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How to load a musket

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  • Sean
    Manuals be damned - anybody who has ever fired a musket for even a short amount of time knows
    Message 1 of 7 , Mar 1, 1999
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      <<< There are manuals, the whole procedure is written down.>>>

      Manuals be damned - anybody who has ever fired a musket for even a short
      amount of time knows how hot they can get. Has anybody ever tried to spit a
      musket ball down a barrel that's hot enough to fry an egg on!

      Hey, maybe, this is the way it was done and this is how chap stick got
      invented!

      Now to Benton,

      You mention that you have one fellow that can fire five rounds in one
      minute accurately. I'm assuming you mean he is starting with one loaded and
      that the clock starts when he fires his first shot. Our regiment goes with
      a cold start (unloaded, weapon at the shoulder). Our fast fellow has his
      third round off at 39 seconds and most others fall in around 42 to 46
      seconds. Since you say he is firing live I will assume he is going through
      the entire proper loading procedure. If so, then bravo. This is the way we
      do it as well.

      Certainly a great deal more effort required to get a live round down a
      musket barrel than to get one down a short little pistol or blunderbuss
      barrel...




      Cpl. Sean Hirst
      Royal Newfoundland Reg't, Lt. Coy
      *********************************
      945-0591
    • BritcomHMP@xxx.xxx
      In a message dated 3/1/99 10:08:38 AM Central Standard Time, shirst@hca.mnsi.net writes:
      Message 2 of 7 , Mar 1, 1999
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        In a message dated 3/1/99 10:08:38 AM Central Standard Time,
        shirst@... writes:

        << Manuals be damned - anybody who has ever fired a musket for even a short
        amount of time knows how hot they can get. Has anybody ever tried to spit a
        musket ball down a barrel that's hot enough to fry an egg on! >>

        Yes I know Sean, recall we were talking of academics who are not going to do
        that sort of thing but ARE supposed to do original research using books!

        Cheers

        Tim
      • NINETY3RD@xxx.xxx
        ... Actually, I have seen him do it starting empty!
        Message 3 of 7 , Mar 1, 1999
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          In a message dated 01/3/1999 8:08:44 AM, shirst@... writes:

          >Now to Benton,
          >
          >You mention that you have one fellow that can fire five rounds in one
          >minute accurately. I'm assuming you mean he is starting with one loaded
          >and
          >that the clock starts when he fires his first shot.

          Actually, I have seen him do it starting empty!
        • SACBG7@xxx.xxx
          Benton, I am curious as to what caliber of ball you are using to load five rounds per minute live? Not having studied British ordnance specs I am curious to
          Message 4 of 7 , Mar 1, 1999
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            Benton,
            I am curious as to what caliber of ball you are using to load five rounds per
            minute live? Not having studied British ordnance specs I am curious to their
            regulation size.

            Members of the 7th US are trained to load and fire live three times a minute,
            by the book, using a regulation prescribed round for a U.S. Musket. (This is
            about a .657 round ball for a .69 caliber musket.) We also practice with buck
            and ball which is the same load with an additional .32 caliber buckshot.
            Powder charge is 125 grains of FFg black powder. Cartridges are made to the US
            Ordnance specifications, complete with string.

            Contrary to public thought the ball, encased in the cartridge tube, does not
            fall down the bore. Two good forcible tamps from the rammer will seat the
            ball. Buck and ball, due to the configuration of the cartridge, is slightly
            more difficult.

            My best time for three rounds live has been 51 seconds. Blank rounds, without
            ramming or paper is about six per minute. I then begin to cook dinner on the
            musket barrel, but not before spitting popcorn kernels down the barrel for a
            later haversack treat.

            We have also done some interesting experiments using buck and ball.
            Stretching a wide length of butcher paper approx 35'---an assumed width of a
            company---and firing buck and ball volleys, at a distance of 60', we
            discovered almost all of the rounds had a tendency to congregate in the middle
            of the company. Remember this is twenty or more men merely aiming to their
            direct front. After doing this experiment several times the result was always
            the same.

            It made me glad I command the company and posted on the right! Has anyone
            else conducted similiar trials?

            Steve Abolt
            7th USI Living History Assoc.
            www.cottonbalers.lynchburg.net
          • SACBG7@xxx.xxx
            A correction to my earlier post on loading the musket. Our buck and ball rounds consist of three .32 caliber balls in addition to the .657 ball. Steve Abolt
            Message 5 of 7 , Mar 1, 1999
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              A correction to my earlier post on loading the musket. Our buck and ball
              rounds consist of three .32 caliber balls in addition to the .657 ball.

              Steve Abolt
              7th USI Living History Assoc.
              www.cottonbalers.lynchburg.net
            • Roger Fuller
              ... per ... their ... Steve, in the AWI, and I should imagine, in the War of 1812, standard Brit. Army ball sizes raged from approx. .65 to about .69 cal. ,
              Message 6 of 7 , Mar 1, 1999
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                >From: SACBG7@...
                >
                >Benton,
                >I am curious as to what caliber of ball you are using to load five rounds
                per
                >minute live? Not having studied British ordnance specs I am curious to
                their
                >regulation size.


                Steve,

                in the AWI, and I should imagine, in the War of 1812, standard Brit. Army
                ball sizes raged from approx. .65 to about .69 cal. , despite the .75
                caliber bore of the Short Land Pattern Musket. This was obviously done to
                ensure fast loading for volley fire; accuracy was of a secondary concern.
                Wadded up cartridge paper and black powder fouling took care of the windage,
                but with the passage of several shots, even these undersize loads get tough
                to ram down the barrel. (I speak from personal experience.)

                Try doing that on a modern repro with .735 ball- after a few shots without
                wiping down the inside of the barrel with a cleaning jag and wet patches,
                you _will_ get the ball jammed 1/2 way down and have to get a steel rod to
                tap it down onto the charge (don't use your thumbs while doing it...).
                Therefore, I stick to a maximum size ball of .715 for my Bess when shooting
                live.

                The Baker? From what I have read in Howard Blackmore's book on Brit firearms
                (forget the title), the ball size was between .58 to .60 caliber. Much finer
                tolerances required much more frequent and thorough maintenance of the
                weapon.

                Roger
                3/95th Foot
              • NINETY3RD@xxx.xxx
                ... Off the top of me head I cannot recall the exact .0936458 whatever measurements, but it is indeed the regulation size for a .75 Brown Bess. By the by, the
                Message 7 of 7 , Mar 1, 1999
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                  In a message dated 01/3/1999 12:53:59 PM, SACBG7@... writes:

                  >Benton,
                  >I am curious as to what caliber of ball you are using to load five rounds
                  >per
                  >minute live? Not having studied British ordnance specs I am curious to
                  >their
                  >regulation size.


                  Off the top of me head I cannot recall the exact .0936458 whatever
                  measurements, but it is indeed the regulation size for a .75 Brown Bess.
                  By the by, the same fellow uses his Bess to hunt deer with. This past season
                  was the first since I have known him not to bring one back.

                  Cheerios and Wheaties!
                  B
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