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Stonewall_Greyfox
10-22-2007, 11:22 AM
The following was pulled from the RWProgressive/RevList YahooGroup. It appears that one manufacturer of import Brown-Bess Muskets has some design faults...and a barrel burst at a recent Rev War event.

We all must be vigilant about getting the whole story, as this poses a very real danger to the Living History/Reenactor Community!

"Your information is not quite correct. The musket was indeed a
relatively new India musket. According to its owner (a 30 year re-
enactor I deem very safe!), it had only been out to five our six
events this year. He bought it to see its reliability, and over its
brief life he only fired about 50 rounds out of it.

You are completely incorrect in stating that he overloaded, so please
don't spread such rumours, as it obscures the facts.

The musket incident occured during the Sunday morning skirmish, for
re-enactors only. The owner fired it maybe 7 times during the
tactical, as he was one of two British officers out on the tactical,
and was busy commanding troops (I was the other). The incident
occured near the end of the tactical.

The musket blew along, what appeared to be, a weld or seam line on
the lower side of the barrel, on the lock side. The breach plug was
blown, but not completely out of the gun. The lock was intact. The
stock severly splintered. The barrel split was from the vent hole to
the first pin.

I secured his pouch afteward and measured the amount of powder in the
cartridges to head off accusations of overload. The cartridges had
about 110 grains in them, so even at a double load it should have
been safe, and he was not double loading, as I was by him for most of
the tactical.

The owner sustained two broken fingers, one cut above his eye, and
another on his hand. He, and another man from his unit were taken to
the hospital for treatment - the other man having sustained a micro-
perf of his ear drum.

The conclusion I have drawn is these weapons are unsafe. The
questions I have are:

1.) are all the "new" muskets from India or where ever, from the
same manufacturer?

2.) If not, are some better than others? Have any of them been
proofed?

Please note that in my response I changed the subject, as the fact
this incident occured at Rock Ford Plantation is immaterial to the
incident, and I see no good purpose in sullying their good name for
the sake of this important discussion on these new muskets.

In talking with some of the sutlers afterwards, one very reputable
and long time sutler said he had heard there were problems with these
muskets and that is why he would not sell them. Has anyone else had
first hand experience with problems with these muskets?

Jim McGaughey
HM Marines
Crown Forces Officer Commanding at Rock Ford"

Picket Post
10-22-2007, 11:43 AM
makes me feel warm and fuzzy about shooting a repop enfield live next weekend

sbl
10-22-2007, 12:23 PM
"...The owner fired it maybe 7 times during the
tactical, as he was one of two British officers out on the tactical ,and was busy commanding troops..."

What the heck was he firing for? I know that British Officers sometimes carried fusils. Any chance he had some miss-fires that he didn't count as he was "..was busy commanding troops.." and the built up charges finally went off?

Jeffrey Cohen
10-22-2007, 01:31 PM
Far Be it for me to say but.................................
Well according to most civil war reenacting SOPs 60 gr, would be the norm so at 110gr. he technically wasn't double loading which would be 200%. He was only maybe 183%.

Stonewall_Greyfox
10-22-2007, 01:38 PM
Far Be it for me to say but.................................
Well according to most civil war reenacting SOPs 60 gr, would be the norm so at 110gr. he technically wasn't double loading which would be 200%. He was only maybe 183%.

Jeff,

Not sure what your'e getting at...While for a 0.58 cal. weapon the load is supposed to be approx. 60 grains, larger calibre arms 0.69/0.75 etc. call for loads to be bigger on the magniture of 110 grains.

If you ever shoot 60 grains out of a larger calibre musket, you quickly realize why this is...there is a reaction, but slight...the increase in charge is to account for the inner bore diameter and concentration of powder.

Sadly, my Ordnance Manual is packed in storage, so I cannot reference the ammunition tables.

Paul

sbl
10-22-2007, 02:15 PM
Plus you lose powder from the charge priming the pan from the cartridge. Some powder can get down behind the lock and built up (on muskets not cleaned) and finally explode. What goes down the barrel can vary. Again, IF he had a few misfires and didn't notice he could have had a large charge that finally went off.

Hope the fellah is OK.

yerbyray
10-22-2007, 03:42 PM
110 grains for a .75 is perfectly inline with regulations. I have a first model bess and anything less just makes a spitting sound. we have triple loaded mine with two balls and it handled it well.

A flintlock is primed with 3-5 grains so say he had 105ish down the barrel.

Mine is a custom made gun from quality parts as evidenced by the tapered barrel. Near the breech mine is over 1.25 wide and very thick walled. Import besses, especially these newer imported 1st models are sewer pipe straight with no taper, thus the breech is as thin as the muzzle....way to weak for the stress.

