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John W. Leach




Location: United States
Joined: 16 Feb 2015

Posts: 4

PostPosted: Mon 16 Feb, 2015 12:23 pm    Post subject: Champlain Musket Question         Reply with quote

Greetings, everyone! New to the forum, but long time lurker and reenactor, as well as general historical weapons enthusiast.

My question to you is this: After spending a lot of time trawling through documents, images, drawings, etc, I've had no luck finding out what style of musket we see in the top center of this image ( the two guys at the edge of the woods), from the journal of Samuel de Champlain.


From what I've found so far, it doesn't seem to be the typical 17th century "fishtail" stock, but rather a butt with a downward slope, like this:


What are these guys carrying? I love this style stock, and am planning a new matchlock build, but want something that would be correct in the early 17th century in North America. Lots of other stuff I've read has indicated a LOT of these guns coming out of the Netherlands and Germany at that time, and likely would've been what was coming over to the New World with the French and Dutch.

Thoughts?
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Radovan Geist




Location: Slovakia
Joined: 19 Aug 2010
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PostPosted: Tue 17 Feb, 2015 8:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dear John, I think that stock design is plausible for the period & place you are looking for. My understanding is that they were bit earlier than typical "fishtail" muskets. Im attaching two scans which could be illustrative.


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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Tue 17 Feb, 2015 10:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Going only from memory here: I believe the petronel was a lighter firearm compared to the musket. The design images mention the term, so I will guess that what we're seeing in the Champlain image are petronels. It's hard to tell, but it doesn't look like there are musket rests in use, which would suggest the lighter weapon.
-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Tue 17 Feb, 2015 10:47 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yes...see here: http://www.oocities.org/yosemite/campground/8551/firearms.html

The stock is meant to be braced on the chest.

-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Tue 17 Feb, 2015 10:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

LeMoyne shows similar weapons deployed in Florida explorations.


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-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Radovan Geist




Location: Slovakia
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PostPosted: Wed 18 Feb, 2015 1:34 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

" I believe the petronel was a lighter firearm compared to the musket"
Id say you are right Sean. Applying our terminology on historical weapons could be problematic, but Id say this holds. When you look at the period artwork I can see that "petronels" (or whatever you call that early firing weapon, with downward-curved stock) were fired without supporting rests (even when they were used alongside traditional muskets with rests), which would imply that they were lighter.
On the pictures Ive seen, when firing, theyre held only in hands (the right hands holds the end of the stock in something like a pistol-grip, the left one supports the weapon around its center of gravity - thats the case esp. on pictures from the first half of the 16th cent.), they could be braced on the chest (esp. those with strongly curved stocks), or held under the arm.
Lots of pictures of originals & period artwork in this thread on another forum: http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?...t=petronel
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John W. Leach




Location: United States
Joined: 16 Feb 2015

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PostPosted: Wed 18 Feb, 2015 3:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the replies!

To me, it looks like those guys are shooting something that's a bit longer than the typical "petronel" style (totally agree with the varying terms/definitions for this, though).

All terminology aside, and given what we know about lightening the very heavy musket around that time period, it makes sense to me that the guys coming over with Champlain would want something slimmer and lighter. The bottom image that I posted mentioned a 44" barrel, octagon to round, and in .70 caliber. Again, based on the images I'm seeing, this is congruent with the Champlain image and travelling and fighting in the wilderness of N. America.

Further thoughts? Am I just talking myself into a loop?
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Radovan Geist




Location: Slovakia
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PostPosted: Wed 18 Feb, 2015 11:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Maybe, Id consult a book from Carl Parcher Russell: Guns on the Early Frontiers: A History of Firearms from Colonial Times Through the Years of the Western Fur Trade (Uni of Nebraska Press, 1980). Id found it when searching for some stats on early firearms - its partly available on Google Books: https://books.google.sk/books?id=KC7O5i7-O4UC&printsec=frontcover&hl=sk#v=onepage&q&f=false
On page 8 for example it describes firearms used by early French expeditions - theyre lighter, with smaller caliber (see the attachment). The books gives also some other examples.

However, I cant say anything about the accuracy of the book, nor had I seen it in full: I went only briefly through whats available online (had anyone seen it? is it good / informative / accurate?)



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Paul W.S.




Location: United Kingdom
Joined: 03 Jun 2015

Posts: 1

PostPosted: Wed 03 Jun, 2015 2:32 pm    Post subject: Petronel         Reply with quote

Hi John,

I've just come across your post, having been perusing forums on matchlocks for my own interests. The photographs in your first post certainly do show petronels; the stock shape is characteristic of those made in the last years of the 16th century and therefore in keeping with your theory.

If you wish to read more on this type of weapon, I recommend the following :

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?...t=Petronel

Written by a very knowledgeable historian by the name of Michael Trmner.

Best wishes,
Paul
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