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Steven H




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PostPosted: Thu 20 Jul, 2006 2:54 pm    Post subject: Accuracy of Early Firearms         Reply with quote

I have on a few occasions seen it asserted that, at least some, early firearms were actually quite accurate. However, I've seen little documented support for this notion. So I'm looking for ideas as to the accuracy of early firearms i.e. relative to bows or crossbows, range limitations on such, effect of different ammo types etc.

I've seen it stated that some early firearms fired shots that were like darts complete with fletching. I've seen it asserted since simply elongating the barrel and making a tight fit for ammo (both of which are labor and skill intensive and therefore expensive and uncommon) would significantly improve accuracy it was done when firearms were still rather uncommon. But is there historical backing for this?

As for specific type of weapon that I'm interested in: any size, and prior to the adoption of large firearm formations that utilized volume of fire in place of accuracy.

Or were early firearms just loud and scary?
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Carl Scholer





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PostPosted: Thu 20 Jul, 2006 4:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This may not be what you are looking for but I do have some data on 17th/18th century firearm accuracy.

An antique 17th century matchlock was tested in Austria (IIRC) against a man sized silhouette. The gun was aimed and fixed directly onto the center of the targets chest. At 100 meters it hit 50% percent of the time. The same test was done with a pistol from the same period with the result of 98% accuracy at 30 meters.

In an 18th century test flint locks hit a target simulating an infantry line 75% percent of the time at 100 yards.

There was also an officer in the revolutionary army who is quoted as saying that a man could expect to hit a lone person with a brown bess at 80 yards and perhaps even 100 yards but would have little hope of striking a man at 150 yards.

I have a lot more data, but I don't have it on had at the moment.

Actual accuracy didn't change too much through out the age of the smooth bore firearm. However certain inventions, like the percussion cap, did make the firing process less volatile and thus made aiming easier. Not to mention the fact that, at least in the 15th century, the ergonomics of firearms improved significantly.

All in all this is more accurate then most people think, but it should be remembered that on the battlefield the confusion and tension would make it hard for any one to squeeze off accurate shots. During the American Civil war there were some battles where lines exchanged repeated volleys at 75 yards with weapons nearly as accurate as today’s rifles!

Also, don't forget that firearms not only replaced bows as weapons of war but also as weapons of hunting. There is absolutely no point in intimidating the heck out of the dear you’re trying to hunt. Today modern smooth bore hunters recommend firing at 40 to 50 yards to hit the kill zone, while archers who are taking the same aiming factors into consideration prefer to loose at 30 to 35 yards.

A exceptionally skilled modern longbow archer can hit a man sized target three out of five times at 100 yards.

My personal belief as to why guns replaced bows is that on a field, where you don't know the range in advance, its easier to aim with a firearm as firearms (300-400mps), compared to bows (50-70mps), are high velocity weapons that allow you to aim directly at your target at ranges of less than 150 yards or so. I know of bow hunters who refuse to do in door target shooting in order to home their range judging abilities. To me this would explain why Musashi, in his treatise on combat, said the reason that the bow was abandoned for the gun was the bows unsatisfactory performance at over 40 yards. It may also explain why the French captain Monluc (sp?) felt that he got an exaggerated sense of English courage during a battle he was present in during the 16th century because of how close the longbowmen had to approach to fire at his musketeers.
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Felix Wang




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PostPosted: Fri 21 Jul, 2006 2:03 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You should find a copy of Bert Hall's Weapons and Warfare in Renaissance Europe for the most thorough discussion of the performance of early guns and early gunpowder (which is a separate subject). The accuracy of smoothbore firearms with round bullets is examined in some detail - and is strictly limited by ballistics. Rifling was known about quite early on, but rarely used.
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Jonathan Harton





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PostPosted: Fri 21 Jul, 2006 3:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have found the use of smoothbore weapons to be similar to the previous post. I have shot several fowlers, a couple brown besses, and I own a repro 1842 smooth springfield. With time and effort, a man can consistantly hit a deer or man sized target at 100 yards with a smoothbore weapon. The Best accuracy I have seen with a smoothbore has come from fowlers of 20 gauge (roughly .62 caliber) and the French 1777 Charlevelle and 1842 US (they are very similar weapons as the us copied that french weapon from the Revolution through the Mex/Amr war and both are roughly .69 caliber). The Brown Bess is most certainly easier to load as the .73 caliber ball makes an easy slide into the barrel, however; accuracy is lost in exchange for speed.

