Skip to comments.Please explain (from "The Patriot") "Aim small, miss small" (vanity)
Posted on 02/04/2003 8:24:07 AM PST by rudy45
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The difference between your reported results for smoothbore muskets and what I have heard for accuracy for the Brown Bess may indeed be that your results are based on the use of a patch while the standard practice for the Brown Bess was not to use a patch. My understanding is that the rate of fire for a Brown Bess was two or three rounds / minute. There is no way that you will get that rate of fire using a patch.
Well, no. Gibson carried a number of weapons in the film: his rifle, with which he made his long-range shots, and the musket he recovered from his burning house, presumably leftover from his previous military adventures, and a couple of spares, with which he equipped his surviving sons. And, for when things got up close and personal, his tomahawk...which some GI's now enroute to the dry and sandy place are STILL using, if of more modern materials. It's generally true, as you say, that when a smoothbore flintlock musket is loaded with a single ball a 40-yard range is about the best at which I'm reasonably certain of a good hit on a target the size of a deer...or a human. A lot of my deer season practice is done on police silhouette targets mounted horizontally to the ground rather than upright, close enough for government work.
But when I load buck-andball loads consisting of a .45 to .54 caliber ball and multiple buckshot in my old Charleville or 1824 Harpers Ferry, a file of upright man-sized targets spaced shoulder width apart are very likely to suffer a fatal hit on the primary target, as well as some .30 to .33 caliber hits on those alongside. And at about 25 feet, the result is pretty certain if the charge is centered, and nearly as likely even if it is not. And such wounds were often eventually lethal in pre-antibiotic days.
But though you offer *Mad Max* from a previous Gibson film as a tossaway reference, the protagonist of those films, who used a sawn-off double 12-gauge not only had the right idea, but demonstrated reasonably usable technique in employing it, as he was short on ammunition, which was aged and of dubious quality- a condition not unknown to those ot the 1770's using Charleville and Brown Bess muskets- and he had to make his shots count, from up close.
You'll be happy to know that the fourth *Mad Max* film is now being shot in Australia as *Fury Road.* Max Rockatansky's baaaack....
At the beginning when that scene takes place he is using his personal firearms, which are a combination of Pennsylvania Rifles and shotguns. The former are quite accurate out to at least 100 yards. Later on they are using Brown Bess muskets which were standard issue for the Continental Army.
There are a couple of differing points of view here: those of an individual firing on another individual, that of an individual firing on a mass or ranked target, or against horse and rider, or that of a formation of troops firing on another formation, in which the volley fire of massed muskets becomes formidable, indeed.
But the real value of a musket was double-edged: as an extension of the bayonet that allowed a single shot upon closing with a row of enemy troops, using that single shot to open a hole in the defending group that could be exploited with point and butt; or in close quarters such as scrub brush or thisket in which a horse and rider could not operate, but from where a few gathered foot soldiers could bring them down.
Can I hit a man at 40 yards with my own frontloading smoothbores? Usually. And a rank of targets in a row is no greatly difficult feat, so long as I have my elevation about right; I'm more likely to hit one than miss, and a hit anywhere on a horse from the broadside is probable and would probably result in unseating the rider one way or another; a shot front on or to the rear is more problematical.
But facing a row of trained soldiers with bayonets, while I'm in a similar sized group facing them? No thank you. I'd prefer to go and ruin the trip for their supply wagons.
Better than that. Timothy Murphy, one of the better than average shots, was reported to have qualified for Morgan's Rifle Corps with repeated hits on a seven-inch target at 250 yards. But Murphy's skill as a woodsrunner and his ruthlessness at dispatching a good target was certainly at least as much a factor as his marksmanship; and it was Murphy credited with eliminating both Sir Francis Clark and General Simon Fraser at the Battle of Saratoga, leaving the British leaderless and confused until adjutant's could decide which would take over.
That was less the case on the other side, at least at times. British rifleman and ordnance expert Major Patrick Furguson was probably at least as good a shot as Murphy, but when at the Battle of Brandywine a Colonial officer presented himself just in range, Major Furguson could not bring himself to shoot the man in the back... and the man who may have been George Washington went on to accomplish other things.
Maybe I'll eventually check-out the DVD, UB. I really liked Braveheart a lot more.
What I'm really looking forward to though, is The Passion.
Best to you all.
Not really. They got the year wrong (off by a couple centuries), as well as the place (off by hundreds of miles) and the identity of the government that did it, but a government-ordered church burning has indeed happened on this continent.
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