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Old 27th September 2014, 03:10 AM   #31
Shakethetrees
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Second phase of the great BP experiment is in!

Water dampened powder was allowed to sit for a few hours and an attempt was made to light it. It was heavily saturated with excess water pooling around the edges. No surprise here- it didn't light.

So I dried the mixture slowly. It formed a hard cake with crystals of saltpeter growing up the sides of the stainless bowl. Once I chipped it out, a match was held beneath it. It reluctantly lit, slower than the oil treated powder, but it still lit and burned slowly. Not so slowly that it would not be hazardous if contained in a barrel, though.

So, to the collecting community, who might occasionally come across a loaded antique firearm that requires unloading, be careful. Saturate the charge thoroughly with water to excess. Let it sit for a few hours and only when you are perfectly sure the charge has been soaking for a few hours, should you then attempt to pull the charge.

Or,

Call a competent gunsmith and let them take the risk. They have the experience and training that will get them through the hurdles.

Tread lightly!
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Old 27th September 2014, 12:44 PM   #32
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Default Unloaded.

Unloaded!
Reasonably the pistol had been sitting loaded for probably well over 100 years, so I figured it's not a danger in the sense that it could explode or just go off. The risk is in me creating a spark while mucking about trying to dislodge the ball.

So first I used a syringe to fill the chamber with water through the fire hole and I kept it topped up for 24 hours. I made an extractor tool - metal strip with right angle and a hole to take a self cutting screw. Then with the barrel full of water I screwed into the ball and on third attempt got the ball out. The ball seemed held by the powder rather than the sides of the barrel.
The powder was caked rock solid and took a lot more work to remove than the ball with some forceful scraping required. I kept the barrel full of water during this as well.

Having a now very wet pistol I decided to dismantle it to dry out and oil. A bonus was finding the ELG mark on the barrel under the wood. I was wondering about that and many thanks Fernando for your explanation of the Leige marks, none of which I knew.

I did not expect to have to unload and dismantle my first flintlock pistol but it's been a good learning experience. Thanks to everyone who contributed advice and suggestions.
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Old 27th September 2014, 06:22 PM   #33
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Congrats!

Once you get past the uncertainty, it's all a matter of persistence and the right tools, guided by a few rules.

I bought a signal cannon years ago at auction and found it to be loaded. It had a bore of about 7/8" but a rod would not seat to the vent hole, or anywhere near it, for that matter.

After fashioning a wiper from welding rods I went to work. The stuff that came out was amazing. I wish that I photographed it. No projectiles, but, in layers, newspaper, smokeless shotgun powder topped by newspaper followed by some silver colored firecracker powder topped by more newspaper and finally more smokeless shotgun powder topped by--get this-- a large wad of black plastic trash bag!

Things were so tightly compacted that I bent and distorted my rigged up wiper!

Had the nimrod who loaded this cannon been successful in cooking it off, it would have been catastrophic. His ignorance saved him, though, as his first layer was a wad of newspaper that very effectively blocked the vent.
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Old 27th September 2014, 07:04 PM   #34
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Congratulations CC for all success ... visibly achieved without much complication
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Old 27th September 2014, 07:57 PM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CutlassCollector
... The ball seemed held by the powder rather than the sides of the barrel....

No wonder. This been a non rifled bore, the bullet diameter is narrower than the barrel section (browse on windage). If nothing else was pushed into the barrel, the projectile might even fall off when you inclined the gun.
I made a fool of myself when i once ordered replica bullets for a Napoleonic musket. When the parcel arrived i noticed the balls were narrower than the gun barrel. Off i went and emailed a complaint to the supplier, telling him he sent me the wrong stuff. The guy must have laughed in the other side, whiling 'enlightening' me.
Mind you, i am not a shooter; it was just to complete the set. The musket is gone and so have the balls ... but not the lesson
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Old 28th September 2014, 01:01 AM   #36
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Excellent work, CC! Glad you were able to remove that shot. Also, thank you, Fernando, for all of the information on the Liege makers (as well as the confusing markings behind their creation). CC, thanks for posting the pics of your Sea Service pistol at last. Mine is the exact copy, with the ELG marking on the barrel with no crown. There is a stamp on mine that is unfortunately indecipherable. There is, however, a V under a crown. This is an ordenance mark for Great Britain, is it not? No military marking, so I assume possibly made for privateer usage?
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Old 28th September 2014, 02:02 AM   #37
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Hello everyone:

The punch ELG with a crown, began to use the late 1800s Any letter of the alphabet, with a crown was the punch of Inspector Exactly, I change the letter with an asterisk, for the confusion of the V crowned with V crowned the Bank of English tests. I have official papers Testbed Liege, but I have to look for them.

Affectionately. Fernando K

(Sorry for the translator)
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Old 28th September 2014, 11:52 AM   #38
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Hi Mark,

Here is a picture of the ELG mark it is located on the side of the barrel underneath the wood. There are no other marks except within the lock as shown but I guess these are inspector marks or indicate the maker of the lock.
From yours and Fernando's comments I think that dates the pistol sometime between 1810 and 1830. No crown and small letters. Is yours a similar mark?

