Friday, March 15, 2013

Charleville Musket Muzzle-Loading Musket - 1717

The Charleville musket served throughout countless conflicts including the French Revolution, Napoleonic Wars, the War of 1812 and the American Revolution.

The Charleville Musket, gaining its name from it place of manufacturer, this being the French main arsenal in Charleville, France (Champagne-Ardenne region) - was the standard issue flintlock musket of the French Empire throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. The original musket was delivered in 1717. She was further developed to become the revised model of 1728, this gun noted for its use of three barrel bands when attaching the barrel to the wooden receiver. In 1740, a steel ramrod was issued to replace the original's wooden form. In 1746, further revisions saw the pan bridle removed from the design. Additional subtle changes would continue for the next few decades until an all-new model was issued beginning in 1763. The 1763 production form was reinforced for the rigors of combat but these additions proved in excess and the added weight to an already unwieldy and long weapon. As such, a revised, lighter version soon followed in 1766. Over the next decade, still more revisions occurred in an effort to produce a better fighting musket. It is estimated that tens of thousands of Charleville Muskets were produced.

Musket Firing Demonstration Part 1

Uploaded on Jan 15, 2011  

The 4:15pm Ranger Talk at the Minuteman National Park.

Flintlock actions such as the one used on the Charleville design required a great deal of interaction from the operator for he had to first rotate the hinged cock handle (this implement holding the piece of flint rock needed to generate a spark) to "half-cock" to prevent accidental firing of the weapon during loading. The operator then preceded to load the weapon from the muzzle with the gun held vertically and the buttstock on the ground. An amount of black powder was inserted down the barrel and this was followed by the "shot" (or the spherical lead ball) used as the bullet. The bullet was most often times wrapped in a piece of cloth or paper for a tighter fit in the barrel. The operator then utilized a "ramrod" to ram the contents of the barrel down further, moving it ever closer to the critical firing action. With the gun held horizontally now, a small amount of fine gunpowder was deposited inside of the flashpan. The flashpan lid (also known as a "frizzen") was then closed and the weapon was officially made ready to fire. The cock was then set to "full-cock" and the gun's firing was now at the discretion of the operator's trigger pull.

Musket Firing Demonstration Part 2

Basic verbal commands to ready and fire dominated the field of the day beginning with "Load Arms!". This was followed by "Open Pans" and then " Handle Cartridge" and "Tear Cartridge". Next up was "Prime" and then "Shut Pans". What followed was "Load", then "Cartridge into Barrel", then "Draw Ramrod" and finally "Ram Down Cartridge". "Return Ramrod" placed the ramrod back into position under the barrel to which then the command to "Shoulder Arms" was given, followed by "Make Ready", "Present" and "Fire!" - all in French of course. The process was repeated over and over through daily training to the point that a single solder could loose off between two and three bullets in a minute.

Of course this entire action was at the mercy of many factors including that of the operators own level of training. Additionally, the moving working parts of the gun would have to be properly maintained while the piece of flint rock used to create the needed spark would have to be in serviceable condition. The gun powder used would have to be as dry as possible and proper amounts would need to be inserted into both the barrel and the flash pan. The ramrod action itself would also need to have had pushed the barrel contents as close to the spark action as possible.

Design of the Charleville was conventional for the time. She was a long gun system with the firing action set within a wooden frame and near the trigger group well aft on the receiver (or gun body). The barrel sat within the frame and was banded at several key points to hold it in place. A ramrod was typically affixed to the underside of the barrel near the muzzle and was integral in the operating action. The wooden frame was thicker near the firing action and the flintlock mechanism was set off to the right side of the receiver. The trigger was held within an oblong ring and the buttstock was integrated into the wooden frame design, featuring a pseudo-ergonomic grip for the firing hand and shoulder. The gun was typically fired using two hands, one set at the trigger to activate the firing action and other set well ahead of the trigger group to hold the barrel upwards and towards the intended target area. The weapon system, as a whole, weighed in at a manageable 10lbs and sported a barrel up to 46.75 inches in length. She was fed through the muzzle making her a "muzzle-loaded" gun. Conversely, later guns of firearms history could be loaded from the rear making them "breech-loaded" guns. Shoulder strap slings were found along the top of the buttstock and under the middle band along the forend.

The Charleville was chambered to fire the .69 lead musket ball. This was conventional ammunition for the time though size varied in terms of the caliber of ball from country to country. For instance, the British Army utilized a .75 ball in their fabled Brown Bess muskets. However, considering that the Charleville made use of a "smoothbore" barrel - this meaning that the barrel interior was smooth and not "rifled" as later firearms would be - the lead ball would rattle and roll its way out of the barrel, seriously affecting its trajectory and velocity once leaving the muzzle. As such, smoothbore muskets maintained a general effective range out to 50 yards if that. This generally meant that firearm battles of the 18th and 19th centuries were relatively close affairs usually (and ultimately) settled by close-in bayonet fighting. It was only later that a threaded barrel interior became the norm for firearms, giving birth to the category name of "rifle" and dramatically increasing the range and accuracy of the musket to well over 200 yards (some sources state as far away as 500 yards). Muskets featuring rifling were aptly categorized as "rifled muskets" and, as time wore on, they became the norm of modern firearms available on the battlefield. Rifled muskets were even in use at the time of the American Civil War, this despite the introduction of rifled, repeating firearms like the Henry series.

