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IanMorrison
12-04-2010, 09:39 AM
In my story travellers will often carry large black powder rifles with them as a means of fending off extremely large and aggressive predators (this is a fantasy setting, and these critters are the size of a large horse). I'm thinking something akin to an elephant gun. Scarcity of resources in the setting dictates that these weapons and their ammunition are fairly rare.

Of my four main characters, my current plan is to make the marksman who will use this weapon be a small woman with a slight build. The rest of the crew is bigger and stronger, but two of them are novice shooters and the other's vision and shooting skills aren't nearly as good. My assumption is that having an expert marksman behind the weapon is more important than having her be able to carry it around easily.

What sorts of problems would this bring up for her? Is there a serious risk of her injuring herself when firing this weapon? Am I off-base in assuming that she'd be able to handle it at all?

Thanks!

GeorgeK
12-04-2010, 09:56 AM
Leverage rules. Black powder weapons are heavy and realistically a small person is working against too much leverage to be able to aim steadily. Someone with stellar proprioception might be able to shoot from the hip and do better than a larger stronger person, but they are rare. Give her a tripod and I could buy it.

Drachen Jager
12-04-2010, 10:03 AM
A tripod, or something similar that one of the other team members can use to help support.

Makes me think of these guys (http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_BRG74VJTRBg/S-VWg_VPAwI/AAAAAAAACWU/RaYHWk1FpMI/s1600/DSC07047.JPG), from Warhammer. Propping the weapon up is totally something another team member can do.

backslashbaby
12-04-2010, 10:12 AM
How do folks shoot enormous guns without breaking a shoulder, I wonder? I'm no expert, clearly :), but that was the main thing about shooting rifles as a little girl. I actually propped it up on my shoulder and that solved both problems. I still go back to that by instinct sometimes :)

I couldn't hold a handgun steady -- too heavy out there in the air at my size.

Jean
12-04-2010, 10:18 AM
What sorts of problems would this bring up for her? Is there a serious risk of her injuring herself when firing this weapon?

In long run, yes. The force would ruin her shoulder like baseball player did.

Stanmiller
12-04-2010, 05:03 PM
Ian,
Recoil impulse is generated when the burning powder burn reacts against the mass of the projectile. That imparts a shove in the opposite direction (toward the shooter). That shove is resisted by both the mass of the weapon AND the mass of the shooter.

So the heavier the weapon for a given bullet weight and powder charge, the less perceived recoil the shooter will feel. But too heavy and it becomes a crew-served weapon. Research the Barrett M82A rifle and the tripod-mounted M2A machine gun. Both fire the same round, the .50 BMG. The Barrett wights thirty pounds and can be carried and fired by one shooter. The Ma Deuce requires a crew of three to carry the gun, the tripod, and the ammunition.

There's another way to reduce perceived recoil. A device called a muzzle brake uses the expanding gases at the muzzle to produce a forward force that partially offsets the rearward shove. When you're checking out the Barrett, note the muzzle brake (it's not spelled break, as you may see it called by some who should know better). That, combined with the weight of the rifle, reduces the recoil down to about that of a 12 ga shotgun.

So your skinny shooter could do very well with a big rifle with a muzzle brake, shooting from prone off a bipod (no need for a tripod). The problem would be she may need help carrying the thing.

Stan

Puma
12-04-2010, 05:09 PM
Funny - my boss once told me about firing a 12 gauge shotgun when he was a kid. He knew the recoil would sit him on his rear so to solve the problem he braced himself against a tree. Just about took his shoulder off.

The factors that play into your question: caliber and load (how much powder); length of the stock - longer barrels are more accurate, but add weight - however, black powder rifles were not as accurate as modern guns because they were smooth bore; recoil and padding.

A tripod to rest the barrel on would solve the weight problem, but you still have damage potential from the butt of the stock and recoil - to me much worse than trying to hold up a heavy gun.

Hope this helps. Puma

Stanmiller
12-04-2010, 05:35 PM
Puma,
Sorry, but smoothbore BP rifles disappeared around the time of the American Revolution, with the British Brown Bess musket being about the last of them. 'Member the Yankee sharpshooters at Concord? Yep, rifled barrels, which became the standard after that.

As for inaccuracy, I shoot an 1853 .577 caliber Confederate Enfield that's a tackdriver at a hundred yards with its favorite bullet and powder charge.