I am glad to hear the shooter is ok, even if he is a Red Coat....j/k

31stWisconsin
10-22-2007, 03:50 PM
The fact that he was firing blanks scares me the most. I can only imagine what would have happened if it was a live fire. Are these barrels proofed at all?

Southern Cal
10-22-2007, 04:30 PM
If the piece didn't fail from the initial firing, but only after fifty or so firings, then one would have to closely examine the metal parts as well as the location of the cracks in the stock to determine the exact failure causing the mishap. And there is no mention in the narrative of the size granulation of the powder used. This is important since the pressure within the barrel rises as the granulation of the powder decreases. One might have a safe charge using 110 grains FG powder but a dangerous charge with 110 grains FFFG granulation.

Minie balls were loaded at 60 grains FFG powder not because of the pressure generated, but because testing showed that stronger charges tended to flare out the hollow base of the bullet, reducing accuracy. Round balls, especially from smoothbores, were loaded with a stronger charge since there was a deal of "windage" between the size of the ball and the bore, allowing gases to escape. Also, the efficiency of BP has improved over hundreds of years so a charge of modern BP less than 110 grains, will generate the same pressure as 110 grains of FG powder as used in the 1770's. Anyone using BP arms, even for firing blank charges, would be well served by reading Sam Fadala's handbooks on Black Powder loads and Black Powder shooting.

I'm not certain that Indian or Pakisani reproductions are even proofed like Italian reproductions are. Some Indian makers reportedly use spare parts scavenged from junked firearms made over a hundred years ago. A feller in New Hampshire, doing business as "Middlesex Village"?, has all the "skinny" on imports since he works with one particular maker in India to ensure quality control and a safe product. Having spoken to this gentleman at length, I'd feel comfortable using one of his offerings, but not from other vendors since I've had an Indian carbine go "poof" in my face via a badly cut thread on the breech block, which allowing gas cutting along the defect and eventual failure. Fortunatly the charge was about 60 grains FFG, not 110 grains of an unkown granulation. Fortunately, when not wearing eye protection, I always close my eyes for that instant when I fire a blank cartridge.

Rob Weaver
10-22-2007, 04:54 PM
110 grains should not even cause a big bore weapon like a Bess to blink, let alone explode. This is really a catastrophic weapon failure! Brown Besses are ridiculously expensive, causing folks to cut corners. Obviously some corners should never be cut...

(Proud owner of an Italian Bess built in 1978, for which I paid $125. I will never, ever put that gun up for sale!)

Archibald Mungo
10-22-2007, 05:00 PM
The musket was indeed a
relatively new India musket.

There's probably the answer.

sgt lamb
10-22-2007, 06:46 PM
its a safe bet that the Quality control at the small shops that make the parts, are hit or miss...... care to bet which...............

Jeffrey Cohen
10-22-2007, 07:12 PM
When I'm wrong I fess up to it.
The Ordnance Manual published in 1860 calls for a load of 110 grains behind a .65 round ball, which was the standard military load for .69 smoothbore throughout the lifetime of that caliber in military service. Some of the powder was needed for priming the flintlock versions, but no change was made in the cartridge when the percussion model was introduced. The .65 roundball was wrapped with paper when loaded, so it could not be as large as the .680 ball that today's shooters use in the smoothbore. A more modest load to be tried is a .680 round ball over top of 80 grains of FFg. Patch the ball with a .010 or .015 patch for starters.

Phil
10-22-2007, 09:45 PM
The following was pulled from the RWProgressive/RevList YahooGroup. It appears that one manufacturer of import Brown-Bess Muskets has some design faults...and a barrel burst at a recent Rev War event.

The musket blew along, what appeared to be, a weld or seam line on
the lower side of the barrel, on the lock side. The breach plug was
blown, but not completely out of the gun. The lock was intact. The
stock severly splintered. The barrel split was from the vent hole to
the first pin.

Jim McGaughey
HM Marines
Crown Forces Officer Commanding at Rock Ford"

What on earth is a seam doing on the barrel? I've got an Indian made Bess, and there are no seams on its barrel. I'd like to see some sort of verification of this event first, and then a detailed explanation of what really happened.

billwatson2
10-23-2007, 09:33 AM
Paul,

I'm at a loss to understand how any metal tube, bad seam or not, could explode if the powder had a 3/4 inch hole to blow out of as the path of least resistance. Are we talking unrammed powder, no wadding, etc.? We're not talking quick powder here, it's black powder, slow burn. I could see a 10-foot streak of red flame coming out the end with multiple unfired loads, but someone who knows physics needs to explain how an unblocked barrel could produce this result with a weapon firing blanks. Are we getting the whole story, especially in view of the original investigator's comment that he checked his friend's cartridges to "head off accusations of overload?"

The only way it makes any sense is if something blocked the barrel. If it's a couple of misfires with the shooter unaware, and he rams additional charges down, with paper, OK, I could begin to see the top charges serving as a plug or blockage because the paper would block the ignition of all the powder. So we need a little more information about what practices were being followed. (I don't know squat about Rev War shooting paradigms in general or this guy in particular. Do they ram?)

