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Old 30th April 2019, 04:16 AM   #1
Cerjak
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Default Massive Spanish Naval Flintlock Blunderbuss Swivel Gun for comment

Massive Spanish Naval Flintlock Blunderbuss Swivel Gun for comment
Overall 105 cm weight 11.2 kg
Mark: Crown RM at the center of the lock.
Similar Blunderbuss could be seen in the Navy Museum of Venice
Any comment on it will be welcome.
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Old 30th April 2019, 04:20 AM   #2
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Old 1st May 2019, 03:33 PM   #3
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Cerjak, what an amazing swivel you have! I have always wanted to add one of these to my maritime/naval collection. These 'rail guns' were used both to attack an opposing ship via a broadside blast, but also to repel boarders clambering over the side of one's ship. Some swivels were also used on primitive forts in the New World as protection. As they distributed a spraying blast, they were often loaded with partridge shot, broken glass, nails, etc, to inflict massive and horrific wounds! I must say I am envious of your new acquisition!
Mark
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Old 1st May 2019, 03:59 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M ELEY
Cerjak, what an amazing swivel you have! I have always wanted to add one of these to my maritime/naval collection. These 'rail guns' were used both to attack an opposing ship via a broadside blast, but also to repel boarders clambering over the side of one's ship. Some swivels were also used on primitive forts in the New World as protection. As they distributed a spraying blast, they were often loaded with partridge shot, broken glass, nails, etc, to inflict massive and horrific wounds! I must say I am envious of your new acquisition!
Mark


Cap'n Mark, colorfully rendered description of these guns in use (of course!). These were full stocked versions of the breech block loaded deck guns used on naval vessels and of course pirate vessels. These were often loaded with the kinds of scrap material (langrage) you note and were intended to literally clear the opponent decks and create carnage prior to attack. One form of such deck gun was called colloquially, 'the murderer'......it would seem quite accurately. Grim, but the way it really was.
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Old 1st May 2019, 04:43 PM   #5
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I am bit perplex at the support of the idea that blunderbusses provide a spraying shot and that whatever contents is used to load them.
Aren't we taught that, shots go out the barrel basically in a straight direction;and the main purpose for wide (flared) muzzles is the easiness to load them quickly, even if trembling ... or in the dark; notwithstanding the probable impression caused to those facing a wide(ning) muzzle, which is a different thing.
... and that the loading with indiscriminate junk is equally mystique, as it would damage the barrel walls much sooner than wished; the preferred load being pondered doses of buckshot

In a different register ...
The first time i saw this blunderbuss being offered for sale (to me) it belonged in the collection of a then recently deceased famous Belgium sportsman.
Amazing how things may go around and around, passing through or ending in hands of dishonest people.


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Last edited by fernando : 2nd May 2019 at 09:57 AM.
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Old 1st May 2019, 10:10 PM   #6
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Not sure on blunderbusses, and possibly the idea of loading ease might have some bearing, but shotguns have a 'choke' to tighten the shot pattern if I understand. I would think that the shot or whatever is being fired would expand outward as projected. I thought that is why shotguns etc were close range weapons.
I know colloquially shotguns have always been called 'scatter guns', whether to disperse groups of combatants or scattering their fired content unclear.

With cannon and those deck guns, the use of misc. scrap, glass etc was pretty common from most of what I have read, and as these were smooth bore, there was not concern over the barrel interior.
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Old 2nd May 2019, 02:01 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
, but shotguns have a 'choke' to tighten the shot pattern if I understand.


I have years of shotgunning under my belt and my thought as well, at first. But then I remembered the most "open" choke throwing the widest pattern is designated "Cylinder". A cylinder choke is the same diameter as the bore. There is no flare in it. I am not aware of any choke that is more open than the bore. We know that constricting the bore will tighten the pattern but not so sure if flaring it would do the same. My feeling is that yes it would but it would need to be gradual so that the shot load could be disrupted by the expanding gases as it traveled forward in the barrel. Exactly as this one is designed.
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Old 2nd May 2019, 06:31 AM   #8
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Does anyone know what the letters "RM" on the lockplate stand for? In case the gun should be Spanish, it should be "RA" for Real Armada" as far as I know.
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Old 2nd May 2019, 09:43 AM   #9
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Beautiful blunderbuss.

I'm with the pirate captain on the use of the blunderbuss but unfortunately both D.R Baxter (Blunderbusses) and James Foreman (The Blunderbuss 1500 - 1900) disagree. The latter even citing NRA tests that indicate a spread of one yard at 50 feet and it being linked to the bore of the barrel not the shape of the opening. These guns were probably more likely used at closer range than that.
Both consider the bell mouth to be an aid to loading a large number of balls and large powder charge quickly from atop a coach, a boat or ship.

Shotguns chokes can restrict the pattern of a blast but not create directions not already existing.

