Steve Jackson Games Forums musket ball costs?
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08-18-2018, 02:01 PM   #12
Polydamas

Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Central Europe
Re: musket ball costs?

Yeah, in the end GURPS prices are never going to be completely consistent, or right for any one setting, because they have been pulled from all kinds of sources (including wild guesses!) by dozens of people over 30 years. If you care, you can do research for your specific setting.

Quote:
 Originally Posted by Dalillama This list of supplies from 1622 shows 18 shillings for 20 pounds of powder, 5 shillings for 60 pounds of shot or lead, and 1£ 2s for a musket. A little bit of maths should be able to work put a conversion rate to GURPS\$, as well as a ratio of how much shot can be had for the price of a musket.
I wish I could find the old HTML version of that list!

I have the impression that in the Jacobean period, a shilling a day was a good income for a worker in town. So:
20 days @ 1 shilling a day = an Average income of G\$800/month (p. B517)
1 shilling = G\$40
Weight per Shot for a Musket is 0.15 lb so 80 lbs is 533 shots
23 shillings for powder and ball, 22 shillings for the musket (and accoutrements presumably)
That looks like G\$ 1.72 per shot and G\$880 for the musket. That is on the same order as the price of a new matchlock musket in USD today http://therifleshoppe.com/catalog_pa...matchlocks.htm or http://www.middlesexvillagetrading.com/MML.shtml
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 08-18-2018, 03:05 PM #13 tshiggins     Join Date: Aug 2004 Location: Denver, Colorado Re: musket ball costs? Lots of people forget how amazingly expensive everything was, in the times before industrialization multiplied the output of labor. Wealth just didn't mean the same thing, at all. __________________ -- MXLP:9 [JD=1, DK=1, DM-M=1, M(FAW)=1, SS=2, Nym=1 (nose coffee), sj=1 (nose cocoa), Maz=1] "Some days, I just don't know what to think." -Daryl Dixon.
 08-18-2018, 09:24 PM #14 (E)   Join Date: Jul 2014 Location: New Zealand. Re: musket ball costs? The price of muskets in NZ when sold to Maori over several decades. https://teara.govt.nz/en/diagram/38078/musket-costs __________________ Waiting for inspiration to strike...... And spending too much time thinking about farming for RPGs
 08-19-2018, 02:26 PM #15 The Colonel     Join Date: Jul 2006 Re: musket ball costs? If it helps, High Tech 3E allows you an hour and a scavenging roll to scare up a pound of lead plus one pound per margin of success in any urban setting of the time. Not clear how much trouble you will have securing that lead though... Notes that you would get 10-20 shots per pound and the moulding kit was about \$3 worth. Notes that it was normal to buy lead and cast your own. p32 if anyone is interested. Powder might be more of a problem.
 08-20-2018, 03:12 PM #16 Jaware   Join Date: Aug 2015 Location: Everywhere and Nowhere Re: musket ball costs? All of this is nice and everything and we'll thought out and the what not. However. Back during those days, guns didn't have interchangeable parts. Therefore one couldn't just go out and "buy yourself a pound of shot for your "~.53 caliber musket" because every musket was different." That was why people historicallyrics made their own. Especially during the revolutionary war and even up until after the civil war. That is why I wouldn't charge the price of labor to format said shot, since that's more than likely what you are having to do yourself. Since the book eyeballs powder at around 20\$ a pound and you get ~40 shots per pound, one can just ignore powder values since you would be buying it separately. Wah at you would really be buying was just lead, if you were lucky, it would be in precut pieces. More more than likely, it would just be an ingot and you'd cut it off yourself with like a hatchet or the like. Last edited by Jaware; 08-20-2018 at 03:13 PM. Reason: Grammer mistakes
08-20-2018, 05:11 PM   #17
hal

Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Buffalo, New York
Re: musket ball costs?

Quote:
 Originally Posted by Jaware All of this is nice and everything and we'll thought out and the what not. However. Back during those days, guns didn't have interchangeable parts. Therefore one couldn't just go out and "buy yourself a pound of shot for your "~.53 caliber musket" because every musket was different." That was why people historicallyrics made their own. Especially during the revolutionary war and even up until after the civil war. That is why I wouldn't charge the price of labor to format said shot, since that's more than likely what you are having to do yourself. Since the book eyeballs powder at around 20\$ a pound and you get ~40 shots per pound, one can just ignore powder values since you would be buying it separately. Wah at you would really be buying was just lead, if you were lucky, it would be in precut pieces. More more than likely, it would just be an ingot and you'd cut it off yourself with like a hatchet or the like.
That is why I went with historical costs for black powder - and then did the math involved. The information I had on costs of shot and powder were from the years between 1800 and 1810 (I'm guessing 1806, but I'm not certain).