To counter the general inaccuracy of first generation muskets, armies generally concentrated their musketeers into groups with infantrymen firing in pre-determined, organized rows. The first row would kneel, aim and fire with the second row, fielding their weapons just overhead, aiming and firing their own "volley". These rows, having had spent their ammunition, would revert to the rear of the formation to reload their weapons whilst a "fresh", ready-to-fire row of infantry would take the frontal position and repeat the firing action. This supplied a consistent field of fire against an equally organized group of targets some distance away. Naturally, flanking maneuvers (engaging an enemy from the sides) were still in play and could prove disastrous against an ill-prepared, ill-equipped enemy formation.

The Charleville Musket maintained an operational tenure stemming from 1717 to 1816. In this span, she was utilized in a variety of French actions including operations throughout the French Revolutionary Wars (1792-1802), the French Revolution proper (1789-1799), the Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815) and the French and Indian War across modern day Canada (1754-1763). France was heavily involved in anti-British actions in both the American Revolution (1776) and the War of 1812 (1812-1815), siding with the American colony and funding its movements against anything British with French-made weapons like the Charleville - of course this was done through a dummy corporation set up by the French complete with falsified ship logs. It was the French Charleville Musket that would go on to become the basis for the American-made Springfield Musket of 1795, these produced out of the fabled Springfield and Harpers Ferry armories. The first series of Springfield 1795 muskets were, in fact, indistinguishable copies of the Charleville 1766 model.

Specifications for the 
Charleville Musket 
Muzzle-Loading Musket 
Country of Origin:  France 
Manufacturer:  Charleville-Mezieres - France 
Initial Year of Service:  1717 
Overall Length:  1524mm (60.00in) 
Barrel Length:  1,187.00mm (46.73in) 
Weight (Empty):  10.06lbs (4.56kg)
Cartridge:  .69 Musket Ball 
Action:  Single-Shot Muzzle-Loaded Flintlock 
Feed:  Single Shot 

Gun Debate Solved: Single-Ball Muskets For Everyone!

When we listen to gun advocates breathing fire over the last few months and defending to the death (everyone else's) their right to own a Bazooka for home protection or hunting squirrels, we invariably hear them cite the second amendment and - despite not actually taking part in well-regulated militias - the sanctity of their right to own any manner of gun they please.

For those of us sickened by the ongoing epidemic of gun violence in America and the pernicious political influence of organizations like the National Rifle Association (NRA), it's easy to take a cynical viewpoint and assume that hard-core gun advocates and their lobbying groups could not actually care less about the Constitution. It's very tempting to assume these "gun nuts" are actually far more interested in playing soldier and bolstering their own self image by walking around with a fully-loaded Glock.

We could also fixate on the idea that their fervent desire to pack heat reflects their psychotic delusions that a tyrannical U.S. government is looming and it's just a matter of time before we need to rise up to stop them from oh, I don't know, fixing roads, responding to national disasters, taking care of children and the elderly and providing basic health care to our citizens.

But in the words of Rodney King, can't we all just get along?

I'm as guilty as anyone of painting gun advocates with that broad brush. And I feel bad about it. I truly do. So in an effort to turn over a new leaf, I've opened myself to the idea that these AR-15-lugging folk are indeed supreme patriots whose sole concern is protecting our Constitution and national creed.

I mean, they couldn't be that despicable to twist the U.S. Bill of Rights for their own silly gun fetish or paranoid frame of mind, could they?

So in opening my mind to the possibility that they really are only trying to be good citizens, I suddenly came up with something more rare than a sane sentence from Wayne LaPierre: A Solomon-like solution to our ongoing national battle over guns that should satisfy everyone involved and give all due credit for the Constitutional indignation driving gun advocates.

Declare the single-ball, 18th century musket the national civilian weapon of the United States.

As soon as President Obama is sworn in for his second term, I intend to forward my idea for creation of a national manufacturing capability for these throw-back weapons. After an exhaustive 30 minutes of research,
I am recommending that the new "national firearm" be modeled after the 1776 version of the famed Charleville Musket

A Flintlock Tutorial


Uploaded on Jun 22, 2009
A tutorial on how to load and fire a flintlock with an up close look at the firing mechanism.

