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Alexander B.

Location: Germany
Joined: 16 Nov 2014

Posts: 46

PostPosted: Sat 18 Feb, 2017 5:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I always wonder, why seemingly the "effective range" of bows is considere to extend as far as the arrows fly.
Yet with muskets, suddenly effective range includes the ability to reliably hit a target of a given size.

A period quote about a common soldiers musket states that it "will strike the figure of a man at 80 yards. It may even at 100"

Which is usually then dismissed and whittled down until everyone agrees you can't hit a barn door reliably beyond 50 yards. AT BEST.
So the effective range of the musket is agreed upon to be no more than 50 yards, even if the musket balls fly several hundred yds and can maim and kill along the way.

A Musket Ball fired level has no trouble reaching 100 yards, and may hit the ground as 120 or 130. The drop at 200 yds. is very roughly 5 or 6 ft. which requires only a little elevation by the musketeer.

Also, many muskets, contrary to common believe, HAD sights. Some only front sights, some front and rear sights. But they were there. The (perceived) absense of sights on firearms is taken to mean they cannot possibly be meaningfully aimed.

Yet the same proponents often claim an archer without ANY sights can hit a cigarette box at 150 yards by looking/aiming along the arrow.

I have yet to receive a satisfying explanation why it is possible to look and aim along a stick of wood at some 20-30 of elevation, yet looking along a straight tube of iron some 4-5 ft. long with 0-5 elevations is not humanly possible.


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Henry O.

Joined: 18 Jun 2016

Posts: 189

PostPosted: Thu 21 Dec, 2017 7:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sorry for bringing up this thread again, but I got around to reading through Barnabe Rich's "A Martiall conference" (1598) and he expands upon a lot of good points.

Here is an album of the pages relevant to the "longbow vs gun" debate:

Things that pop out to me, he points out that livery bows can't shoot as well as gaming bows:

for although there be many that in their gaming bowes and there arrowes, fitted to their length, and neately feathered, will shoote sixteene or eighteene score, yet when they shall be brought to their liverie bowes, which are rather made to indure weather, then for free shooting, their arrowes likewise big timbered, their fethers ruffled, whereby they will gather winde, and ordinarily made of such length, that very few will draw them to the heads by two three inches, these things considered, if tenne amongst a hundred do shoote above tenne score, all the rest will shoote short of nine.

He discounts the importance of rapid shooting:

for although it be true that every archer ordinarily will shoot faster than every shot can do hand to hand, yet for service to be performed in the fielde, if there be 1000 shot, and 1000 archers, every captain of any sufficient experience will so maintaine his skirmish, that he will still have as many bullets flying, as the archers can shoote arrowes, if they will shoote to any purpose to annoy those that shal serve against them, there is no such necessitie of hastie charging, as unskilfull men will dreame of, but that shotte may take convenieut time, and the more they be in number, the more may be their leisure.

He also doubles down on his statements about the musket's effective range and claims that muskets often were used at very long ranges in the low countries:

. . . in truth one of the most especiall causes that muskets are so much regarded, is because they may be brought 24 and 30 scores off to beate upon squadrons either of horsemen or footmen, to breake and dismember them: and in like maner to beate passages or grounds of advantage taken by the enemy. . . but for those that do no better valew of the musket, but to give their volies at tenne, twenty, or thirtie paces: it should seeme they knew of no other service in the field. . . captains that be of experience are accustomed to place the stand of pikes (wherein consisteth their strength) upon some ground of advantage, and as neere as they can will bring some hedge, some ditch, some shrubbes or bushes, or some other like helpes betweene them and the enemy, because they would not lie open to the musket shot,
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