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Evelyn_Alexie
05-01-2016, 08:20 PM
This should be such an easy thing to find, but I've searched through past posts and consulted Mr. Google and I cannot find this simple piece of information.

Question:
Is there a sound that a rifle makes when it's being readied to fire?

Context:
The heroine is holding a rifle in the mid-1840s. She is behind the hero and he only knows she's there when he hears the 'click' sound of the rifle being cocked.

Is a rifle going to make a sound like that? I think in the 1840s people had muzzle-loading rifles. I suppose there would be a sound after you primed the rifle and closed the breech. The only reference I've found to cocking is from Cracked, and it's in reference to pistols, so I don't know if it applies.

The "cocking the gun to show you mean business" must date back to Westerns, back when those old revolvers forced you to cock them between each shot (something that was made obsolete 150 years ago (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Adams_%28handgun_designer%29)

This might sound like a trivial thing to get hung up on, but it's really bugging me.

Siri Kirpal
05-01-2016, 09:52 PM
Sat Nam! (Literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

According to my husband, who shoots antique guns for fun, 1840s rifles are most likely going to be percussion. Cocking them definitely has a sound. In fact, it has two: half-cock takes the hammer off the nipple so you can place the percussion cap on the nipple. It's a safety position. To fire it, you need to go to full cock. Each sound has a metallic click.

Remember the saying, "Don't go off half-cocked." This is what that refers to.

And yes, most were muzzle loading.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal with help from Mr. Siri

Evelyn_Alexie
05-01-2016, 11:52 PM
Siri Kirpal, thank you!
Google tells me that translates as "Shukria". I hope that's right. :)

This was really bugging me. I appreciate the help.

Siri Kirpal
05-02-2016, 02:24 AM
Sat Nam! (Literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

What translates as Shukria? I'm not familiar with that word. Siri Kirpal translates as Infinite (or Great) Compassion.

Glad to be of service.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal

Evelyn_Alexie
05-02-2016, 06:49 AM
Sat Nam! (Literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

What translates as Shukria? I'm not familiar with that word. Siri Kirpal translates as Infinite (or Great) Compassion.

Glad to be of service.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal

Oh dear. It was supposed to be the translation of "Thank you"! Now I wonder what it really means.
I really appreciated your response.:e2flowers

leifwright
05-02-2016, 07:01 AM
Almost every rifle before the mid-20th century made a click sound before it was fired, because there's a mechanical part that holds back the hammer (the thingy that's cocked), and when that mechanical part falls into place, there's a click.

Most - but not all - rifles in the 1840s were muzzle-loaders. Muzzle loaders used a metal ball poured into the barrel and held in place with something wadded above it and the powder.

But modern rifles - those with elongated bullets instead of a ball - were invented in the 1700s, so they could have been around. Until the 1840s, actually, muskets were the firearm of choice, smaller balls being invented in the 40s to make them more efficient.

Breech loading rifles were invented in the late 1830s, so it's possible your character could have one, but not likely if she's not wealthy.

andadu27101
05-02-2016, 10:02 AM
All guns: pistols, revolvers, shotguns, rifles, regardless of how old, made some kind of noises when prepared to fire. Older ones when cocked, modern ones when switching off the safety. Some guns from the period you mentioned actually made quite loud ones when cocked (two stages of cocking, a few even had a third stage) and some had a feature called schnell (from the German for fast)...a trigger action in two stages. First time you pull the trigger it primes the weapon. It makes a noise when trigger reaches firing position. Then, the slightest touch on the trigger releases the hammer. A woman might use such a gun.

Trebor1415
05-02-2016, 10:33 AM
In your scenario she would have either had to have access to an already loaded (but not cocked) rifle or been able to load the rifle out of sight and hearing of the other character. Loading a muzzle loader takes several steps and time. For a non-military person assume that once she has rifle, powder, projectile, and percussion cap ready, it would take her about 30 seconds or so to load the rifle. (30 seconds or longer for a civilian. Trained troops spent time training and practicing and were expected to load faster)

She'd have to:

Pour a measured amount of gun powder down the barrel
Place a round ball projectile at the muzzle and push it a bit down the barrel
Draw the ramrod, insert the ramrod in the barrel, and push the bullet all the way down
Remove the ramrod
Place the gun on half cock by pulling the hammer back slightly.
Place a percussion cap on the nipple where it will be struck by the hammer
Cock the hammer

Note that if she has an older (obsolete but still found sometimes) flintlock she would skip the steps using the percussion cap.

