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 Post subject: Weapons advancements
PostPosted: Sun Jan 05, 2014 6:20 pm 
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During the 1860's the American civil war drove great advances in firearms technology. By the 1870's this had entirely revolutionized shooting. Here are some basics of what became available.

Breech Loading: Although a few early breech loading rifles existed in the 1860's by 1870 they'd become the standard. This meant the end of ramrods, and much faster reloading. One such breech loader is the Springfield 1870 trapdoor, which fired the powerful 45-70 cartridge. Many older muzzle loading rifles were also converted to use the trapdoor mechanism to accept modern metallic cartridges.

Repeating rifles: Although early attempts had been made before with revolving rifles, lever action rifles have now become a standard, offering a variety of calibers and capacities, storing ammunition in a tubular magazine usually below the barrel. The Henry Repeating Rifle is an example of such a rifle.

Revolvers: Though cap and ball revolvers already offered handguns the ability to fire repeatedly, the 1870's saw the advent of the first truly modern revolvers such as the Colt model P Peacemaker, which would later become known as the Colt Single Action Army, a revolver which did away with percussion caps and paper cartridges in favor of quick and easy loading from the rear of the gun with the brass cased, self contained cartridge in .45 colt. This particular revolver became so widespread it was used by almost every lawman, outlaw, and military man in the U.S. Also available was the Smith and Wesson Schofield revolver, which while loading the weaker .38 long colt cartridge, but which featured a break open design which allowed for much faster reloading by accessing all six chambers at once. Eastern Europe meanwhile saw the use of the M1870 Gasser revolver, which fired the long 11mm Montenegrin cartridge. A large variety of cap and ball revolvers were also commonly customized and modified to fire new metallic cartridge ammunition.

Rapid fire: The Gatling gun made its debut in the American Civil War and was the world's first machine gun. With its rotating array of barrels to prevent overheating, and its continuous hopper fed mechanism, this gun could in theory fire indefinitely assuming the ammunition didn't run out and there were two people to serve it.

Shotguns: Shotguns began with the old Blunderbuss, a defensive weapon often used to repel boarders on naval vessels. During the era of muskets, there was little distinction between a smoothbore musket, and a shotgun, as the musket was simply loaded with multiple smaller projectiles, however with the emergence of rifled barrels, shotguns began to become distinct in the 1860's, becoming popular among cavalrymen for their ability to better hit a moving target, and among hunters for their ability to shoot down birds. This period saw shoguns also evolve into shorter, breech loading weapons, with the familiar break action often recognized. The 1870's saw the advent of the double barrel shotgun, which offered a quick second shot, should the first fail. Shotguns were also among the first firearms to develop actions which didn't require an external hammer, quickening the loading process, and allowing the user to fire again more quickly. Shotgun cartridges of the era were usually made of one part brass base which contained the powder and primer, and a stiff paper shell which contained the projectiles. These came most commonly in 10 gauge, but the smaller 12 gauge (less powerful than our modern 12 gauge shells), and even the massive 8 gauge. Shotguns don't get the same range that rifles do, but at close and medium range, they offer a better chance of hitting the enemy and have the devastating ability to hit a target several times with just a single shot.

There also existed what were known as "Combination guns" which were double barreled guns which featured one shotgun barrel and one rifle barrel, and were popular among hunters. More rare were triple barrel models called "Drillings," which typically had any combination of shotgun and rifle barrels, though most commonly two side by side shotgun barrels, and one smaller rifle barrel in between.

Calibers: The popular cartridges of this era included the pistol cartridges .45 colt (also called the .45 long colt), the .44 Russian, the .38 long colt, the .22 short, .32 long and .32 short, .450 Adams (Used in revolvers in the UK), and the 11mm Montenegrin.

Rifle calibers included the .44 Henry (used in many lever action rifles), the .42 Berdan (used by Russia), 11x60mm Mauser (used by Germany), 45-70 ( a powerful loading and by far the most popular cartridge and used by all US armed forces of the day), and .50-90 Sharps (a very powerful round used primarily for big game hunting).

Shotgun shells
Shotgun gauge is based upon a measurement of the barrel's bore by weight of a lead sphere that fits through it in fractions of a pound. That sounds more complicated than it is. A barrel that will fit a lead sphere weighing 1/10th of a pound is a 10 gauge barrel. Similarly a barrel that will only fit a lead ball weighing 1/12th of a pound is a 12 gauge shotgun. The only important thing to remember is that the smaller the gauge of a shotgun, the bigger the barrel.

Shotgun shells being multi projectile rounds can be loaded with a variety of different "shot," From a large number of very small projectiles, to a few much larger ones. There's a larger variety of shot out there, but it can be easily broken down into two categories. Birdshot and buckshot. Birdshot features a widespread cloud of very tiny projectiles, which do not penetrate deeply, but are ideal for hunting small animals, birds, and snakes. Buckshot features larger balls generally around .33" (or 8.4mm) but also come in slightly larger or smaller sizes trading off number of projectiles for projectile size. All produce adequate penetration for use in combat or hunting (or in our case monster fighting), but generally the larger projectiles get greater range. So called "Buck and ball," loads became popular in combat, which loaded a single large musket ball into the shell followed by a smaller number of buckshot pellets.

All in all guns of the era were vastly more advanced than a decade prior, however ammunition was a mixed bag of centerfire, rimfire, and even bizarre pinfire rounds, often with each country developing its own cartridges. Some cartridges would become popular worldwide such as the .22 short, and .45 Long Colt which are still available to this day, and the .44 Russian and .32 which, while no longer produced, have become the ancestors of modern calibers available today. Others like most of the 11mm rounds fell out of use. For the ease of use, unless you just want to be specific, including only the basics of the caliber (such as .45 caliber) is sufficient.

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Character Name: Graham Drake "The Preacher in Black"

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Character Name: Pious Augustine Hadrian "The Younger Hadrian"


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