Author Topic: Reenactor loading  (Read 4715 times)

Offline 4ster

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Reenactor loading
« on: July 17, 2013, 05:31:53 PM »
I've never been a part of or attended a period weapon firing in a reenactor situation.  I've only shot were I could put a ball over the powder charge.  I assume that to make a gun go bang vs whoosh that a patch and round ball have to be over the powder. 

How do reenactors make it as real as possible?  Is it as simple as a reduced charge under some light wadding? 


Steve

Offline 490roundball

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Re: Reenactor loading
« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2013, 06:07:40 PM »
no wadding

nothing comes out the muzzle but smoke

prime with and dump the powder from a paper cartridge down the barrel,  and drop the paper on the ground

you don't ever touch the rod,  so that it does not get  left in the barrel
"It's a poor word that can't be spelt two ways" Tom Yeardley in Swanson's Silent Drum

Offline Hungry Horse

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Re: Reenactor loading
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2013, 06:13:50 PM »
 Out here on the left coast, we don't see much early period re-enactment, but, we do see some civil war events. They shoot powder loaded in paper cartridges. They bite of the end of the cartridge and pour the powder down the barrel, and drop the paper on the ground. No wadding is allowed. They aren't even allowed to use the ramrod, for fear that someone will forget and leave it in the barrel. Be careful, some of the most poorly maintained guns I've ever seen are in the hands of re-enactors. I think they think that since they aren't actually shooting a projectile a once over lightly will suffice for cleaning. Many re-enactors are not shooters, and in fact have never fired a bullet through their guns. The nipples are often rusted in place, and haven't been removed in years. Remember a nipple is just a bullet by another mother, if it get free of the threads that retain it.

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Offline T*O*F

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Re: Reenactor loading
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2013, 06:27:37 PM »
Also, loading nothing but powder results in a lot of carbon in the bore, hence the possibility for glowing embers to remain in the breech.  When they load fast, as in a skirmish, it results in a lot of cook-offs, in which case anything in the bore becomes a projectile whether it be ramrod, wadding, or even chunks of carbon  Most units drill extensively to get in the habit of avoiding this.
Dave Kanger

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Offline Canute Rex

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Re: Reenactor loading
« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2013, 06:59:49 PM »
The tendency is to use slightly (or not so slightly) larger charges of finer (3F) powder to offset the lack of wadding or ball.

That said, back in my reenacting days we tried to keep some distance from rifleman groups, who tended to match our Brown Bess (75 cal) loads in their 45 or 50 cal bores. The crack was enough to tear the fabric of space-time, and we were waiting for the shrapnel to come whizzing by. Once when we were opposite a group of riflemen I caught a grain of burning powder on my tongue from one of their howitzer loads. My jaw had dropped at the sound of their volley and a moment later I felt and heard the sizzle. If there had been a bullet over that charge it would still be orbiting the earth today.

The regiment I belonged to exercised some strict safety rules, cleaned and maintained the muskets religiously, and never quick fired. Never an accident in 15 years.

Offline Scout

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Re: Reenactor loading
« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2013, 05:30:05 AM »
I did the CW reenacting in the 1990s quite a bit. Our unit and most if not all of the "battles" I was in the organizers made you leave your ramrod in your camp before taking the field. I do remember before one event we had to take our RRs and let them drop in the barrels to have them checked for cleanliness. One fellas got stuck due to the buildup of crud. Most never let it go that far. I always fired mine at the range with Minies and kept it spotless.

We used a heavy charge of FFF no wadding, tear off the paper with your teeth, and pour down the barrel, cap and fire.
At Olustee in 1992 we fired so much I had to take off my neckerchief, soak it with water and wrap my barrel in the forestock area it got too hot to hold, no cook offs though.
She ain't Purdy but she shoots real good !

Offline wmrike

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Re: Reenactor loading
« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2013, 04:48:33 PM »
Horse - Hmm, I had earlier made the same observation about the condition of reenactor guns.

Offline 490roundball

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Re: Reenactor loading
« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2013, 07:32:44 PM »
As a member of an F&I group, we always did the ramrod bounce but it was to show the barrel had no load in it, not a check for cleanliness.  We also showed our bags contained no ball so that no accident could occur.

