A 2-ounce lead ball...

and 2 ounces of black powder, results in a projectile that travels at some 1,500 feet per second.

No wonder the 16th century Hispano-Italian musket hit hard.

Martin,Geez! Imagine the recoil on a monster like that!Quite a bit--only very strong men could be musketeers. It was simply an oversized arquebus, actually. David,what was the approximate weight of the musket?It ranged from 18-20lbs. It had to be fired from a forked rest. This pic of a "17th century musketeer" is pretty representative of the 16th century troops of the same type:http://www.infomagic.net/~gwylym/ta/musketeer.gifThe really potent aspect of the musket was that no armor whatsoever was proof against it at under 100 yards, and it could "spoil a man or horse" (to paraphrase a contemporary English description of the musket's power) at over 600 yards (hitting something at that distance was next to impossible, but it still gives you an idea of what this gun could do).Peace,TFS

Hi Guys,

Alot of people underestimate the power of early firearms, there is a good reason why they replaced the bow.

My fencing instructor, Mr Steve Hand who is also a member of the NSW Pike and Musket Society until he recently moved to Tasmania. (where they are probably still using pikes and Muskets)

He said that once at a multiperiod event, a group of archers shot for a number of minutes at a helmet they had set up as a target. I think from memory he said the target was about 50 yards away.

A friend of his walked up, Loaded his musket and fired one shot at the thing making a small sized hole in the front and a larger one in the back.

These things were deadlier than most people give them credit for. The reason why their accuracy seems to have been so historically low is that most volleys were given and received at extreme range. When a volley was given up close, it was devastating.

Cool thread TFS.

Thanks, Stu--I though you might dig this subject.I got the musketry info from the new, updated edition of John Francis Guilmartin's Gunpowder and Galleys, and also from Ian Heath's book on 16th century Western European armies, published by Foundry Books.

A 2-ounce lead ball is an 8 gauge musket (by definition the gauge of a musket equals the number of balls in a pound of lead).

John Baird of the defunct 'Blackpowder Report' was surprised of the accuracy of a smooth bore at even 100-200 yards. He wrote a big article on his experiments on making musket accurate at long range.

But there is a big "but" involved. The ball diameter and the patch thickness has to be consistent for a given musket inside diameter. But during the pre-industrial age, the musket's parts weren't interchangeable. So you could pick 20 muskets and their bore I.D. would vary.

The typical bureaucratic solution was to pick the ball size that would fit in the small bore diameter, and so what if it rattled around in the larger bores.

lol @ "spoil a man or horse".

that visual is great.. or horrible depending on how you look at it..

B_i_c,lol @ "spoil a man or horse". that visual is great.. or horrible depending on how you look at it..It really is both great and horrible--The Elizabethans had a real knack for such expressions.Another 16th century source described the Hispano-Italian musket as being capable of "breaking and dismembering" enemy units at several hundred yards. That's another visual that is at once great and horrible--I just picture this block of pikemen being hit with a hail of lead that shreds their formation like so much BBQ pulled pork...Peace,TFS