I have not personally fired a matchlock, although; I know of an individual who does and has taken deer with them from 30-75 yards. I am sure a longer shot out to 100 yards is in his skill level, but the Southern US dense forest don't normally allow such shots to occur.

The great advantage of a smoothbore over a rifle is that it can be used with a vide array of ammunition. Bird shot for fowl, buckshot was popular in the colonies and proved devastating against the british during the revolution. Indeed, the two battlefield complaints most written about by british soldiers against the American colonist was the effective use of the rifle and buckshot. I have set up a row of 4 man sized paper targets and fired buckshot from my 42 springfield and all four had some type of injury at 40 yards. One man would have been dead as the large ball struck him in the throat and the other thee would have suffered chest and shoulder wounds from the smaller pellets. In this case, battlefield accuracy on a single target is not as important as firing at the best possible distance to inflict the best spread of the buckshot over the most targets. Obviously a solid round ball can be used and wrapping with with a lubed patch, like a rifle, and it also improves accuracy as it traps more pressure behind the ball and sends it down range with more force and with a more predictable and consistent arch.

Early firearms were not as consistent as modern longarms to be sure, however; a man who spent a few weeks on the line could be lethal out to 100 yards or so depending on the specifics of the weapon he was using. I would say between 60-80 yards would be the max for longrange consistency with 50 yards being able to produce three inch groups from my own experience.
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Randall Moffett




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PostPosted: Fri 21 Jul, 2006 11:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

One thing not covered so far is the short barrel lenght to bore size and the weak powder. Early 15th firearms were not accuarate. Now the question is did they have to be? For that matter did traditrional archers? Distance is important for sure in this. First no army, (Even Hussites) ever had a majority of gunners in the first half of the 15th, even in the 15th it is not till the very end that some forces start getting large numbers in the hundreds of them(italians, swiss, germans) . The real question should be where they just thrown into a mass of traditional missle men or used seperate? If in a group, accuracy matter little with a field of enemies before you. How were they used?
The mid 15th you get the longer barrel length with guns as well as the superior powder coming inslightly before this in quantities. Near the same time the cannon has similar works going as well, they drop the bore size and lengthen the barrel for better accuracy and less weight you finally get some cannons that can be useful as field guns like Charles the Bold had. Toward the last quarter you have a matchlock like gun appearing more regular but still not dispalcing the older tube hand gun.
AS to what is shot. You still get the arrow in CHarles the Bolds army. For the most part it seems to be lead bullets though.
Th matchlock was used fo hundreds of years so the type being used would vary results hugely. 30-75 yards might be possible but thats excluding the powder factor as I assume the gent is using a more powerful one. I do not recall ranges from any testing but think likely the ranges were similar to what Jonathan was saying. One thing about the 16th over the 15th century is that it was a time of great moves in gunpowder. You go from 0 to perhaps not 60 but 0 to something when it has not been done before. That is a big step, likely with lots of experiments and (failures, which in war gives little change of test two).
The Royal Armoury at Leeds has done some testing on these with late 15th type guns that might be of use. NExt time I am there I will find what article number it is in but I am sure it is in their publication. I will look into it. Kelly Devries is also a good palce to look and CLiffrord Rogers. The main issue is not one being better in all aspects it is better in most aspects that make it succeed. The crossbow and bow had reached the end of its progess in war for the most part as they did not have all the modern materials at their hands while guns were just starting.

