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Old 12-12-2014, 11:58 PM   #41
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Default Re: [Adventure Guns] The gun cabinet of a Victorian explorer, hunter, Col. (Ret.)

With his military background, I don't see why he couldn't pass that off as a quirk of his time and soldierly aspect. A stern man, with a background in very stern matters, I think his preference could bother some, while appealing to others. If he knows the rest of his bag, then he should be able to blend in fine with most people accepting the eccentricities of his character to come from prolonged time abroad.
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Old 12-13-2014, 12:51 AM   #42
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Default Re: [Adventure Guns] The gun cabinet of a Victorian explorer, hunter, Col. (Ret.)

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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
Is it unutterably common to select the plainest field grade from a very respected firm like Westley Richards, for 26?
I don't think so. Not everyone can have had Purdeys, just as not everyone has a Rolls-Royce. Purdeys and Mantons and Holland & Hollands are like Savile Row tailoring: plenty of perfectly respectable people make do with off-Row and even slum it in designer label.

Wilkinson isn't going to make it into the haute ton: you need Family for that, and he just doesn't have it. He's a "decent sort of chap", but not an aristocrat. Off-Row and provincial tailors and very respectable firms of gunsmiths existed precisely to supply country gentlemen with less than ten thousand acres, and Wilkinson isn't ever going to pass for anything more.
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Old 12-13-2014, 07:05 AM   #43
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Default Re: [Adventure Guns] The gun cabinet of a Victorian explorer, hunter, Col. (Ret.)

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I don't think so. Not everyone can have had Purdeys, just as not everyone has a Rolls-Royce. Purdeys and Mantons and Holland & Hollands are like Savile Row tailoring: plenty of perfectly respectable people make do with off-Row and even slum it in designer label.
That's true. I was concerned that maybe using a field grade gun, no matter the maker, for a formal society type shoot could be a faux pas. Maybe someone who can't afford a Best Quality Double from one of the top makers ought to buy a Best Quality from a less well-known firm instead.

In essence, I don't know if field-grade guns are exclusively meant as secondary guns for rougher handling in the collection of someone who already has a pair of Best Quality Doubles, or if they are a respectable choice in their own right as a primary shooting pair, for someone who values craftsmanship and materials over expensive finish and engraving.

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Wilkinson isn't going to make it into the haute ton: you need Family for that, and he just doesn't have it. He's a "decent sort of chap", but not an aristocrat. Off-Row and provincial tailors and very respectable firms of gunsmiths existed precisely to supply country gentlemen with less than ten thousand acres, and Wilkinson isn't ever going to pass for anything more.
Just so. He is invited to some very fine estates, being perceived as 'interesting', even 'dashing' and able to tell 'jolly good stories of ripping good hunts and some hair-raising savage anecdotes'. He's also known as an expert sportsman and any true devotee of the shoot or stalk is glad to see him at work, not to mention all those who want to boast of him having declared their estates 'capital sporting country, better than tiger in India or elephant on the veldt'.

But he's always the gimmick guest in Great Houses, no one ever confuses him with a real social equal.
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Old 12-13-2014, 10:56 AM   #44
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Default Re: [Adventure Guns] The gun cabinet of a Victorian explorer, hunter, Col. (Ret.)

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Originally Posted by Verjigorm View Post
With his military background, I don't see why he couldn't pass that off as a quirk of his time and soldierly aspect. A stern man, with a background in very stern matters, I think his preference could bother some, while appealing to others. If he knows the rest of his bag, then he should be able to blend in fine with most people accepting the eccentricities of his character to come from prolonged time abroad.
Ah, but Col. Wilkinson is quite eccentric enough to be uncomfortably aware that if it were not for his good fortune in becoming known for wartime exploits and his explorations and ethnographic writings, he would probably be a social pariah.

Apart from the Secret of his bastardry and non-European ancestry on his mother's side, Col. Wilkinson also has deeply suspicious interests and sympathies, having through his service career been subject to slurs due to his facility with the languages and cultures of colonial peoples. There have even been, in his remote youth, whispered rumours that he may have embraced certain un-English practices in the realm of amour, one which dare not speak its name.

So when Col. Wilkinson was preparing for retirement from the Army and had begun to be received by the proper sort of people, he would have purchased his English sporting gear and wear in a deeply self-conscious mood. Granted, he must take care to display the professional expertise that was one of the foundations of his social acceptance when choosing sporting guns, and he would therefore be deeply invested in the details of technology and craftsmanship that go into his acquisations, but he'd also be extremely careful that his choices would send the right social signals.

