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It is true that I aim my musket during the firing of ball during woods walks and live fire competition when targets are scored. During reenactments with the firing of blank rounds, the musket is pointed, not aimed, to be elevated.

Agree on reenacting and the safety feature of pointing/elevating muskets to ensure nothing comes out of the barrel that would harm the opposing side.

I thought you were referring to firing live rounds in formation.

Gus
 
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The real problem with just pointing a musket is the British Army considered 60 yards to be the effective range of the muskets in the period. Even firing hundreds of balls at that range while one is jerking the trigger to volley fire, there would be almost no hits at that range if all they did was point their muskets. Yet at Breed's Hill and even though the American colonists were in position behind barricades and offering MUCH smaller targets than had they been standing in formation, the British there scored hits on them.

Gus
 
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The real problem with just pointing a musket is the British Army considered 60 yards to be the effective range of the muskets in the period. Even firing hundreds of balls at that range while one is jerking the trigger to volley fire, there would be almost no hits at that range if all they did was point their muskets. Yet at Breed's Hill and even though the American colonists were in position behind barricades and offering MUCH smaller targets than had they been standing in formation, the British there scored hits on them.

Gus
I don’t know if the British tried this but the French kingdom on the eve of the seven years war experimented shooting at curtains. They were six feet high and eighty feet long, about company sized. They shot at one two and three hundred yards. Even at three hundred yard a company could put seven shots into the curtain. That’s almost ten percent hits
Men in line wouldn’t be as solid a target as a curtain, but I bet that would represent thee or four hits
 
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I don’t know if the British tried this but the French kingdom on the eve of the seven years war experimented shooting at curtains. They were six feet high and eighty feet long, about company sized. They shot at one two and three hundred yards. Even at three hundred yard a company could put seven shots into the curtain. That’s almost ten percent hits
Men in line wouldn’t be as solid a target as a curtain, but I bet that would represent thee or four hits

I would love to see the original documentation on that. Not sure what to make of it, as it sounds incredible to impossible for smoothbore Infantry muskets.

Gus
 
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I would love to see the original documentation on that. Not sure what to make of it, as it sounds incredible to impossible for smoothbore Infantry muskets.

Gus

The French had several firing and aiming systems, which is why almost all of their infantry model muskets had a brass semi circle front sight on the front band. The French did this so it would raise the sight over the threshold of the fixed bayonet by a few MM.

Barrels; the French had better barrels on their muskets they were not oversized like a bess had a very tight tapper starting around 1.4 and decreasing to .880 at every 7/8 of an inch. The heaviest barrel was a 1763 at 5.1 lbs. At .72 caliber a paper cartridge with a .665 ball will be pretty tight and accurate (but nominally no more then a bess).

The French systems also had various aiming strategies, I know of one in particular.

Rotational fire from a fixed position, three to four guys would fire while three to four men deep would reoload and clean, this had a rapid fire effect, where three rounds could be fired in less than 1 min. This had the effect of a type of rotational turret. This strategic was used at the battle of Carillon in which the British suffered immense casualties.
 

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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
Well of course it did. That is military discipline, how to line up, how to face, how to point, how to shoot on command, all as one unit, a uniform wall of lead. Today it is called fire and movement, the tactic is different, the discipline is the same.
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Well of course it did. That is military discipline, how to line up, how to face, how to point, how to shoot on command, all as one unit, a uniform wall of lead. Today it is called fire and movement, the tactic is different, the discipline is the same.
Robby

They were "firing at marks" in formation, which meant they were aiming during their volley fire practice.

Gus
 
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Agree on reenacting and the safety feature of pointing/elevating muskets to ensure nothing comes out of the barrel that would harm the opposing side.

I thought you were referring to firing live rounds in formation.

Gus
There are a few military competitions where live fire in formation is conducted. Firing is on command at targets. This is a military competition, and the muskets are aimed. You can certainly tell which of the units practice firing at marks.
 

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They were "firing at marks" in formation, which meant they were aiming during their volley fire practice.

Gus
Well, thats one interpretation I guess, opinions are not facts. Besides, virtual debates are not my forte.
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Well, thats one interpretation I guess, opinions are not facts. Besides, virtual debates are not my forte.
Robby

"If we see a platoon fire with ball at a mark, it is certain that many ball will fall short, and many go over, yet sufficient numbers will hit to do horrid execution. Suppose the same platoon in action, and it will undoubtedly fire with less justness."

