does anyone know.... Would a man shot by a 17th century musket have heard the shot before or after he felt it? Thanks!!

Veronica W.
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Lin Robinson




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PostPosted: Sun 06 Jul, 2008 4:52 am    Post subject: Re: You never hear the shot that kills you?         Reply with quote

Veronica W. wrote:
Does anyone know.... Would a man shot by a 17th century musket have heard the shot before or after he felt it? Thanks!!

Veronica W.


Sounds like you are writing a novel. The answer is conditioned on an instant death when struck by the ball, which is not a certainty by any means at that time. However, if that were to be the case, then it is possible if the bullet was traveling faster than the speed of sound, that the victim would feel it before he heard it. The speed of sound is approximately 1130 feet per second, although that varies with temperature and altitude. 17th c. muskets, carefully loaded, might have been able to push a ball at that velocity when the bullet's speed was measured at the muzzle, but the further out the bullet is from the barrel of the gun, the slower it is going, and round ball's velocity drops quickly. Given that the report of the gun occurs when the bullet leaves muzzle, the bullet will have to reach the speed of sound at that point.

So, that is possible, but I consider it to be somewhat unlikely.

Lin Robinson

"The best thing in life is to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women." Conan the Barbarian, 1982
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Curt Cummins




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PostPosted: Sun 06 Jul, 2008 7:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don't have any hard data on velocities of muskets, but I have a little practical knowledge - a .45 acp pistol round has an average muzzle velocity of say 900 fps depending on the weight and charge. At this speed the bullet cannot be seen as it travels down range.

When shooting patched .440 round ball with a 40 to 60 gr. charge from my Kentucky long rifle, I can literally see the ball headed down range. An smoothbore musket would not develop as much muzzle velocity as my long rifle so, my guess is is that the sound of the discharge would reach the targret before the ball.

Curt

Ye braggarts and awe be a'skeered and awa, frae Brandoch Daha
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Jared Smith




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PostPosted: Sun 06 Jul, 2008 10:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don't know the specific ballistics of antique muskets, but would expect that down range velocity quickly drops below the speed of sound (900 ft/second bullet speed versus 1100 to 1200 ft/second speed of sound.)
If you shot someone at longer range (100 yards) the bullet would probably be traveling slower (900 ft/second is my guess) than the speed of sound, in which case the person would hear the "crack" about a third of a second before the bullet struck. On the other hand, if you shot someone at close range (20 yards, more credible for musket infantry combat), the bullet would probably be traveling close to the speed of sound (1000 ft/second) and would arrive within roughly 50 milliseconds of the report. For practical purposes, the victim would not even have enough time to flinch between arrival of the report and being struck by the bullet.

Maybe Lin Robinson will chime in here. I suspect he knows the specifics accurately.

Absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence!
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Veronica W.





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PostPosted: Sun 06 Jul, 2008 10:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

How'd you guess, Lin? I write historical romance for Penguin, inspired by great 17th-century Scotsmen. Full name's Veronica Wolff, if you're curious. Happy The saucy covers belie the fact that I actually get quite into the battles and weaponry. The fine folks here have helped me on more than one occasion.

Anyway, thanks to both of you for the great info! I had my shot ringing across the valley and him getting slammed in the back. I see that's not far off the mark (sorry, couldn't resist the pun.) Laughing Out Loud

Thanks again for the help!

best,

Veronica
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Veronica W.





Joined: 05 Jan 2007

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PostPosted: Sun 06 Jul, 2008 10:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks, Jared! Looks like our posts crossed in the ether. Happy

This is all great information!!

Veronica
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Martin Buckley




Location: Wales, U.K.
Joined: 23 Jul 2006

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PostPosted: Sun 06 Jul, 2008 11:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Veronica,
Read one of your books last year on holiday (after my girlfriend had finished it) and really enjoyed it. I think it was called 'Sword of the Highlands', not what I'd usually go for but it was a very wet holiday. Lol. As I said though, great read, and you eye for historical detail is spot on! Have you done anything else simular? It's coming close to holiday time again. Lol.

Got some strange looks when people caught sight of the cover though!!