Col. Wilkinson is a confident, assertive man, but when it comes to social acceptance by the elite of England, he has enough going against him to make him understandably, if uncharacteristically, eager to conform in all the little ways of dress and fashion.
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Old 12-13-2014, 12:09 PM   #45
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Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
I'll have a hunt through Rifles of the World at some point for some names, but damage will be similar to the military calibres in High-Tech.
Sadly, that book is not really adequate to this task. One important detail I did find is that Greener were making double rifles and shotguns with several different kinds of action at the same time. The cheapest were basic boxlocks, but they went up through various newer and patented actions to the extremely complex and proprietary. It seems that features, as well as decorations, on guns in the 1870s to 1900 were very much a question of "whatever the customer fancies."
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So far, however, I don't know which brand of elephant gun he ought to own and in what gauge. I think GURPS only gives stats for the 8-gauge.
I do have some performance figures for 4-bore and 8-bore:

A 4-bore rifle would fire a spherical ball of about 1250 grains, or a blunt bullet of about 1880 grains, with an aspect ratio of only about 1.5. Those weights imply the actual bore diameter was a bit below true 4-bore, since a 0.25lb lead ball would be 1750 grains. The charge was 325 to 380 grains of black powder, for a velocity of 1300 to 1500 feet per second. The rifles weighed 20-25lb.

An 8-bore rifle would fire an 860 grain ball or a 1250 grain bullet at 1650 or 1500 feet per second respectively, using 270 to 325 grains of black powder. The rifles typically weighed 15 to 16lb, so they were quite a bit easier to handle than the 4-bores and thus more popular.

If Col. Wilkinson does have a 4-bore, I suspect he may have got a near-new one cheap when the original owner discovered he didn't really want to fire it regularly. This book has no information on 6-bores, which doesn't mean they didn't exist, but probably means they weren't popular.

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Also, don't know what lighter gun he favoured before the Lebel.
The Martini-Henry? It does the same kind of damage, and is lighter than the Lebel, although the ammunition weighs more.
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Old 12-13-2014, 04:08 PM   #46
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Default Re: [Adventure Guns] The gun cabinet of a Victorian explorer, hunter, Col. (Ret.)

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Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
Sadly, that book is not really adequate to this task. One important detail I did find is that Greener were making double rifles and shotguns with several different kinds of action at the same time. The cheapest were basic boxlocks, but they went up through various newer and patented actions to the extremely complex and proprietary. It seems that features, as well as decorations, on guns in the 1870s to 1900 were very much a question of "whatever the customer fancies."
Do you have any idea about period prices? If a fairly typical Greener 8-bore double (HT:AG p. 32) cost 25, what would a 4-bore cost?

And do you know what other, less prestigious makers were charging for their 8-bore double rifles?

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I do have some performance figures for 4-bore and 8-bore:

A 4-bore rifle would fire a spherical ball of about 1250 grains, or a blunt bullet of about 1880 grains, with an aspect ratio of only about 1.5. Those weights imply the actual bore diameter was a bit below true 4-bore, since a 0.25lb lead ball would be 1750 grains. The charge was 325 to 380 grains of black powder, for a velocity of 1300 to 1500 feet per second. The rifles weighed 20-25lb.

An 8-bore rifle would fire an 860 grain ball or a 1250 grain bullet at 1650 or 1500 feet per second respectively, using 270 to 325 grains of black powder. The rifles typically weighed 15 to 16lb, so they were quite a bit easier to handle than the 4-bores and thus more popular.
What 1/2D and Maximum Range does the 4-bore get over the 8-bore already listed in HT:AG?

I can figure the Dmg myself, using Cole's spreadsheet, but if you happen to know it, it'll spare me the work of entering the variables (running out now, back later tonight). :)

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Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
If Col. Wilkinson does have a 4-bore, I suspect he may have got a near-new one cheap when the original owner discovered he didn't really want to fire it regularly. This book has no information on 6-bores, which doesn't mean they didn't exist, but probably means they weren't popular.
Unless the player changes his mind before the next session on Tuesday, Col. Wilkinson's Weapon Bonded elephant gun is a plain field-grade Manton & Co.* 4-bore double rifle with 24" barrels, 4" receiver, exposed hammers and proofed for a full 16 dram load and a 2000 grain bullet (though I imagine he'll generally use a 1880 grain bullet and a 14 dram powder charge).

The player will decide if he wants to have had the gun refurbished in 1881-1884 or so to use a hammerless action and automatic ejectors. The license fee to use an Anson & Deeley boxlock is 15 shillings and I'll have to figure out how much the materials and work come to.