Using junk except in dire emergency was not a good idea due to danger of diverse shapes jamming on firing. They also mention the risk of ramming junk iron down an iron or steel barrel and the danger of a spark igniting the main charge.
That may account for the number of one handed pirates!
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Old 2nd May 2019, 09:52 AM   #10
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Guys, we must have reading different books. In the numerous ones i came across, the major conclusion is that shot spread of blunderbusses is quoted as being a myth.
I understand this may not be a only black & white situation and indeed a controversial subject but ...

Let us pick a couple extracts that are at hand ...

From Melvin Fanagan, called Myths of the Blunderbuss:
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, added to the blunderbuss’ description: “The National Rifle Association carried out some experiments with antique blunderbusses in the 1960s and discovered that the flared barrel had no effect on the spread of shot; shot did spread as in any other shotgun, but not to the same extent” .

Another:
“Even after he has become a collector and student of old weapons, this individual will probably continue to believe that the spread of shot from a blunderbuss is directly related to the shape and flare of the muzzle.”

Yet another:
“In a blunderbuss, the breech caliber is the critical one. It determines the space where the powder and balls are confined. Despite the flare of the muzzle, the breech calibers of most blunderbusses are roughly comparable with contemporary muskets. Most .67 caliber muskets of the period, when firing buckshot loads, used about 12 balls with powder charges of 120 grains.
Muskets of .75 caliber fired slightly bigger charges, usually 15 balls and 130 0r 140 grains of powder.”
Peterson’s evaluation of the shot patterns was, “In view of these tests, it seems safe to state that the bell of the blunderbuss had very little effect on the dispersion of the shot. It quite possibly was useful when loading a handful of small balls in action or on a moving coach; and it may have had a tremendous psychological effect on those who found one pointing their way, but that was about all.”
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Old 2nd May 2019, 10:38 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
... With cannon and those deck guns, the use of misc. scrap, glass etc was pretty common from most of what I have read, and as these were smooth bore, there was not concern over the barrel interior.

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)

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Old 2nd May 2019, 02:44 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by corrado26
Does anyone know what the letters "RM" on the lockplate stand for? In case the gun should be Spanish, it should be "RA" for Real Armada" as far as I know.
corrado26


It may be for República Mexicana and represents the Mexican government's ownership. However, I can't envision a crown going over well in a republic, so I'm probably wrong.
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Old 2nd May 2019, 02:45 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CSinTX
I have years of shotgunning under my belt and my thought as well, at first. But then I remembered the most "open" choke throwing the widest pattern is designated "Cylinder". A cylinder choke is the same diameter as the bore. There is no flare in it. I am not aware of any choke that is more open than the bore. We know that constricting the bore will tighten the pattern but not so sure if flaring it would do the same. My feeling is that yes it would but it would need to be gradual so that the shot load could be disrupted by the expanding gases as it traveled forward in the barrel. Exactly as this one is designed.



Thanks very much, very nicely explained and that makes perfect sense. It is always good to hear this kind of perspective from first hand experience.
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Old 2nd May 2019, 03:13 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MacCathain
It may be for República Mexicana and represents the Mexican government's ownership. However, I can't envision a crown going over well in a republic, so I'm probably wrong.


The crown is certainly not possible with a republic, but perhaps it stands for "Real Marina" in Italian language?
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Old 2nd May 2019, 05:17 PM   #15
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Quote:
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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Old 2nd May 2019, 07:26 PM   #16
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[QUOTE=fernando]Guys, we must have reading different books. In the numerous ones i came across, the major conclusion is that shot spread of blunderbusses is quoted as being a myth.

Just to be clear both the books I mentioned are in complete agreement with you fernando - the spread at 50 ft was down to the barrel bore not the shape. I guess my words were badly chosen if you thought otherwise.
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Old 3rd May 2019, 08:41 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CutlassCollector
... Just to be clear both the books I mentioned are in complete agreement with you fernando - the spread at 50 ft was down to the barrel bore not the shape. I guess my words were badly chosen if you thought otherwise...

Oh no, obviously i was not referring to you .
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Old 3rd May 2019, 09:21 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
... As the cannon were with much heavier barrels, there was less chance of damaging the barrel than with these smaller guns...

However cannon barrel wearing was not an absent factor, specially with early ammunition, such as stone balls, used in bombards (pedreiros). Despite those being wrapped or bagged, their rough texture damaged barrel bores in that, after a determined number of shots (they 100), cannons were due to reenter arsenals for remelting.
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Old 3rd May 2019, 02:52 PM   #19
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Interesting notes on artillery, and it makes perfect sense that the wear on cannon barrels internally would be effected over time by discharge of materials, not to mention fouling from detonated black powder. It does not seem, of course. that stones as ammunition would apply to the deterioration of shipboard cannon, but the analogy is well placed.

Here I would note however that the 'spread' (uh....scope? )of the discussion seems to have expanded a bit. I think I may be the culprit here as I included the use of 'langrage' (=sundry materials along with varied ball) as shot in cannon...……...however this was intended toward a maritime setting. What I had noted was that the heavier cannon barrels were not as susceptible to internal barrel damage by use of such diverse ammunition as would be the case with the RAIL GUNS that are the topic of the OP if such was used in them.