Best,
Martin
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Daniel Staberg




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PostPosted: Sun 06 Jul, 2008 12:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

17th Century firearms developed far high muzzel velocities than is normaly assuemd due to the large loads of powder used. By mid century the load used was 1-/2-3/4 the bullets weight depending on the quality of powder used. The extensive test carried out by the staff or the Graza Armoury showed that msuekts and arquebus produced muzzel velcoites of 1400-1500 fps. However this is with modern black powder provides a superior performance and the poor balistic performance of roudn shot menat that the velocity was rapidly reduced.
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Lin Robinson




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PostPosted: Sun 06 Jul, 2008 3:29 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Veronica W. wrote:
How'd you guess, Lin? I write historical romance for Penguin, inspired by great 17th-century Scotsmen. Full name's Veronica Wolff, if you're curious. Happy The saucy covers belie the fact that I actually get quite into the battles and weaponry. The fine folks here have helped me on more than one occasion.

Anyway, thanks to both of you for the great info! I had my shot ringing across the valley and him getting slammed in the back. I see that's not far off the mark (sorry, couldn't resist the pun.) Laughing Out Loud

Thanks again for the help!

best,

Veronica


Because your question sounded like one someone would ask who was going to include something in a story about a person being killed by a bullet before he/she heard the gun fire. Simple answer. I write too, so I am always looking for things like that.

I am not much for reading fiction but I will be on the lookout for your books now that i know you. My wife loves those sorts of thing.

Lin Robinson

"The best thing in life is to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women." Conan the Barbarian, 1982
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Gavin Kisebach




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PostPosted: Sun 06 Jul, 2008 3:34 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well unless there's only one shooter, I'd venture to say that you never recognize the shot that kills you, velocity aside. I recall a WWI vet describing getting shot in the leg. He was running across no mans land, and he felt something warm running down his leg. At first he thought he's wet himself from fear. He got a few more steps and collapsed, and only then did he realize that it was blood. Aparently the sound and fury were so great, and the adrenaline so high, that he never actually felt the bullet.
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Torsten F.H. Wilke




Location: Irvine Spectrum, CA
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PostPosted: Sun 06 Jul, 2008 7:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi y'all,

I vaguely recall reading on several occasions that historic musketball 100 yard downrange velocities were around 550 to 650 fps (feet per second) on average, but cannot remember the exact sources. That might give the sound enough time to catch up, or be ever so slightly ahead, since the speed of sound at sea level and standard barometric conditions is only about 761 mph or 1116 fps. The initial muzzle velocity of the projectile could be very close to the speed of sound, possibly giving the bullet a head start over the sound of the shot, but those old round musketballs really lost speed quickly due to horrendous air resistance. Btw, dark foggy days would also make the local speed of sound slower.

By contrast, modern 50 caI muzzle loaders pushing the extreme envelopes of performance will see around 1500 fps out at 100 yards, falling off quickly to around 1100 fps at 200 yards. On a side note, accuracy and energy delivery for the modern versions become pointless and/or unethical at 300 yard ranges, so I believe that the historic weapons in general were really only effective up to a maximum of approximately 100 to 150 yards, and that's pushing it.

Oh, and one last note: One would have no choice in missing the fact they got hit by an ounce of round musketball at close range, since the energy imparted (about 2-3 times the effective energy of a modern .45 handgun) was enough to at least lift you off your feet and throw you right on your back, if not destroy a section of limb. There were very few instances of shots clean through, like with modern rifles. Giant chunks of lead going really slow create horrendous injuries...
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Sun 06 Jul, 2008 9:20 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Torsten F.H. Wilke wrote:

Oh, and one last note: One would have no choice in missing the fact they got hit by an ounce of round musketball at close range, since the energy imparted (about 2-3 times the effective energy of a modern .45 handgun) was enough to at least lift you off your feet and throw you right on your back, if not destroy a section of limb. There were very few instances of shots clean through, like with modern rifles. Giant chunks of lead going really slow create horrendous injuries...


Technically speaking no handgun or rifle has enough energy to actually knock a person down but the bodie's reaction to the energy dump and damage to tissue as well as the bodie's nervous system reaction will often give the impression of a body being knocked down.

Oh, a spherical projectile does lose velocity very fast but this doesn't mean that if it is going at 1200 ft/sec. at the muzzle and then 650 ft/sec. at 100 yards that it will be down to 50 ft/sec. at 200 yards: The lost of speed due to air resistance is much greater proportionally when close to the speed of sound than when down to 600 ft/sec. .

Once the ball is down to these low speeds it loses very little more at extended ranges if it's a very high mass ball/bullet over one oz. in weight.