Stonewall_Greyfox
10-23-2007, 10:03 AM
Bill,

You bring up some valid questions. I myself am very new to 18th c. Living History and have yet to take part in any Reenactments. I felt it a valid post, regardless of the circumstances; because accidents not only present a physical danger, but also a threat to the Reenacting/Living History Community as a whole.

As you can imagine, there's alot of speculation as to "how this happened", and the whole story hasn't been brought forth yet. One point is clear, that even with 2-3 charges and paper wadding "rammed" the barrel should not have burst unless some previous design flaw were inherrant with the piece.

Another point, brought up on the AC forum by Curt Schmidt, is that many of these India import reproductions are imported to America (Canada and the United States) as non-firing replicas...as a result of this...many of the guns make their way into the field without ever being "proofed". For more on this read Curt's comments: http://www.authentic-campaigner.com/forum/showthread.php?t=13615

I don't know why the original author assumed a weld seam was present, and I have not seen the tube-post accident...I do know after seeing a few original bursted barrels (Musket and Artillery) over the years, that the burst typically do follow relative straight lines (these are characteristics of the metal, and their respective fault/fracture lines and angles). These faults are present in both cast and wrought tubes, so I wouldn't say that such a fault would be indicative that there be a weld seam on the tube...again, I have not seen the tube and cannot confirm this assumption.

The best solution to the problem at this point, is to be mindful of what's in the field...have NCOs do their jobs by inspecting arms for serviceability...do not allow non-proofed pieces in the ranks...and keep track of how many rounds your'e actually firing. These are weapons after-all and it would be a shame to be scarred for life or killed as part of a recreational hobby.

Paul

tompritchett
10-23-2007, 10:47 AM
Paul,

I'm at a loss to understand how any metal tube, bad seam or not, could explode if the powder had a 3/4 inch hole to blow out of as the path of least resistance. Are we talking unrammed powder, no wadding, etc.? We're not talking quick powder here, it's black powder, slow burn. I could see a 10-foot streak of red flame coming out the end with multiple unfired loads, but someone who knows physics needs to explain how an unblocked barrel could produce this result with a weapon firing blanks. Are we getting the whole story, especially in view of the original investigator's comment that he checked his friend's cartridges to "head off accusations of overload?"

The only way it makes any sense is if something blocked the barrel.

I have hesitated to comment on this thread because it is readily apparent that we do not have the whole story. However, I would like to comment how a blockage could easily cause such a rupture, especially if the blockage was somewhere up the barrel from the powder. When the pressure wave from the exploding black powder hits a blockage somewhere up the barrel from the point of ignition, it bounces back with much or all of its intensity back to the breech plug, then back towards the blockage again, then back towards the blockage and so on until the blockage is totally cleared (the degree that the full intensity of the wave is reflected back is determined by degree that the blockage is either moved by the initial pressure wave or by how much of the wave can escape around the blockage).. Through a process known as constructive interference these pressure waves can reinforce each other as they pass creating at different locations in essence a series of "rogue" waves which can momentarily have a pressure several times greater than the original pressure created by the ignition of the gun powder. It is this rogue wave that then causes the barrel to burst.

billwatson2
10-23-2007, 02:32 PM
Tom, thanks for the explanation. Have you ever heard of a barrel bursting without a blockage?

Rob Weaver
10-23-2007, 03:20 PM
I saw a 105mm M68 guntube split when adefective APDS-T round opened up in the tube. Looked like a trick cigar. I'm very reluctant to comment in this thread, since I wasn't present for the accident, and it was injurious to the firer. So that should introduce a certain amount of extra civility to the discourse. That disclaimer out of the way, even a full 110 g., unwadded and unrammed, should just have blown out of the muzzle with a tremendous gout of flame. I know I've fired at least that large a charge, and possibly more, from all of my muskets at least once in their histories. This was a defective musket, plainly. Something is greatly amiss here, that may not end up being talked about in an open forum due to insurance issues.
For those non-revvy-war types: Rev War reenacting is anal and obcessive about safety issues. The controversy of "to ram or not to ram" has barely made a presence there, as the nearly universal standard is not ramming. (A long time ago, at Yorktown in 1981, unit commanders actually collected rammers and tagged them so we couldn't shoot them at each other, idiots that we were back then ;) )Furthermore, flashguards and frizzen stalls are standard safety features, which wouldn't have impacted this situation a whit, but is worth mentioning. Bayonets and other bladed weapons are not drawn, even to stack arms, and pistols are almost never fired. (There - I've probably turned off a generation of reenactors from 18th century!) I did once see a lock blown off a dismally maintained musket, but that was 30 years ago, and that musket belonged to a man who was genuinely an embarassment to reenacting.

yerbyray
10-23-2007, 04:04 PM
I have twelve years of Rev War era re-enacting under my belt. I have never seen anyone draw rammers or put anything down the barrel except powder.

