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J. Lee





Joined: 07 Aug 2007

Posts: 18

PostPosted: Thu 01 Jul, 2010 9:25 am    Post subject: Why was serpentine powder still used well into the 17th c?         Reply with quote

The advantages of corned powder over serpentine powder are superior firepower, better resistance to moist, and cheaper cost. This means there were basically no reason for 17th century europeans to painstakingly produce serpentine powder, unless they wanted to reenact 15th century handgunner. Razz

However, quite a number of 17th century gunpowder related accounts include powder charge tables which show both the amount of serpentine and corned powder required to shoot guns, which means serpentine powders were still used despite the corned powder being the dominant propellant since 16th century. Montecuccoli also noted out the significant difference between peformance of different types of gunpowders, which also seems to be implying the presence of serpentine powders. Were there any reason to continue making serpentine powder, unless the powder was produced in some remote, conservative rural area?
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Joel Minturn





Joined: 10 Dec 2007

Posts: 232

PostPosted: Thu 01 Jul, 2010 1:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well since serpintine powder is just the 3 basic ingrediants mixed together. I would say that it stuck around because it was easier to make. That the rural hunter who made small batches at home or from a local maker and wasn't going to travel with it would find that serpintine powder worked just fine. Why pay top dollar for something you can get cheaper locally or make your self.
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Jean Thibodeau




Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
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PostPosted: Thu 01 Jul, 2010 8:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Maybe older guns and cannons where corned powder would be too dangerous to use in ?

A certain overlap in usage since new stuff doesn't always replace the older stuff right away: Flintlocks or similar earlier locks where available mid 16th century but matchlocks where still in general use by armies till the late 17th century.

Low cost, very reliable ignition as long as the match didn't go out.

Later on flintlock still in use for a while after the percussion lock was introduced and muzzle loading percussion lock pistols still in use when fixed brass cartridges started being common around 1865 / 1870.

Anyway, just a guess.

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