If one just looks at buckshot ballistics in a modern shotgun: #1 buck will be almost harmless at 100 yards ( Still would prefer to not be the target and find out for sure. Wink But even a heavy leather coat could make the difference between broken skin and zero penetration ). #000 buck can still easily kill at 100 yards+ but the odds of hitting a target at 100 yards with only 8 pellets is relatively low ..... still would rather avoid this. Razz Laughing Out Loud

When one gets to over an oz. a single ball is still dangerous at over 600 yards but the trajectory is more like a rainbow and hitting anything at that range become difficult at the slightest misjudgement of range means the shot falling way short or way too far even if the shot is properly aligned.

I have managed to hit metal chicken silhouette target using shotgun slugs at a sandy target range at more than 100 yards but one had to walk the slugs into the target: Once one figured out the amount elevation hitting the target became easier but still difficult. With previous experience doing this one might guess at the elevation and need fewer ranging shots to get close or hit the target.

Veronica: A bit off Topic to your original question but might be useful information for a future scene/chapter in a book. Question Wink Big Grin

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Jared Smith




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PostPosted: Sun 06 Jul, 2008 10:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean Thibodeau wrote:


Technically speaking no handgun or rifle has enough energy to actually knock a person down but the bodie's reaction to the energy dump and damage to tissue as well as the bodie's nervous system reaction will often give the impression of a body being knocked down.


I load my own shotgun rounds (12 gauge, intended to be low recoil for skeet practice with around 18 grains of powder and 1 ounce or about 450 grains of lead.) Even at low recoil, the rounds often have a "pseudo recoil effect" equivalent to 15 to 18 lbs of momentary force in thrust. (There really is not a solid universal convention for equating this.) Every so often, I accidentally perform a double snatch of the trigger, discharging two barrels in such rapid succession that seems like one shot. This generally rocks me backwards on my heels, almost to the point of falling backwards. (Several people have commented on how it almost looks like I will fall. This is basically what happens when I discharge 900 grains of lead and 35 grains of modern powder, 17 to 18 grains Hodgen's Clays powder per shot.) I realize that it is difficult to equate modern smokeless powder with black powder. But, black powder charges I have heard of with 50 caliber were sometimes very high (+100 grains for the crack marksman units. The now deceased John Pointer commented on it moving a living Civil War "teenage soldier" veteran backwards during the late 1960's.) You could go to the trouble of examining bullet weight versus charge weight. The Enfield Springfield rifle used bullets roughly 500 grains with 65 grains of powder (roughly double the charge of my personal shotgun example experience of discharging both barrels at once.) I suspect this would really tend to slap the recipient around pretty hard. http://www.hackman-adams.com/guns/58musket.htm
I am not claiming that this would knock you down, just that it would "move you" quite noticeably.

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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Sun 06 Jul, 2008 10:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If you where wearing body armour being hit by a very heavy load might put one off balance and make one step back or fall but it wouldn't pick you up an throw you down like in the movie's. ( Not that I'm assuming you believe what you see in the movies or that this is on what you based your comments ).

From what I have read somewhere ? People wearing HEAVY body armour generally are not knocked down being hit by rifle bullets if the bullet doesn't penetrate and the armour is thick enough that they don't react to blunt trauma.

Reaction to recoil depends in part on one's body weight and how one rolls with the recoil or one tries to " hard stop " the recoil with one's shoulder. Wink A soft recoil pad or a padded shooting jacket, not to mention a bit of cushioning body fat can take a lot of the sting out of recoil.

A whole bunch of years past I have fired short barrel shotguns using only one hand " la TERMINATOR " without to much trouble. ( Well being over 240 pounds may have helped with the recoil ....... What " Movies " will make one try. Wink Laughing Out Loud ).

NOTE to the moderators: I would be more concerned about straying from the " Topic " if the earlier posts hadn't addressed Veronica's question and given a very complete answer already.

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Jared Smith




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PostPosted: Sun 06 Jul, 2008 11:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean Thibodeau wrote:

NOTE to the moderators: I would be more concerned about straying from the " Topic " if the earlier posts hadn't addressed Veronica's question and given a very complete answer already.


Knock down effect of revolvers and muskets might make a worth while new topic (if anyone cares.) The Colt Walker was claimed to be able to knock down a horse. I don't buy it. But, the credible side of the story might be interesting.

Absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence!
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Joe Maccarrone




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PostPosted: Mon 07 Jul, 2008 12:07 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jared Smith wrote:

Knock down effect of revolvers and muskets might make a worth while new topic (if anyone cares.) The Colt Walker was claimed to be able to knock down a horse. I don't buy it. But, the credible side of the story might be interesting.


