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William P




Location: Sydney, Australia
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PostPosted: Mon 02 Apr, 2018 10:51 am    Post subject: how powerful were handgonnes + Xbows ?         Reply with quote

now, i know that there was the famouts site of musketeer.ch but his site is gone

and im trying to get an idea of how powerful early firearms are compared to warbows and crossbows

and did the arquebus become more powerful as time went on?

when i say power, im trying to get an idea of power in Joules since thats a decently consistant measurement, i know these figures will vary based on the exact configuration of bullet size and powder amount/quality, but im trying toi get an idea of averages and also upper and lower limits, just to get ballpark ideas of how one could compare to another

i know that the crossbow Tod made for skallagrim shot ~110 Joules, and capandball.eu when shooting lamellar with a handgonne reached 240 Joules, those are just some figures ive seen.


Last edited by William P on Mon 02 Apr, 2018 10:32 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Daniel Staberg




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PostPosted: Mon 02 Apr, 2018 12:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The Wayback Machine at Archive.org is your friend when a webpage goes missing
https://web.archive.org/web/20170710051939/http://www.musketeer.ch:80/blackpowder/handgonne.html

The Arquebus or at least some types of arquebus became more powerfull as this group of weapons developed, improved gunpowder also made it a more potent weapon. The main changes were longer barrels and larger caliber.

"There is nothing more hazardous than to venture a battle. One can lose it
by a thousand unforseen circumstances, even when one has thorougly taken all
precautions that the most perfect military skill allows for."
-Fieldmarshal Lennart Torstensson.
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Ralph Grinly





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PostPosted: Mon 02 Apr, 2018 8:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It's an almost impossible question to answer, there's so many variables - Time period ? Range ? target's "protection" ? degree of injury ?. They're just a few variable I can think of. Back in the days when these weapons were used..there's very little in detailed records that could be used to break down into statistics - Like in "wxyz year, in the battle of Z...xxx warriors were killed by muskets fire and zzz killed by crossbows. "
Test's with replica weapons today may give *some* educated guesses - but that may give a false impression. These tests are rarely carried out on realistic targets at realistic battlefield ranges.
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William P




Location: Sydney, Australia
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PostPosted: Mon 02 Apr, 2018 10:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ralph Grinly wrote:
It's an almost impossible question to answer, there's so many variables - Time period ? Range ? target's "protection" ? degree of injury ?. They're just a few variable I can think of. Back in the days when these weapons were used..there's very little in detailed records that could be used to break down into statistics - Like in "wxyz year, in the battle of Z...xxx warriors were killed by muskets fire and zzz killed by crossbows. "
Test's with replica weapons today may give *some* educated guesses - but that may give a false impression. These tests are rarely carried out on realistic targets at realistic battlefield ranges.
im looking at energy figures i.e weight of projectile and projectile speed i figured thats a good way to get a rough idea of what these three are capable of
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William P




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PostPosted: Tue 03 Apr, 2018 9:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Daniel Staberg wrote:
The Wayback Machine at Archive.org is your friend when a webpage goes missing
https://web.archive.org/web/20170710051939/http://www.musketeer.ch:80/blackpowder/handgonne.html

The Arquebus or at least some types of arquebus became more powerfull as this group of weapons developed, improved gunpowder also made it a more potent weapon. The main changes were longer barrels and larger caliber.


he says hes finding figures of 1500 joules with the tannenberg handgonne with period black powder, do you have any idea if hes even remotely close, do period muskets and arquebuses come even close, thats a LOT of power for such a short barrel.
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Daniel Staberg




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PostPosted: Tue 03 Apr, 2018 2:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well he is firing a perfectly blended 15th Century or even 16th century corned powder out of a 14th century handgonne and unlike a 14th century gunner he has an advanced understanding of the science involved with regards to the preassuers the gun can withstand (i.e the amount of powder which can safely be used) as well as the ability to finely measure the powder charge to match the previous knowledge.

In reality handguns kept using meal aka serpentine powder into the early 16th century for the very reason that it was so dangerous to use powefull corned powder in handguns. The use of corned powder in arquebus was very much a dangerous process of trial an error.