And do not ever, ever brace against anything solid when firing a gun. If the body can't move, ALL the recoil impulse is transmitted into the shooter, as your boss discovered.

Stan

jclarkdawe
12-04-2010, 06:42 PM
My daughter faces this in her military qualifications for weapons. She's five foot nothing and just in general is small.

The problems begin even before you fire the weapon. It just doesn't fit well. For example, my duaghter's hands are too small for the military's handgun. There's no way she can hold it the way she's supposed to and fire the trigger. She's on the very tip of her fingers reaching for the trigger. So the instructors have to make modifications for her, which inherently effect the accuracy of her shooting.

With a rifle, my daughter had to rely on her prone position when firing to score the necessary accuracy to pass the test. So the instructors really emphasized that style of shooting to her and other people too small to handle a rifle comfortably.

Recoil is dealt with through additional padding. And she isn't going to be doing a lot of shooting without a severely sore shoulder. My guess is she also flinches from the recoil more than a larger person.

But this is also because the military believes that one size fits all (actually it's because supply issues would quickly become very complicated). If she was a civilian and liked shooting, I'm sure she'd find a weapon she was comfortable with. My guess is your character would do the same. My guess is your character would either fire from the prone position or use a solid object to rest the gun on. Additional padding would be used to address the recoil issue. She'd have to learn to compensate for these things, but it can definitely be learned.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

Puma
12-04-2010, 07:31 PM
Hi Stan - From what I've discovered, the Kentucky rifles were about the first of the rifled bores. But there were still a lot of the smooth bores around. I brought it up because I suspected the OP hadn't thought about anything like that. Puma

Stanmiller
12-04-2010, 08:01 PM
Puma,
If I remember correctly, the OP brought this up sometime back. It's a civilization that's reverted to lower-tech, and gone back to BP weapons with cast lead projectiles because of the loss of the precision machinery necessary for brass cartridges and jacketed bullets.

Perhaps the OP will enlighten us....

Stan

IanMorrison
12-04-2010, 09:47 PM
Puma,
If I remember correctly, the OP brought this up sometime back. It's a civilization that's reverted to lower-tech, and gone back to BP weapons with cast lead projectiles because of the loss of the precision machinery necessary for brass cartridges and jacketed bullets.

Perhaps the OP will enlighten us....

Stan

Yeah, you're remembering correctly. The civilisation was roughly 1940's level technology wise before a world-spanning cataclysm about 150 years prior kicked their asses and broke most of their people, land, and infrastructure. I still haven't nailed down exactly how limited they are in terms of machining abilities, but black powder has become the standard because the infrastructure and resources required for smokeless powder is severely diminished, and the loss of old-world transportation networks means that most firearms and ammunition need to be produced locally. Black powder is simpler to create and stores a hell of a lot better, so it's generally speaking a better choice.

As far as machining, I'm still assuming that they've mainly fallen behind on capacity instead of sophistication. They can still use relatively primitive cartridges and jacketed bullets, and I fully expect that they know to rifle their weapon barrels, even if the quality pales by comparison to old-world standards. Regardless, they'll certainly be aware of old-world designs, even when putting them into practise might be difficult.

A quick google search reveals that muzzle brakes were pretty well known around the 1940's (though I couldn't find out when they were first introduced) so I expect that it'd be reasonable to expect the design to be known in my setting. I think I'll make the addition to the weapon, since it doesn't seem to be that difficult an addition. Throw in a bipod and cloth padding on the butt of the gun, and I guess that'd start looking reasonably manageable recoil-wise.

Of course, she'd still have the whole "carrying around a weapon that's a third of your weight" issue, but she'd be able to shoot it! :P

Stanmiller
12-04-2010, 10:59 PM
Yes! I thought this was the one. Very nice premise. I hope to see some of it posted in SYW when you're ready.

Kitti
12-05-2010, 02:24 AM
Is there any reason she needs to be of a slight build? (I'm assuming that, by this, you mean someone with small bones and not much muscle - please correct me if I'm wrong.)

My mother and I are both short (5'2" and 5'3" respectively), small boned and skinny, but because I play sports there's about a thirty pound weight difference between us and it's all in muscle. I would be very surprised if your character didn't build up significant muscle from all that travel and from toting around her gun, unless there was a lack of food/nutrition.

jallenecs
12-05-2010, 06:54 AM
I don't know about the math involved, nor am I a huge gun nut. But I do have some small experience (no pun intended). I learned to shoot when I was eight years old. Heck, my kids learned when they were around the same age.