All this takes time and makes some noise. That final cock is it is pulled to full cock is probably the loudest.

A muzzle loading percussion rifle would NEVER be stored with the percussion cap on a loaded rifle. In fact, I can think of very few reasons it would be stored loaded (minus the cap) at all. It was more of a "load it when you need it" thing.

Of course, she could bluff him with an unloaded rifle (with just a cap on the nipple so it looks loaded) if she doesn't need to actually fire it.

Evelyn_Alexie
05-02-2016, 08:28 PM
Thank you all for this information! It is tremendously helpful.

I was picturing her hunting in the woods, but I love the idea of bluffing him with an unloaded rifle! That would be interesting.

Off to read about muskets and flintlocks now. Again, thank you!!
:thankyou:

Siri Kirpal
05-02-2016, 09:43 PM
Oh dear. It was supposed to be the translation of "Thank you"! Now I wonder what it really means.
I really appreciated your response.:e2flowers

Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

Someone just told me it does mean Thank You in Hindi...which isn't the language Sikhs use. Ours is Punjabi, and Thank You is Dhanvaad.

End of derail.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal

rugcat
05-02-2016, 09:59 PM
Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

Someone just told me it does mean Thank You in Hindi...which isn't the language Sikhs use. Ours is Punjabi, and Thank You is Dhanvaad.

End of derail.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal To continue the derail for a moment, how does one pronounce "Sikh?" Is it "sick" or "seek?"

If you Google "Sikh pronunciation" you will find several different sites which claim to have the correct and authoritative answer. Unfortunately, they do not agree.

Is there a correct answer to this, or is it like one of those grammar questions that people will argue about which is proper forever and never come to an agreement?

Evelyn_Alexie
05-02-2016, 10:08 PM
It's an interesting derail :)

To confuse matters further, the site where I got "shukria" said that it was Punjabi.
http://englishsikh.co.uk/?page_id=301

All the more reason to trust Absolute Write over Google!

AW Admin
05-02-2016, 10:30 PM
To continue the derail for a moment, how does one pronounce "Sikh?" Is it "sick" or "seek?"

If you Google "Sikh pronunciation" you will find several different sites which claim to have the correct and authoritative answer. Unfortunately, they do not agree.

Is there a correct answer to this, or is it like one of those grammar questions that people will argue about which is proper forever and never come to an agreement?

Both are acceptable; seek = U.S. sik = UK, generally

See the American Heritage Dictionary:

https://ahdictionary.com/word/search.html?q=Sikh&submit.x=20&submit.y=22

Which has audio files of people saying words:

https://ahdictionary.com/application/resources/wavs/S0215600.wav

Trebor1415
05-02-2016, 10:52 PM
I did a few minutes of quick research.

For a story set in 1840, with a civilian character, it is actually more likely she'd have a flintlock than that she would have a percussion cap rifle.

It looks like percussion rifles were the new cutting edge military tech at that time. The U.S. didn't adapt one until 1841

http://www.militaryfactory.com/smallarms/detail.asp?smallarms_id=926

In addition, later on many flintlocks were converted to percussion.

http://www.militaryfactory.com/smallarms/detail.asp?smallarms_id=806


But, as civilian firearms tech typically lagged behind military tech, in 1840 there would be many more flintlocks in private hands and relatively few percussion cap rifles. (I'm just going with which is more likely. If she's supposed to be well connected or something you could probably justify her haven't the newest tech. Otherwise go with the flintlock)

There would be flintlock long rifles, flintlock smooth bores (muskets essentially) and flintlock shotguns.
http://frontierpartisans.com/5123/the-mountain-mans-rifle/

This link has reproduction smooth bores and shotguns.

https://www.trackofthewolf.com/list/Item.aspx/489/1

For hunting, unless she's a "mountain man" type character, you might want to give her a flintlock shotgun.

