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 Posted: Fri Feb 15th, 2008 10:22 pm
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Dixie Girl
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is it true that a quarter of men died from their guns exploding? i know a lot of that stuff was probably unstable but what would cause a gun to explode?

perhaps putting more than one shot in it at a time.  :?



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 Posted: Fri Feb 15th, 2008 11:14 pm
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Doc C
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In my reading, a great deal of muskets fouled from frequent firing, therefore backfiring or exploding. However, would bow to the more experienced fire arm individuals.

Doc C



 Posted: Sat Feb 16th, 2008 12:36 am
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Rebel Yell
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Hi Dixie!! While I am sure that there were casualties, I can't say hoe many. However there were numerous reports of weapons retrieved following battles that were found to contain multiple loads. It is possible that, in the heat of battle, a soldier would think that his weapon fired when it hadn't and he would load another round. With each fresh load, the chance of the weapon exploding increased.



 Posted: Sat Feb 16th, 2008 12:49 am
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Johan Steele
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Very few men were killed or seriously wounded by their own weapons expolding.

The modern concept of backfiring didn't happen in the CW except w/ a very few breechloading arms. It was possible w/ a Ballard, Sharps, Maynard, Smith and a few other arms. I've never read of any of the above mentioned arms doing so. Several of the early breechloaders leaked gas when firing and that could cause some serious burns if the shooter wasn't careful where he put his hand. I've witnessed a hanky set alight by a sharps carbine... a sobering demonstration I might add. But most of the stories of men blowing off parts of their arms and such are greatly exaggerated.

An obstruction in the muzzle of a muzzleloader could cause serious problems along w/ not seating a bullet all the way down.

Tyhe idea of a quarter of the men dieing or even being wounded by their own weapons is pure fantasy. IIRC a man over NSSA way did a study in the 80's and he found less than 100 men wounded by their own weapons (accidental). I believe he confined his study only to US forces but it's a good indicator.



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 Posted: Fri Sep 12th, 2008 02:37 pm
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Albert Sailhorst
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While acting as skirmishers at Gettysburg this year, we fired so frequently and furiously that we had to use handkercheifs to hold our guns because they got so hot...We estimate that about 20 of us fired around 800 shots.....Yanks musta been wearin' kevlar....



 Posted: Sat Sep 13th, 2008 12:34 am
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Crazy Delawares
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DRAT! You've figured out our secret weapon, Al!



 Posted: Thu Sep 18th, 2008 12:46 am
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hardy545
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Improper swabbing of the barrel to extinguish any ambers from a previous round, was surely a culprit of many muzzle explosions.



 Posted: Thu Sep 18th, 2008 09:37 pm
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Johan Steele
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hardy it happened occasionally w/ Cannon but w/ small arms it was fairly rare.

The most common injury related to firearms handling to the Union soldier was to the right hand. Either the loss of a finger or two while ramming home a round and powder w/ a spark catching. While this could happen my own research shows it to have been uncommon w/ any percussion weapon being more likely to happen w/ a flintlock. But the more common was a man in the excitement of the moment slamming his hand down on the ramrod instead of properly grasping it to ram home the bullet. Ramrod through the palm... ouch and rather debilitating.



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 Posted: Fri Sep 19th, 2008 12:09 pm
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Johan Steele
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Less of a seal at the touchhole on a flintlock, more likely to have air get in. Spent percussion cap on the nipple prevents air from getting in. IIRC it was a on again of again serious problem for the Brits during the Napoleanic Wars, part of the reason they stressed the drill the way they did. And an issue for the US soldiers until Von Stueben started his training at Valley Forge.

Apparently only a serious enough problem to worry about during rapid fire.



 Posted: Tue Sep 30th, 2008 09:03 am
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Old Blu
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There were quite a few burns with the Colt Revolving Rifle.



 Posted: Tue Sep 30th, 2008 02:10 pm
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Johan Steele
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Actually there were very few if any burns, a misfire would take off a chunk of the hand if the shooter was unwary. I used to take that a lot of accidents happened as gospel until I started looking into it. I was unable to find but one & that w/ Berdan's men w/ a chain fire caused by a damaged nipple. IIRC the man had been heavily skirmishing and likely unknowingly damaged the nipple enough that fire leaked and viola he ended up losing part of his hand.

21st Ohio loved their Colts, IIRC they never had an issue even during the heavy fighting on Snodgrass Hill. Many of those Colts were former Berdan's rifles.



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