Wednesday, 12 January 2011

"Williamite soldiers circa 1695 with priming horns"?

"Saw you rpost on the New England Colonial Living HIstory site as well and you made a note that you have not seen any evidence of priming horns.

On the Baltimore Rangers website in our Historical images section is a woodcut of Williamite soldiers circa 1695 with priming horns".
Oh, and glad you like our site :)
John Machate

This is the image from the Baltimore Rangers site.

I must say here that I know John Machate through other living history sites, and I hold him in high regard. John is a dedicated living historian with a good reputation. However, looking at the above image I am still not convinced that these are priming horns they are carrying. For one thing the horns size, they look to me to be main powder horns. For another they are slung too low for priming but not too low to use a powder measure for a main charge.
What are you're thoughts on this?

My thanks to John Machate for bringing this image to my attention, and for his comments. Very much appreciated.


Gorges Smythe said...

I can't remember who it was, but someone in history slightly over-bored the touch-hole and primed the pan by simply tapping the butt of the loaded musket on the ground to shake a bit of the main charge into the pan. It saved time when you were being shot at and did away with the need to carry more than one horn or powder granulation.

Le Loup said...

You are right Gorges, I have read that too. Can't say as though I have had much luck with that method, even though my vent hole is larger than normal.
I use 2fg gunpowder for the main charge and for priming, and I prime from the main horn.
In the 18th century there was I believe a slightly larger choice of powders for different calibres and use, but I have not read of a priming powder.

I have two copies of original firearms & hunting books, one 18th century, and the other 19th century. Neither of them mention a priming powder or a priming horn.

Gorges Smythe said...

I suspect that priming powder may not have been needed back then for the simple reason that there was no grafite mixed with the powder back then to cut down the danger of static electricity igniting the powder. Today's powder may be safer, but it comes at the price of making it harder to ignite and slower burning.

Le Loup said...

I had not thought of that Gorges! Good man. Though I can't say I have noticed any problem using 2FG for priming. It is a good thought though & raises yet more questions on period ballistics!
Well done Gorges & thank you.

Gorges Smythe said...

I forgot to mention that the graphite is what causes much of the filth associated with shooting black powder.

Le Loup said...

Thanks Gorges, I didn't know that.