All other firearms not in use by military or law enforcement personnel would be made illegal and owners of those weapons would have 90 days to turn them in for a shiny new, 2013 single-ball musket.
Oh, I know what you're thinking: These would be highly ineffective weapons due to the musket's well-known inaccuracy -- not to mention the length of time it takes to prepare to fire just a single ball. Then there's the pain of how long it takes to reload one of these things. And let's not even get into having to lug a powder horn or flask around and the impact it will have on the sleek line of your blue jeans.

But these are all just excuses for not doing what needs to be done.

Of course, there will be critics and naysayers but my solution seems to address the concerns of all sides of the argument tearing our nation apart.

As we eventually get all of the "old" weapons off our streets, mass murders by a lone, crazed gunman will be all but impossible as the shooter would be unable to get off more than one shot before even a group of Rascal-driving senior citizens would have time to disarm him.

Gang-related shootings would decline dramatically as young thugs simply find it too embarrassing to announce they're going to "bust a ball in your ass" while imploring you to wait just a few minutes for that to actually happen.

And best of all, we can again be a united country, able to have calm, civil conversations about the place of guns in our society because everyone will be happy.

Those of us who believe American "gun culture" is a significant threat to national security will feel better because the sheer aggregate firepower within our borders will be reduced to almost nothing.

And our gun-toting brothers and sisters will be happy because we will have given them a very important gift - the gift of listening to them. They'll know we heard them when they kept saying that their overwhelming patriotic concern was the sanctity of our Bill Of Rights and they'll be thrilled that we have agreed with their Constitutional right to bear, well, some kind of firearm.

Best of all, they'll get to shoulder the same kind of rifle our forefathers envisioned when the second amendment was penned, thus paying true homage to the creed they love so much.

They love the second amendment, we love the second amendment and we all get to truly live the lifestyle that this part of the Bill of Rights was meant to engender: The right to bear an awkward, inaccurate, pain-in-the-ass, single-shot weapon.

Everyone wins.

Finally, even the NRA gets to continue moving forward as our little national gun club. Sure our gun ownership will be so defined and simplified that they'll have zero political clout or reason to exist. But they can still be a social club, hold weenie roasts and stage contests to see which of their members can actual hit Bambi with a goofy, smooth-bore long rifle.

And it can all be done with just minor rebranding because, since there will really only be one kind of gun in America, the NRA can easily become the NMA (National Musket Association).

Doesn't that alone make this a great idea?

Reports: Father accidentally shoots, kills 10-month-old son in front of family

This is senseless, heartbreaking, and this father has to live with the knowledge of what he did. It is a shame, nobody should be handling any gun, where their children are or anybody's children are. I believe in gun rights, but when the second amendment was thought of and written, there was single shot muzzle loaded guns, where you had to prime the gun in order to fire it. What we have now as firearms is not what Jefferson had in mind, nor even dreamed of.

By John Newland, Staff Writer, NBC News

A 10-month-old boy was shot and killed by his father Thursday in an apparent accident at a Nashville, Tenn., hotel, local media reported.

Two police detectives from the Hermitage Precinct were close to the hotel when the call went out and made it to the scene within about three minutes but were unable to resuscitate the child, NBC affiliate WSMV-TV Channel 4 reported.

The child's mother Jacquelin Bass, 28, and the couple's other sons, aged 3 and 2, were in the room when the gun went off, the station said.

The baby was shot once in the chest as his father, Larry Bass, 30, handled the semi-automatic handgun, the Nashville Tennessean reported.

NBC News was unable to independently confirm the accounts early Friday.

Both news outlets reported that the family, from Texas, was at the Extended Stay America hotel near Nashville International Airport when the incident happened. Larry Bass was in town to work on construction of the Music City Center, a 1.2-million-square foot convention center.

The newspaper said the family had checked in on Jan. 29.

Ten-month-old Adam Bass would have had turned 1 in May, the Tennessean reported, quoting police spokesman Don Aaron as saying that the family was "very, very distraught over what's happened" and that "the police department does not believe this was an intentional act."

Attempts to reach the police department were unsuccessful early Friday. WSMV said a police investigation was continuing.


Police: 7-year-old fatally shot by father outside gun store in Pennsylvania
Shot by sibling, police officer's daughter dies5 accidentally shot at gun shows in North Carolina, Ohio, Indiana

Donald Trump CPAC Speech

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Paul Ryan CPAC Speech

Senate Fiscal Year 2014 Budget Markup, Part 1

Mar 14, 2013

Senate Budget Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-WA) releases her 2014 budget resolution for mark up Wednesday.*It includes significant tax increases on top of the $620 billion tax hike from the fiscal cliff deal.

House Fiscal Year 2014 Budget Markup, Part 1

Mar 13, 2013

The House Budget Committee marked up the Republican fiscal year 2014 budget proposal. In part one, members made opening statements.

House Committee Mar 13, 2013
Tags: Federal Budget
1 hour, 20 minutes