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Old 1st May 2009, 03:05 AM   #1
M ELEY
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Default Question about barshot...again

Yes, I know we've been down this road, but...

My question is this, I know barshot was still being manufactured well into the 19th century, especially during the American Civil War. Every example I've seen from these later periods, though, are the twin round shot with bar or the twin half-shot with bar. The third type of barshot (bar with two rounded discs, like hockey pucks!)- was it also made during the 19th century or was this the earlier pattern that wasn't continued. Every example I've seen has been 18th or earlier. I'm asking, because I saw what i believe to be a barshot with rounded discs, but it didn't look any older than pre-1890 or so. Is this possible? Likewise, when did barshot finally cease to be manufactured? Even with the advent of steam, attacking pirates frequently used sloops and scooners/sail-powered vessels still flourished into the early 20th c. So??
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Old 3rd May 2009, 03:14 AM   #2
Jim McDougall
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Hi Mark,
I will be the first to admit I know absolutely nothing about artillery, nor especially its ammunition, but the difference is, I will at least try to discover something to say on it. I simply hate seeing posts that go unanswered!
So I have tried to use the limited resources at hand. According to what I can see, barshot is mentioned in descriptions of Civil War artillery, but so far I cannot see evidence of its use. Since the most common cannon on both sides was the Napoleon 12 pounder smooth bore, it would seem that it might have been used in one of these. There were other random smoothbores, and of course the rifled guns would not use this type of ammunition obviously.

In "Projectile Weapons of War and Explosive Compounds", John Scoffern, 1852, p.118, "...bar shot is similar to a dumbbell and its effects must be obvious to everyone. We need not observe however that its flight must be very irregular, and that it is totally unadapted for long ranges, indeed, so questionable are its advantages that it is now no longer used in our service".
The reference notes the same status for chain shot.

By 1902, the "New International Encyclopedia" refers to barshot as 'formerly' used in naval warfare to destroy masts and rigging.

Without more detailed references to artillery and ordnance, I can only presume that with the advent of rifled guns at mid 19th century, and the notes in these resources suggesting obsolescence of these types of weapons, that they would no longer be produced. In some references it was suggested that these were relatively ineffective as anti personnel weapons, and as ships after the Civil War in naval service relied little on sails, as well as smoothbore guns, I do not see why these would still be produced. Though piracy still employed rigged sailing ships, unless they had acquired obsolete smoothbore weapons and whatever minimal stocks of these from surplus stockpiles, it would be surprising for these to have been used even in those cases.

While piracy of course, as seen in recent news, still prevails, it is an entirely different type of enterprise, as certainly are the weapons.

I hope this is of some use, and though you are far more well versed in naval warfare, I just wanted to add what I had found.

All the best,
Jim
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Old 3rd May 2009, 06:25 AM   #3
M ELEY
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Thank you so much, Jim, for responding to this obscure question. Actually, as always, you did an amazing job! I hadn't thought about the rifling on the barrels starting around this period. Dunce cap for me-
The book reference you mention gets to the heart of my question. Scoffern mentions the "dumbell appearance" of the barshot, but this doesn't pin-point the type of barshot. A dumbell can have both rounded "cannon shot" ends, half shot ends or flat disc ends. Alas, the one I saw that appears like it might be barshot and of this period has the disc ends. Likewise, its bar is tubular. All of the disc-type barshot I have seen thus far have been mounted on a square bar, not rounded. So the question remains as to whether it's a real piece of artillery or just a dumbell.
Thank you for helping me close the date of when these type items became obsolete (Naval ordenance seemed to always linger long past it's time. i.e.cutlasses, pikes, etc). I might have to pick up that reference. Again, my thanks, old friend!
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Old 8th May 2009, 05:48 AM   #4
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Bump...Anyone know if the barshot with two discs were made into the 19th century (I know the full round shot and half shot models were). Also, anyone see any of these barshot with disc ends with a rounded bar vs the 4-sided bar so often seen (see Chainshot thread for examples).
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Old 7th January 2018, 09:20 AM   #5
fernando
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Hi Captain,
Can i illustrate your thread with this interesting image; in that we see that barshot was already in action during the 17th century.

(Courtesy of an email sent by Jan Piet Puype to Cathey and Rex about cutlasses)


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Old 9th January 2018, 08:04 PM   #6
M ELEY
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Excellent pic, Fernando. It would be nice if it piqued a few comments again. I have learned that the barshot pictured (the type with the hockey puck-type ends ) was a French pattern, as seen on the wreck of the Mashault and others. The classic 'half spheres' were popular with British ships and the two whole spheres with square bar are used by multiple countries (Britain, the Netherlands, etc). I believe the odd wedge-shaped (door knob shaped) shot was a French pattern as well.


Wouldn't be complete without Michael's excellent thread (which we all jumped in on! ).

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...ight=chain+shot

Last edited by M ELEY : 9th January 2018 at 08:27 PM.
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Old 10th January 2018, 08:54 AM   #7
fernando
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M ELEY
...I have learned that the barshot pictured (the type with the hockey puck-type ends ) was a French pattern, as seen on the wreck of the Mashault and others...

Yet in the picture, barshot depicted have puck-type ends and the author of the work is Dutch
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