Carrying the gun was not a problem; that's what the strap is for. Kick is unpleasant at that size, granted. But if you're well trained, and know to seat the gun firmly against your shoulder when you shoot, you're going to get away with bruises most of the time.

My big problem as a little girl was the nose wanting to drop. I wasn't strong enough to hold it steady for more than one or two shots. Everybody is right, a prop would help. Go look at the old pictures. You'll see musketeers carrying what looks like a hiking stick with a fork at the top. That was a prop to allow them to shoot standing up, with what was one of the heaviest black powder guns extant: the wheellock rifle.

My dad used a prop just like that when he shot, even with modern rifles. He had CP, so it was more than he could handle to aim, shoot, and keep his balance. The prop made things easier for him. They're easy to make, just a stick at the right height for your shooter, and it has a fork at the top.

IanMorrison
12-05-2010, 09:26 AM
@ Stan: I'll try to keep you posted, but since this is ultimately a side project I fear it'll be quite some time before it's presentable. :(


Is there any reason she needs to be of a slight build? (I'm assuming that, by this, you mean someone with small bones and not much muscle - please correct me if I'm wrong.)

My mother and I are both short (5'2" and 5'3" respectively), small boned and skinny, but because I play sports there's about a thirty pound weight difference between us and it's all in muscle. I would be very surprised if your character didn't build up significant muscle from all that travel and from toting around her gun, unless there was a lack of food/nutrition.

That's a good point. She's short (my current notes put her at 4'9", though I might end up bringing that up a tad eventually) and skinny but she's still athletic. In fact, she does a lot of sprinting, vaulting over obstacles, and climbing (basically parkour) as her preferred method for getting around. Still, that's mostly the wrong kind of muscle better suited for quick movement and endurance than to brawn.

I imagine she would get better at carrying this monster around after practise, but they're not travelling on foot... they've got vehicles with them, and the weapon would likely just stay in its case in the truck until the kinds of critters that it's meant to kill show up (which, fortunately, are usually seen a ways off). It is a specialist tool, after all, so there's no need to have it at the ready at all times. She'd still end up carrying a smaller rifle around for the smaller threats that give less forewarning, but that'd likely be something significantly more manageable.

@ jallanecs:

That's a really interesting idea. Can those sorts of improvised props be set up in a hurry?

jallenecs
12-05-2010, 04:30 PM
My dad was one of the more popular teachers in our high school; one of his student fan club made him a gorgeous prop in woodshop class. The actual musketeers, like from the Dumas novels, used a fancy prop with a metal fork. But I've used just a stick that I picked up in the woods. Find one that already has a usable fork at the top, and then cut off the excess height/fork length.

The original idea comes from an old trick I've also used, and seen on tv a million times: brace a gun in the branch of a tree, or with your hand against the trunk of a tree.

https://bashapedia.pbworks.com/w/page/13960966/Matchlocks Here's a picture of what I'm talking about.

Stanmiller
12-05-2010, 06:09 PM
@ Stan: I'll try to keep you posted, but since this is ultimately a side project I fear it'll be quite some time before it's presentable. :(


That's a really interesting idea. Can those sorts of improvised props be set up in a hurry?

Ian and jallenecs,
The unipod (prop) works OK sitting or standing. A folding bipod with adjustable legs attached to the rifle works better from the prone. Example (http://www.harrisbipods.com/)

Also, shooting sticks work well. These are just a pair of equal length sticks with a connector piece that allow them to be used as a variable-length bipod. See them here. (http://www.bipodshootingsticks.com/)

Stan

IanMorrison
12-05-2010, 10:20 PM
Oh, now that's interesting. What I like about both the prop and the shooting sticks is that they're something that'd be very easy to improvise or create with simple techniques and materials, which makes a lot more sense in this infrastructure-starved setting than sophisticated bipods and the like.

Stanmiller
12-06-2010, 12:03 AM
Oh, now that's interesting. What I like about both the prop and the shooting sticks is that they're something that'd be very easy to improvise or create with simple techniques and materials, which makes a lot more sense in this infrastructure-starved setting than sophisticated bipods and the like.

The folding bipod isn't sophisticated in design. It's the springs that would be problematic. High-strength springs require advanced metallurgy.

