Danger of rapid firing?

Help Support Muzzle Loading Forum:

Osseon

40 Cal
Joined
Jan 28, 2021
Messages
242
Reaction score
188
I there, I have a Blunderbuss, and as many know one of the hall mark feature is the flared muzzle for easier loading on a stage coach or navy ship that is in motion. As a fun activity I wanted to fire and load it as if I were in a stressful encounter that the blunderbuss was made to be used in. I have made quite a few paper cartridges to fire and thinking about testing how quickly I can fire in a one minute period but then I stopped and realized there might be an inherent danger to loading more powder down the bore so soon after a previous shot. Is there any chances that the heat from a previous shot, or possibly an ember from the paper could ignite any powder and I lose a finger or worse?

Anyone have experience with rapid reload and the do and don'ts?
 

necchi

Cannon
MLF Supporter
Joined
Feb 23, 2009
Messages
13,616
Reaction score
808
Location
Central Minn
I do know personally of one local circumstance of a man's "speed loading" mishap. He was pouring from the horn, and it did explode, he lost part of his little finger.
Truth.
 

Osseon

40 Cal
Joined
Jan 28, 2021
Messages
242
Reaction score
188
I do know personally of one local circumstance of a man's "speed loading" mishap. He was pouring from the horn, and it did explode, he lost part of his little finger.
Truth.
I have cartridges, I would not be pouring or measuring powder in any way from a source. I believe they are 60-70g charges
 

necchi

Cannon
MLF Supporter
Joined
Feb 23, 2009
Messages
13,616
Reaction score
808
Location
Central Minn
I have cartridges, I would not be pouring or measuring powder in any way from a source. I believe they are 60-70g charges
Yeah, that's the best for sure. I have used "blank" paper wrapped charges for use in "Parade" situations, but I guess even then I wasn't trying to load for speed.
I guess I always just figured the olde "Minuteman" rule of 3 rounds a minute to be as true now as it was when the military proved it 250yrs ago, :dunno:
 

Stantheman86

32 Cal.
MLF Supporter
Joined
Jul 23, 2018
Messages
1,928
Reaction score
1,093
I have emptied a 50 round cartridge box of Pritchetts or Minie cartridges one after the other, the barrel gets too hot to touch but I've never had a flash off.

NEVER load directly from a flask or horn.

I don't often do it because I usually just shoot at a leisurely pace and take a break to swab the bore and pop a cap even if I don't have to.

I also don't have a Brigade of troops firing back at me or a swarm of hostile Indians so I don't need to stress myself out by shooting 3 rounds per minute but it's fun to see if I can do it.

Now I know why Sutlers sell those leather barrel wraps , for Skirmishers because that barrel gets painfully hot.

I don't know if the account I read of Confederates during a battle firing so many rounds that Minie balls were melting in barrels was true or just a soldier exaggerating
 
  • Like
Reactions: APG

Eterry

62 Cal.
Staff member
Moderator
MLF Supporter
Joined
Aug 15, 2010
Messages
2,947
Reaction score
1,872
Location
Between Red River Station and Doans Crossing, Tx.
I read an account of a Union troop on Little Round Top who wrote his musket became so hot it cooked off,(my words) and he picked up a fallen rifle. He loaded it until it too cooked off, but due to events of the day there were plenty rifles laying around. He also mentioned he had to use cartridge boxes of fallen comrades as his ran empty.
He wrote this circa 1863, so it CAN happen.
 

APG

40 Cal
Joined
Oct 13, 2020
Messages
185
Reaction score
152
Location
Southern California
I have emptied a 50 round cartridge box of Pritchetts or Minie cartridges one after the other, the barrel gets too hot to touch but I've never had a flash off.

NEVER load directly from a flask or horn.

I don't often do it because I usually just shoot at a leisurely pace and take a break to swab the bore and pop a cap even if I don't have to.

I also don't have a Brigade of troops firing back at me or a swarm of hostile Indians so I don't need to stress myself out by shooting 3 rounds per minute but it's fun to see if I can do it.

Now I know why Sutlers sell those leather barrel wraps , for Skirmishers because that barrel gets painfully hot.

I don't know if the account I read of Confederates during a battle firing so many rounds that Minie balls were melting in barrels was true or just a soldier exaggerating
With lead melting at a little over 600°F I doubt if the story is true. But it is a good story.
 

tenngun

Cannon
MLF Supporter
Joined
Jan 27, 2008
Messages
18,103
Reaction score
11,126
Location
Republic mo
I saw Ted Spring, who wrote several sketch books on the Fand I war, get off six to seven a minute with a short Brown Bess over a three minute forty five second period. British standard was fifteen shots in that time, four per minute. Spring was an elite soldier for the time.
Black powder ignition point is shot 350 F. I don’t think you can load fast enough to get a barrel that hot. However you can get a piece of cartridge stuck in the barrel, or a bit of fouling in the breach that glows. That’s every bit as bad as a hot barrel
The lure of speed loading an ml is great, and I’ve played with it my self. Just a year ago as a matter of fact.
However like a good pipe or a glass of your favor adult beverage ml is best enjoyed slow
 

Stantheman86

32 Cal.
MLF Supporter
Joined
Jul 23, 2018
Messages
1,928
Reaction score
1,093
With lead melting at a little over 600°F I doubt if the story is true. But it is a good story.
Books that use actual quotes from letters or memoirs of soldiers are always entertaining, lots of Fish Tales , or just exaggerations so that we can't trust these as historical fact.

