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Best Guns of the Napoleonic Era

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  • Best Guns of the Napoleonic Era

    I've been wondering, what would you consider the best small arms of the Napoleonic wars (or your favorite)?

    Also, did a smooth-bore musket have any advantages over an early rifle other than being easier to produce?
    Last edited by RepublicanGuard; 15 Mar 10, 00:34.

  • #2
    The Girandoni Air Rifle was in service with the Austrian army from 1780 to around 1815.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Girandoni_Air_Rifle

    And so you can see it...


    Napoleon was so upset with this 'firearm' that he ordered the summery execution of anyone found with one...

    For a breakdown of this weapon see...

    http://www.beemans.net/Austrian%20airguns.htm

    Last edited by Bwaha; 15 Mar 10, 01:28.
    Credo quia absurdum.


    Quantum mechanics describes nature as absurd from the point of view of common sense. And yet it fully agrees with experiment. So I hope you can accept nature as She is - absurd! - Richard Feynman

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    • #3
      Rifles and Executions...

      Do you have a credible source for this?

      Sincerely,
      M
      We are not now that strength which in old days
      Moved earth and heaven; that which we are we are; One equal temper of heroic hearts
      Made weak by time and fate but strong in will
      To strive to seek to find and not to yield.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Bwaha View Post
        The Girandoni Air Rifle was in service with the Austrian army from 1780 to around 1815.
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Girandoni_Air_Rifle



        Napoleon was so upset with this 'firearm' that he ordered the summery execution of anyone found with one...

        For a breakdown of this weapon see...

        http://www.beemans.net/Austrian%20airguns.htm

        From your own link

        There are several oft-repeated tales about Girandoni system airguns which we now know to be fanciful. Some historical accounts simply are not true or they may contain comments that are not true.

        First, One of the most common myths is that Napoleon ordered the hanging of anyone in possession of an airgun. The late Arne Hoff, famed arms historian and curator of the Royal Danish Arsenal, and others, have commented that this story, told as the “eye witness” war experience of French General Mortier, has now been quite thoroughly refuted (Baer, 1973). This story may have grown from the fact that many towns, fearing these unfamiliar, terrifying guns - even without any negative incidents, banned airguns. A death penalty was common for many offenses, so it is possible that some airgunners were put to death. One story relates that the city fathers had a gunsmith, who knew how to make airguns, blinded!

        Second, apparently there never was any incident of the air rifles being used against Napoleon’s troops.

        Third, it is often related that these guns were silent. A number of city, and other governmental decrees of the 1800s, made the guns illegal, often largely on this basis. I can state from personal firing of one of Cowan's fully-charged museum copy of the Girandoni military air rifle that the discharge sound is quite audible, though by no means as loud as a similar large bore flintlock firearm and evidently much less loud than the report of many antique or modern pre-charged pneumatic rifle.. However, the fact that the guns discharge without smoke or muzzle/pan flash does make locating the position of someone firing such a gun much more difficult. (Modern note: Powerful, modern, silenced, 9mm PCP airguns are being used by U.S. Seals in Iraq to snipe at insurgents. Firing an M-16 at dawn or dusk could attract a lot of return fire to the flash point.)
        Paul
        Last edited by Dibble201Bty; 15 Mar 10, 08:45.
        ‘Tis said his form is tiny, yet
        All human ills he can subdue,
        Or with a bauble or medal
        Can win mans heart for you;
        And many a blessing know to stew
        To make a megloamaniac bright;
        Give honour to the dainty Corse,
        The Pixie is a little shite.

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        • #5
          Well that's what I get for not rereading the article.

          There goes a cherished myth from the past...

          I first read about this in a 1964 issue of Gun digest...

          Page 38...

          Sigh...
          Credo quia absurdum.