Carl,

I would more likely place the displacement of bow by gun as the ability anyone can use it with minimum training, it being cheaper than a crossbow and it penetrates much easier. I am not sure that range from 15th century was but from what I remember it was not all that keen. Almost all the sources I have seen list the crossbow and bow as having a longer range as well as better aim and quicker reload time but that is in the 16th century. From what I have read though the gun did not match the bow in range till the late 18th, one reason why armies would wait to fire their volley at I think 75 yards (? cannot remember exactly sounded right when I first wrote it? ANyone a Napoleonic history buff?) with muskets and other firearms. There is an article called 'What earthly Reason? The replacement of the Longbow by handguns.' which was very good for this starts with a shoot out between Napolean's Old Guard and some longbow men, ahistoric but fun to think about.


Randall
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Carl Scholer





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PostPosted: Sat 22 Jul, 2006 12:51 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

While I do believe their may be a grain of truth in the whole skill issue being one of the reasons behind the replacement of bows by guns, I disagree with the conclusion that this was the entire reason. My belief is that this theory stems from a lack of strenuous testing and research done on the subject. I've read to much history regarding the bow and gun to believe the current consensus. Just look at how the longbow was fazed out. It was relegated as a weapon for use by the untrained bands only, while the trained bands and professional soldiers used muskets, this is not something you do to your most elite weapon. Not to mention the style of adoption taken by the Japanese, Turks, Native Americans, Chinese, ect.

I know for sure though that even the earliest guns have greater ranges than any bows or crossbows. A brown bess, if fired 45 degrees in the air like a longbow, would have a range either approaching or over a kilometer while a 150lbs longbow firing a 60 gram arrow can make only 240 meters. Its a matter of velocity really.

Also, guns were very expensive to manufacture. By the 17th century an infantrymans steel cuirass cost about the same as a matchlock. Longbows were much cheaper weapons, and you could get three or more longbows for the price of one musket.

As for the short ranges in battle, well that can be better explained by the psychological forces on the battlefield. My first post mentions an 18th century test conducted that shows 75% accuracy at 100 yards against a simulated infantry line. In battle, in the 18th century, volleys were often delivered at 100 to 200 yards while point blank volleys at fewer than 50 yards were delivered just before bayonet charges. The great battles of the 18th and 19th centuries would be over in seconds if accuracy approaching these testing range performances were achieved.

When it comes down to it, it is indisputable that the musket has a greater range than the bow, and its also indisputable that the bow has a greater rate of fire than the musket. What the question is really about is training and accuracy. As far as I can tell, it takes a very good bowman to equal and exceed a musketeer in accuracy. However, it also seems that a bowman, because he has to literally arch his arrows into his target, is at a disadvantage when firing on the field of battle where he does not know the range as apposed to target shooting where the range is already known. It would be interesting to see how bows perform when range judgement is added into the equation.

Here is a man who as created a replica 15th century handgun, he can hit a man sized target 4 out of 5 times at 25 (20 yards maybe?) strides. Any way here is his website, http://www.musketeer.ch/blackpowder/handgonne.html I'm pretty sure these very early firearms were designed primarily as psychological weapons.
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Randall Moffett




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PostPosted: Sat 22 Jul, 2006 2:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Carl,

We are comparing a brown bess to a longbow??? We need to compare like periods. That is quite differnt from 15th century guns, now if that is to compare to my comments on Napolean take it up with the pro's who have studied it I am not one of the said pros. You are missing important parts like powder power and also range due to calibre. Early 15th to late handguns were just a tube of metal.... very very cheap to make. It is not until you get the matchlocks where they become expensive. Example 2 p for a brass gun on York 1480's. Sword 2 shillings, sallet 2 shillings same year. No testing or medieval replica guns indicates they have a better range or close to the same that I know of. Your longbow ranges are much less than recent tests have shown (Strickland, HArdy, Royal Military College, RA) and I would like to know where you got the information a brown bess (perhaps replica) can fire near a kilometer at 45 degrees as I have never heard this before and in fact have fired one on many occasions and would never guess it could fire that far. Let me know I can always change my views but have read much to the contrary. Also the gente's question was on 15th century gun, muskets are out.
Untrained is relative. The longbowmen in England get less and less as people stop practicing. The elite men on ships for Henry VIII are longbowmen as are his guard.
At 25-20 yards I have no doubt a good gunner could hit that type of percents.