Shooting sticks don't have that problem, but they have to be readjusted after each shot. I've used them varmint shooting. Recoil changes the angle of the sticks, changing point of aim.

For varmints, no big deal. For a thundering herd of house-size beasts bent on trampling the heroine into the dirt, it affects rate of fire. That could be a problem.

Isn't this fun?

Stan

Drachen Jager
12-06-2010, 01:34 AM
She has a team Stan, surely with three brawny guys they can help stabilize the shooting sticks.

jallenecs
12-06-2010, 01:37 AM
For varmints, no big deal. For a thundering herd of house-size beasts bent on trampling the heroine into the dirt, it affects rate of fire. That could be a problem.

Isn't this fun?

Stan

For a thundering herd of house sized beasts, I wouldn't face them holding black powder! Even using the Civil War era paper cartridge, a normal shooter could only load and fire about three times a minute. And that's assuming we're discussing a caplock and a paper cartridge. Go any more old school than that, or mess with flint-, wheel- or matchlock (which all have flashpan assemblies), that's going to slow you down even more.

You could get into some of the more esoteric "repeating fire" black powder firearms. But they are essentially impossible to find, and frighteningly unreliable.

No, if I had a stampede (of cows, much less house-sized beasts) coming at me, I wouldn't be worried about the state of my shooting skills. I'd be more worried about the state of my running skills.

Drachen Jager
12-06-2010, 01:39 AM
This thread reminds me of the Rare Exports (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ei69bYwwCvc) video, if you haven't watched it you should. Truly one of the greatest short films ever made (and Christmas themed too, though don't let the kiddies watch).

Stanmiller
12-06-2010, 03:00 AM
BP repeaters hard to find? The .30-30 and .45-70 rifle calibers, along with the .45 Colt and .38 SPL revolver loads are the most common of the original blackpowder cartridge calibers. They are available today both in the original BP loads and smokeless powder loads too. Guns chambered for these cartridges are still in production.

As for power, the .500 and .600 BP Express calibers used by ivory hunters in Africa were quite good at dropping car-size thundering beasts (elephants and cape buffalo). These were blackpowder rounds later adapted to smokeless powder as the .500 and .600 Nitro Express rounds.

Another BP gun in my family is a Springfield conversion from a Civil War muzzleloader to trapdoor breechloader, then reissued for use during the Indian Wars of the 1870s. It shoots the .50-70 metallic cartridge blackpowder load. And it's pretty accurate too, despite being at Gettysburg.

Stan

Stanmiller
12-06-2010, 03:06 AM
She has a team Stan, surely with three brawny guys they can help stabilize the shooting sticks.

*Grin* You bet. If their nerves hold up. Maybe they have rifles of their own. The OP has all this figured out, I'm sure.

Rowan
12-06-2010, 03:46 AM
My daughter faces this in her military qualifications for weapons. She's five foot nothing and just in general is small.

The problems begin even before you fire the weapon. It just doesn't fit well. For example, my duaghter's hands are too small for the military's handgun. There's no way she can hold it the way she's supposed to and fire the trigger. She's on the very tip of her fingers reaching for the trigger. So the instructors have to make modifications for her, which inherently effect the accuracy of her shooting.

With a rifle, my daughter had to rely on her prone position when firing to score the necessary accuracy to pass the test. So the instructors really emphasized that style of shooting to her and other people too small to handle a rifle comfortably.

Recoil is dealt with through additional padding. And she isn't going to be doing a lot of shooting without a severely sore shoulder. My guess is she also flinches from the recoil more than a larger person.

But this is also because the military believes that one size fits all (actually it's because supply issues would quickly become very complicated). If she was a civilian and liked shooting, I'm sure she'd find a weapon she was comfortable with. My guess is your character would do the same. My guess is your character would either fire from the prone position or use a solid object to rest the gun on. Additional padding would be used to address the recoil issue. She'd have to learn to compensate for these things, but it can definitely be learned.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe
Bolding is mine...

Why? Do you mean she'd flinch due to having a potentially sore shoulder and she's anticipating the pain, or something else entirely?

********
I've shot a lot of firearms (handguns and rifles/shotguns)--M-16 in the USMC, of course, along with the submachine gun and M-60. Of note, the M60 was broken down and carried by 2-3 individuals (team)--person's size was irrelevant. It's just a big f (f@cking)#cking weapon, and then there's the ammo. ;)

I'm not a "large" person--5'6" with an athletic build. Any weapon can get heavy if you're out of shape / firing for long intervals, etc. I'm thinking your character is well-trained though (physically) ???

