Muzzle Loading Movie Myth Busters

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beardedhorse

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From The Last of the Mohicans, Natty Bumpo (Daniel Day Lewis's character) or Deerslayer asked for silk to patch round balls in the rifles because he claimed they will throw a ball farther than one patched in linen or cotton cloth. Hard to find some silk .015" thick and seems it would stretch more and not give as tight a fit. Anybody actually test this theory using a similar powder charge, ball size and weight and patching of the same thickness and lube? Silk is not cheap if you buy it retail.
It was in a scene in the movie where a fort courier was trying to outrun the British allied Indians to deliver a message. They kept handing him different rifles and he kept nailing the enemy. How would he know where to sight at longer distance with so many different rifles with different sights and loads? Hollywood hopes you don't ask these questions.
Shooting from a bench through a chronograph would give you the muzzle velocities but you might want to measure velocity further downrange as well but put some sort of shield in front so as not to blow a whole through your chrono. New fangled doppler radar chronos can measure from the side rather than trip two different photo cells.
Or shoot from a bench at 100 yd target and check points of impact but unless heavy bench and a steady rest, might not be dependable based on the shooter. Check five shot groups with the two patching materials.
 

Grenadier1758

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Even James Fennimore Cooper (the author) didn't make the statement about using silk for patching. To keep the statement in the context of the movie, Bumpo (DDL) just wanted to see Cora's ankles. He slipped in some linen for the shooting. DDL was able to shoot all the enemy because it was in the script.

Do know that during the Battle of New Orleans there were several riflemen that used different rifles in rotation to shoot British Officers. I don't know what the success rate was, but it was significant enough to make that performance into the legendary category.
 

RAEDWALD

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Do know that during the Battle of New Orleans there were several riflemen that used different rifles in rotation to shoot British Officers. I don't know what the success rate was, but it was significant enough to make that performance into the legendary category.
Maybe so but it was artillery and musketry that did most of the killing.
 

Artificer

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Maybe so but it was artillery and musketry that did most of the killing.
Exactly right!

And to all, it has been some time since I studied the Battle of New Orleans. So I'm wondering at what distance the American Riflemen opened up on the British Forces?

Gus
 

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