*While this is indeed the famous Manton name, it belongs to a Calcutta-based outfitters founded by a nephew and the guns are built by other gunsmiths, in Birmingham or Belgium.

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The Martini-Henry? It does the same kind of damage, and is lighter than the Lebel, although the ammunition weighs more.
The Martini-Henry will indeed have been a reliable standby throughout the career of H.E. Wilkinson ever since he acquired his first in the early '70s. Before that, he used an Enfield (converted to a Snider action after '67).

But in the mid-'70s, Wilkinson will have been a Captain at the very least, making Major before the Second Anglo-Afghan War, so he's quite likely to have wanted a fancier hunting rifle for medium game than what the common soldiers are carrying. And after 1880, Col. Wilkinson will have had a much higher income and better prospects than ever before and I find it highly plausible that he'll have bought a modern new black powder rifle or two at that time.
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Old 12-13-2014, 04:48 PM   #47
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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
Do you have any idea about period prices? If a fairly typical Greener 8-bore double (HT:AG p. 32) cost 25, what would a 4-bore cost?
I have no real information for this. Given that 4-bores work at higher pressures and sell in smaller quantities, but are basically similar in manufacture, I'd feel tempted to multiply by the square of the weight ratio. So, 8-bore is 15lb, 4-bore double is 25lb, that's a weight ratio of 5:3, squared is 25:9, making a guess at the 4-bore price of 70.
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And do you know what other, less prestigious makers were charging for their 8-bore double rifles?
No. Estimating roughly, it's hard for brand name and quality to support a price factor of more than about 3 over plain-but-decent goods, although it can be much larger over poor quality ones. So I'd expect other makers to be in the range 9 to 20. But the lower-end manufacturers probably won't do 4-bores, just as few modern manufacturers make rifles in .50BMG.
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What 1/2D and Maximum Range does the 4-bore get over the 8-bore already listed in HT:AG?
I have never got to grips with Douglas Cole's spreadsheet. I'd suspect that 1/2D and Max would scale with the cube root of bullet weight, but I could easily be wrong.
Quote:
But in the mid-'70s, Wilkinson will have been a Captain at the very least, making Major before the Second Anglo-Afghan War, so he's quite likely to have wanted a fancier hunting rifle for medium game than what the common soldiers are carrying. And after 1880, Col. Wilkinson will have had a much higher income and better prospects than ever before and I find it highly plausible that he'll have bought a modern new black powder rifle or two at that time.
Plausibly, but I don't know much about them.
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Old 12-13-2014, 04:59 PM   #48
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1861
After an unsuccesful attempt at higher education, cut short by boredom after a few months at Oxford, young Wilkinson joins the Army. His father is able to purchase a commission in an Indian regiment and among his equippage, he presents to his son a beautiful fifty-guiena saber made by the British sword company which furnished his son's adopted name, Wilkinson.
See Purchase of Commissions in the British Army for prices. Until the Cardwell Reforms in 1871, Wilkinson will have had to purchase each step. It's very likely that his advancement will have been slow until promotion on merit came in and then he might have rather suddenly caught up.

Note that in 1858 the European and artillery regiments of the EIC's armies (Bengal Army, Bombay Army, and Madras Army) were amalgamated with the British Army, but that the native regiments were not. It is these presidency armies (with British officers and native NCOs and men) that are referred to as the "Indian Army" and "Indian regiments" until they were amalgamated into a single Indian army in 1895 and absorbed into the British army in 1903.

Service with the Indian Army (i.e. with native regiments) was low-prestige but lucrative. Pay was much higher than in the British Army, and field grade officers often retired with enough money to buy a place in the country and live as country gentlemen (but not to cut a dash in London). It was correspondingly sought after by younger sons &c. for whom the Army was to be a true profession rather than a genteel social position to dignify wealth and rank.

I am not certain whether the purchase system ever pertained in the Indian Army. The EIC's armies (up to 1858) promoted strictly on seniority. When the European regiments joined the British Army they will have come under British Army rules and thus suffered the purchase system until 1871. But I don't know that the Indian Armies did. I'll do more research and get back to you.

Note, too, that there was no purchase in the Artillery or Engineers. You had to be actually trained at the Royal Military Academy to get into those, and advancement was strictly by seniority. This was anathema to the upper class, so Artillery and Engineers officers tended to be middle-class "Methodist, married, or mad".
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Old 12-13-2014, 05:23 PM   #49
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Default Re: [Adventure Guns] The gun cabinet of a Victorian explorer, hunter, Col. (Ret.)

