Author Topic: flintlocks and cartridge guns  (Read 24199 times)

Offline Caleb Hobbs

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Re: flintlocks and cartridge guns
« Reply #20 on: August 29, 2011, 11:07:14 PM »
Actually, I've always leaned strongly away from flintlocks. After today, I'm leaning away from cartridge guns as well, which hurts because I do love my Spencer, and at one point I'd pictured myself using that. But, I've also been seriously researching this period since 1974, and even though there are always exceptions to the rule, by and large flintlocks were rapidly growing out of favor among frontiersmen, and guns like the Spencer and Henry weren't yet readily available to the average hunter/trader/wayfarer. I've always liked NCOWS approach to what is acceptable -- was it common? Unfortunately, in my opinion neither style fits that criteria.

I wanted to hear what others thought, but I also don't want to start making exceptions just because someone has a modern muzzle loading deer rifle that's "close," or a camel gun that's a hoot to shoot, or because a military regiment carried a certain type of firearm. When I envision an APS encampment, which I'm hoping will be held at historical sites where a fort or trading post already exists (I'm working on it), I picture a scene that looks like it could have realistically occurred. I'd rather err on the side of caution and maintain our goal of historical accuracy.

Caleb

Offline Ranch 13

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Re: flintlocks and cartridge guns
« Reply #21 on: August 29, 2011, 11:30:18 PM »
So basically you're going post 1840 buckskinnin... ::) with percussion Hawkens...
Eat more beef the west wasn't won on a salad.

Offline buffalo bill

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Re: flintlocks and cartridge guns
« Reply #22 on: August 30, 2011, 12:04:04 AM »
So do I JimBob, but this little group already lost my interest when nobody contested the idea that shotguns would be unheard of because of the "great distances" on the plains.  Besides, they've already started the "I ain't never seen one so they won't be allowed" rule.

 STU KETTLE
   1. I didn't say that shotguns were unheard of. I said that most Plainsmen probably wouldn't have bothered to carry one because of the
       great distances on the Plains. I don't know where you are from but I live in North Dakota and have hunted here for 25 years. If you get
       a shot at any big game animal under 100 yards, it is a rare occasion indeed.  That to me is a great distance for a black powder rifle of any
       kind. I also stated that there were several personnas that would have most likely carried a shotgun on the Plains during our time period.
       Emmigrants, settlers, 49ers etc. You must have misunderstood my post. It happens.

    2. If we, as a group , are not to your liking, why waste your time posting anything on our forum? We have lost your interest? Really?
       You haven't joined us so why even bother? There is always room for differing opinions but with respect. Always with respect.
        No one contested what I said about shotguns because I didn't say what you thought you read! Next time you get worked up about
        something, take a lesson from Davy Crockett, "Be sure that you are right, then go ahead."

   BUFFALO BILL
Col. W. F. Cody 1846-1917

Offline Caleb Hobbs

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Re: flintlocks and cartridge guns
« Reply #23 on: August 30, 2011, 12:08:13 AM »
Howdy, Ranch 13:

We're going 1840-1865 -- plainsmen, 49th, settler, emmigrant, etc., with a wide array of firearms common to that time frame. There will be an emphasis on historical accuracy in both what we shoot and how we portray our personas. It might be bumpy in spots, and it won't be for everyone, but I'm confident we'll fill a niche a lot of people are interested in.

Best,
Caleb

Offline Ranch 13

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Re: flintlocks and cartridge guns
« Reply #24 on: August 30, 2011, 08:43:08 AM »
Caleb good luck with it, but it's looking like the thing is falling apart already. When you go to "outlawing" firearms that are historically documented to the very folk that you are trying to portray, you're heading right over the cliff.
 If your end date is in 1865 that lets a great big world of cartridge rifles and smith and wesson #1's , floberts, Hall's, Maynard ringballs, peadbody's,spencers, henry's, etc right thru the door.
 Then you have to decide what sort of attire and accoutrements will be allowed....
 Will be watching to see how this unfolds tho.
 
Eat more beef the west wasn't won on a salad.