Having said that--your scenario sounds plausible--am thinking she's a fantasy version of a "sniper". Does she have some special status? If so, then she can order these big strapping men to carry the weapon for her. :) As others have pointed out, she can fire it prone or seated if you're fantasy weapon has a lot of recoil or whatever. I don't know anything about black powder firearms though....so I'll leave it at that! :D

IanMorrison
12-06-2010, 05:05 AM
The folding bipod isn't sophisticated in design. It's the springs that would be problematic. High-strength springs require advanced metallurgy.

Shooting sticks don't have that problem, but they have to be readjusted after each shot. I've used them varmint shooting. Recoil changes the angle of the sticks, changing point of aim.

For varmints, no big deal. For a thundering herd of house-size beasts bent on trampling the heroine into the dirt, it affects rate of fire. That could be a problem.

Isn't this fun?

Stan

Heh. I don't think metallurgy would end up being the problem so much as simply not being able to spare the blacksmiths long enough for the task. Lots of work to be done, not so many people to do it. Then again, I may be drastically overestimating the complexity of manufacturing a simple folding bipod. :P

At any rate, wouldn't a prop be more reliable in terms of multiple shots than the shooting sticks would? It's not going anywhere after the shot, after all.

Fortunately, the beasts this gun is meant to be used against are horse sized, not house sized, and come at most in groups of two. Unfortunately, one of them is usually enough on its own to take a caravan apart (they're certainly strong enough to knock over and rip through the clunky, battered old vehicles that they use to travel), so there's a pretty high priority put on taking these suckers out at a distance with the biggest caliber available.

The others in the group would likely only have weapons for fending off man-sized targets. While that's not completely useless for fighting a large carnivore off, I'm wagering that they wouldn't want to bet their survival upon them if they could help it.

thothguard51
12-06-2010, 05:38 AM
AT 5'-11" and 180 pounds, the first time I went black powder shooting, I came home with a very sore shoulder...

A former girl friends father gave her a 30-6 for Christmas one year, and I got to take her out for her first target practice. I handled the weapon easily. She is 5'-5" and about 125 pounds. Her first shot knocked her on her ass, as did the second shot. By the end of the day though, she had mastered her stance, though she did go home with a large bruise on her shoulder.

Size of the weapon will matter of course, for some of the reasons jcClarke points out. But with practice and training, you can become proficient with a weapon.

Look at the child soldiers in eastern Africa for examples...

jallenecs
12-06-2010, 05:42 AM
BP repeaters hard to find? The .30-30 and .45-70 rifle calibers, along with the .45 Colt and .38 SPL revolver loads are the most common of the original blackpowder cartridge calibers. They are available today both in the original BP loads and smokeless powder loads too. Guns chambered for these cartridges are still in production.

As for power, the .500 and .600 BP Express calibers used by ivory hunters in Africa were quite good at dropping car-size thundering beasts (elephants and cape buffalo). These were blackpowder rounds later adapted to smokeless powder as the .500 and .600 Nitro Express rounds.

Another BP gun in my family is a Springfield conversion from a Civil War muzzleloader to trapdoor breechloader, then reissued for use during the Indian Wars of the 1870s. It shoots the .50-70 metallic cartridge blackpowder load. And it's pretty accurate too, despite being at Gettysburg.

Stan

I'm thinking of the muzzle loading "repeating" rifles. They were experimental, at best, and basically insane. The ones I've seen (and i've only seen pictures) had a series of touchholes lined up along the barrel. The flashpan assembly slide on a little rail, stopping at each touchhole. You'd load the gun with six or seven powder/ball/wadding sets, and then start shooting. The ball at the front went first, slide the flashpan back to the next hole, shoot again, rinse and repeat.

If even one ball failed to shoot, you were screwed.

I've shot the revolvers before (the first pistol I ever shot was a Civil war era BP pistol). They were pretty cool, if a little slow to load. But then again, I wasn't used to it.

The bitch about BP is that there are so many things that can go wrong. Here in my section of Appalachia, for example, shooting flintlock in the summer is ridiculous; high humidity makes the frisson sweat, so you can only get a spark when that Murphy guy has his back turned. I saw one of my (former) friends hot load a badly-maintained caplock, and blow the nipple off. The guy's daughter was standing right behind him, and the nipple laid a crease right along the part of her hair.

