'Scattergun' loads in medieval handgonnes?

Discussion in 'Pre-Flintlock' started by hyuzu, Dec 3, 2019.

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  1. Dec 3, 2019 #1

    hyuzu

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    Out of curiosity, I was wondering whether there are any historical accounts of medieval handgonners using 'scattergun' or 'buck and ball' type loads in their weapons, rather than a single lead ball? I'm no expert on this field, but in my limited reading I only saw reference to single projectiles being loaded. I thought that maybe trying out a scattergun load might have crossed someone's mind at some point during the medieval period, especially if you were shooting into a pack of spear-wielding peasants closing in fast...
     
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  2. Dec 3, 2019 #2

    Flint62Smoothie

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    Have never read of such an occurrence. Earliest writings ‘here’ (US) point to early settler ‘Ranging Companies’ using buck & ball loads. They were very popular in the F&I War era too.
     
  3. Dec 3, 2019 #3

    Griz44Mag

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    I did see some references to the early handgonnes being used to launch arrows or bolts.
    I'm sure the need for launching something at your adversary even when the lead ran out would have included rocks, nails, etc.... like we see referenced in smoothbores and cannons in the past.
     
  4. Dec 3, 2019 #4

    Baxter

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    Nails would have been very expensive ammunition.
     
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  5. Dec 3, 2019 #5

    hyuzu

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    I saw the same (at least with small cannons, though not necessarily handgonnes), but nothing about a medieval equivalent to buckshot...
     
  6. Dec 3, 2019 #6

    Nyckname

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    [​IMG]

    Medieval cannon at Firepower Museum of the Royal Artillery
     
  7. Dec 4, 2019 #7

    Pukka Bundook

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    I'll have to look for it, but seem to recall a law passed by Henry V111, forbidding the use of "Hayle shotte" in towns.
    I gather that folks were taking pot-shots at pigeons and such perched on town houses....
    I'll see if I can find the reference..
     
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  8. Dec 4, 2019 #8

    Pukka Bundook

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    Further to the above;

    In 1549, the British Parliament decreed that ...".............Noe person under the decree of Lord in Parliament shall henceforth shote in any hand-gunne within any cittie or towne at any fowle or other marke, upon anie church, house or dovecote, neither shall any person shote ...any hayl shot or any more pellets than one at a tyme, upon payne of...tenne pounds....."

    The above from Harold L Peterson's, "The Great Guns". Page 116.
     
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  9. Dec 4, 2019 #9

    Griz44Mag

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    Well from that it would seem that loading a handgunne with shot was common and was enough of a problem with roof damage that it had to be outlawed inside towne limits. The law did not say you could not load thus if you are out of the village limits though. I wonder if starting fires on thatched roofs was also a reason?
    GREAT reference, that's what you call "really old English". Thank you, I enjoyed that.
     
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  10. Dec 4, 2019 #10

    Pukka Bundook

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    Grizz,

    Likely chimney pots and windows would also be vulnerable to "hayle shot" :)

    Out in the countryside, pot hunting was a common way for peasants to supplement their diet.
     
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  11. Dec 4, 2019 #11

    hyuzu

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    @Pukka Bundook Great reference, many thanks for posting. If folks were using birdshot in the 1540s, I wonder how far back its use went. It would be interesting to know what some of the earliest recorded examples are of "hayle shot", either purpose made or improvised from stuff like rocks...

    I remember reading of an incident in 1375 of some commoners using hand-cannons or handgonnes in an attack on an English manor. No mention was made of the ammo unfortunately, but if I was an angry peasant planning to storm someone's house, a scattergun load might have crossed my mind...

    "An early instance of the use of hand fire-arms in England is the siege of Huntercombe Manor in 1375. These were simply small cannon, provided with a stock of wood, and fired by the application of a match to the touch-hole."
    https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Page:EB1911_-_Volume_02.djvu/632
     
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  12. Dec 4, 2019 #12

    rickystl

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    I don't recall reading about multiple shot being used during the handgonne period. But single projectiles - including arrows - yes. I believe the larger cannons during this period - think they were called bombards (?) - were used with large, heavy projectiles for damaging castle/fortification walls.
    Here is a pic of an original rare arrow from that period: Gonne Arrow.JPG
     
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  13. Dec 5, 2019 #13

    Baxter

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    The "arrow"pictured would have been used to cause a fire.
     
  14. Dec 5, 2019 #14

    Griz44Mag

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    Wicked.
    Looks like it was designed to stick into a wood gate or wall and the basket - for want of a better description - would contain a flaming ball stuff to burn to stary burning down that barrier. I wonder what the range of these must have been?
     
  15. Dec 5, 2019 #15

    Pukka Bundook

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    Last edited: Dec 5, 2019
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  16. Dec 6, 2019 #16

    Flint62Smoothie

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    Very cool that the Mary Rose has incendiary arrows on it. I don't recall seeing any of that detail when I visited the ship in its present resting state (in a perpetual mist of saltwater).

    And even more amazing is the wealth of knowledge and pictures Matchlock shared over the years. Sadly, he passed far too early ...
     
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  17. Dec 27, 2019 #17

    Rudyard

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    Hayle shot Tudor & Pre . lead sheet cut into squares and rumbled to round the corners makes sense. There is an engraving in Robert Helds ' Age Of Firearms ' which seemed to pre date the Tudors but perhaps could be hunters in practical guise not fashion conscience long barrelled Matchlocks If I recall correctly . Cant see firing nails or stones too sensible though .All good stuff. Rudyard
     
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  18. Dec 27, 2019 #18

    Feltwad

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    Remember several decades ago I bought from Major Noel Corry several matchlock barrels ,there was two which were loaded and the shot was lead sheet cut into squares of 1/16 and 1/8 .
    Feltwad
     
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  19. Dec 28, 2019 #19

    Pukka Bundook

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    It seems Feltwad, that we all bought barrels to some extent from the old Major!

    Still remember his address! Mine weren't loaded though...
     
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  20. Dec 28, 2019 #20

    Rudyard

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    Me too I went down to Steeple Bumsted and bought a bundle & My friend did too. later I got all he didn't use and I'me still using them up .Great buying .I believe they where out of Police stores in the Persian Kurdistan region he was mainly after Artillery Lugers (Some sort of unmentionable ) but had to take the old confiscated barrels trucked to UK by the ton .All hail the Galloping Major. Rudyard
     

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