Brown Bess -Why

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Hi,
Here is a link to the British Royal Armories and the explanation of the name "Brown Bess". It had nothing to do with its stock color, nothing to do with any German word for gun, and nothing to do with "good Queen Bess". It meant a drab woman of low repute, the soldiers best friend.

During much of its career in active use it was not referred to as "brown Bess" but the "King's musket".

dave
For me, part of the lore of having my BB was learning about all the various origins of the Brown Bess moniker. And, every 'expert' believed his version was correct. I don't care, I love them all. :thumb:
 

dave_person

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Hi JC,
British troops regularly practiced firing at targets or "marks" as they were called. British troops fired individually for maximum accuracy, and by ranks for maximum firepower. Marksmanship with muskets was highly prized within light infantry units, particularly those serving in North America where they adopted tactics for fighting in forests that served well to limit the effectiveness of American riflemen. At one point in 1778, Washington essentially disbanded all rifle units in the American Army and handed them muskets because the British had severely limited their usefulness. He changed his mind later however.

dave
 

Irishmusket

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The Brown Bess is a highly effective fowler ,and very reliable by flintlock standards with out a lot of fuss I load and prime with 1 f never patch the balls I can hit anything out to 60 + yards and very effective with shot on upland game,Turkey rabbits squirrels etc.I am older now dont hunt deer to much any more but two years ago shot one At 50+ yards dropped it like a stone over the last 30 years at has served me well many deer rabbits peasant grouse etc still successfully hunt upland game small game and turkeys with my Brown Bess it has proven to be a highly efficient and reliable hunting companion
 
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".....why did they start putting them on their muskets when they were still using plug bayonets because they didn’t have socket bayonets yet"

And your reference is ?
The majority of original pre-bayonet European matchlock firearms in existence. Examples include this 1490s piece: A Highly Interesting Regensburg Matchlock Wallgun of ca. 1640, the Barrel ca. 1490 - Ethnographic Arms & Armour
These 1575-80 pieces with tube rear and blade front sights: An Early and Important Munich Military Matchlock Musket by Peter Peck, ca. 1575-80 - Ethnographic Arms & Armour
1560s Matchlock with front site: A Rare Portuguese (Goa) Snap Matchlock Gun, ca. 1560 - Ethnographic Arms & Armour
This late 1500s musket in the collection of the Met: https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/33874
This 1537 Matchlock made for Henry VIII- a breechloader, no less: Matchlock breech-loading gun - Matchlock breech-loading gun for Henry VIII By Master WH. - Royal Armouries collections
This 1560s musket in the Tower with both front and tubular rear sights: Matchlock muzzle-loading arquebus - Or Caliver A military style in use across Europe at this time. - Royal Armouries collections
All the engravings Jacob de Gheyn did of musketeers and calivermen for his 1590’s “Wappenhandelinge,” such as the example here: Antique Print - MILITARY-MUSKETEER-MUSKET-GUN-RIFFLE-PL.22-DE GHEYN after own design - 1608 · Pictura Antique Prints
I have plenty more examples. Shall I continue?
Jay
 
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For me, part of the lore of having my BB was learning about all the various origins of the Brown Bess moniker. And, every 'expert' believed his version was correct. I don't care, I love them all. :thumb:
I’ve read this before and it’s probably right, but I like the other stories. Liberty Valance comes to mind
 
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The majority of original pre-bayonet European matchlock firearms in existence. Examples include this 1490s piece: A Highly Interesting Regensburg Matchlock Wallgun of ca. 1640, the Barrel ca. 1490 - Ethnographic Arms & Armour
These 1575-80 pieces with tube rear and blade front sights: An Early and Important Munich Military Matchlock Musket by Peter Peck, ca. 1575-80 - Ethnographic Arms & Armour
1560s Matchlock with front site: A Rare Portuguese (Goa) Snap Matchlock Gun, ca. 1560 - Ethnographic Arms & Armour
This late 1500s musket in the collection of the Met: https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/33874
This 1537 Matchlock made for Henry VIII- a breechloader, no less: Matchlock breech-loading gun - Matchlock breech-loading gun for Henry VIII By Master WH. - Royal Armouries collections
This 1560s musket in the Tower with both front and tubular rear sights: Matchlock muzzle-loading arquebus - Or Caliver A military style in use across Europe at this time. - Royal Armouries collections
All the engravings Jacob de Gheyn did of musketeers and calivermen for his 1590’s “Wappenhandelinge,” such as the example here: Antique Print - MILITARY-MUSKETEER-MUSKET-GUN-RIFFLE-PL.22-DE GHEYN after own design - 1608 · Pictura Antique Prints
I have plenty more examples. Shall I continue?
Jay

And the subject of this thread is "Brown Bess-Why"
Nothing prior to the first acknowledged "Kings Musket" (1718" the "Brown Bess" is relevant.
 
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The majority of original pre-bayonet European matchlock firearms in existence. Examples include this 1490s piece: A Highly Interesting Regensburg Matchlock Wallgun of ca. 1640, the Barrel ca. 1490 - Ethnographic Arms & Armour
These 1575-80 pieces with tube rear and blade front sights: An Early and Important Munich Military Matchlock Musket by Peter Peck, ca. 1575-80 - Ethnographic Arms & Armour
1560s Matchlock with front site: A Rare Portuguese (Goa) Snap Matchlock Gun, ca. 1560 - Ethnographic Arms & Armour
This late 1500s musket in the collection of the Met: https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/33874
This 1537 Matchlock made for Henry VIII- a breechloader, no less: Matchlock breech-loading gun - Matchlock breech-loading gun for Henry VIII By Master WH. - Royal Armouries collections
This 1560s musket in the Tower with both front and tubular rear sights: Matchlock muzzle-loading arquebus - Or Caliver A military style in use across Europe at this time. - Royal Armouries collections
All the engravings Jacob de Gheyn did of musketeers and calivermen for his 1590’s “Wappenhandelinge,” such as the example here: Antique Print - MILITARY-MUSKETEER-MUSKET-GUN-RIFFLE-PL.22-DE GHEYN after own design - 1608 · Pictura Antique Prints
I have plenty more examples. Shall I continue?
Jay
A Tubular rear sight is an Aperture rear sight , These were used on cross bows , matchlocks and wheel locks long before the Long Land series of musket was ever thought of , rear sights were not needed on the musket whatever reason .
 