          Quantum mechanics describes nature as absurd from the point of view of common sense. And yet it fully agrees with experiment. So I hope you can accept nature as She is - absurd! - Richard Feynman

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by RepublicanGuard View Post
            I've been wondering, what would you consider the best small arms of the Napoleonic wars (or your favorite)?

            Also, did a smooth-bore musket have any advantages over an early rifle other than being easier to produce?
            If you actually mean Military firearm, then, IMO, the best, the Baker rifle. But the AK47 of the wars has to be the famous Brown Bess.

            Paul
            ‘Tis said his form is tiny, yet
            All human ills he can subdue,
            Or with a bauble or medal
            Can win mans heart for you;
            And many a blessing know to stew
            To make a megloamaniac bright;
            Give honour to the dainty Corse,
            The Pixie is a little shite.

            Comment


            • #7
              One of them Austrian pellet guns almost killed an old pal of mine. He was one of the founding members of the Sheffield Branch of the MLAGB. He was restoring one and had used a petrol based chemical to clean out the recharging cylinder.
              When he was charging the rifle the cylinder exploded, blowing his guts out of his belly, one hand off and three fingers from the other. He survived and went on to produce, with a steel claw and crippled hand, some of the finest gunsmithing and shooting of B/P firearms I've ever witnessed!

              The long toll of the brave
              Is not lost in darkness
              Over the fruitful earth
              And athwart the seas
              Hath passed the light of noble deeds
              Unquenchable forever.

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              • #8
                The Brown Bess could fire then French 69" ball but then Charleville could not fire the .69 of the brown bess.

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                • #9
                  I would say the Charleville was the overall BEST weapon. The Charleville was IIRC lighter, and a handier weapon than the Brown Bess. The Baker was a better skirmishing weapon, but it was expensive to produce, slow to load, and required more training to be effective in battle. For the same cost of one skirmisher with a Baker, I could have three line infantry with Charlevilles, and those three would be able to defeat the Baker in most circumstances.
                  Tacitos, Satrap of Kyrene

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by palidian View Post
                    The Brown Bess could fire then French 69" ball but then Charleville could not fire the .69 of the brown bess.
                    The French Mle 1777 (Charleville) has a 17.5mm bore and it's firing a 16.5mm ball.

                    The Brown bess has a 19mm bore and it's firing a 18mm lead ball.

                    The American Army, with combat experience with both Brown Bess and Mle 1777 Charleville chose to copy the French model for its first official musket, the M1795.

                    kelt

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by TacCovert4 View Post
                      I could have three line infantry with Charlevilles, and those three would be able to defeat the Baker in most circumstances.
                      Never mind 'most circumstances'... enquiring minds would be happy with you providing just one!
                      Your three line infantry with Charlevilles, would be stood about in confusion wondering why all their Occifers were lying down on the job!

                      The long toll of the brave
                      Is not lost in darkness
                      Over the fruitful earth
                      And athwart the seas
                      Hath passed the light of noble deeds
                      Unquenchable forever.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Von Richter View Post


                        Never mind 'most circumstances'... enquiring minds would be happy with you providing just one!
                        Your three line infantry with Charlevilles, would be stood about in confusion wondering why all their Occifers were lying down on the job!

                        Of course, after the first shot it would likely be quite obvious where your rifleman is hiding.



                        Also, how effective and how widely used was buck and ball shot? Was it just as effective in all weapons or did you need a wider barrel like the brown bess?

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by RepublicanGuard View Post
                          Of course, after the first shot it would likely be quite obvious where your rifleman is hiding.
                          Seeing him's the easy part... hitting him is the hard bit. Also, His Grace's Light Bob's tended to come in pairs!

                          The long toll of the brave
                          Is not lost in darkness
                          Over the fruitful earth
                          And athwart the seas
                          Hath passed the light of noble deeds
                          Unquenchable forever.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            The use of rifled carbines was not widespread in the French Army, the first time it was used in large quantities to good results was at Fontenoy, with the "arquebusiers de Grassin".

                            kelt

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