I think a lot of the distances which shots were made are exaggerated too I think
 

Trot

45 Cal.
MLF Supporter
Joined
Jun 9, 2004
Messages
906
Reaction score
112
I did see a video of a reenactor rapid firing that had a cook off. Probably can find it on you tube.
 

Eterry

62 Cal.
Staff member
Moderator
MLF Supporter
Joined
Aug 15, 2010
Messages
2,947
Reaction score
1,872
Location
Between Red River Station and Doans Crossing, Tx.
I did see a video of a reenactor rapid firing that had a cook off. Probably can find it on you tube.
I remember seeing a video of a reenactor using a flintlock. He wasn't using the ramrod iirc, slamming the butt on the ground to load it. His last round cooked off. The crowd thought it was part of the act and cheered.
 

ord sgt

45 cal
Joined
Jan 9, 2008
Messages
1,111
Reaction score
709
Location
Socialist state of New Jersey
I did have a cook off while practicing with my Enfield rifle. Premeasured powder charges in a plastic tube, capped with a .575 minie. I fired a shot, grabbed another load, pull the minie from the end of the tube and dumped the powder charge down the barrel. When the powder fell upon the breach, there was an ember, igniting the loose powder. The barrel was at an angle, pointing away from me but my fingers were over the muzzle. It's a most curious thing, seeing flames surrounding my fingers. A nice first degree burn on three fingers. Cooled them down quickly with some water.
I witnessed another shooter have a cook off during a competition. He burned his hand and continued to fire until the end of the five minute time limit.
 

tenngun

Cannon
MLF Supporter
Joined
Jan 27, 2008
Messages
18,103
Reaction score
11,126
Location
Republic mo
Books that use actual quotes from letters or memoirs of soldiers are always entertaining, lots of Fish Tales , or just exaggerations so that we can't trust these as historical fact.

I think a lot of the distances which shots were made are exaggerated too I think
As I recall Plum-Martin recorded seeing a British soldier shot by one of his mates at a mile and during the Seminole wars solders stated the Indians could get hits at four hundred yards.
 

Stantheman86

32 Cal.
MLF Supporter
Joined
Jul 23, 2018
Messages
1,928
Reaction score
1,093
A bigger problem is improper cleaning. If you just use wet patches on a jag , you push all the fouling into the breech. Then after many rounds it hardens into a concrete like layer, that can hold a spark.

If you fill the bore with water or any other liquid, let it sit for a while then pump everything out of the nipple/flash hole it helps to break these deposits up after shooting. Using a breech scraper helps but not all firearms can be "scraped" if they have a patent chamber. Even an undersize brass bore brush can clean the breech. I'm admittedly not a "clean freak" but if you look down the bore of any of my muzzleloaders you'll see bright steel at the breech.

I know the vast majority of my hunting friends just wipe the bores with pre-wet patches after shooting and call it good, but they're just pushing all that crap to the breech.
 

Stantheman86

32 Cal.
MLF Supporter
Joined
Jul 23, 2018
Messages
1,928
Reaction score
1,093
As I recall Plum-Martin recorded seeing a British soldier shot by one of his mates at a mile and during the Seminole wars solders stated the Indians could get hits at four hundred yards.
I believe some of it, like a Ranger hitting a Mexican at 100 yards with a Walker. Totally possible, I've hit silhouette targets at 100 with a Walker, no problem. But then there were claims that the Walker hits with "the same or more knockdown power as the .54 Rifle" which is an exaggeration.

Some of the stories like California Joe Head hitting a Confederate sharpshooter at 2000 yards with a scoped Sharps may be a little exaggerated. Like maybe each person who told the tale added some distance to it before it was written in someone's journal or a letter.

The story about the Union Sharpshooter who fired some rainbow like magic bullet into a Confederate camp at a "bunch of men he could just barely see" that were getting water from a stream and later found out he hit one of them at "a distance exceeding 3000 yards" , again it was probably 800 yards, a lucky pot shot and it just became 1000s of yards when the story was told later and put in a letter home and retold in a tavern somewhere "my cousin Johnny hits Rebs at 3000 yards with his Springfield musket."

Modern vets do the same thing, I do the same thing, you add some "gas" to a colorful story when you have 8 beers and 3 shots in you at a bar talking to other vets about something that happened years prior and then the story gets retold on Facebook, and become a fact ….. 30 second long firefights become 30 minutes, explosions get bigger, actions become more heroic, I can totally relate to all of the Civil War soldiers "gassing up" stories in their excitement to retell the tale of a 3000 yard shot that was really 300, but in your mind you swear you were shooting at a mile.
 

mushka

36 Cal.
MLF Supporter
Joined
Mar 20, 2018
Messages
1,285
Reaction score
1,427
Location
Yuma Az
One of the reasons why I took up muzzle loading was to slow down. If I wanted to fast fire I'd get down one of several unmentionables that really shoot fast. Personally trying to fast load a MZ would ruin the mystique for me.
 

Osseon

40 Cal
Joined
Jan 28, 2021
Messages
242
Reaction score
188
One of the reasons why I took up muzzle loading was to slow down. If I wanted to fast fire I'd get down one of several unmentionables that really shoot fast. Personally trying to fast load a MZ would ruin the mystique for me.
I spent hours a few months ago painstakingly wrapping those cartridges. I feel the need to use them as intended, which was too speed up the firing process in combat. Otherwise I would agree that ML as a hobby is an otherwise relaxing event for me. This was just to test my loading skill and to kind of reenact history, maybe leave a video for fun.
 
Top