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Old 3rd December 2008, 06:23 PM   #20
fearn
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 1,247
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Hi Matchlock,

Neat sequence, thanks!

Hi Fernando,

I think we're saying the same things, only I'll do it a little more verbosely.

To start with, the guns probably have horrible accuracy and (most likely) a somewhat unpredictable firing time, because the powder wasn't standardized, and you might end up standing there for a while, and who knows where the ball (or whatever) is going to go. Or, for that matter, whether the gun is going to burst on you.

Now, I'm quite sure the soldiers of the time knew all about aiming weapons. That they didn't bother with too much aiming says that they didn't think it was worthwhile with the original guns. It's something like a scattershot mortar, at this point. It's a psychological weapon, not so much in the "terrify the primitives who haven't seen a gun before mode," but in the "they've got so many resources that they can waste them on soldiers with firearms" mode. Supposedly, arrows are scarier anyway, because you can see them coming, so an inaccurate gun is basically a statement about showing off new technology and resources, less about scaring the yokels (that's my opinion, anyway). It's something like the way the US Army is currently deploying it's single "Zeus" laser in Iraq.

As guns become more accurate and powder becomes more predictable, aiming becomes practical, and sighting down the shaft while it's held on your shoulder is one way to do it. If you're trying for a distance shot, hold it under your arm so that it aims up and hits indirectly.

Problem is, there's this tradeoff between power/distance and accuracy. If you want to hit a target with deadly force from a long distance, you need as heavy a gun as possible to absorb the recoil (and to not burst from the explosion). To aim accurately, you need something as light as possible, so that you can hold it steady and change the aim minutely. Imagine holding a 50 pound falconet to your shoulder, for instance.... Putting a proper stock on the gun is one way to partially deal with this dilemma, because it lets the gunner absorb some of the recoil and still keep the gun aimed down the tube.

Fernando, this is what you meant by: "Must have followed an ergonomic evolution, joining conveniences like sustaining the firing impact and a permanent improving aiming intention," right?

Best,

F
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