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Blunderbuss Buckshot Patterning   Small Arms <20mm

Started 13-Oct by gatnerd; 1029 views.
Farmplinker

From: Farmplinker

13-Oct

It's not like the ancestors weren't above cherry-picking data! Also, I seem to recall that for testing volly fire, targets were measured in feet, not inches. They were probably firing at a 10'x10' target, but it was accidentally written as 10"x10".

gatnerd

From: gatnerd

13-Oct

Thank you; 10'x10' makes much more sense as a target size for muskets and buckshot at 200yds.

In terms of traditional musket era combat, where the two sides lined up opposite one another, what was the typical engagement distance?

taschoene

From: taschoene

13-Oct

gatnerd said:

In terms of traditional musket era combat, where the two sides lined up opposite one another, what was the typical engagement distance?

In the American Civil War, probably around 200 yards.  That's the number several people have arrived at by looking at Gettysburg, which is probably the most closely studied battle of the war.  Might not be totally representative, but it's probably not far wrong.  

The typical engagement range in the Napoleonic era was more like 50 yards, as I understand it.

gatnerd

From: gatnerd

13-Oct

With the Civil War, they had the Minie Ball and rifled barrels, so a much more accurate ability at range.

If 50 yards is the engagement range for the smoothbore era, I'm frankly surprised they weren't all using blunderbuss's, as thats comfortably within effective buckshot distance, especially against a bunch of troops lined up. 

Farmplinker

From: Farmplinker

13-Oct

40-70 yards for smooth bores is the range, I've usually read. In The War Of The Rebellion, it depended on the units involved. In the 1st year of the war, most units had smooth bores, so 100 yards and under. As rifle-muskets became more common, the range increased, but not as much as you would expect. Around 125 yards, iirc from The Rifle-Musket in Civil War Combat. Marksmanship wasn't what so people claim it was in the good old days! Most troops were still expected to aim using instinctive techniques.

taschoene

From: taschoene

13-Oct

Farmplinker said:

Around 125 yards, iirc from The Rifle-Musket in Civil War Combat. Marksmanship wasn't what so people claim it was in the good old days! Most troops were still expected to aim using instinctive techniques.

I've been reading Steven Sears' history of Gettysburg recently, and it's instructive that commanders were constantly telling their troops to aim low and especially to aim for the enemy's feet, because they were definitely going to end up shooting high otherwise.  

RovingPedant

From: RovingPedant

13-Oct

taschoene said...

I've been reading Steven Sears' history of Gettysburg recently, and it's instructive that commanders were constantly telling their troops to aim low and especially to aim for the enemy's feet, because they were definitely going to end up shooting high otherwise.  

Interesting. I’ve noticed that novice shooters tend to shoot high, preferring to place the stock low or even under their shoulder while keeping their head high. When lining up the muzzle with the target they consequently almost always end up shooting high.

Red7272

From: Red7272

13-Oct

gatnerd said:

If 50 yards is the engagement range for the smoothbore era, I'm frankly surprised they weren't all using blunderbuss's, as thats comfortably within effective buckshot distance, especially against a bunch of troops lined up. 

Lethality is one part. The other is needing the length of the musket plus bayonet for fighting off cavalry and melee, which is where the better troops spent a lot of their time. 

Red7272

From: Red7272

13-Oct

RovingPedant said:

Interesting. I’ve noticed that novice shooters tend to shoot high, preferring to place the stock low or even under their shoulder while keeping their head high. When lining up the muzzle with the target they consequently almost always end up shooting high.

Yeah, the British army was famous for letting their troops fire 5 rounds a year in training. It seems the first time most troops fired their musket was in combat. 

jxexqx

From: jxexqx

14-Oct

Red7272 said...

Yeah, the British army was famous for letting their troops fire 5 rounds a year in training.

I bet you think they didn't aim too . . . 

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