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Re: flintlocks and cartridge guns
« Reply #25 on: Today at 05:50:27 PM »

Offline Stu Kettle

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Re: flintlocks and cartridge guns
« Reply #25 on: August 30, 2011, 09:24:41 AM »
STU KETTLE
   1. I didn't say that shotguns were unheard of. I said that most Plainsmen probably wouldn't have bothered to carry one because of the
       great distances on the Plains. I don't know where you are from but I live in North Dakota and have hunted here for 25 years. If you get
       a shot at any big game animal under 100 yards, it is a rare occasion indeed.  That to me is a great distance for a black powder rifle of any
       kind. I also stated that there were several personnas that would have most likely carried a shotgun on the Plains during our time period.
       Emmigrants, settlers, 49ers etc. You must have misunderstood my post. It happens.

    2. If we, as a group , are not to your liking, why waste your time posting anything on our forum? We have lost your interest? Really?
       You haven't joined us so why even bother? There is always room for differing opinions but with respect. Always with respect.
        No one contested what I said about shotguns because I didn't say what you thought you read! Next time you get worked up about
        something, take a lesson from Davy Crockett, "Be sure that you are right, then go ahead."

   BUFFALO BILL

I didn't intend to waste any more time posting on your forum, but since this is directed at me, I feel obligated to reply.  I live in western Nebraska, on the plains.  I have killed many deer with a .50 cal. muzzle loader, and a few with a muzzleloading double-barrelled shotgun(loaded with patched round balls because buckshot is not legal for deer in Nebraska).  I almost never shoot either of them as far as 100 yards, and most of the deer I have killed have been within 50 yards.  I also find a shotgun handy for taking small game and the wide variety of birds that live out here on the plains.  If I had lived during the time period you wish to portray, and had to choose a weapon for hunting and for defending myself against hostile humans or hungry predators, I would choose the smooth bore double barrel over the rifle every time.

Good luck with your new group.

Offline JimBob

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Re: flintlocks and cartridge guns
« Reply #26 on: August 30, 2011, 09:50:12 AM »
Geez guys,give the man a little time to get others thoughts on the subject and think things out a bit.This has only been in the talking stage for a short while. :)

Offline Caleb Hobbs

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Re: flintlocks and cartridge guns
« Reply #27 on: August 30, 2011, 10:27:19 AM »
Howdy, Ranch 13: Nothing's set in stone yet, and nothing is outlawed at this point; we're still working on it.

JimBob: Thanks, amigo. We're working on putting together a governing body now. I know what I want, but I also want to hear what others want -- without losing sight of our original goal. It takes time.

Offline JimBob

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Re: flintlocks and cartridge guns
« Reply #28 on: August 30, 2011, 11:41:48 AM »
A thought about the Spencer.What would have been the civilian availability of these prior to 1865 other than early sporting models?Maybe query TwoFlints on the subject.The carbines weren't being produced till late in the period and then if I'm not mistaken all production was going to the military either state or federal.Were any units stationed in the west equiped with them?

Offline Mogorilla

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Re: flintlocks and cartridge guns
« Reply #29 on: August 30, 2011, 12:06:44 PM »
I am guessing few, if any of the Spencers/Henrys made it west of the Mississippi during the unpleasantness.  If you are aiming (hee hee) for late 1850s, there were plenty of Sharps in Kansas, aka Beacher's Bibles.   

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Re: flintlocks and cartridge guns
« Reply #30 on: Today at 05:50:27 PM »

Offline Ranch 13

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Re: flintlocks and cartridge guns
« Reply #30 on: August 30, 2011, 01:19:15 PM »
Both the Henry and the Spencer were in production in 1860. The question becomes so what if the only models available would have been the civilian sporting models? That's exactly what a "plainsman" would of been except for the few hired as scouts and foragers for the Army, and those would of been issued military arms.
 We know that Henrys and Spencers played key roles in the hands of civilians and Army troops in two battles in 67 and 68, Wagonbox and Beechers Island, but then again if the cutoff date is Jan 31 1864.....
Eat more beef the west wasn't won on a salad.