Most of our group were shooters and hunted with our flintlock, they were cleaned after every use.
"It's a poor word that can't be spelt two ways" Tom Yeardley in Swanson's Silent Drum

Offline Hungry Horse

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Re: Reenactor loading
« Reply #8 on: July 19, 2013, 04:35:07 PM »
 While attending a local civil war roundtable, a friend bought a Springfield replica, from another attendee. The previous owner had been a re-enactor for three years, and had never used the piece for live fire. I molded the first projectiles this musket fired. The new owner found the nipple hopelessly rusted in place, and had to remove it, and rethread the snail, for an oversized nipple. It also had such a cake of foulings in the breech( saturated with gun oil) that we had to soak it with AreoKroil and use a breechplug scraper to clear it.
  The re-enactor bought an Enfield, because he was told by another re-enactor, they didn't suffer the misfires the Springfield experienced, but now is having the same problems as before. The danger in re-enacting, I feel comes from re-enactors that are not shooters, and never shoot anything other than blanks.

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Offline bob in the woods

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Re: Reenactor loading
« Reply #9 on: July 19, 2013, 08:10:44 PM »
What I have found is that some do not really think of their firelocks as "real" guns.  They are not shooters, so to them these are really just props.  A comment was made concerning pointing these things at others as in  battles etc.  Our group here NEVER does that.  We are always aiming off and above.  Even a blank charge is dangerous and minimum set backs are strictly maintained.  Same goes for the public/audience . Never is anyone in the line of fire.
All firelocks used in any of our demonstrations are inspected prior to the actual event.   

doug

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Re: Reenactor loading
« Reply #10 on: July 21, 2013, 08:17:15 PM »
     Must be at least ten years ago now or more, but a re-enactor over on the mainland got shot in the bum by a ramrod tip that had come unscrewed from the rod.  Following I gather considerable surgery to remove the tip and correct the internal injuries, he acquired the nickname of "Semi Colon"  :>)  (all true)

cheers Doug

Offline JCKelly

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Re: Reenactor loading
« Reply #11 on: July 21, 2013, 09:39:10 PM »
In the Good Ol' Days, the 1960's reinactors back East were known to send out a Minie ball now & again, with just a light charge. Helped keep it interesting.

Old Bob

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Re: Reenactor loading
« Reply #12 on: July 21, 2013, 10:40:58 PM »
I've never been a part of or attended a period weapon firing in a reenactor situation.  I've only shot were I could put a ball over the powder charge.  I assume that to make a gun go bang vs whoosh that a patch and round ball have to be over the powder. 

How do reenactors make it as real as possible?  Is it as simple as a reduced charge under some light wadding? 




Thirty years ago when we could still ram charges, we generally used 70 gr. charges in muskets (CW). After enough ramrods were sent downrange ( and a few people got hit) most events prohibited using rammers after the initial loading. Shortly after, no ramming at all and then several events told us to leave rammers in camp and only Ordnance Sgts. and Inspectors could carry them. After we stopped using wadding, I went to 100 gr. charges in my Richmond ( a lot of guys in our outfit did) and 140 gr. charges in my Whitworth. Both loads gave a satisfactory report and sounded pretty much like live rounds. In the years after I retired from reenacting I've heard that many events limit blank charges to 70 grs. Blanks of any size, especially light ones with no wadding, leave an enormous amount of fouling which need to be cleaned out as soon as possible. As for projectiles, I've seen some guys get hurt when some nimrod would load acorns and other bits of flora. Some would stay intact enough to have enough range to sting their foes. There were a few units on the opposing sides that had running feuds and would resort to such foolishness. The fired ramrods were generally the result of loading and shooting too fast during file firing. After we quit using rammers, the rate of fire naturally increased. This led to more cook-offs, but actually the number of these remained surprisingly low. They mostly occurred in very dry weather and in very dirty muskets.

Mike R

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Re: Reenactor loading
« Reply #13 on: July 22, 2013, 04:17:06 PM »
Like the others have said--no wadding, no ramrods, just powder in the bores.  Some events make you remove your rod and leave it off the field just in case, others have you tie it to the barrel with string or yarn, others allow it in the pipes.  Even so, accidents have ocurred--a couple years back a young fellow here in a CW reenactment blew up his import musket with a presumed overload of just powder [apparently he multiple-loaded as really happened in battle sometimes].  We always safety inspect arms before battle.   We drill in safe procedures.  I am in Artillery for CW living history and we handle much larger and more dangerous loads--including aluminum wrapped cartridges--these loads DO send particles [powder and foil] downrange and are dangerous at least out to 50 yards--so we are very careful and drill often.  We have fired many hundreds of rounds without accident so far, but we never let our guard down.  Cannon loads vary from 6 Oz to 1 pound or more per load [7000 gr]!  Not for the careless.  We take it seriously/