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I have no real information for this. Given that 4-bores work at higher pressures and sell in smaller quantities, but are basically similar in manufacture, I'd feel tempted to multiply by the square of the weight ratio. So, 8-bore is 15lb, 4-bore double is 25lb, that's a weight ratio of 5:3, squared is 25:9, making a guess at the 4-bore price of 70.
A Belgian-made copy of a Remington Rolling Block in 4-bore is listed in HT:AG as costing $1,500, as opposed to the $600 of a regular Remington Rolling Block in .50-70 Government.

That's going from a 450 grain bullet propelled by 70-grains of black powder to a 1250+ grain bullet propelled with 325+ grains of black powder, unless that particular gun was a very underpowered 4-bore.

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No. Estimating roughly, it's hard for brand name and quality to support a price factor of more than about 3 over plain-but-decent goods, although it can be much larger over poor quality ones. So I'd expect other makers to be in the range 9 to 20. But the lower-end manufacturers probably won't do 4-bores, just as few modern manufacturers make rifles in .50BMG.
Anyone who catered to African hunters needed to be able to build 4-bore rifles, as there are many times an 8-bore just won't do. Also, it was not uncommon to use 4-bores on Indian gaurs or other large game on the subcontinent, so I imagine that Calcutta was a good place to get 4-bores.

Note that in GURPS, the difference between a very plain item and one that's regarded as fashionable, stylish, elegant and otherwise desirable is expressed with Styling, +1 CF to +19 CF for a +1 to +4 Reactions for connoisseurs.

A 25 double shotgun is Styling +1 in GURPS terms, according to HT:AG. I'm not sure whether a Greener Elephant Rifle in 8-bore (HT:AG p. 32) is meant to represent the same basic Styling +1 level or whether it's meant to have no Styling at all. If it's meant to have no Styling at all, it's hard to square with other fine hunting weapons, which get a +3 or +4 to Reactions at prices around $10,000-20,000 GURPS.*

*If GURPS $3,000 was a rock-bottom price, not including any Styling at all, +3 Reactions would cost at minimum $30,000 and +4 Reactions would cost a minimum of $60,000. This is not reflected in the GURPS prices of the H&H Royal or the Rigby Best Quality Double, they are instead priced more like the basic rifle without Styling (which in this case is name cachet, finish and engraving) ought to cost around $1,000-$1,500.

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I have never got to grips with Douglas Cole's spreadsheet. I'd suspect that 1/2D and Max would scale with the cube root of bullet weight, but I could easily be wrong.
No biggie.

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Plausibly, but I don't know much about them.
I've suggested to the player a double express rifle in .500 (Black Powder) Express with a 3" receiver for general hunting of medium game and for long-range work, a Fine (Accurate) single-barrel in .450, using 110 grains of black powder and a 440+ grain bullet with over 3:1 aspect ratio.

Also, he'll naturally buy a Winchester 1876 in .45-75 Winchester and a Bullard Repeating Rifle in .50-115 Bullard.

For the very newest weapons in his arsenal, the player is mulling over the possibilities. Since I plan to have weapons that are currently being adopted by an armed force carry a fairly high premium, representing the necessity of offering enough to cause them to divert one rifle to you, it may be that he won't buy a Lebel after all.

A Lee in .402 Enfield or an Enfield Martini Mk1 Rifle in .402 with the magazine are both tempting and so are the Mauser IG1871/84 and Mannlicher M1886-88. The first two were not adopted, but quite a few test models were made and buying one that was scheduled to be put into storage or converted to a different chambering would not be difficult for the Colonel.

The latter two are service rifles that have just been adopted, but already been superseded by new 1888 models designed to eventually use smokeless powder. Obtaining a couple could be much cheaper than buying a smokeless powder gun and they are the very pinnacle of black powder weapon engineering, incorporating almost all of the principles that smokeless military weapons do.
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Old 12-13-2014, 05:24 PM   #50
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A 4-bore rifle would fire a spherical ball of about 1250 grains, or a blunt bullet of about 1880 grains, with an aspect ratio of only about 1.5. Those weights imply the actual bore diameter was a bit below true 4-bore, since a 0.25lb lead ball would be 1750 grains.
This would be true of the 7000 grain avoirdupois pound and its' 16 ounces. However I have seen some indications in earlier research that lead (like gold) was measured in Troy units of 480 grain ounces coming 12 to a 5760 grain pound.

I'm not sure of this. It's all terribly arcane but your spherical bullets would come closer to 1/4th of a Troy lb.
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