Typically the bigger bore guns use 2F and maybe 3F depends on the source.


I do recall at one SC backwoods living history event a guy dropping the paper cartridge down his .62 smooth rifle and his commander crawled all over him.

I am surprised that there are not more accidents with flints.....think about it, you prime it first and then you are working over the barrel dumping powder; just a tap or a slip off half-cock and some one looks like Al Jolson in a bad way.

Curt-Heinrich Schmidt
10-23-2007, 04:13 PM
How d' ye!


Have you ever heard of a barrel bursting without a blockage?


"Period barrels were lap-welded by hammering skelps of soft iron around a mandrel. The forge-welding process, when done properly, "fuses" the two edges of the rectangular skelp together, as well as the long-ways end to ends.
So, yes and no, an end-to-end "seam" is formed to close the "flat" skelps into what should be a "seamless" tube that is then bored out and finish finished on the outside an dinside to make a barrel.
Typically, today, barrels are cast "rods" of hard rifle barrel steels, that are then bore out and planned/shaped to a barrel.

When not forge-welded proplery to create a "non-seam," a weak area or non-fused seam is created- possibly subject to pressure bursting.

In my experience, I haver seen, or heard of a barrel bursting without "blockage." Force generally takes the path of least resistance- that being exiting out the muzzle. However, "force" in the form of pressure and pressure waves can build up and exert pressure in other directions other than the muzzle. (And a caplock's cone flash channel or flintlock's touch-hole is not sufficient to vent or relieve rapidly building pressures...)
Sometimes, the pressure builds at right angles to the obstruction, and creates a visible "ring" behind where the obstruction was. There is a cannon tube in the Gettysburg NPS visitors' center that suffered such a burst.
I have examined five or six black powder burst barrels, and was present when one blew (a Smith breechloader that had dribbled powder out of the touch-hole and when fired, had pushed the bullet only part way down the barrel. The shooter, thinking the gun fired, loaded another round, and fired...).
I have also examined about five muzzleloader barrels burst by using smokeless powder.

In my limited experience with burst BP barrels, the "obstructions" (believed to be short-loaded rounds not seated on the powder and acting as obstructions) were all blown or lost. With the exception of two "ringed barrels," there is/was no evidence of an obstruction ever having been in the bore.

As shared, I too cannot comment on this accident or incident as I have no facts or investigation.

However, when I used to do presentations, with small arms and an original 3 Inch Ordnance Rifle... I charged the cannon powder, and doubled charged the rifle/musket, and rammed a spit ball to give the closer "report" to a live round versus the popcorn f**t of a blank.
So it is possible to increase breech pressure with just "paper."

Curt-Heinrich Schmidt

yerbyray
10-23-2007, 04:30 PM
I belong to a Rev War list and I have the info about what happened by one of the victims if the group would want to read it.

tompritchett
10-23-2007, 04:38 PM
I belong to a Rev War list and I have the info about what happened by one of the victims if the group would want to read it.

Given the speculation that is currently ongoing in this thread, that might be a very good idea.

reb64
10-23-2007, 04:49 PM
his rounds are double civ war charges, so if he double-double loaded he put in four times the amount or if kept loading and built up powder adn finally blew out the full barrel he could have fired remannts of who knows how many rounds.

yerbyray
10-23-2007, 04:52 PM
"Liste:

I am the reenactor whose ear received a micro perforation as a result
of the recent India-manufactured musket explosion. I am the company's
most senior private. This is my 11th year in the hobby.

The musket was on my left when it exploded. The seam that opened was
on the right side of the barrel, so it exploded in my direction. The
firer was properly positioned for firing from the second rank when he
pulled the trigger. If he had stepped forward any further, I probably
would have been more seriously injured as the explosion happened just
behind me.

The explosion blew me forward and down. I stayed on the ground and
cursed loudly for a minute or two afterward. Except for my hearing, I
knew instantly that I was not otherwise injured. The Contientals had
an EMT who triaged us. I did not go into shock. I took the ambulance
to Lancaster General.

A day later I still can't hear out of my left ear. The ER doctor who
examined me told me my hearing would return in time, and he directed me
to see an ENT in a few days. I have an appointment for Friday, the
earliest one I could get when I called this morning. I may try to get
an earlier one.

Three of us went to the hospital - two with hearing problems. The man
standing to the left of the musket did not suffer a perforation, but
his hearing was similarly affected. (It was loud.) A fourth man, who
did not go to the ER, but in my opinion probably should have, has
ringing in his ear and pain, I understand. He will be seeing an ENT
shortly. He was further away and behind me on my right when it
happened. He was directly in the path of the explosion but farther
away. I was slightly ahead of the explosion, so my body did not block
any of the concussion from reaching him. I had just stepped past him
and presented when it happened. I did not get my round off.

