'Scattergun' loads in medieval handgonnes?

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sgtsquid

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Toot,
Somewhere I have a first -hand account of these lady Nailers;
It was a very hot job, working over the forge, and they sometimes worked stripped to the waist.

They never shoed horses, as they were nailers.
I just got started with blacksmithing, with the help of my supervisor at work who is a "hefty" woman in her 50's. Now I'll have that mental picture next time I'm sharing a forge with her, not to mention the next design meeting at work.

Thanks a lot.
 

RAEDWALD

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Toot,
In England, Nailers were an off-shoot from regular blacksmithing.
Nailers were often women.

...Women you may not want to argue with, after they'd swung a hammer for a few years!
In the chain forging industry of the Black Country most of the forging work was done by women too. The men forging the heavy chains. The women working in back yard workshops behind their houses.Right into the 1960s IIRC.
 

RAEDWALD

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Just to follow up my last. One reason for employing women for the lighter chain and men for the larger ones was to employ women more cheaply. Payment used to be by weight. If you were a man forging links fit to moor a steam ship it might be hard work but you turn out heavy chain and did so in a factory with all the best kit to hand. Women made more chain but much lighter ones and in back street workshops. Payment was by weight so the women earned much less than the men. Then there was the famous Cradley Heath Wome Chainmakers strike in 1910 which was a major step by the Trades Union Congress to get fairer wages for women.
 

Rudyard

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Getting back to the hand gonnes in action bit whatever they fired I have no documentation (Or espessial interest) Re such accourenses . So I regret cant give an opinion . My views re projectiles & ease of loading theory I have already made clear . On the one ' ease of loading' I say' try it'. On the type of bizzare loading of old scrap ect I say a loud "Don't" . Unless of course you won a fortune playing Russian Roulette then your clearly lucky. Just use a repro eh. Rudyard
 

ugly old guy

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Getting back to the hand gonnes in action bit whatever they fired I have no documentation (Or espessial interest) Re such accourenses . So I regret cant give an opinion . My views re projectiles & ease of loading theory I have already made clear . On the one ' ease of loading' I say' try it'. On the type of bizzare loading of old scrap ect I say a loud "Don't" . Unless of course you won a fortune playing Russian Roulette then your clearly lucky. Just use a repro eh. Rudyard
They had lead balls or birdshot/buckshot and over powder and over shot wads if not using a bore size ball.
The Army or whatever did not come unprepared insofar as ammunition was concerned, at least.
Even in the days when the "ammunition" was arrows, spears, and pikes, they had extra. (in the case of arrows, spears, and pikes, they had wagon loads of extras.)
 

Pukka Bundook

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Old ugly,

I don't think I have ever heard of "Bird-shot" being used in Hand-Gonnes. These are a mere barrels on a pole. Later yes , small shot may have been used, but can not say so with these early guns from the 13 & 1400's.
 

hyuzu

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Old ugly,

I don't think I have ever heard of "Bird-shot" being used in Hand-Gonnes. These are a mere barrels on a pole. Later yes , small shot may have been used, but can not say so with these early guns from the 13 & 1400's.
Finally the thread is back on track :)
Yeah, this is the kind of thing I was asking about. Not people jamming bits of gravel down the barrel, but using purpose-made birdshot, buckshot, etc. in the late medieval period, particularly in a combat scenario. I was wondering if there is any historical evidence for it. But judging from four pages of replies to this thread, I guess nobody else here knows either :p
 

Pukka Bundook

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In the context in which hand-gonnes were used, if you were within bird-shot rage on the opposition, you would be either run down with cavalry in no time flat, or in serious trouble from the pikes. The hand-guns were to extend range, and not generally used at such close quarters.
We must remember that the hand-gonnes were used in conjunction with pikes, so gunners could retire through the pikes when the enemy closed, as they did with bow-men.
 

hyuzu

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In the context in which hand-gonnes were used, if you were within bird-shot rage on the opposition, you would be either run down with cavalry in no time flat, or in serious trouble from the pikes. The hand-guns were to extend range, and not generally used at such close quarters.
But what about one of the most typical close-quarters scenarios of this period: naval boarding actions? The earliest mention of handguns at sea that I've seen was in 1338 at the Battle of Arnemuiden (the English had at least one on board the ship Christopher, along with three cannons).
 

Pukka Bundook

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For boarding, axes, boat -hooks and short swords had been in use so long that no-one would really want to risk a slow and finicky thing like a hand -gonne I don't think. Yes, maybe a shot to help repel boarders, but a hand-gonne would be a waste of time compared to a swivel-gun.
We are in an area so unknown really, that we are all just guessing, and trying to logically think what would be, without knowing all the facts.
In other words, we may just be wasting our time.... :)
 

hyuzu

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For boarding, axes, boat -hooks and short swords had been in use so long that no-one would really want to risk a slow and finicky thing like a hand -gonne I don't think. Yes, maybe a shot to help repel boarders, but a hand-gonne would be a waste of time compared to a swivel-gun.
Nevertheless, some were carried at sea during the middle ages, so clearly folks back then thought differently about the issue ;)
Firearms in boarding actions through much of the ml era were basically just clubs that went "bang". You'd fire off a shot to repel boarders or as you were going over to the other vessel, then switch to those axes, short swords, etc.

We are in an area so unknown really, that we are all just guessing, and trying to logically think what would be, without knowing all the facts.
In other words, we may just be wasting our time.... :)
Yeah, I think I've hit a dead end with this topic unfortunately :)
 
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Griz44Mag

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Yeah, I think I've hit a dead end with this topic unfortunately :)
Maybe so, but it was sure entertaining to image "What would WE do if we were there?"
I'll bet all of the above actually did happen somewhere along the way, probably not a widely spread practice, but still likely was done.
Look at the stupid things some of us do with our guns now days, bet the shooters back then were not that much different...
"Hey - hold my grog and watch this"
 

1911tex

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Ok folks...you want the ultimate muzzle loading handgonne...ready, set,..... go
 
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toot

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Pukka Bundook & Rudyard,thanks for that bit of history. I never knew that? and we all know that there were tons of then needed & used back in the day. BTW. while all this was going on who was cooking & having babies?? LOL!!.
 

tenngun

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All this very good stuff leaves a question. If blunderbusses were not made for all the above listed reasons can any one suggest a more plausable reason for a flared muzzle?
Impressive looking. And although it doesn’t spread shot faster they thought it did. Some BB were made with extreme oval flared much wider then tall in a hope to spread shot side ways.
It was said then they were useful for defending couches, stair cases and ships companion ways. Your just as dead from a single ball through as your are from half a dozen pistol ball. However a two inch trumpet of death may give you a moments pause... and a moment is all a defender needs.
 
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