Bringing in the 'choke' a bit more when I entered the discussion, despite having limited exposure to guns and artillery, I wanted to respond to Cap'n Marks note on these kinds of rail guns used aboard privateers and pirate vessels. Again, this was addressed to maritime matters as far as these guns, which led to the blunderbuss spectrum (due to flared barrels). ….and the use of 'langrage' in cannon.

While such miscellaneous material was used as shot on these pirate and privateer vessels, it does not seem (as perfectly explained by Cutlass Collector) that such use in these rail guns (or blunderbusses) would have been a good thing to do.

The discussion also addressed the purpose of the flared barrels on these blunderbuss/rail guns as being primarily for loading in adverse circumstances such as would be present in the pitching of a ships deck etc. Addressing the shot dispersion theory, again perfectly explained by Cutlass Collector dispelled the notion that a flared barrel was to 'spread' the shot more widely in discharge.

I just wanted to reiterate the elements of the discussion here, and to say again how much I appreciate these outstanding explanations on the varied aspects that have pertained.
Cerjak, thank you again for sharing this rail gun!!! Very nice piece!!!
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Old 3rd May 2019, 03:35 PM   #20
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Hello

Just to say that it seems to me that the primitive inscription was P M and that the stick of the R was added later, that is why it is badly inclined, or is an incision that already existed when the punch was stamped with the letters
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Old 3rd May 2019, 08:29 PM   #21
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Hello

Assuming that the initials are PM, in the "Dizionario delle armi", edited by Mondadori, register two entries for PM:

P. M. "Acronym of Munich Peter"

P. M. "acronym of Meitinger Paul"

and going to the entrances:

Munich, Peter and Fiedrich German gunsmiths, of Soingen perhaps relatives both, who worked in the beginning / half of the six hundred, also Denmark. They were very dear.

Meitinger Paul. Armorer who worked in Innbrusch, in the second half of the Cinquecientos

Affectionately
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Old 3rd May 2019, 08:41 PM   #22
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Hello

Someone who has access to STOCKEL to verify or discard these opinions ....

Affectionately
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Old 3rd May 2019, 11:56 PM   #23
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I am puzzled with the business on the RM marking, and Fernando K, very astute observation on the letters perhaps being PM with the 'P' later altered to an 'R'.
I don't have Stockel, and thus don't have any entries for Paul Meitinger, an Innsbruck armorer.
However I do have references to PM, Peter Munich as well as Friedrich, both were Solingen swordsmiths working in the 17th century, and seemingly part of a family by this name. However Peter often signed 'Munch'. His mark (mid 17th) was a bishops head flanked by initials PM .

While armorers and of course swordsmiths often did also work as gunmakers. I have never heard of the 'Munich's' being other than swordsmiths.

If Peter indeed marked the lock of a gun, why would it have a crown? and why would the 'P' be fashioned into a 'R'.

Also, I have always thought of the circular fixture on the lock denoting a Spanish lock ('miguelet'?) so why would a Spanish lock be made in Solingen?

I do not mean to discount the theory, but honestly do wonder on these matters.
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Old 4th May 2019, 06:48 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fernando K
Hello

Someone who has access to STOCKEL to verify or discard these opinions ....

Affectionately


I don't know which version of the Neue Stöckel you have but in my last edition there is neither mentioned a Peter Munich or Munch nor a Paul Meitinger. Both names are not to be found. The only reported gunmakers in Solingen have been:

J.G. Jagenberger
Clemens Kalthoff
Johann Kalthoff
Mathias Kalthoff
F.W. Ortmann
Peiper & Co
Heinrich Peter
Heinrich Riffelmann

By the way: After having enlarged the crowned mark on the lockplate as big as possibble I am always still convinced that this is a "RM" and not a "PM"

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Old 4th May 2019, 09:51 AM   #25
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I've had a look through those two books for any useful information and cannot find an RM or PM.
There is however a crown over R stamped on the butt of a Spanish (or Neapolitan) swivel gun . There is no other information - apart from an indication placing it mid 18th century - and the photograph is small and grainy. Unfortunately the stamp is not visible.

No use for this thread - but I came across the observation that the pineapple motif often found on the front finials of trigger guards was introduced to honour Capt Cook and rapidly replaced the acorn after his death in 1779. A handy date line for English guns.
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Old 4th May 2019, 04:42 PM   #26
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Dear All

Thank you very much for your comments, in these additional pics it is not clear if it is P or R but in the reverse side of the lock we can clearly see that we a have a R and M.
Best

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Old 4th May 2019, 04:54 PM   #27
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If it is clearly an RM under a crown, then we need to look into where this marking configuration on the lock was used, and if the initials R M correspond to a maker in either Spain or Naples or if other markings such as CC notes apply

It is notable that the crowned R on the butt is seen on Spanish/Neopolitan guns of this type in mid 18th c. so the RM on the lock is of course the question. Is the R on the butt indicative of a maker? In the Palomares compendium of Toledo swordsmiths the crown over a letter is seen often, but there are none with letter R so the butt mark is curious as well.

Where are the guys with gunmakers resources here?
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