Trebor1415
05-02-2016, 10:58 PM
Here's a good video of someone loading and firing a flintlock rifle.

Note that I forgot a couple things in my description: He uses a "starer rod" to seat the bullet, and a waxed patch. The patch makes a tighter fit that improves accuracy. In an emergency, at close range, it could be skipped. Also, I forget that you have to put powder in the pan to prime the pan. Note the sound of cocking is not THAT loud. It would have to be fairly quiet and close by for someone to hear it.

If the firearm is a flintlock smoothbore (musket) or shotgun you would not use a waxed patch. The smoothbore (or shotgun) does not have any rifling to impart spin on the bullet so you don't need as tight a fit. The downside is they are not as accurate, especially when the range opens up past about 50 yards. (Or worse, if the bullet is especially small compared to the barrel).

The upside is since the fit is so loose you can essentially drop the ball in without using the starter and then ramrod it all the way down.

With a shotgun you'd pour shot down the barrel (many small balls) and ramrod it to ensure it is right against the breech. I believe you'd run some paper wadding down after the shot and before ramming it as well to keep the shot from rolling out.

Here's the video. Search for "how to load flintlock shotgun" etc and you'll find more

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AT47W-C4F8Q

Trebor1415
05-02-2016, 11:11 PM
Another video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WX_-fz4geAU

And a good video of a man in period clothing loading and firing a flintlock shotgun. Read the annotions

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FVXvMWZIfoE

A video of loading and firing a flintlock rifle with some good slow motion showing the flash in the pan and recoil. Definitely watch this one.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eA8vZxJslgw

Another good one. Note he how talks about why you don't load right from powder horn. And notice the correct teminology from the period is used. It's not a "hammer" it's a "cock." (In other words, what we now call the hammer was called the "cock" in period)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=insxddY6ZmE

And two more good ones on flintlock shotguns. One is how to load a round ball and the second is how to load shot.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4NRPgKp6paE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fDpEByECtGo

Make sure to check out the suggested videos as well for "how to clean" etc, if you need that info

Evelyn_Alexie
05-03-2016, 12:49 AM
Trebor, thank you so much! I appreciate these links immensely. I was not using the correct terms when I searched, clearly. :(

Trebor1415
05-03-2016, 01:55 AM
Trebor, thank you so much! I appreciate these links immensely. I was not using the correct terms when I searched, clearly. :(

No problem, glad to help.

I just noticed something in your first post. You make mention of the sound made "when you close the breech."

For these muzzle loaders the breech is always closed. The barrel is a tube closed at one end. The breech end is the solid closed end. The muzzle is the open end. The breech is never "opened" or "closed" as it is manufactured with a built in breech block welded into one end to make it a solid unit.

There is a small hole on the top rear of the barrel for the spark to enter, but other than that, the only hole is the hole at the end of the barrel


The later development of "breechloaders" allowed loading from the breech end by opening and closing the breech. This was very hard to due with black powder so although there are earlier examples breech loaders didn't really become common until cartridges became common.

So, for your purposes, she's never going to "open or close" the breech. She's going to put powder and projectile down the muzzle, ram, etc, and then move the "cock" (what we now call a hammer) to "half cock" to prime the weapon with priming powder and then to "full cock' so she can pull the trigger and fire.

Siri Kirpal
05-03-2016, 03:14 AM
Both are acceptable; seek = U.S. sik = UK, generally

See the American Heritage Dictionary:

https://ahdictionary.com/word/search.html?q=Sikh&submit.x=20&submit.y=22

Which has audio files of people saying words:

https://ahdictionary.com/application/resources/wavs/S0215600.wav

Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

Correct. English Sikhs prefer (usually) to pronounce it "Seek" because "Sik" sounds too much like "Sick." But the proper Punjabi pronunciation is that second one.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal

WeaselFire
05-03-2016, 03:23 AM
Is there a sound that a rifle makes when it's being readied to fire?

Which rifle will determine the exact noise, but take a look at:

https://youtu.be/WjShdm1wzjs
https://youtu.be/J7FgrwqJIvc

Jeff

Bren McDonnall
05-07-2016, 07:23 AM
There were a fair few breechloaders by the 1840's. The Brits had at least one version by the time of the American Revolutionary war. Search for the Ferguson Rifle.