RPM
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Carl Scholer





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PostPosted: Sat 22 Jul, 2006 1:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Your right, I am expanding this discussion beyond the 15th century but I think their is some legitimacy in doing so to discover the accuracy of 15th century weapons. The arquebus is a late 15th century invention and it should have the same accuracy as a brown bess or a 17th century matchlock. The only deciding factor is the windage (the gap between the barrel and the ball) and the straightness of the barrel, both of these really didn't change much until the 19th century. The arquebus fires a much lighter projectile than a musket but it does so at nearly the same velocity.

The early hand cannons of the 15th century, for ergonomic reasons, are much more difficult to aim and thus in practical terms less accurate. They also had shorter barrels which would limit their velocity and thus add more drop making them trickier to aim. However there are stories of a 15th century hand cannon ace,

http://xenophongroup.com/montjoie/jean-m.htm

I assure you that the longbow range is accurate, however, you can always get more range out of your longbow by decreasing the arrow weight. In any case here is the website with the data,

http://www.stortford-archers.org.uk/medieval.htm

Also, yes you can fire your period firearm at ranges of around a kilometer at 45 degrees. You can also do the same with any modern rifle for ranges much greater than a kilometer. Essentially your shooting your weapon like an artillery piece. However, the reason that this isn't done is because your going to have only a general idea of where that ball/bullet is going to land. A waste of ammo at best... manslaughter at worst Eek!
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Benjamin H. Abbott




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PostPosted: Sat 22 Jul, 2006 1:29 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
A exceptionally skilled modern longbow archer can hit a man sized target three out of five times at 100 yards.


Uh, Douglas Wallentine put three arrows into a paper plate at over 220 yards. Folks like Howard Hill and Byron Ferguson have shot coins out of the air. The best Mongol archers supposed hit targets at 500+ yards. Excellent archers are pretty much arbitrarily accurate.

Quote:
To me this would explain why Musashi, in his treatise on combat, said the reason that the bow was abandoned for the gun was the bows unsatisfactory performance at over 40 yards.


I suspect it had more to do with effectiveness against armor, but I could be wrong.

Quote:
Also, guns were very expensive to manufacture.


I've read that they were still cheaper than good steel crossbows, though. Anyone know if this is correct?

Quote:
As far as I can tell, it takes a very good bowman to equal and exceed a musketeer in accuracy.


Uh, if I remember Bert Hall's number right, it's literally impossible to be very accurate with arquebus/musket past a certain range, simply because of the nature of the weapon.
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Carl Scholer





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PostPosted: Sat 22 Jul, 2006 2:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The current world record for mens accuracy with archery is hitting a target about the size of a dinner plate at 92 meters. Considering that even arrows have a certain amount of natural deviation when it comes to accuracy even if you could see and correctly aim an arrow out to a target at 220 yards your arrow is probably not going to hit it. IIRC a traditional arrow deviates on average, on a calm day, about 4 inches every 60 yards. I believe the world record score for olympic archery at 70 meters is equivalent to consistently putting 72 arrows into a 18cm or 7 inch diameter target, which is not much smaller than a dinner plate. 220 yards is very, very far away, and I can say with confidence that hitting a dinner plate sized target with any bow at 220 yards consistently is pure mythology.

In traditional Islamic archery a good archer was supposed to be able to consistently put his arrows into a three foot circular target at 75 yards. Don't have the source handy unfortunately.
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Randall Moffett




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PostPosted: Sat 22 Jul, 2006 11:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Carl,

like I said I am not trenched in my view on the brown bess not being able to shoot a kilometer at 45 degrees but where was this tested, proven etc. Not to say I don't trust you but I could say the moon is cheese, I do not expect you to take my word on it. Some source, proof.
Also while the website seems good it does not follow that it is right as I know people who use longbows (Hardy Strickland) and have fired further. Its been measured and published, thats basically it for me.