The number he gets is somewhat high compared to those produced in the Graz tests which used modern blackpowder as the pistols which would be most similar in peformance only produced about 1000J at the muzzle. (Though they use smaller shot which would result in less J) Of course the muskets produced over 3000J and one monstrous "doppelhaken" managed 6980J(!) But if we look at the muzzle velocity rather than the energy of the shot, the pistols tested in Graz actually seem to have superior performance, the well made wheellock from 1620 managed 438m/s.

"There is nothing more hazardous than to venture a battle. One can lose it
by a thousand unforseen circumstances, even when one has thorougly taken all
precautions that the most perfect military skill allows for."
-Fieldmarshal Lennart Torstensson.
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William P




Location: Sydney, Australia
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PostPosted: Tue 03 Apr, 2018 9:53 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Daniel Staberg wrote:
Well he is firing a perfectly blended 15th Century or even 16th century corned powder out of a 14th century handgonne and unlike a 14th century gunner he has an advanced understanding of the science involved with regards to the preassuers the gun can withstand (i.e the amount of powder which can safely be used) as well as the ability to finely measure the powder charge to match the previous knowledge.

In reality handguns kept using meal aka serpentine powder into the early 16th century for the very reason that it was so dangerous to use powefull corned powder in handguns. The use of corned powder in arquebus was very much a dangerous process of trial an error.

The number he gets is somewhat high compared to those produced in the Graz tests which used modern blackpowder as the pistols which would be most similar in peformance only produced about 1000J at the muzzle. (Though they use smaller shot which would result in less J) Of course the muskets produced over 3000J and one monstrous "doppelhaken" managed 6980J(!) But if we look at the muzzle velocity rather than the energy of the shot, the pistols tested in Graz actually seem to have superior performance, the well made wheellock from 1620 managed 438m/s.


Could you explain meal powder? Also Ulrich mentioned the modern powder having somehow less effective performance due to stuff about air space compared to his homemade powder. How does mealed powder compare to modern black powder in terms of grain size etc etc.
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Henry O.





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PostPosted: Wed 04 Apr, 2018 2:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There was an article from Alan Williams a while back where he test fired a number of simulated medieval handguns with homemade dry-mixed and wet-mixed powder. While on average the wet-mixed powder tended to be more powerful and more consistent, barring any possible errors in his measurements a number of the dry-mixed powder shots apparently did achieve very high supersonic velocities. (most of the measurements listed are the number of milliseconds it took the bullet to travel 2 inches.)

https://www.academia.edu/12580819/Firing_tests_with_a_simulated_15th_century_handgun

-

Regarding powder, a large part of the problem is that there really isn't one single "best" gunpowder, rather you ideally want to figure out how to match the burn rate of the powder to the dimensions of the barrel and the weight of the projectile. At the extreme ends if you tried to put cannon powder in a pistol the bullet might fall limply to the ground after only a few feet, while if you put pistol powder in a cannon it would likely explode, and even if it didn't it usually wouldn't shoot very far. One method of controlling the burn rate is to alter the size and shape of the powder grains during the corning process, which is why improved corning methods are usually associated with the development of longer, more efficient gun barrels. Although even during the 17th century the primary method for controlling the burn rate seems to have still been to use different proportions of saltpeter depending on whether you were mixing cannon powder, musket powder, pistol powder, etc.

Serpentine powder tends to be fairly light and flaky giving it a pretty high burn rate overall. Which is in part why a lot of earlier guns tend to have fairly short barrels, or even separate powder chambers of a smaller diameter than the rest of the barrel. It is also easily compacted, greatly changing the overall surface area and oxygen present depending on how much or how little the gunner rams the charge home when loading, which is part of what makes it so inconsistent.

The fact that serpentine powder continued to be used alongside corned or crumbled powder even throughout the 16th century probably has more to with many gunners sticking to what they were most familiar with or the fact that many older gun designs actually seemed to work better with serpentine.
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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Wed 04 Apr, 2018 3:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

William P wrote:
Could you explain meal powder?


It's kind of complicated, but serpentine powder was mixed dry without wetting the ingredients (no more than a very minimal extent anyway) so it's less homogeneous in terms of both composition and grain size.


Quote:
Also Ulrich mentioned the modern powder having somehow less effective performance due to stuff about air space compared to his homemade powder. How does mealed powder compare to modern black powder in terms of grain size etc etc.


It's probably a matter of the balance between grain size vs. grain density. Combustion spreads much faster (maybe by 50 to 100%) between gunpowder grains than within individual grains, and modern gunpowder is tuned to provide the safest combustion by keeping the pressure gradient over time as even as possible over the greatest possible range of barrel lengths.