Offline ChuckBurrows

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Re: flintlocks and cartridge guns
« Reply #31 on: August 30, 2011, 02:17:27 PM »
But, I've also been seriously researching this period since 1974, and even though there are always exceptions to the rule, by and large flintlocks were rapidly growing out of favor among frontiersmen, and guns like the Spencer and Henry weren't yet readily available to the average hunter/trader/wayfarer. I've always liked NCOWS approach to what is acceptable -- was it common? Unfortunately, in my opinion neither style fits that criteria.
Caleb

I have been hesitant to post on this subject so far, wanting to see which way the wind blows and as for joining this group – oh well it sounds like another group being setup based on a limited vision of the period of a few…….the vision I see forming here is more of one based on the timeline of Johnston’s Plainsmen series of the 1860-70’s rather then the earlier period. Also I see a lot of impetus towards the scout and others of that type and not the more common types of folks such as settler, traders, Metis, et al….
And yes I realize all groups have birthing pains, but so far that’s how it looks from over here?????

Anyway here’s my two cents and with all due respect , but if you really think that flintlocks weren't "common" during the 1840-1865 period then you have apparently not been doing in depth research despite the length of time you state (and FWIW and not to start a peeing contest I’ve been studying it since 1962 and have a wall full of books plus Gigabytes of primary docs on my computer all based on study of the 1800-1865 period).
Opinions aside flintlocks were VERY common on the plains and elsewhere up through the 1860's - HBC continued to sell them until the 1920's in fact.
Amongst the Metis and others who hunted buffalo for hides, tongues, and pemmican (a major and little known business on the plains and in the mountains prior to the the hide hunters of the 1870's) the most popular gun was the shortened NW Gun in flintlock. Also Sam Hawken for instance was still building flinters in the 1850’s. In fact one of the most famous Hawkens, the so-called Smithsonian Hawken, built in 1852-53, was originall built as a flinter and is the only verified flint Hawken Mountain rifle.
FWIW – here’s just a bit of period research - dated 1843 which shows how common at this date the flinters still were and as noted above the main fire arm of the military on both sides through the Mexican War of 1846 was the flintlock:
In 1843 Captain Philip St. George Cooke, in command of a dragoon detachment patrolling an area along the north bank of the
Arkansas River, encountered a band of Texas "irregulars/freeboters" who were threatening a Santa Fe caravan. Anticipating trouble
from the captain and his frontier-toughened troops, the Texans hastily concealed a number of their best weapons (including some
Colt repeating rifles), but Cooke nevertheless relieved them of various other guns, including muskets, shotguns, pistols, and rifles.
Among the rifles Cooke confiscated and later turned in at Fort Leavenworth were:
30 flint lock rifles, valued at eighteen dollars each, including the barrel of one which has no stock, which appears to have been lost in
transportation.
12 percussion rifles, valued at twenty two dollars and fifty cents, including the barrel of one which has no stock. . . .
3 half stock Middletown rifles, percussion lock, valued at eighteen dollars each.
1 full stock percussion lock [Middletown rifle], valued at eighteen dollars.
1 halfstock flint lock Middletown rifle, valued at eighteen dollars.
NOTE: The "Middletown rifles" were probably altered U.S. Model 1817 contract arms made by Simeon North
Totals: 31 flinters and 16 percussion

Besides the forty-seven rifles and two "American dragoon carbines" (Hall's maybe - could be either flint or caplock) the Texans were carrying twenty-eight smoothbores of various types:
15 English flint lock shot guns.
3 Tower pieces (most likely India pattern Brown Bess flinters)
1 Large American flint lock shot gun.
2 Double barrelled flint lock, stub and twist, shot guns.
4 Percussion lock, double barreled, stub and twist, shot guns.
1 American musket.
2 Texas muskets (most likely the flintlock M1822 type muskets supplied to Texas by Tryon of Philadelphia in 1840 and marked Texas with a star on the lockplates) - a total of 860 were purchased out of the 1,500 ordered.
Totals: 23 flinters and 4 caplock - the American musket could be of either ignition so was not included in the totals.

The Texas "freebooters" were also rather well equipped with pistols -  Cooke confiscated:
4 pairs of flint lock holster pistols, valued at twenty dollars a pair.
2 pairs percussion lock pistols, valued at forty dollars a pair.
8 flint lock holster pistols, odd, valued at ten dollars apiece.
7 percussion lock belt pistols, valued at fifteen dollars apiece.
1 percussion lock duelling pistol, valued at forty dollars.
Totals: 16 flinters and 13 caplock - just about half and half

I have much more info which I can/will try to post regarding flinters in the west. While it’s true that the caplocks became more and more prominent during this period flinters of all type were in fact very common even in the later days while as noted the Spencer and Winchester were not……..