Also in England in the 14th butts for archery were set at a mandatory distance much further than 100 yards often, so really it is not an application if they reach 72 yards now as the legal docs of them state somethign difference. I know (knew, have not seen him in years) and olympic winner from Cali and he could launch an arrow accuratly at much further than 72 yards. Granted it was larger than a plate.... so are men in an army unless your really small. Why a dinner plate in war they were aiming for people not dinner plates. Big Grin

I am not contending that a marksman with a gun would do his job and get good but he had limitations as well, Look at Warwicks Mercs in the WotR's. The fact you had to keep near a source of fire or heat, a paviase, an explosive powder around your throat, etc. Not saying they could not be good just that in the 15th the reason it was slow to catch on is it was not as good in most catagories as the bows and crossbows. That thought seems to fit into the progress of most weapons.

The man on the musketeer website was using a pwder I am assuming would need to be changed to make testing accurate as he states it is modern black powder which he is using and this will give more power and quicker explosion, another disadvantage of early guns as well as a pletora of other side effects.

Ben,

I posted some prices of late 15th handguns before. They tended to be cheaper than bows at times but later types of guns became progressively more mechanical and therefore pricey.
Randall
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Sun 23 Jul, 2006 12:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Randall Moffett wrote:
Carl,

like I said I am not trenched in my view on the brown bess not being able to shoot a kilometer at 45 degrees but where was this tested, proven etc. Not to say I don't trust you but I could say the moon is cheese, I do not expect you to take my word on it. Some source, proof. Randall


Here is a link to some ballistic statistics to " modern " firearms: http://hypertextbook.com/facts/2002/DomnaAntoniadis.shtml

I choose pistol ballistics as these might be closer to what a 15th century hangonne might have as a muzzle velocity: Assuming a muzzle velocity of 850 ft/sec. we get 1800 yards with a .45 ACP fired at 45° angle.

I assume from the velocities achieved by later flintlock pistols i.e. short barrels, that a velocity in this range was at least possible. Also, a friend who fires matchlock and wheelock pistols ( Gordon Frye ) might be able to confirm this velocity range.

With, a very short barrel and very low quality early gunpowder the velocity might be lower but I think we could guess at least 600 ft/sec. ? So, one kilometre maximum range at 45° seems like conservative minimum.

Naturally this has nothing to do with maximum practical range were one could actually aim and hit what one was aiming at !

Have you ever tried hitting something at 1800 yards with a .45 Automatic Colt Pistol ! ( Rhetorical question, no sarcasm intended. Big Grin ) I have managed to hit metal silouhette targets with a .45 ACP at 150 yards twohanded and standing with one bullet in three when I found the range ( elevation ) at a very sandy shooting range.

In any case someone could probably work out the math and give stronger proof than I am doing here.

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!


Last edited by Jean Thibodeau on Sun 23 Jul, 2006 12:22 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Benjamin H. Abbott




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PostPosted: Sun 23 Jul, 2006 12:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
220 yards is very, very far away, and I can say with confidence that hitting a dinner plate sized target with any bow at 220 yards consistently is pure mythology.


As far as I can tell, Douglas Wallentine did it three times. He did say that it might have been luck. (He doubted it, though.)

Either way, I find the idea that early firearms had the advantage in accuracy to be extremely dubious. Sir John Smythe certainly wouldn't agree, and I doubt Fourquevaux would either.

For example, Smthe wrote: "If Harquebuziers alfo or Mofquettiers in taking their fights, doo faile but the length of wheate corne in the heighth of their point and blancke, they work no effect at the marks that they fhoote at, although they bee verie great; and in cafe they doo take their fights at iuft poynt & blanke, yet by reafon that their bullets are lower by boares than the heighth of their peeces, the faid bullets doo naturallie mount, and flie vncertainlie and wide from the marke or markes that they are fhot at, and the further in diftance the more they faile.”

