Author Topic: Blunderbuss Ballistics?  (Read 2945 times)

Smokey Plainsman

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Blunderbuss Ballistics?
« on: July 29, 2019, 12:35:03 AM »
Guys Iím wanting to have a 10 gauge, 16Ē barrel. Naturally, the flare of the buss will limit the actual working barrel length to something like 13Ē or so.



Iím wondering, with a barrel so short, could one get a load of buckshot up to an acceptable velocity? Also, wouldnít large powder charges be ultimately pointless as there wouldnít be enough barrel to burn all the powder?

Just wondering, yall.

Thoughts?

Offline Ezra

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Re: Blunderbuss Ballistics?
« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2019, 12:42:26 AM »
What, to you, is an ďacceptable velocityĒ for your buckshot?  And what size and how much buckshot are you looking using for your load?
As an aside, I never thought I would ever see/read blunderbuss and ballistics in the same sentence.


Ez
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Smokey Plainsman

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Re: Blunderbuss Ballistics?
« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2019, 01:02:47 AM »
By my calculations, a load of 12 pellets of .340Ē diameter (00 1/2) should fit nicely and largely equate to the weight of a .760 round ball.

What powder charge could get the shot up to say, 900 FPS? Is that even possible?

Offline wattlebuster

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Re: Blunderbuss Ballistics?
« Reply #3 on: July 29, 2019, 02:10:54 AM »
These guns were the pre sawed off double barrel coach/lawman/outlaw business get er done shotguns of the 17th an 18th century an I think you will get more than enough velocity out of a 16 inch barrel to do whatever your needing done with it. Stick to close range an it will shine. Stretch it too far an it will fail. Simple as that. Build your gun an have fun with it. Good luck to you
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Smokey Plainsman

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Re: Blunderbuss Ballistics?
« Reply #4 on: July 29, 2019, 02:20:02 AM »
These guns were the pre sawed off double barrel coach/lawman/outlaw business get er done shotguns of the 17th an 18th century an I think you will get more than enough velocity out of a 16 inch barrel to do whatever your needing done with it. Stick to close range an it will shine. Stretch it too far an it will fail. Simple as that. Build your gun an have fun with it. Good luck to you

Thanks :)

Offline Skirmisher

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Re: Blunderbuss Ballistics?
« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2019, 04:02:22 AM »
I have a nice old blunderbuss myself and have yet to try it out.  From what I have read, they simply poured a large charge of powder (100-150) grains followed by a handful of shot, then tamped in a large wadding of felt, fungus, tow or whatever was available to hold the shot in place.  The result was a low velocity cloud of shot, probably more apt to disable and discourage than to kill outright.  My blunder has a brass barrel with a London maker and the date 1647 engraved on it, although I think it dates a century later.  Neat guns, though not too useful these days.
 

Smokey Plainsman

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Re: Blunderbuss Ballistics?
« Reply #6 on: August 09, 2019, 04:11:16 AM »
Interesting! I wonder if they placed wadding over the powder, then, shot, then a topping wad so it didnít leak?

So it was used more like a bean bag gun would be today? To inflict a lot of pain more than to actually be lethal?

Offline R.J.Bruce

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Re: Blunderbuss Ballistics?
« Reply #7 on: August 09, 2019, 03:23:07 PM »
Seems to me to be a very close in weapon.

On a single opponent that was not armed with a gun, let them get close, and shoot to kill.

On board a coach, shoot to wound and disable as many as possible. Including the horses. Unseat the rider, and they lose some of their advantage.

On a ship, whether attacking, or repelling boarders, shoot to wound as many as possible.

In either situation, fire off as many loaded weapons as are available, then grab a sword/cutlass in one hand, and a knife in the other hand; then get up close and personal.

Online Hungry Horse

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Re: Blunderbuss Ballistics?
« Reply #8 on: August 09, 2019, 09:00:05 PM »
For the most part, blunderbusses were designed to be shot at close range, from a moving position, either a pitching deck, or the high seat on a coach. The flared muzzle facilitates rapid reloading, most likely with the bare minimum of components, to make the loading faster. So, donít overthink this weapon, its a one trick pony, with very little use beyond what it was designed for. I canít think of a current shooting event that would easily accommodate this weapon. A Derringer falls into the same category.

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Offline Scota4570

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Re: Blunderbuss Ballistics?
« Reply #9 on: August 10, 2019, 03:02:53 AM »
Not using wadding between the powder and shot would cut the velocity drastically.  if you just mixed the powder and shot randomly some shot might not even get out the barrel.   

Offline WadePatton

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Re: Blunderbuss Ballistics?
« Reply #10 on: August 10, 2019, 05:38:46 AM »
For the most part, blunderbusses were designed to be shot at close range...don't overthink this weapon, its a one trick pony, with very little use beyond what it was designed for. I canít think of a current shooting event that would easily accommodate this weapon. A Derringer falls into the same category.

  Hungry Horse

Oh gee thanks, now I know what I need a smoothbore pistol or even a blunderbuss for, Copperheads!