I have read that these were sold to many European countries and it's interesting that yours also has a British proof as Fernando K confirms.
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Old 28th September 2014, 12:39 PM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CutlassCollector
...I have read that these were sold to many European countries and it's interesting that yours also has a British proof as Fernando K confirms...

Apparently you misunderstood Fernando K, maybe due to translation issues .
What he means to say and i confirm is that, a letter under a crown was the Liege inspection mark, the letter being the initial of the assigned inspector.
Later they changed the crown to an asterik, to avoid the punction being confused with the London Viewed mark, namely in cases where the initial was that of inspector Mr. V something.

I would say that, in the case of Belgium guns being exported to London under official contracts, those would eventualy be subject to local (re) proof tests. In such case what you would have was the Birmingham or London (crest) proof marks and not the Viewed inspection punction ... or something like that .

Maybe this chart will put some light to it:

http://damascus-barrels.com/Belgian_All_Proofmarks.html
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Old 28th September 2014, 12:54 PM   #40
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Thanks Fernando for the correction and the excellent link.
Apologies, Fernando K, for mis-reading your post.

CC
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Old 28th September 2014, 07:48 PM   #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
No wonder. This been a non rifled bore, the bullet diameter is narrower than the barrel section (browse on windage). If nothing else was pushed into the barrel, the projectile might even fall off when you inclined the gun.
I made a fool of myself when i once ordered replica bullets for a Napoleonic musket. When the parcel arrived i noticed the balls were narrower than the gun barrel. Off i went and emailed a complaint to the supplier, telling him he sent me the wrong stuff. The guy must have laughed in the other side, whiling 'enlightening' me.
Mind you, i am not a shooter; it was just to complete the set. The musket is gone and so have the balls ... but not the lesson


i bet the supplier's message was a bit patchy. (hope that humor translates into portugese )

anyway, rapid fire for the napoleonic rifled musket (and reg. musket) was possible without using a patch.

see the video here: location: northern portugal with wellington

what makes a good soldier? "The ability to fire three rounds a minute in any weather", Captain R. sharpe, talavera, july 1809
<-click the image

Last edited by kronckew : 28th September 2014 at 09:12 PM.
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Old 28th September 2014, 09:28 PM   #42
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hi:

The two rifled muskets used in the Napoleonic wars were with Calepino (patch). On the English side, the Baker Rifle was fitted with a bullet and patch sewn on the French side, the rifle of Versailles (Versailles carabine) also with patch.

The English continued to use the Calepino (patch) on percussion. The rifle Brunswic. had a round bullet belt with stitched patch

Affectionately. Fernando K

(Sorry for the translator)
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Old 28th September 2014, 11:03 PM   #43
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..and they were not the easiest things to reload due to the tight fit, especially when they were fouled by sustained fire which further reduced the windage. some required a hammer to seat the fresh charge. i've heard the brunswick was especially contrary if fouled. some soldiers would do field cleaning by urinating down the barrel to clear the fouling. smooth bore muskets had more leaway.


then some bright spark invented the hollow based ogiveal pointed cylinder of lead we call the miné ball, which didn't require a cloth patch. they were also made up into paper cartridges using however nitrated paper which would combust as they were fired (i've made and fired these myself in a rifled percussion musket, also used cloth patched round balls in a .36 kentucky long rifle, used with a patch knife). early minés had a metal cup in the base, but it was found to be unnecessary, and actually would occasionally fire thru the bullet, leaving the main part stuck in the barrel, gain, requiring the screw, or if the hole was too big, an armourer.

the 19c was a huge experiment in bullet shapes, jackets, rifling styles well into the switch to smokeless powder which cured the worst of the fouling problems, and breech loaders that solved most of the other joys of muzzle loaders. including having to stand in lines to reload, breech loaders could thankfully be reloaded in the prone position, tho generals were slow to realise the days of the three rank volley fire were obsolete. (the famous rourke's drift saw the great majority of zulus killed hundreds of yards away. the movie took great dramatic license. the main body at islandwana didn't fair as well tho with their lines)

the video was not meant to show the 'official' regulation reload, but a battlefield expedient. the spat ball world have reduced power, but at close range, it didn't matter as much. the aim ws to get the lead down field as quick as possible to break the french columns.

Last edited by kronckew : 28th September 2014 at 11:23 PM.
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Old 29th September 2014, 05:57 PM   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kronckew
...i bet the supplier's message was a bit patchy. (hope that humor translates into portugese )]...

Well, it was only partly patchy. I already knew about the windage (wind=vento in portuguese), by reading about it several years ago in a rare Portuguese book on portable firearms (published in 1887) that i was lucky to acquire. But one thing is theory and the other is practice. In other words, i should have given it a second thought before i complained on the 'abnormality'; wouldn't have played the fool


Quote:
Originally Posted by kronckew
...see the video here: location: northern portugal with wellington

It seems as the video depicts a scene in (the battle of) Talavera, before defeating the French. This is near Toledo, well inside Spain.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kronckew
...what makes a good soldier? "The ability to fire three rounds a minute in any weather", Captain R. sharpe, talavera, july 1809]

Sharpe managed to be sharp enough to press his soldiers into a Guiness record of loading velocity. Other strategies, those coming from above him, drove the allies to final success.
But these are old stories
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