We stopped shooting with him after that. Fricking idiot!

(an old broad like me knowing this much about Black Powder? Blame my husband. His best friend is a gunsmith, and has a terrific collection of Black Powder gun. I even got to shoot his duck's foot pistol once!)

Stanmiller
12-06-2010, 06:07 AM
I'm thinking of the muzzle loading repeaters, not cartridge. Those were experimental, at best, and basically insane.

The only rifle I know of that could be called a muzzle-loading repeater used a revolving cylinder. Colt's made them (among others). The typical failure mode was called a chain-fire. Chambers adjacent to the one under the hammer could fire simultaneously, with catastrophic effect to any of the shooter's appendages that happened to get in the way.

Colt's (and other mfrs) percussion revolvers did it too. Modern replica percussion revolvers don't have the problem if the proper size percussion caps are used.

Stan

jallenecs
12-06-2010, 06:26 AM
I'll take you at your word. I know more about the earlier stuff, Revolutionary era. The repeater I'm thinking about was a matchlock, which gives you an idea of how early it was.

thothguard51
12-06-2010, 06:48 AM
Heh. I don't think metallurgy would end up being the problem so much as simply not being able to spare the blacksmiths long enough for the task.:P

Metallurgy is very important. Not every blacksmith would know how to make a gun, or a proper sword for that matter. And a competant warlord would assign enough men to make better weapons for his troops say over horseshoes or wagon fittings...

If the blacksmith gets the wrong mix of steel, or cooling, or any number of things, then the damn weapon can explode in the users face or shatter on the first strike. Also, knowing the mix of powder for the caliber of the weapon was very important.

This is why gunsmiths are considered above a general blacksmith...

Yes, metallurgy is important in weapon making, which is why many blacksmith served apprenticeships in various trades before striking out on their own and specializing...

jclarkdawe
12-06-2010, 07:32 AM
Bolding is mine...

Why? Do you mean she'd flinch due to having a potentially sore shoulder and she's anticipating the pain, or something else entirely?



I haven't seen my daughter shoot, so I have to guess a bit here. But listening to her problems, which seemed relatively consistent for the smaller women at her training, seemed to center on the second shot. I don't remember the exact testing sequence, but involved multiple rounds from the same position, then moving to a new position. They could get the first one okay, but went downhill quickly and much more than the bigger women and men.

I think it's partly the anticipation of pain, but also the fact she doesn't have much upper body strength, a low weight, and shorter arms and legs which amplify the movements.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

Rowan
12-06-2010, 03:22 PM
I haven't seen my daughter shoot, so I have to guess a bit here. But listening to her problems, which seemed relatively consistent for the smaller women at her training, seemed to center on the second shot. I don't remember the exact testing sequence, but involved multiple rounds from the same position, then moving to a new position. They could get the first one okay, but went downhill quickly and much more than the bigger women and men.

I think it's partly the anticipation of pain, but also the fact she doesn't have much upper body strength, a low weight, and shorter arms and legs which amplify the movements.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

Thanks, Jim. I was curious because anticipating the round (and thus jerking the trigger) was one of the biggest problems people faced at Academy--people of all sizes. :)

I used to train with those orange 'dummy rounds' and 'dry fire' a lot, so thankfully I didn't have this issue. But I've always wondered what causes it (and assumed it was most likely the recoil/fear of losing control or dropping the weapon). I can see where anticipating pain would also play a significant role though!

Stanmiller
12-06-2010, 06:55 PM
Thanks, Jim. I was curious because anticipating the round (and thus jerking the trigger) was one of the biggest problems people faced at Academy--people of all sizes. :)

I used to train with those orange 'dummy rounds' and 'dry fire' a lot, so thankfully I didn't have this issue. But I've always wondered what causes it (and assumed it was most likely the recoil/fear of losing control or dropping the weapon). I can see where anticipating pain would also play a significant role though!

Rowan, JCD,
The issue Beretta M9 is a traditional double action semi-auto, with the first shot requiring a long, stiff trigger pull to cock the hammer then fire the shot. Subsequent shots are single-action because the hammer is already cocked, with a much shorter travel, much lighter trigger pull. This leads to the jerking that Rowan mentioned.

