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Old 2nd May 2019, 06:17 PM   #15
Jim McDougall
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Join Date: Dec 2004
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Originally Posted by fernando
Jim, i ignore where you have read that such habit was "pretty common" (certainly not in your bookmobile library ) but certainly in pages with a Hollywoodian ambiance ... if i may .
Let me transcribe a Wiki passage, for one, as visibly put in an English far better than mine:
The blunderbuss could be considered an early shotgun, and served in similar roles. While various old accounts often list the blunderbuss as being loaded with various scrap iron, rocks, or wood, resulting in damage to the bore of the gun, it was typically loaded with a number of lead balls smaller than the bore diameter.
But to admit that such concept as you quote is far from an 'exponential gauge', let me introduce to you a character described by a Dutch priest called Philippus Baldaeus (1632-1672) as being a Portuguese soldier that, during the first siege of Diu (1538), having ran out of bullets but still having a powder charge, decided to pluck one of his teeth and load his musket with it for an extra shot, for the surprise of the enemy, who had considered him out of ammo.
How about that for an approach ? .

(Oil on canvas by A.A. Canelhas)


LOL! My Hollywoodian affinity can truly appreciate the drama in this tale!!
and reviewing more into old notes here in the Bookmobile, I can see where my 'fired from the hip' wording has misfired.

Actually my description of the use of various objects such as nails, glass etc. was meant to refer to the breech block deck guns (murderer) I was noting, rather than these full stocked blunderbusses.

This perception was further in thoughts of the use of these materials in cannon on vessels in the 18th c. and this type 'shot' was termed 'langrage'. As the cannon were with much heavier barrels, there was less chance of damaging the barrel than with these smaller guns. If I recall, one of the cannon excavated from the QAR (Queen Annes Revenge, 1718) still retained such a load (C19).

As Cutlass Collector very well noted, the use of various debris and 'junk' could easily jam and cause explosion in the barrel. Other arguments suggested that nails were too expensive to produce and unlikely to be used, that glass would fragment and be ineffective etc. However, it would seem, in the heat of the moment, and with desperate measures necessary, such measures could result regardless.

I would very much agree with Peterson et al, in that the flared bell type barrel would better facilitate loading in adverse conditions.

Regarding the notion of this type barrel causing a wider spread of shot, I appreciate the explanations here in noting that the shot pattern would hold to the bore of the gun. Not being a 'shooter' myself, my assumption was that in low velocity discharge of shot, it would be impeded against air and would dissipate moving forward. It would seem my 'physics' assumption would be n/a.

In any case, thanks guys for these explanations! Always learning here.
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