The problem in comparing modern black powder with serpentine is that serpentine doesn't have uniform grain size, period. It doesn't even have an even mix of the components -- there's a far higher likelihood that some parts of the mixture are over-enriched in one ingredient while being short in the others.
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William P




Location: Sydney, Australia
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PostPosted: Sun 08 Apr, 2018 2:41 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lafayette C Curtis wrote:
William P wrote:
Could you explain meal powder?


It's kind of complicated, but serpentine powder was mixed dry without wetting the ingredients (no more than a very minimal extent anyway) so it's less homogeneous in terms of both composition and grain size.


Quote:
Also Ulrich mentioned the modern powder having somehow less effective performance due to stuff about air space compared to his homemade powder. How does mealed powder compare to modern black powder in terms of grain size etc etc.


It's probably a matter of the balance between grain size vs. grain density. Combustion spreads much faster (maybe by 50 to 100%) between gunpowder grains than within individual grains, and modern gunpowder is tuned to provide the safest combustion by keeping the pressure gradient over time as even as possible over the greatest possible range of barrel lengths.

The problem in comparing modern black powder with serpentine is that serpentine doesn't have uniform grain size, period. It doesn't even have an even mix of the components -- there's a far higher likelihood that some parts of the mixture are over-enriched in one ingredient while being short in the others.


makes me wonder about ammo as well, though this gets into theoreticals and more complex calculations but

the lead balls of a handgonne, especially their tendancy to squash in midair, when colliding with a breastplate that is likely quite curved for deflection, qould the squashing of the ball against a surface be good, in that it might conform to the shape and not bounce off, or bad because it would lose energy

and this also makes me wonder a what if, if you shot an arrow of sorts out of the barrel, like a crossbow bolt, what wopuld be the likely result, the power of a handgonne with the armour penetration of a pointy, hardened steel arrowhead?
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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Sun 08 Apr, 2018 9:41 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

William P wrote:
makes me wonder about ammo as well, though this gets into theoreticals and more complex calculations but

the lead balls of a handgonne, especially their tendancy to squash in midair, when colliding with a breastplate that is likely quite curved for deflection, qould the squashing of the ball against a surface be good, in that it might conform to the shape and not bounce off, or bad because it would lose energy


Against armour? Bad, no question about it. Later in the late 16th and early 17th centuries, when long-barrelled pistols were the primary weapon of heavy cavalry, they used steel balls because the harder steel was more likely to punch through the armour and injure the wearer rather than just pancaking on the face of the armour like lead balls. Soft lead was better against unarmoured targets since the flattening of the ball created a larger permanent cavity/wound track and also made it more likely that all the energy would go into the target rather than having leftover carried along by the ball as it passed through and through.


Quote:
and this also makes me wonder a what if, if you shot an arrow of sorts out of the barrel, like a crossbow bolt, what wopuld be the likely result, the power of a handgonne with the armour penetration of a pointy, hardened steel arrowhead?


It didn't work all that well. Google up "musket arrows." These projectiles had one serious weakness in that it was much harder to obturate the barrel (i.e. seal it up around and behind the projectile so that the gases wouldn't rush past and be spent without imparting velocity to the projectile) and the burning powder gases also had a tendency to damage the stabilising fins/vanes (even considering the fact that these vanes were made of materials that weren't too easily burned off, like metal or fairly thick wood). They were also considerably heavier than round lead balls so the user would have been able to carry far fewer of them. So at the end of the day they weren't really much good for anti-personnel (or anti-horse use) -- although they had their uses in signalling and for delivering incendiary loads.
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William P




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PostPosted: Wed 11 Apr, 2018 11:01 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lafayette C Curtis wrote:
William P wrote:
makes me wonder about ammo as well, though this gets into theoreticals and more complex calculations but

the lead balls of a handgonne, especially their tendancy to squash in midair, when colliding with a breastplate that is likely quite curved for deflection, qould the squashing of the ball against a surface be good, in that it might conform to the shape and not bounce off, or bad because it would lose energy


Against armour? Bad, no question about it. Later in the late 16th and early 17th centuries, when long-barrelled pistols were the primary weapon of heavy cavalry, they used steel balls because the harder steel was more likely to punch through the armour and injure the wearer rather than just pancaking on the face of the armour like lead balls. Soft lead was better against unarmoured targets since the flattening of the ball created a larger permanent cavity/wound track and also made it more likely that all the energy would go into the target rather than having leftover carried along by the ball as it passed through and through.


