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J. Lee





Joined: 07 Aug 2007

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PostPosted: Mon 05 May, 2008 2:25 am    Post subject: How much charge gunpowder was used for 16~17 c. matchlocks?         Reply with quote

I've frequently heard of period arquebus shooting a lead ball of half an ounce and
musket a ball of 2~2.5 ounces, but rarely heard about the amount of gunpowder
used for each shot. Can anyone inform me about this?
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Lin Robinson




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PostPosted: Mon 05 May, 2008 4:47 am    Post subject: Re: How much charge gunpowder was used for 16~17 c. matchloc         Reply with quote

J. Lee wrote:
I've frequently heard of period arquebus shooting a lead ball of half an ounce and
musket a ball of 2~2.5 ounces, but rarely heard about the amount of gunpowder
used for each shot. Can anyone inform me about this?


First you have to decide which size ball you are actually trying to fire. A musket ball of 2 to 2.25 ounces equates to an 8 bore or larger gun, about 84 caliber, which is a very large bullet - think taking African elephants with this gun. In a bore of that size you would need something on the order of 150 grains of FG powder to obtain the velocity needed to give the bullet the range and power needed. A half ounce ball is a 32 gauge, about .50 caliber, which would only require a charge of 50 - 60 grains of powder.

I have no idea of the average caliber of early firearms but suspect that most were considerably smaller than 8 gauge.

Hope this helps.

Lin Robinson

"The best thing in life is to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women." Conan the Barbarian, 1982
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Daniel Staberg




Location: Gothenburg/Sweden
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PostPosted: Mon 05 May, 2008 5:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Actually 8 gauge ( 8 to the pound) was the standard calibre of the 'full' musket in the 16th Century as well as in the early 17th Century. The caliver & arquebus were generaly bored to fire 20 or 24 to the pound.
Looking at period documents and texts powder was initialy issue at a 1:1 ratio, i.e a pound of powder was expended to fire a pound of lead. However this began to be reduced during the later part of the TYW Montecuccoli recomended using a charge of 1/2 the bullets weight if the powder was good and 3/4 of the bullets weight in the powder was otherwise.
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Lin Robinson




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PostPosted: Mon 05 May, 2008 6:43 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Daniel Staberg wrote:
Looking at period documents and texts powder was initialy issue at a 1:1 ratio, i.e a pound of powder was expended to fire a pound of lead. However this began to be reduced during the later part of the TYW Montecuccoli recomended using a charge of 1/2 the bullets weight if the powder was good and 3/4 of the bullets weight in the powder was otherwise.


That's interesting. Using the formula above, then the charge for an 8 bore musket would be 875 grains of powder, there being 7,000 grains to the pound! That is a huge charge. One half that weight is still a huge charge.

Lin Robinson

"The best thing in life is to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women." Conan the Barbarian, 1982
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Pär-Erik Kihl




Location: Gustafs, Sweden
Joined: 28 Aug 2003

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PostPosted: Mon 05 May, 2008 1:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello

I have a copy of a Swedish General Issue Match lock musket from 1620. The caliber is 20mm ( .79) . If I remember it correctly the instructions to the soldiers was to use 19grams (294grains) of black powder. The soldiers was also instructed to fire the musket from the breast plate and not from the shoulder. I fully understand that, after 13 shots in a competition my shoulder have a greenish hue and I have a black eye. And thats when I use 75grains and not 294.

I hope this was helpful

Best regards

Par-Erik
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Russ Thomas
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Location: Telemark, Norway
Joined: 25 Jan 2004
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PostPosted: Mon 12 May, 2008 4:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Folks,

Sir Henry Lee, Master of the Armoury 1578-1611, tested some steel plates in a demonstration in1590,and in his own words: "I chose a good and stronge pystolle, I took a very good powder and weighed it, so I did the bullettes and wythe equall charge I tryed fyrste the one and then the othere."

I have also read somewhere that a rule of thumb measure was just enough powder to cover the ball when it sat in the palm of the hand.

Regards,

Russ

Carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero !


http://www.living-history.no
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