There were Italian repeaters that essentially loaded multiple shots worth of components as far back as the 17th century. Lorenzoni (and much later) Cookson repeaters, for example, which used a rotating breechblock. The Texicans during their own revolution against Mexico carried (or, at least some of them did) breechloaders whose breechblocks could be removed and used as a sort of bastardized pistol.

Hell, Lewis and Clark had them at least one high powered, magazine fed air rifle. A Girandoni. There are youtube videos of guys firing replicas. Girandonis were actually a regular issue long arm for the Austrian army for awhile.

That being said, a few things need to be cleared up. First thing is, until very recently, the military is absolutely NOT the cutting edge. For the most part, throughout history, they've had to be dragged kicking and screaming into the present. As an example, right into the beginning of WW I, most European militaries were still married to the notion that single shot rifles were the way to go. Even their magazine fed rifles had magazine cutoffs to allow single feeding, leaving feeding from the magazine for emergencies such as being overrun.

The Serbs, for instance, had purchased a mess of lever action rifles from (IIRC) Winchester in the early years of WWI. They absolutely astounded the attacking Austrian army when they opened up with those things during one of the many Austrian invasions of Serbia.

The American army was using mostly Springfield muskets right up until the adoption of the Krag Jorgensen rifles in the late 1890's. True, by that time, they'd all been converted to cartridge firing breechloaders. But they were essentially the same muskets that the army issued going into the Civil War.

Pinfire self contained cartridges were developed in the 1830s and were very popular in the U.S. and could have been used by the army if they hadn't been expensive.

What I'm trying to say is that "conventional wisdom" regarding firearms development isn't exactly comprehensive. There was a far greater variety available than we commonly hear about. Even the bore-though cylinder that supposedly kept metallic cartridge revolvers from being a thing because of patents only affected America.

All that being said, chances are, if she was out hunting, she'd probably have either a caplock, pinfire, or flintlock, depending on how well to do she was. (the Forgotten weapons youtube channel recently did a review of a truly ridiculous 20 shot pinfire pistol, and more importantly, a 15mm pinfire revolving rifle)

In the case of any of them, she'd be carrying the weapon charged and on either half cock (in the case of the cap or flint locks) or with the hammer resting on the safety notch (pinfire) In all cases, unless she was a fool and rolling along with a fully cocked rifle, there would be at least one authoritative click as she brought the hammer to full cock. This can (and commonly was, if you didn't expect to frighten away the game you wanted to shoot) be muffled by moving slowly and shielding the lock with the hand and possibly coat/cloak.

There were also double action firearms at the time. There's still a click, but it comes so close to the discharge that there's not much time to react.

Mark G
05-11-2016, 10:11 AM
I'd suggest picking a rifle that existed in the year in question and Googling the heck out of it :)

Evelyn_Alexie
05-16-2016, 12:52 AM
There were a fair few breechloaders by the 1840's.
What I'm trying to say is that "conventional wisdom" regarding firearms development isn't exactly comprehensive. There was a far greater variety available than we commonly hear about. Even the bore-though cylinder that supposedly kept metallic cartridge revolvers from being a thing because of patents only affected America.

All that being said, chances are, if she was out hunting, she'd probably have either a caplock, pinfire, or flintlock, depending on how well to do she was. (the Forgotten weapons youtube channel recently did a review of a truly ridiculous 20 shot pinfire pistol, and more importantly, a 15mm pinfire revolving rifle)

In the case of any of them, she'd be carrying the weapon charged and on either half cock (in the case of the cap or flint locks) or with the hammer resting on the safety notch (pinfire) In all cases, unless she was a fool and rolling along with a fully cocked rifle, there would be at least one authoritative click as she brought the hammer to full cock. This can (and commonly was, if you didn't expect to frighten away the game you wanted to shoot) be muffled by moving slowly and shielding the lock with the hand and possibly coat/cloak.

There were also double action firearms at the time. There's still a click, but it comes so close to the discharge that there's not much time to react.

Bren, thank you! This is very helpful.