Making bullets, loading and shooting a muzzle-loader

Any research done in relation to the period of Les Misérables, whether for fanfiction or fanart purposes or otherwise.
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CC21106
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Making bullets, loading and shooting a muzzle-loader

Postby CC21106 » Sat Oct 29, 2016 4:21 pm

Don't know if this is the right place to put this but I have made bullets out of melted lead with a mold, which is why I picked that image for my avatar, and loaded a muzzle-loader with a ramrod and shot it a few times. Very educational about what it would have been like to fight with it: specifically, slow. It was a replica from a period somewhat before the action at the barricade, so didn't use cartridges. That would speed things up a bit, but desperate reloading is very accurate!

It takes a pretty hot flame for lead (a small blowtorch in our case). Pewter might melt at a lower temperature. You melt it in a small, resistant vessel. We used a tin can. Then you carefully pour it into the funnel of the bullet mold. The mold is made like tongs, with handles. It's been a long time, but I think the next step is dip the mold into water, then pull it out and open it so that the ball falls out.

If you're not careful to completely dry the mold between pouring, molten lead can explode out of it. My brother has a scar to this day. Therefore wear protective gear. If I was going to do it again I would wear gloves and goggles or better a complete face mask.

As for shooting it, smoke goes everywhere and there is a heck of a bang.
Don't mess with Texas! We mess up enough by ourselves.
I have actually made bullets like they're doing in my avatar. Then loaded the gun with a ramrod, and shot it. But I'm not feeling real good about guns right now.

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Re: Making bullets, loading and shooting a muzzle-loader

Postby Acaila » Sat Oct 29, 2016 9:04 pm

That is really super cool! :shock:
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Re: Making bullets, loading and shooting a muzzle-loader

Postby Auf die Barrikaden » Sat Oct 29, 2016 10:30 pm

Very interesting. I'd like to own a LePage double loader flintlock someday, to pretend it was Enjolras' gun. :D Bullets were mostly made of molten tin during the Paris barricades.
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Re: Making bullets, loading and shooting a muzzle-loader

Postby CC21106 » Sun Oct 30, 2016 1:35 am

Acaila wrote:That is really super cool! :shock:

Thank you! It was loooong before I read LM, so I couldn't get all fannish and play like I was on a barricade, worse luck.
Don't mess with Texas! We mess up enough by ourselves.
I have actually made bullets like they're doing in my avatar. Then loaded the gun with a ramrod, and shot it. But I'm not feeling real good about guns right now.

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Re: Making bullets, loading and shooting a muzzle-loader

Postby CC21106 » Sun Oct 30, 2016 2:22 am

Auf die Barrikaden wrote:Very interesting. I'd like to own a LePage double loader flintlock someday, to pretend it was Enjolras' gun. :D Bullets were mostly made of molten tin during the Paris barricades.

You know what kind it was, I'm impressed. I didn't even know there were double-barreled rifles, only shotguns.

I see from ever-helpful Google that the melting point of tin is a couple hundred degrees F lower than for lead--that would certainly make it easier to make your own bullets.

It occurred to me that when you're defending a barricade you'll use every shooting iron you can get your hands on, so they might have had some older ones like the one I was talking about. There were probably a lot of weapons floating around because of the early 19th century wars. I wonder how standard they were. The book talks a lot about random people making cartridges and even gives a recipe for do-it-yourself gunpowder. We didn't do that part--ordered it from Memphis. There is an emporium there that even sells cannons if you should feel the need to display a 6-pounder, or whatever, in your front yard like a neighbor of mine in Austin. I don't know what size cannon that was, but the bore was about 2 1/2 inches, and for years after seeing that I wanted a cannon so bad I couldn't stand it. However, I have managed to live without one.
Don't mess with Texas! We mess up enough by ourselves.
I have actually made bullets like they're doing in my avatar. Then loaded the gun with a ramrod, and shot it. But I'm not feeling real good about guns right now.

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Auf die Barrikaden
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Re: Making bullets, loading and shooting a muzzle-loader

Postby Auf die Barrikaden » Sat Nov 12, 2016 8:49 pm

From Mark Traugott's "The Insurgent Barricade", the usual way to obtain a rifle during a barricade incident was raiding gunshops, national guard posts and lone guardsmen or understrength units in the street.
I always wondered why there was no collection market for 19th century Paris insurgencies and revolutions, similar to maybe US civil war collectors. If I had alot of money I'd pay a load of experts to track down anything original that was used in 1830 or 1848. Even if it's only a paving stone.
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Re: Making bullets, loading and shooting a muzzle-loader

Postby CC21106 » Sun Nov 13, 2016 2:30 am

Auf die Barrikaden wrote:From Mark Traugott's "The Insurgent Barricade", the usual way to obtain a rifle during a barricade incident was raiding gunshops, national guard posts and lone guardsmen or understrength units in the street.

Sounds dangerous, but then if you're going to build a barricade what's a little more danger? They probably wouldn't just have them on hand. I have no ideas what the gun laws were in France, if any, during the 19th century.
I always wondered why there was no collection market for 19th century Paris insurgencies and revolutions, similar to maybe US civil war collectors. If I had alot of money I'd pay a load of experts to track down anything original that was used in 1830 or 1848. Even if it's only a paving stone.

I bet there are practically no surviving examples of guns from the era because they were all melted down to make more modern ones for later wars. This is just a guess. That's what happened to the fabulous lace-making machines of the 19th century, and is why modern machine-made lace is so crappy. There aren't any of the old machines left. Paving stones--They're probably still in place under a lot of subsequent paving. But yeah, wouldn't it be more than cool to have something that was actually used then. You might really be able to get copies of magazines from the times.

On the other hand, there may be less heavy-duty relics of 1848 in Texas, because a lot of political refugees settled in Texas and in fact there were German-speaking communities here until at least the 1970s.
Don't mess with Texas! We mess up enough by ourselves.
I have actually made bullets like they're doing in my avatar. Then loaded the gun with a ramrod, and shot it. But I'm not feeling real good about guns right now.

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Re: Making bullets, loading and shooting a muzzle-loader

Postby Auf die Barrikaden » Sun Nov 13, 2016 10:02 pm

You can still find 19th century weaponry for sale and auction on the web, but my searches turn up mostly English and American made-at least from pre 1860. No doubt this is due to my inabiity to search in French. LePage, who owned (and still exist) the most prominent inner city gunshop is a quite famous french armorer: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faur%C3%A9_Le_Page
The wiki article even speaks about their role in insurrections and revolutions!
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