The blown musket was definitely not overloaded. The man who fired it
is extremely safe and professional.

The Crown Forces commander and others inspected the ammunition bag
after the incident and found all of the rounds to be 110 grains. Our
rounds are made "by committee" at company meetings. A heavy round
would never have been bagged let alone loaded into a box or used. All
of them are 110 grains or less. We are simply too cheap to put in an
111th grain. A heavy round is called a "Rodney round," after a soldier
who left us many years ago. Rodney rounds never leave the table at the
time of manufacture. They are dumped and refilled before sealing. We
are very conscious about quality control.

None of us would ever double load "to make a big bang." Not ever.

The India musket had been fired seven times at the tactical over the
course of a half hour or so. Over its lifetime it had been fired maybe
50 times or so, and never with live ball. We keep records of the
number of rounds fired by each man. We will review the records and get
an accurate figure.

The Crown Forces commander's description of the musket is accurate.

The Rock Ford Plantation people, particularly Christine Jenkins,
handled the incident properly and professionally in my opinion and they
deserve my commendation for their calm attention to their duties. I
extend my thanks to them.

Thank you, too, to the Continental EMT who triaged me. I didn't get
his name.

Also, thank you to the Royal Marine who shlepped my kit back to camp.
I appreciate it.

Finally, this was an excellent event. The terrain was an interesting
mix of woods, broken fields and trails. The camp was close to the
field with ample reenactor parking adjacent. The event was well-
organized. There was plenty of firewood close by. Obviously, we
didn't have the numbers we had in 1998 when the CL v. BB attended, but
the site could easily have accommodated greater numbers. I would
definitely go back to Rock Ford, and I encourage others to do so."

As posted on the Yahoo Rev List by Rob Morris

mboyce
10-23-2007, 05:56 PM
Was it actually a musket produced in India? When reading the initial post it says "The musket was indeed a relatively new India musket" The third model Brown Bess' were referred to as the "India Pattern" musket. Meaning they were meant for service in the East India company. Although a little late for Rev War, because they were produced in the 1790's, this may not necessarily be an "Indian" musket. I'm not saying it isn't an Indian musket, but if you go off of the initial term "India musket" it could very easily be Italian, or locally produced.

yerbyray
10-23-2007, 07:12 PM
Here is the information regarding the country of origin of the questionable musket. It too is off the Rev List.

"Your information is not quite correct. The musket was indeed a
relatively new India musket. According to its owner (a 30 year re-
enactor I deem very safe!), it had only been out to five our six
events this year. He bought it to see its reliability, and over its
brief life he only fired about 50 rounds out of it.

You are completely incorrect in stating that he overloaded, so please
don't spread such rumours, as it obscures the facts.

The musket incident occured during the Sunday morning skirmish, for
re-enactors only. The owner fired it maybe 7 times during the
tactical, as he was one of two British officers out on the tactical,
and was busy commanding troops (I was the other). The incident
occured near the end of the tactical.

The musket blew along, what appeared to be, a weld or seam line on
the lower side of the barrel, on the lock side. The breach plug was
blown, but not completely out of the gun. The lock was intact. The
stock severly splintered. The barrel split was from the vent hole to
the first pin.

I secured his pouch afteward and measured the amount of powder in the
cartridges to head off accusations of overload. The cartridges had
about 110 grains in them, so even at a double load it should have
been safe, and he was not double loading, as I was by him for most of
the tactical.

The owner sustained two broken fingers, one cut above his eye, and
another on his hand. He, and another man from his unit were taken to
the hospital for treatment - the other man having sustained a micro-
perf of his ear drum.

The conclusion I have drawn is these weapons are unsafe. The
questions I have are:

1.) are all the "new" muskets from India or where ever, from the
same manufacturer?

2.) If not, are some better than others? Have any of them been
proofed?

Please note that in my response I changed the subject, as the fact
this incident occured at Rock Ford Plantation is immaterial to the
incident, and I see no good purpose in sullying their good name for
the sake of this important discussion on these new muskets.

In talking with some of the sutlers afterwards, one very reputable
and long time sutler said he had heard there were problems with these
muskets and that is why he would not sell them. Has anyone else had
first hand experience with problems with these muskets?"


Jim McGaughey
HM Marines
Crown Forces Officer Commanding at Rock Ford

****************************

Now I am guessing but I bet it was a Long Land (1st Model) India made Bess. Everyone in the Rev War hobby has been buying these because there are no other mass produced 1st models around. I happen to have one that is museum quality made from scratch and parts from the Rifle Shoppe; a supplier of accurate flintlock parts.

The india made 1st models go for 600.00 and mine is like 2,500. I think the india made guns come in without the vent hole drilled and you have to do it yourself....whcih would scare me away from them because they could not have been tested adequately.