Quote:
In traditional Islamic archery a good archer was supposed to be able to consistently put his arrows into a three foot circular target at 75 yards. Don't have the source handy unfortunately.


Yes, I've read the same thing. I think it was for mounted archers, though, not standing ones. David Nicolle claims mamluk archers were "expected to be able to hit a one metre (3.25 ft) target at a range of 75 metres (246 ft) and to loose three aimed shots in one and a half seconds."

Personally, I find that last part much less believable than Wallentine's feat.

According to a Turkish text written around 1500, "Archers throughout the world are agreed that the shortest practical range is twenty-five cubits and the longest is one hundred and twenty-five cubits; while the limit beyond which no accurate shooting is possible is three hundred cubits."
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Carl Scholer





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PostPosted: Sun 23 Jul, 2006 1:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don't really need to site a source for a brown Bess shooting over, or near, 1km when propped at 45 degrees. Its basic physics really, a brown Bess should send a lead ball down range at around 300 to 400 meters per second. Considering how target shooting for the brown Bess was tested for 400 yards, the ball isn't loosing velocity fast enough to not make it close to, or more likely over, 1km at 45 degrees. For comparison a longbow can send an arrow 240 meters with only 57 meters per second of velocity, a fraction of that of the Bess. I would be very surprised if a Bess, or any musket, couldn't make it close to a km. In fact I think it would be much more likely that a musket would send its ball well over a km.

In medieval history magazine historic black powder recopies were tested. When firing a cannon the old recipes could send a cannon ball at over 80 percent of the velocity as modern rifle powder. Using traditional loads but modern power 17th century muskets can send lead balls down range at 450 meters per second, so 300 meters per second is actually pretty conservative. The main difference between modern powder and old timely powder, among other things, is that modern powder is fast burning. However this aspect of modern powder is incorporated into modern firearm design as it allows projectiles to be sent out at much faster velocities. As a result modern rifles send very light projectiles of around 8 grams or so at velocities of 700 meters per second, while old muskets sent heavy 40 gram lead balls at relatively low velocities of 300 meters per second. In any case the slightly lower velocity would only make aiming more difficult as the firer would have to account for drop, but it would have little effect on the overall potential accuracy of the weapon.

I still doubt Douglas Wallentine's feat. If he really is that talented with the bow then he should petition to join in the Olympics and win the gold metal for archery. After all he can do at 220 yards what few Olympic archers can do at 100 yards. At the very least he should get himself in the Guinness book.


Last edited by Carl Scholer on Sun 23 Jul, 2006 2:15 am; edited 1 time in total
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Benjamin H. Abbott




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PostPosted: Sun 23 Jul, 2006 2:03 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
I still doubt Douglas Wallentine's feat.


It's not as crazy as hitting targets at 500+ meters. Check out this article: http://www.atarn.org/mongolian/mongol_1.htm.

That makes the many accounts of English archers practicing at more than 200 yards look like child's play.
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Randall Moffett




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PostPosted: Sun 23 Jul, 2006 5:52 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean,

'With, a very short barrel and very low quality early gunpowder the velocity might be lower but I think we could guess at least 600 ft/sec. ? So, one kilometre maximum range at 45° seems like conservative minimum.'

Where did 600 ft/seccome from, I missed that one. Was this from a past post? I will get some testing that has been done and share the info they gathered as it has fairly clear numbers. The only info off hand I could find was with powder common in the 15th the arquebus, (not hand gun have not found one) was obtaining muzzle velocity of 340 meter per second and 1,150 joules of energy initially. (Warbowp .399). This does not give distance though but perhaps could be helpful for arquebus info but does not take into account the ball bouncing in the barrel and the less than aerodynamic balls they fired. Uncorned powder which was commonly used was replaced toward the end of the 15th which would greatly reduce distance and time it took for the explosion to take place. ANother issue not looked at so far is amounts of powder used in the guns. Also slow burning powder could cause multiple small/mini explosions that would cause varying levels of force.