Some people, (me included) just can't handle that difference in trigger pulls when trying to shoot double-taps or controlled pairs. Browning Hi-Powers and 1911s (among others) don't have the problem because they're single actions. Every trigger pull is the same.

Stan

WriteKnight
12-06-2010, 08:13 PM
I own a wide collection of BP weapons. Flint, percussion and matchlocks included. The matchlock muskets are very simple - and very very large. (These are period replicas circa 1630-1640. Think English Civil War.) They come with a 'musket rest' - basically a stick with a metal 'U' shaped fork at the top. The musket was set on top of the rest when ready for firing. Drill manuals of the era, actually show how to use the rest for hand to hand combat.

"Chain firing" occurs in BP revolvers because the cylinders are not properly sealed. Once the powder, ball and wad are in place, the top edge of the cylinder is supposed to be filled with grease. This keeps the load dry, and prevents the errant spark from the firing breech from entering one of the adjacent cylinders. I've SEEN a chain fire in a re-enactment - no balls loaded of course - but the fire blowing out the front of the open cylinders was pretty frightening.

Rowan
12-06-2010, 09:30 PM
I own a wide collection of BP weapons. Flint, percussion and matchlocks included. The matchlock muskets are very simple - and very very large. (These are period replicas circa 1630-1640. Think English Civil War.) They come with a 'musket rest' - basically a stick with a metal 'U' shaped fork at the top. The musket was set on top of the rest when ready for firing. Drill manuals of the era, actually show how to use the rest for hand to hand combat.

"Chain firing" occurs in BP revolvers because the cylinders are not properly sealed. Once the powder, ball and wad are in place, the top edge of the cylinder is supposed to be filled with grease. This keeps the load dry, and prevents the errant spark from the firing breech from entering one of the adjacent cylinders. I've SEEN a chain fire in a re-enactment - no balls loaded of course - but the fire blowing out the front of the open cylinders was pretty frightening.

How much (on average) do these BP weapons weigh? I'm curious! :)

Stanmiller
12-06-2010, 09:47 PM
How much (on average) do these BP weapons weigh? I'm curious! :)

Dunno about the matchlocks and flintlocks. The Civil War Enfield (the three-band 39" barrel version) weighs about ten pounds. It's a big lump to carry on a 40-mile forced march. The weight isn't the only thing. It's awkward to carry because of the barrel length, which catches on anything nearby. A combat all-up weight of a hundred balls, percussion caps, powder, patches and powder measure, is fifteen to sixteen pounds.

The cadet-length Trapdoor conversion is about the same, but is less awkward due to the shorter barrel, at 33 inches. Weight of ammo is about the same, even though the Trapdoor shoots metallic cartridges. The weight of the brass is about the same as the weight of the powder measure needed for the muzzleloader.

Stan

GeorgeK
12-07-2010, 06:35 AM
Heh. I don't think metallurgy would end up being the problem so much as simply not being able to spare the blacksmiths long enough for the task. Lots of work to be done, not so many people to do it. Then again, I may be drastically overestimating the complexity of manufacturing a simple folding bipod. :P

.

It's just a rest. It needn't be attached to the firearm and needn't be metal. It could be an old crutch. The key there, is to invert the crutch and have the arm pit part on the ground and saw a notch into the foot of the crutch that you can always hide with a rubber tip. mmm maybe I was a bit too unsupervised as a child.

Canotila
12-09-2010, 12:09 PM
I'm a woman. 5'9", and weigh 122 lbs. I've shot a variety of firearms throughout my life, doing civil war reenacting, 20th century war living history, hunting, and varsity rifle team in high school.

My favorite rifle to shoot is my 1863 replica Zouave, .58 caliber. It's taken down elk and deer with no problem, very powerful and very accurate. It kicks like a mule but I've never had any problems holding it steady. I can put 8-9 rounds through it firing from a standing position before needing a break, and that's usually from loading. Cramming the rounds down the barrel is much harder for me and my wussy arms than holding it steady and aiming accurately. I jumped on the scale with it just now, it weighs 10 lbs.

The barrel is only 33", so that helps with the weight.

I prefer shooting from a standing position, because my body is able to absorb the recoil better that way. I hold it tight against my shoulder, and let my shoulder move with the recoil of the rifle. The movement goes down through my back and sort of disperses in my hips/knees. Usually I only like shooting low caliber weapons prone, because then your shoulder has to take the brunt of the impact.