JB67

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Notice that the first two guns have stocks that were colored/painted black. When the "Broen Bess" as adopted it was the first British musket with no black applied to the stock. Hence, to the common soldier it was the "brown gun" In common English - not Shakespear, that was said as "brown bess". Brown meant just what you'd think - BROWN, not colored/painted black. And, although today's Englishman may not be aware, "bess" was from the old German word for "gun". Had nothing to do with any woman's name. With all respect to our British members here, in America we have kept some of these obsolete words in the language of Southern blacks. Their enslaved families learned 16th or 17th Century English as spoken by rural English, the Southern plantation owners. They did NOT speak as Shakespeare wrote. To them a gun was something like a "bess", and to shoot at someone was then, and still was when I was young, to "buss" them. I recall in the 1970's a Detroit newspaper quoting a black resident sying something like "...he buss at me, I buss back". At that time I spoke with a Caucasian man from Alabama who said "I know what that means"
So . . . just don't "buss" at your friends. And do not look for the term "Brown Bess" in any fine English literature of the 17th Century.
"Brown Bess" most likely comes from a slang term for "common woman." Brown referred to lower class/less refined, Bess the equivalent of "broad" or "chick" of the 20th century. There are period references to the soldier living with his Brown Bess as his lover and companion, but the British military never called them a "Brown Bess."

dave_person has it right in post #258
 
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There is a trend amongst more experienced clay target shooters , to remove the fore sight all together as is a distraction .

Is that when the clays are thrown from a trap house where shooters stand at measured off distances or are the clays thrown in a random manner and unknown distances?

Gus
 
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And the subject of this thread is "Brown Bess-Why"
Nothing prior to the first acknowledged "Kings Musket" (1718" the "Brown Bess" is relevant.

That's your opinion and you have a right to it.

However, British Infantry Muskets had (front) sights on them for the century before the Brown Bess came along. So, when the socket bayonet came along just before the Brown Bess, they used it in the secondary role as a bayonet lug. They continued that with the Brown Bess.

Gus
 
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Artificer said:
Is that when the clays are thrown from a trap house where shooters stand at measured off distances or are the clays thrown in a random manner and unknown distances?

Gus


Usually in sporting clays in all its varieties, but some trap shooters also are trying it .

Thank you. IMO, sporting clays is much more realistic to real life hunting.

My I ask how the gun is aimed?

I'm wondering if one carefully mounts the gun to the shoulder and looks "over the sights" or "over the barrel" in a manner we were taught to aim at close range for fast shooting and they called "Quick Kill" in the early 1970's?

BTW, though I realize we are talking about modern shooting techniques, they may or can have similarities to shooting the Brown Bess.

Gus
 

Robby

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Hi JC,
British troops regularly practiced firing at targets or "marks" as they were called. British troops fired individually for maximum accuracy, and by ranks for maximum firepower. Marksmanship with muskets was highly prized within light infantry units, particularly those serving in North America where they adopted tactics for fighting in forests that served well to limit the effectiveness of American riflemen. At one point in 1778, Washington essentially disbanded all rifle units in the American Army and handed them muskets because the British had severely limited their usefulness. He changed his mind later however.

dave
I have no doubt that they did this. As a recreation within a military unit it would build pride, morale, and comradery, which all, off the line, activities are designed for within the martial disciplines.
What they were ordered to do, in battle, on the line, is a different matter entirely.
Robby
 
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I have no doubt that they did this. As a recreation within a military unit it would build pride, morale, and comradery, which all, off the line, activities are designed for within the martial disciplines.
What they were ordered to do, in battle, on the line, is a different matter entirely.
Robby

And yet as historically documented earlier going back to the FIW, some of that firing to marks was done in formation, which directly improved their combat capabilities.

Gus
 
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One doesn't really aim a shotgun one points it ,( maybe turkey shooting is different) you should be looking at your target and aware of where the barrel is in relation to it , A bead , especially a bright one can hold the shooters attention too much , Shooting a crossing bird, coming from behind, the swing should be Bottom , Body , Beak , Bang . Not aiming where you think the bird will be and firing a shot . To keep this in context the Pedersoli Brown Bess has won at the shotgun world champs several times ,
If you are interested in ML clay target shooting click on and have a read of this there is a lot of stuff there to sort out . https://mlaic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/MLAIC-Rules-202012.pdf
 
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One doesn't really aim a shotgun one points it ,( maybe turkey shooting is different) you should be looking at your target and aware of where the barrel is in relation to it , A bead , especially a bright one can hold the shooters attention too much , Shooting a crossing bird, coming from behind, the swing should be Bottom , Body , Beak , Bang . Not aiming where you think the bird will be and firing a shot . To keep this in context the Pedersoli Brown Bess has won at the shotgun world champs several times ,
If you are interested in ML clay target shooting click on and have a read of this there is a lot of stuff there to sort out . https://mlaic.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/MLAIC-Rules-202012.pdf

Not entirely sure where you are going here. You are describing lead while you are in fact aiming the shotgun or you wouldn't be in to position to realize the transition of when to fire ahead of the bird.

Gus
 

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