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Old 01-22-2020, 03:32 PM   #81
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Default Re: High/ultra tech sights/accessories on muzzle-loaders

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With the right gauges and measuring you can use files and other hand tools to get to very high degrees of accuracy. My old boss had a cube on a 45 that as an apprentice he hand filed the whole thing to with in 0.0005" of square and true. The measuring tools are in many ways more important than the cutting tools to high precision machining.
"Measure with a micrometer; mark with chalk; cut with an axe."
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Old 01-22-2020, 03:49 PM   #82
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Default Re: High/ultra tech sights/accessories on muzzle-loaders

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Even today the gunsmiths in Af/Pak/SE Asia make smallarms with hand tools because those are what they can afford, and wages are low.
Here are a couple of YouTube videos from Forgotten Weapons detailing firearms that people are making in some poor areas of a planet at TL8:
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Old 01-23-2020, 03:53 AM   #83
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Default Re: High/ultra tech sights/accessories on muzzle-loaders

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"Measure with a micrometer; mark with chalk; cut with an axe."
They certainly have files maybe even imported UT files. Most any machining can be done to a high standard with files and abrasive stones if one is willing to spend the time.
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Old 01-23-2020, 04:36 AM   #84
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Default Re: High/ultra tech sights/accessories on muzzle-loaders

Time is money.
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Old 01-23-2020, 08:38 AM   #85
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Default Re: High/ultra tech sights/accessories on muzzle-loaders

And how precise traditional craftsmen are willing to be depends a lot on the local culture. Imperial Roman work is not 15th century European work is not late 19th century European work, each culture has different ideas of what details matter and what can be let slide (we use this to spot replicas being passed off as originals).

One reason you see a lot of soft iron tools before the 20th century is that a smith has more hours of working iron than working steel in him before his joints start to fail and he has to switch to a supervisory role. A lot of people were willing to accept the not-so-sharp axe for a price discount, especially because everyone knew how to hone a blade but buying an axe required cash.

Edit: I now looked at the first 30 seconds of both videos without sound. Those look roughly 'zip gun level' tech (I like the old percussion lock on the poacher's rifle) and much less advanced than the gunsmiths in South and Southeast Asia ... but those gunsmiths have a supply of cheap cast homogeneous steel and a supply of cased ammo with smokeless powder. If they had to work with heterogeneous steel and iron from one of the pre-1856 processes and propel it with soft-cased ammo, they might make less Kalashnikovs, Brownings, and Mosin-Nagants and more primitive weapons.

Edit: Oh wow, and the first video has one where they make the ammo themselves. Also, I agree its good to remember that a lot of these village shops are turning out single-shot weapons, not semi-automatics (or turn out several single-shot Kalashnikov-shaped objects for every Browning Mle 1910 knockoff)
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Old 01-24-2020, 06:27 PM   #86
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Default Re: High/ultra tech sights/accessories on muzzle-loaders

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Time is money.
Very true, but for intelligent, handy, resourceful people without chances for education in the TL10+ economy, spending their time on making hand-made replicas of import-restricted weapons compatible with importable accessories might be an excellent return on investment, especially if there are local elites with plenty of money that want to have access to high-tech but lack import licenses for modern weapons.
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Old 01-24-2020, 07:40 PM   #87
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Default Re: High/ultra tech sights/accessories on muzzle-loaders

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Very true, but for intelligent, handy, resourceful people without chances for education in the TL10+ economy, spending their time on making hand-made replicas of import-restricted weapons compatible with importable accessories might be an excellent return on investment, especially if there are local elites with plenty of money that want to have access to high-tech but lack import licenses for modern weapons.
Quite. But the poorer and more backward the part that you live in is, the harder it is to get supplies and components and the harder it is to deliver your hand-mades to local elites, who are fewer, less monied, and harder to reach.