[Above is the historically documented difference between half a Company firing in practice and in combat. It is not speaking of individuals nor even individual ranks. Note: British Companies were broken down into only two Platoons during this period.]

"The companies being thus perfected in their duty, should begin to fire with ball, and practice it, as much as their allowance of ammunition and opportunity will permit, till they become good marksmen."

[Here now referring to whole Companies practicing firing.]

A Military Essay Containing Reflections on The Raising, Arming, Clothing, and Discipline of the British Infantry and Cavalry, by Campbell Dalyrymple 1761

The above is documented historic fact, not my opinion.

Gus
 

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The interpretation of verbiage and what it means in today's terms is.
Robby
 

Robby

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Well Gus, I'm of a mind set on this and have seen nothing that has made me move from that point. So at this point I will believe what I believe and accept that you believe what you believe.

Land doesn't always mean the ground you stand on.
Robby
 
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I found my copy of De Witt Bailey's book Pattern Dates for British Ordnance Small Arms . On page 5 plate 3 he says Bayonet Stud . Always referred to by the Ordnance as the "sight" ,
for the 1738/78 wall piece Bailey refers to "steel blade front sight which is brazed to the barrel "
The 1730 Long Land Musket & The 1742 Long Land Musket " The front sight/bayonet stud is brazed 2" from the muzzle ".
The 1756 Long Land Musket "The front sight/bayonet stud is brazed 2 1/8" from the muzzle and measures ¼" x 3/16"
The 1779 Short Land Musket "The front sight/bayonet stud is brazed 2¼" from the muzzle and measures ¼ x ¼" and is 1/8" high .
The 1779 S sidepiece Short Land Musket "The front sight/bayonet stud is brazed 2 1/8" from the muzzle and measures ¼ x 1/8"
There is a lot more .
You can see that Bailey calls it a front sight / bayonet stud to , no doubt, define its dual purpose .
There were variations in size and placement although all seem to have been brazed on ,
Wall guns did not need a bayonet so they had a blade sight , Some of the service muskets also lacked a bayonet lug as bayonets were not much use on a ship where cutlass's were a more efficient arm
 
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Every original 1738/1778 wall gun that I've seen that's still had the sight has been a brass semi-crescent. I know Bailey says that a steel front sight is called for, but this has just been my experience. A bayonet would be interesting on a wall gun. I imagine it could be made to look like a giant pitchfork or something, lol.
 
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I found my copy of De Witt Bailey's book Pattern Dates for British Ordnance Small Arms . On page 5 plate 3 he says Bayonet Stud . Always referred to by the Ordnance as the "sight" ,
for the 1738/78 wall piece Bailey refers to "steel blade front sight which is brazed to the barrel "
The 1730 Long Land Musket & The 1742 Long Land Musket " The front sight/bayonet stud is brazed 2" from the muzzle ".
The 1756 Long Land Musket "The front sight/bayonet stud is brazed 2 1/8" from the muzzle and measures ¼" x 3/16"
The 1779 Short Land Musket "The front sight/bayonet stud is brazed 2¼" from the muzzle and measures ¼ x ¼" and is 1/8" high .
The 1779 S sidepiece Short Land Musket "The front sight/bayonet stud is brazed 2 1/8" from the muzzle and measures ¼ x 1/8"
There is a lot more .
You can see that Bailey calls it a front sight / bayonet stud to , no doubt, define its dual purpose .
There were variations in size and placement although all seem to have been brazed on ,
Wall guns did not need a bayonet so they had a blade sight , Some of the service muskets also lacked a bayonet lug as bayonets were not much use on a ship where cutlass's were a more efficient arm
It pays to read every page when making a quote , both quotes are correct but different. I have to change what I quoted above as I have read more of Bailey and he says this :
The third feature common to Musket ,Fusil and Carbine barrels , other than Cavalry is the bayonet stud ,always referred to the Ordnance as the "sight" . This small rectangular block is dovetailed and brazed on the top of the barrel at varying distances from the muzzle . The dimensions of the stud increased with the years and in improvements in bayonet design , but in general a measurement of ¼" long by 1/8" wide is most common in the post 1750 period ..
The Ordnance was the Board Of Ordnance , which ordered , set dimensions , names for parts and complete arms etc
 

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