Maybe.......if you clubbed the poor animal hard enough in the head with it. Big Grin
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Mon 07 Jul, 2008 5:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Joe Maccarrone wrote:
Jared Smith wrote:

Knock down effect of revolvers and muskets might make a worth while new topic (if anyone cares.) The Colt Walker was claimed to be able to knock down a horse. I don't buy it. But, the credible side of the story might be interesting.


Maybe.......if you clubbed the poor animal hard enough in the head with it. Big Grin


The power of the Walker Colt was about the same as a very " Hot " modern .357 magnum when the loads where " Hot ":
1550 ft/sec. with 158 grain bullet when the loads where meant for the large N frame S&W like the models 27 and 28.
The later use in lighter revolvers and the fear that " Hot " loads would stretch the frames of L and M frames if used too much.

Too much reading of every Gun magazine published in the 1980 to 1995 period I'm afraid !....... Razz Laughing Out Loud

The power of the Walker wasn't exceeded until the .44 mag was brought out " officially " in the 1950 period. ( Unofficially, Elmer Keith very " Hot " loaded .44 special revolvers to near .44 mag levels in the 1930's ).

Oh, and there may have been some weird revolvers out there in the Balkan countries that where very huge and shot very large calibre bullets that might have been more powerful than the Walker:
http://www.sunblest.net/gun/Gass80.htm

Best pics I could find, but unfortunately finding ballistic info with a search has been unproductive:
http://www.deactivated-guns.co.uk/detail/Austrian_gasser.htm

But a lot depends on velocity as some " Monster " revolvers of high calibre had fairly puny velocity for the bullet size.

And many single shot pistols would have been more powerful.

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Curt Cummins




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PostPosted: Mon 07 Jul, 2008 9:08 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The velocities of muzzle loaders are a function of bullet weight, powder load, barrel length, and the snugness of the fit between ball and barrel. This last is quite important - it determines the amount of pressure that the black powder can build up to propel the ball. Smoothbores have inherently less pressure than rifled barrels due to their loose fit, and muskets were notorious for loose fits.

Again, I go back to practical experience shooting a modern reproduction .45 caliber long rifle. Loaded with identical powder charges, the muzzle velocity and recoil are noticeable affected by shooting a minie ball conical projectile or a patched round ball.

The round ball is lighter than the minie ball by 50% or so and yet it is visible travelling down range, and the felt recoil is neglible. The minie ball is not visible, so it is travelling substantially faster, and felt recoil can be considerable. why, because the minie ball bites into the lands and resists the build up of pressure from the powder long enough for more of the powder to be burned up. In any firearm, smokeless or black powder, rifled or smoothbore, a portion of the propellant is blown out the barrel while still burning or un burnt.

The law of diminishing returns kicks in rapidly with a smoothbore, no matter how much powder is behind it. If the fit of ball to bore does not allow the burning powder time to build up pressure, then it is not imparting any energy to the ball.

Longer barrel lengths affect bullet velocities the same way, by giving the burning gasses time to accelerate the bullet. There is a end to this as well, because overly long barrels lose acceleration due to friction.

Ye braggarts and awe be a'skeered and awa, frae Brandoch Daha
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Veronica W.





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PostPosted: Mon 07 Jul, 2008 1:13 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Such fantastic answers--thanks everyone!! So many interesting responses--and so much to chew on.

Martin, I am thrilled you enjoyed the book! What a treat and a surprise to find someone here who's read it. Yeah, that cover...I'll bet you got some looks. LOL. I'm told torsos sell. Exclamation Go figure. Anyway, to answer your question, my first book was Master of the Highlands, inspired by 17th-century laird Ewen Cameron. My next is Warrior of the Highlands, inspired by the life of Alasdair MacColla, to be released January 2009.

Thanks again to all of you for the thoughtful replies!

best,

Veronica
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Torsten F.H. Wilke




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PostPosted: Mon 07 Jul, 2008 2:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

So, is everyone in agreement that you would hear the shot of a 17th century musket a split second before actually getting hit, and possibly even earlier on a dark and foggy night?


And, as one last side note:

Jean Thibodeau wrote:
If you where wearing body armour being hit by a very heavy load might put one off balance and make one step back or fall but it wouldn't pick you up an throw you down like in the movie's...

Oh, this thread has developed a fun little life of it's own. Laughing Out Loud Laughing Out Loud Eek! WTF?!

So Jean, if I understand you right, you are willing to be the new body-double for proofing modern armour re-creations against historic musket-shot? At distance, of course Happy
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