I do not want to be an alarmist but I am skeptical about imported guns that have not been proofed.

Rob Weaver
10-23-2007, 09:29 PM
Actually, the flint is more dangerous as a tiny little knife. If you happen to be fiddling with the flint and your half-cock fails (or you mistook cock for half-cock), you can lay your finger open to the bone instantly.

Craig L Barry
11-13-2007, 09:04 PM
The India made repro barrels are not proofed, as we would understand the term.

The vent may have been drilled on the seam, but whatever the case it is noteworthy because there has long been speculation on the soundness of the Indian produced steel. The ugly little secret is out.

It appears to have been warranted. Whatever their historical feature accuracy shortcomings may be, the Italian made repro barrels are proofed.' The issue is cost. It should be safety.

bob 125th nysvi
11-15-2007, 11:23 PM
with anything said or posted but has an independent investigation as to what caused the issue been made and published?

Right now what we have is a description of the incident and damage to the person and barrel.

But, unless I missed somethign which is always a possibility, no one has yet presented any credentials that would valid their analysis as to why it happened.

bill watson
11-16-2007, 08:27 AM
That would be a good thing. I personally am having trouble reconciling two paragraphs in the report.

"Three of us went to the hospital - two with hearing problems. The man
standing to the left of the musket did not suffer a perforation, but
his hearing was similarly affected. (It was loud.)"

"The blown musket was definitely not overloaded. The man who fired it
is extremely safe and professional."

The first paragraph is a report of a fact: The detonation was loud enough to create hearing problems. We all know the difference in sound between a weapon firing loose powder, a weapon firing rammed paper, and a weapon accidentally loaded more than once.

The second paragraph contains two sentences the writer apparently believes support each other: The musket couldn't have been overloaded because the user is extremely safe and professional.

I'd say the physical evidence -- two people with hearing problems going to the hospital because of the noise from the discharge -- contradicts the "not overloaded" statement, which appears to be a conclusion based on something other than what actually happened.

The evidence strongly suggests the barrel was overloaded and blocked.

It still should not have ruptured, but I don't believe in the Easter bunny and I do believe you'd have to get down to a barrel made of tinfoil to rupture a musket without a blockage in the barrel.

amontalvo915
11-16-2007, 11:19 AM
there has long been speculation on the soundness of the Indian produced steel. The ugly little secret is out.

It appears to have been warranted. Whatever their historical feature accuracy shortcomings may be, the Italian made repro barrels are proofed.' The issue is cost. It should be safety.

Actually, Indian steel is considered some of the best in the world due to the high quality of the iron ore deposits in India. Also, recently an Indian company called Tata Steel bought out the Corus Steel corporation which runs steel plants in Europe. They are the 6th largest steel company in the world, and own most of the steel plants in India. So my dear friends, this being said, some of the steel used in our Italian friends, are quite possibly made by this company in Europe, which means their standards are the same. India is touted because they have found a way to make their steel cheaper by using the same techniques first used by the Steel barons here in the US. They buyout their sources of coal and iron ore, and also buyout the transportation, so therefore everything is as cost effective as it can be. Obviously this cannot be done in many supposed "modern" nations as there are anti-monopoly laws. China and India will be the two largest producers of steel in 10 years or so, and I contribute that to the lack of antimonopoly laws. As you can see, the Indians are very business saavy in buying out a European company, and I see more buyouts in the future.

If anyone out there still believes Indian steel is inferior, you may think twice about buying a European import.

Now the making of the barrels are a completely different thing. I read a report that the Indians use the bare minimum of steel that they can, in order to conserve money, and that is why the make them smoothbore (obviously Rev War were smoothbore, but here I am referring to Civil War Muskets). In making them only in smoothbore they don't have to make a very thick barrel, nor do they have to groove it, saving considerable cost and time. If we could get the Indians to make the muskets rifled I would consider purchasing one, in fact, I plan on purchasing one anyways, despite this report.

One fact that people are missing from the "eye wittness" account is that he in no way denied that there could have been misfire, and loadings. It could have been other things besides paper that effected the pressure inside the barrel. Things we would need to know in order to hypothesize further would include weather conditions, the last known time he cleaned the musket, and how thoroughly he had vented the musket.

Another thing...in the first account, three people went to the hospital, in the second, he says two people went to the hospital...

My two cents....

Ashley Montalvo

tompritchett
11-16-2007, 12:15 PM
The evidence strongly suggests the barrel was overloaded and blocked.

It still should not have ruptured, but I don't believe in the Easter bunny and I do believe you'd have to get down to a barrel made of tinfoil to rupture a musket without a blockage in the barrel.