The last one was squared away with a shovel, but not before a pup got bit, again.  I don't miss often, but I missed a copper a couple years back. A miss is possible but much more difficult with a shower of plumbum. 
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Offline sespe

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Re: Blunderbuss Ballistics?
« Reply #11 on: August 10, 2019, 08:20:15 AM »
For the most part, blunderbusses were designed to be shot at close range, from a moving position, either a pitching deck, or the high seat on a coach. The flared muzzle facilitates rapid reloading, most likely with the bare minimum of components, to make the loading faster. So, donít overthink this weapon, its a one trick pony, with very little use beyond what it was designed for. I canít think of a current shooting event that would easily accommodate this weapon. A Derringer falls into the same category.

  Hungry Horse

Two of us use them every year in the stake shoot.  We can get good hits on a 4x4 at 15 yards.  Use a .72 caliber ball in a prepared cartridge for faster loading. 
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Offline bob in the woods

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Re: Blunderbuss Ballistics?
« Reply #12 on: August 10, 2019, 03:12:18 PM »
A blunderbuss is nothing more than a short barrelled shot gun with a flared muzzle. "Canoe " guns are favoured by some for hunting, so why not a blunderbuss ?  The flared /belled muzzle can complicate obtaining a sight picture, but otherwise they work fine. The muzzle treatment was to assist in loading on a moving coach or a pitching ship deck, but has been proven to have no effect re spreading the shot charge. If you want one, that's reason enough to have one IMO. I've used one to good effect on partridge.

chilehead

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Re: Blunderbuss Ballistics?
« Reply #13 on: August 10, 2019, 06:28:15 PM »
I ended up with a cheap, piece-of-junk version of one of these back in the 70's. Got it for next to nothing in some kind of complicated trade, and was then stuck with figuring out what exactly to use it for.  It actually turned out to be minimally useful for snakes, rabbits, squirrels, and grouse which, here in the Rockies, are arguably the world's stupidest game. I think the longest shot I ever had to make was around 15 yards. It didn't take me long to realize that a decent sized, smooth-bore pistol loaded with shot would do exactly the same work with considerably more convenience.  When you're a full-time nomadic hunter-gatherer, you develop a low tolerance for packing around extraneous gear, so I passed the little feller on to somebody else, again for next to nothing.

Fred

Offline hanshi

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Re: Blunderbuss Ballistics?
« Reply #14 on: August 10, 2019, 09:05:34 PM »
Since nobody worries about whether a pistol developes enough velocity to be effective, a blunderbus would be a no-brainer.
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Offline Daryl

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Re: Blunderbuss Ballistics?
« Reply #15 on: August 12, 2019, 07:58:47 PM »
I agree, Hanshi.  My .54 pistol REALLY likes a .526" round ball and 3 00 buckshot. At 12 yards, the large balls hit in the 10 ring of a B-27 target, with the
3 buckshot hitting radially around the big ball, and very consistently in a 12" circle. That pistol is rifled, however, buck and ball loads were used by the military
(yours) on a ration of 3:1 in their .68 calibre muskets - right up to an including the model 1842 which was their & only first cap-lock musket(IIRC).

So - try some buck and ball - lots of fun.
Daryl

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Offline Elnathan

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Re: Blunderbuss Ballistics?
« Reply #16 on: August 15, 2019, 01:06:03 PM »
So it was used more like a bean bag gun would be today? To inflict a lot of pain more than to actually be lethal?

"Capable of great execution" was the verdict of one military author of the day. You might want to get ahold of Harold Peterson's The Great Guns - it has a decent chapter on the blunderbuss and includes a quote from a period autopsy report about a guy who got a blunderbuss discharged into his coach at bad breath range detailing sundry gruesome alterations made to his innards and concluding "of which wounds he dyed." I don't think that there is any room to doubt that they were serious weapons and were understood as such back in the day.

Incidentally, Peterson points out that in Italy and in Poland and Russia folks did sometimes hunt with a blunderbuss, but they were shooting at game being chased by or cornered by hounds - i.e., at very close range - and the hunter might be shooting from horseback. In other words, they were used as hunting weapons under circumstances analogous to its more common use of close-range combat in tight quarters and/or on unstable platforms that made accurate shooting impossible. They aren't circumstances which we find ourselves in today, but then neither are the circumstances for which most pistols, very long barreled fowlers, and military muskets were designed, and no one bats an eyebrow when someone wants one of those "just because." I'm not sure why blunderbusses are held to a different standard.
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Offline Daryl

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Re: Blunderbuss Ballistics?
« Reply #17 on: August 15, 2019, 08:16:23 PM »
I'm not sure why blunderbusses are held to a different standard.

Are you sure they are held to a different standard. Wanting one, is enough excuse for most of us.

As to lethality, in that day and age, to kill was the desire. I do not believe any firearm was
intended to merely wound or inflict pain, although one might argue the derringers were for that purpose.
Daryl

"a gun without hammers is like a spaniel without ears" King George V