Obviously there is an extreme at which the intelligent, handy, resourceful craftsman struggles to make and sell even steel swords — if the people are true nomads following semi-domesticated herds on foot across a season semi-arid grassland, and families when they meet deal with great caution for immediate exchanges of genetic material, polished stones, and surplus leather. Equally obviously there is a condition of order, prosperity, and wide exchange in which a bloke with a CNC mill can't compete with imports for padlocks and car parts, but faces no such competition turning out excellent P7s and AR-15s, and his neighbour is knocking on his door for parts for a machine to make standard primers and good brass cases.

It seems to me that there is a continuum between those extremes, probably involving an economy that is in general less sophisticated than Sheffield and Manchester about 1800, in which the best and least conspicuous sidearm a shady effective could obtain without deep contacts would be a brace of double-barrelled rifled caplock pistols and a bag of Minié bullets.
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Old 01-24-2020, 07:46 PM   #88
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Default Re: High/ultra tech sights/accessories on muzzle-loaders

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Edit: I now looked at the first 30 seconds of both videos without sound. Those look roughly 'zip gun level' tech (I like the old percussion lock on the poacher's rifle) and much less advanced than the gunsmiths in South and Southeast Asia ... but those gunsmiths have a supply of cheap cast homogeneous steel and a supply of cased ammo with smokeless powder.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Polydamas View Post
Edit: Oh wow, and the first video has one where they make the ammo themselves. Also, I agree its good to remember that a lot of these village shops are turning out single-shot weapons, not semi-automatics (or turn out several single-shot Kalashnikov-shaped objects for every Browning Mle 1910 knockoff)
Yep. It is possible for a place to be more backward and more economically challenging to manufacture in than Afghanistan or South-East Asia.
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Old 01-24-2020, 08:30 PM   #89
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Default Re: High/ultra tech sights/accessories on muzzle-loaders

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Originally Posted by Agemegos View Post
Quite. But the poorer and more backward the part that you live in is, the harder it is to get supplies and components and the harder it is to deliver your hand-mades to local elites, who are fewer, less monied, and harder to reach.

Obviously there is an extreme at which the intelligent, handy, resourceful craftsman struggles to make and sell even steel swords — if the people are true nomads following semi-domesticated herds on foot across a season semi-arid grassland, and families when they meet deal with great caution for immediate exchanges of genetic material, polished stones, and surplus leather. Equally obviously there is a condition of order, prosperity, and wide exchange in which a bloke with a CNC mill can't compete with imports for padlocks and car parts, but faced no such competition turning out excellent P7s and AR-15s, and his neighbour is knowing on his door for parts for a machine to make standard primers and good brass cases.

It seems to me that there is a continuum between those extremes, probably involving an economy that is in general less sophisticated than Sheffield and Manchester about 1800, in which the best and least conspicuous sidearm a shady effective could obtain without deep contacts would be a brace of double-barrelled rifled caplock pistols and a bag of Minié bullets.
The same continuum bears fairly directly on the relevance of a "shady effective". If the elites are too few, poor, and isolated, they will have very little demand for agents to wield against one another - especially agents who don't have strong personal connections that make them (relatively) known and trustworthy to the prospective employer.
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Old 01-24-2020, 08:42 PM   #90
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Default Re: High/ultra tech sights/accessories on muzzle-loaders

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The same continuum bears fairly directly on the relevance of a "shady effective". If the elites are too few, poor, and isolated, they will have very little demand for agents to wield against one another - especially agents who don't have strong personal connections that make them (relatively) known and trustworthy to the prospective employer.
There may be — in my campaign setting there are — interstellar interests such including both commercial interests and non-profit institutions that feel strongly about what happens on a planet despite not enjoying the support of its local elites. The Sons of Patrick Henry, Amnesty Interstellar, Democracy Unlimited, and the Œuvre of the King of Prussia obviously can't rely on the local warlords and technarchs to arm their agitators, assassins, and agents provocateurs. Less obviously, neither can the Journalists' Guild, Human Heritage, or the Zinfandel Museum of Modern Art.

I'm contemplating a series of novellas set in my interstellar sci-fi setting Flat Black. The protagonist will not be an Imperial servant or ICfJ detective; he (she if I feel very brave) will be and art thief and occasional effective, working sometimes for Human Heritage and sometimes for well-funded museums in the Core.
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