Thursday, July 4, 2013

Thought of the Day - 1776

Obviously, being the 4th of July - Independence Day - I've been thinking about the American Revolutionary War. My mind has bounced around everything from what the reasons were for the war, to what a miserable situation it must have been for most involved, to what weapons they used, and how even the latest technology of the day, flintlock muskets, were challenging to use efficiently. Instead of rambling on about it all of these subjects, I decided to show you some cool videos I found on the topic of Revolutionary War weapons. Enjoy! And have a safe and happy 4th!

(With all of these, I recommend selecting the maximum available resolution, which they may not play at by default.)

This video shows of a fife and drum corp as well as a small group of re-enactment soldiers going through the paces.

Aside from his head being cut off for half the video, this is one of the best simple explanatory videos of flintlock operation I've seen out there. Want to know how it works? Watch the whole 4:46.

This one is without dialog at all, but it has some nice closeups of what's going on with loading and firing.


  1. In that last video they were loading the primer (is that the appropriate term?) into the gun before the musket ball. That would seem on the face of it to be a more dangerous way to reload than to load the ball, wad, and powder in first and THEN put the primer in the pan. But, uh, is there a reason they do it that way?

    1. Whoops, I should have hit reply. See below. :)

  2. Sorry for the delay here, I got distracted. To answer, kinda...

    It's all about measurements. Notice the paper tube they rip open with teeth? That has all the powder to be used for the shot, including the flash pan. It's measured to provide a known amount of power with the shot and fill the flash pan, too. Since they can't see down the barrel to measure, they must measure off the amount for the flash pan in order to have the correct amounts in both places.

    Really it's all about speed of the shot. This was the quickest way to reload, using that single premeasured powder tube. Notice in the second video with the rifleman, he did it the other way round, measuring each carefully from the flask. Takes much longer, even though it's obviously safer. This issue was another great thing about the advent of primer caps, doing away with the flintlock, besides the other reasons of being more reliable in damp weather.

    That cover it?


Keep it clean and courteous people. Lively is good, mean spirited is bad. Thanks for participating!


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