For some of the best primary info on firearms of the time period 1840-1865 check out Garavaglia and Worman’s “Firearms of the American West: 1803-1865 and Worman’s late book “Gunsmoke and Saddle Leather”

Quote
STU KETTLE
   1. I didn't say that shotguns were unheard of. I said that most Plainsmen probably wouldn't have bothered to carry one because of the great distances on the Plains. I don't know where you are from but I live in North Dakota and have hunted here for 25 years. If you get a shot at any big game animal under 100 yards, it is a rare occasion indeed.  That to me is a great distance for a black powder rifle of any kind.
I take it you never hunted with a muzzleloader? Having live and hunted in the west since 1965 most of my hunting has been done with muzzeloading rifles and with the proper shot 150 years is not out of the question albeit most of mine have been under 100 yards – but then you have to hunt like they did then and not depend on how far your rifle reaches. Muzzleloaders were in fact the primary hunting arm all over the west up until the 1870’s most. The  plainsmen and others all did not run out and get a new fangled cartidge gun, most of which were less powerful than the muzzleloaders of the day. Jim Bridger, a master scout, was still carrying his 52 caliber Hawken in 1865 for instance, since most of the old timers like him did not care for the new guns and their weaker cartidges.


Oh and by the way shotguns were quite common in the period, especially for night guard duty – they are mentioned and documented along the Santa Fe Trail in particular.

aka Nolan Sackett
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Offline Mogorilla

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Re: flintlocks and cartridge guns
« Reply #32 on: August 30, 2011, 02:35:27 PM »
I will add that flinters are still in use, or were in the 1980s in AFrica where they were still being sold/traded.  As the AK-47 became more wide spread through blackmarket arms market the were replaced, but college roommate picked up 2 like new flintlocks in Africa ~1989, made in Europe in the 50s for market in Africa.  Easier for the isolated groups to maintain them and shoot them. 
(A flint shooter friend of mine use to say he would switch to percussion when the Good Lord sprinkled percusision caps all over the ground, like he did with flints, he like Bridger is rather set in his ways ;D)    I would say Flinters in the west were the same as Africa, easier to keep operating, all you needed was cans of blackpowder.  I believe Dupont sold theirs in lead containers, so several pounds of that, and flint to be found and you are good to go.  That is a convenience that would be hard to pass up, especially if you are dropping ~85(or more) grains BP and firing Buck and Ball, it makes a critter or opponent take notice.   

Offline ChuckBurrows

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Re: flintlocks and cartridge guns
« Reply #33 on: August 30, 2011, 02:41:25 PM »
MoG - yep I saw flinters in Central America back in the late 70's and early 80's as well. For the buffalo runners, those who actually hunted on horseback, during of the 1840-1865 period a flint gun was prefreable due to the ability to self prime - fitting a cap on a cone while riding at break neck speed was not so easy........

L & C had powder containers made of lead, but not sure about the later ones from Dupont - small lead bar stock on the other hand was a common trade item as were all types of shot fro smoothbores and pre-cast balls, the latter in the most common trade gun sizes such as .535" and 550".
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Offline Tascosa Joe

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Re: flintlocks and cartridge guns
« Reply #34 on: August 30, 2011, 02:47:23 PM »
Chuck:
Very interesting and informative.
T-Joe
NRA Life, TSRA Life, NCOWS  Life

Offline JimBob

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Re: flintlocks and cartridge guns
« Reply #35 on: August 30, 2011, 03:07:14 PM »
Both the Henry and the Spencer were in production in 1860. The question becomes so what if the only models available would have been the civilian sporting models? That's exactly what a "plainsman" would of been except for the few hired as scouts and foragers for the Army, and those would of been issued military arms.
 We know that Henrys and Spencers played key roles in the hands of civilians and Army troops in two battles in 67 and 68, Wagonbox and Beechers Island, but then again if the cutoff date is Jan 31 1864.....