I tend to agree with you on this one Bill. IMHO, everything points to an accidental blockage somewhere up close to the end of the barrel. This could easily cause such a rupture and explosion even without a doubleload. But, then we will never know unless someone thoroughly examined the barrel after the rupture and wrote a report on his or her findings.

yerbyray
11-16-2007, 12:18 PM
Steel made by the company that you reference maybe of a better quality but there is no way that we know where the steel came from used to produce the weapon involved.

It would be a safe assumption that the British ship building industry in the early 1900's made a damned fine ships but the Titantic still went "tits up" in a hurry.

Reputations are not a measure of quality.

Stonewall_Greyfox
11-16-2007, 12:21 PM
Actually, Indian steel is considered some of the best in the world due to the high quality of the iron ore deposits in India. Also, recently an Indian company called Tata Steel bought out the Corus Steel corporation which runs steel plants in Europe. They are the 6th largest steel company in the world, and own most of the steel plants in India. So my dear friends, this being said, some of the steel used in our Italian friends, are quite possibly made by this company in Europe, which means their standards are the same. Ashley Montalvo

Do you have an article/journal to reference this?

Thanks,

Paul

amontalvo915
11-16-2007, 01:24 PM
Do you have an article/journal to reference this?

Thanks,

Paul

Sir-

Here is an article online, the original article I read was in a local newspaper. Also note, this article is over a year old, the transaction has already occurred. If you go to Tata Steel's website, you will see Corus already belongs to them. I just did not want to use either of the parties' websites who are involved, for more neutrality.

http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2006/10/21/business/AS_FIN_COM_India_Tata_Corus.php


Steel made by the company that you reference maybe of a better quality but there is no way that we know where the steel came from used to produce the weapon involved.

It would be a safe assumption that the British ship building industry in the early 1900's made a damned fine ships but the Titantic still went "tits up" in a hurry.

Reputations are not a measure of quality.

Sir-

Choosing the Titantic is a great example of a point I originally wanted to make, but did not, due to trying to avoid conflict. The captain of the ship is more widely blamed for the foundering than the others.

http://www.historyonthenet.com/Titanic/blame.htm

"This was Captain E. J. Smith's retirement trip. All he had to do was get to New York in record time. Captain E. J. Smith said years before the Titanic's voyage, "I cannot imagine any condition which would cause a ship to founder. Modern shipbuilding has gone beyond that." Captain Smith ignored seven iceberg warnings from his crew and other ships. If he had called for the ship to slow down then maybe the Titanic disaster would not have happened."

It then goes on to talk about supposed "substandard" iron rivets. This may be discredited, as we cannot be 100% conclusive in the findings, not only because it had been on the bottom of the ocean for a long period of time, but modern techniques of testing are not as exact as CSI leads us to believe.

Truly, if you look at the facts though, this disaster can be chalked up to the same person as the Titantic. Human error-whether it be in the construction (substandard rivets in the Titantic, or substandard construction in the musket), or in the use of it (the captain going faster than what was safe in iceberg infested water, or accidental misfire in this musket). Another similarity between the two disasters is the experience of the person. The captain was retiring, which means he obviously had a lot of experience, and the person who had the accident with the musket had 30 years under his belt, as per this quote.


"Your information is not quite correct. The musket was indeed a
relatively new India musket. According to its owner (a 30 year re-
enactor I deem very safe!), it had only been out to five our six
events this year. He bought it to see its reliability, and over its
brief life he only fired about 50 rounds out of it.

It is a fact that most hunting accidents occur with people of 10 years or more of experience. Evidence to support this: http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/publications/pwdpubs/media/pwd_rp_k0700_1124_2004.pdf

"TEXAS HUNTING ACCIDENT PROFILE:

Had over ten years of hunting experience.

2004 Significant Factors:

Higher aged shooters involved in 2004 hunting incidents."

So unless things have changed drastically over the past three years, I see a tie here.

Ashley Montalvo

Curt-Heinrich Schmidt
11-16-2007, 04:18 PM
Hallo!

IF the Titannic had larger rudders and was not going as fast.... ;-)

IMHO, I am not so sure the "quality" of the iron ore used to make steel is quite as important as the refining process to remove the impurities as it becomes steel; as it is the additives added to the steel to make it "hard" such as commonly used for barrel steels; which is less important than the "forging" process that turns rolled sheet or better yet extruded rod into finished "gun barrels."

IMHO, I am afraid these "guns" or "decorators," whatever, are what they are, and are beyond the pale of "proofing," and that the demand and popularity will continue until more of the same (or worse) yields law suits to either change the customer-base buying habits or litigation and law suits destroy the desire to import and sell them (or fellow reenactors using them).
In the mean time, speculation and the lack of investigative facts or analysis, and Reenacting Life, goes on as before.

Others' mileage may vary...

Curt-Heinrich Schmidt

bill watson
11-16-2007, 06:53 PM
No record of this incident in the Lancaster newspaper, and they were there covering the event, oct. 20/21.