Quote:
and this also makes me wonder a what if, if you shot an arrow of sorts out of the barrel, like a crossbow bolt, what wopuld be the likely result, the power of a handgonne with the armour penetration of a pointy, hardened steel arrowhead?


It didn't work all that well. Google up "musket arrows." These projectiles had one serious weakness in that it was much harder to obturate the barrel (i.e. seal it up around and behind the projectile so that the gases wouldn't rush past and be spent without imparting velocity to the projectile) and the burning powder gases also had a tendency to damage the stabilising fins/vanes (even considering the fact that these vanes were made of materials that weren't too easily burned off, like metal or fairly thick wood). They were also considerably heavier than round lead balls so the user would have been able to carry far fewer of them. So at the end of the day they weren't really much good for anti-personnel (or anti-horse use) -- although they had their uses in signalling and for delivering incendiary loads.



what material was used for gonne, arquebus and musket ammunition, was it always lead, with iron left for cavalry pistols?
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Daniel Staberg




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PostPosted: Wed 11 Apr, 2018 1:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Steel or iron shot were never in general issue but rather a fairly short lived experiment on an individual rather than unit level. While steel shot is harder and deforms less than lead shot upon impact it has less impact energy due to lower mass. (Impact energy is important because the shape makes round shot inefficient penetrators.) Assuming my math is correct the steel/iron shot has only half the impact energy of a lead shot, (I did not have data for pistol caliber shot but rather worked with 16th & 17th C Swedish 27mm round shot which were available in both lead and iron.)

If that is correct then the the data from the Graz tests sugges that the pistols tested would only have achived about 450-460J with steel shot, well below the energy needed for penetration of a 1.9mm wrought iron plate according to Alan Williams.

"There is nothing more hazardous than to venture a battle. One can lose it
by a thousand unforseen circumstances, even when one has thorougly taken all
precautions that the most perfect military skill allows for."
-Fieldmarshal Lennart Torstensson.
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Philip Dyer





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PostPosted: Wed 11 Apr, 2018 4:34 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lafayette C Curtis wrote:
William P wrote:
makes me wonder about ammo as well, though this gets into theoreticals and more complex calculations but

the lead balls of a handgonne, especially their tendancy to squash in midair, when colliding with a breastplate that is likely quite curved for deflection, qould the squashing of the ball against a surface be good, in that it might conform to the shape and not bounce off, or bad because it would lose energy


Against armour? Bad, no question about it. Later in the late 16th and early 17th centuries, when long-barrelled pistols were the primary weapon of heavy cavalry, they used steel balls because the harder steel was more likely to punch through the armour and injure the wearer rather than just pancaking on the face of the armour like lead balls. Soft lead was better against unarmoured targets since the flattening of the ball created a larger permanent cavity/wound track and also made it more likely that all the energy would go into the target rather than having leftover carried along by the ball as it passed through and through.


Quote:
and this also makes me wonder a what if, if you shot an arrow of sorts out of the barrel, like a crossbow bolt, what wopuld be the likely result, the power of a handgonne with the armour penetration of a pointy, hardened steel arrowhead?


It didn't work all that well. Google up "musket arrows." These projectiles had one serious weakness in that it was much harder to obturate the barrel (i.e. seal it up around and behind the projectile so that the gases wouldn't rush past and be spent without imparting velocity to the projectile) and the burning powder gases also had a tendency to damage the stabilising fins/vanes (even considering the fact that these vanes were made of materials that weren't too easily burned off, like metal or fairly thick wood). They were also considerably heavier than round lead balls so the user would have been able to carry far fewer of them. So at the end of the day they weren't really much good for anti-personnel (or anti-horse use) -- although they had their uses in signalling and for delivering incendiary loads.

how would it be harder to seal a barrel with a cylinder shaped object (The end behind the fins) into a cylinder shaped object (the inside of a gun barrel) than a ball to a cylinder (a musket or cannonball to the barrel of a musket or cannon?) If that was the case, minie balls and modern bullets wouldn't be pointed cylinders and musket balls won't need paper wadding for a good seal.
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