Speaking as to the Spencer only using as a reference source Marcot's book.About being in production in 1860,his patent dates from March 6,1860.Around 36 rifles were built between 1860-61,mostly what would be called tool room models today and the Army and Navy trials guns.The first military contract for rifles dates to Dec.1861 at which time there wasn't even a factory in existence producing Spencers.After that they had trouble keeping up with the military contracts let alone selling any to the civilian market.

As to sporting rifles.First production of these didn't start until 1864,estimated 7 made.1865 estimated 400 produced.Marcot states that they "were special order arms only" and "they were too expensive for most sportsmen to aquire".They cost anywhere from $42 to $52 with globe and peep sights being $5 extra the same price for a set trigger.A substantial sum of money in those days.

I think if you look at a lot of the available information breech loading cartridge firearms would have been pretty much unseen in any quantity prior to the end of the Civil  War in civilian hands on the frontier  and would have been a rarity.

Original source material such as used by ChuckBurrows illustrates best what was actually used in a given period.

Offline Ranch 13

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Re: flintlocks and cartridge guns
« Reply #36 on: August 30, 2011, 03:22:50 PM »
Well as I said if you're cut off date is january 31 1864 at 1159 pm..... Then yeh, maybe, but remember the bulk of the Henry's in use during the Civil War were purchased by ciivilians and carried by troops. Also don't forget that when the hostilities ended the government got loose of alot of their surplus.
 To just flat out come out and say " it couldn't of happened" is about as wrong as John Waynes troops carrying Win 92's without the forearms in place of spencers and henry's in the movie cavalry charges.
 Always keep in mind that the folks that came out here in the majority of the time periods pre 1930's started out from the areas east of the Missouri, and the Mississippi, and a great many of those folks that came out west looking for adventure were from east of the Alleghany's. So just about anything and everything that was available to them in their home country they could of and would of brought with them.
 Even the majority of us old terds that are 3rd and 4th generation out here in the Wild Wild west can easily trace our roots to Ioway, Ohio, Pennsylvania etc....
 The kicked the Mormons out of Illinois in 1847, and they made many trips back and forth from the Salt Lake Valley to the eastern trading centers for supplies. Don't forget that Majors, Russell and Waddell made their fortunes hauling freight from the east to the west, and just what do you suppose they hauled in those wagons?
Eat more beef the west wasn't won on a salad.

Offline ChuckBurrows

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Re: flintlocks and cartridge guns
« Reply #37 on: August 30, 2011, 03:28:17 PM »
As for breech loaders the only real common one of the pre-1865 West would be the Sharps modesl of the 1850's and early 1860's. There were some others, but the Sharps was by far the most common during the early 1850 to 1865 era

William Hamilton in "My Sixty Years on the Plains" notes that upon arriving in California in the early 1850's, his group traded in their Hawken rifles for Sharps and then used the barresl from the Hawkens as pry bars in the gold fields...
see page 217 - http://books.google.com/ebooks/reader?id=IahK17yWrdgC&printsec=frontcover&output=reader
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Offline St. George

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Re: flintlocks and cartridge guns
« Reply #38 on: August 30, 2011, 04:35:27 PM »
If the APS wants some form of credibility as a nascent organization with a historical bent - then it really needs to avoid the 'Woulda If They Coulda' aspect and concentrate on doing actual research and not supposition or undue belief in novelized versions of the time frame.

The reference books are out there - sitting on the shelves of your Public Library - and available via Inter-Library Loan when they're not.

Growing pains are lessened with a sound outline that's easy to follow from the start, and not cobbled together as the ball's rolling...

Talk this out amongst yourselves, and do so civilly - and when you argue a point - then argue it with some form of reference to back up your positions - 'then' decide on your course, and you'll reach a more harmonious outcome.

Good Luck!

Vaya,

Scouts Out!



"It Wasn't Cowboys and Ponies - It Was Horses and Men.
It Wasn't Schoolboys and Ladies - It Was Cowtowns and Sin..."

Offline Jake MacReedy

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Re: flintlocks and cartridge guns
« Reply #39 on: August 30, 2011, 05:25:31 PM »
Chuck,

I agree with you wholeheartedly!

St. George: absolutely!  And this is what Chuck was doing in his message above.

Simple Solution: Set the time period as 1840-1860, and no cartridge firearms.

Jake

 

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