Point is - gunpowder by weight was the traditional use of powder for the size of its projectile. Whether the projectile was a .45, a .54, or any other diameter, is besides the point. Why?

When you melt lead for your ball - if it is a .45 caliber, its weight will be less than if it were a .54 caliber ball. By my calculations, the weight would be about 136 grains (or about 50 balls per lb of lead used).

The ONLY thing that would be off in general from the numbers I provided, would be the costs involved for the shot. I used the cost of a cannon shot for reference, problem is - that was likely iron shot, not lead. One reference (gaming) lists a pound (mass) of lead was about a shilling. Even at 12 pence per pound of lead (something I can't verify), that's roughly 12 pence per 7000 grains of mass, or roughly 583 grains per silver penny in cost. For a .54 caliber ball, this works out to about .6 penny (a little over a half-penny) for a single ball (material cost that is).

This is why I pointed out the actual process in cost of gunpowder and the amount of gunpowder being used (between 80 to 120 grains) and the ball itself.

The thing to remember is this...

If you know the cost per pound of gunpowder in your game world, and you know the cost per pound of lead in your game world, then you can easily enough figure out what the costs should be based on real world measures.

Density of Lead is 11.34 grams per cubic centimeter.

Volume of a sphere is: 4/3 * Pi * (Diameter/2)^3

Volume for a .54 caliber (1.3716 cm) round is 1.3511 cubic centimeters and 15.32147 grams (236.4 grains)

Volume for a .45 caliber (1.143 cm) round is .7819 cubic centimeters and 8.8667 grams (136.8 grains).

It is worth what you pay for it. In this case, it was free. Whether you use it or not is totally up to you, and if it is too much of a pain in the buttocks, I'd say just take a single figure as an "Average" and run it from there. That's what one game system did when they said "You get 40 balls per pound of lead and an eighth of an ounce of powder." (Incidentally, an 8th of an ounce is about 55 grains of powder).

Truth is? Your players probably won't even care just how accurate you are or aren't. They just want to get on with the game.

;)

 08-20-2018, 07:10 PM #18 Jaware   Join Date: Aug 2015 Location: Everywhere and Nowhere Re: musket ball costs? All of its is for me as the GM, not one of my players even uses guns. Mostly, I was trying to do all of this because the cost-per-shot multipliers were brutal. For example, I have a werewolf hunter who uses silver bullets. The 50x price of a musket ball that is already unnaturally expensive for whatever reason, you end up with a single musket ball that costs ~50-~90 or more G\$ Which pound for pound, is more expensive the silver it would require to manufacture it. I would throw in some + or - x, because they would take be made specially since silver melts at such a higher temperature than lead. But, as there is copious amounts of magic in the setting, I wouldn't imagine manufacturing costs to be that much more. For an least shape metal spell or the like. Or something as simple as a create fire spell to reach those temperatures etc. Not to mention, you look at something like an arrowhead, which is only 20x cost for something that honestly, should take more work compared to just make a ball out of it. It seems super janky that you get to looking at a musket ball made of silver that takes up less specialized work, costing astronomically more than an arrowhead that takes more specialized work. As for the players just want to play? we play once a week. And I'm getting this ready so they know what they sell for and what they can buy them for. Or thereabouts.
08-20-2018, 07:24 PM   #19
Fred Brackin

Join Date: Aug 2007
Re: musket ball costs?

Quote:
 Originally Posted by Jaware A The 50x price of a musket ball that is already unnaturally expensive for whatever reason, you end up with a single musket ball that costs ~50-~90 or more G\$
The normal price for silver in Gurps is \$1000 a pound. Those numbers don't look too bad to me.
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Fred Brackin

08-20-2018, 09:21 PM   #20
hal

Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Buffalo, New York
Re: musket ball costs?

Quote:
 Originally Posted by Fred Brackin The normal price for silver in Gurps is \$1000 a pound. Those numbers don't look too bad to me.
On one website that I've visited in the past and bookmarked, it suggests that throughout the history of England, the various Monarchs would debase their coins by either shaving silver off them, or by lowering the silver content by a given amount. At the start of history, England minted its silver coins with a content of 24 grains of silver per coin. By 1816, this value had dropped to 7.27 grains of silver per coin. My guess is, that by 1816, the value of a single pound of silver was worth 24/7.27 x 240d or about 792 pence. This works out to be nearly 3.3£ or roughly 1/4 of an unskilled laborer's income at that time.

Doing further research, I came across the fact that the Tower Pound was 12 oz to the lb instead of 16, and that the weight of a Tower Pound was actually 5400 grains. This was in 1266. In reality, a lb of mass as we measure it, would be 7,000 grains, making a full lb. of silver actually roughly 4.28£ - fully a third of a struggling income unskilled laborer's yearly income of 12£ per year.

so yeah, Silver is expensive!

 Tags bullet cost, lead, low tech, musket

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