I'm checking with police now. Injury with a firearm, reportable, right?

Just looking for more information. Curiosity is a terrible addiction.

tompritchett
11-16-2007, 11:30 PM
Curiosity is a terrible addiction.

Especially for journalists and scientists. :)

31stWisconsin
11-17-2007, 10:26 AM
Ashley, It is clear to be that you have never taken a course in Material Science nor do you have any idea what steel is or how it is made. Mt. Schmidt is correct, it doesn't matter what type of Iron Ore is in the ground. What matters is how it purified and constructed.

You example of Tata Steel proves nothing. First, you have no proof that Tata made the steel of the Indian gun. Second, no proof that the Steel is actually better. Your link says nothing about the superiority of Indian Steel. Finally, the reason why Tata can buy out other companies is because labor is so cheap in India, not because their products or processes are better.

The reason why the sound was louder was because of the failure. Think about it there is quite a sound difference between blanks and live ammo. So logically there would be quite a sound difference when the barrel violently ruptures.

I think the bottom line is poor construction methods and no proofing. Failures always are prorogations of smaller failures. My best guess is there was a growing micro fracture by the vent or seam (two areas of high stress) and one such load caused a brittle, critical failure. It wouldn't surprise me that Indian barrels are very brittle because it's cheap. (Note that originals were made of ductile Iron)

Southern Cal
11-17-2007, 01:43 PM
Considering the lack of barrel proofing on some of these imports, perhaps it's worth noting an ill advised practice of "proofing" one's own muzzleloaders to "guarantee" their safety. This method most often involves tying the firearm off to an old tire or a post, loading with a heavy charge and one or more bullets, then firing from a remote location by means of a string or cord. The homespun logic of this type of "proofing" is conditional: IF the firearm can handle high pressures without exploding THEN it is safe to fire. The problem with this faulty logic is that the very process of "proofing" a firearm without proper engineering controls in place may itself cause hidden damage, possibly resulting in a future component failure, a wrecked gun, and serious injury. Unless one is an accomplished gun maker or an experienced black powder gunsmith, "proofing" one's firearms provides a false sense of security and is a dangerous practice to be avoided.

Curt-Heinrich Schmidt
11-17-2007, 03:31 PM
Hallo!

Mostly... ;-) :-)

Historically, the concept of "proving" a barrel was first done with a charge equal to the weight of the bullet- the "theory" being that IF the barrel would withstand that load, it serve to withstand the lesser service loads. (Being worried, it was done with the barel out of the gun, not only to reducce damaged finished guns, but also to give greater visual inspection access.)

When the Charter of Incorporation was granted to the London Gunmakers in 1667, it was noted:

"...that the divers blacksmiths and others inexpert in the art of gunmaking had taken upon them to make, try, and prove guns after their unskilled way whereby the trade was not only much damnified, but much harm and damge through such unskillfulness had happened to His Majesty's subjects."

So, under that charter the Lonodn Proof House was officially organized, an dpower given for proofing and stamping weapons with official marks which could be accepted as a recognized "guarantee" of sound material and rleiable workmanship.
And not to be outdone, the Birmingharm arms trade established their own Proof Houses.

IMHO, the key to 17th, 18th, and 19th century "proofing" was in the above theory. However, we still accept that theory today for out reproduciton firearms.
Meaning, each and every repro barrel is "proofed" by the old methods of visual inspection, "heavy" loading/firing, and subsequent visual inspection- NOT by the modern invention of more sophisticated proofing methods such as x-ray, ultrasound, or more particularly magnetic particle flow testing (ex: Magnaflux) that can actual detect unseen and developing flaws in ferrous materials such as barrels.

Carried to the extreme, every time we stress a barel by subjecting it to the pressures of live-firing we run the potential risk of furthering failure due to flaws in materials, workmanship, and use/misue/abuse.

IMHO, and personal choice only, I do not use Indian or Pakistani "non guns" even to shoot blanks. Regarding the Italian "proofing" Houses (or European) and government regulation, IMHO, and personal choice only, I have enough "buyer confidence" in the system that the minimum level of materials, workmanship, and my actual usage are such that what I do is below the catastrophic failure levels. I do not have that confidence, real or imagined though it might be, in the Indian and Pakistani "non-guns" or "decorators," or that seamless tubing or conduit visually passing as a "gun barrel" should ot be given a "historical" type proofing that it will "hold" at list the first charge (let alone the 2nd, 10th, 100th, or 1000th)- before putting it next to my face and the bodies of my comrades in line.
So I do not use them.

But I agree with Southern Cal on the point- that such a "proof" (of what might just be a non-gun" or "decorator' barrel" MAY JUST BE the factor that causes it to fail on the 2nd or subsequent shot.

But that is just my personal choice, and, of course...

Others' mileage will vary.

Curt-Heinrich Schmidt