From what I gather from my readings the testing done with them had very sporatic distances and a number went a few score yards then fell to the dirt. I assume it in part is lower power powder and then the weight of the ball as well as the fact the short barrel does not give it enough direction, somewhat like a short barrel shotgun perhaps. I have a number of the articles on it in the museum I am at on 15th century firearms but not with me. The men who have done the testing have done very thorough backgrounds on it and even tested different 15th century powders and two or three type of guns were recreated and tested (likely with very high grade materials). I think claiming hundreds of yards as their max distance hard to believe but not impossible, but still am not convinced.
I have no doubt that Modern firearms have great distances, nor that in the evolution of gun technology this happened where the distance grew greater as would be expected. The website was nice. We have a firearms book at work that has some nice info in it but is more of a gun textbook so fairly dry.

Is someone claiming that guns were more accurate than bows and crossbows at the same distance? I think there is plenty of info out there to the contrary for 15th century handguns.

Here is Strickland and Hardy's distances from pg 409 THE GREAT WARBOW.
arrow 1- 53.6 grm velocity 70.07 meters persecond, 76.3 yards per second range 328 meters 360 yards.
arrow 2- 53.6 grm vel 64.29 m/s range 313.8m 345 yards
arrow 3- 53.6 grm vel 64.64 m/s 312.8m 144yards
They have a lot of info gathered none of the arrows from the longbow were under 230 meters in distance

Randall
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Benjamin H. Abbott




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PostPosted: Sun 23 Jul, 2006 11:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
Is someone claiming that guns were more accurate than bows and crossbows at the same distance? I think there is plenty of info out there to the contrary for 15th century handguns.


16 century guns, too. That's when Sir John Smythe was writing. And later smoothbores don't seem to have been much more accurate.
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Glen A Cleeton




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PostPosted: Sun 23 Jul, 2006 12:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don't know if any eary gonne projectiles (other than darts) were stablized like some modern 12 guage loads but modern shotgun slugs are fairly accurate from a smoothbore (cyl bore) at 100yards. This is somewhat amazing, as they are sized to fly past more restrictive choke sizes.

I figured I'd drop these off here. A couple of related sites. This one has a gallery of originals
http://www.handgonne.com/

This one has more info and links about today's gonne nuts and quite a few other artillery links

http://www.handgonnes.com/

Cheers

GC
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Sun 23 Jul, 2006 1:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Randall Moffett wrote:
Jean,

'With, a very short barrel and very low quality early gunpowder the velocity might be lower but I think we could guess at least 600 ft/sec. ? So, one kilometre maximum range at 45° seems like conservative minimum.'

Where did 600 ft/seccome from, I missed that one. Was this from a past post?Randall


No it was just a guess but I just found or re-found an article on hangonnes that goes into great detail in reproducing period balistics with home made powder and there is also a good amount about use and practical accuracy, including the author standing next to a target using a handgonne.

From his tests he get about 400 ft/second: So that is still twice the velocity of an arrow. No exact maximum range is stated but something greater than maximum arrow ranges of 300 to 400 yards would seem at least possible.

A maximum powder charge and a hangonne with a couple of inches longer barrel than the very early ones might give just a bit more velocity.

Link, to the article: http://www.musketeer.ch/blackpowder/handgonne.html

Another link: http://www.handgonne.com/ Oh, if you explore this link there are movies of hangonnes being shot as well as pictures of much heavier ones than the very early reproductions in the first link. Some are at the border of being small canons.

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Randall Moffett




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PostPosted: Sun 23 Jul, 2006 2:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the links. The only question that comes to mind is that velocity does not equal distance right? I still am curious if the design of ball slows it as will calibre. The bullets they use now are shaped to cut through the air with the lease resistance. Now I assume this would not severly limit the flight of a ball but it could knock yards off. Thanks for the info though, this post has been good. Any idea the distance on cannon I remember reading early on they were fairly close to the walls as well?

Randall
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